It’s hard to be honest in politics. Perhaps that has been Governor Mitt Romney’s real problem all along.
Romney’s candor came out in a recent conference call that was reported by The New York Times in which he said that President Obama offered free “gifts” to both illegal aliens and American citizens.
Romney’s observation about rewarding illegal aliens with citizenship and giving free benefits to people exploiting the system is not the same as criticizing minorities — but for decades the left has manipulatively used racism, sexism and discrimination to intimidate the Republican Party into cowering into the aimless, weak institution that it has become today.
When Romney made the highly publicized “47 percent” comment during a Boca Raton fundraiser, he was referencing the fact that it was not a campaign priority to reach out to that sector of the population for votes.
He was right because most of those people were not going to vote for him anyway.
The liberal elements of the media, however, mischaracterized Romney’s comment as meaning that he would not care about those people as president.
Rather than defending Romney for saying the things that most conservatives feel, Republicans are distancing themselves from their former leader, the same way they unfaithfully abandoned George W. Bush. Loyalty seems to be a real problem for the Republican Party these days. Andrew Breitbart was right when he said that there is a “self-hating wing of the Republican Party.”
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) criticized Mr. Romney, saying, “We’re in a big hole. We’re not getting out of it by comments like that. When you’re in a hole, stop digging. He keeps digging.”
Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie both said they did not agree with Romney, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said that Romney was “absolutely wrong.”
Republican strategist Ana Navarro mocked Romney on her Twitter feed, saying that “Romney was the biggest gift Obama got.”
None of this pandering has helped expand the Republican Party’s base. It has, however, highlighted the fact that while the president has a consistent message, the Republican Party lacks conviction.
Perhaps New York Magazine’s Margaret Hartmann got it right when she said, “In the last week, Republicans have come to the abrupt realization that they too have to woo women, minorities and young voters.”
While Hartmann may be correct in her observation, what the Republican Party has really done is admit defeat.
Instead of standing its ground and fighting for what is right, the GOP is beginning to cave, in the most pathetic, self-deprecating manner possible, conceding that President Obama’s ideas were right all along.
Romney believes in equality, but he understands that equality is not the ultimate aim of liberty. After all, too much equality — as opposed to equal opportunity — quashes ambition, and ambition is the fundamental drive of the American spirit.
The Republican Party’s backtracking sounds painfully similar to Senator John Kerry’s inconsistent message on the Iraq War, which led to his 2004 election defeat.
Kerry famously responded to a question about his contradictory positions on a military supplemental appropriation bill by saying, “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.”
In 2008, Kerry’s Democratic primary Senate challenger Ed O’Reilly accurately portrayed Kerry’s “change of heart” about the war when he said, “John Kerry changed to become an anti-war vote when the political climate changed in this country.”
That’s exactly what the Republican Party is doing now — changing its message to satisfy the current political climate instead of fighting to change it. If anything, it’s no secret that if the Republicans need to change any part of their message, it’s not their economics — it’s getting with the times on social issues. Turning its back on capitalism and distancing itself from its leaders is the wrong approach.
In this world, there is right and there is wrong, and there is no honor in kicking someone when they’re down.
Those of us who truly believe in Governor Romney’s message that America is about earning things, not getting them for free, continue to proudly stand by him with conviction.
Those who care more about politics and winning have shown their cowardice, a pathetic display of desperation and disloyalty to their values and their leader that will stain the Republican Party for years to come.
Jeffrey Scott Shapiro is a lawyer who served on Gov. Romney’s presidential election legal team.