The Fight for the Right

I woke up and saw this article at the Christian Broadcasting Network (recall, Pat Robertson’s operation). They report that Jerry Zandstra, President of the Michigan Pro-life League and a member of Sam Brownback’s Exploratory Committee, attacked Romney for flip-flopping on taxes:

If this were the only flip in Gov. Romney’s budding candidacy, fiscal conservatives could attribute it to him seeing the light and, echoing Churchill, gaining a brain. Perhaps he has learned that new taxation only leads to a decline in jobs and the overall economy. But this is not Gov. Romney’s first flip nor is it likely to be his last in his run for the White House.

Also note that Brownback’s latest pro-life IA hire came out of the gate with an attack on Romney. And then I saw Duncan Hunter attack on Romney about needing all that money to look like a conservative:

Hunter said he wouldn’t need to raise that kind of money because "most of that money goes to pay for consultants that help them look like they are conservative and I am conservative already."

Gilmore has also gone after Romney.

Why is everyone piling on Romney? First, they probably detect a little blood and they are sharks. Second, Romney is positioning himself as the "winnable conservative". Romney will have more money than anyone else who is positioning himself on the right. Romney (and Democrats) will attack McCain because McCain is the front-runner. But everyone else in the field, with the exception of Giuliani, has to go through Romney for votes. No one is going to say, "I can’t support McCain, so I’m for Jim Gilmore." They might say, "Romney is not conservative enough for me, so I’m supporting Brownback." And that is what everyone else, especially Brownback.

In other words, McCain is convincing people he "right enough and right for today", while Romney is going to be occupied convincing people that he’s "righter than John McCain and everyone else, or at least good enough." And everyone else just has to do "righter than Romney."

Very hard for Romney. He has to thread this carefully.