When good men do nothing: Romney: The worst choice for the GOP

When good men do nothing: Romney: The worst choice for the GOP

By the end of tomorrow, we should have a much clearer idea of who the Democratic and Republican nominees for the U.S. presidency will be this year. Super Tuesday is back, and this year, citizens of 22 states will cast their votes.

The Republican field has essentially been narrowed to two candidates: Arizona Sen. John McCain and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. McCain has drawn heat from many conservative sources, including popular radio personalities such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck for not being "conservative" enough. While McCain's credentials as a conservative may be up for debate, the issue distracts from the real danger facing the GOP this election: Mitt Romney.

Republicans may doubt McCain's conservative credentials, but it seems odd that they would openly embrace Romney as an alternative when it is nearly impossible to determine where he stands on any issue. Find me a statement that Romney has made, and I will show you six that contradict it. In debates and speeches, one finds that Romney speaks almost exclusively in generalities and is willing to reinvent himself as many times as needed and as quickly as needed to win votes. He refuses to clearly state his positions, and he all too often speaks in half-truths or lies. Whenever another candidate calls him out, he acts as though he has no idea why. Perhaps he doesn't. Simply put, Mitt Romney is an artificial candidate.

I have watched most of the Republican debates, and I don't believe I have ever seen Romney answer a question directly. Romney has even found ways to dodge the simplest "yes" or "no" questions. When asked at one debate whether waterboarding was torture, Romney stated that his administration would ensure that the techniques used in Guantanamo Bay were utilized but that he "would not be in favor of torture." When it was pointed out to him that there have been reports of waterboarding at Guantanamo, and thus he had still failed to answer whether waterboarding was torture, Romney answered, "I'm not going to specify the specific means of what is and what is not torture." The first disturbing fact is that this occurred during the CNN/YouTube debate, which means Romney essentially looked an American citizen in the eye and refused to answer his perfectly legitimate question. The second is that waterboarding is an important issue, and Romney's refusal to answer it is indicative of a broader reluctance to take a stand on controversial matters.

The other issues on which Mitt Romney has hesitated to take a firm stance on range from abortion to gay marriage to the war in Iraq. "There is no question that the President and Prime Minister al-Maliki need to have a series of timetables and milestones that they speak about, but those shouldn't be for public pronouncement," Romney said on ABC News. Yet when McCain brought up this statement, Romney's response was to announce, "I have never, ever supported a specific timetable for exit from Iraq, and it's offensive to me that someone would suggest that I have." Unfortunately for Romney, to say that he never supported them would be an outright lie.

If Romney's desire for secret timetables and a secret definition of torture are any indicators, it seems likely that a Romney presidency would make the Bush administration seem transparent by comparison. The fact that the Limbaughs and Becks of the GOP have embraced Romney with such open arms is frightening. When a group has become so partisan that it adopts this sort of "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" mentality, it would seem to indicate a larger problem within the party. I can only hope that when fellow Republicans look at Mitt Romney, they are not afraid to point out that the emperor has no clothes. Please, cast your votes elsewhere.

Shane Carley is a freshman in the School of International Service and a conservative columnist for The Eagle.

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