Conservatives don’t have to worry about presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney turning his back on them should he win the presidency, says Politico columnist Keith Koffler, editor of the blog White House Dossier. The reason: Romney would be worried about a primary challenge from his right in 2016.
“If Romney really is the political animal his detractors on the right suspect him to be, he’ll shape his presidency with a single goal: winning a second term,” Koffler writes on Politico
. “To do that, he will need to make sure there is no running room on his right.”
Romney will do all he can to keep 2012 candidates Rick Santorum and Ron Paul out of the 2016 equation. “[That’s] because there is no worse sound for a president than the pitter-patter of a fratricide-minded opponent from the same party creeping up behind him,” Koffler says. “A primary challenge doesn’t just drain financial and emotional resources. It makes a president appear hapless and weak, unable to discipline even his own troops.”
The former Massachusetts governor won’t have to worry much about keeping moderate Republicans on board, Koffler says.
But breaking commitments to conservatives would mean trouble. “Romney has made lots of promises to conservatives,” Koffler writes. “He’s doubly tethered to them because suspicions that he is a closet moderate are in his case accompanied by concern that he is a fungible flip flopper. And if he keeps his promises, as he must, his presidency will look very conservative.”
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