Friday, September 21, 2012

Is Romney Really on the Political Right?

In a recent column, the NJ Star-Ledger's Tom Moran pointed out what he believed was an inconsistency in the Romney/Ryan ticket:

   [Mitt Romney's] mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, used his prime-time speech to underscore the compassion at the heart of their campaign.
   “We have responsibilities, one to another — we do not each face the world alone,” he said. “And the greatest of all responsibilities is that of the strong to protect the weak. The truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves.”
   It is enough to make your head explode after hearing what Romney was saying behind closed doors, telling wealthy donors that 47 percent of Americans see themselves as “victims” and expect the government to provide free housing, health care and food.
   “My job is not to worry about those people,” he said. “I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Moran goes on to point out that Ryan's own budget contradicts his statement, because it presents a real threat to all these [social welfare and safety net] programs. Moran goes so far as to say Romney/Ryan are "going after" veterans and "the poor." 

These are pretty strong words, considering that the Ryan budget would run projected deficits until at least 2040. It's hardly a serious attack on the welfare state.

Moran concludes with some political advice for the GOP: If they want to save themselves, they must move to the political middle--presumably from the Right.

   If Romney loses this election, which is growing more likely, it will be interesting to see how the party reacts. Clinton was able to move Democrats to the middle in 1992, in part because the party had lost three presidential elections in a row.
   If Republicans blow this one, despite the bad economy, will they move to the middle as well? And if so, who will be their Bill Clinton?

I left the following comments:

For the Romney/Ryan ticket to "move to the middle," they would have to move Right. Romney is for redistribution, despite his denials and ignorant rhetoric about the 47% (who [as Ari Armstrong points out] don't all have an entitlement mentality). Romney recently said "I believe the right course for America is one where government steps in to help those that are in need." Taking from some to give to others based on a standard of need is the very definition of wealth redistribution. Ryan's comments about "responsibilities" is the very moral foundation of government redistribution programs and could be attributed to Obama word for word.

Both morally and practically, Romney and Ryan are welfare statists--albeit ones that favor slightly lower taxes and some modest restraint on government spending than the Obama camp. If moving to the middle means moving Left, that just shows how far the political middle has moved Left, and how far down the road to totalitarian socialism, and away from capitalist freedom, we have traveled. 

When the GOP renounces the creed that says "the greatest of all responsibilities is that of the strong to protect the weak," and instead embraces the moral ideal that each individual has a moral right to his own life and property so long as he respects the same rights of others to their lives and property--and that the government must never impose any unchosen obligation on anyone to financially support anyone else--we'll know that we have a true advocate on the Right.

Another recent move that belies Romney's Right-Wing credentials is his claim that he would keep parts of ObamaCare, including the pre-existing conditions mandate. To keep that would of course necessitate keeping the individual mandate. This is not surprising, given that Romney's Massachusetts plan is the model for ObamaCare.

Related Reading:

Extremists vs. the Moderates: Why the Left Keeps Winning, and the Right has been Powerless to Stop It

Political "Left" and "Right" Properly Defined

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