In his interview with the editors of the Wall Street Journal, Mitt Romney showed that he understands the core issue facing conservative voters today:
So it is also notable that now Mr. Romney describes the core failure of Mr. Obama’s economic agenda as faith in “a wise group of governmental bureaucrats” rather than political and economic freedom. “It is a refrain that we have seen throughout history where smart people are convinced that smart people ought to be able to guide an economy better than hordes of individuals pursuing their self-interest,” Mr. Romney says, “the helter-skelter of free people choosing their course in life.”
The Republican presidential candidate says he never intended to run for office again after 2008 [, but] drawn back into public life amid Mr. Obama’s bid to “fundamentally transform” the country, to use the president’s own words, into “an entitlement society,” to use Mr. Romney’s.
“America can continue to lead the world from a values standpoint, from an economic standpoint, and from a military standpoint,” Mr. Romney avers. He says the coming election represents “a very simple choice” between Mr. Obama’s “European social democrat” vision and “a merit-based opportunity society—an American-style society—where people earn their rewards based upon their education, their work, their willingness to take risks and their dreams.”
Emphasis added. Read the whole thing. He gets that the major problem of the Obama administration (and even, to some extent, the Bush administration that preceded it) is to prefer the judgment of a handful of experts in Washington, D.C. (drawn from and at university campuses) to that of millions of Americans and the entrepreneurs among us acting independently in cities, suburbs, towns and hamlets across the country.
This is not to say I’m backing Romney, only to point out that he sees the stakes. The article goes on to recount more episodes from the interview which makes Mr. Romney seem, at least in his approach to governing, more like Bill Clinton than anyone else. He is wonkish, “highly analytical,” as he puts it, “driven by data”.
And like that Democrat, he does understand the tenor of the times and tapers his policies toward them.
From a small government point of view, that is not entirely a bad thing.