National Review's endorsement of Mitt Romney is somewhat fascinating. Pretty much everyone agrees that from the point of view of orthodox conservatism, the current GOP field is a bit of a problem. Since someone has to win, I can imagine plausibly arguing that, all things considered, Romney should be the first choice of National Review readers. But the magazine seems determined to just deny that there's any problem:
Some conservatives question his sincerity. It is true that he has reversed some of his positions. But we should be careful not to overstate how much he has changed. In 1994, when he tried to unseat Ted Kennedy, he ran against higher taxes and government-run health care, and for school choice, a balanced budget amendment, welfare reform, and “tougher measures to stop illegal immigration.” He was no Rockefeller Republican even then.
They also kindly concede that "He may not have thought deeply about the political dimensions of social issues until, as governor, he was confronted with the cutting edge of social liberalism." The notion that he hadn't thought about the "political dimensions" of these issues is ridiculous. I lived in Massachusetts during the 2002 gubernatorial campaign, and I well-remember that Shannon O'Brien tried to use the abortion issue against Romney. It was a big problem for him as a Mormon and a Republican to convince people that he was really every bit as pro-choice as the Democratic alternative. As you can see, he got a bit indignant about it:
He still might be the best candidate for conservatives, but he's also plainly someone whose positions on these topics isn't driven by conviction and it seems to me to be a disservice to readers to try to sweep that under the rug rather than concede the point and argue that it should be ignored.
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