My displeasure and deep unease over the prospect of Mitt Romney carrying the GOP banner against President Obama in 2012 has been ongoing and only worsens as one potential primary challenger after another either flames out or decides not to turn the keys and press the launch button to enter the race. An editorial in today's WSJ took a closer look at the field as it now stands and highlights one of my chief concerns with Romney. The GOP Field:
The main question about Mr. Romney is whether his political character matches the country's huge current challenges. The former Bain Capital CEO is above all a technocrat, a man who believes in expertise as the highest political virtue. The details of his RomneyCare program in Massachusetts were misguided enough, but the larger flaw it revealed is Mr. Romney's faith that he can solve any problem, and split any difference, if he can only get the smartest people in the room.
America's current problems reflect a philosophical gulf far more than they do technocratic policy differences. The country is sharply divided over the role of government as a driver of economic investment and redistributor of wealth. President Obama has made clear that in 2012 he intends to defend the larger entitlement state he has championed and the higher taxes to pay for it.
Republicans need a nominee who can make the opposing case on practical and moral grounds, not shrink from it out of guilt or excess political caution. At least so far, Mr. Romney hasn't shown he is willing to make the kind of larger argument that could sweep in GOP majorities to pass the major reform the country needs. We hope competitors do more to test Mr. Romney on how much reform he really believes in.
The last thing the country needs right now is a slightly less statist Republican president who’s content to tinker around the edges and make government “work better.” Okay, that’s not quite fair. The LAST THING the country needs right now is four more years of President Obama. But if the alternative to that is a technocrat who believes that the key to solving the country’s problems is for the government to employ conservative approaches instead of liberal ones, we’re still going to be in a boatload of trouble. We shouldn’t be talking about HOW the government should fix our problems. Instead, we should be talking about what problems truly are within the government’s scope to address and which would be better resolved by the ingenuity and spirit of the American people. Does anyone believe that is the type of national conversation we’re going to have with Romney at the top of the ticket?