What Would A Real Conservative Do?


Those of you who frequent Personal Liberty Digest™ already know that I have never really been sold on the idea of Mitt Romney as President of the United States. In fact, some of my more old guard Republican friends have expressed some significant displeasure with my tendency to refer to him as the “Republi-Ken Doll.” I happen to think that’s spectacularly witty; they think it’s — well — less so.

My issue with Romney is not about his come-and-go conservatism. I have learned to accept that very few of the Republicans who make it to the top of the heap in the GOP are likely to deliver to me the sort of inspiration that President Barack Obama evidently offers people like Chris Matthews. Of course, for me to feel that inspired about a candidate, Uma Thurman would have to run for President; and that is a different column entirely.

Romney isn’t a bad guy; he’s just not my guy. Judging by some of the remarks I see here at Personal Liberty Digest™, the same can be — and often is — said by many of you. I view Romney in much the same way I viewed 2008 GOP nominee Senator John McCain. Like the “maverick,” Romney strikes me as a placeholder. He’s someone who can believably fill the role of nominee without:

  • Scaring the pants off the Republican establishment in the manner of Representative Ron Paul.
  • Scaring the pants off white liberals in the manner of Herman Cain.
  • Scaring the pants off small children in the manner of former Speaker Newt Gingrich.

I suppose Romney is conservative enough to be the Republican standard-bearer. But he is not so conservative that the current incarnation of the Republican Party might feel the need to explain itself to the corporate media (that are as likely to call it down the middle as Rachel Maddow is to win the next Miss Universe pageant).

If you accept my premise that Romney is little more than a slightly updated version of McCain, then you have to wonder how his recent performance makes Obama feel. Obama, who cleaned McCain’s clock four years ago, is struggling not only to keep pace with Romney but with his own hype.

Beyond the usual menu of scandals and failures that have defined Obama’s occupation of the Oval Office, his recent travails are beginning to make Romney look like a rock star by comparison. In the past two weeks, Obama has found himself fighting off challenges by a convicted felon in West Virginia (Keith Judd, who is actually serving time in a federal prison in Texas), a no-name Democrat in Arkansas (he does have a name; I just don’t care enough to bother remembering it) and an actual nobody in Kentucky (Obama 58, “Uncommitted” 42).

While Obama has failed to get a grasp on his own duties, his campaign flunkies apparently can’t get a grasp on much else. Their attacks on Romney have varied as wildly — and lasted about as long — as a Lady Gaga costume. Depending on the date, they have described Romney as a soulless corporate raider who delights in making a pile of money while crushing poor working folk, a shallow political marionette whose ideology changes with the tide (a description which isn’t necessarily far off — and also befits their own beloved leader) and/or a scheming partisan cretin who would gladly step on the electorate’s neck for his own gratification (ironically, a dead-on description of their own beloved leader).

I have identified myself as a Republican for most of my life. Romney hardly embodies my concept of the Republican archetype. I’m willing to admit that may have more to do with my personal evolution than the GOP’s coming coronation of Romney. But if Romney — who is outpolling Obama with increasing regularity — can drop the electoral hammer on Obama, consider what a real Republican — a real conservative — could do.

–Ben Crystal

Personal Liberty

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

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