Friday, January 13, 2012
After the victory, the hand wringing and mourning.
A lot of conservatives are bemoaning Governor Mitt Romney's back to back victories in Iowa and New Hampshire and saying 'it's McCain and 2008 all over again.' Others see him, at best, as the second coming of George W. Bush.
This puts me in the position of making a case for someone I haven't endorsed and who may not even get the nomination. But I feel compelled to at least point out a few things.And I promise not to mention 'electability' except peripherally, since it's a myth no matter whom you're talking about. You never know for sure until election day.
As I've said before, we have a three things that absolutely have to be achieved in 2012; the defeat of President Obama by the most conservative and best qualified candidate possible, the repeal of ObamaCare , and to get a conservative majority into Congress. Everything else stems from these three things.
All the candidates have said they'd abolish ObamaCare and number three is a separate item, so let's focus on the first one.
Out of the current field, in my opinion to most qualified and conservative candidate is Mitt Romney. He wasn't my preferred candidate (she stayed home in Wasilla and didn't run) but there's much to admire about him and his accomplishments.
Like it or not, Romney is the only candidate so far who has the qualifications and experience to do the job and a decent shot at winning.The others shrink in comparison.
I don't see Romney as either a conservative or a lefty,but as a pragmatist,which as Machiavelli teaches us is always the best kind of head of state. What that means is that he looks at a given situation and pushes for the best possible achievable outcome. That's also why he was so successful at Bain. Ronald Reagan, who had to work with Tip O'Neill and a Democrat House embodied much of the same philosophy. Read Ronaldus Maximus' diaries sometime.
The anti-capitalist attacks on Romney coming from the likes of Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum are ridiculous and could be just as easily coming from the Obama campaign. And in fact, that's who they will likely be used by in the general election. All three of them deserve criticism for going there and handing the Democrats ammo, Gingrich in particular.
Even more ludicrous, Romney is being attacked by the other candidates for turning around some of the companies Bain Capital acquired that were operating at a loss by downsizing and streamlining them to make them run better and more productively. And these are the same people who claim to want to downsize government to make it smaller, more productive and more efficient!
To me, if you're looking for someone who might actually downsize government intelligently and eliminate waste, Romney's shown he might just be the person you're looking for. In my opinion, I think that's a stellar comeback to charges about him being 'ruthless' about downsizing at Bain.
I think at this point we actually need a successful capitalist in the Oval office to put things back in order economically. Rush Limbaugh, no great fan of Romney himself has been saying much the same thing lately, complaining about the anti-capitalist rhetoric coming out of people like Gingrich,Perry and Santorum.
Do any of them have a better record of streamlining and downsizing successfully than Mitt Romney does? Nope.
After three lousy presidents in a row, I think is a lot of what this election is about when you get to the bottom line is competency. Looked at in that light, especially if he has a conservative Congress to work with which will help steer how the executive performs, Mitt Romney might be a lot better than many conservatives think because he has already demonstrated the experience and the ability to be a pretty good president. None of the others currently running even come close.
Newt Gingrich has proven he's the loose cannon everyone always said he was.He completely lacks presidential temperament and his anti-capitalist attacks on Mitt Romney prove it. Newt is also the consummate DC insider and in his own words, a Teddy Roosevelt-style 'progressive' who has arguably changed his views when it suited him a lot more than Mitt Romney has.
Rick Santorum is in many ways fairly close to George W. Bush in that he's a conservative who believes in using Big Government to mandate social change. His emphasis on social conservative views will alienate a lot of people, and like Gingrich, his inability to put together an effective campaign staff shows he lacks the executive ability needed for the job. I also question his foreign policy chops. While he says some of the right things, when asked how to actually handle a given situation he's proven it's not his strong point. He's rapidly fading in the polls and could very well be gone after South Carolina anyway.
Ditto with Rick Perry on all counts, plus Perry's unacceptable stance on illegal aliens as a bonus. Obama would likely decimate Perry or Santorum in a debate.
Like it or not, this is the field - to paraphrase Don Rumsfeld, you wage an election with the candidates you have, not the candidates you wish you had.
The comparison with George W.Bush is quite interesting too. A number of differences crop up quite easily.
First, unlike GWB, Mitt Romney made his own money, although his family name was undoubtedly a help. For that matter so did Romney's father George, whose money came from
his being named president of a faltering AMC. George Romney, as a confidence building measure to attract investors mortgaged his own home and put the proceeds into AMC stock after he decided to make the Rambler AMC's main focus when everyone told him he was crazy and Americans wouldn't buy an economy car.
He was right, they were wrong and the stock became the Microsoft of its day.
This is another difference with Dubbya, who relied a lot more on family money and made a number of questionable decisions based on where the family money was and the bidness connections to people like the Saudis and in the Emirates. There's nothing like the Carlyle group in Mitt Romney's background
Another big difference is Romney's Mormon faith. It may turn out to be a liability with some evangelicals, but I see it as a substantial plus from a character standpoint.
There are a lot of Mormons in my neck of the woods, including my congressman, Buck McKeon, a man I have the deepest respect for and the head of the House Armed Services Committee. While I'm sure not every Mormon is a good neighbor, patriotic, hard working and self-reliant, I've yet to run into one that wasn't. It seems to be what the faith teaches.
Most young LDS men spend 2 1/2 years in missionary activity, often in pretty hairy places. They serve in pairs, so one watches the other and it is a time of committing to something bigger than themselves - sort of the psychic equivalent of compulsory military service.
In Romney's case, he was sent to France, a place where he barely spoke the language and most of the population were either Catholics or secular atheists and would be almost guaranteed to slam the door in his face, accompanied by a few choice words.
Not only did young Mitt Romney persevere in a difficult situation, he excelled. He became fluent in the language and did so well and exhibited such leadership that he was promoted to being in charge of all Mormon missionaries in France.
This tells us three things about him - he's not afraid to take on difficult tasks, he has what it takes to accomplish them and he has the ability make decisions and lead others. His experience and success with Bain relied on similar qualities.
Another difference with Dubbya - most of the current Republican field - is that Romney appears to have given a lot more thought and study going in to national security issues, something Bush barely looked at prior to 9/11.
Romney, in contrast to his competitors for the nomination has gathered around him an
impressive group of a-list advisers on national security, including John Bolton and Walid Phares. He's particularly committed to increasing and revamping our blue water Navy, the key to keeping our trade lines open, maintaining pax Americana and guarding our firewall in the Western Pacific. And he gets the concept of the War on Jihad, something Dubbyah remained clueless about for most of his time in office.
Bottom line, Romney's not the perfect candidate. There aren't any. He's simply much better than what's out there running, and I'm convinced that he would do a pretty decent job as president - especially compared to what we have lurking in the Oval Office right now. He's smart, articulate and Barack Obama isn't going to be able to walk over him during the campaign the way he did over John McCain. Especially since this time out, President Obama has a record and even the shills at the New York Times and the alphabet networks can't cover for him the way they did back in 2008.
In short, if he's the nominee, I feel I can vote for him without holding my nose, especially if a conservative Congress goes along with the deal. But then, as I mentioned, that's our job isn't it?