Reasons why Romney might be a better choice than Perry

Passing, exploratory thoughts—they’re nothing more than that—written down on August 16:

Everyone knows that Romney doesn’t stand for much, and Romney doesn’t go through lots of motions pretending he stands for much. But Perry is a skilled political pretender. He’s got this down-home, patriotic, religious, conservative, tough-talking Texan act which he uses to win the support of conservatives, when in reality many of his policies veer left and neocon. So he’s a deceiver and manipulator. Conservatives supporting him are repeating their seduction by GW Bush. They never learn.

But Romney’s not putting on that patriotic, religious, conservative act (he did the social conservative act 2008 but has since dropped it, admitting it wasn’t the real him). He’s not deceiving the way Perry is. Romney, the flip-flopper, is so open and well-known in his flip-flopping that he can’t deceive anyone in any major way. So Romney might be better, because we’ll know what we’re getting. But with Perry, all the people who were deceived by Bush, then by McCain, are being deceived again. I already see many articles in the conservative Web in which conservatives are defending Perry from liberal attacks. That’s what happened with Bush, McCain, and (with some differences) Palin: politicians who in key respects are not conservative yet who pretend to be or are believed to be conservative are attacked by the left for being conservative, and the conservative base rushes to their defense. As I said about McCain in 2008, if he had been elected, conservatives would have spent the next four years using all their energy defending McCain, a hater of conservatives, from leftist attacks on him for being a conservative! The leftist attacks on McCain would have proved to the conservatives’ mind that McCain was a great right-winger. And all this was an illusion. And this is what we’ll have if Perry is nominated/elected. Conservatives wasting their energy and devotion on behalf of someone who is deceiving them so as to bring the country in a liberal or neocon direction.

One thing you can bank on—and Perry is banking on it—is conservatives’ eagerness to be suckered by certain acts. Bush had three acts that he adroitly combined, at least in his earlier years on the national stage, until the act frayed: the cowboy, the pious sincere Christian, and the conservative. Perry basically has the identical three acts. And the conservatives are falling for it!

I think there’s something about Texas, that distinctive Texas quality different from the rest of the country, that gives Texans the ability to fool non-Texans into believing that the Texans are bigger and bolder, or, in this instance, more conservative, than they really are. No disrespect to Texans, who are vital, positive, fun people, but I think that the Texas persona contains a significant amount of b.s., and obviously that would be much more true of Texas politicians. Do we really want another president from Texas?

- end of initial entry -

James P. writes:

You say we should prefer Romney to Perry because Perry, like Dubya, is only pretending to be conservative and only pretending to like conservatives, and meanwhile will move the country in a liberal or neocon direction.

Romney, on the other hand, is a moderate, acceptable, “nice guy” Republican. He is not conservative and does not pretend to be. Sometimes during elections, he holds his nose and panders to conservatives, but generally speaking he does not pretend to like them. Indeed, his disdain for them and discomfort with them is only barely concealed. I put it to you that we have had this kind of President before—this is Poppy Bush, the prototypical country club Republican.

If our choice is between four more years of Dubya and four more years of Poppy, which do we choose? Dubya talked conservative and moved us in a liberal / neocon direction. Poppy talked moderation and moved us in a liberal / neocon direction; Romney will likely do the same. Poppy was not inclined to make any hard choices and reverse the negative results of liberalism, and Romney is likely not inclined to do so either. Basically, Poppy was a competent caretaker, and while that is better than what we have now, that is not what we need from 2013 to 2016. It was not hard to govern the United States from 1989 to 1993, but it will be hard to do so from 2013 to 2016. We need someone with the guts to make hard choices and to offend the liberal establishment. I just don’t see Romney doing that. I think there is a better chance Perry will do so.

LA replies:

A reasonable argument. No, a good argument.

Howard Sutherland writes:

As an old Texan myself, I was thinking you were being too hard on Lone Star State natives. Especially as I don’t consider GW Bush—Midland, Texas accent notwithstanding—a real Texan. He’s from Greenwich!

Then I remembered three simple words and thought, Larry’s right: Lyndon-Baines-Johnson. ‘Nuff said …

And, of course, Texans have to take the credit for three more little words: Sheila-Jackson-Lee. Oops.

So much for the Lone Star State being reliably conservative!

LA replies:
Howard, you and other Texans are always saying that Bush is not a “real” Texan because he’s from Connecticut, and I always respond that he moved to Texas when he was two years old, so of course he’s a real Texan.

Howard Sutherland replies:

You have a point, I confess. But it makes me feel better if I don’t have to think of either George Bush as a real Texan! Not everything in life is perfectly rational. About Johnson, Jackson Lee and other blots on the state’s record there is, unfortunately, no doubt.

JC writes from Houston:

More bad news on Perry I’ve just run across.

A lot of us Texans can see through the b.s. The Texas Republican Party state convention consistently takes much more conservative stands than the elected GOP state leadership. I believe it’s the big business uber alles mentality that dominates them. As for Texas presidents, the last decent one was Sam Houston, and he was president of the Republic of Texas, not the United States. Eisenhower was born in Texas but that was during a temporary stay of his parents, so Kansas gets to claim him. Romney, Perry, McCain, Bush—why so few decent candidates on the Republican side?

P.S., I’m a native Texan, and the last time I wore cowboy boots or a cowbow hat was when I was six years old.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 18, 2011 10:13 AM | Send

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