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Right Turn
Posted at 09:00 AM ET, 04/25/2011

Anyone but Mitt?

That’s the name of a new web site, run by Boston conservative talk show host and author Michael Graham. There is no “anyone but Newt” or “anybody but TPaw” web site so why is Romney drawing Graham’s ire?

I interviewed Graham on Sunday, via e-mail. He might not be Romney’s primary opponent, but the arguments he makes will be echoed by Romney’s actual adversaries.

So what’s the matter with Mitt?

The central issue of the 2012 election is going to be ObamaCare — not necessarily the specific details of the plan, but the political premises behind it: government mandates, public sector vs. private, the size and scope of government, individual responsibility, etc.

RomneyCare is ObamaCare, and there’s no way [former] Gov. Romney can cover that up with lame arguments about federalism.

If the Republican Party nominates a candidate whose position on the central issue of the campaign is “When Obama does it, it’s bad; but when I do it — it’s GREAT!”, we might as well forfeit the election right now.

That’s Romney’s issue problem. Then there’s his “zeitgeist” problem. The one characteristic American voters want today more than anything else is authenticity. That’s the reason Donald Trump excites voters who know in their hearts they wouldn’t vote for this guy to run their local Rotary club, much less make him president.

The Tea Party’s power also comes from the authenticity of the movement — regular moms and dads and small-business owners making their own signs and taking to the streets. Voters sense that it’s real.

In this political moment, with Americans crying out for authenticity, Mitt Romney stands alone as the single most in-authentic politician in the GOP. Romney — who ran to the left of Ted Kennedy in his U.S. Senate race, then tried to run to the right of John McCain, in 2008 — is authentically in-authentic. He’s just waiting for someone to let him know what he needs to say in order to win, and he’ll happily say it.

In a way, it’s almost refreshing. Romney is sincerely insincere. When he’s fake, he really means it!

Why doesn’t his “one size doesn’t fit all” answer satisfy you on health-care reform?

For the same reason that saying “the death penalty is wrong for federal crimes but not state ones” would be unsatisfying. The reason government mandates are wrong is because they violate the proper relationship between citizens and the state. If it’s wrong for President Obama to mandate buying a commercial product as a requirement of citizenship, then it’s wrong for Gov. Romney, too.

What’s been the reaction to the web site?

It’s interesting. I’ve had quite a bit of traffic in a short time — and still building. But I’ve had surprisingly little reaction from pro-Romney folks. If I put up “Anyone But Sarah” or even “Anyone But The Donald,” I’d get a slew of posts from their defenders, passionately making their case.

The fact is, there aren’t a lot of Romney defenders, and none of them are passionate. Instead of “We love Mitt, leave him alone!,” I’m getting “He’s all we’ve got. Please stop pointing out how lousy he is!”

Mitt Romney is the Bob Dole of 2012, only without the pizzazz.

He’s at the top of most polls, so are there a significant number of Republicans out there who would forgive and forget his record?

There are a lot of Republicans so desperate to end the disaster that is the Obama administration that they’d support ANYONE if they thought he/she would win in November 2012. (Once again, see “Trump, Donald.”) The point of www.anyonebutmitt.com is to make sure GOP primary voters understand early on that Romney is a guaranteed loser.

Yes he’s slicker, better looking and better prepared today — but this is a good as Romney’s going to get. Other candidates, like [Tim] Pawlenty, [Rick] Santorum, perhaps a [Mitch] Daniels, [Paul] Ryan or [Chris] Christie, have room to grow. (For the record, I haven’t endorsed anyone and don’t plan to until the primaries are much closer.)

Picking Mitt is like picking Brett Favre at the end of his career. It’s all downhill from here.

You say “anyone” — but is there anyone who’d be worse?

It’s bizarre how the GOP nomination system has turned upside down. There are 300 million Americans. Only one gets to be POTUS. This should be a contest of elites — not leftovers.

Instead of debating “who could be worse?”, why aren’t we, as a party, looking for who would be best? There is plenty of talent in the party right now, if we’ll give up the idiotic GOP tradition of whose “turn” it is to be nominee. . . . I say the Tea Party and GOP grass roots should keep pushing for new blood, new candidates and new ideas. Let’s have a big, messy, exciting, passionate primary season that goes to the wire. Let’s finish up with a seasoned, tested nominee who’ll think that debating Obama is a Sunday School picnic compared to winning the nomination.

Or we can just pick the usual GOP oatmeal, Mitt Romney, and lose politely in November.

By  |  09:00 AM ET, 04/25/2011

 
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