That is how David Frum, writing at the Daily Beast, interpreted the words of friend-of-the-establishment Grover Norquist at CPAC last week. Hat tip: Richard Falknor at Blue Ridge Forum who has more on this story.
Here is Frum:
The most quoted speech at CPAC this year was Mitt Romney’s, but my vote for the most significant goes to Grover Norquist’s. In his charmingly blunt way, Norquist articulated out loud a case for Mitt Romney that you hear only whispered by other major conservative leaders.
They have reconciled themselves to a Romney candidacy because they see Romney as essentially a weak and passive president who will concede leadership to congressional conservatives:
All we have to do is replace Obama. … We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. … We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don’t need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate.
The requirement for president? [according to Norquist]
Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States. This is a change for Republicans: the House and Senate doing the work with the president signing bills. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.
The Ryan budget part is fine, but what of some other of Norquist’s projects like amnesty for illegal aliens? Seems to me our big problem in America right now is a LACK OF FEARLESS LEADERSHIP. Does Norquist think Mitch McConnell and John Boehner will morph into fearless mode any time soon?
Just a reminder, Norquist was passing out cigars and whiskey at CPAC with Maryland Romney chairman Bob Ehrlich last week too. Is this how Gov. Bob sees Romney too?