Thursday, December 14, 2006

Mitt Romney: Empty Suit

Let me say this straight up: I'm looking for a presidential candidate in 2008. I'm looking hard. And the harder I look, the more depressed I become. Because I'm basically a single issue voter: any presidential candidate seeking my vote must promise, and have a track record to back it up, that he/she will secure the border against illegal entry, punish employers who hire illegals, and radically limit new legal immigration to those who can (a) demonstrate economic self-sufficiency to the point of being a net asset to the public fisc, (b) be likely to assimilate (both he and his offspring) to majority U.S. political, and social norms, and (c) not be a Muslim. Anything else is potentially negotiable.

Prospects looked bleak enough before the midterms, but now that Romney and Allen have perished . . . well, let's go down the list:

  • McCain: supported open borders in the Senate.
  • Brownback: maintains support for open borders.
  • Guliani: says he wants border control and guest workers. Plus supports abortion, gun control, and God knows what else.
  • Gingrich: are you kidding?
  • So it was with much hope that I started reading the Mitt Romney interview in NRO. And I was geeted with this:

    I believe in building bridges not walls.
    What makes this statement even worse than the tripe it sounds like is that the good Massachusetts governor wasn't even talking about immigration! If he had been, his preference for bridges-not-walls would have had some bearing. But in a gross act of journalistic negligence, Kathryn Jean Lopez didn't even ask about immigration in the entire interview. No, Romney was answering a question about China. Here's some more tripe: "[I]t is important for us as a nation to reach out to China and to chart out a course that is consistent with a free economy and a free society." Now, I don't pretend to have a 10-point plan in my back pocket on how to leverage our national power to advance our complex of competing security, trade, and human rights interests vis-a-vis the largest nation on earth. But I know a vapid cliche when I hear one, and I expect my leaders to be smarter than me when it comes to managing our foreign policy.

    To give credit where it's due, I thought the Massachusetts Mormon did a fair job of defending his now-more-conservative positions on abortion and gay rights. And he did seem to grasp the flaws in the report of the Iraq Study Group. But here again, it was obvious to me that Romney has no plan for either winning or withdrawing from Iraq. This is simply not tolerable in a presidential prospect.