Credit to Andrew Sullivan for coining the term to describe Mitt Romney’s future base — ‘moderate cynics’:
Stu Rothernberg defines them:
“What’s interesting about Romney and his supporters is that, despite his conservative rhetoric, moderates and country club conservatives continue to support his candidacy. Think about it. Romney, who stresses his opposition to abortion, talks tough on immigration and rules out a tax increase even to help cut the deficit, continues to get the support of pragmatic conservatives who reject former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s ideological rigidity, thought Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) was too conservative and viewed Texas Gov. Rick Perry as a bomb thrower.
Clearly, establishment Republicans also don’t believe Romney when he talks about his views and his agenda. If they did, they probably would feel about him the same way they feel about Santorum or Bachmann. Romney’s great asset is that these voters figure he is merely pandering to evangelicals and the most conservative element of the GOP when he talks about cultural issues, immigration and taxes. The bottom line, of course, is that nobody — not his critics and not his allies — really believes Mitt Romney.”
Ed Kilgore extrapolates to the general election:
For all the differences in personality and background, that’s why I’ve always thought of Mitt as the New Nixon. He may succeed politically because people with money figure he’ll do what it takes for him—and them—to win, because he’s a safer bet than his opponents, and even because people are cynical enough about him to assume he won’t let principles get in the way of doing things the country obviously needs. But (with the obvious exception of LDS folk) he’s not going to inspire much of anybody, and can ascend to a victory over Barack Obama only on the dark wings of an exceptionally nasty negative campaign reinforced by disheartening external events.