Ryan Lizza pens a long profile of Mitt Romney for The New Yorker. It is an unintentionally funny piece as Lizza has the perfect pitch for Beltway-Manhattan media elites struggling to understand the dynamics of a GOP race they simply cannot fathom. One clue about Lizza’s shortcomings as a reporter of GOP politics and candidates: He neglects to note that on the issues central to the 2008 agenda of social conservatives –protecting traditional marriage and appointing conservative judges– Romney is the most reliable of the GOP first-tier would-be nominees. Lizza thinks the tired “flip-flop” label works among GOP voters, but it actually only works for MSMers and already decided Romney opponents. Having addressed a hundred center-right crowds on the campaign of 2008, the concerns about Romney have nothing to do with Romney’s move to the right on pro-life issues. Those moves are welcomed and celebrated by conservative activists, and Romney’s consistent defense of marriage recognized and admired.The questions about Romney are all about electability: Can a former governor of Massachusetts really beat Senator Clinton?
Rudy is deemed by GOP voters generally as electable but unsatisfactory on the marriage and life issues. Romney is acceptable on the marriage and life issues, but there are worries whether a relative unknown can stay in the ring with Hillary. The New Yorker piece itself will help persuade a new slice of GOP elites who have not yet discovered Romney’s extraordinary string of successes in the world of business, non-profits and government. Expect the campaign to be sending reprints of it out by the thousands.
So another MSMer gives Romney a hard look and walks away worried that this indeed might be the sort of candidate that will not only do well in blue states, but capable of rallying the conservative faithful as well –if only he was “authentically conservative.” Well, Romney is authentically conservative as those who have been following him for years know, and as polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, Nevada and South Carolina indicate primary voters are discovering. MSMers like Lizza can look with furrowed brows on charges of flip-flopping, but there’s a reason why a string of high profile evangelical leaders began breaking towards Romney last week –it is time to chose, and he’s the best choice for them.
None of this is unexpected. The gathering momentum, the evaporation of the Mormon issue, and the unease among liberal elites at the emergence of Romney as a frontrunner were all spelled out in A Mormon In The White House, a book quoted but not cited by Lizza.
And as the book predicted, it comes down to the choice between Giuliani’s appeal that he can beat Hillary versus Romney’s assurance that he too can beat her, and will govern in a significantly more conservative way than Giuliani.