With Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his partner in the GOP’s hostile take-over attempt of Obama/Biden, Inc., conservatives now own this election…whether they want it or not.
Romney was not the first choice of movement conservatives in the GOP nominating contest and, as such, still needed to secure his base with a solid veep pick. He could claim ‘til the cows came home to be “severely conservative,” but conservatives learned long ago not to listen to what Republicans say, but to watch what they do.
In that regard, conservatives have adopted as a barometer the adage of “personnel is policy” to gauge whether an elected official will actually govern after getting elected the way the elected official campaigned. And indeed, you’ll find no better example of the reliability of this divining rod than in the case of Nevada’s governor.
Without a doubt, Brian Sandoval campaigned as a solid conservative in his 2010 GOP primary fight against conservatives Jim Gibbons and Mike Montandon. But his very first personnel pick of a moderate, establishment Republican as his chief of staff was a red-sky-at-morning warning of things to come.
Indeed, the new governor went on to load up his cabinet and administration with competent career bureaucrats rather than – as Ronald Reagan did after winning the presidency in 1980 – with competent ideological true believers.
So it really should have come as no surprise that the minute the going got tough at the end of the 2011 session, Gov. Sandoval abandoned his “no new taxes” promise faster than Usain Bolt runs 100 meters. Or that he is incrementally moving towards full implementation of ObamaCare.
But back to Mitt Romney.
The Ryan pick gives the right hope that, if elected, at least the former Massachusetts governor won’t be openly hostile to movement conservatives (the way John McCain would have been). And should he continue to staff his administration with competent conservatives and not competent career bureaucrats we might just be able to rescue this country before it’s too late.
However, that Romney’s first personnel pick is truly one of “us,” conservatives now have a huge stake in seeing to R&R Partners’ success in November. Because if Romney loses to the “severely incompetent” incumbent president, conservatives, tea partiers and Paulistas will be blamed for pushing Romney too far to the right.
On the other hand, with a conservative victory, business owners will once again start “building that,” and in fairly short order the private sector will actually be doing “just fine” for real. And with any luck at all, “President” Romney will then ruthlessly do to unproductive government programs and departments what Bain Capital did to unproductive businesses.
Indeed, let’s make Bain a verb; as in “bain the government.” Can I get an “Amen”?