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February 08, 2008

Thank You Mitt Romney

Though I'm disheartened by the end of Romney's campaign, he's left me several things to be thankful for.

I'm thankful that Romney reminded me what it feels like to really be excited about a candidate.  Its been quite sometime since I've seen a candidate that was the "total package" that Romney was.  In a time when we are so critical of all of our candidates and it is easier than ever to find and broadcast their faults (and certainly Romney had faults of his own) it is easy to become disenchanted with candidates and the process.  But Romney brought me out of that at least for the span of his campaign.  I'm thankful for the reminder that it is possible.

I'm thankful that Romney forced me and so many other Evangelicals to evaluate whether our faith was going to be a defining factor in our vote, over policy issues.  The decision on this wasn't unified by any means, but I believe it was important for us to be faced with that decision.

I'm thankful that he was willing to step down.  Calculations of the chance he had at winning were most definitely the driving factor here, but I'm thankful for a candidate that is not too prideful to step down before the last glimmer of possibility is gone in the name of allowing our party to go into the election stronger and unified.

I hope that this is not the last Presidential race we see Romney in.  Who knows what the future holds, but if there is a future Romney campaign, count me in.


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Let me offer an alternative point of view on Mitt- Romney was anything but a "total package" for conservatives. He was the type of candidate whose packaging was attractive, but it covered up a far less authentic candidate on the inside.

Mitt Romney was the wrong man to carry the conservative banner, for several reasons. Mitt wanted to be the conservative candidate without actually having really governed as one (his signature legislative accomplishment- his healthcare plan- was NOT a conservative one)- it seemed that the bulk of the platform he ran on were positions he adopted or switched to during the last election cycle- which immediately cast doubt on his credibility and sincerity. In addition, he could not blunt arguments that emanated from the McCain camp in which McCain asserted, "Ive been a conservative far longer than Mitt Romney". McCain's lack of conservative credentials aside, it proved to be a assertion that Mitt Romney had no credible reply to.

Mitt's final nail in the coffin in Florida resulted when he pandered to senior citizens in Florida, as he actually criticized John McCain for NOT supporting the prescription drug entitlement plan. Couple that with his pandering to the automotive industry in Michigan- where he basically offered to have the Federal Government pay for R&D that some segments of the industry were already engaged in- and you have someone who is not advocating for conservatism, but for immediate electoral gain.
So much for being the conservative, small-government alternative.

McCain's perceived credibility as a conservative and security hawk won the day for him, and he exploited Mitt's glaring weakness- his credibility/sincerity deficit, which is why in retrospect, he was the wrong manner to be charged with carrying the conservative banner. In addition, he is probably a more electable candidate than Romney would have been anyways. In retrospect, what conservatives needed to prevail with a candidate of their liking was to field a candidate who was credible, could withstand most attacks on his record, would not compromise at all on his conservative principles, and who could stand for a fair fight with the Party moderates. Fred Thompson was the man who could have waged that fight far more convincingly than Mitt Romney.

In fairness to Romney, the conservative vote had been splitting four ways rather than coalescing around one candidate, and it would have been daunting for any one authentic conservative win an intra-party squabble. In the future, Conservatives will have their best chance to prevail with a candidate of their liking with a smaller field of candidates.

Mitt Romney should run for Governor of Michigan, build up his conservative bonafides and actually govern as a conservative, and then give his Presidential ambitions another try.

Hey, PEER, come vote in our latest poll over at our website. You'll get a kick out of it.

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