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Cross posted from Blue Virginia

You know how a lot of us keep wondering where the sane conservatives, and/or the ones who simply find Willard Romney to be a pathetic excuse for a candidate, have been exactly? Well, here in Virginia, it looks like we've found one -  Chris Beer, aka "Mason Conservative," who describes himself as "born to be a Republican...the day Ronald Reagan was sworn into office...a proud Bush voter...[who] started this blog...to help push the conservative agenda in Virginia, and help the Republican Party grow for the 21st century." In short, the guy is about as diehard a conservative, and as diehard a Republican, as they come.

Well, it now appears that "Mason Conservative" doesn't see Mitt Romney as the way to grow the Republican Party for the 21st century. He's absolutely correct about that, of course. But let's let Chris explain his own reasoning for why he's ditched Mitt and is instead supporting Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

*According to Chris, Romney "will be a complete disaster for conservatism as president, just as he is proving to be as a candidate." In addition, Chris writes, "I've never trusted him to begin with on every issue from spending to abortion. He wants to be president so badly, it unnerving."
*Chris says that although he remains a "strong supporter of AG Cuccinelli" who "look[s] forward to doing my little part in pushing the party toward the libertarian/constitutional conservative side...part of that is refusing to vote for terrible candidates who I don't believe in." That would be Romney, of course, one of the worst - if not THE worst - presidential candidates in the history of the Republican Party.
*What pushed Chris, who already had severe misgivings about Romney, totally over the edge, didn't actually come directly from Romney himself, but from RNC Chair Reince Preibus, who tweeted following the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, "Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic." According to Chris, "That was disgusting." Agreed.

Lots more on the "flip"

*In addition to his blog post, the comments section continues to flesh out Chris' thoughts:  this section in particular is worth quoting in full (bolding added by me for emphasis):

Essentially what Romney did was attack the president for a statement made by scared diplomats who were surrounded by furious Egyptians who had already broken through their outerwalls. Its easy to have muscles when your at home, but when you are surrounded by angry locals in a foriegn country with only a small group of marines protecting them you can better understand why they put a statement out like that. It is cowardly to attack those people, and by extension the President, for trying to do whatever they could to stop these people from taking the Embassy and doing harm to them. Its a frightening lack of judgement to attack surrounded diplomats in a hostile enviornment in a foriegn country and use it to beat up the President in the midst of a crisis.

[...]

I don't know if you've actually LIVED overseas, not just visit, but I have. I was across the street from tanks firing on the Russian White House in 1993 spending three days underground on a gymnasium floor scared that something serious was going to happen. My family has been evacuated before while I was stuck here not knowing what was happening. For Romney to attack those diplomats who aren't sitting at home protected by our shores shows a fundamental lack of respect for diplomacy and a complete unpreparedness of understand how the world actually works.

I couldn't have said it better myself, that's for sure, as I've never been in the type of situation Chris personally experienced, back in 1993. On the other hand, I got my Master's Degree in Middle East Studies, and have traveled all over the world - including to some "hot spots." I also have friends and neighbors in the Foreign Service, including ones serving in dangerous places. Based on all that, I can definitively say that Chris is right, and Romney is wildly wrong - the LAST thing you want to do is what Romney did yesterday, and which he continues to "double down" on apparently. It really makes me wonder if the guy's got a few screws loose, or just isn't very smart, or what?
*Finally, Mason Conservative (Chris) believes that anyone who believes the Tea Party will "'live to fight another day' with Romney as president and in charge of every professional arm of the GOP [is] crazy." To the contrary, Chris argues, "the Tea Party would be stronger once the yoke of Romneyism is removed," while "the best thing for conservatism is for Romney to lose and allow true constitutional conservatives to finally take over the party." Fascinating.

Anyway, I just want to say I admire Chris' courage in speaking out, because he surely is going to take some flack for this from his fellow conservatives. As a progressive blogger and activist myself (since 2003, when I joined the Draft Wesley Clark movement, and 2005 when I started "Raising Kaine"), I'm well aware of how difficult it can be to go against the majority of your own "team," such as when I supported Terry McAuliffe over Brian Moran in 2009 and took a TON of crap for that. But, in the end, we have to do what we believe is right, just as Chris is doing here. Good for him.

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