Fred Barnes, the executive editor of the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard, has printed an article about Mitt Romney that has gotten alot of people talking. Fred Barnes argues that despite what Mitt's rivals say about Romney's conservativism, the truth is that he's more conservative than people think.
Fred Barnes explains Mitt Romney's current campaign strategy of not diving into the details of his vision for America and just talking in broad terms about it:
One only has to think back to New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s campaign in 2009 to understand what Romney may be up to. Christie acted like a mushy moderate but has governed like a hell-for-leather conservative. He figured if he revealed his intention to cut spending and taxes and neutralize the teachers’ union, he wouldn’t get elected. I suspect Romney is doing something similar.We won’t know for certain unless Romney is elected president. But in recent weeks, he’s begun to sound more conservative. Unlike most of his Republican opponents, Romney has declined to offer a specific plan for reforming the tax code. At a town hall gathering last week in Salem, however, he talked up the idea of simplifying the system, broadening the tax base, and slashing tax rates—alas, tax reform at the idea stage.
Mitt Romney knows that conservatives and Republicans aren't the only ones who are watching the primary elections. Moderates, independents and Reagan democrats are either participating in the primaries or watching from the sidelines and paying close attention to who can really defeat Obama. As a result, Mitt Romney is demonstrating that he can defeat Obama by showing everyone that he's got a long range plan of winning the White House by building a strong state and national campaign, raising funds, and reaching out to all voters now rather than during the general election because by then, it may be already too late to win their hearts and minds. That's why Mitt Romney is sticking with his plan of going light on the details and strong on his attacks on Obama.
Mitt Romney is running down the middle while other candidates are running down the right side of the field and are attacking Mitt for not being conservative enough because Romney likes to make a run down the center. Romney's rivals claim that his tendency to run down the field makes him a moderate and not a conservative. However, Fred Barnes refutes this claim by pointing out that while Romney sticks to the middle of the field, a close examination of his record reveals he's more conservative than he lets on:
On four of the biggest issues in 2012, Romney is anything but moderate—or timid. He gets no special credit for advocating repeal of Obamacare. That’s Republican dogma. But he’s been the most specific among the GOP presidential candidates in backing the Ryan budget in all its parts, including its remake of Medicare. It was House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan’s plan that Gingrich zinged as “right wing social engineering” before reversing himself under duress.
When Romney announced in November his own proposal for cutting spending and reforming Medicare and Social Security, Ryan was thrilled. “Look at what he put out!” he told Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post. “This is a great development.” Ryan said Romney’s package of spending cuts “tracks perfectly with the House budget,” which Ryan had drafted.
Romney preceded Ryan in adding a twist to the overhaul of Medicare: Under a new “premium support” system in which seniors would choose among health insurance plans, one option would be the current Medicare program. In December, this was included in the bipartisan plan sponsored by Ryan and Democratic senator Ron Wyden of Oregon.
“On entitlements, I think Romney’s plan is easily the best one offered by a Republican candidate,” said Yuval Levin of the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center. “It’s a very smart, very well-thought-out, and very conservative approach.”
When he raises “premium support” and Social Security reform in town hall appearances, Romney has a way of making bold changes sound like tweaks. But in Salem, he said, almost as an afterthought, his proposal would “save Medicare and Social Security . . . forever.”
Like Ryan, Romney would not reduce defense spending. He wants to bolster the Army with 100,000 more troops and increase the Navy’s shipbuilding rate from 9 to 15 per year. In a speech at the Citadel in October, Romney promised to “prioritize the full deployment of a multilayered national ballistic missile defense system.” And in Iowa he said he would instruct the Pentagon to prepare “credible military options” to destroy Iran’s facilities for building nuclear weapons.
On immigration, Romney has made it a point in the nationally televised debates to criticize Gingrich’s idea of letting illegal immigrants stay in America if they’ve lived here for decades and Rick Perry’s support for allowing college students here unlawfully to pay tuition at the reduced rate for state residents. That, too, puts Romney in the conservative camp.
To sum up, he’s at least as conservative as his GOP rivals on jettisoning Obamacare and more conservative than some on entitlements, national security, and immigration. He’s no match for Gingrich on taxes, but that’s about it. Overall, he’s to the right of Gingrich.
That's why people like Mitt Romney. They know he's a conservative but he presents his conservativism in a way that people across the political spectrum can like and support. America is a center right country. Not a hard right one. Once Mitt Romney enters office as President, Mitt Romney will govern similar to the way Reagan did. Like Reagan who was well liked by almost everyone except the hard core left, who continually and loudly let everyone know how much they despised him. This is true of Governor Chris Christie. I suspect the same thing will happen to Romney.
In my opinion, the best kind of conservative is the conservative that win the support of all people, working with democrats in office and pushing through a conservative agenda. Ronald Reagan is the perfect example of this. He was a govenor of a liberal state who ran for President. While he was running, he was working to win support from people across the political spectrum and once he got in office, he was able to work with Democrats like Tip O'Neal to push a mostly conservative agenda through Congress. Mitt Romney is following the same exact playbook as Ronald Reagan is.