By Juan Williams, ,
Published May 07, 2015
An open letter to my conservative readers:
In the last month Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, has been busy taking back nearly every promise he made to you in the GOP primaries. Why the conservative silence?
Remember that for the last two years, true conservatives expressed grave doubts – in public and in private - about Romney as a flip-flopper, a politician lacking an ideological core.
Also, remember that, at various times over the last two years, conservatives at the base of the GOP have told pollsters their choice for the nomination was a strong conservative voice – people such as Mike Huckabee, Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum. Nearly half of GOP primary voters picked someone other than Romney for the nomination.
Remember that only a few months ago conservative voices disparaged Romney as a Massachusetts moderate. They said he was being forced upon conservatives by the same GOP establishment that gave you John McCain, Bob Dole, and George H.W. Bush because of Romney’s “electability.”
Remember what my pal Ann Coulter said at the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) – “If we don’t run Chris Christie, Romney will be the nominee and we will lose.” You didn’t trust him to be the keeper of the Ronald Reagan flame.
Face it, the only way a conservative can vote for Romney next week is based upon “HOPE and CHANGE.”A true conservative can only ‘hope’ that if elected, Romney will ‘change’ back from “Moderate Mitt” to a “severe Conservative.” And there is little reason to trust in that. In his political career, Romney has shifted positions on the issues conservatives value most -- from health care to abortion to energy and federal government deficit spending.
Consider this. In the final weeks of the campaign, Romney has been touting his record of bipartisanship when he was Governor of Massachusetts by saying he was able to work with a “legislature that was 87 percent Democrat.”
He worked with them to passed “RomneyCare” - the first state government takeover of the health care with an individual mandate. Without RomneyCare as a model, there would be no nation-wide ObamaCare.
Remember the first presidential debate – the one where the hard right was so pleased with Romney’s performance? Go back and read the transcript. In that debate, Romney stood by his record on health care and even praised parts of Obamacare.
“What we did in Massachusetts is a model for the nation, state by state.” Romney declared.” First of all, I like the way we did [health reform] in Massachusetts.”
“Number one pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan. Number two, young people are able to stay on their family plan,” he said of the two popular ObamaCare provisions.
On energy, Romney was able to work with his Democratic legislature to raise his state’s gas tax by 400 percent.
Also, in that first debate, Romney said he “loved” regulation and called them “necessary” for business to succeed. Not surprising coming from the governor, who with the help of his Democratic legislature, passed a bevy of new regulations on Bay state businesses.
Remember the regulations that Romney championed on Massachusetts energy companies, especially coal power plants. Romney started that effort which started with Romney having a press conference in front of the Salem Harbor Coal Power Plant and saying "I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people, and that plant -- that plant kills people.”
According to a 2008 analysis by the non-partisan Tax Foundation, Romney and his Democratic legislature raised taxes and fees for the average person in Massachusetts by $1,227. Romney and his Democratic legislature also passed a permanent assault weapons ban for Massachusetts and increased fees for hunting licenses and gun ownership.
When you compare Romney’s record to that of President Obama’s first year in office, you can make the case that Obama has a better record of implementing the policies you say you want as conservatives.
The fact remains that Obama has cut taxes for small businesses eighteen times. The stimulus bill he championed was comprised mostly of tax cuts which went to 95 percent of Americans. Taxes on the wealthiest Americans are at their lowest level since the 1950s. The NASDAQ and the Dow Jones Industrial Average have both doubled since Obama has been president. The S&P 500 and the Wilshire 5000 have also increased dramatically since he has been president.
Corporate profits under Obama are at their highest levels in American history. And as we go to press, the unemployment rate is at its lowest level since Obama took office inheriting the greatest economic disaster since the Great Depression and the Bush Bailouts of Wall Street and the Auto Industry.
One of the unfair charges that liberals and the mainstream media made against the Tea Party movement was that they were purely racial in their anger at Obama. This was unfair and untrue and I said so at the time.
The truth is, the Tea Party anger that boiled over in response to the President Obama’s healthcare plan had been brewing for years due to conservative disappointment with George W. Bush’s policies. Bush created record-breaking deficits, embraced Congressional earmarks, gained passage of an enormous expansion of Medicare entitlements without funding it, nominated Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, and backed McCain-Kennedy comprehensive immigration reform.
Principled conservatives like Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity spoke out against the direction of the party, to their credit.
Conservatives must be careful not to abandon their principles out of blind hated for President Obama. In their zeal to make Obama a one-term president, they may just elect someone who ends up implementing policies that are to the left of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.