Chris Chocola, the president of the influential small government group Club for Growth, says former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney may not deliver the radical reforms he thinks are needed to fix America’s economy.
Chocola told The Daily Caller he believes Romney should “be more bold” and offer an economic package similar to the tax reform plan proposed by Texas Governor Rick Perry on Tuesday. Perry’s plan calls for a spending limit, an optional flat tax rate for income taxes, and a host of other reforms Chocola says are necessary to fix the economy.
When asked if he thought a President Romney would implement similarly bold solutions to the nation’s economic crisis, Chocola said he wasn’t sure.
“I think he would certainly move the country in the right direction,” he said. “I’m not sure he would implement the bold reforms Perry is talking about here. Romney is a more cautious politician, and he has been throughout his career. He has tinkered with his views, I think to try and reflect political environments rather than simply stating what he believes clearly and trying to advocate those beliefs.”
“I think he would be an improvement,” continued Chocola. “I think he would be clearly better than Obama when it comes to economic issues and pro-growth issues, but I don’t think he would embrace the bold reforms that Perry’s talking about.”
Since at least his first run for president in 2008, activist groups have highlighted Romney’s perceived willingness to compromise on issues important to conservatives such as health care and abortion. Despite that grassroots opposition, Romney has emerged as a frontrunner for the nomination as one-time conservative darlings Perry and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann have faded in the polls.
Still, despite musings from pundits that he is the inevitable nominee, Romney has been unable to garner much more than 25 percent support from Republicans in the polls and remains vulnerable to a credible challenger on his right. (RELATED: Club for Growth supports Perry’s economic plan, knocks Romney)
When asked if the Club for Growth, a group with a long record of helping defeat moderate Republicans, would make an endorsement in the primary, Chocola said that while that option is on the table, no decision had yet been made.
“We haven’t made any decisions about that at this point,” he said, “but we clearly like Perry’s plan.”
In a statement released Tuesday morning, the Club for Growth called Perry’s flat tax proposal “massively pro-growth.” According to Chocola, Perry’s plan is preferable even to former pizza mogul Herman Cain’s “9-9-9” plan, which the group had earlier praised.
“I think Perry’s is a simpler, more straightforward approach but they’re both a lot better than what we got now,” he said.
However, for all the praise he’s willing to heap on Perry’s plan, Chocola says he doesn’t know whom he’ll end up voting for in 2012.
“People sometimes accuse us of pitching for someone,” he said. “I wish we were pitching for someone. Personally, and with my Club for Growth hat on, I wish we had an obvious choice. But we don’t, so we’ve chosen to focus on individual policy aspects of each campaign and try to comment on that.”