Monday, January 01, 2007

Romney for President

The year is now 2007 and the Invisible Primary is unofficially underway. This date of January 1 also corresponds with the deadline I had set with myself to decide who I wanted to be President of the United States and begin the process of offering my wholehearted support in whatever small way I can, as one of millions of dedicated grassroots Republican activists.

The decision I have come to was not an easy one, nor can I claim that it was an absolute slam dunk in my mind, but I have been strongly leaning this way for the past few months now and I am ready with all the manufactured blogosphere drama and pomposity I can summon, to say that if I have my wish, the 44th President of the United States of America will be…. Willard Mitt Romney!

As I mentioned, this was far from an easy decision. The 2008 Presidential race, in both parties, is in many ways, as wide open as any field has ever been as we go about the lengthy process of selecting a new Commander in Chief. The incumbent Vice President is not seeking a Presidential nomination for the first time in several generations. Jeb Bush, the Governor of Florida, is also not running, likely out of the political concerns that would relate to the concept of a “Bush Dynasty.”

So, as the 2006 cycle approached, I realized that this would be a complex decision to be made in due course after the election that year. However, that did not stop me from having those natural feelings that us political junkies have at times and for several months, I was very intrigued with the possible candidacy of Virginia Senator George Allen. However, the 2006 campaign proved very illustrative in many regards. Before Allen self-destructed in a way which made clear he would not have been our best bet for President, I had become concerned about his hard-line approach on immigration, a position that made him somewhat unique among all the likely Presidential hopefuls. I then started to look at Senator John McCain, a man I have always had tremendous respect for, and began to maybe feel that he had done enough to prove himself as the best possible option and that some of the concerns that I may have had about his history and positions on key issues would be allayed. Eventually though, I began to realize that I still had some serious reservations about the man who is currently considered the GOP frontrunner and that there would be still be a better option that I could support in 2007 and into the primaries without feeling that I was merely “selling out” for the purpose of electability.

The decision that I have made to support Governor Romney is also somewhat different from the other two times since I have been actively interested in politics and have backed someone for President. Back at this point in 1995, I was just 17, but was very excited about the next Presidential election. By the beginning part of February however, two candidates that I had decided I would support had announced they would not be running, and at that point, the only logical choice remaining was Senator Bob Dole. I quickly began to learn as much about him as possible and I will never regret supporting Dole in that quest for the nomination or for being the first candidate I ever voted for.

When the Republican Presidential nomination was last up for grabs, I pretty much had signed up with Governor George W. Bush from the get-go as I felt, and still do feel, that his message of compassionate conservatism was exactly what the Republican Party needed to push. Eight years and two Presidential victories later, I am proud to have been a supporter of GWB from the start.

As the President begins the final two years of his term now though, it is time for our party to start the process of determining who our next standard bearer will be. I believe our field is perhaps deeper than it has ever been filled with several candidates who would be excellent nominees and superb Presidents. It was tougher this time for me to find one candidate who I considered head and shoulders above the rest, as it was the last two open cycles, but I am firmly convinced that Mitt Romney, if nominated, can be elected President of the United States, and is the best possible option.

My past candidates of choice; Bob Dole and George W. Bush both captured the Republican Presidential nomination after a long and grueling road that featured many ups and downs. The eventual GOP nominee, whomever it turns out to be, will face similar challenges, and they will be a stronger candidate for the general election because of it, provided my party manages to follow Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment of not attacking our fellow Republicans. Unlike the 1996 and 2000 cycles though, my candidate does not begin this process as the perceived frontrunner or as the clear-cut “establishment” choice. That is a little different than what I am used to in supporting candidates for the GOP Presidential nomination and it makes all this quite a bit riskier for me, but also pretty exciting in such a way. I know that Mitt Romney’s campaign will have many ups and downs and that his political obituary may be written several times in the media or by the supporters of other candidates in both parties, but I look forward to the time in 2008 when he becomes my party’s nominee, and I can say that I was there for the ride starting on New Years’ Day 2007.

If I turn out to be wrong and Romney flops as a candidate or someone else just manages to run a superior campaign and captures the hearts and minds of my fellow Republicans, I will respect the process and realize that the long primary season is designed to produce the best possible candidate and President and I will be grateful for whatever the process tells us as I will go about wholeheartedly support the eventual nominee. As of this time, I believe the only other likely Republican candidates who might possible receive the nomination are McCain or Mayor Rudy Giuliani. While those two great Republican leaders are not my first choice, I would have absolutely no reservation about supporting either of them or any of the other hopefuls as a potential nominee. Thankfully for me, there is not a Pat Buchanan in this field.

So, why am I for Romney? In making this decision, I really had to weigh all the candidates on a variety of factors. Those main factors were; ideology, competence, electability, and demonstrated personal character, consistent over their entire lives.

I believe Governor Romney would be a strong Commander in Chief during the War on Terror, which should be the primary issue for us all. I also believe his positions on economic and fiscal matters would be in the best interest of the country. Furthermore, while he might not have always shared every belief as I do, particularly when running for office in the very liberal state of Massachusetts, I trust him on the important social issues. There have been other Republican Presidents in the past, including the current one, his father, and none other than Ronald Reagan, who before running for President, all may not have been considered Pro-Life, but as President used the bully pulpit of the office to voice support for the cause. Mitt Romney will nominate the right kind of judges; the ones who will interpret the constitution and not try to legislate from the bench.

I believe Governor Romney’s experience as a chief executive will help him be a good President and I realize that Governors have tended to be elected President in our recent history, while Senators have not and that ties in with the factor of electability. While I feel that most (but perhaps not all) of our the current GOP hopefuls can be victorious in 2008 over Hillary Rodham Clinton or whomever else the Democrats decide to nominate, I feel that Romney’s political skills and leadership abilities will allow him to win the necessary electoral votes to sit in the Oval Office. If this was a matter where another Republican candidate was the only possible hope to actually beat the Democrats, I might have decided to go in another direction. In my view, that is not the dilemma we face, and thus, my party should pick the best possible President, regardless of if they seem likely to win several more states than may be needed to take the prize.

In addition to his distinguished service in government and his highly successful record in the private sector, both in business, and the head of the 2002 Winter Olympics, Mitt Romney is a husband, father, and grandfather. I do not wish to pass judgment on any of the other candidates, some of whom have found happiness in a second or third marriage, but I like the fact that Mitt Romney has likely always abided by his marital vows. If a candidate is able to do that, and always be faithful to a spouse, I feel they are certain to abide by the oath of the Presidential office as well, and be faithful to the country.

My candidate is a man of faith. While he does not share my particular religion and will not share the particular religious teachings of the vast majority of Americans, and many will feel that such will be problematic for him, I have more confidence in my fellow Americans than that. People will look at Governor Romney and know that he is sincere in his beliefs and is not afraid to believe in a Higher Authority. I am far less religious than many in the GOP, but I want that in a President, especially during these very difficult times. As a member of a minority religion myself, I also have a hope that America and my party will look beyond some of the narrow-minded beliefs that have plagued us in the past about those who might be different in some way or another, and I look forward to Mitt Romney’s election as President blazing a trail for Mormons, Jews, and many others.

As I conclude, I will mention that there are always some other small factors that while not being as important as the previous ones mentioned still matter a little. For example, with the balance of power in the U.S. Senate being as narrow as it is, and with the hope I have that Republicans can retain it after the 2008 elections, I would feel better knowing for certain that there is no chance a future President or Vice President might be elected to those high offices, only to have a Democrat Governor of a state like Arizona or Kansas potentially name a Democrat successor.

Finally, Governor Romney, as one straight guy to another, please allow me to say that you are one handsome son of a gun. That certainly does not hurt in politics and I also believe that superficial matters aside, people will look at Mitt Romney and think “Presidential” both by the way he carries himself, his speaking style, and his campaigning ability. People like optimism and confidence. The candidate who is seen as friendlier and who smiles more wins Presidential elections. These are important factors when voters decide who they want to watch on television for the next four years. They also respect firmness of conviction and toughness. I have to admit that I have some concerns whether the current GOP frontrunner would always be able to fight back hard enough against any attacks that Democrats may make against him, or even worse, that he might instead go overboard in fighting back and commit a serious political gaffe.

So, now it all begins. A year from today, it is almost certain that we will not know whom the nominees in both parties will be, but the next 22 months plus, will sure be exciting for those of us who are political junkies, and people like me, on both sides of the aisle, who are devoted to the cause of the party of our choice, will only find the ride more enriching for having a vested rooting interest along the way.

I cannot claim to know everything about the biography of Mitt Romney or that I agree with his positions on every single issue, but I believe he is the best option for me to support and I am glad to have reached that conclusion. One of the benefits of writing this for my blog, and for all my other political “friends” out there online, was that in spending about a half hour to compose all of this and detailing my feelings and thought process, I can now say that I am more excited about the Romney for President cause than ever before.

Hopefully, many others will join me in support of Mitt Romney, but to my fellow Republicans who have decided or will decide to go in a different direction, I can only say I respect your prerogative to do so, and I just hope and happen to be confident that we will have a relatively clean nominating process, and then unite behind whichever man (or woman) ultimately is selected by the Grand Old Party and that we will never lose sight on the real political objective which is defeating the Democrats, and beyond that of course, the real nonpartisan objective, in having the best possible leadership for the future of our country and our world.

Godspeed, Governor Romney.

NFL Week 17 and Regular Season Recap

Happy 2007!

I see that there are some comments that have been asking if I will be making my Presidential endorsement today and yes indeed, I intend to do that a little later, before the evening is over. So, for those of you who actually care, stay tuned and I will proclaim the 44th President of the United States before the day is up!

But first, I have to get the business of the last week of the NFL season out of the way.

My goodness, the Bears were terrible. I really hope that people like Deion Sanders were correct in saying the meaningless game against the Green Bay Packers was nothing more than a "pre-season" affair and that we did not see the real Bears. However, the consensus in Chicago today seems to be the Bears are already done for. I guess we will just have to wait and see but there sure is going to be a lot of angst over the next two weeks until the Bears play their playoff game in Chicago.

1. Giants (7-8) at Redskins (5-10)- L
2. Lions (2-13) at Cowboys (9-6)- L
3. Raiders (2-13) at Jets (9-6)- W
4. Rams (7-8) at Vikings (6-9)- W
5. Browns (4-11) at Texans (5-10)- W
6. Panthers (7-8) at Saints (10-5)- W
7. Patriots (11-4) at Titans (8-7)-L
8. Seahawks (8-7) at Buccaneers (4-11)-L
9. Steelers (7-8) at Bengals (8-7)- W
10. Jaguars (8-7) at Chiefs (8-7)- W
11. Bills (7-8) at Ravens (12-3)- L
12. Dolphins (6-9) at Colts (11-4)- W
13. Cardinals (5-10) at Chargers (13-2)- W
14. Falcons (7-8) at Eagles (9-6)-L
15. 49'ers (6-9) at Broncos (9-6)-L
16. Packers (7-8) at Bears (13-2)-L

Week 17 Results: 8-8 (50%)
Final Regular Season Results 140-116 (55%)

These are the teams that can start planning their tee times:

Raiders (2-14)
Lions (3-13)
Buccaneers (4-12)
Browns (4-12)
Redskins (5-11)
Cardinals (5-11)
Vikings (6-10)
Texans (6-10)
Dolphins (6-10)
Falcons (7-9)
49'ers (7-9)
Bills (7-9)
Packers (8-8)
Panthers (8-8)
Rams (8-8)
Bengals (8-8)
Steelers (8-8)
Titans (8-8)
Jaguars (8-8)
Broncos (9-7)