Many GOP insiders, Beltway mavens, and East Coast conservatives have held up Mitt Romney as the presumptive 2012 GOP presidential nominee and, indeed, he appears to be quietly laying the groundwork for another presidential run. However, with all of the Tea Parties, town meetings, and ObamaCare protests, he has been strangely silent. This is exceedingly odd behavior for a man who would be president.
What could he be thinking? Well, I am not a mind reader, but I would guess that his silence is motivated by two concerns. First, he wants to keep his powder dry for 2012. He does not want to run the risk of being overexposed before a tired electorate. As he also appears to be a very cautious person, he would naturally want to only be engaged in debates on issues he cares about, on his time schedule, and on his terms.
This brings us to the second concern. ObamaCare is in part modeled after the health care system he championed in Massachusetts while he was governor. While the architect of the program was apparently Deval Patrick, the current governor or Massachusetts and a best friend of Obama, Romney took credit for the program when he ran for president in 2008. This leaves him in an uncomfortable position regarding the current debate over ObamaCare. No doubt, he wishes that the whole controversy will just blow over, as nothing about the current health care debate plays to his benefit.
Yet, the Obama presidency is a target-rich environment. There are many, many things that Romney could and should comment on. While it is true that he has occasionally issued a press release, and he sometimes appears on Hugh Hewitt’s show, at a time when the GOP so desperately needs leadership, he has been nearly off the radar screen. The only conclusion that can be drawn from this is that he is generally pleased with Obama’s policies, and is having trouble finding things in the current administration that he is really critical of.
This, while the whole nation seems on the brink of explosion.
Since it appears that the GOP establishment is going to try to ram Romney down everyone’s throat in 2012, I’ll cut to the quick:
America needs a leader, not a manager. A field general, not a staff officer. However, Romney is not a leader, and will never be one.
America needs a leader with passion and conviction. Romney has neither.
I am greatly troubled by the man. Those who have read my post, “What is Civilized?” will probably understand why. Romney is the ultimate “civilized” man, in that he confuses politeness, congeniality, and civil discourse for basic morality and ethics. The most telling moment of his life was in the 1994 debate with Ted Kennedy:
(H/t Conservative Brawler). There is a lot to say about this video. However, if he ever had a chance to get my support, he lost it with his statement on abortion. He said that he was personally against abortion, but did not want to impose his views on others. Therefore, he was in favor of Roe vs Wade.
The very essence of abortion is the imposition of one’s viewpoint onto another. With Roe vs Wade, the Supreme Court has imposed its will over the American electorate, taking away the voters’ right to decide how their states and districts should be run. More potently, mothers are often put under extreme pressure–without being made aware of the many other options–to kill their babies. And what of the babies themselves? Killed without their consent. At the very least, abortion is a civil rights issue–just as Africans were impressed into slavery in America against their will, against their will unborn children are deprived of their life, liberty, and ability to pursue happiness.
Yet, Romney cast this as a moral question–he thought abortion was wrong. Thus, at least in 1994, he thought of the issue in terms of weighing the “rights” of women against the immorality of abortion. In this case, he allowed the “rights” of women to trump morality.
Sorry, but this will not wash. If rights–and the unwillingness to impose one’s views over others–always trumps morality, then just about any kind of immorality, no matter how egregious, can be countenanced. This is the triumph of “civilization” over morality, the same triumph that gave us slavery, the gas chambers, and any number of horrors.
Late in the game, largely because of pressure from Iowa conservatives during the 2008 primaries, Romney took a stronger stance against abortion. We were told by many pro-life conservatives that we should welcome such a change and allow him into the fold as a pro-life candidate. Of course, we should do so. Having said that, like just about everything the man does and is about, the change of heart smacked of expedience. He waited to change his position no doubt because he hoped and thought that Giuliani would attempt a strong showing in Iowa. Since Giuliani’s pro-abortion stance was well known and on appearance more extreme than his own position, Giuliani would serve as a lightning rod and make Romney more palatable to conservatives. The only problem was that Giuliani skipped Iowa, making Romney the only pro-abortion candidate on the ticket, and thus forcing Romney’s hand.
It is telling that Romney, like most pundits and the GOP establishment, thought the front runner would be Giuliani. This proved to be a total misreading of the GOP electorate. So potent were moral issues and the desire for authenticity among rank and file Republicans that even McCain was viewed with suspicion, propelling Huckabee–who ran on a shoestring–into the lead or into contention in many of the primary races. On the other hand, Romney burnt money by the barrel full, but never really gained traction.
It will be the same in 2012. However, there is always the possibility that the GOP establishment will try to rig things and make him the nominee no matter what rank and file Republicans want, or that Romney, with his organization and war chest, will so wound and tire the eventual nominee that she/he will not survive the actual election. In either case, Obama will be reelected.
In so many ways, Romney reminds me of the Rich Young Ruler. He has studiously kept all of the laws on the book. I doubt he has ever even gotten a speeding ticket. It is unimaginable that he might have ever snorted cocaine or danced naked on top of a bar. Yet, for all his virtues, he confuses personal decency with morality, a sunny disposition with passion, and the ticking all of the boxes on the conservative checklist with conviction. He has everything in the world, but ultimately he does not have God–there is no compass guiding his life, except for his belief in his own goodness. As he said in the 1994 debate, he wishes that he could do more to help people. If he really means that, he can give all of his money to the poor and work in a soup kitchen somewhere. But, of course, he won’t do that–he believes that he can best serve others by ruling over them. Like the Rich Young Ruler, I love Romney, but I pity him. Certainly, I do not want him to be president. I just want him to go away.
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