Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Romney's Big Endorsement

This is interesting. Influential conservative Paul Weyrich, original lynchpin of the Heritage Foundation and the Moral Majority, has come out and endorsed Mitt Romney. This is just the latest in a string of endorsements for Romney from the theo-con base of the Republican Party, most notably including Hugh Hewitt's endorsement.

But...Weyrich's endorsement may not be as solid as it is being portrayed. In an interview also published yesterday by Newsmax, Weyrich indicates his primary goal is simply stopping Giuliani at all costs. His support of Romney in this interview seems, frankly, lukewarm at best:

I think [Romney] is somebody who is rushing toward the movement trying to present himself as a conservative and in some ways it's more useful to have somebody like that. I think he could be supported.

In other words, Weyrich acknowledges Romney's flip-flopping, but thinks it's the type of flip-flopping that would be primarily beneficial to the Religious Right. More importantly, he also has this to say about Romney as compared to Fred Thompson:

Newsmax: Who would you consider of all these candidates in the Republican
primary race to be the best?
Weyrich: If you mean by that who’s the best campaigner, I think Romney is if you look at his lead in the early states as a result of arduous campaigning. I'd be more comfortable if Fred Thompson were, but he’s a poor campaigner.

This is particularly interesting- it suggests that Weyrich's support of Romney is borne more out of necessity than actual ideological agreement. So, while this is certainly a coup for Romney, it seems to be something of a hollow victory- essentially a decision on Weyrich's part to endorse the lesser of several evils (in the theocons' eyes), while maintaining some hope that the Religious Right will maintain its recent influence on the Republican Party.

Anyways, while I'm not particularly fond of Weyrich's logic, and I am most certainly not one to agree with him on many (if any) social issues, I find some of his rhetoric to be refreshing in its realism (ie, the upcoming election cycle is likely to be a disaster for Republicans), and in its implicit acknowledgement that Republicans by and large deserve what has happened to them and what is likely to happen to them in 2008.

Moreover, I'm impressed to hear a theo-con make statements like this about Iraq:

I felt that it was a mistake to go in there in the first place. We should not be taking initiatives like that with NATO. We're only supposed to defend if attacked. We should not be making initiatives when not attacked.
[I]if we were going to go we should have very carefully examined the Baath party people to determine which ones were there because they were really Saddam's Murder Inc., and which ones were there because they were competent people who knew how to run a country.

And this about Iran:

Bombing would turn the population against us whereas now in Iran they are probably more pro-American than any other place on earth.

Sometimes, it's just good to remember that not all theo-cons are unhinged, and actually still remember why they were conservatives in the first place.