David Frum: It’s Time To Change Conservatism To Accommodate Romney’s Image Problems
Frum’s upset that people won’t redefine conservatism to make it easier for Mitt to deal with the “problem” of his wealth.
Does anybody else notice the obvious logical problem in this line of reasoning?
Personally, I don’t care if Mitt is rich. I actually think it’s great that somone has been so sucessful. That doesn’t mean that in this economy against this opponent it’s not going to be an issue for Romney to deal. You’d think a skilled politician who is supposedly so “electable” would have a ready line to handle this but Mitt clearly doesn’t.
Of course Romney himself acknowledges this is a weakness of his.
When Romney came in and spoke to The Wall Street Journal recently, he said that “someone with my background can’t make an argument for cutting taxes on wealthy individuals.” That was sort of why he–his argument for a more modest tax proposal here. What he didn’t say is whether he actually believes that cutting taxes on our most productive people would help grow the economy. And I think that’s where Gingrich thinks he has Romney. Does he actually believe this stuff?
And Romney is not adverse to sounding a lot like Obama when it comes to attacking Gingrich for having the audacity to promote traditional GOP/conservative tax policies.
Romney was quick to distinguish himself from Gingrich and endorse the Obama way of thinking, “His [Gingrich’s] plan in capital gains, to remove capital gains for people — at the very highest level of income is different than mine. I’d– I’d– eliminate capital gains, interest, and dividends for people in middle income.”
In other words, according to Romney and Obama’s way of thinking, taxes aren’t paid merely to fund the constitutional functions of government or even for non-conservative social reasons (like discouraging smoking by raising cigarette taxes or encouraging homeownership through the mortgage interest deduction). To Romney and Obama, taxes are also to be paid so that the government can collect and redistribute money from those “at the very highest level of income.”
Romney supporters like Frum seem to think we should be willing toss decades of conservative positions overboard in order have Romney as the nominee. They really seemed surprised that actual conservatives aren’t willing to make that exchange.
The burden is on Mitt to frame his story within traditional conservative policies, not for us to give up our positions to accommodate him. He’s not worth it.