Tuesday, August 02, 2011

No doggie for Mitt

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 8/2/11

For a long time now the east coast establishment and the Bush family in particular were sure Mitt Romney was their man. Mormon or not; we yanks, even the ones in Texas, don’t care about that stuff. But he looked just right in that suit and went to Harvard and apparently everyone in New England wants to do that. And he is smart as paint. Possibly like the Kennedys and Obama the Bushes hoped to give him a little family puppy to show their affection. To show how well he fit in their parlor. But after his call yesterday for “cut cap and balance” and his repudiation of the debt ceiling agreement there will be no doggie for Mitt. Where will the establishment turn now? Chris Christie? Too fat. John Thune? Lives in that spooky northern heartland. How about that Kay Bailey Hutchinson? She’s nice, too. How would that work out? No always the same. Better bring it on home to Jeb.

“I personally cannot support this deal,’’ said Romney in his historic moment.

Anyone who thought Romney was a Bush family puppy was not looking closely at his record. He is and always has been independent minded and original in his thinking. And even as governor of Massachusetts he was more the westerner than the Bostonian. He is the true west conservative come back east while the Bush east coast establishment is Boston moved to Texas. They used to have a name for that after the Civil War.

And anyone who sees irony in Romney’s move sees the shadow before she sees the light. Romney as a conservative long quietly wished for a balanced budget amendment most likely. But only now, this day, did it become entirely possible.

Romney’s vote does several things: It puts him strategically in opposition to Rick Perry who cleverly dominated the moment when he and Nikki Haley together placed an op-ed in the Washington Post defending “cut cap and balance.” And he enters now into this competition ON RICK PERRY’S TERMS.

It brings “cut cap and balance to the fore as we enter September and for the first time in our era it legitimized the idea of a balanced budget with Romney’s imprimatur.

It lends legitimacy to the Tea Party movement and recognized its fateful progress. Romney was among the first to do so.

It makes Romney a contender by pulling him out of the establishment. He never was an establishment politician. Pending what Sarah Palin does on Sept. 3 at the Iowa Tea Party Labor Day rally, this race is now between Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. One of these two will be the next president and that is very good for America.

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