Jacob Heilbrunn

The Wall Street Journal Attacks Mitt Romney

 Mitt Romney wants to become America's next president. He's been very successful, according to a number of reports, at raising millions on Wall Street. But the paper named after it, the Wall Street Journal, isn't satisfied with Romney. In a lengthy and extraordinary editorial, it calls him the worst epithet a conservative could probably think of—"Obama's Running Mate."

When a political party is out of power, or at least doesn't hold the presidency, numerous dissenting voices are usually heard. It can be a fructifying time. But it can also be a time when ideological agendas are ruthlessly enforced. The Journal clearly believes that it is flushing out a Trojan Horse—a false prophet, in the form of Romney, who laid down the lineaments of the Obama health care plan during his own tenure as Governor of Massachusetts—and is now attempting to palliate, not disown, his record. Romney's "fatal flaw" is that he doesn't understand the free enterprise system, says the Journal:

 

 

Mr. Romney's fundamental error was assuming that such differences could be parsed by his own group of experts, as if government can be run by management consultants. He still seems to believe he somehow squared the views of Jonathan Gruber, the MIT evangelist for ObamaCare, with those of the Heritage Foundation. In reality, his ostensible liberal allies like the late Ted Kennedy saw an opening to advance their own priorities, and in Mr. Romney they took advantage of a politician who still doesn't seem to understand how government works. It's no accident that RomneyCare's most vociferous
defenders now are in the White House and left-wing media and think tanks. They know what happened, even if he doesn't.

 

The Journal's message could not be clearer: he is not one uf us. He has a credibility gap. He isn't a true conservative. He's a phony, a pretender who will sell out conservative principles the second he enters office. He is, in other words, George H.W. Bush reincarnated.

Now it's clearly the case that Romney, in a weak Republican field, has the most practical experience as a businessman and Governor. It would also seem that his Republican bona fides are in order—after all, his own father, George, was Governor of Michigan. If he became president, it also clear that he would be subjected to a barrage of criticism, much as George H.W. Bush was, for not acting like a real conservative. The war against Romney has begun. His greatest hurdle may not be battling the Democratic party but the conservative base in the GOP itself.