The conservative paradox - Romney the competent

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But he is also a studied and well-prepared candidate who has honed his skills while seeking the highest office in the land.  And it also seems that it is that very preparedness and competence that results in labels which are derogatory at best and destructive at worst.  Recently, I had a caller who discussed the implications of the Herman Cain controversy.  She said that while she was concerned, she did not believe the accusations.  In fact, it was this lack of political skill that also made him seem normal, just like everyday people and that Romney was too prepared, too scripted.

I pointed out that Romney is indeed a competent candidate who has developed an excellent campaign and used his charisma and intelligence to differentiate himself from the rest of the crowd.  The question I posited related to heart surgery.  While I appreciate the fact that a new surgeon must build experience, I would rather have a really good surgeon who is prepared, competent and skilled while cutting during a delicate procedure.  We don’t look for average or “human” when life hangs in the balance.

Mitt Romney has continually suffered the screeds from the purists in the conservative movement and the Tea Party.  I find it problematic in that most of these pundits are trying to tear him down while flitting between every other candidate in the roster of what seems to be a daily dose of crash and burn. 
In fact it is in this candidate rotation that I find the conservative paradox.  On the one hand, conservatives are looking for “anybody but Romney”.  This lack of grounding resulted in wishful thinking and lots of emotion without much progress.  And with the current crop of declared candidates, these same conservatives moved from Gingrich to Bachmann to Perry to Cain and now likely back to Perry?  Doesn’t sound much like firm grounding in support of a real conservative to me!

So now we have the article by Erick Erickson of Red State, whom I have met and for whom I have a good deal of respect.  However, his missive is anything but fair or appropriate given the stakes for America in 2012.  You may disagree with Romney, but he is hardly Obama and his competence and cool approach to running a national campaign are critical to beating the president in 2012.  It will be difficult enough with incumbency, the MSM and the locked in African-American vote.  Therefore, while I applaud a thorough and complete assessment of the candidate, I also find that only conservatives seem to eat their young!

Thirty-one years ago, the nation was whiter, more educated, and less secular with the traditional family as a focus of the community.  We had more manufacturing and less global competition and the majority of our citizens were paying taxes.  The Cold War was in full swing and we had just experienced Jimmy Carter, the oil shock and the Iranian hostage drama.  America sought solace in a man who was the great communicator and who could not only focus on those core principles of conservatism, but also on American Exceptionalism.

Today, we have complexity the likes of which we’ve never seen before.  In 1980, the US spent $590 billion, experienced a deficit of $74 billion and had accrued debt of $712 billion.  Today, we spend $3.6 trillion, have a deficit of $1.3 trillion and accrued debt of $15 trillion.  And all this  before the impact of entitlements begins to erode our budget further along with an increasing interest carry on our debt.

So, I would hazard to guess that even a “principled” Ronald Reagan would find today’s complexity challenging.

Romney continues to prosecute a national campaign with only Obama in mind.  He has prepared himself, firmly established his organization and nurtured mainstream Republican and other activist relationships.  He shouldn’t have a cakewalk to the nomination.  But to conservatives who continue to change horses in mid race to get on a perceived winner, I ask, where is your core? 

Mark Skoda is a syndicated conservative talk show host, blogger and founder of the Memphis TEA Party.  He is also president of MPS Broadcasting.