Saturday, January 01, 2011

Mitt Romney for President 2012

Happy New Year, 2011!

On this day four years ago, I took to my blog and first stated support for Mitt Romney to be President. I wrote that he had proved himself as the strongest candidate to me among all others based on "ideology, competence, electability, and demonstrated personal character, consistent over their entire lives." Four years later, those are still the reasons I support Mitt Romney, and this time around, it was a far easier decision to make. Our great country is desperately in need of a real leader, who will turn our unacceptably weak economy around, secure our nation at home, defend our ideals abroad, and who will never make any apology for the culture and values that make us the United States of America.

We need Mitt Romney more than ever.

To many, the historic election of Barack Obama in 2008 represented "hope" that a fairly unknown but immensely gifted orator and political communicator could summon the "change" to improve the lives of so many who need to be uplifted in our nation. After nearly two years in office, most Americans have now come to recognize that the President is not who they thought he was. The change he sought to bring was more than a change in policies or simple ideology, but he has governed in a way that seeks to change what America itself is. He believes power and responsibility need to come from the federal government, instead of from the people. He has acted as if his personal charm and perceived popularity itself were all the tonic our nation required, and he has been proven wrong, as unemployment has grown, our deficit has soared, and national security threats remain as dangerous as ever. All Americans should be proud of the milestone his election represented, but the voters gave him a stern rebuke this past November, in an historic political shellacking, and now, he must be made a one term President.

American public opinion seems to indicate that people are ready to put somebody new in the Oval Office after the 2012 election, but the specific hypothetical candidates offered as choices to face Obama in political polls are either too polarizing, or too little known, to be seen as clear favorites at the moment. That should not be a surprise. President Obama is a good campaigner and the power of incumbency cannot be underestimated. He will be tough to beat, but he can, and will be beat, if we in the Republican Party nominate the right candidate, who will run the strongest possible campaign.

I find it somewhat ironic that so many of my fellow conservatives, including those who were so incredibly bullish (even perhaps overly so) about GOP gains in the 2010 midterms, now seem somewhat pessimistic or resigned to the prospect of Obama winning four more years. They need to cheer up and start working for a cause or maybe a candidate at this early stage to defeat him, even if they choose somebody differently than whom I have chosen. For while I feel there is a real electability gap between Romney and his potential Republican primary opponents, the GOP has many possibilities, both nationally known, and more still unknown, who bring a lot to the table. Once we pick a nominee, if we are united, and if that person can run a strong campaign to appeal to America's head, as well as to it's heart, any eventual Republican nominee can beat Barack Obama. To do so, the Tea Party will need to work with more establishment Republicans, and vice versa. There are some issues, where virtually all Republicans agree, and we can focus on those, but there are others where we need to accept some honest divisions in our party, and not cannibalize ourselves for not being 100 percent in lockstep on every single thing.

To me, the evidence is clear that Mitt Romney is the one candidate who can best take on the President on ideology, experience, and intelligence, and can best compete with the incumbent politically, financially, and organizationally. He can best contest the Democrat in a bunch of key states that could provide the winning Electoral College formula for the Grand Old Party.

Many of my fellow Republicans concede that while Romney is perhaps not their favorite, he is the best electable candidate, but perhaps also may face insurmountable challenges in capturing the GOP nomination. I disagree. It will not be easy of course. Open Presidential nomination contests never are, and there will be tons of political ups and downs in the several months ahead, but I believe the former Governor of Massachusetts has what it takes to be the last Republican standing. Our party does tend to go with the "next person in line", but beyond that, I think that those Republicans who will really pay attention over the next year plus will find that not only would it be smart politically to put Romney up against Obama, but most important of all, he would be the best President. Conservatives, especially lately, have a healthy strain of populist idealism, but I believe we are a group of people who also place value on steady logic and realism. Blogger types from all ideologies and the mainstream media may not realize it yet, but when Republicans actually vote in the 2012 primary and caucus states, they will do so with their eyes wide open and their minds engaged.

For all the talk about potential electability, what really matters is who would be the best President. Who has the right experience, the right values, and the right ideas to lead our country? For Republicans, who best exemplifies the three legged stool of Reagan conservatism which includes economics, national security, and social issues? Who can best present our platform in a way that makes sense intellectually, can inspire people emotionally, and not turn off those who will still have their doubts? Mitt Romney is not a savior or a political "messiah", but in the times we live in, he is the President we need. Discerning voters should read his book, examine his website, listen to his speeches on C-SPAN, and if possible, especially in states like Iowa and New Hampshire, try to meet him, ask him questions, and see if he has what it takes. I think Romney is a candidate who will meet that scrutiny.

It may be well over a month before the former Governor formally kicks off a campaign or even announces some form of exploratory committee, but few doubt he will be running, and none should doubt his potential. It will be a wild ride for political junkies to watch what ensues in the upcoming campaign, but when the proverbial dust settles 675 days from now, we will have hopefully elected a President to turn our economy around, serve as the Commander in Chief in what will still be a time of war, and be the moral leader of a great people who puts his faith in the individual and in the family.

That President should be Willard Mitt Romney, of Massachusetts.