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Or Maybe It’s Slick Dancing With The Stars

He’s just another slick politician – he [Romney] doesn’t stand for anything. These people aren’t running for president, they’re running for American Idol. ~Chris Simcox, co-founder of the Minutemen (via Dave Weigel)

That would unfortunately seem to track with my creeping suspicion that the election right now is not much more than a celebrity contest.  Feedback from friends attending the conference echoes Simcox’s low, low estimation of Romney.  Having one of the top figures of the Minutemen essentially declare you either a liar or a drama queen or both is not exactly a vote of confidence for someone who wants to use his alleged anti-immigration views to distinguish himself from the top candidates.

Meanwhile, the Romneyites are boasting about Ann Coulter’s “seal of approval” on their man.  That‘s a good idea.   If my guy just finished fifth in a South Carolina straw poll he had been preparing for over the last several months, I would also be quoting enthusiasts who think McCain, who won the poll, is a “non-starter.”  When Romney loses the CPAC straw poll, in spite of the absurd amount of money he spent bringing in supporters to rig the vote in his favour, will it be time to declare him an also-ran?

David French writes at EFM:

I am growing increasingly puzzled by the continued intensity and viciousness of the attacks against the Governor by a few vocal critics on the right.

Of course, there aren’t just “a few” of us, but let me see if I can solve this puzzle: we think Romney is an opportunist who seeks adulation and power and will say what he has to in order to get it, and we don’t much cotton to his kind of politician.  We don’t trust him, and we actually don’t like his public persona (though some people seem to think he’s just dreamy), and we don’t mind saying so.  Conservatives have been told to settle for watered-down or unreliable candidates in the past, but many have been hoodwinked one time too many and aren’t going to put up with it again.  There are several more credible (in the sense that you can believe what they say), more conservative candidates running right now that pro-lifers in particular should be looking at before  settling for the counterfeit version.  Two of them (Hunter and Brownback) just beat Romney in the straw poll, and there are others (Gilmore, Paul, Tancredo) to choose from as well.  In the real world, which Mr. French is so concerned that we Romney critics acknowledge, formerGov. Romney’s religion will actually play a very big role and will cripple his candidacy.  His campaign will be finished by the end of the South Carolina primary, if not before.  Perhaps that troubles the folks at EFM and other pro-Romney sites, but that is part of the political reality of our time.  In wishing it away or declaring it to be untrue, it is the Romneyites who appear to have divorced themselves with the real world of primary politics. 

I am a Ron Paul man myself, in case that wasn’t abundantly clear from my multiple posts stating this to be so, because there is no greater defender of the Constitution and no more honest man of integrity in federal office today.  Note those traits: honesty and integrity.  Consider which candidate is lacking in them, and then there should be no puzzle about why we hammer Romney as often as we do.  Ron Paul has amassed a record of principled small-government constitutionalism second to none, and he does not waver from those principles because it might bring him advantage or fame or plaudits.  Rep. Paul possesses a fidelity to old American republicanism that would be as foreign to Romney’s understanding as the French whom he apparently loathes so much.

Mr. French asks:

Am I crazy to think that we might find that the “big three” will be the “big two” (Rudy and Romney) soon?

Does he really want us to answer that?

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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