Some Republicans, resigning themselves to what looks like an inevitable Mitt Romney nomination, are growing philosophical. Yes, Romney falls short ideologically. But maybe we don’t need an ideologue. Maybe a management consultant as president is exactly what we need. From Michael Gerson:
Maybe, at this moment, the Republican Party doesn’t need a clear decision on its identity (which might not be possible anyway). Romney has this advantage: In supporting him, no Republican is called upon to surrender his or her deepest ideological convictions. Romney is temperamentally conservative but not particularly ideological. He reserves his enthusiasm for quantitative analysis and organizational discipline. He seems to view the cultural and philosophic debates that drive others as distractions from the real task of governing — making systems work.
His competitors have attempted to portray Romney’s ideological inconsistency over time as a character failure. It hasn’t worked, mainly because Romney is a man of exemplary character — deeply loyal to his faith, his family and his country. But he clearly places political ideology in a different category of fidelity. Like Dwight Eisenhower, Romney is a man of vague ideology and deep values. In political matters, he is empirical and pragmatic. He studies problems, assesses risks, calculates likely outcomes. Those expecting Romney to be a philosophic leader will be disappointed. He is a management consultant, and a good one.
Has the moment of the management consultant arrived in American politics?
I would just like to remind the public that pragmatism is an ideology. And that just doing “what works” begs the question of “works to do what?” The answer to the “what” question will be determined by another ideology that lies just below the surface.