Romney Stays Mum on Hot-Button Social Issues

September 17th, 2010 at 1:51 pm | 10 Comments |

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Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney delivered a Values Voter Summit address heavy on foreign policy and economic issues today, illness declining to pay lip service to the social conservatism that animates much of his audience.

“The uncertainty and the lack of predictability that [Obama] created has caused businesses to shirk from spending… he hasn’t helped end the crisis. He made it deeper, cheap longer [and] more painful, shop ” said Romney, leading his rhetorical charge against the President’s policies. “This is the first time in our history that government has declared war on free enterprise. And they are wrong.”

Romney slammed the president for creating a business climate that is inhospitable to growth and recovery. Among Romney’s criticisms of Obama was the latter’s decision to: raise taxes on small business, push cap and trade, stall free trade agreements, hand GM to the UAW, and takeover the health care system.

“Instead of focusing on the economy, [Obama] used the crisis as a cover to push his liberal agenda: from cap and trade to his ill-conceived takeover of American health care,” said the former Massachusetts Governor. But this is not without consequences, said Mitt Romney. “America will repudiate Obama-style liberalism.”

Shifting his sights to the Obama administration’s foreign policy, Romney condemned the President’s ‘engagement’ policy:

Under [Obama’s] engagement policy, North Korea has tested nuclear weapons, launched long-range missiles, and sunk a South Korean ship. Iran has funded Yemini insurgents, armed terrorists, and… accelerated its nuclear program. He gave Russia… [the abandonment] of our Eastern Europe missile defense sites. And in return, he got nothing. He actually insulted our best friend in the Middle East, Israel.

A theme is starting to emerge at the Value Voter Summit: the resurrection of George W. Bush. Romney reinforced Pence’s earlier comments (Pence called Bush “our courageous Commander in Chief” and credited him for success in Iraq) by praising the preferences “and the courage of George W. Bush”, to loud applause.

Notably, Romney touched upon social conservative values only once, and only briefly. “This room is filled every year with citizens, modern patriots, who are passionate about America’s values. These values include the sanctity of life and the preservation of marriage,” Romney said before segueing back towards domestic economic policy.

The mood of the room reflected a disconnect between the speaker and his audience. Romney drew fewer cheers than probably any other big name speaker at this conference so far. The biggest applause was reserved for Romney’s brief mention of marriage and the sanctity of life, and absent a few lines praising America’s entrepreneurial and creative spirit, the crowd largely stayed quiet.

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10 Comments so far ↓

  • TAZ

    Disclaimer….. I like Romney, I would vote for Romney, and I contributed money to Romney.

    That said, I guess he didn’t get the memo that the Christian wing of the Republican Base (aka Tea Party) isn’t accepting just pandering this year, they want true believers from their own sect.

    Non Life Long Pro Lifers need not apply.

  • jabbermule

    Good—that’s the strategy that worked for Bob McDonnell in VA, and it’s clearly a winning strategy.

  • Saladdin

    Actually, I think most TPers aren’t at all interested in social issues, but rather fiscal issues. That’s a big disconnect that will lead to problems in the near and distant future.

    Also, what happens if moderate Republicans begin ditching the party? Will they join dissafected conservative Dems to form a new party?

    Maybe Hamilton was right in that parties only tend to divide us.

  • Carney

    Same disclaimer.

    I don’t get Romney’s game here. It’s all right, I guess, to focus your standard stump speech on jobs and the economy, since that’s the issue du jour.

    But this was the Values Voter Summit. Giving conspicuously short shrift to the group’s raison d’etre is almost insultingly rude, and in any case is bad politics. Imagine showing up at the NRA and droning on about education reform.

    He didn’t even, it seems, try to sell the economy and jobs as values issues (distressed families divorce more, latchkey kids of double-shift parents can get into trouble online or even pregnant, etc.).

    It’s an especially bad idea for Romney to so conspicuously tack away from the social right. You can flip-flop, as Reagan and Bush Sr. did, but once you do, you’d best not flip again. Romney especially, having been defined as a flip-flopper, cannot afford any more pivots, and in fact that’s one reason I supported him assuming he was smart enough to realize that and would be reliable in future.

    And he promised us as much. His late-campaign theme against McCain, and his CPAC 2008 swan song, was that he was the total package of conservatism, the one who got it and would be reliable on all three legs of the stool – social, economic, and national security. He lashed himself to the mast of the conservative movement and made it clear he’d share our fate.

    Now what?

  • Saladdin


    very good points, but again, this IS Mitt Romney… Disclaimer: I really liked Mike Huckabee and voted for him, but Romney really doesn’t seem to understand that speeches really should be catered towards an audience. Maybe Mitt believes that due to his being the front runner, he can get away without speaking to social issues, or maybe he realizes that social issues are not his greatest strength.

  • drdredel

    “Instead of focusing on the economy, [Obama] used the crisis as a cover to push his liberal agenda: from cap and trade to his ill-conceived takeover of American health care,” said the former Massachusetts Governor.

    It’s YOUR plan, you goof!

    Someone really needs to buy this guy a pair of wildly over-sized red shoes and a spherical foam nose.

  • Nanotek

    “Christian wing of the Republican Base (aka Tea Party)”

    calling themselves a duck wouldn’t make them a duck

  • Hot Air » DeMint: We need a “big God” to have a small government

    [...] one speaker at today’s Summit whose speech was notably short on “values” talk. Hmmmmm. [...]

  • seeker656

    “The uncertainty and the lack of predictability that [Obama] created has caused businesses to shirk from spending…”

    Wow! Does the uncertainty we are facing hold a candle to the uncertainty that existed in September 2008 as the whole economy was on the verge of collapse? Compared to that it seems to me that we have achieved some sense of stability.

    “These values include the sanctity of life and the preservation of marriage,”

    The sanctity of life before birth is clearly the value expressed, but was there any mention of the challenges that so many children are experiencing today as they sink into poverty in the wealthiest nation on the planet? The preservation of marriage value then puts my lesbian granddaughter and her family outside of the accepted class of patriotic citizens.

    What kind of a country are we creating in the 21st century?

  • Carney

    seeker656, the fact that your grand-daughter is a lesbian does not make lesbianism OK, normal, or respectable, any more than it would if she had “married” two men, or her brother. Emphasizing to others that it is your grand-daughter is an aggressive, challenging, bullying act, forcing others to choose between publicly approving of deviant bedroom proclivities and socially corrosive example-setting, or set themselves up for an ugly confrontation with you (“how dare, you, she’s my grand-daughter” blah blah).

    You should instead de-personalize issues. Right and wrong are what they are no matter who does them, and whether they are related to you or not. Leave your family members out of it.

    And there will always be poor people. The relevant controversy is, should the law yawn when some of us deliberately target and kill helpless innocent pre-born humans for money or convenience?