Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor
Volume III, Issue XCVII
Why Newt? Why Not Mitt?
Things to be Learned from the Presidential Race
The 'other' weekly news magazine asks this week why Republicans don't like Mitt Romney. Of course its Joe Klein doing the asking so one doesn't need to spend a lot of time wondering who Joe would like to see running against Barack Obama next year. Mr. Klein. let me help you with this. First of all, it is not really a dislike of Romney so much as a feeling that his newfound Conservative credentials are exactly that... newfound, and not necessarily core beliefs.
Most people are aware that being a successful Republican in a Northeastern blue state is a lot different than being a Republican in, say, Texas. One DOES expect foundational values to guide how one might govern. Massachussetts' state run healthcare plan raises legitimate questions when one looks at the very real possibility of nationalized healthcare.
That's not dislike, Mr. Klein. That is simply good old fashioned due diligence.
Many Conservatives would not be upset at all if Romney were to win the Presidency and adhere to a healthy respect for Constitutional limitations on a national level.
And please, Mr. Klein, don't even go near the whole "he's Latter Day Saints, the Southern Evangelicals won't support him" narrative. Most of these same people are positive in their response to Glenn Beck. Beck's being LDS does not deter the Evangelicals in question from supporting him. He can inspire almost a million people (with jobs, responsibilities and schedules) to show up on the National Mall. This brings me to my most important point, Mr. Klein, IDEAS are driving this campaign more than you want to admit. This year's field proves that people of every creed and color are welcome at the table where ideas are being discussed.
The rise of Herman Cain and the subsequent rise of Newt Gingrich show one thing -- there are an awful lot of people out there who WANT this thing to be about ideas. People want to see a plan and purpose in their candidate to stengthen and secure this great nation of ours. They seem to want MORE discussion of restructuring the tax code and returning to Constitutional limitations on government.
How else would you explain the popularity of Conservative talk radio? If you had described the medium before Rush Limbaugh made it happen, no one would have believed you. Over twenty million people tune in to hear a guy talk to people about politics. Conventional wisdom would have told you no one would, but they do. Advertisers pay those "confiscatory rates" happily to gain access to a large audience.
But there is more to the equation. The rise and fall of Cain tells us that integrity matters too. People need to feel they can trust a candidate before they invest in him or her. Sadly, many people generally distrust our leaders -- even many who want government to do more for them. Here Romney can gain ground by fleshing out the principles behind the points. The people he needs to sway will take the time to listen. They understand the argument that a state may set up institutions the Federal government is forbidden to by the Constitution. Mitt might gain even more ground by making people like Joe Klein uncomfortable with his candidacy, daring to flesh out the different nature of national and state policy decisions.
The Romney Record
Interestingly enough, Joe, your article makes a pretty good case for why Conservatives are just not all that excited about Mitt. The accompanying graphic shows his 'shifts' in thinking on immigration, healthcare and abortion are hard to believe as epiphany in light of his political aspirations at the moment. It is not unlike the change in position of Al Gore and Bill Clinton, who were pro-life until they sought national office as Democrats.
Then there is the whole Bain Capital [click to read] affair. Romney touts his private sector job creation credentials through his work with Bain. Unfortunately a closer look shows a mixed record. Romney cites his Bain experience to prove he can create jobs. He points to Bain's investment in a (then) "little-known office supply store called Staples, which now employs more than 90,000 worldwide."
"But a closer examination of the prospectus paints a different picture of Bain's operation. Under Romney's leadership, Bain became one of the nation's top leveraged buyout companies, helping lead a trend in which businesses were acquired using debt often pledged against their own assets or earnings." -- Tom Hamburger, Melanie Mason and Matea Gold in Jewish World Review
The result was often the failure of eviscerated companies. Pensions and benefits were lost. Jobs were lost. Bain demanded financial performance at the expense of good business practices. Some of the horror stories contain everything the OWS crowd profess to hate. It might not have the tabloid traction of alledged infidelities, but ethically it is the same darned thing.
Why Not Rick Santorum?
A far more interesting subject to think upon is the fact that (so far) Pennsylvania's Rick Santorum has not pulled into the lead. Perhaps Santorum is the horse to watch in this race. His foreign policy understanding is very complete. His credentials are pretty solid.
Rick Santorum, an unapologetic believer in American Exceptionalism, understands that those who wish to destroy America do so because they hate everything we are – a land of freedom, a land of prosperity, a land of equality. Rick knows that backing down to the Jihadists means that we are only putting our foundational principles at greater risk. As an elected representative, Rick knew that his greatest responsibility was to protect the freedoms we enjoy – and we should not apologize for holding true to these principles.
Along with John Boehner and Jim Nussle, Rick was a member of the “Gang of Seven” who targeted the waste and fraud of the House Post Office and Bank. This did not make Rick Santorum a popular man in an old boy’s club like the House of Representatives, but Rick knew that the only way to make a positive difference in the lives of his constituents was to challenge the corrupt norms that had seeped into the People’s Body.