David Frum

11.16.12

Nick Gillespie Doesn't Like That I Bromance Social Conservatives

Nick Gillespie at Reason takes issue with my argument that social conservatives have much to offer a reformed Republican party - and that Romney-Ryan's Randian-style 47% arguments damaged Republicans with middle-class voters.

Clearly Mitt Romney didn't resonate with "the middle class" but it wasn't because he was too libertarian on either social or economic issues. Romney checked all the social con boxes (anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-drugs, anti-Mexican, etc.) but he didn't warm the hearts of Tea Partyers or night-watchman-state libertarians either.

Romney didn't just fail to articulate a plausible economic program that would rekindle growth in America; he failed to really hammer home just how bad Obama's handling of the economy has been - and how the president's mindless interventions actually exacerbated the problems they were supposed to address. You can blame Romney's loss on a lot of things, but the least convincing of all is libertarianism.