Anecdotally, Mitt Romney seems to get a lot of support among disillusioned former Obama supporters and others hoping for a reasonable Republican alternative. While I confess to having initially been intrigued by Romney in the 2008 race, I can’t really imagine supporting him now. Not so much because of his flip-flops on certain policies (though he was certainly a more liberal governor of Massachusetts than he’s been as a presidential candidate). Rather, what bothers me most about Romney is his abandonment of moderate principles he once espoused.
I thought of this recently when watching a set of video clips from his 1994 campaign for the U.S. Senate. This video is organized to highlight his shifting policy positions, but I think it’s more interesting as a statement of moderate political principles, principles which Romney has since abandoned.
Among the principles of moderate politics Romney espouses in this video:
- Respect for precedent.
- Separation of personal beliefs from public service.
- Practical reality may necessitate imperfect solutions, even in moral matters.
- Government regulation and market-based solutions can go hand in hand.
I miss the Romney who believed (or simply was willing to admit believing) these things. He may not be as radical or rabble-rousing as some of his Republican opponents for the presidency, but he’s far from moderate.