In one of my first posts kicking off this blog, I wrote about why I do not want another four years of Obama. And while all those reasons still run strong even months later, I realized that my liking of Romney has increased quite a bit since writing that post. So, I figured it's time to explain why I'd like Romney in the White House beyond the simple "He's not Obama". While I think ousting Obama is of the utmost importance (I'm looking at you, Ron Paul supporters), it's not an overly positive message. Another Obama term would be disastrous, but letting that cloud overshadow the challenger's own qualifications not only doesn't do the candidate justice, but it also delivers a less effective message about how important our choice is this election. I think in addition to showing why Obama's bad for the country, highlighting why Romney will be good for the country is a very powerful message because it shows the stark contrast between the two candidates.
So why Romney? Where to begin, really. But let's start with what he's done in the past that boosts his resume to presidential levels..
First and foremost, he was the Governor of Massachusetts. While having that much needed executive experience is invaluable (I tend to believe governors make far better presidents than senators, but there are exceptions to that rule), what sets his tenure apart was what he managed to do in Massachusetts. During his time as governor, the state had a heavily lopsided 86% Democrat legislation, one of the bluest states in the country. Despite him being a Republican governor, he still managed to work with Democrats to balance the state's budget and get spending under control. Some may want to throw the flag on Romneycare, but I would like to point out that Romney's priorities were first to get the state's finances in order before pushing forth a healthcare reform system. And besides, anyone willing to look will see there are key differences between Romneycare and Obamacare that make a world of difference. Either way, I seem to recall a certain president who successfully worked with a Democrat controlled House to get what he wanted: Ronald Reagan. And it was Reagan's policies that lead to the biggest explosion of economic growth over the next 25 years. And yes, Romney's policies are similar.
He was called upon, and succeeded, in turning around the disastrous state of the 2002 Winter Olympics. Some might find this insignificant, but I surely do not. Let me ask you, have you ever heard of the Olympics just...not happening? It hasn't happened since 1944 when they were cancelled due to World War II. Well, the 2002 was so mired in scandal that nearly made that a reality. After the dust settled, who did they bring in to set things right? Yep, you guessed it. Mitt Romney. Not only did he set things right, but he was able to turn those Olympics around to be one of the most successful Olympiads in history. Not only that, but he did America proud by honoring and remembering our fallen from 9/11 through a very stirring ceremony including athletes carrying a tattered flag that survived the World Trade Center attacks while the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang the star spangled banner. Probably knowing such patriotism would be criticized, it showed that Romney is not afraid to show that he's proud of America and all it stands for.
And lastly, and just as importantly, is his own successful business career. Many might not believe this, but Mitt Romney wasn't some rich kid that got everything handed to him from daddy. In fact, in spite of his privileged upbringing and virtual gaurantee that he would never have to worry about money for the rest of his life, he gave all that up and struck out on his own. And why would anyone do that? To prove that he could go his own way and be successful. Folks, he is a living breathing example of the American Dream. His work at Bain capital, while not always successful, led to more companies creating more jobs. Yes, some jobs were lost along the way, but Bain's track record during Romney's tenure was overwhelmingly successful.
While each of these on their own show great success, it's the combination of all three which brings his resume to the presidential level. Here's a man who's fulfilled the American Dream, saved a sacred international institution from collapse, and worked successfully with the "other side" as governor to achieve results. About the only thing missing from this resume would have been service in the armed forces, which at that time, he was busy being a missionary for his church. When it comes to presidential qualifications, it really doesn't get much better than this.
But, then, why aren't people going crazy for this guy? Media bias aside, he wasn't doing himself any favors being as stiff and milquetoast as he's been. Back when I wrote why I don't want another Obama term, I was in that "meh" aspect about Romney. He wasn't exciting. He hadn't given any stirring speeches or brought forth the conservative rallying cry. And while it was easy to figure out why I was so meh about him, it took these last few months to figure out why I should like him. And in an ironic twist, the answer was right in the mirror the entire time.
You see, anyone that doesn't know me that well may think I'm stiff, bland, and mechanically boring. I'm aloof. A little disconnected socially. I have a tough time making a social connection with newer people and have to work a little harder at it. Many times I don't really know what to say in certain situations. I'm definitely not what you'd call a schmoozer. Yet, anyone that knows me well, particularly my family and close friends, knows that there's much more to me than what most people tend to see. I'll not list what I believe I am on the "inside", but I'd expect most would at least say I'm a loving family man and a loyal friend ... and maybe with a twisted, awesome sense of humor...maybe.
This is the epiphany I had with Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney, deep down. is not a natural politician. He's not a schmoozer. Sure, in the political ring, you have to have some proficiency at schmoozing, but I don't think this comes naturally to him. I see him as a savvy, brilliant business man more than a politician. I see him as a reserved family man that deeply loves his family with a set of moral standards that seem so self evident to him, that he has a hard time expressing those in a way that would ace the pc litmus test. Like me, I think he ends up having to work harder to make that social connection click. But unlike me, he's in an arena where making that connection is an absolute must. Thus, you have a man thrust into the spotlight that at times looks awkward, some times smug, and some times unintentionally underscoring that difficulty he has in making a connection. And as odd as it sounds, that's what actually made me like the guy much more than I have before. I finally was able to "get" him...or at least think I do.
Some may see that as a liability, and perhaps it is to a degree. However, I think there's a growing portion of the population that can actually relate to a politician who's not really a natural politician. Either way, at the end of the day, I'd like to have a president that says, "I would love to have a beer with you, but I have some really important things to take care of right now" instead of "A beer? Sure, all that stuff can wait until tomorrow!"
Ok, so he's got the resume. And he's not this stiff, uncaring robot he's made out to be. But what will he do for America? Is he going to raise taxes on me?! I'm already hurting!
First, to get this out of the way, Romney is NOT planning on raising taxes on the middle class. This is a very clever untruth being perpetuated by the Obama campaign and the media. Yes, while they're getting this "evidence" from the Tax Policy Center, it's being distorted. The Tax Policy Center's report indicates that the only way they can think of for Romney's plan to succeed is to raise taxes. However, what's important to note is that the Tax Policy Center does not take into account the expected economic growth created from lowering taxes in the first place. As noted here, Romney's plan to cut taxes all around will create enough economic growth and prosperity that government revenues will increase, which would offset the need to raise taxes on the middle class to shore up revenue loss.
Romney's a firm believer in curbing over regulation. While regulations can, and are, needed to a degree, over regulation is just as bad, if not worse, than under regulation. This is the type of governing which releases the power of the American capitalist system, which is the only way we'll ever get ourselves out of the ever looming fiscal doom we've found ourselves under.
He has an energy plan which does take a true "all of the above" approach. A practical energy policy is key to unlocking our financial success and freedom. Unlocking the resources we have available, without the EPA unnecessarily getting in the way, will truly reduce our reliance on foreign oil, which will put us in a far better position on the global market.
He believes America is exceptional and should lead in the world. Some may see that as arrogance, but when you look at the big picture, America IS the country that stands for liberty in the world. The rest of the world either opposes or appeases the opposers. Our leadership in the world has made the world a better place. Romney understands this. Without American leadership, the world would be a far more dangerous place. His preference to display strength over appeasement is the sign of how the leader of the free world should be acting.
In short, the combination of a sound, responsible fiscal policy at home and a strong foreign policy abroad harkens back to what many of our greatest presidents believed and done. It's this type of leadership this country needs going forward. And a man with that kind of vision, with this kind of resume, is clearly far more qualified to lead this nation than Barack Obama is even with four years of presidential experience under his belt.