There's a new narrative the media is trying to float; it is that of Mitt Romney as a "Moderate." They're calling his debate performance that of a "Moderate Republican." They're marveling over his "sudden move to the center." They're even saying it about his very Reaganesque (in content- I don't know about delivery) speech at the Virginia Military Institute this morning.
If it weren't so serious, it would be funny.
As it is, I believe I see what they're trying to do, but I think they're going to regret the tactic. The plan seems to be an attempt to drive a wedge between the conservative base and Mr. Romney. One of the biggest criticism of Romney during the primaries, and I certainly believed it, was that he was a "North Eastern Squish." That is, that he was too moderate.
Here is why that fails, however. Romney's performance in the Debate was many people's first introduction. In the debate, he was not "moderate." His answers were fairly orthodox conservatism. Lower taxes. Lower spending. Less regulation. More free trade. These are only "moderate" ideas in that most people already know they're the right way to go- but this is exactly what Conservatives have been screaming for for more than 20 years. If the media suddenly calls these stances "moderate," then they're calling many core Conservative values "Moderate." Considering the media's solid successes in making it okay only to vote for "moderate" Republicans, they're tacitly saying, "It's okay to vote for core Conservative values."
It fails even worse on foreign policy. The speech Mr. Romney gave today was incredible, from the transcript. The same ideas that won the peace after World War II and eventually brought down the "Evil Empire" of the Soviet Union were the foundation on which Mr. Romney built that speech. Without using the words, he nevertheless spoke of Peace through Strength. He spoke of the same "firewall" strategy we used to combat the spread, and eventually reverse the tide, of Communism. He spoke of foreign aid as a diplomatic weapon. He spoke of free trade as being valuable both economically and diplomatically. He spoke of supporting those who support our values.
Look at those points. If those are "Moderate" then every Republican since Ford has been a "Moderate." By calling those ideals he espoused "moderate," they are paving the way for another mass migration of Democrats- those blue collar Democrats who vote that way because that's just "what we do," to vote Republican in large numbers for the first time since they voted for Reagan.
And, yet, they're correct. For all this will hurt Democrats, the media is correct. These are moderate views. They are not some insane protectionist trite. They are not the views of some rabid war-monger. Economically they are not the views of some bleeding-heart, money-is-no-object Liberal and they are not the views of some, "Government is Evil!" weirdo. They are common sense ideas. They are ideas people know lead to prosperity, just they know the foreign policy ideas will lead to peace.