THE NATIONAL REVIEW CALLS OUT MITT ROMNEY... FOR BEING TOO CONSERVATIVE! I have to say, I'm shocked that the National Review ran this piece by Mark Hemingway calling out Mitt Romney for embracing the political philosophy of W. Cleon Skousen. Romney recently mentioned his admiration of Skousen during his much remarked-upon discussion of Mormonism with an Iowa talk-radio host. Skousen was once Romney's professor and Romney affirms his admiration for the man. What does it take to be too conservative for the National Review anyway? Take it away Mark:
Skousen had written a book entitled The Naked Communist?, which even for 1958 is so irrational in its paranoia that it would have made Whittaker Chambers blush. According to Skousen, The Manchurian Candidate was a documentary -- he earnestly believed Communists sought to create "a regimented breed of Pavlovian men whose minds could be triggered into immediate action by signals from their masters."
Skousen was active with the John Birch Society throughout the 1960s, even going so far as to write another book titled The Communist Attack on the John Birch Society, accusing those that criticized Birchers as promoting Communism. Lest anyone forget, notable critics of the John Birch Society in the 1960s included one William F. Buckley Jr. Skousen even managed to record this gem -- a spoken word album about the dangers of LSD for the John Birch Society's record label. (Forget acid -- simply knowing that the John Birch Society had a record label is pretty mind-blowing in and of itself.)
Skousen also attacked critics of the Mormon church's policy of not ordaining blacks (which continued until 1978!) and claimed that the election of Jimmy Carter was engineered by the Rockefellers and the Council on Foreign Relations as a way of ushering in a world government.
I agree with Hemingway that this probably doesn't actually reflect Romney's beliefs. I am, however, interested in what it says about Romney's intellectual consistency. He seems to have a rather strange set of influences (this is the same guy who said his favorite novel is Battlefield Earth). Mainly, I'd guess that this betrays the lack of a coherent world view, which in turn explains his odd ideological lurching about from moderate governor of Massachusetts to conservative Republican Presidential front-runner. In other words I'd guess that Romney is not just an opportunist -- he's also lacks a coherent ideology of any kind.