Here’s the Horse Sense: The CPAC Straw Poll is interesting, but has no significant meaning in the race for the GOP nomination.
As soon as it was announced that Romney had won the CPAC Straw Poll people began claiming that this was final proof that he’s a conservative. That makes about as much sense as saying he’s a conservative because his wife said so.
Winning the CPAC Straw Poll really means very little in the GOP race for the nomination. It’s not a poll that awards delegates. Ed Rollins, Ronald Reagan’s former campaign director, made it clear on Sunday's Fox and Friends that it is a poll about a candidate’s organization and not much more. When a politician has been running a long time, has money, and has put together an effective organization they can have the most impact on this poll. And the substance of its effectiveness can be summed up by the fact that the past two years Ron Paul won the poll but look where he’s at today.
Romney’s still trying to convince people that he’s conservative. If you listened to his CPAC speech it was a push to make listeners believe it by simply claiming he’s a conservative...over and over and over again. But his record doesn’t show it. Sure, he was a conservative businessman, but that doesn’t make him conservative politically. Many businesspeople operate their businesses very conservatively doing things like cutting costs, watching spending, etc., but that doesn’t make them conservative politically. I would imagine that a serious study of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or Warren Buffet’s business practices would reveal that their business methods were very conservative. Yet they are liberal politically.
There should be concern by the electorate when we hear that Mitt Romney showed up early to CPAC to meet with leaders in an effort to convince them that he is conservative. His conservatism should be clear in his record and if it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny then people should wake up and smell the coffee.
But there are two things that disturb me the most about the constant effort to rebrand Romney as a conservative when he is not. First, his claim that he grew up in a conservative home with a conservative father is very deceptive. Sure, his home was conservative in that it was a good Mormon home that believes in family values that included such things as faithfulness in marriage, raising your children with sound morals, hard work, no drinking or smoking, etc. But on his political side George Romney, Mitt’s father, was a far left Rockefeller Republican who even suggested that it was good to listen to Saul Alinksy’s teachings. There’s nothing politically conservative about that! Alinsky is the person from which Barack Obama gets his views.
The second thing that bothers me is the dishonesty of Romney’s approach. He’s not a conservative. He even seems to me to be to the left of many moderates. I see him as a liberal Republican much in the mold of other establishment Rockefeller Republicans. The dishonesty is him trying to pass himself off as something he’s not and doing it with a smile and expecting people to fall for it. If he were honest he’d admit he’s not conservative. If he were to say to the conservatives in the Republican party something like, “I am not a conservative, I’m a moderate. And while we do not agree on everything, we do agree in many areas. We need to turn this country around and I believe we have enough common ground that we can work together to rebuild our nation. Please work with me to defeat Barack Obama in the next election and together we can save this nation.” If Mitt Romney said something like that he might get an honest and open discussion that could help him learn what he has to do to get support from conservatives.
If you paid attention to the CPAC speeches and presentations it was very interesting. Listening to Romney compared to Gingrich and Santorum was very revealing. Romney simply made a series of claims that he is conservative. Santorum was an inspiring speech about conservative values and goals for America. Gingrich hit a home run by actually spelling out in detail what no other candidate has done to date. He spelled out his plan for the start of his administration and walked the audience through what would actually happen hour by hour of his new administration. One line of many that garnered great applause was when he said that by the time President Obama’s plane would touch down in Chicago taking him home from Washington, Gingrich’s administration would have already undone 40% of the damage Obama has done to the country.
Gingrich and Santorum offer true change back to what America was intended to be. And all candidates should take a lesson from Gingrich and put out plans that are just as specific so the voters can see exactly what it is they will do and when they will do it. That is how to truly show the voters what they would get by electing each candidate.