Rudy McRomney a Real Conservative?
George Will argues that conservatives who say that none of the major candidates for the 2008 Republican nomination are sufficiently conservative are forgetting the axiom “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”
Such conservatives should conduct a thought experiment.
Suppose someone seeking the presidential nomination had, as a governor, signed the largest tax increase in his state’s history and the nation’s most permissive abortion law. And by signing a law institutionalizing no-fault divorce, he had unwittingly but substantially advanced an idea central to the campaign for same-sex marriages — the minimalist understanding of marriage as merely a contract between consenting adults to be entered into or dissolved as it suits their happiness.
Question: Is it not likely that such a presidential aspirant would be derided by some of today’s fastidious conservatives? A sobering thought, that, because the attributes just described were those of Ronald Reagan.
His closing is right, too: “Conservatism comes in many flavors. None seems perfect for every conservative’s palate; most should be satisfactory to most conservatives.”
The problem, though, is that Reagan was being compared to Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, and Richard Nixon whereas Giuliani, McCain and Romney are being compared to Ronald Reagan. More to the point, they’re being compared to Ronald Reagan the orator rather than Ronald Reagan the politician, who was a whole lot less conservative than the former.
Ultimately, conservatives will vote for any of these men if the alternative is Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. That doesn’t mean they can’t pine for the perfect candidate almost two years in advance of having to make that choice.