Amid much talk about the White House distancing itself from Tuesday’s recall vote, it’s worth noting the other candidate for the presidency who did the same Wisconsin avoidance dance.
That would be Mitt Romney, who doesn’t seem to understand the significance of what happened in Wisconsin, or doesn’t care enough to have risked putting a dog in the fight.
The Wisconsin battle was everything Romney says his presidency is supposed to be about – taking on entrenched interests in order to cut the size of government and the deficit. Yet he hasn’t campaigned in Wisconsin in two months, according to ABC News, and it’s not clear what if anything he did to help Republican Gov. Scott Walker achieve his victory over repeat challenger Tom Barrett.
If Romney thinks he’s going to win this campaign by being cautious and not waging a principled crusade for conservative values, he’s badly mistaken. What Walker proved – as if it needed more proving – is that voters, even Democrats and independents, will respond to a compelling conservative candidate.
There was another hint of Romney’s devotion to perceived practicality over principle in his response to criticism of his appearance last week with Donald Trump, who continues to think President Obama might have been born in Africa. Said Romney:
You know, I don’t agree with all the people who support me, and my guess is they don’t all agree with everything I believe in. But I need to get 50.1 percent or more, and I’m appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people.
The 50.1 percent remarks was rightly ridiculed by David Axelrod:
I think Mitt Romney will do what he thinks is good for Mitt Romney. He wants Donald Trump’s money and therefore he’ll tolerate whatever Donald Trump has to say.
Frighteningly, Axelrod may have it about right. Romney’s “need to get to 50.1 percent” is the statement of a political hack, not a conservative – or a liberal – leader.
If Romney thinks he win on tactics instead of a grand strategic theme, he can ask John McCain about his success getting to 50.1 percent against Obama.