A Severe Conservative Speaks at CPAC

Mitt Romney got a warm reception at CPAC, standing ovations . . . the works. He did nothing to calm fears that he is not one of us. In fact, he might have made it worse today.


He ad-libbed one particular portion of his speech that just may give away the game for him with the CPAC crowd. He threw in this line:

“I fought against long odds in a deep blue state, but I was a severely conservative Republican governor.”

What the heck is a severe conservative? The man who likes to fire people should probably fire Miriam-Webster, in addition to whoever came up with his strategy for Minnesota, Missouri, and Colorado.

A severe conservative? It sounds more like a critique of conservatives from the left than that of a conservative himself. In fact, if you want to read only one thing on Mitt Romney’s views of conservatives, I actually think Chris Orr of The New Republic captures the situation best.

Orr writes on Quentin Tarantino’s view of Superman as discussed in the movie Kill Bill 2.

Superman was born Superman. It’s Clark Kent that is the invented alias, the pose, the “costume.” And in the way Superman plays Kent–weak, self-doubting, cowardly–we see his critique of the human race.

It occurred to me that the same is true of Romney’s desperate, if never terribly persuasive, impersonation of a conservative Republican. That persona–angry, simple-minded, xenophobic, jingoistic–is exactly what Romney (who is himself cultured, content, and cosmopolitan) imagines the average GOP voter to be.


I think that is perhaps one of the most accurate reads on Romney today and why so many of us think he is not what he claims to be.

Just randomly, on the actual issue of Superman, Jim Pethokoukis is correct that Quentin Tarantino got Superman wrong. I think what he means is that Mitt Romney is actually Bruce Wayne, a shallow playboy super rich businessman. (Kidding)


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