There are some conservatives who believe they should rally behind Mitt Romney as the most electable candidate, but I’m seeing far more comments from conservatives similar to the views of Erik Ercikson:
Should Mitt Romney win the Presidency, conservatives will find this pattern play out repeatedly. Romney will head in a direction conservatives do not like and they will bitch and moan repeatedly and maybe, just maybe, he’ll part his hair in their direction.
We’ve seen this play out over and over. Jon Huntsman comes up with the best economic plan of all the candidates, Herman Cain follows up with 999, Perry comes out with a flat tax, and Romney refuses to do anything. Until he does something.
Mitt Romney is not the George W. Bush of 2012 — he is the Harriet Miers of 2012, only conservative because a few conservative grand pooh-bahs tell us Mitt Romney is conservative and for no other reason.
That is precisely why Mitt Romney will not win in 2012. But no worry, once he loses, Republican establishment types will blame conservatives for not doing enough for Mitt Romney, never mind that Mitt Romney has never been able to sell himself to more than 25% of the GOP voters. It’s not his fault though, it is the 75%’s fault.
Mitt Romney is going to be the Republican nominee. And his general election campaign will be an utter disaster for conservatives as he takes the GOP down with him and burns up what it means to be a conservative in the process…
Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is a man devoid of any principles other than getting himself elected. As much as the American public does not like Barack Obama, they loath a man so fueled with ambition that he will say or do anything to get himself elected. Mitt Romney is that man.
I’ve been reading the 200 pages of single spaced opposition research from the John McCain campaign on Mitt Romney. There is no issue I can find on which Mitt Romney has not taken both sides. He is neither liberal nor conservative. He is simply unprincipled. The man has no core beliefs other than in himself. You want him to be tough? He’ll be tough. You want him to be sensitive? He’ll be sensitive. You want him to be for killing the unborn? He’ll go all in on abortion rights until he wants to run for an office where it is not in his advantage…
To beat Barack Obama, a candidate must paint a bold contrast with the Democrats on their policies. When Mitt Romney tries, Barack Obama will be able to show that just the other day Mitt Romney held exactly the opposite position as the one he holds today.
Voters may not like Barack Obama, but by the time Obama is done with Romney they will not trust Mitt Romney. And voters would rather the guy they don’t like than they guy they don’t trust.
While we might disagree as to whether holding conservative positions is desirable, I do agree with Erickson that conservatives cannot trust Romney to promote their views despite taking a hard line conservative position on many issues. Neither can liberals or moderates count on Romney promoting their views. There is just no way to predict what Romney will do as he has taken such contradictory positions on so many issues.
This raises the question as to whether Romney really is the most electable Republican, despite polls which now suggest that he is. Romney’s character, or lack of character, will probably become the key issue of the election. Many conservatives will support him if he is the Republican candidate, supporting anyone over Obama, but others will stay home. Fabricated charges of flip-flopping against John Kerry created by distorting his statements were harmful enough. Multiple actual examples of flip-flopping should be even more harmful for Romney. George Bush was reelected in 2004 despite a terrible record and a low approval rating due to the right wing base turning out in record numbers. Romney will not benefit from such a conservative turn out, which might also be harmful to Republican candidates down ticket.