Much has been made of Rick Santorum’s off-the-cuff comment today that we might be better off with Obama than with Mitt Romney:
You win by giving people the opportunity to see a different vision for our country, not someone who’s just going to be a little different than the person in there. If you’re going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk with what may be the etch a sketch candidate of the future.
Bless his heart. Some people, such as Romney, need a focus group to choose their own socks, and produce a lawyerly statement absolving themselves of all future claims when trying to say “I love you”. Rick, on the other hand, can’t filter his words–or keep his mouth shut–to save his own life.
My wife would say that he reminds her of someone she knows well, but I digress.
Just as Romney’s communication manager was speaking a central truth of politics as we have come to know and loathe it when he said that Romney was nothing more than an Etch A Sketch, and had no intention of keeping any of his promises once the primaries were over, Santorum, in his own clumsy way, was also speaking a central truth: Unless Romney can convince strong conservatives and pro-lifers to support him, many will sit out this election, and he may fail to become president.
And it is getting late in the day, and Romney is going backwards, not forwards, in trying to get our support.
Pro-lifers, in particular, are the abused step-children of the GOP. When not being told to shut up by the likes of “pro-life champions” such as Newt Gingrich, they are maligned, double-crossed, and thrown under the bus at nearly every occasion. Always, in the name of partisan victory, we are being told to support this or that non-pro-life alternative for the good of the team, and because, after all, Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and their ilk are better than the other guys, and will give the GOP votes in the Senate, except when we need them most.
Here is the problem: A lot of us joined the GOP and the conservative movement because of this one issue, abortion. For years, it has been our energy, our money, our support, and our votes which have enabled “conservative” candidates to get into office and stay there. Yet, once they get to Washington, they seem to forget what they are there for, and simply do what they want.
Now we have a candidate in Romney who no longer even pretends that he cares what we think. The only reason he has given people to vote for him is that he is not as bad as the other guy.
The central issue facing America today is not the economy, not jobs, and not gas prices. The central issue is its soul. I am not saying that these other issues are not important: I am saying only that they are not central.
As an expatriate I have spent years living in countries where the only thing the people care about are economic issues, and where people have surrendered their souls to them. (Japan is a textbook example of this, but there are many others.) When this occurs, people give up their rights and freedom in return for the promise of prosperity. As a consequence, their own government becomes completely unresponsive to them. Unpopular policies are pursued, the public be damned. In the name of economic prosperity, the government plays favorites with industry, allowing some companies to succeed, and dooming others to failure. Absent checks and balances, the government and then industry becomes completely bureaucratized and tied up in red tape. Since the whole country becomes one big bureaucracy where advancement is based upon connections rather than merit, mediocrity becomes the norm, and the most brutal and stupidest members of society end up running the show. Concurrent with this, society and government calcifies to the point where it becomes impossible to change things, ever. At the same time, the economy stalls and goes into a tailspin, and there is nothing either business or government can do to get it restarted. The only hope is to leave and go somewhere else. And millions do exactly that.
I have seen this happen with my own eyes, and am watching it develop in at least two countries right now–one being the US. And I can tell you where it starts: It starts when people put economic prosperity before all else, even before the most basic of moral values, such as the sanctity of life.
Japan aborted itself into oblivion. This has to be said. The country has no hope because a whole generation of young people were killed in the womb even before they were born. This was the country’s future–and they killed it.
In America, we have been engaged in a fight about values since the 1960s. This fight culminated in the election of a government completely devoid of any values at all, and the country has quickly gone down the toilet as a result.
Now we are faced with the prospect of a GOP nominee who sought and got the endorsement of pro-abortion groups when he ran for governor in 2002. Indeed, for most of his public life, stretching back to 1994, Romney has been a pro-abortion politician. Romney did not reveal a change of heart towards this issue until 2005. For all practical purposes, this coincided with his plans to run for president in 2008. Now his longtime associate and communications director is telling liberals, “Don’t worry about Mitt–he’s just saying all this conservative stuff to get the nomination. He really doesn’t believe it.”
How cynical and completely devoid of values is that?
Just the other day, William Kristol made this comment about Mitt Romney’s speech after his win in Illinois:
Watching Mitt Romney’s victory speech in Illinois didn’t reassure me about his chances against President Obama. (Watch it yourself to see if I’m being unfair.) Romney’s remarks consisted basically of the claim that the business of America is business, that he’s a businessman who understands business, and that we need “economic freedom” not for the sake of freedom but to allow business to fuel the economy. It’s true that Romney will have plenty of time to improve for the general election, if, as seems likely (but still not inevitable!), he wins the nomination. But if he sticks with this core message, we’d better hope Republicans and independents are really determined to get rid of Barack Obama.
That pretty much sums it up. Romney believes in business. He believes in decency (which is not at all, by the way, a moral value; see here), he believes that he is good and would make a good president, and he believes in his family. But that is about it. Yet, apart from the bit about business, we have just described Obama. If this is all Romney’s candidacy comes down to, then it is not really worth the trouble voting for him. Seriously.
I believe that the most important issues facing America today all come down to moral values. Since I believe that, I just have to say that I cannot be bought. And, essentially, by promising that he can heal the economy, but being uninterested in anything else, Romney is wanting to buy my vote. This is the same deal being peddled in Asia. This is the same deal the Japanese bought into. Buy the votes of the people by promising them economic prosperity, and then ignore them after the election. And this deal leads to nothing but the economic and spiritual death of a country.
I would rather die fighting than sell my vote in such a cheap and tawdry deal.
So, no, unless Romney is able to convince me, for example, that he will–at a bare minimum–appoint pro-life judges, I will not vote for him, even if it means Obama is reelected.
I refuse to sell my soul–or my vote–merely for low gas prices or economic prosperity. America means too much to me.