Romney’s loss on November 6th came as a relief to many people, myself included. Unfortunately for him, the judgement passed on him, and more importantly, the decision not to vote for him, was not entirely dependent on his opinions or actions. In fact, it wasn’t even mostly dependent on his opinons or actions. For me, and for many people, the scariest thing about Mitt Romney was the party he represented.
Romney’s policies are one thing, and there is plenty of fault I could and did find with them, but that largely was not the issue I voted on. In the current political climate, I thought it would be immensely damaging to the country to put someone in the Oval Office who could be at all beholden to the current Republican party, as radical and unstable as it has become, and far more damaging than anything Obama was or is likely to do. Romney, the former moderate governor of Massachusetts (and I would have been a lot more likely to vote for him if he’d stuck to those positions) flipped hard right in order to win the Republican primaries – particularly in states like Iowa and Texas – by changing positions to portray himself as “severely conservative,” in order to appease the increasingly radical Republican party (with its increasingly relevant and powerful fringe). Whatever his motivation was, this sets up a precedent for doing whatever he had to do – appeasing whoever he needed to – in order to win. A Romney win would have provided a conduit, if you will, for the radicals to possibly have influence over the Oval Office. This, in essence, is the main reason he lost my vote, and, I believe, the votes of many, many other moderates. The allegations that Romney would simply “rubberstamp the Tea Party agenda” – of which there were many – rang too true. As National Review columnist Ramesh Ponnuru put it, “Romney was not a drag on the Republican party. The Republican party was a drag on him.” This, to me, is the number one reason it is good Romney did not win the presidency.