I never thought Romney stood a chance in 2008, mostly because of a combination of his â€œMormon problemâ€ and his rather abrupt conversion to hard core conservatism, which left many Republicans wondering how sincere he was in those beliefs. Personally, I liked the Massachusetts version of Romney a lot better than the one who wanted to be President, but McCainâ€™s poor showing last fall has left a lot of Republicans with a bad case of buyerâ€™s remorse, and they may be looking at Mitt with some new found love in their eyes next time around. This new book will probably serve as the unofficial launching point for his campaign and get him back out on the circuit of Sunday morning chat festivals to make his case to Republicans for another grab at the brass ring.
For the most part, I agree.
I didn’t see the “Mormon Problem” as much of a issue for Romney — particularly after he gave his ‘religion speech’ (a la JFK). I know that there were some conservatives who felt that Romney was party to nothing more than a cult, but most mainstreamers (the Michelle Malkins and Ann Coulters of the world) clearly had no problem with Romney’s Mormonism.
What bothered me about Mitt Romney was not his faith, but rather his devotion to his principles (or lack thereof).
The Romney who was governor of Massachusetts seemed more reasonable to me — not unlike current gubernatorial contender Charles D. Baker — in that he was more moderate in much of his approach to social policies (while maintaining conservative stances on fiscal issues). The abrupt and seemingly calculated, err, transformation to Ã¼ber-conservatism left me with a slimy-used-car-salesman impression. I felt that Romney was being insincere and switching his stance on several key issues to appeal to the far-right base of the party.
By the time the Republican presidential primaries roll-around in 2012, some time will have passed and it’s likely that most Republicans won’t question Romney on his conservative bonafides. Especially if the Limbaughs, Coulters and Hannitys of the movement get behind him…
[cross-posted at ThePajamaPundit.com]