Confused along with many by Mitt Romney's statement that he was "a severely conservative" governor of Massachusetts, I realized that it was likely a split-second mind-slap from his father, George Romney, gone awry.
As reported by Time Magazine and quoted on a Mitt Romney fan's website about Mitt's dad:
“In 1964 Romney stood up to the Republican Party, demanding it take a stronger stand on civil rights. He famously walked out on Barry Goldwater's acceptance speech at the GOP convention.”Father George Romney, the moderately progressive Republican Governor of Michigan, walked out of the 1964 Republican National Convention because of Goldwater's extremist position opposing Civil Rights. He likely expressed concern to young Mitt about Goldwater's famous line, "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!"
So, when son Mitt was appearing before CPAC trying to promote his conservative cred with the party base, the prepared words appeared on his tele-prompter, "I fought against long odds in a deep blue state, but I was a conservative Republican governor." He wanted to punch it up a bit to emphasize the word "conservative." He was at CPAC, after all. He started to say "an extremely conservative" Republican. But then that guilty ghost of George jumped in his head and he couldn't say the word "extremely." His loyalty to dad overcame his impulses and he quickly switched to an even more severe word.
It is also interesting, even if I'm not quite sure what to make of it, that George's principle problem with Barry (that's Goldwater, not Soetoro) was over Civil Rights.
Mitt, please don't make me go deeper into that psyche of yours.