Mona Charen: Who is the true conservative?

BY MONA CHAREN Published: March 4, 2012
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Rick Santorum, to his credit, resisted the Occupy Wall Street-style Bain bashing. But on the day of the Michigan primary, he sponsored robocalls that urged Democrats to cross over and vote for him, saying, “Romney supported the bailouts for his Wall Street billionaire buddies but opposed the auto bailouts. That was a slap in the face to every Michigan worker.”

Really? Was opposing the bailout of GM and Chrysler a “slap in the face” to the Michiganders who work for Ford, a company that declined to seek a bailout? And, by the way, every Michigan worker paid for that bailout.

To hear Gingrich and Santorum tell it, Romney is a plutocrat and a dreaded “Massachusetts moderate.” But the former Pennsylvania senator voted against right-to-work legislation and voted in favor of a vast new entitlement, the prescription drug benefit, as well as No Child Left behind. Gingrich's apostasies gush forth like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Romney backed an individual mandate in Massachusetts. OK. That's a demerit. But the individual mandate (which is perfectly constitutional when a state, as opposed to the federal government, imposes it) is only a fraction of what's wrong with Obamacare. That 2,000-plus page monstrosity deforms one-sixth of our economy, imposes countless new regulations and mandates, and intensifies everything that is wrong with our current health care mess. Romney, like the others, is committed to repealing it.

So he's for a free-market reform of health care, cutting spending, tackling the soaring debt, reducing taxes, simplifying the code, eliminating regulations, drilling for domestic energy, appointing conservative judges and keeping our military the strongest on Earth. And Romney has not attacked his competitors from the left but from the right because that's where they, far more than he, are vulnerable.

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