Mitt Romney, Fred Barnes writes, citing the candidate’s victory speech last night . . .
. . . insisted the brutal primary campaign, with Romney and Gingrich trading attacks on each other’s character and motives, won’t leave Republicans divided. “A competitive primary does not divide us,” he said. “It prepares us. When Republicans gather in August at their convention, “ours will be a united party with a winning ticket for America.” He didn’t say so, but it’s up to Romney to do the uniting.
And to do that, he needs to show he appreciates the appeal of his rivals and act to quell doubts about his conservatism. Just saying the party will be united won’t make it so.
Yesterday, Robert Costa reported one step the once-and-future frontrunner could take toward unifying the party, make a bold statement on tax reform:
As Romney mulls [“’phase two”’of his tax-reform plan“], Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, has some advice: endorse the House GOP’s tax-reform plan instead of proposing a separate legislative outline.
“The smart move is to say, ‘I’m with Paul Ryan,’” Norquist says. “Then it’s not ‘his plan,’ and [Romney] can simply say, ‘I’ve endorsed the House Republican plan’ when prompted about tax reform.”
A bold plan will show a commitment to conservative reform. Instead of attacking his rivals, Romney should now focus on the issues.
Should he put forward — or sign onto — plans to reduce the deficit, reform the tax code, repeal statist legislation (e.g., Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, Sarbanes-Oxely), he will go a long way to rallying the base. And he should put in a kind word or two (or three) about his rivals.
And with reverence, recall Ronald Reagan.