Let’s see. Anybody got the scorecard and one of those little pencils?
So far, I’ve gone after Giuliani for playing host to the largest sanctuary city for illegal immigrants that this country has ever seen, for being on the wrong side of the abortion issue, and for never meeting gun control legislation he didn’t like.
I’ve criticized Huckabee for out-of-control taxes and government spending while governor, for the inappropriate use of his otherwise refreshing wit, for providing the children of illegal immigrants in Arkansas with scholarships that could have gone to American kids, and for his proposal to close down the detainee camp at Guantanamo Bay.
I’ve also blasted McCain for his plan to bring terrorist detainees into stateside prisons and afford them the same right as American citizen inmates, as well as being a favorite of liberals for his apparent disdain for the First Amendment, his failure to grasp the positive impact of the Bush tax cuts, his buying into the socialist patsy that is global warming, and his unforgivable sponsorship of last year’s Comprehensive Immigration Reform “shamnesty” Bill.
So … where does that leave Mitt Romney?
Honestly, I like Mitt. I believe that he is a man of good moral character. I believe that his evolution on abortion was truly genuine (after all, with his wife’s Multiple Sclerosis, he has the perfect excuse for being pro-choice and interested in embryonic stem cell research and the like). I think that his credentials–especially with regard to the economy–are perhaps the best of the entire field, Fred Thompson included.
From everything that Mitt Romney says, he seems to me to be a genuine, traditional-mold, Ronald Reagan conservative. Strong national defense. Strong economy. Small federal government. Low taxes, responsible spending. Tight borders. Solid on the Second Amendment. Decent moral and family values. From what I’ve heard out of his own mouth, he’s got it all.
So why, for crying out loud, am I having such a difficult time getting behind him?
For the life of me, as much as I want to like Mitt, I cannot tell if he is just spoon-feeding me exactly what I want to hear.
For example, right after John McCain spoke to automotive workers in Michigan, telling them that “some of the lost jobs are not coming back,” that the industry had moved on and the long-term success of the community depended upon workers being re-trained, Romney proudly proclaimed that he would bring the automotive industry back to Michigan. He would challenge–in the courts if necessary–the bill that President Bush signed into law a fortnight ago that would increase fuel efficiency to standards that only two cars currently on the road (hybrids Honda Civic and Toyota Prius) can meet. He would spend billions of dollars in federal money, if necessary, to motivate the automakers.
“This,” he told the crowd, “is personal to me.”
Then again, maybe it is. His father, George, did indeed spend eight years as chairman of the American Motors Association, leaving only to spend six years as governor of Michigan before failing in a presidential bid of his own (Nixon won the nomination). Saving the automotive industry and revitalizing the long-faltering economy in Michigan may very well be “personal” to Mitt Romney.
But, “who let the dogs out?” Seriously?
Mitt’s strengths lie in his experience. He’s worth somewhere in the rough neighborhood of $260 million. He’s proven himself as a man who knows how the economy works, both on a national and international scale. He’s shown that, whether or not he truly believes it, he at least understands core conservative values.
Mitt’s weakness, to borrow a term of art from a friend, is that he’s a dealmaker. It’s what he does, and what he knows. To a certain degree, deal-making is fine and sometimes necessary, but I’d like to be confident that values and ideals never take a back seat to simple compromise.
To anyone that even casually follows the presidential race, Mitt Romney’s experience and credentials cannot be in question. To anyone who listens fairly intently, he talks a phenomenal game when it comes to conservatism. However, unless he messes up his hair a little bit, maybe gets caught wearing sweatpants in public (otherwise a big no-no), or somehow finds another way to connect with Joe and Jane Sixpack, I fear that a lot of people that would otherwise pay closer attention to Mitt Romney will simply dismiss him as just another stiff-shirt politician who will say anything to get elected and doesn’t have the people’s best interests at heart.