Back in February I penned a short article addressing whether or not the Republican Party needed to doctor up Mitt Romney’s image so as to make him palatable to the Party’s conservatives. I framed the piece this way: “Does the G.O.P. and the conservative elite need to doctor up Mitt Romney so as to make him seem conservative enough to be electable? It’s no secret that large numbers of conservatives don’t see Romney as a fellow traveler and that poses two great risks to the G.O.P., the prospect of a third party bid, a sure formula for defeat, or the other equally unattractive option, a conservative voters strike on election day.” Now in the wake of Romney’s primary victory in Illinois, his Communications Director Eric Fehrnstrom has suggested that Romney could easily jettison those conservative talking points that he’s adopted during the primaries once he enters the general election campaign. To wit: “During an interview on CNN, John Fugelsang asked Fehrnstrom if an extended primary against Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum would force the governor to tack so far to the right it would hurt him with moderate voters in the general election? “I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign,” Fehrnstrom replied. “Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch,” he added. “You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.”
A whole host of political commentators have made a point of suggesting that Romney had adopted the trappings of the Conservative Movement purely for political ends and that when you examine his political track record there was no way in which you could legitimately see him as a true conservative. Does the public muttering of Eric Fehrnstrom give conservatives cause for worry? I would say so due to the fact that where the conservatives are on the political map and where the vast majority of the independent voters are is two different places and if you want to get elected in 2012 you aren’t going to do that by being on the far right. Mitt Romney’s handlers are already engaged in damage control over Fehrnstrom’s comments but damage control is just what it probably is seeing as the primaries aren’t over and the average Republican primary voter is far more conservative than the electorate in general. But for my money you’d be fooling yourself if you believe that Eric Fehrnstrom is just making idle chatter.
Does the G.O.P. Need to Doctor Up Mitt Romney?; http://open.salon.com/blog/steven_j_gulitti/2012/02/04/does_the_gop_need_to_doctor_up_mitt_romney
Adviser: Romney will change positions ‘like an Etch A Sketch’ after primary; http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/03/21/adviser-romney-will-change-positions-like-an-etch-a-sketch-after-primary/