As conservatives, we believe that the moment has come to stand up, publicly, and profess what thousands of right-of-center activists, operatives, bloggers and everyday Americans know to be true: Mitt Romney should NOT be OUR nominee.
On Sunday, the one year anniversary of Election Day 2012, our coalition of 20 conservative professional activists, operatives and bloggers launched a website: NotMittRomney.com, with an online organizing petition, for the silent majority of American conservatives who remain unenthused, demoralized and depressed about the prospect of President Willard Mitt Romney.
Half measures are not what America needs at the present moment of extreme peril. One can turn to recent polling, Romney's allies favorite evidence of a mandate, to discover that Romney's strengths quickly are becoming his weaknesses. This and his inability to break the standard frontrunner's 30%, show that there is a growing national consensus: we don't have an inevitable nominee.
We, the People
After three years of European-style, social democratic, big government efforts here at home, the solutions that our nation requires are conservative in nature. Accordingly, our nominee must also be a committed fiscal conservative – that we can trust.
Say what you will about Mitt Romney, but he is not a consistent conservative.
As RedState’s Erick Erickson has pointed out, it’s “not that conservatives do not like Mitt Romney. It’s that they do not trust him.” And this is for good reason.
• Mitt Romney pledged in 1994 to be stronger on gay rights than his opponent for U.S. Senate, Ted Kennedy. He now supports a Constitutional amendment protecting marriage as between one man and one woman.
• Mitt Romney was pro-abortion from 1957-2003. Running statewide twice in Massachusetts, opposing the pro life position had significant political benefits.
• Mitt Romney supported both the Assault Weapons Ban and the Brady Bill in 1994. In 2007, after claiming he enjoyed hunting and joining the National Rifle Association, he claimed he owned a gun, but did not. He is now a strong supporter of 2nd Amendment Rights.
• Mitt Romney in 2006 said illegal immigrants should have a path to citizenship, supported the McCain-Kennedy plan, which he denied was amnesty, and now attacks other candidates for their records on immigration.
• Mitt Romney refused to support the 2004 Bush tax cuts, but it 2007 he claimed that he had always supported them.
• Mitt Romney said on NBC’s Meet the Press that his Massachusetts health care plan was a model for the nation, but now says it is not right for the other states.
• Mitt Romney says he will issue an executive order on his first day issuing a waiver to all 50 states of ObamaCare. If he believes Obamacare must be repealed, why does he not believe Romneycare should?
• Mitt Romney resisted every attempt by opponent Sen. Ted Kennedy connecting him to Ronald Reagan in the 1994 campaign for U.S. Senate and has insisted that he was an independent during the Reagan years. In 2005, Romney said that Reagan was his political hero.
The presidential debates have made for excellent television, attracted record audiences and impacted the race in several dramatic ways. But the most interesting potential debate would be between the Mitt Romney of 1957-2006, including his time as governor of Massachusetts, and the Mitt Romney of today.
The American people are tired of politicians who will say what they must to win an election. It will be incredibly easy for Mitt Romney to be portrayed as someone who will say anything because his sole mission in life is to become president. Is phoniness and opportunism acceptable to the conservative movement?
Think about this: what kind of person would spend five years of their life spending 18 hours a day running for president? President Obama's senior advisor, David Plouffe, was right to question Mitt's core on October 30 on "Meet the Press."
The Obama White House and their re-election campaign would be thrilled to run against Mitt Romney. Romney would lose the votes of a significant proportion of the conservative base, to say nothing of the lost enthusiasm of the critically important army of volunteers and small donors.
President Obama’s strategists are already planning to attack Romney for being worth hundreds of millions of dollars, for being a hedge fund, chop shop, job killing machine who got wealthy whether the companies that his firm invested in made money or not. And as the Bush-Cheney campaign did so effectively in 2004, they intend to destroy Romney as a flip-flopper. This will not be a difficult task; George F. Will detailed Romney’s flip flops in his recent column, titled, “The Pretzel Candidate.”
The time has come, with now less than two months before Iowans caucus and the primaries begin for able bodied, courageous, principled, resolute conservatives to rise up and publicly state what they know to be true.
We can do better than Mitt Romney. But we must demand it; we must work for it.
In a phrase, "Yes, We Can." And we must. #NotMitt, chant with us now.
Ali A. Akbar is a Republican communications consultant specializing in digital affairs at Vice and Victory Agency and an original national "Tax Day Tea Party" organizer, the largest and most successful protest in American history. John Hawkins is a professional blogger who runs Right Wing News and whose writing may be found on Townhall.com, PJMedia.com and on The Huffington Post. Matt Mackowiak is an Austin and Washington-based consultant and president of Potomac Strategy Group, LLC and a former press secretary to two U.S. Senators.