Thursday, February 9, 2012

Has Talk Radio Flip-Flopped on Romney?

In 2008, prominent Conservatives endorsed Mitt Romney as a true Conservative.  Believe it or not, Romney was viewed by many as the Conservative alternative to John McCain.  I know, John McCain; big deal.  But, it is simply interesting to note that anyone thought Romney was a Conservative.  Romney's 2008 endorsers included: Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, Rick Santorum, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Hugh Hewitt, Dennis Prager and Sean Hannity.  Remember, this all happened in January and February of 2008.

Back up approximately two years.  In April of 2006, Mitt Romney was Governor of Massachusetts and for many months had been working out a solution for reforming State health care laws.  On April 12, 2006 Governor Romney signed into law the Massachusetts Health Care Insurance Reform Law (aka "RomneyCare").  When it was enacted, RomneyCare, while not without its critics, was applauded by many as a practical, "conservative" solution.  The Heritage Foundation, one of the Nation's most conservative think tanks, wrote an article touting RomneyCare. 

"[T]o allow people to go without health insurance, and then when they do fall ill expect someone else to pay the tab for their treatment is a de facto mandate on providers and taxpayers. Romney proposes to take that option off the table, leaving only two choices: Either buy insurance or pay for your own care. Not an unreasonable position, and one that is clearly consistent with conservative values."  The article then explains how Romney "got downright Libertarian" (a nod to limited government) in working out all the issues with health care reform.  It continued: 

"A conference committee of the Massachusetts legislature is now hammering out the details of the final legislation. Given that Massachusetts has a legislature in which Democrats outnumber Republicans by about five to one, the fact that Romney's proposal has gotten this far is itself a testament to the power of good ideas - as well as to the political skills of one particular governor and his team."  Read the whole article here.

Now back to are some of the things prominent Conservatives were saying:

Rush Limbaugh

"I think now, based on the way the campaign has shaken out, that there probably is a candidate on our side who does embody all three legs of the conservative stool, and that’s Romney. The three stools or the three legs of the stool are national security/foreign policy, the social conservatives, and the fiscal conservatives. The social conservatives are the cultural people. The fiscal conservatives are the economic crowd: low taxes, smaller government, get out of the way." Rush Limbaugh, February 5, 2008

Rick Santorum

“In a few short days, Republicans from across this country will decide more than their party’s nominee. They will decide the very future of our party and the conservative coalition that Ronald Reagan built. Conservatives can no longer afford to stand on the sidelines in this election, and Governor Romney is the candidate who will stand up for the conservative principles that we hold dear.  Governor Romney has a deep understanding of the important issues confronting our country today, and he is the clear conservative candidate that can go into the general election with a united Republican party.” Rick Santorum, February 1, 2008

Laura Ingraham

Romney was described by Laura Ingraham as "the conservative's conservative" and "a class act" when she enthusiastically introduced him at CPAC 2008.

Ingraham was clear and compelling and her praise of romney was unstinting. She not only declared that Romney was proud to be a conservative, but that he "embodies conservative ideals," and she lamented that "virtue is kind of an outdated word these days." Laura Ingraham, CPAC 2008

Sean Hannity

"...having come to know and like all of these guys, I'm making a decision on issues. And if you ask me who the conservative, the most conservative in the race is, that most represents my values at this time, it is by far and away, Governor Romney!” January 31, 2008, Sean Hannity Show

Mark Levin

Let’s face it, none of the candidates are perfect. They never are. But McCain is the least perfect of the viable candidates. The only one left standing who can honestly be said to share most of our conservative principles is Mitt Romney. I say this as someone who has not been an active Romney supporter. If conservatives don’t unite behind Romney at this stage, and become vocal in their support for him, then they will get McCain as their Republican nominee and probably a Democrat president. And in either case, we will have a deeply flawed president." - Mark Levin January 31, 2008 

To be clear, RomneyCare was already law when all of these statements were made.  It was out there for everyone to see and investigate.  All of these individuals knew about it and yet, they claim that he's a Conservative worthy of their endorsement.  Well, he must have done something in the meantime to signal that he isn't actually a Conservative.  Nope.  If anything, he has been consistently Conservative and has done much to help the cause - especially in the 2010 elections.

So, why the apparent flip-flops?  If Romney hasn't done anything in four years to reverse his Conservative course, what could possibly have made these people change?  One word - a dirty word - OBAMACARE.  In 2010 the Country was in an uproar because Obama was trying to shove a National health care system down the people's throats against their will.  Now, there is a time to discuss the differences between ObamaCare and RomneyCare (Yes, they exist and some are valid) but this article is not intended to do that.  Suffice it to say that the whole ObamaCare drama was a debacle and a huge mistake for this Country.

The point is, these talk radio personalities and others knew the intricacies and statistics on RomneyCare and still endorsed him.  No one criticized them, because the blanket outrage over anything ____Care didn't exist.  But, when the debate over ObamaCare heated up, it seems these individuals turned on Romney.  I'm not trying to be critical of the individuals, because all of them have my respect for what they do on a daily basis.  I just find it interesting how they have, for the most part, skirted this issue and continued on with their criticisms of Romney.  In my opinion, Levin and Ingraham have been the most critical, and theirs were two of the more forceful and glowing endorsements.  Levin has since passionately criticized others for endorsing Romney in 2011.

Some have defended their endorsement saying they did it only because Romney was the most Conservative.  Well, re-read those endorsements.  There may be a hint of that in one or two of them, but they genuinely endorsed him as A CONSERVATIVE.  RomneyCare hasn't changed, Romney hasn't changed (perhaps he's come further to the right) and Romney's record hasn't changed...outside influences have changed.  But, principles are principles, regardless of what popular sentiment is at the time.  So, my question to these individuals is: were you principled in 2008 or are you being principled now?

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