Dear Rush, Sean, Ann and Michelle,
The other shoe dropped today at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) as Mitt Romney suspended his failing Presidential campaign, virtually clearing the road for John McCain to mount a national campaign against the yet to be determined Democrat alternative.
As Brian C. Mooney of the Boston Globe sarcastically pointed out this afternoon, Romney "ended his candidacy for president today in a manner befitting his political transformation -- exiting stage right from the Republican campaign."
But Romney failed to excite either excite or unite conservatives in spite of your very best efforts. But I don't think this is any reflection on your united efforts to thwart the McCain campaign.
In the end the real issue wasn't a battle between the conservative versus the moderate/liberal wings of the electorate. And it certainly wasn't a fight for the soul of the Republican Party. It was, in reality, the public's verdict on the four key issues of leadership: consistency, integrity, honor and courage.
Put simply, McCain had those four critical characteristics and Romney did not.
And those character traits outweighed philosophical differences. What cost Romney this election is exactly what cost another Massachusetts politician his run at the presidency, John Kerry.
George Bush was already a relatively unpopular President in 2004, struggling with a failing occupation of Iraq following an ill advised invasion. Although the economy was good, Bush got no credit for its success. Bush's popularity frequently dipped below 50%.
No, Bush really didn't win the election; he simply beat one of the most flawed candidates in the history of the nation.
Almost anyone else could have beat Bush. But Kerry was hopelessly inconsistent and had been his entire career.
At the 2004 Democrat convention he took the stage as a war hero while trying to ignore his horrific testimony before Congress in the 1960's where he basically lied about his Viet Nam experiences, telling second hand and exaggerated stories of atrocities and cowardice committed by his fellow GI's.
While in the 60's Kerry was loved by fellow peace activists, the military serving in Viet Nam never forgave him and turned in him like a swiftboat in the 2004 election.
Kerry looked like a "poser" on stage at the convention and his inconsistencies didn't stop there. Kerry tried on alternative days to be pro-war and then anti-war. There was a discernable lack of conviction on Kerry's part. And a telling lack of courage.
I believe if Kerry had simply remained consistent with his peace activist heritage and not flipped between supporting and then opposing the war, he could have beaten the very vulnerable Bush.
Flash forward four years and we have Mitt Romney following in Kerry's footsteps. Romney moved from a pro-choice, pro-gay, pro-big government, pro gun-control "Massachusetts’s Moderate" (which would be a flaming liberal in 40 other states) to the champion of the ultra right-wing conservative causes.
Nobody believed him. Had he followed Rudy Giuliani’s model and run as a social moderate and economic conservative, he might well be the candidate today.
Brian C. Mooney of the Boston Globe continued, "The Mitt Romney who stood before an approving crowd today at the CPAC convention was a political figure largely unrecognizable to many who elected him in his adopted home state of Massachusetts. The upstart who threw a scare into Senator Edward M. Kennedy in 1994 and won the governor's office eight years later was in many ways a conservative adapted to survive in a liberal environment. Even as he cemented his conservative bona fides in today's remarks, Romney continued to shed policies that defined him as governor."
So Rush, Sean, Ann and Michelle, I really think that most Republicans actually both agree with you and respect your opinions on conservative values and policies. It's simply that Mitt Romney was a terribly flawed candidate.
And, when it comes time to make a real contest for President this fall, McCain's consistency, integrity, honor and courage will make him a strong and formidable candidate.
My Best Wishes to you all,