By Steve Baldwin

In March of 2011, former Rep. John Leboutiller predicted in a News Max article that, “the tea party will select the 2012 GOP nominee.”

At the time, it was a safe prediction given the strength of the tea-party movement in the 2010 elections and the influence it was expected to have on the GOP presidential primaries just over a year later. But something went terribly wrong in the meantime. Many politicians heavily supported by the tea-party movement seem to have switched sides, pursuing their own agenda at the expense of the conservative movement and the tea party.

Take Christine O’Donnell, for example. O’Donnell lost her bid for the U.S. Senate in Delaware but continues to have a following among tea-party activists. Inexplicably, she recently endorsed Romney, stating she is doing so because she thinks “infrastructure and executive experience are important.” She also claimed, “He’s been consistent since he changed his mind.”

One wonders if the $5,000 O’Donnell received in 2010 from Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC had any influence on her decision.

Similarly, the tea-party movement was heavily involved in the election of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, but she endorsed Romney last month, claiming in her endorsement remarks, “He knows how to create jobs and turn the economy.” Haley also received some big bucks from Romney; to be precise, she took $36,000 from Romney’s various PACs over the last few years, more than any other gubernatorial candidate.

Then there’s Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, a long-time favorite of tea-party activists. Chaffetz is actually a member of the Romney “Truth Squad” that goes around harassing Newt Gingrich everywhere he speaks. Chaffetz claims Romney is a fiscal conservative and that due to his budget cuts in Massachusetts, tea partiers “love” him. But Chaffetz also loves Romney’s money since he received almost $7,000 from Romney’s PAC since 2008.

Lastly, Romney seems to have even compromised the tea-party hero of Florida, Sen. Marco Rubio. Like others, Rubio professes neutrality in the GOP primary but finds frequent opportunities to proclaim, “Romney is a conservative.” And, by the way, Rubio has accepted over $7,000 from Romney’s PAC.

What’s astonishing about these tea party-supported politicians is the level of apparent ignorance they all exhibit regarding Romney’s record. Clues evidencing Romney’s RINO ways abound; just take a look at his consultants, advisers and donors. He’s Bob Dole and John McCain all over again. Moreover, Romney doesn’t seem to have any core convictions. Indeed, contrary to O’Donnell’s remarks, Romney hasn’t been consistent about anything other than promoting himself. At last count, he’s flipped-flopped on over 30 major issues.

With respect to his economic record, Chaffetz and Haley seem clueless as to the real facts: Romney’s was one of the worst in the country. He certainly didn’t govern as a fiscal conservative. Indeed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Romney’s job-creation record was 49th in the country. Why? Tax hikes on corporations and other private sector burdens resulting from his cap-and-trade and Romneycare policies.

As for abortion, some tea-party backers appear to be parroting Romney press releases. Do they not know that Romney – since his alleged pro-life “conversion” in 2004 – has engaged in numerous pro-abortion actions? For example, the Romney administration gave millions of tax dollars to Planned Parenthood for the construction of an abortion clinic and dramatically expanded state funding of abortion by ensuring that it was covered by his Romneycare plan.

Indeed, Romney led the nation in advancing three of the left’s primary policy goals: gay marriage, cap-and-trade and government control of heath care. And now he may be the GOP nominee? This is pathetic. These politicians had the power and influence to unite conservatives all over the country behind a conservative candidate, but instead they took part in misleading voters about the real Romney record.

The tea-party movement should be outraged and should hold these politicians accountable for this betrayal. Romney typifies everything that’s wrong with the GOP and possesses the same type of RINO worldview that led to the rise of the tea-party movement. To these politicians, power and influence are more important than the future of America. If the Republican Party nominates Mitt Romney, who then loses to Obama, it will be due partly to a total lack of leadership by many of the same “conservative” politicians the tea-party movement helped elect.

Steve Baldwin is a former member of the California Legislature and former executive director of the Council for National Policy. He is the author of “From Crayons to Condoms,” published by WND Books.

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