...what will he do if there is no public option included in the eventual bill? What cover will he seek then?And the answer, of course: 9/11, 9/11, 9/11. Let's bomb Iran.
Seriously though, Romney's biggest problem is that he's Mormon and lots of evanglicals think that Mormons are scary cult members. (And honestly, you do too, so you've got something in common with them here.) And his next rhree problems are that he's not a Southerner, not a war hero, and looks like the sort of guy that most conservatives would want to spit chewing tobacco on; and that includes the women. And yes, even though most conservatives are city folks who don't chew tobacco, they all like to imagine themselves as being the sort of people who do.
But Romney's shift on the issues isn't any bigger problem than the shift these people took with their own positions; and how they went from Small Government Conservatives to Big Government War Mongers and back again, all based upon the occupant of the Whitehouse. These people would vote Stalin-Mao if they vowed to bring some of that purge action to our coastal regions. This isn't hypocrisy; it's self-deception. They believe what they need to believe in order to support the people they want to support.
The Base Hated McCain
McCain didn't win the nomination because he slanted to the right. He won because he was a war hero who wanted to double-down on Iraq. And that's why he found himself dead in the water once Obama won his nomination, as McCain didn't have any real platform that would work in a general election. Obama's sales pitch was a fine-tuned machine by the time he beat Hillary, while the only things McCain could talk about were Iraq, Vietnam, and Obama. And the only change in that was after he nominated Palin, and had to keep defending that boneheaded decision.
And that's the weird thing about that election: McCain didn't move to the center after the primaries, as he hadn't been running an issue campaign. Rather, he moved to the right in order to appease the righties who were upset that he won. Because they never supported him. And that needs to be remembered: For as all-powerful as the conservative base is perceived as being, they hated McCain. It was all the other Republicans who supported him; the ones we rarely hear from. They preferred the tough talking war hero over all the others. The base lost that primary contest.
That's what all the big fakery with Palin was about: They knew they were going to vote for McCain in November and needed some political cover for doing so. So they pretended that Palin was such a brilliant choice that she overcame their disdain for McCain. But that was all fiction. They were going to vote for McCain and Palin provided them with the excuse to do so. And for as much as they're still in love with her, it's merely because she's telling them what they want to hear because she thinks they're her meal ticket.
But they're not in love with her; they're in love with the person she's pretending to be. But she doesn't understand conservativism any better than she understood the Bush Doctrine. Palin's not a conservative; she's a shape-shifter.
Fitting the Suit
And getting back to the point, it doesn't matter what Romney says. All that matters is who he is. And if they accept him, it'd be because he showed that he can spit tobacco on people too. It's not about adopting the right positions, but adopting the right attitude. They accepted a phony like Bush because he pretended to be a Texan and a born-again (plus, they wanted to avenge the loss of the first Bush), but that was a one-time deal they lucked into.
And I agree with Scott that things don't look good for Republicans at this point; as anyone short of the zombie Ronald Reagan is going to have a hard time being conservative enough to get the nomination, yet mainstream enough for the general. McCain made it only because he was a wounded vet who said encouraging things about our chances in Iraq, and even he got trounced by Obama. Unless Romney gets an arm blown off while saving his platoon in Iraq, I don't see what chance he has of getting the nomination.
But if they got someone with the proper bio, they can be as liberal as they want to be. That was Palin's big mistake. The base already liked her, as she was supposedly a rugged hockey mom who ate mooseburgers...plus, she was sort of hot and these guys will take whatever they can get. So she should have posed as a rural social conservative who supports big government liberalism; which is what she actually was in Alaska, so it wouldn't have been difficult. The krazy konservative routine was total overkill, which not only hurts her in a general election, but with the people who picked McCain, as well.
Again, it's not about supporting the base's issues. It's about making the party believe that you're good people.