A lot of bloggers (mostly on the left) are buzzing about an MSNBC report of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s remarks at a “closed-door fundraiser . . . Sunday evening” where the former Massachusetts governor “offered some of the most specific details to date about the policies he would pursue if elected.”
Unlike remarks the presumptive Democratic nominee made four years ago at a similar closed-door fundraiser, Romney’s comments hardly present the image of an elitist politician looking down on American citizens not drawn to his campaign. Instead, they reveal a conservative reformer, eager to eliminate excessive bureaucracy and to promote federalism:
“I’m going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Some eliminate, but I’m probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go,” Romney said. “Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later. But I’m not going to actually go through these one by one. What I can tell you is, we’ve got far too many bureaucrats. I will send a lot of what happens in Washington back to the states.”
Asked about the fate of the Department of Education in a potential Romney administration, the former governor suggested it would also face a dramatic restructuring.
“The Department of Education: I will either consolidate with another agency, or perhaps make it a heck of a lot smaller. I’m not going to get rid of it entirely,” Romney said, explaining that part of his reasoning behind preserving the agency was to maintain a federal role in pushing back against teachers’ unions. Romney added that he learned in his 1994 campaign for Senate that proposing to eliminate the agency was politically volatile.
At that time, Sen. Ted Kennedy ran ads against Romney — then a political neophyte — accusing him of being uncaring for saying he wished to eliminate the agency.
Nice to see that the candidate, in the spirit of Waiting for Superman, recognizes the need to push back against the teachers’ unions, among the primary obstacles to real education reform.
Reports of Romney’s remarks can only help him consolidate support among conservatives, eager to see, at minimum, at real restructuring of the federal government. Nor will they hurt him among wavering independent voters, eager, to borrow an expression, not to continue “down the road we’re on.“