Friday, January 16, 2015

Romney isn't Reagan

Daniel Larison points out the obvious (to everyone but Mitt and his supporters) on The American Conservative.

He has been running more or less continuously for president for the last decade, and he has been doing so by flatly rejecting what he did during his one brief stint in political office. Romney made himself a leading contender for the Republican nomination by repudiating almost all of the views he claimed to hold in order to win the only general election he has ever won, and he has then spent the last eight years doing little else except run for a higher office for which he is sorely under-qualified. Reagan was not only re-elected as governor, but went on to carry his home state twice as a nominee. Romney didn’t even dare stand for re-election, because he knew he would lose. In almost all respects, Romney is the opposite of what Reagan was: he has no great political skills, he doesn’t have any gift for communication and speaking, and he seems to have no guiding principles beyond the ongoing pursuit of power.

The funny thing about this is that Romney has tried so very hard to imagine himself as a second Reagan over the last several years. During his 2008 campaign, he fell over himself to identify himself as Reagan’s heir, and in the 2012 campaign he seemed to have convinced himself that he was reliving the 1980 campaign with Obama in the role of Carter. He certainly needed and wanted that to be true, and it wasn’t, but that was probably why he kept believing that he would win when all other evidence suggested otherwise. He probably believed that he was just repeating what Reagan had done, and now he and his advisers are still pretending to believe this. It will not work out well for them.

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