It’s now uncontroversial among conservatives to criticize President George W. Bush for grossly augmenting the size and scope of government when Republicans had control of both chambers of Congress. Unfortunately, at the time Bush was pushing policies such as the largest expansion of entitlements since the Great Society in the form of the Medicare prescription drug legislation, many on the right were too busy defending him from liberal attacks to raise much of a fuss.
Now that Mitt Romney has clinched the Republican nomination, a lot of partisans are urging conservatives to bury the hatchet and refrain from criticizing him, warning that doing so will hurt his chances of beating President Obama. But in a new ebook, Conservative Survival in the Romney Era, I argue that this is the exact wrong approach. Sure, it’s one thing for to vote for Romney over the much worse Obama, but that doesn’t mean conservatives should carry water for him in every instance and let conservatism morph into some sort of Romneyism. Doing so would represent a repeat of the mistake conservatives made when they set aside their principles to consistently defend Bush even as he pursued big government policies, and would make it far less likely that Romney pushes a conservative agenda if elected. It's important to remember that conservatism and the Republican Party, while at times allied, are entirely separate things.
I write in the ebook:
If conservatives listen to calls for them to shut up and get in line, it’s more likely that Romney’s calculus will factor in their energetic support as a constant, thus making him comfortable enough to move back toward the left. But if conservatives continue to play coy with Romney and openly criticize him when he lets them down, it’s more likely his calculus will treat their support as a variable, giving him more reason to campaign and govern as a conservative.
For more, you can check out my ebook here.