This Country and this Party Need Mitt Romney
By Leon H Wolf Posted in 2008 | 2008 | Mitt Romney — Comments (97) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
I was at work today and thus had to miss the debate this afternoon. I am told by my friend Jim Geraghty that it was a spectacular spectacle of awfulness, from a debate standpoint. I am also led to believe that this may have been the first debate that non-Mitt partisans could believe that he won, which is an encouraging sign for the campaign.
Right now, the Republican primary field is more open than any Republican primary field I have ever seen. Less than a month away from the Iowa caucuses, five candidates have a plausible path to the nomination; three candidates have a very good path. Right now, it seems clear that "undecided" leads the pack. As we consider who to nominate, I think that it is important to consider what kind of President this country needs right now, and what kind of nominee our party needs.
One thing that is indisputably true about the American public right now is that they have lost faith in the federal government. Whether it comes to Congress or the executive branch, the people are not happy with the way things are being run. The federal government has become so huge that only the slightest amount of error can have catastrophic results. Furthermore, for better or worse, Republicans are taking the brunt of the public's current dissatisfaction with the way the government is being run. The next President needs to be someone who can restore the faith of the American people in the ability of Government to work well, and in the ability of the Republican party specifically to do that job. We desperately need to nominate a candidate with a proven record of fixing broken organizations; a candidate like Mitt Romney. In fairness, Rudy Giuliani had an admirable record of success in turning the defunct government of New York City around. However, Rudy Giuliani is not the candidate we need, for many of the reasons listed below.
The American people are also fed up with runaway spending. Tax cuts are nice when it comes to appeasing hardcore Republicans, but the part that really appeals to both Republicans and independents is a candidate who will cut government waste. Sadly, Republicans have thrown away the mantle of being the party that stands against wasteful spending. Our next nominee, for the good of the party and the country needs to have a proven record of standing against spending. To his credit, John McCain has a record of standing against spending, but Mitt Romney has a specific track record of using his veto pen against spending - and his ability to point that out will be beneficial on the campaign trail.
The image of the Republican Party has been damaged by scandal over the last few years. If our next candidate is one with significant skeletons in his closet, we risk losing an entire generation of potential voters to skepticism about corruption and the belief that all politicians - including (or even especially) Republicans - are merely in it for their own self-interest. Mitt Romney has no skeletons whatsoever in his closet. One of my friends, who is not a Romney supporter, once quipped to me that he doesn't think Romney even *has* a closet. It is highly likely that our nominee will be running against one of the more scandal-ridden public figures of the last 25 years - it is important that we not nominate a candidate who lives in a glass house.
It is also important that we nominate a candidate who can carry the mantle of life in the face of hostile opposition. Over the last three decades, pro-lifers have made important incremental gains in turning the tide of public opinion in this country. A large part of the reason for that is that we have, with the exception of 8 years of Clinton, had folks with the White House bully pulpit who took the side of life. Now is not the time to go in reverse.
One of the things that I often hear with respect to Mitt Romney is that people doubt his sincerity on this issue. I'd like to encourage everyone to watch this video, which is old, but which I watched myself for the first time last weekend. If you are short on time, begin at around the 9:00 mark. And I have to tell you, after watching this video, I came to believe for the first time during this campaign that Romney's conversion on life was a real and genuine event - I have wondered throughout this campaign how so many conservative leaders went into one-on-one meetings with Romney and came out with this conclusion; now I know:
Again, not enough to convince everyone, maybe, but enough to convince me. And I think, frankly, that if Romney let this guy out more often rather than the carefully scripted person we see on TV, more people might come to believe it as well.
And finally, let me speak frankly about something that I wish wasn't true, but is. The public at large, and independents in particular, have caricatures in their own mind about what the "bad" "Republicans" and "Democrats" look like. The Democrat caricature is the coddled Northeastern stuffy wealthy liberal. When the Democrats nominated the archetype of this caricature in 2004, Republicans used that to their very great advantage. the Republican caricature is the good old boy Southern bible-thumper. As a good old boy Southern bible-thumper, I obviously don't have any problem with good old boy Southern bible-thumpers, but I think it would be disastrous to nominate one this time around. Independent voters - a lot of them, at least - are coming around to the belief that the Republican party is using the issues that are important to this voting demographic as a wedge issue to cover up the fact that they are not capable of governing well. Our next candidate, if he is going to win, will have to walk a very fine line of projecting competence in governing as his main priority, while sharing the values that we hold dear. I believe that Mitt Romney is the only candidate who can successfully accomplish that goal.
The most important thing for me, however, is that wherever the candidates stand from issue to issue, I believe that Mitt Romney will make the best President of the group. I believe that he will be the best person at managing the monster that is the federal bureaucracy, shrinking its size, and advancing conservative causes wherever there is opportunity.
This country and this Party need Mitt Romney.