American Thinker

December 29, 2011
Mitt Romney: Tea Party When Tea Party Wasn’t Cool
By Stuart Schwartz

“Mitt Romney…is awesome.”

You could hear the screams from around the room.  In the conservative and evangelical circles in which I travel, that pronouncement has the same effect as professing a hidden fantasy to enter into same-sex marriage with Harry Reid.  Bonkers, stark-raving bonkers!  And yet, after spending the last two weeks digging deep, looking at Mitt Romney without Conventional Wisdom filters, it’s become evident that Mitt was Tea Party when Tea Party wasn’t cool.

The stereotypical portrait of Mitt Romney by the elites — from elite media to elite evangelicals — is simply wrongheaded.  And who would know better than an evangelical who maintained that we “don’t need no stinking moderates” like Romney?  Or so I said — and was in part wrong.  True that we, in the Age of Obama, “don’t need no stinking moderates.”  But Mitt Romney is not moderate.  Both his talk and walk are located squarely in the conservative middle, his spine steeled by what talk radio host and conservative blogger Erik Erickson calls” the individualist DNA Americans have in them.”  Mitt Romney is conservative.  Period.  And certainly worthy of the support of all who wish to stop the slide into Democrat Detroit of this great nation.

“Nooooooooo,” came the screams.  How can you say you admire Romney?  After all, every conservative worth his or her Springfield XD Subcompact knows, really knows that Mitt is anything but conservative.  Rather, he is what American Thinker writer J. Robert Smith describes as “mushy,” a conventional politician who — according to the narrative pushed by the mainstream elites — may not sell his soul (already owned by that fire-and-brimstone-guy because of the Mormon thing), but certainly his grandmother for a vote.

Ah, but that’s what They want you to believe.  And that’s what I believed, until I looked and found — a Tea Partier!  Big Business, Ivy League, Silver-Spoon — all part of the stereotypical narrative, all ignoring the reality of Mitt Romney.  Yes, Harvard is the ultimate in taking Big Ideas and turning them into elitist policy that produces small-and-mean for the 99 percent; witness the work of the Ivy League elites gathered in Obama’s Washington.  But Mitt took the insights created by his Harvard Business School training and used them to launch an astonishingly fruitful business career, creating tens, arguably hundreds of thousands of jobs.  Entrepreneurial private-sector success — does it get any more Tea Party than that, when even the Washington Post is forced to admit that Mitt’s success at growing jobs is “a Great American success story”?

It does.  Mitt’s private-sector success is suspect to the big-government political class, both Democrat and Republican.  And while many Republican insiders embrace him, many — the more Beltway-driven especially — do not.  Newt Gingrich, for example, channeling Barack Obama and offering a glimpse of his progressive soul, attacked Mitt for the crime, as columnist George will put it, of “committing acts of capitalism.”  Mitt has pointed out what every red-blooded conservative knows is true: that “the people in Washington care more about power than they do about the American people.”  In fact, the deeper you go into Mitt Romney, the more you realize that so much of what he has said over the years could be ripped from Tea Party headlines: freeing this nation from the “peril of foreign oil,” battling the “radical jihad and terror … threat,” stopping an entrenched government class — who is that masked man?

Look hard at him, cut through the media fog, and you’ll see why some inside the Beltway so fear a Romney presidency: cross Michele Bachmann with Rick Perry; subtract the resulting sexual confusion; add the business acumen of Jack Welch, the legendary executive who transformed General Electric, and you have Mitt.  Romney instinctively celebrates the individual in his policy pronouncements; is deeply respectful of traditional American values and Judeo-Christian origins; has a heart for Joe the Plumber, as seen by his willingness to fight stifling government bureaucracies; and has a private and public track record of making stuff work.  He was able to accomplish the impossible in Massachusetts, slowing the decay of a state where the political class combines the morality of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy with the real-world acumen of the Harvard faculty.

“But he was for abortion!” someone cried.

Not really, I replied.  He simply thought that women should be able to choose for themselves.  An understandable stance, one held by New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whom I revere for his other and conservative ways.  And so Mitt — like Rudy on the problems of New York — focused what one participant called an impressive “clarity of mind and sincerity of heart,” studied the issues involved, and decided that traditional East-Coast liberal thinking is wrong, that government has no business promoting and enabling the abortion industry…and changed his mind.  This while governor of Massachusetts, a state that has made Planned Parenthood its fifth branch of government!  That makes him, uh…impressively reasonable, impressively principled, and a not-politician.

Yes but “he’s a Mormon — he’s in a cult,” another spat, echoing at least one Baptist leader who urged evangelical Christians not to vote for Romney “because he’s a Mormon[.]”  Ah, but doing and being make for worship in a way that words and song only begin to express, which makes Mitt Romney as evangelical in walk as Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann.  Which means this: Evangelicals have three dogs in this hunt.  And Mitt, because of his experience and integrity and faith, his potential to lift a nation economically and emotionally reeling from a Democrat-led descent into the leftist swamps — well, that dog’ll hunt!

Mitt Romney, like Perry and Bachmann, lives and breathes faith in a life so authentic that it automatically makes him a political outsider, the real deal in a political world where love and loyalty are measured in nanoseconds.  Who is Mitt Romney?  New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie answered that simply, telling Iowa primary voters of an enduring and intimate love for his family, a love so un-Beltway that it shines in “a guy who is a father and a husband and loves his wife and his kids.”

Mitt Romney not part of the faith-based conservative traditions that power a culture built by American exceptionalism?  In the words popularized by that great Catholic theologian, Bing Crosby, “‘Tain’t so, honey, ’tain’t so…”  Mitt Romney, in public and private, demonstrates biblical values in walk and talk, in battling an entrenched Beltway class that includes Obama and Newt Gingrich and, he says, is “gutting” a great nation with  “[s]low growth, out-of-control regulation, and chronic uncertainty.”

And so it doesn’t really matter whether Mitt is Christian, Mormon, atheist, or Pescatarian.  What does matter is that he is not Barack Obama, that he is not a Beltway insider, and that he does not answer every question with the words “more government.”

So what’s a good conservative evangelical Tea Partier to do?  Well, all things considered: I’ll take the Mormon from Massachusetts for $2,500, Alex.

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kentfromohio Today 07:12 AM
Stuart, I respect your opinion. I have been active in many Tea Party events. You make some good points in support of Romney. But you did not mention two things important to most Tea Party people – TARP and Global Warming. Both are sort of litmus tests. These issues can usually separate independent thinkers from those who take their cues from the media, and are part of what Angelo Codevilla described as the Ruling Class. I can say with pretty good certainty most Tea Party people do not want a Ruling class type, someone more concerned with herding the people toward predefined solutions that will increase the size of government, increase the revenues of government, and increase the regulations of government. This is vital right now.

Our next President must be not only not one of the Ruling Class, but must be willing to lead a hard fight against all the ideas of this group of oligarchs. To this point I have not viewed Mitt Romney as a counter-revolutionary leader that would lead the charge back to the Constitution and back to limited government. All my political instincts tell me he is not that type. And if he was part of the “you must vote on The $800 billion TARP today or the world will end” crowd, he fails the most basic test. TARP was never used for the emergency reason under which it was sold, and Tea Partiers knew that based on the very way in which it was crammed down our throats. I think Mitt is a decent person, who has very solid personal values. I do not think he has the necessary fire in his gut to lead the country in the full 180 degree turn that we need.

Navyvet Today 08:33 AM
Mitt Romney is just Nelson Rockefeller redux. What many conservatives have learned from the last three to five years is that our government needs a complete makeover. It’s like a pet that has grown to a gigantic size and is infringing on our freedoms and continuing prosperity. Romney is just another do-gooder who interferes in every aspect of our lives “to make things right” when all we want is someone to get the economy back and leave us alone. We want a Calvin Coolidge, not another Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, or Barack Obama. Activist presidents generally just screw things up and expand government, limiting freedoms. Romney fits that mold!

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Louie3rd Today 08:56 AM
We will at some point need to have the wisdom of Solomon and understand that cutting the baby in half is not going to improve Washington.  If Mitt gets the primary votes I will be behind him.  I will mail him the definition of the word Holocene, warming period after the last ice age that we remain in yet today.  The glaciers began melting wayyyy back then and thank God they are still melting other wise we would be moving toward a new ice age, talk about disaster.  I respect Coulter and Christie and would be foolish to ignore their perspective. There is no perfect candidate but we know Obama is the worst thing to happen to America in a very long time.  I am concerned that we do not place the blame for this mess at the feet of the DNC including Obama.  It is the DNC who failed to vet Obama. It is the Democrats in general that gave us Obama care, the rouge EPA, NLRB, Dept of Ed, Dept of Interior, and on and on not just Obama. My hope is that the 3rd party talkers have a real come to Jesus moment and forget their plans.  We are the political battle of our lives and in this foxhole we will need to let our disagreements wait till we defeat “the Democrats” not just Obama.  The next president will probably get 2 SCOTUS appointments.  That is the fulcrum upon which all of this rests.

Ed+C Today 09:00 AM
Unfortunately, we have only these candidates to work with, and I too feel we’re being herded in a predetermined direction. After all is said and done, what is paramount this election cycle is the firing of the current illegal chief executive, period, and replacing same with the most conservative candidate possible. I now understand Bill Buckleys insistence on getting the most electable candidate possible. I normally would not agree with that statement, but in this cycle it’s imperative that we do. I too am tired of holding my nose at the ballot box, but I think it’s the best we’ll get at the moment, unless of course Allen West decides to run, and Palin accepts the VP spot once again. What we need to do is set the stage for the next 4 years, and then continue that momentum with an even stronger conservative in 2016.

The economy should be in a good rebound by then, under somewhat conservative leadership. The last election was nowhere near a landslide for mr dithers, and that is the momentum we must maintain. If he was that marginal a candidate 4 years ago without a track record, think of what his dismal 4 years will do for the undecided, or the newly awakened politically. Again, I too feel we are being herded to an extent. I personally believe the RNC leadership to be complicit, and we should try to remove as many of them from their positions as possible. Perhaps our popular uprising next November will accomplish this. I certainly hope it does.
Well-written piece.  I’m not sure Mitt qualifies as a Tea Partier, but I’ve come around to the conclusion that he’s the best overall candidate running.  And I really think people are being unrealistic if they think Romney is going to govern the country in 2013 in precisely the same way he governed Mass. pre-Obama and pre-financial meltdown.  The world has changed.

Revernd+Idaho+Spud Today 11:08 AM
To Serf. Mitt Romney’s campaing has taken a text from Ronald Reagan. Reagan had the abiltiy to bypass the media and go straight to the people. Romney, with just a twist, has bypassed the people and has played straight to the media. Man Made Global Warming, Ethanol Subsidies, Gun Control, Romney/ObamaCare, Doesn’t question Obama’s citizenship. The Demoncrat media has found him not lacking in their convictions. Constitutionalist Tea Partiers have exactly these issues as their core convictions. A Republican In Name  Only. A liberal Progressive at heart is Mitt Romney.

What should be considered is what exactly is the Republican Party USA today?  The Demoncrats  have become the adhernts of the Marxist, communist left, workers of the world unite order . The Republicans are more like Demoncrats used to be. So who represents the conservative, Constitution loving, the state serves the individual not the individual serves the state, nationalist vs globalist government agenda citizens? The fragmented Tea Party idealists. People who live, breathe, and think individualism.  That isn’t Mitt Romney!

Countryman Today 11:10 AM
Romney = Tea Party? Is that why he studiously avoids attending any Tea Party gathering? Is that why he responded to the question “What Federal Departments would you abolish?” with “Well, I think some of the responsibilities of some departments could be combined into other departments, make them more efficient.” Uh-huh, efficiency in government is his idea of a return to the Constitution, not cutting it down to size and removing the unconstitutional parts of it.
Yep, you got me convinced.

m.+taylor Today 11:14 AM
So I ask you is the following a description of a “conservative” Massachusetts governor:
1) State spending increased by 6.5% annually  (NY Times 12/31/07)  Annual inflation averaged 2.4% from 2002 -2006
2) Romney raised fees and taxes by bewteen $740-750 million per year (Boston Globe 9/27/06)
3) In Romney’s four years as governor Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 states in job growth (Marketwatch 2/23/10)
4) Romney claimed to have closed a $3 Billion budget gap–the fact: Romney left behind a $1.2 Billion budget gap (NY Times 3/16/07)
5) The reality of Romney Care has been well documented  (thanks BubbasBBQ)

Really Mr. Schwartz, Romney may end with the nomination by default as all the other challengers will be destroyed, but stop with the overreach.   Nearly all of us will vote for him against Obama, hell, I’d vote for Elmer Fudd vs Obama but lets not go overboard.

JoeD Today 11:55 AM
Sir, your sarcasm is well written. It shows your background in marketing. Mine is in people. In Romney I see a patriarch who will tell me what to do, in my own best interest to be sure, and call me irresponsible for not doing so readily and willingly. That is something that I hate in the current GOP. It is a feeling which gave rise to the Tea Party, which who’s members want politicians who would listen them, and led to the last wave election. I have read more versions of Romney’s positions on Romneycare than I can count, so I trust him less than the flip flopping John Kerry. Maybe that’s a Massachusetts thing. Romney also has no vision of the future. That is the one thing most of us look at in a president. Romney gets all of his information from statistics, which by definition, show only the past. Too many presidential decisions have to be made without statistics to help, and I don’t think Romney is up to it. He would be as indecisive as Obama or Herman Cain. I wasn’t aware that Romney had avoided re-election for the one office he had won since first trying in 1994. Most people wouldn’t run out on success. I would also like to see someone in office who knows what a well run economy is, and the Northeast isn’t the place to find someone like that. No thanks for Romney. I’ll pass on him as long as I can.

JimP Today 01:58 PM
Much as I like, respect and usually agree with Stuart, he hasn’t convinced me Mitt is a Tea Party type or Reaganite. I need more evidence of Mitt’s alleged Tea Party before TP was cool bona fides.  We are all aware of Mitt’s Rockefeller Repub policy positions and actions before a flip-flop. I don’t see actual conservative policy positions when he was governor or running for various elected offices.  The absolute killer evidence- although circumstantial- that Mitt is anything but a Tea Partier is GHW Bush endorsement.  That is an endorsement for the de facto Third Bush Administration.  The Bushes are anti-conservatives. ‘W’ actually thought that he had destroyed the conservative movement and was pleased about the idea.  Bachmann and Santorum are TPers, but no endorsement for them. Instead Mitt gets the Bush imprimatur with the notation that Mitt “isn’t a bomb thrower”- a clear jab at Newt, who love him or hate him, actually accomplished conservative reform at the national level.  I’m open to hard evidence that Mitt is actually a TPer if anyone can expand on what Stuart has presented.  Actually I would be well pleased to receive such evidence since I not only want to win next year but want a President who will zealously pursue “the vision thing” a la Ronaldus Magnus.

PattyMor Today 03:16 PM
So what fairy tale did you read last night Mr. Schwartz?  Romney seems to be a very nice guy with a lovely family.  But, he’s NOT conservative.  In fact in 2002, this is how he described himself:  I’m someone who is moderate, and that my views are progressive. One definition of progressive is: progressing gradually: developing gradually over a period of time.  So what is he seemly progressing to?  Complete statism and total control?  This seems to sum up our federal government, no matter whether we elect Dems or Reps.

Fight4Freedom Today 03:27 PM
@BubbasBBQ:  I also live in MA.  DITTO to all you said!  Couldn’t stand Romney.  He will say and do anything to become president.  I can’t help but wonder if he won’t “phone it in” from the White House as well – just like the current occupant.  Also ditto on the RNC.  I just declined to renew my membership and while I was explaining why, without being notified I was suddenly transferred to another party who thanked me for my $50 pledge to renew.  I told him I did NOT pledge anything and that little stunt was exactly why I now decided NOT to renew.  Several days later, I get an invoice from the RNC for my $50 pledge and imploring me to keep my promise…..  Well, I wrote them a nice little note back let me tell you.  I asked if this is the new “leadership” Mr. Priebus promised and also noted the RNC was starting to look a lot like the Democrat Party!  I remain enrolled as a Republican, but am working to weed out the RINOs and corrupt.  It starts at the local level folks.  We need to take back the party and get involved locally.  Frustrating though, I know.

FRS Today 04:29 PM
Perhaps I am the only one of the commenter’s who knows Mitt personally. We first met in the early ’90s where we worked together on a state economic development committee and I was a strong supporter of Mitt for senator against Too Fat Teddy. Mitt had a strong campaign and a stronger following and was actually in the lead until they sobered Kennedy up enough to make speeches and brought out the big Kennedy machine – government, labor, the pre-built liberal Kennedy cult. This was Mitt’s first run at public office and it was an unintended race. Mitt originally supported John Lakian but at the convention he was drafted and beat Lakian with 82% of the convention vote.

The same was true of Romney’s run for governor, the incumbent was Jane Swift who took office when Paul Cellucci was made ambassador to Canada. Like most conservative women the liberal press trashed Swift in preparation for a Democrat governor. But, the powers to be in the MA republican party, out-flanked the Democrats by recruiting Mitt Romney. One thing is clear with Mitt Romney, expectations for Mitt are always high and he always exceeds those expectations. The comfort in that is currently: Obama 39% and Romey 45% as Rasmussen currently projects in the current Dec 27-28 poll. One thing that dismays me is all the false beliefs attributed to Romney I think this article clears up some but, let me give some personal insight.

On a personal basis I find Mitt to be one of the most warm personable people I have ever met, there is no pretense about the man, in sharp contrast to man who currently sits in the White House there has never been the slightest indication of personal arrogance or ego mania. He is analytical in his business plans (public or private) but, first considers all view points and explains the conclusions well. If he is wrong (and aren’t we all sometime) he is willing to change his opinion and find another way to build consensus. He is not petty and I have never heard him take credit for success without including others who were part of the team.

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