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January 18th, 2012 5:00 pm
Romney Can’t Make the Moral Case for Capitalism

Will someone please tell the Wall Street Journal editorial page that Mitt Romney is not Rick Santorum?

Over the past week there’s been a raft of handwringing at the conservative publication over Romney’s inability to make “the moral case” for all kinds of economic activity, such as private equity and capitalism’s risk and reward system.  Yet since Romney hasn’t risen to the challenge of defending the free market, surrogates have stepped forward in droves.  Two recent examples include a guest column that ran yesterday headlined “Newt’s Bain Opportunism is Mitt’s Opportunity,” calling on Romney to “make a moral case for free market capitalism.”  One of today’s editorials, “Mitt Romney’s 15%,” thinks the candidate’s disclosure of his tax rate gives him “the opportunity to make the moral and practical case for lower rates and fewer loopholes.”

The Journal and other economics-only conservatives are demanding too much from Romney.  He’s not a moralist.  As this revealing bio-piece makes clear, those who know him consider Romney a relativist.  Members of his church came to a similar conclusion when he challenged Ted Kennedy in 1994.  Remember, the defining characteristic of a relativist is that he doesn’t believe in absolutes.  For example, the idea that government should never force its citizens to purchase a product against their will…

Simply put, the reason Romney won’t make the moral case for capitalism is because he can’t make it.  It’s just not the way he approaches decisions in business or politics.  Like other New England Republicans, he sounds like a fiscal conservative, but he’s always willing to increase spending, and pass more regulations.  (See RomneyCare, the Salt Lake City Olympic Games bailout, etc.)  His history shows that he opts for what works instead of what’s right.

If the Wall Street Journal and its guest columnists are chagrined that Romney is unable or unwilling to defend beliefs they hold dear, then maybe it’s time they lower the temperature on the rest of the conservative movement who have been expressing the same disappointment with Romney since 2008.

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