I’m Voting For Mitt Romney

Today’s Courier Herald Column:

And so, with the suspense out of the way, l’ll first say a few words about the favorite candidate in Georgia’s Super Tuesday contest, Newt Gingrich.  Newt was the first Congressman I ever met.  Members of my family and friends were among his first campaign volunteers and backers when he first ran for Congress against Jack Flynt – twice- and lost.  They were still there when Flynt retired and Newt beat Virginia Shapard for the open seat.

Like many who have been around Georgia politics from the times when Republicans barely counted as a minority party, I’ve been pulling for a Newt comeback.  When he’s good, he is among the best politicians of the past century.  He virtually single handedly changed the mindset of Congressional Republicans from a group willing to take crumbs off of a Democratic table to one that thought they could become – and did become – a majority.

But when he’s bad, he’s horrid.  I will not bother to recount the well known baggage he brought into this campaign.  In his public shot of redemption, however, he receives decidedly mixed marks.  His ability to turn debates back on the “elite” media when he felt that the questions asked did not address the contrast needed to be drawn with the status quo of the Obama administration makes many of us yearn for that Newt to get a clean shot at debating the President.

The risk involved in making this choice exposes Republicans to a risk that he can go through the general election portion of the campaign with a focused, disciplined message.  He has yet to prove he can do this for more than a period of weeks, and then only when not the front runner.

Worse, he continues to take issues off the table for the general election.  Beginning the campaign by torpedoing entitlement reform as “right wing social engineering”, he’s more recently adopted the class warfare rhetoric of the Democrats when attacking Mitt Romney.  His SuperPAC even has the audacity to be running an ad saying Mitt Romeny isn’t like us.  One woman says Romney probably doesn’t even pump his own gas.

Here’s a thought: Who is more likely to pump his own gas? The guy who drove cross country with his family and an improperly stowed dog when he easily could have afforded to have flown, or the guy that had to get his credit line from Tiffany’s increased from a half million dollars to a cool million and believes the going rate for a historian’s retainer is seven figures?

Yes, Romney has been a wildly successful capitalist. God bless him, even if there was a significant amount of luck involved.  But he’s a guy that drives his family on vacations.  Family – including his one and only wife.  He’s a guy that gives more money to his church than he pays in income taxes, unlike Rick Santorum who told FoxNews on Sunday that because he has 7 children he can only give 2% of his million dollar plus income to charity. Romney has 5 children and manages to well exceed a ten percent tithe.

The reality is that Mitt Romney is not liked by social conservatives because he doesn’t wear his religion on his sleeve.  Some may have problems that he is a Mormon.  Romney has lived a public life that embodies what evangelicals claim to profess, without the added chest thumping of modern day Pharisees who seem so concerned about making others live by their doctrine that they have no time to do so themselves.  I’m fine with Romney as a social conservative.

The issues that should give Republicans an edge in November are more of the fiscal variety, however.  With these, Romney is the only one of the leading candidates that has real executive experience.  He’s been a Governor who had to govern with a decidedly Democratic legislature.  He’s been an incredibly successful venture capitalist.  And in a pinch, he managed to step in and fix the Salt Lake City Olympic Games.

In each of the above, he was not charged to be a pontificating legislator, whose sole talent is giving good speeches about how conservative a government should be.  He was charged with doing, and graded on results.  Being an executive requires pragmatism.  Ideologues hate pragmatists. Not coincidentally, ideologues are rarely given complex tasks that people expect to get done.

Romney has been a frustrating candidate. I would like to say I knew for certain what his policies are on many issues.  Instead, he’s chosen to sit on an early lead and focus on organization.  I suspect that by the time the votes are counted Tuesday, we’ll have a good idea how well that organization worked.

At the end of the day, my vote doesn’t go to the best candidate.  It goes to the person whom I think has the best chance to be a successful President.  Romney’s experience earns him that nod.

54 comments

  1. I’m sure he’s a good CEO and I think he’d make a great dictator Mitt Romney’s biggest problem is elections/democracy. He so badly wants to be the candidate Charlie has described yet when the Tea Party took over in 2010 he didn’t have the balls to put them in their place.

    I think the ultimate Romney problem is that you’re asking people to vote for the guy “hoping” he’ll turn out like the version of Romney you have in your heard. Better the devil you know…

      • Dave Bearse says:

        I don’t think that’s the case when there’s life-long conservatives like Richard Lugar with 30+ years in the Senate representing a conservative state like Indiana now looking over his shoulder for Tea Party primary opposition.

        Not sufficiently deferential to the Tea Party? Observed talking to a Democrat in a Senate antechamber? Off with his head!

        • seenbetrdayz says:

          What I’m saying is, we’d be in just as big a mess from the problems that have built up over the past several decades whether or not the tea party came into existence 4 years ago.

          Everyone wants an easy target, and it looks like the tea party is it. But, like I said, they’re such a miniscule part of the picture (and really not very influential, since most of them got absorbed back into the Republican party, like a coke that’s gone flat), it’s really not worth mentioning them in every single post on Peach Pundit, as Chris does.

  2. LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

    “The guy who drove cross country with his family and an improperly stowed dog when he easily could have afforded to have flown …”

    I admit that I’ve been sleepwalking through this presidential election cycle, so I really thought at first that this was a reference to Clark Griswold.

    So I take it that it’s in reference to Mitt?

    Anyway, good column 😉

  3. ted in bed says:

    Mitt is the pro-gun candidate in the race as well. He protected Massachusetts gun owners from a Legislature filled to the brim with anti’s. The biggest example is the one the press gets wrong (perhaps intentionally).

    Massachusetts had a state specific Assault Weapons Ban that was permanent. The Mass AWB incorporated the Federal exemption list of 700+ weapons types. Mass gun owners were heading into big trouble as the Federal AWB was expiring since once the Federal ban expired, Mass gun owners would possess guns that were not covered by an exemption. This would have resulted in many Mass Gun Owners becoming instant felons.

    Mitt, working with the state-level gun rights org GOAL, signed a bill that made the Exemption list permanent. You can read more about this at GOAL’s web site :

    http://www.goal.org/newspages/romney.html

    Here is another bloggers take of the Romney record:

    http://www.pagunblog.com/2012/01/15/the-truth-about-mitt-romneys-record-on-guns/

    I’m a gun clinger and I’m happily voting for Mitt, the pro-gun choice.

      • ted in bed says:

        By allowing the press to miss-characterize it. Most gun – folk viewing what happened saw it as a win for the anti’s. In fact the Massachusetts’ Assault Weapons Ban was always permanent. Romney didn’t make it permanent. In the end, he signed a bill that protected Mass. Gun Owners.

        Contrast Mitt’s record with Newt’s. Newt voted for BOTH Gun Free School Zone Act which made it illegal to be in possession of a gun while in a school zone and the Domestic Violence Offenders Act (aka Lautenberg Amendment). This legislation made it illegal for anyone conviced of domestic violence to own a firearm. When asked about this second piece of legislation on Meet the Press, Speaker Gingrich confirmed his support for the bill and stated that it was reasonable.

        And GOA has a writeup about Newt here:
        http://gunowners.org/newtgingrich-2012.htm

        As I wrote, Mitt is the candidate with the pro-gun record.

    • elfiii says:

      @ ted in bed “I’m a gun clinger and I’m happily voting for Mitt, the pro-gun choice.”

      Mitt Romney NRA rating – B
      Rick Santorum NRA rating – A

      • you says:

        GunOwners. org
        As the Gun Owners of America’s Board of Directors looks at the Republican candidates running to unseat radical anti-gun President Obama, we see several who have strong pro-gun backgrounds. Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Michelle Bachman all have solid pro-gun records and deserve a hard look from pro-gunners.

        At least one frontrunner candidate stands in contrast with a decidedly mixed record on the gun issue. While Mitt Romney likes to “talk the pro-gun talk,” he has not always walked the walk.

        “The Second Amendment protects the individual right of lawful citizens to keep and bear arms. I strongly support this essential freedom,” Romney assures gun owners these days.

        But this is the same Mitt Romney who, as governor, promised not to do anything to “chip away” at Massachusetts’ extremely restrictive gun laws.

        “We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts; I support them,” he said during a gubernatorial debate. “I won’t chip away at them; I believe they protect us and provide for our safety.”1

        Even worse, Romney signed a law to permanently ban many semi-automatic firearms. “These guns are not made for recreation or self-defense,” Romney said in 2004. “They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people.”2

        Romney also spoke in favor of the Brady law’s five day waiting period on handguns. The Boston Herald quotes Romney saying, “I don’t think (the waiting period) will have a massive effect on crime but I think it will have a positive effect.”3

        Mitt Romney doesn’t seem to understand the meaning of “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.”

        And that makes it all the more troubling that Romney refuses to answer GOA’s simple candidate questionnaire. In our more than 36 years of experience, a candidate is usually hiding anti-gun views if he or she refuses to come clean in writing with specific commitments to the Second Amendment.

        Today, Romney may be a favorite “Republican Establishment” candidate of the national press corps. But that is exactly what gun owners DON’T need in a new President. We need someone who will stand by true constitutional principles and protect the Second Amendment.

  4. Chaos says:

    Excellent article. Thanks, Charlie.

    I’m voting Romney too. Not because I think he is the best candidate in America, but because I think he is the candidate with the best chance to defeat Obama that is in the race.

    Gingrich is the smartest guy in the room…and the most volatile. He also brings more baggage than I can fit in my SUV. Want to talk about pumping gas? I bet he makes his third wife pump his just because…

    Romney isn’t my favorite. But Gingrich and Santorum haven’t even the slightest chance of mobilizing the independents needed to carry the race in November.

    Folks, don’t cut your nose off to spite your face. If you are a Republican, then Romney is our only chance. Vote for him…even if you have to hold your nose. The alternative of having Obama for another term is much. much worse.

  5. proudpaulite says:

    There is only one, clear, Constitutional choice for President: Congressman Dr. Ron Paul. Just as he has had a career of delivering babies, he can also deliver us, as a nation, out of the womb of financial regression that we find ourselves in. It may take a radical c-section, such as ending the federal reserve, but he is the only committed Constitutionalist that can do it!

    Join me and millions of others by voting for Ron Paul tomorrow! We are already in second place in actual delegates!!!

  6. Three Jack says:

    It just doesn’t matter. Vote for Mitt, vote for Newt, vote for Rick or vote for Ron…none of them will excite fiscal conservatives. And at this stage with Mitt becoming the more likely nominee by the day, we are basically left with the same choice we’ve had for the past 30 years — a very liberal dem or a moderately liberal GOPer. It just doesn’t matter.

    Over a long weekend, I thought about my vote and whether it is even worth going to the booth Tuesday. If I do vote, I will vote for Newt for one reason…he is THE only remaining GOP candidate who can be counted on to stir things un in DC. Mitt will mesh right in with the status quo bureaucracy, Rick would spend all his time trying to eradicate contraception and Paul simply has no chance. But in voting for Newt, it will not be with the same level of enthusiasm as the last time I was able to vote for him in 1994. Back then, the GOP was coming off of 4 decades as a minority in Warshington (Newtspeak) so there was much to be excited about. Fast forward almost 20 years, and we see that the GOP is really no different than their counterparts on the left….they just spend money for different vote grabbing issues.

    If/when Mitt finally gets the nomination, I look forward to hearing how he will separate himself from Obama…it’s gonna be quite a dance. Healthcare, no difference. Taxes, minor differences but neither will lead the reform battle that this country requires. MediXXXX/SS/all other give away programs…again neither is promising the massive reforms we need and want. Defense, hard to argue against Obama who has accomplished quite a bit since taking over. Abortion/contraception/stem cell — I’m with Obama on these issues and Mitt will be too if he is elected.

    It really just doesn’t matter.

    • John Konop says:

      ………Healthcare, no difference. Taxes, minor differences but neither will lead the reform battle that this country requires. MediXXXX/SS/all other give away programs…again neither is promising the massive reforms we need and want. Defense, hard to argue against Obama who has accomplished quite a bit since taking over. Abortion/contraception/stem cell — I’m with Obama on these issues and Mitt will be too if he is elected………..

      TJ, I agree with you! Unless we take on entitlements it is all BS…………..

    • TolleyJenkins says:

      “…or vote for Ron…none of them will excite fiscal conservatives.”

      Show me a fiscal conservative who is not excited by Ron Paul and I will show you someone who is not truly a fiscal conservative.

        • TolleyJenkins says:

          If you broke every issue down into the side that will increase government spending versus the side that would decrease government spending, on which issues does Paul comes down on the side that would increase government spending?

    • CobbGOPer says:

      As Boortz always says, the only difference between Democrats and Republicans is that Republicans want to grow the size of government at a slower rate than Democrats.

      • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

        You mean like how it took Bush and the Republicans (with the help of some very frugal Democrat friends) an entire eight years to spend a cool FIVE TRILLION dollars, or how it has only taken Obama and the Democrats (with the reluctant help of their “tightwad” Republican friends) all of three years to stubbornly unloosen their iron-clad grip on a mere FIVE TRILLION dollars more of the taxpayers’ money?

        You call a measly TEN TRILLION dollars spent in twelve years government expansion?

        That’s nothing…If we put our heads together, I’m pretty sure that we can effectively work to double the current $16 TRILLION National Debt in one four year Presidential term because working together, well, works.

  7. Joshua Morris says:

    Mitt Romney (1) supports raising the minimum wage, (2) has a record of raising fees (aka taxes), (3) saw state spending in Massachusetts go up $5.2B during his time as governor, and (4) implemented government-forced health insurance ownership for an entire state.

    I’d rather take my chances any day on the former Speaker and his mistakes, which he has willingly admitted and for which he has shown true regret. He is the only candidate remaining in this race who has actually accomplished something for the conservative movement. The rest of them are just talking, and I’m tired of empty rhetoric. Romney or Santorum would be nothing more than a continuation of the status quo–the same status quo that lost the majority for the GOP last decade.

    Mark my words. Obama slices and dices either Romney or Santorum in the debate setting. If either of them manages to win the White House, we retract no further than W’s spending policies and act like the GOP saved us all. What a hoax.

  8. debbie0040 says:

    “If/when Mitt finally gets the nomination, I look forward to hearing how he will separate himself from Obama…”
    Try the Supreme Court. It is expected that two of the Justices will retire during the next 4 years. Question is had you rather have President Romney make those appointments or President Obama?

    I would have no issue supporting any of the GOP candidates…

    • Three Jack says:

      debbie, you put forth the last, desperate arguement repeatedly used by the GOP (and dems) to garner support for their un-principled candidate du jour.

      If we are down to that as the driving issue when choosing a presidential candidate, might as well skip the middleman and just start electing Supreme Court judges.

      • CNFPP says:

        Have you noticed that when it comes to Republicans, even judicial nominees are hit-or-miss? Reagan appointed O’Connor, somewhat conservative, but usually considered a swing vote, and Kennedy who is also generally a swing vote. G.H.W. Bush appointed Souter who turned out to be far to the left. G.W. Bush has had the best track record so far, but that may be because the grassroots balked at his appointment of Harriet Meyers.

        However, Democrat Presidents don’t seem to have the same problem. You never see a Democrat appoint a judge or justice and say afterwards, “Oh crap! Who would have ever thought they would turn out to be a right winger!?”

        What worries me is that I don’t feel certain candidates for the GOP nomination would do the work to vet their nominees to make sure they were grounded in conservative principles. Who cares if we have a Republican President who we elect solely on the judicial nominee issue if he is just going to appoint another good Republican like David Souter, Erick Erickson’s favorite justice.

        • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

          “Have you noticed that when it comes to Republicans, even judicial nominees are hit-or-miss?”

          It’s good that you bring that up as I was mentioning to someone that Republicans seemingly must have a litmus test to see how conservative their candidates are (on issues like abortion, guns and taxes), but that in no way do Democrats need a litmus test to see how liberal their candidates are.

          Obviously moderate Republican Presidential candidates like McCain and Romney and suspected moderate candidates (candidates who feign to be ultraconservative but may have some moderate votes and actions on their political record) like a Santorum often feel the pressing need to play-up and talk up their supposed conservatism while definitely left-of-center Democrat Presidential candidates have no need to prove their liberal bonafides.

          Can you imagine a Barack Obama, a “community organizer” who is known to have political and social ties to radical leftists and is known to have spoken highly of communism, or a Hillary Clinton, who is known to have ties to feminists, having to prove how liberal they are to Democrat voters in New York, California and Illinois?

          National Democrats don’t have to prove their liberalism, because it goes without saying in leftist circles that they ARE actually that liberal, everybody knows just how intensely liberal they are as the Dems’ candidates are more than likely to have been spotted at a sit-in, a march, a protest or some kind of demonstration on the frontline of their causes in some kind of way, shape or form.

          They’ve more than likely been out in the streets with the loudspeaker screaming at the top of their lungs advocating liberal causes while so-called “conservative” candidates who have barricaded and picketed outside of abortion clinics and actually fought outside in the trenches in the wet and the rain and the snow are far and few between, though that may likely be changing with the advent of the Tea Party, though the nature of the grassroots organization and protests will always be different between the left and the right as the left never stops acting as if it is under attack by the establishment and now the right (hundreds of liberal “activists” were just arrested for blocking the steps of the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond in protest of a new state law concerning ultrasounds before abortions on Monday).

          Even if a Republican President does “vet” their nominees to see if they are sufficiently conservative, it is hard to know for sure if the majority of those who are definitively conservative are as liberal as those who are definitively liberal as it is doubtful that conservatives sit around the dinner table talking about conservative issues like liberals sometime tend to sit around discussing (more like sleeping, eating, talking, drinking, etc) liberal issues day-and-night.

          It just simply may not be possible for conservatives to be as conservative as liberals are liberal as conservatives often have to “be” conservative only to run for office, but many liberals tend to eat, sleep and breathe liberalism and liberal issues around the clock, political office or no political office.

          Everybody questions just how “conservative” a Republican may be, but NOBODY questions questions just how liberal an Obama or Clinton may be because the answer is obvious, plus for many decades until fairly recently, the Democrat Party was traditionally a much larger tent consisting of socially-conservative Southern Dixiecrats, Midwestern moderates, East Coast liberals, Northern union bosses and the like while Republicans were basically the party of business until they underwent a complete makeover into a much more socially and religiously-oriented party that started with Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” and culminated in the Reagan Revolution.

          • Calypso says:

            As you kicked out such a missive as this at 2:56 AM, you might want to consider switching to de-caf… 🙂

  9. SallyForth says:

    GREAT COLUMN, Charlie! I’m glad to see you took a measured look at the candidates, came down on the side of common sense. No matter whether we are Democrat or Republican, we are all Americans and hope for the best for our nation. Anybody whose name gets on the ballot has a chance of being elected, and both parties should put up the best possible one they can. Of the current Republican field, that person has to be Romney.

  10. KD_fiscal conservative says:

    I’ll probably end up voting for Romney, with the hope that once the campaign pandering is done and over with, he will, once again, be the successful pragmatist that ran a state and the olympics. BUT can some one people help me understand how his economic plan, which cuts taxes to create a budget deficit(unless economic growth increases to unrealistic levels), increaseing military spending by 4%, and outlines few actual cuts to spending will lead to deficit reduction?

    • John Konop says:

      KD,

      I agree with you and that is why I am voting for Romney on Tuesday. But like you pointed out the math does not add up. And my biggest hesitation on the GOP is military spending and the refusal to deal with Medicare Part D. Anyone who thinks they can balance the budget without dealing with above is living on fantasy island. And at this point Obama sounds way more rational on military spending than the GOP. And no one has the guts to talk about Medicare issues.

      • Hardly says:

        No one has the guts to talk about Medicare, except Obama during the debt ceiling negotiations. “Now there is renewed fear and loathing among moderates and liberals that the president, as part of a “big” $4 trillion deficit reduction plan, will do the same thing to them – but this time by agreeing to deep cuts in Medicare and once sacrosanct Social Security.”
        http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2011/07/07/Obamas-Debt-Ceiling-Proposal-Sparks-Liberal-Fury.aspx#page1

      • Three Jack says:

        Well John, if you still support the federal government imposing its will on citizens in the form of mandated purchases from private sector sources, you will be happy with your vote. Here is Romney from 2009 espousing the benefits of Romneycare and why it should be implemented nationwide — http://mittromneycentral.com/op-eds/2009-op-eds/mr-president-whats-the-rush/

        Of course Mitt being Mitt, he stated yesterday that he does not see Romneycare as a nationwide solution. So when the question comes up in a debate with Obama, wtf will Mitt say? Will he back off his promise to repeal Obamacare which is modeled after Romneycare? Or will he acquiesce and finally admit the truth that he is a big government liberal fully in support of more government mandates with regard to health insurance.

        • John Konop says:

          TJ,

          I have been very clear that I support a public exchange as well as mandates for people using tax payers as an emergency healthcare insurance policy. Also I support letting seniors buy their drugs from the VA at close to a 60% discount verse Newts idea and our current Medicare Part D plan that has tax payers paying 75% of the cost of drugs for seniors at a price 60% higher than the VA. It is unarguable that the NEWT Medicare drug plan will BK the country in less than 20 years.

          • Three Jack says:

            John, yep you have been clear in your support for more government intervention into the healthcare system that ultimately benefits private insurance companies…talk about costs! As a conservative, I support pay as you go…if you can’t pay for medical costs, then don’t go to the hospital…I know, what a concept in the current climate of ‘healthcare is a constitutional right’ BS.

            As far as Newt is concerned, he wasn’t in congress when Med Part D passed. Contrast that with Mitt leading the effort to give government more power to force people to purchase a service from private companies.

            • John Konop says:

              TJ,

              You obviously do not understand how a public exchange works or you would not make the comment. A public exchange allows individuals or small companies to self insure and create their own products. Most experts on all sides agree this would save consumers about 20% a year on healthcare. The idea was incubated out of a conservative think tank ie Heritage foundation.

              • Three Jack says:

                John, As I pointed out to you previously, I understand exchanges quite well. Unlike you, I would support private exchanges like ehealthinsurance.com, but not the so-called public (government) version you and Mitt support. They rely on redistributed taxpayer funds to offset inevitable losses due to insuring people who cannot afford insurance (see failed public exchanges in CA and TX). You can argue that it’s cheaper to insure the uninsurable vs. letting them utilize emergency care, but I would go back to my original point that if you cant’ pay, you don’t get served….same as any other industry.

                • John Konop says:

                  TJ,

                  The let then die concept will not fly for many reasons, one is that untreated diseases can kill all of us or even destroy an economy overnight. Once you get past the reality that let them die is not an option, than you must move toward personal reasonability. Which is basically the same conclusion the Heritage Foundation had.

                  • Three Jack says:

                    Nobody said let them die although if they do, that eliminates the worry about spreading disease. Most of these cases are minor, so your point about let them die is a stretch.

                    Personal reasonability…wtf is that?

                    • John Konop says:

                      Do you really not understand that lack of treatment of stripe throat can lead to scarlet fever……? Do you not get the concept that even steams of the flue cannot only kill people not treated but could cripple our economy?

  11. Pine Knot says:

    Great article! Voted for Mitt and have done some volunteer work for him. Not perfect, and none of them are at all, but he is our best chance against Obama. The media seems to be somewhat biased still towards Obama. What a shocker..

  12. Dave Bearse says:

    Despite all the talk about Romney not connecting, I like the guy for his earnestness.

    Months ago the boss asked me in the generall roundtable chit chat preceding the convening of a meeting who I was voting for. I said probably Obama, but that if he was talking GOP, Romney. He then inquired whether I was supporting Romney because Romney as nominee would be most favorable to Obama—the conversation occurred very shortly after the SC primary, Iowa also having just recently been declared a draw, and Romney apparently beginning to tank. I said no, the Presidency was too important, and I wanted the best choices possible on the ballot.

    I know Romney had to run and then govern in Massachusetts to the left of what was natural for him. Much earlier in the 2012 campaign I figured he was running to the right of what was natural (or at least hoping that was the case—that door was open). The principles of most of us change at least a little over time, but Romney has veered so far and so fast right over the course of a half a year that his stability is of as much concern as it is with Gingrich. Alternately Romney’s paramount governing principle may simply be that he become President.

    The GOP is getting what it requires of its nominees, toeing the line on every single issue, ridiculously so on social issues, and including many issues decidedly contrary to the views of a majority of Americans. The main difference in the GOP candidates views seems to be the genuineness of the extremism. It’s a differentiation that’s likely to be very problematic in a general election.

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