Mitt Romney’s victory in Michigan’s Republican primary last night throws the GOP race for president wide open. But it should also end once and for all the idea that Romney is the heir to Reagan-style conservatism.
For some reason, Romney has been able to claim the Reagan mantle despite his support for:
- A health care plan virtually indistinguishable for the one proposed by Hillary Clinton;
- Support for No Child Left Behind, calls for increased federal education spending, and a proposal to have the federal government give a laptop computer to every schoolchild in America;
- Calls for increased farm price supports;
- Support for the Medicare prescription drug benefit; and
- An undistinguished record on taxes and spending as Massachusetts governor, earning a C on Cato’s governor’s report card, and including support for $500 million in increased fees and corporate taxes.
But in Michigan, Romney pulled out all the big government stops with a call for $20 billion in corporate welfare to revive the state’s struggling auto industry. Romney, who called his proposal “a work-out, not a bail-out,” also promised that as president he would develop “a national policy to help automakers.”
George W. Bush once said, “When somebody hurts, government has got to move.” Mitt Romney echoes that, “A lot of Washington politicians are aware of it, aware of the pain, but they haven’t done anything about it. I will.”
Ronald Reagan must be spinning in his grave.