Romney Gets a Pass

Let us hear no more about how Mitt Romney is the ideological heir to Ronald Reagan:

Mitt Romney’s campaign is sending out automated phone calls to Florida Republicans attacking John McCain on taxes and Social Security, an aide to the former governor confirms.

A Florida Republican up in the Panhandle received a robo today suggesting he “take a hard look at John McCain’s record.”

“John McCain voted against the AARP-backed Medicare prescription drug program,” the call notes, in an obvious effort to give seniors pause about the senator.

Further, the call continues, McCain opposed repealing the capital gains tax, the death tax (again — think seniors) and twice voted against the Bush tax cuts.

He’s right to be critical about the taxes, but bashing McCain for voting against the prescription drug benefit? Philip Klein sums up my thoughts succinctly:

Recently, the conservative intelligentsia seems to have decided that McCain must be stopped, and Romney is the man to do it. I understand why economic conservatives are distrustful of McCain, but Romney has given conservatives a lot of reasons to be suspicious of his views of the role of government. Romney still proudly defends his use of individual mandates in his Massachusetts health care plan, even though the idea of coercing private individuals into purchasing health insurance by threatening them with fines contradicts basic conservative principles regarding individual liberty.

If the tables were turned, and it were McCain who was attacking Romney for opposing “the AARP-backed Medicare prescription drug program” I’d immediately receive a press release from the Club for Growth condemning McCain, and the anti-McCain cottage industry of pundits, bloggers, and talk radio hosts would kick into high gear declaring this another example of the disloyal McCain showing his true inner liberalism. If the conservative movement, so desperate to rally around Romney, gives him a free pass on this scurrilous attack on fiscal conservatism, it would be an utter disgrace.

Prepare for a disgrace.

Cross posted at Tennesseefree

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