How conservatively would Mitt Romney govern?

This is an offshoot of various other threads and observations about how little some in Mitt Romney’s base seem to trust him, and about how many of those describe him as “not really conservative.”

Should Romney be elected, how conservatively do you think he’ll run things? He’ll more likely than not lead a charge to repeal the ACA, but what about going further? Do you believe he really won’t try to emulate the Ryan budget, as he claims? If he had a chance to dismantle Medicare in favor of a voucher program, would he? How likely is he to engage in armed conflict overseas? What sort of Supreme Court Justices would he nominate?

How about socially? Would he attempt to reinstate DADT? Make any practical moves at all against abortion?

How much would he be influenced by Congress and other political/business figures outside of his Cabinet?

Liberals and conservatives alike, please try to keep hyperbole to a minimum. I’d like to know that what you opine here is what you really think. :slight_smile:

If he wins, he’ll be in hock to Teapartiers in Congress and the right-wing of the GOP. I think Romney will pretty much roll over and give them everything they want and more so they’ll keep quiet and not revolt against him.

He would probably be fairly conservative, perhaps the most conservative President of recent decades. If Romney wins, it’s likely that both houses of Congress would be Republican and he would need them to get any legislation passed. If he wins after the Ryan pick, it would widely be perceived as a victory for conservative ideology and that would shape his Presidency. Plus he needs his base for re-election just as much as he needs it for election in the first place.

In terms of specifics I am not sure he will have the votes for a full-blooded attack on Medicare but there will be lots of discretionary spending cuts especially on services used by the poor. There will probably be big tax cuts for rich people and a lot of behind-the-scenes deregulation for corporations. The tax cuts will worsen the budget deficit which will be used to justify more spending cuts.His SC nominations will definitely be conservative, along the lines of Alito. I don't think a full-scale invasion of any country is likely but definitely a more bellicose policy towards Iran possibly involving air strikes.

I think Romney is a conservative on economic issues. Where there’s significant doubt is on social issues. I think he’s pretending to be conservative just to get the religious right to support him, but there’s really not much a President can do on those issues other than jawbone them. And since Romney would be focused like a laser on the economy and the budget, why would he bother to do even that very often?

The ACA will be repealed, but the Ryan budget is not going to happen. Republicans supported it because they felt they had to support something because their fiscal credibility was damaged over the Bush years. Backing the Ryan plan gave them electoral lumps, but at least got some of that cred back. Now Democrats agree that Republicans are heartless budget cutters. But once in office, I think Romney and the Republican Congress will take a more incremental approach. Get spending back to 2008 levels, which really should not be at all controversial given that supposedly spending only went up due to the recession. Assuming unemployment drops to 6% by the end of Romney’s term, there’s no reason cutting spending back to 2008 levels should be hard.

Entitlement reform will be important, but there’s no way Republicans do anything without Democratic cover. Which means they may not do anything.

The answer is the same as the “how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll pop”?: the world may never know.

If one assumes mass insanity or Republicans successfully blocking the votes of enough Democratic voters: he would be as conservative as Congress is. As Grover Norquist states, all they want is someone with enough working digits to handle a pen and sign whatever Congress puts on his desk.

No wonder McCain lost.

Strictly. He’d spank anyone in Congress who disagreed with him.

Or put on a police uniform, hold them down and cut their hair, then stuff them in cages on the roof of the Presidential limousine. :wink:

This. He has no principles of his own.

The website 538 did a bit on Arlen Specter in 2008, it talked about how his voting record changes based on if he was facing a primary or not. When he was a GOP senator not facing a primary from the right, he voted conservative about 60% of the time (this is what I recall of the numbers). When Pat Toomey was challenging him from the right he started voting conservative about 90% of the time, trying to outconservative the conservative. Then when he realized he wouldn’t win a GOP primary he switched parties. When he did that and Joe Sestak was challenging him from the left he was voting conservative only about 20% of the time (from what I recall, the numbers may have been a little different), trying to outliberal the liberal.

I tend to think Romney is the same type of character, he will vote based on whatever the people who can give him what he wants want him to vote. Which is politics in general, but I think Romney takes it further than most politicians as can be seen of his total changes in philosophy from MA in the 90s and early 00’s to his run in the GOP presidential primary in 2012.

So in 2012 who is going to have power over Romney? I’m not sure. He will be president, it isn’t like the tea party can or will impeach him. Once Romney no longer needs to win the votes to the conservative base (which he needs now for the primary and presidential election) will he still cater to them? I’m thinking probably not. But if he does that, does he win a second term? Can the GOP possibly primary Romney in a 2016 presidential primary? I wouldn’t put it past them, they have pushed a lot of senators out but I don’t know about a sitting president (like Reagan tried to do in 76 or Kennedy tried to do in 80). It is possible Romney knows the tea party could primary him in 2016, so he may still be in hock to them his entire presidency. If so, I predict a pretty right wing across the board presidency.

So fundamentally it comes down to ‘whose good side does Romney have to get on to get what he wants’. And I’m assuming he fundamentally wants power and prestige, which he obtains by achieving elected office.

I’m thinking, not sure though, that if elected he will throw a few conservative agendas onto the pile but by and large he will probably ignore the base. Not only that, but the base has been pretty rude to him so I don’t see Romney siding with the same people who boo’ed him at the debates or tried to pick ‘anyone’ but him as their nominee once he no longer has to.

I’m guessing he will govern (if you take away the pressure from the right) as a corporatist on domestic issues (being a corporatist has been something he seems pretty committed to, I don’t see that changing). No idea about foreign policy. I’m guessing he wouldn’t really care about social issues.

But this is assuming he has nothing to gain by catering to the tea party after 2012. if the risk of a 2016 primary is real, he will push himself so far to the right he becomes a one term president and loses the general in 2016 IMO.

His loyalty, like that of Ryan, would be to the Kochs and their many organizations. He’ll sign what he’s told, and the grand corporatocracy will get their wishes.

Romney first and foremost wants to win reelection. If the path to that is to do what the right wants, that’s what he’ll do. However, if the best way to win reelection is triangulation, he’ll do that.

This idea that Romney is some puppet of people with more power than him goes against his entire history. Romney is a panderer with no principles. But he has unquestionably been in charge in every endeavour he’s undertaken. Romney will do what’s best for Romney, and if that means bucking the Republicans and using them as a foil, he’ll do that.

I would not even try to predict what the guy would do as President.

He ran as a moderate before, but one might argue that was opportunistic considering we’re talking about Massachussetts here. I’m not so sure he’d do anything necessary to be re-elected, because he didn’t even try to get re-elected as Governor. Of course, it’s possible that it was only ‘another tick on the resume’, a stepping stone for President.

All in all, I find him deeply unsettling. Pandering to extreme conservatives, consorting with (and tolerating the extremes of) Donald Trump, but still at every turn being very very unwilling to be firmly nailed down on just about anything. It’s like he’s had only one goal, and that’s to be President.

But what the fuck does he want the job for and what does he intend to do with it?

What will he turn into once he has it?