Conservative mainstay George Will isn't exactly jumping on the Mitt Romney bandwagon.
Writing in Sunday's Washington Post, he bashes the GOP contender for failing to take consistent positions on many key issues. "A straddle is not a political philosophy; it is what you do when you do not have one," Will writes.
Will calls Romney's subtly shifting positions on ethanol subsidies, for example, "a policy pretzel."
He also takes aim at Romney's failure to express a clear opinion last week about an Ohio ballot initiative that would affect collective bargaining rights in the state.
Romney, Will continues, "is a recidivist reviser of his principles who is not only becoming less electable; he might damage GOP chances of capturing the Senate...Republicans may have found their Michael Dukakis."
This is hardly the first time Mitt Romney has been accused of inconsistency, of course. His changing positions on healthcare, immigration, climate change, and more have made for frequent charges of hypocrisy from his GOP rivals, not to mention liberal critics like Jon Stewart.
Still, Romney's weak competition--his chief rivals have been deemed too unserious (Herman Cain) or undisciplined (Rick Perry)--has left him as the default establishment choice for the nomination. But many conservatives aren't happy about his flip-flopping past.
"Romney has a real trust problem he has to overcome," writes Erick Erickson at the conservative website Red State. He "seems too much an opportunist. Republicans are happy to support him, but they sure don’t want to settle for him."
George Will, in other words, may have said what many other influential conservatives are thinking.
"Even as Republicans come around to the idea that Romney may be their strongest opponent for President Obama," writes Alexander Burns at Politico, "many are still convinced that a Romney presidency would represent a historic missed opportunity for the right. Will may be the most important establishment voice to come out and say so directly."