-By Warner Todd Huston
I cannot support Mitt Romney in this coming GOP primary. The one reason why can be summed up simply as this: he flip flops. Romney has more flip flops than a California beachfront. Mitt has been proven a man without anchor adrift in a sea of issues that push him and pull him with the tides. Even worse, maybe, is that he jumps from one ship to the other on those political tides with the sole purpose of scoring a political win. So, how could I say that such a rudderless sailor could be an OK president?
Well, there is one way that a shiftless Mitt Romney might be good for both the country and the conservative cause but it certainly isn't because he cares at all about conservative issues. It isn't that he'll champion them himself, either. But think about this. What does an unmoored boat do but drift with the tide? This is where, if played correctly, Romney could actually work for conservatives.
In fact, a President Romney could be good for Congress no matter which side of the political divide is in control. And control is the word, too.
For far too long Congress has been slowly giving away its Constitutional powers to legislate. Through sloth and selfish re-election needs Congressmen have been allowing the courts to take an unconstitutional role in determining our legislation as well as standing aside as one president after another grabs power unto the executive branch that he wasn't supposed to have -- the latter of which both left and right have complained about for decades.
Up until today we've had presidents with strong ideological principles that serve as the guide by which they've made policy. Clinton had a liberalism tempered by some centrism, George W. Bush the opposite. Reagan came to Washington with specific ideals on what he wanted to achieve and Obama has too, though in the entirely opposite direction as Ron's.
But Mitt Romney is a marshmallow. He's been on every side of every issue throughout his decades as a politician. These days, of course, he's edged toward conservatism and this gives conservatives an "in" if you will.
I am not suggesting that Romney will stay with these principles. A recent Romney apology by Michael Gerson weakly claimed that because Romney has switched to conservative ideals this time around he'd look too foolish to switch again. But that is simply poppycock. Once a flip flopper always a flip flopper. He'll easily justify the next flip flop and it will only be Gerson left looking foolish.
So, here is the good news. The fact that Romney is easily led by the political winds gives Speaker Boehner as well as Congressional conservatives the opportunity to become an unmoored president's pilot. If Boehner and conservatives make their issues winners, this will lead President Romney by the nose down the right path.
The best thing is it gives Congress the opportunity to again take back some of its powers and begin to right the ship of state (if I can get nautical again for a moment).
But it will take a concerted effort to push these conservative issues. None of this working with the left business will do. Romney, will likely start bending his newfound conservative ideas the first time the intelligentsia at The New York Times squawk at his policy ideas. He'll likely rediscover his linguine spine the second some Democrat calls his conservative policy ideas "racist." He'll suddenly want to "work with" every left-winger that comes down the pike.
But because he has no real principles he'll be apt to pushes from conservatives, as well. If we mount a strong campaign of conservative ideas, budget cuts and all, we can keep a President Romney on the straight and narrow. But it will require a very active Congress not a Congress content to let everyone else take the lead so that at election time they can point fingers everywhere else.
Conservative ideas are winners with the voters. We've seen many issues come our way in the last few decades. Abortion is becoming less popular every year. Pro-Second Amendment issues are such winners that the Democrats hardly even talk about their gun banning ideas any more. People are down on unions, agree that government is too large, and think that taxes are too high. These winning issues can only get stronger if Congress pushes them hard. And a weak President Romney will give conservatives the opportunity they need to push his presidency in the right direction.
But I'll leave you with this reiteration: the left will have the very same opportunity to push a weak-willed President Romney. So, we can't just sit back and enjoy a win if Romney should happen to win both the GOP primary and the 2012 general election. The second Romney enters the White House our work must begin in earnest. Don’t wait for this flip flopper to take the lead. Push him, conservatives, push him. If you don't you'll be on the outside looking in as Romney is bent, twisted, and mutilated by the political left.
I’ll work to defeat Mitt Romney in the primary. But if he wins I’ll work to make his presidency a conservative one despite him.