Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns


We’ve all heard that Mitt Romney won the Republican fundraising sweepstakes for the first quarter, easily outpacing Rudy Giuliani and leaving John McCain in the dust. Hugh Hewitt (not exactly impartial here) notes that the NYT spent a bit of its account on the Mormon connection. Hewitt compares that story unfavorably to this somewhat puffier NYT piece on Obama’s fundraising. Still, nothing will raise HH’s hackles like this WaPo story on Romney’s "Mormon base." I can’t wait to hear the steam coming from Hugh’s ears.

For what it’s worth, my own view is that there’s nothing sinister or unusual about having a core of supporters that share one’s background. And there’s no evidence of a "Mormon political agenda" that is in any way particularly Mormon. They share their social conservatism with lots of other folks, religious and non-religious. And their social organization doesn’t strike me as all that different from the networks in which others are embedded. In my part of the country, for example, lots of people spend lots of time with folks from their church. If religion as a source of "social [and political] capital" strikes you as somehow sinister, you haven’t been reading the scholars, like Robert Putnam, who identify it as one of the principal pillars of American civil society. Yes, there are other sources of social capital. And yes, people can be embedded in more than one network. Indeed, most people--including Romney, as the NYT article, unlike its WaPo counterpart, demonstrates--are. Unfortunately for Romney, his principal fundraising networks can easily be made to seem sinister (mysterious [heh] Mormons and robber baron capitalists).

I prefer to think of the Romney-Obama contrast as a battle of hotel chains: Marriott vs. Hyatt.

Discussions - 6 Comments

For what it’s worth, my own view is that there’s nothing sinister or unusual about having a core of supporters that share one’s background. And there’s no evidence of a "Mormon political agenda" that is in any way particularly Mormon.

This may be the case but for what it’s worth, Romney’s fundraising doesn’t matter. A small money victory isn’t erasing his liberal record and single digit polls.

You’re right. He has to win something (polls don’t count). Money will help there.

Please permit me to be clear: I’m not endorsing Romney, but neither am I ruling out supporting him.

His chances of winning something have increased since the "Straight Talk Express" is floundering and those people who support McCain are going to have to choose from the available candidates--Romney and Rudy will probably make gains.

1. Fred Thompson is polling twice (or more) what Romney is with just four weeks of media buzz and no announcement or year of organized campaigning. Even if McCain falls, it isn’t going to be Romney rising.

2. Romney has already had some money, and with anemic poll numbers it can’t be long until it starts drying up. His burn rate will be huge too--think Howard Dean.

3. Thanks for being clear Joe. Now let me be clear as well. I have been very disappointed with this blogs coverage of the candidates. Romney’s liberalism has gotten a total pass from nearly all bloggers here. You guys are right to question Thompson’s record and lack thereof, but why the silence on Romney’s sad past?

Clint...quit looking at national polls. They are meaningless except to judge name recognition. Instead, look at Iowa and NH polls which show Romney making steady gains on both McCain and Rudy. Continued good numbers in the early primary states will translate into increased media which will translate into better national poll numbers.

Don’t worry about burn rate. The difference between Dean and Romney is that Governor Romney built a half billion dollar fortune in the real world before becoming involved in politics. He can dip into that to keep the burn rate under control.

What sad past are you talking about? As Governor, Romney has fought to protect traditional marriage, kept Mass from infantcide on stem cells, and is the very model of what a GOP governor should do with the economy (think the polar opposite of Bob Taft). Don’t respond with clips from about his record....which is stellar conservative.


If you think that Romney can hide simply by taking 1994 off the table, you are sadly mistaken. Look at his 2002 campaign (I’m sure you would like to ignore that too, but it is his last campaign), and you will see he campaigned as pro-choice, pro-civil union, pro-environment, pro-regulation, and numerous other liberal positions. Early into his governorship (when he still thought he might run agian) he was also quite liberal--see homosexuals and democrats appointed to the MA court, environmental meetings with other North east liberals, supporting stem cell research, etc...

Only about two years ago when he decided to run for President and scrap his Massachusetts plans did he become a conservative firebrand.

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