Romney Attempts to Display His “Severe” Conservatism at CPAC
I’m just observing here. I’ve never heard it said, “Yeah, I’m a severe conservative.” But I know what he’s trying to say. Now, I should add something here. Remember last year during the early days of the campaign — before the votes even began, before any of the primaries had taken place — I successfully, correctly identified for you what the Republican establishment strategy was. They were running a primary campaign 180 degrees out of phase from normal. The way you normally run a primary campaign, either party, is (and this is conventional wisdom) to get the base of your party’s votes, you pander to them. You speak to them. You just go, in this case Romney’s, and you be conservative.
And then after you win the nomination and go to the general election, then you “move to the center; try to get the moderates.” That’s the formula. I frankly reject it, but that’s the formula. I hate formulas, period that involve people. There’s too much dynamism there for a formula to be constantly applicable. Nevertheless, this year the Republican establishment did it the exact opposite way. They tried to secure the moderates first. That’s why there was such an effort to get this nomination wrapped up for Mitt Romney before the votes even took place. You may have forgotten, but going back through last fall and into the last Christmas holidays, there was a full-court press. “Let’s get these primaries going!” Nobody else had a prayer and they wanted Romney nominated.
“Let’s have this thing done with,” and they were doing it running not for the conservative vote, but for the moderate and independent votes. And I’ll tell you what that’s resulted in. This morning, before his speech, Romney (or maybe it was yesterday) had a meeting with conservative leaders to assure them that he is one of them. He had a private meeting in a presidential suite in the hotel to assure various leader from the NRA and other such conservative groups that he is conservative, “severely conservative.” He had a meeting to say, “I’m severely conservative.” (interruption) I don’t know if it was a “severe” meeting.