Mitt Romney has all but secured the Republican nomination for President. Now, I will first say that I have nothing against Mitt Romney personally. He seems like a perfectly pleasant person. He also appears to be politically unprincipled. In my mind a Romney nomination, much less presidency, can be seen as nothing less than a crushing blow to the Tea Party movement, especially considering the available alternative. Let’s review.
Tea partiers have rhetorically placed a high value on the principles of the American Revolution and adherence to the Constitution. Mitt Romney has brought us clear constitutional analysis like this:
Now, lest the “Oh, this was way back in 2008 so Romney knows way more about the Constitution now” argument be made, he also had this response to a question of constitutionality in this election cycle’s debates:
Even if Romney had somehow begun to say the right things about the Constitution, what reason would there be to believe him? In the game of bad politician poker Republicans are taking the “I see you one John Kerry and raise you a Mitt Romney” approach:
Romney will be the Republican nominee in an election year in which conservatives and tea party voters could have voted for Ron Paul, often called “the Godfather of the Tea Party movement”.
This is the Ron Paul who is the only candidate to consistently use the Constitution as the guide for his political positions. This is the only candidate who has delivered a point-by-point summary, filled with specifics, of what he would do to balance the budget and cut spending. This is a candidate who has consistently defended Second Amendment rights, who understands what a sound economic policy looks like and how taxes harm the economy and grow the government. This is a candidate who has a free-market energy plan. This is a candidate who has never wavered on the issue of abortion and who actually has a strategy that would reduce the number of abortions while maintaining fidelity to the Constitution.
What were Ron Paul’s crimes that he did not deserve the votes of conservatives and tea partiers? As far as I can tell there were only two.
First, his allegedly loony notion that it doesn’t serve the United States’ national security interests to go around the world meddling in everybody else’s affairs. He has been the only Republican candidate to challenge the liberal notion that America’s freedom and form of government can or should be spread around the world by force. He has been the only candidate to suggest that interfering with the internal politics of other countries in volatile parts of the world might end up having repercussions at home.
Second, he has dared to suggest that social issues should be subjected to the test of constitutionality and that imprisoning millions of people for having addiction problems is not the correct way to address those problems. He has committed the unpardonable sin of drawing a correlation between the drug violence of today and the gang violence during Prohibition.
Yes, for these reasons all of the radio talk show hosts, the cable commentators and the conservative columnists said that Ron Paul was the crazy man’s choice and instead conservatives should vote for the guy who implemented state-run health care in Massachusetts.
I had hope in 2010 that there was an awakening happening among the American voting public. I hoped that people were coming to understand that their liberties were under assault from big-government Democrats and big-government Republicans. I hoped that people would see past the talking heads from the media apparatus on both sides.
Maybe I should still hold out hope that this transition is happening. What I do know is that the values and principles that voters espoused in 2010 are nowhere to be found in how they have cast their votes in the primaries of 2012, which makes me wonder if they ever really held to these principles in the first place. Regardless, Republicans should be eternally ashamed of their treatment of Dr. Paul, a genuine, consistent and decent man with real principles.