Is Romney sincere in his Tea Party pitch?
By Bernie Quigley
For The Hill on 6/7/11
I’d say so.
“I’m going to insist that Washington respect the Constitution,” he told an audience up here in New Hampshire last week. He said he would “return responsibility and authority to the states for dozens of government programs – and that begins with a complete repeal of Obamacare.”
Many who claim Tea Party status have already forgotten that was/is what it is all about: Constitutional government and state sovereignty as outlined in the Tenth Amendment. But Romney was listening to Tea Party ideas as governor of Massachusetts several years before the phrase Tea Party even appeared.
And he was first to use the phrase “one size does not fit all” in opposition to federal government long before it became popular with others.
Romney inherently understands state sovereignty as it is outlined in the Constitution. He didn’t have to “re-learn” it as so many others have done. Even when gay marriage arose as a political position in Massachusetts, he used a states’ rights defense. In a speech to the Federalist Society, he said that judges should not be able to trump state legislation and that Massachusetts already has statutes governing marriage. In contrast, Michelle Bachman, pride of the Tea Party, proposed a federal solution.
His claim that when elected President he would immediately grant a waiver on Obamacare to every state is clever and offers a path to easing into a solution without chaos.
As governor of Massachusetts, Romney showed that he would learn from new ideas and that he understood the contours of change on a historic scale. He was among the first of “establishment” conservatives to support the Tea Party movement and with Sarah Palin, came forth without hesitation to support beleaguered Tea Party favorite Nikki Haley in South Carolina.