I'M VOTING FOR MITT
I'm voting for Mitt Romney.
In two weeks, on Super Tuesday, I'm casting my primary ballot for Mitt Romney.
It's been a decision that's taken almost a year, and it's involved several back-and-forths, but this is where I come down. The candidate I want to represent the Republican party in this year's presidential election is Mitt Romney.
Let me tell you why.
Before I look at him, I want to look at the others.
First, Rudy. Great man, outstanding leader, would probably make a fine president. Proven in time of crisis, well spoken under pressure, as smart as they come.
But he's a liberal.
Nowhere near as liberal as whoever the Democratic candidate ends up being, but liberal nonetheless. And I'm not a liberal. I'm a conservative. And as I thought about the issues that matter to me, I could not think of very many that I would expect Rudy Giuliani to agree with me on.
He might be a winning candidate, but he's not a very Republican candidate, and after eight years of George W. Bush, I'd like to try a Republican, for a change.
Next, McCain. American hero, unflinchingly brave, would make a tough, no-nonsense president. Proven over a lifetime of military and government service, he would have our enemies shaking in their boots.
But he's a liberal.
And he's too old – in body and mind. He's such a part of the past that his natural energy and vitality are distant memories. Unfortunately, his years in a prisoner-of-war camp – which set him apart and qualify him for greatness – were so long ago as to be little more than a footnote on the relevancies of today.
But mostly, he's just plain liberal. From empowering political special interests and silencing regular folks though his “campaign finance reform,” to his amnesty-for-everyone immigration bill, his years in elective office have been distinctive for their lack of principle and conservatism.
He's one of the greatest Americans of his generation or mine, but he would not be my choice for president, and he wouldn't be America's, either. He is the Bob Dole of 2008.
He was a big deal eight months ago. But he's nosedived since then. The irony is that the man who might actually be dispositioned best to serve as president seems incapable of mounting a presidential campaign. I believe he's a true conservative, but we'll have to wait for him to wake up to find out.
Thompson is, to me, the most disappointing candidate of the batch. All hat and no cattle.
Mike Huckabee is the only politician I've ever donated money to. I sent him $50 last fall, when he was on the Glenn Beck TV show. I liked what he had to say about the Second Amendment and I liked the way he was so upfront with his strong religious values.
But this guy's only a conservative when it suits him, and he's got a new brand of conservatism he's peddling that is nothing but the old brand of liberalism. He is, to me, a keen, keen disappointment.
He has prostituted his religion, seeming to actively promote his Christian ties for personal political gain, and cunningly using religious bigotry against at least one opponent. He is too clever by half and it comes off looking not just cunning, but sinister.
He did grow government, he did raise taxes, he was a good friend of illegal aliens – and all the 180s he's pulled in the last few weeks won't change that. Mike Huckabee is talented, and part of me still likes him a lot, but the more I learn about him, the more he reminds me of Elmer Gantry.
That brings us to Mitt.
I didn't like him to start. I was very bothered by his late-life conversion to conservatism. I also thought he hid his Mormon beliefs like a candle under a bushel.
But as the long campaign has dragged on I think he has looked better and better. First, he has been the best spokesman for conservative and traditional-Republican values. He has stood up in debate after debate and shown a better understanding of what's what than his opponents.
And he has kept his cool and his class through the campaign. As Huckabee got dirty on him, and McCain and Thompson sought to ridicule him in the debates, he has been calm but not weak, firm but not antagonistic. He has had a presidential demeanor.
He has also been positive.
Whereas the others – in both parties – talk about problem, problem, problem, Mitt Romney's approach has been solution, solution, solution. He hasn't exactly said that it's morning in America, but we got the message.
And he is the most conservative major candidate. With Duncan Hunter and – soon – Fred Thompson gone, Mitt's the only one even close to conservative. Further, the endorsement of Tom Tancredo is very significant to me. Nobody is stronger on the issue of illegal immigration than Tancredo, and if he feels good about Mitt Romney, so do I.
There is also the issue of his religion.
There are a lot of firsts in the campaign – even though Senators Clinton and Obama get all the press. There is the first Italian, and the first Mormon, in addition to the first woman and the first black. Yet only one of those identifiers has been declared by the press a liability, and I personally think it would be good to show the press how wrong it can be and how bigoted its presumptions can be.
Those who say Mitt Romney can't be elected because of his religion shortchange and insult the American people.
I'm voting for Mitt Romney.
He's run several highly successful businesses – growing companies instead of gutting them or sending their jobs overseas. He handled the odd world of the Olympics like a champion, and he governed Massachusetts with policies and principles that were successful and fundamentally conservative. And he's run a very smart and professional campaign, handling himself like a gentleman throughout, no matter what guff he was taking off his opponents.
Mitt Romney governed more conservatively than Rudy Giuliani did, or Mike Huckabee did, or John McCain has. These are men with platforms and records, and the proof of Mitt Romney's platform is in his record – given the chance to lead, he led closer to Republican principles than any of his opponents.
No, he's not perfect.
None of them are.
But he's the closest.
I can support any of them against a Democrat, but our country and our party deserve a Republican candidate that is truly strong and capable.
And that candidate is Mitt Romney.
He has my vote on primary day.
- by Bob Lonsberry © 2008