A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

It's the animus. . .

. . .of the pro-Romney crowd that seems to bother Victor Davis Hanson. I, as one would expect, have to agree with him.

And, really, this is no new development. It may come to the reader's astonishment that I was a tentative Romney supporter -- not once, but twice -- before I finally decided to jump to McCain. The first time, I had been persuaded by the folks over at The Corner that he was the undisputed, hands-down, no-brainer choice. I was actually most persuaded by Kathryn Jean Lopez because I figured, anyone who can generate this much enthusiasm in a jaded political journalist must really be something special.

I thought about that, and the fact that he'd been elected as a Republican governor in the most liberal state in the Union. That told me that the man must have immense political skills. After all, to be conservative enough to draw praises from National Review, and get elected by popular vote in the land of Kennedy staggers the mind. It's the political equivalent of Michael Moore sticking the Triple Sow Cow, or however you spell it.

But, when Rudy Giuliani was flying high in national polls, I started to see a side of some of Romney's supporters at Lucianne.com that I wasn't really comfortable with. Some had a tendency to be quite heated in their denunciation of the man. I must stress that it wasn't by any means most of Romney's supporters, or that Giuliani's supporters' hands were immaculate. But, there was enough of a minority of them who were sufficiently nasty in their attacks on Rudy that it made me a little hesitant to join in the fun. So, I backed away.

For a while, it seemed that the viciousness had abated some, and Romney's backers had decided that it wasn't in anybody's interest to kneecap Giuliani in order to secure the nomination. So, I began to tentatively ease back over into Romney's column, where I stayed for a couple of months, I suppose. (Am I the only one who finds it almost impossible to mentally gauge time in this compressed process?)

Looking back on it all, it occurs to me that the reason the hostility had died down is because Rudy had already gone into a decline in polls, and the Romney camp simply didn't perceive him to be the threat he once had been.

There was no one event that I can point to for pushing me out of the Romney column, but there was a bit of a catalytic moment that led me to re-examine my allegiance. It was the day I read IowaHawk's takedown of Hugh Hewitt's hagiography to Romney's "Faith in America" speech. I had actually read IowaHawk's piece before I had read Hewitt's and thought, well, I have to check this out. I was sure it couldn't have been as bad as portrayed, given the author's satirical skills.

When I actually read the first paragraph, I couldn't believe it. I knew something was way out of proportion.
Mitt Romney's "Faith in America" speech was simply magnificent, and anyone who denies it is not to be trusted as an analyst. On every level it was a masterpiece. The staging and Romney's delivery, the eclipse of all other candidates it caused, the domination of the news cycle just prior to the start of absentee voting in New Hampshire on Monday --for all these reasons and more it will be long discussed as a masterpiece of political maneuver.

How can you reason with that? How are you supposed to maintain civility when the loyal opposition starts from that premise? It seemed to me that, with Hugh Hewitt making a statement as strong as that, and ending all debate on the matter with the out-of-hand dismissal of even a "beg to differ", something just wasn't right.

That led me to start looking around and examining Romney's record and finding it all too often in conflict with what I had understood. And, like many people in early December, I gave John McCain another look. After some brief agonizing over his recent apostasies, and measuring them against Romney's various policy positions, noting how recently they'd changed, the alternating dismissiveness and aggressiveness, I finally decided that I would be more comfortable as a McCain supporter.

I don't deny my bias, but I can say with a clear conscience that I see a lot of what was directed at Rudy Giuliani now being directed at John McCain. It's nice to know that Victor Davis Hanson and I are, if nothing else, in agreement on one small point with regard to Romney's supporters.

UPDATE: VDH responds to his detractors.

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