Mr. G Still Likes Mitt Romney
For close to a year now regardless of who has been leading in the polls, who was in and who was out, we have heard one consistent reaction to the Republican candidates: that Republicans, and Conservatives especially, are unhappy about the selection we are being offered. Hopefully, regardless of how much time you have had to observe politics, you realize that the "perfect candidate" just doesn't exist, in this election, or any previous election, or in any that will follow. However, in reviewing the Republican candidates this year, I'd like to suggest that we have reason to celebrate.
Despite the general feeling of apathy towards the candidates as a whole, the fact of the matter is that we have a collection of great contenders. Again, none of them are perfect, but each of them has strengths that would serve them well in the role of Commander and Chief. We've even got Ron Paul who finally gives the crazies in our party a place to call home.
Truth be told, any one of our top tier candidates would be better than any of the democrat candidates and unless Ron Paul pulls of the biggest surge in history, we'll have a candidate with strengths we can rally behind.
But since we only get one vote, who do we choose? I submit that there is one candidate that rises above the rest; Mitt Romney.
Before getting into specifics, let me assure those of you who know me that I am not on the Romney wagon simply because Ann Coulter likes him best as well. That certainly doesn't hurt, but I liked Romney before I knew where Coulter stood on the candidates. It just so happens, as it has happened so many time before, that Ann and I agree.
When I've told folks that I like Romney, I've gotten some shocked looks. As a proud Evangelical, many apparently have assumed that Huckabee would be my guy. Indeed, almost a year ago I wrote this post explaining the fact that I really like Huckabee but didn't think he was electable. The recent surge in his support has given many hope that he is. I stand by the fact that I still really like Huckabee; I believe him to be a man of integrity, a man of principle who would serve us well in the Oval Office. However, I've also gained a better understanding of his economic positions and position(s) on illegal immigration. I must say, I'm not a fan.
I won't call Huckabee a as many have liberal, because he most definitely is a Conservative in my opinion. At the same time, his domestic policy leaves much to be desired. Yet, I would happily vote for Huckabee if he ends up being our guy. After all, Huckabee has been endorsed by Chuck Norris. But let's be honest, despite all of those Chuck Norris facts, most of which I believe to be true, we all know this to be true as well:
Fact: Ann Coulter could kick Chuck Norris's butt.
I'm gonna stick with Ann and pull for Romney.
The Romney facts are these, he's a proven economic leader, he has demonstrated some brilliant health care crisis solutions, he has the right stance on illegal immigration, and he advocates the right position on social issues important to me AND has a proven record of doing so.
Of course, the big issues for Conservatives with Romney are 1. His faith as a Mormon and 2. His "flip-flops." Let's look at both.
1. As a Evangelical Christian, I know that when another Evangelical runs for office I don't want folks who believe differently to hold that against the candidate. I like to think I can extend the same courtesy. Certainly, I would prefer someone of my own faith because it gives a comfort that the candidate will think and act as I would. However, I choose not to let my preference for a candidates faith be the determining factor in my decision. All things being equal, I would vote for someone of my own beliefs just about every time, but when a candidate has demonstrated to me that they match my political beliefs and ideas better than one who matches my theology, I choose to vote for the better candidate in politics and the better theologian when choosing a pastor.
2. The bigger qualm that Conservatives have had with Romney has been the perception that he is a political animal that changes with the polls. Rest assured, Romney is a political animal. So is Huckabee and Thompson and Giuliani and McCain. I'm not quite sure what Ron Paul is, besides crazy, but I digress.
All of the candidates are politicians and I am willing to accept, and in fact hope, that they play the political game to a certain degree. Sadly, that is frequently what it takes to move your ideas forward in the political arena. As for Romney specifically, I'm also willing to accept that he has changed his mind on the issues over the years, and even within the last few years. I know I've changed my position on a number of issues and I likely will change in the future on positions I stand for now. I'm not looking for a candidate who came out of the womb with the right political philosophy. I'm looking for a candidate to stands for what I believe now. On policy Romney matches that best of the electable candidates (Alan Keyes would give him a run for his money, but unfortunately we won't have to worry about that).
So the question between Romney and Huckabee comes down to whether I believe Romney is who he says he is. Do I believe that he will stand for what is right on those huge social issues important to me once elected? The answer is yes.
As Governor, Romney vetoed bills on the morning after pill, stem cell research, state benefits for illegal immigrants and dramatic minimum wage hikes. He fought a pitched battle against same-sex marriage in Massachusetts and even joined in a civil lawsuit as a private citizen to advance the cause of traditional marriage. The fact is that there are a number of candidates who say that they stand for the same causes I do, but Romney is the only candidate who has had to face so many of these issues in a leadership position and has consistently responded as a true Conservative.
When I look at his record, I believe Romney is the man he says he is. He has stood for the causes I believe in and I trust he will continue to do so.
So for me, Romney is the candidate of choice.
I realize the Giuliani, McCain, and Thompson supporters are probably upset that I've not addressed their candidates and boiled the race down to Romney and Huckabee. I've done this not because I think Romney and Huckabee have the best chance. Any poll will tell you that is not the case. However, when you take a poll in the Mr. G household, there are problems that keep me from putting the other three in my top spot. Again, keep in mind that I'll vote for these guys if it comes down to it.
Giuliani: Not pro-life. He's said he will nominate traditionalist judges, which is probably about the best that any of the candidates could do, and I believe him, but I'd prefer a candidate that is going to consistently stand for life. Also supports embryonic stem cell research.
McCain: I stood is Senator McCain's office in 2004 with a group of attorneys from Arizona hoping to encourage the Senator to vote for the federal marriage amendment. After we were told why McCain was going to vote against the Amendment I then explained that what I just heard was probably going to be the reason I wouldn't vote for him in 2008. Also supports embryonic stem cell research.
Thompson: I actually really like Thompson. In fact, I even prefer Thompson to Huckabee policy-wise. The endorsement by Human Events didn't hurt either. However, as many have realized, Thompson has not brought the energy that we all hoped he would. Simply put, I'm not convinced he's electable. South Carolina was his best shot at gaining the momentum necessary to maintain a campaign. With that loss, I think all he can do at this point is draw votes from Huckabee and Romney. Even if he was a contender, however, I still like Romney more.
As for Romney's chances, Florida and California will, of course, be defining for every candidate, but it doesn't hurt that Romney currently leads all candidates in delegate votes.
I'll close with this: As I've explained, I'm a Romney supporter for the time being. But I am certainly not above changing my mind should I be convinced that there is a better candidate out there. Convince me I'm wrong. You have 8 days.