Tuesday, October 16, 2012
President Mitt: The Long Haul
I want to touch on an aspect of Mitt that many have missed: over time, I think President's Mitt's administration will be more open to conservative influence than any administration in recent memory.
As I said when I endorsed him, I only have two expectations for President Mitt: sign the legislation a conservative Congress sends him and be a better Commander-in-Chief. Any other domestic policy leadership Mitt shows is a bonus. I also think that, given his business background, Mitt might produce many Tea Party friendly outcomes for different reasons than tea partiers might name.
Big picture items will dominate President Mitt's first year: Economic Recovery, Entitlements, Cleaning up the mess abroad, Vladimir Putin, and Repealing Obamacare. I'm not sure anything Congress and President Mitt produce that first year will set hearts afire, but it'll be good enough. The 60 to 70 percent of what we want that we'll get under President Mitt is a lot better than the zero percent we'll get in an Obama second term.
Once we get into year two and three of President Mitt's administration, however, I think we could see policy take a major Tea Party shift. The silver lining of the late Bush/Obama spending spree is that it woke up the conservative grassroots. The conservative grassroots is more engaged than we've been in a long time. We've learned that it's not enough to elect our candidates, we have to influence the policy-making process as well. We're not going anywhere.
The tea party is going to grow more mature and sophisticated over the next five years. As Sen. Mike Lee pointed out at FreePAC Dallas, it took 14 years to get from the Boston Tea Party to the Constitution. Tea Partiers understand this is a long term fight, and we're in it to stay.
President Mitt's first year will be (a lot) better than the alternative. It might not be great, but it'll be good enough. From year two onward, however, a maturing Tea Party could exert tremendous influence over his administration.