I, like all of you, have been carefully watching the GOP primaries. I have watched every word of every debate. I have seen all of the candidates speak in person multiple times, sometimes travelling to events to hear them make their case in their own words. If you see the postings on this blog, you will see that I at times have supported various candidates. I looked forward with anticipation to Perry’s candidacy and desperately wanted him to perform well. I was disappointed with his performance like many. I watched Newt’s early campaign struggle and was excited by its emergence into a legitimate and potentially winning campaign. I sat in awe of Rick Santorum’s explanations of his unfailing support for social values that I also deeply care for and found myself believing that he is all that he says he is.
I’ve also watched Mitt Romney. And, like many, I have been concerned about what appears to be a man with less than the staunch conservative views that I am looking for. This was surprising to me since I’ve been around Mitt for a long time, so to speak. I watched him when I volunteered for the 2012 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City where I saw the controversy take over the games prior to his involvement and then I saw him come in and turn it into an exceptional representation of what Utah and this country had to offer the world.
I then graduated from college and moved to Massachusetts to look for work (that’s where my parents lived). I watched Mitt Romney run against an extreme liberal for the governorship. I watched him take heat on everything he believed in. I watched him stand for marriage in a state that would have been California with its laws supporting gay marriage if Mitt wasn’t there to stop it. I watched him continually be attacked by the liberal legislature and continually find ways to work with them and reduce spending and balance the budget.
So, I was of course surprised as he was coming across to all including me as a weak candidate in this campaign. I know as all do that this is the most important campaign of our lifetime, no matter how old we are.
Prior to Obama’s presidency, I hadn’t thought a lot about politics for several years. I was horribly awakened to the fact that we are severely hated when 9/11 happened. I watched Bush’s presidency in terms of the wars and the rebellion against the wars. However, I wasn’t thinking about money or debt or borrowing from China or jobs. I was in the same bubble that many Americans were in.
Then, Obama happened. I watched Obama ascend into the presidency like a sultan believing that we are subjects to him. Obama took the country that I love and turned it into a nanny-state, unrecognizable as the country I grew up in during the 80s when Reagan made me believe that Presidents were good and honorable and had my best interests at heart. Obama trampled on the Constitution and forced Obamacare on us while ruthlessly ignoring the severe objections of the Right. I watched him talk down to me on television, apologize for the country that I love across the world, attempt to implement Cap and Trade which would have devastated the economy even worse, and the list goes on. Obama demonized those whom I support and respect, Republicans who have sacrificed much to serve their country. Obama also demonized me, someone who supports the Tea Party, works for a living, and does not have my hand out for the government. I learned that my way of life is not needy enough for Obama to care about my future. I’ve worked too hard. I’ve paid my way out of my student loans from college, which was no small sacrifice. I own my own home and make my payments on time. I was willing to take a job that paid very little in order to have a job at all out of college and was grateful for it. Then, I worked my way up and still am. I by no means am rich, but I have what I need, and that is enough.
I realized that Obama sees me as the enemy due to my work ethic. He was not and did not want to be my president. He wanted to take my money, though, to fund the handouts he wanted to give to those whose support he actually wanted. And that made me mad. Very mad. So, I started a blog, yelled at the TV, talked to family and friends, attended Tea Party meetings, and everything else I felt was in my power to counter the President’s efforts.
And then it was 2010. This was a glorious year. The momentum was on our side and we, all conservatives, were part of a historic election. It felt good.
And then it was 2011. And what happened then? The liberals created a narrative that the GOP is the “do-nothing” party opposing all of the “good” that they are trying to do. The whole year was one frustrating battle after another. It would have been much worse, though, without the 2010 elections. Imagine if the Democrats had retained the House in 2011. How terrible that would have been for our country.
Towards the end of 2011, I started to have hope again as the GOP started down the path of choosing a nominee to face Obama in 2012. The primary season kicked off and I watched everything I could, learned about the candidates, and blogged to my heart’s desire to make the case for whichever candidate had my attention at the time. I have great respect for every candidate that has run or is running for president. They have been attacked in ways that no one should ever have to go through. What great people they are to volunteer for that scrutiny.
So, the fact that I am endorsing a candidate now is in no way a negative commentary on the other candidates. Ron Paul, the one I have not quite understood and certainly had the most concerns about, has done something very respectable – he has unabashedly made his case about liberty and brought libertarianism to the forefront of the GOP in a way that hasn’t been done in my lifetime. What a great, passionate man.
As for Newt Gingrich, I love his passion and his guts. His experience in some areas is unrivaled and his contribution to the GOP will go down in history as one of the greatest comebacks of the modern era.
Rick Santorum is a man that shares a passion for something that is also a great passion for me, fighting for the right of every child to be born. What a fine man. He lives his values and personifies conservatism. As one pundit said, he is fluid in the language of conservatism. He so easily articulates his values and is so passionate that it is impossible to not be moved.
We have wonderful men in the “final 4” whom I greatly admire. But, one is a head above the rest and, I believe, the only person that not only can beat Obama, but who has the skills, background, passion, and knowledge to turn this country around. That person is Mitt Romney.
As I mentioned, I was surprised that Romney was coming across as a weak candidate when the primary began. This did not jive with the person I’ve been watching for several years. I then realized there are a few reasons for this. First, he has not always been a strong social conservative, though no one can doubt his fiscal background. From a social standpoint, I wondered how anyone could ever not have supported the right to life. Then I learned that Romney had a close family member who died of an illegal abortion and realized that he had experienced some heartache in this area. I also researched his background and realized that he never imposed a pro-choice view on anyone and actually governed as a strong pro-life governor.
So, once this was laid to rest, I started searching for why else so many people think that he is so weak. Another reason is his run for president 4 years ago. He got significant negative attention back then that stuck with people. The “flip-flopper” moniker was assigned to him and stuck. If you ask people what issues he has been a flip-flopper on, they only name a couple and usually one of them is abortion. But, that title has been etched in people’s minds and they can’t seem to forget it.
Finally, the reason people think Romney is weak is because they look at his time in Massachusetts and don’t understand why he didn’t do as much as, say, Governor Perry has done in TX. This of course is comparing apples to oranges. Perry could have never been governor of Massachusetts and what Romney did do in a liberal state with an 85% Democratic legislature is nothing short of miraculous. But, people don’t always keep that in mind when criticizing his time as governor.
Either way, there is a strong, negative perception that Romney needs to overcome this election cycle. He is working hard at it, but hasn’t won over his critics yet.
So, why do I posit that Romney should be our nominee?
1) Romney’s private business experience matters. Gingrich has gotten in the habit of saying that we don’t need a manager, we need a leader. Well, the truth is that we need both. We need an executive who knows how to manage people, deal with budgets, reduce a workforce, work through conflict and make decisions. Gingrich is a passionate guy. But, he has nowhere near the management experience that Romney has. Neither does Santorum. Neither does Paul. This important fact cannot be overlooked. Obama was elected based on issues, but proved that managing the executive branch is too much for him to handle. Reaching out to Congress and having thoughtful discussions with other decision-makers to solve problems is something Obama has never done. Romney, as a business guy, has years of experience working through things with all different types of people.
2) Romney is right on the issues, but not rude to those that disagree. Today the President of the American Conservative Union made the point the Ronald Reagan never called President Carter a socialist and never insulted him. He put forward a plan that stood in contrast to Carter, but did not demean the man. This is how Romney is running. Watching him on a debate stage, he is respectful to his fellow candidates and thoughtful about how he addresses those that disagree. He is bold without being brash, forceful without being obnoxious. Gingrich is the opposite. He offends instead of persuading. The base is certainly enthused, but what about the rest of the country?
3) Romney is a true conservative. I know this is hard for some to believe given the negative press from within the Republican Party, but if you believe he is not conservative, you have been misinformed. He believes that it immoral to spend more than you have and as a man who has run successful businesses, he has had to live by fiscally sound principles his whole career. There are those that would say he is “less” conservative than others. There may be truth to that. He is not looking to cut the budget as much as, say, Ron Paul. He has not put forth a flat tax plan as several others have. But, that doesn’t mean he isn’t conservative. Republicans need to be careful to not use language to imply that just because someone is not their own exact shade of conservative that they are, by contrast, a liberal. Romney has put forth some great ideas in his jobs plan and is willing to keep talking about the specifics. There are a lot of different opinions within the GOP about exactly how to go about turning this country around. Even the conservatives don’t agree on every detail. But, we should have enough respect for each other to not throw out the “L” word just because we disagree with someone else.
4) Romney has the best position on illegal immigration. For the first time in decades, we could actually have a president who is willing to enforce existing laws to those employers who hire illegal immigrants. He has not gone on a rampage about creating “citizen panels” as Gingrich has suggested deciding who stays and who goes. Romney is much more common-sense than that – stop the “magnet” that encourages people to come here illegally by ending their ability to find jobs.
5) Romney is a bold contrast to Obama, but he is focused. The type of change that Gingrich is proclaiming is irresponsible given our need to focus on shrinking the size of government, growing jobs, re-establishing our place in the world, and emphasizing the importance of the family in society. These are things Romney is focusing on. Meanwhile, Gingrich wants a moon colony, citizen panels to determine which illegal immigrants can stay and who can go, government-imposed training in order to receive unemployment, and so on. Gingrich is a big thinker, but he is not a focused thinker. Right now, we need laser focus on a few vital principles to fix our Republic.
6) Romney will represent us well abroad. I am not worried about what Romney may say to a world leader that would offend them as I am worried about what Gingrich and his temper would say. Romney would bring force and grace back to foreign policy.
7) Mitt is a good man. He believes in God, loves his family and is true to his wife. There are no flaws in his personal history.
These are the main reasons I support Romney. As I said, I respect all candidates. If he had more focus, I may be supporting Gingrich. If he had executive experience, I may be supporting Santorum. But, as it stands, the best candidate is Romney. I hope that we make the right decision in choosing our nominee.