Nod with me if you've heard people say both of these things in the past month.
1. Romney still has a problem with the base and needs to find a way to connect with it, soothe it, and unite it.
2. Romney needs a Sister Souljah moment, wherein he distances himself from the base.
We've heard the same people give Romney both pieces of advice -- apparently undeterred by the fact they're not compatible.
Now, having pointed out that oddity, let's head straight to the question.
Does Romney need a Sister Souljah moment wherein he publicly rebukes a conservative group, cause, or leader?
No. A thousand times "no." A billion gazillion jillion infinity times "no." No, like you say when you're listening to John Tesh or running out of toilet paper at someone else's home.
Why? Here goes.
1. It'd damage whatever peace he's made with the base, possibly irreparably.
The rub against Romney in the primary was that he was too moderate, that he was Obama-lite, that you couldn't trust his conversion on abortion, that he was William Weld with darker hair and that he wouldn't embrace the tea party because he was scared that it might affect his general election chances.
If he were to do anything to confirm that now, all those voters he needs in rural Missouri and Ohio would stay home and watch football.
Why sacrifice votes you already have for votes you might not even get?
That's exactly what Romney would be doing.
Abandoning a conservative position is dangerous enough for Romney, but here's what's ten times worse -- insulting the conservatives you're still trying to win by publicly rebuking them.
2. Who, exactly, would a Sister Souljah moment win over?
I realize that the Morning Joe panel would love a smackdown of a base it already dislikes. But who else would? The Left. Obama. People pining for dissension and headlines. That's just about it.
Here's another thing -- Romney's Rebuke would dominate coverage for weeks with headlines about "a battle over the GOP's soul."
The last thing a nominee needs in a general election are headlines about battles for his party's soul, and the last thing the base needs is to be constantly reminded that a guy they never really trusted just took a dump on them after winning the nomination.
Romney is already strong with independents (leading by 10% in a poll yesterday), and the only reason he'd need a Sister Souljah moment is if he were weak with indies and needed to exert his independence.
But he's not weak with indies, and there's no evidence whatsoever that they think he's too conservative.
In fact, in a USA Today/Gallup swing state poll this week, 54% say Obama is more liberal than they are, while only 33% think Romney is more conservative than they are.
That piece of data alone should squash any idea that Romney needs a Souljah moment.
3. Who really thinks Romney is a severely conservative candidate?
The Romney character sketch that's been forming in people's minds is that he's a rich flip-flopper and moderate Massachusetts governor who came up with ObamaCare.
In fact, he gets loads of laughs when he tries to do something culturally conservative like talk about hunting, go to NASCAR races, use words like "ya'll" etc., and, yes, describe himself as "severely conservative." Everyone laughs about that one.
But the new narrative is that Romney went too far right in the primary and that moderates and independents are primed to make him pay at the electoral pump.
(I understand that Mitt might have blown it with Hispanics by going too far right on immigration. But in that case, Mitt would have to Sister Souljah himself! And yes, all candidates move to the center for the general election, but they don't all insult their bases).
The fact is that Romney was never embraced by conservatives simply because he never fully embraced them.
Democrats have been pushing this idea that he's suddenly an extreme guy ever since Bill Clinton told them to, but remember, the original plan was going to be a variation of Jon Huntsman's description of Mitt as a "perfectly lubricated weather vane."
Obama's team wasn't going to attack Romney's policies as much as the fact you couldn't trust him on any of them.
Killing Romney was about killing his character; not his his "severe conservatism." Now, of course, they're moving to allegations of extremism, but where is proof that it's working?
If Romney were smart, he wouldn't even entertain the idea of rebuking his base unless independents and moderates started to abandon him, and they're not.
Until then, it's not smart to sacrifice votes you already have for votes you might not even get.