All we have to do is replace Obama. … We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. … We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don’t need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate.
This seems to be the way that more than a few movement conservatives think a Romney administration would work. According to this view, Romney will be compelled to go along with the Congressional Republican agenda regardless of its unpopularity. This overlooks Romney’s habit of doing whatever is most politically advantageous for Romney before anything else. Norquist may not be looking for a “fearless leader,” but one with minimal political courage would be useful. The Ryan budget is and will continue to be unpopular. Making significant change to Medicare is the sort of thing that requires inordinate political courage and an ability to allay the fears of skeptics and opponents. That doesn’t describe Romney. There’s no guarantee that Romney will sign off on the legislation a Republican Congress sends him. This is a story that conservatives are telling themselves about what they hope is true.