Oops, He Did it Again

Mitt Romney’s main problem with conservative voters is that they don’t trust him or his commitment to conservative values. And for good reason; it’s only been six years since he left office as the moderate, pro-choice governor of a liberal state who pioneered health care reform for the country. Romney has tried to overcome this with constant pandering, open contempt for President Obama, and casual dishonesty, but it hasn’t done the trick. What’s more, there are times when the mask slips, and Romney reveals how much he actually is a boring technocrat. Yesterday was one of those times:

Speaking in Shelby Township, MI, the former Massachusetts governor took a question about the Simpson-Bowles fiscal commission empaneled by President Obama to address the nation’s deficit and debt issues. In his response, he said that addressing taxes and spending issues are essential.

“If you just cut, if all you’re thinking about doing is cutting spending, as you cut spending you’ll slow down the economy,” he said in part of his response. “So you have to, at the same time, create pro-growth tax policies.”

In other words, Romney just admitted—in a momentary lapse of judgment—that some form of government spending can grow the economy during a recession. Nevermind that this is the accepted position of most economists, conservative and otherwise. It runs counter to the core dogma of the conservative movement, that spending cuts (and tax cuts) always grow the economy. It’s a relatively small slip—like his “severely conservative” comment at CPAC—but it’s emblematic of Romney’s distance from the party he wants to lead.