Taking a break from landscaping a bit, and the drudgery of moving crushed stone around from places that don’t need it to places that do. I noticed some criticism from my last RNC post form Bill Quick, with a link in the comment section to a Reason article that I feel sums up the point I was trying to make nicely:
Mitt Romney may indeed be a deliberately empty vessel (for the definitive framing on his approach to politics, please read Peter Suderman’s excellent cover story from March, “Consultant in Chief“), but empty vessels have a habit of tacking to the wind. One striking, even unrecognizable difference between the 2012 RNC and the convention just four years ago is that there is a generation of legitimately interesting new Republican politicians–Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Texas senatorial candidate Ted Cruz, Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño – who campaigned on tackling the real structural problems facing the country, and have largely (though not completely) kept up their end of the bargain.
These people weren’t afterthoughts during the convention, grudgingly given off-prime speaking slots; they were the featured speakers. They reflect (and were mostly brought into the office by) the populist, anti-big-government uprising that has rocked the country since the fall of 2008, and they are precipitating long-overdue conversations within the GOP about cutting spending, reforming entitlements, reducing public-sector compensation, and even reducing military expenditure. They are the ones who have the juice and the momentum within the Republican Party, even if they haven’t yet produced a presidential nominee.
Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan (read Peter Suderman’s great profile of him here) isn’t precisely of their generation, or radicalism, but he’s cut from the same philosophical cloth. As FreedomWorks’ Matt Kibbe told me, “Ryan is a real market guy–I know all of his flaws, I know all of his bad votes, but by choosing Ryan the party has conceded that it actually has to defend these ideas, including entitlement reform.” Ryan’s selection can be read as a sign that the S.S. Romney felt the wind blowing from the fiscal conservative grassroots.
Read the Whole Thing, as they say. I am under no delusion that Romney is now suddenly an ideal candidate. Having lived in and worked in politics in Massachusetts for a number of years, Bitter is well familiar with his quirks and flaws. He will stick his finger into the air and see which way the winds blowing, he can follow bad advice, and yes, when Governor of the most Democratic, liberal state in the nation, he’ll pass the model for Obamacare if he doesn’t think he can afford not to. But my observation is that he seems to have committed his campaign to the idea that the wind is blowing in the direction of shrinking the size and scope of government. As long as we keep the wind blowing in that direction, Mitt will go along. He’s that kind of politician. Obama doesn’t care which direction the wind blows. In his mind he is a transformative being, out to remake America, and that’s all that matters to him.