While an eventual Romney victory over Barack Obama might satisfy the radical rights burning desire to make Obama a one term president, it would do little if anything to get the faltering radical right wing revolution going again. That’s because Mitt Romney is in the eyes of the far right nothing more than a Republican progressive and by no means a likely agent to do anything for the far right other than to thank them for their votes on election night. It should be lost on no one that Romney already has a template for dealing with the radical right. That template would be the successful campaign of Republican Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts who gladly took the votes of the state’s Tea Party crowd and then quietly but steadily distanced himself from the radical right. Political analyst John Harwood pointed out that Mitt Romney has made many of the right rhetorical noises when it comes to addressing the far right, but that he has left a path back to the center where he will need to be if he hopes to win in November. Speaking of both Romney and Gingrich, Harwood said: “Yet those two leading Republican contenders have not leaned as far right on policy as their rhetoric might suggest. On core issues concerning the relationship between government and average Americans — taxes, Medicare, Social Security, even immigration — each has preserved routes back toward the political middle for the general election. “Both of them could tack center-right” said former Gov. Frank Keating of Oklahoma, a Republican. And given that roughly half the country receives some sort of government benefit or subsidy, they would need to in order to assemble a coalition to defeat Mr. Obama. “You can demagogue it all you want on the right — Ron Paul, ‘cut it all,’ ” said Mr. Keating, “But that’s not where the public is.” Thus the stances of Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Romney suggest they might not uproot existing arrangements between government and American society as much as Tea Party activists hope — and liberal Democrats fear.” With regard to where Mitt Romney sits on America’s ideological spectrum, based on a recent Gallup Poll, less than half of the respondents see him as conservative or very conservative: “A USA Today/Gallup poll asked Americans to rate their own ideology — and the ideology of the eight major presidential candidates — on a 5-point scale with 1 being very liberal and 5 being very conservative. Americans’ mean score on this scale is 3.3, meaning the average American is slightly to the right of center ideologically.” Mitt Romney scores a 3.5, not exactly the 5 that indicates “very conservative.”
Another factor working in Romney’s favor is that while many on the far right may not embrace him fully, many of those same voters will “hold their nose” and vote for him anyway as they see him as the only Republican contender who has any real chance of defeating Obama. According to Iowa pollster Ann Selzer, Iowa voters are torn between who can send a message and who can win and she said that this is one reason that heading into the caucuses 41 percent of the likely attendees have yet to make up their minds. So if many of Iowa’s social and fiscal conservatives are to “hold their noses” and vote for Romney that would amount to a Pyrrhic victory for the far right if Romney were to win in November. They would have ousted Barack Obama and replaced a liberal progressive with a Northeastern Republican progressive, one who is unlikely to cater to the radical right or champion its agenda. Again to the analysis of Rutenberg and Zeleny: “But other Republicans said that even though they liked Mr. Santorum best and had problems with Mr. Romney’s past positions on abortion, immigration and gun rights, they were supporting Mr. Romney because they viewed him as a stronger challenger to Mr. Obama. When you add to this indecision and ideological confusion the fact that crowd sizes are smaller and enthusiasm levels are lower than they were in 2008 it may be that many of Iowa’s conservatives have already given up on nominating a true right-wing conservative in 2012. If that’s the case they may not bother to caucus at all or if they do they may nominate Mitt Romney anyway. Quoting Republican Steve King: “There was more energy four years ago for Huckabee — and even with the last Romney campaign.” Ironically in the end Iowa’s staunch social and evangelical conservatives may, as a result of their pursuit of ideological purity or out of their desperation to see Obama defeated, ensure the election of a Republican progressive who will do little if anything to further their agenda. When all is said and done, they may become the unwitting agents in their own political suicide, thereby scuttling their own agenda in the process.
Gingrich and Romney Tack Right, but Leave a Path Back to the Middle; http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/19/us/politics/newt-gingrich-and-mitt-romney-leave-path-back-to-middle.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Gingrich%20and%20Romney%20Tack%20Right%20but%20leave%20a%20path%20back%20to%20the%20middle&st=cse
Americans See Views of GOP Candidates Closer to Their Own; http://www.gallup.com/poll/151814/Americans-Huntsman-Romney-Paul-Closest-Ideologically.aspx
Romney Fights for First-Place Showing in Iowa Caucuses; http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/02/us/politics/focus-on-electability-as-caucuses-near.html?pagewanted=2&sq=Iowa&st=cse&scp=2
In Iowa, a Time to Vote, and, for Many, to Settle; http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/02/us/politics/iowa-caucus-voters-lack-enthusiasm.html