Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Why I want Romney to win the Republican nomination

This is cross-posted at the Council of Fifty.

I don't like Romney's politics. I've said this before. I also think he has come across as insincere and seems to be more a conservative of convenience than of conviction. I also can't get his support for President Bush's foreign policies.

But I want Romney to win. As I've said before, I think it would be good for the Republican party. So what do I, a Democrat, care about having a good Republican party? Well, if my party screws it up, there's only one other alternative. Sure there's a lot of dissatisfaction right now with the current Administration, but Congressional Democrats aren't that far behind he President as targets of public bile. In this atmosphere, neither party is all that likely to win an overwhelming Congressional majority. And the fact is, no matter which party wins the White House in 2008, the other one will still have a significant amount of power. So even if there's a Democrat in the White House, the Republicans will still have plenty of influence. I want them to be shepherded by a party leadership that is moderate, pragmatic, reasonable.

An additional reason: it would make Clinton less likely to win the Democratic nomination. If, say, Huckabee gets it, he would stand no chance against Clinton, and the liberal party elite would have an easier time getting Clinton the victory because the concern about drawing moderate votes would be essentially irrelevant. If, on the other hand, the Republicans put up someone with a real fighting chance to beat Clinton, the Democrats would be more likely to give their nomination to a candidate less polarizing than the ex-First Lady, someone who could draw more moderate voters.

Romney is more Presidential, arguably more moderate, and most importantly, better funded than any of the other Republican candidates. He stands the best chance against Clinton. If he wins, the Democrats will be forced to think more carefully about nominating Clinton. A strong, moderate, electable Republican candidate gives more leverage to the Edwards and Obama campaigns to argue that Clinton, a elite northeastern liberal connected to perhaps the most hated Democrat (at least among conservatives) in recent memory, can't win in the heartland.

And on a personal level, it comes down to this: I don't want to vote for Clinton. And at this point, Romney is the most appealing Republican.

So what's my beef with Hillary? Well, for one, it goes back to before my mission when she first started trying to be a Senator from my home state (actually, I voted against her by absentee ballot). I had no problem in theory with the idea of Clinton running for, or even being my Senator. She's certainly capable. But the fact that she wasn't from New York and hadn't lived there, that she bought a house to barely met the residency requirements, and that it was obvious that she had chosen New York only because it was a liberal enough state to elect her to a calculated Presidential launching pad---well, that bothered me.

And to make matters worse, the state Party leadership didn't even make her run the primary. They just handed her the nomination. That bothered me even more. Now, the interesting thing about Hillary Clinton is that most of the other members of the New York Delegation in Congress can't stand her, personally. These are the people that have worked with her, not those that are paid to stump for her. But they won't say that in public because of the huge amount of influence that the Clintons hold over the party machine. I trust their opinions, and I don't trust her.

Another problem with Clinton: We've already had eight years of the second half of a Republican political dynasty. Do we really want the same thing coming from the Democrats? Do we really want the last few decades of our history to go Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton? Are there really so few qualified people that we have to keep picking from the same two families?

Of course, it would be cool to say that we had finally elected a woman to be President. But do we really want to show the world that the only way a woman can be elected in this country is if she schemes for three decades, finagles her party leadership, and rides on her husband's popularity? Wouldn't we rather have a woman who gets elected on her own merits?

So I want the Republicans to choose someone that will give the Obama and Edwards campaigns a better chance against Clinton. Nobody but Romney can do it: McCain is too old and crazy, Huckabee is too trailer park and Ted Nugent, Fred "Cadaver" Thompson (AKA dead man walking) can barely keep his eyes open during interveiws, Guiliani ought to be disqualified for running a campaign based entirely on 9-11, and Ron Paul, well, come on, it's Ron Paul. If he wins, the Democrats might as well run Kucinich so we can distribute the crazy equally on both sides. It's got to be Romney.

On the other hand, if Clinton does win, that would make Bill the first First Gentleman, which might get him into the news more often and provide some excellent political comic relief.


Anonymous said...

If you think this was written by a Democrat, I've got a bridge to sell you.

Bjorn said...

Huckabee, Huckabee, rah rah rah!

At least Romney is a better speaker then Bush. I know I'm going to get the truth bent at me, but with Bush, it comes off as dishonesty. Clinton could lie to me, and I felt good afterwards.

JKC said...


Yeah, you're right, I'm a secret Republican posing as a Democrat to influence the few friends I have that read this blog. You got me.


That is VERY true. We like to pretend that Presidents run the country, but the truth is that that's all done by judges and agency bureaucrats. The President's main job anymore is to look good and be a good speaker. This is why Clinton was so great and why Bush is so bad.

JKC said...

For full disclosure: My ultimate pick for this election is Obama with Biden as VP. But it's still to early to really talk much about that.

Warren said...

Liberal economist Brad DeLong at Berkeley worked with Hillary Clinton during Bill's years had this to say about a Hillary presidency:

My two cents' worth--and I think it is the two cents' worth of everybody who worked for the Clinton Administration health care reform effort of 1993-1994--is that Hillary Rodham Clinton needs to be kept very far away from the White House for the rest of her life. Heading up health-care reform was the only major administrative job she has ever tried to do. And she was a complete flop at it. She had neither the grasp of policy substance, the managerial skills, nor the political smarts to do the job she was then given. And she wasn't smart enough to realize that she was in over her head and had to get out of the Health Care Czar role quickly.

So when senior members of the economic team said that key senators like Daniel Patrick Moynihan would have this-and-that objection, she told them they were disloyal. When junior members of the economic team told her that the Congressional Budget Office would say such-and-such, she told them (wrongly) that her conversations with CBO head Robert Reischauer had already fixed that. When long-time senior hill staffers told her that she was making a dreadful mistake by fighting with rather than reaching out to John Breaux and Jim Cooper, she told them that they did not understand the wave of popular political support the bill would generate. And when substantive objections were raised to the plan by analysts calculating the moral hazard and adverse selection pressures it would put on the nation's health-care system...

Hillary Rodham Clinton has already flopped as a senior administrative official in the executive branch--the equivalent of an Undersecretary. Perhaps she will make a good senator. But there is no reason to think that she would be anything but an abysmal president.

Anonymous said...

Whether it’s polluters in charge of the EPA, non-scientists speaking for NASA, or party hacks replacing dedicated federal prosecutors, George Bush has corrupted every federal agency under his command. He is a bad president because he is more interested in enriching his wealthy supporters than in serving his country in an honest and forthright manner.

To claim that Bill Clinton seemed like a better president because he was a better speaker is to really make light of the absolute wretchedness of the disastrous Bush years. The Clintons generally appointed good people to serve in government, and if they failed at healthcare reform, at least they made an honest attempt.

Bjorn said...

I didn't mean to be so prophetic about Huckabee...

JKC said...

Bjorn, you are a visionary man.

apyknowzitall said...

Love the pics of Hillary.

The Shark said...

You'd think that Romney was applauding himself (or perhaps his audience) in that first photo you posted. But no -- he's actually advertising an aloe-based hand lotion. "Mmmm -- silky smooth!"

And yes, that's the most intelligent comment I have to add to this conversation.

JKC said...

Hah! Nice, shark.