Let's look at Mitt Romney's policy positions and try to figure out just how and where he's a moderate:
1. Immigration laws need to be strictly enforced. Arizona had the right idea. (Conservative.)
2. Abortion is morally wrong and should not be government sanctioned. (Conservative.)
3. Obamacare is a disaster and should be overturned immediately. (Conservative.)
4. Taxes should be lowered and onerous business regulations should be streamlined or eliminated. (Conservative.)
5. The American military must be strengthened and America's stance on foreign policy should be strong rather than apologetic. (Conservative.)
6. The government has no business interfering with people's religious freedom, including forcing religious institutions to pay for things that violate their beliefs. (Conservative.)
7. A smaller, less expensive and less expansive government is best. The budget must be balanced even if unpopular cuts must be made. (Conservative.)
8. Government dependency is a negative. Government policies that lead to dependence should be rethought or eliminated. (Conservative.)
And Romney's liberal positions are... um... err... wait a moment... dangit, I uh... shoot!
Did Romney sound slightly less conservative when he was governor of Massachusetts? Perhaps. How did he govern? With the exception of his health care program (which was developed in coordination with private insurance companies and used market forces to lower prices), I can think of nothing he did that was even slightly liberal. So often the very people who criticize Romney's past words as sounding too moderate are those who, for everybody else, insist on judging by actions instead of words. Apparently they are making an exception in this case.
Stamping Romney with the "moderate" label amounts to a blatant lie. So too is asserting that he represents the Republican Establishment, a phantom entity which exists in the same limbo as The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. Frankly, as Ann Coulter and others have noted, Romney is the only candidate running who is consistently conservative. I have yet to see or hear anything but ad hominem to the contrary.
I really and truly hope that the anti-Romney sentiment is not a poorly disguised anti-Mormonism. I hope America is past that by now. Considering that the very Founders of our country would not qualify in the eyes of many Evangelicals as "proper" Christians, it is strange to me that such a concern would even exist in this country. However, I have a nagging sense that religion may well a factor for those who oppose Romney's candidacy. I pray that I'm dead wrong on this. We, as Americans, ought to be better than that.
In the meantime, I suppose I'll have to put up with the anti-Romney blather. It makes no sense to me. Frankly, logically, it's sheer nonsense. (If you disagree, read the beginning of this post over again. Too many Americans are functionally illiterate these days--it's a national shame.) I like Romney. Nobody else has the knowledge and life experience necessary to solve the nation's current malaise. I like Santorum as well, but he lacks the business acumen necessary for me to be confident in his ability to fix the economy. Religion isn't an issue here; I would not vote for Huntsman in a primary, nor did I vote for Hatch in 1996. Romney, however, is a different entity altogether. He's the most qualified man for the job. Anti-Mormons, pull your collective heads out and use them as intended, for thinking!