They called it a landslide, they called it an upset. But more than anything we see or hear today, we know the pundits are asking lots of questions behind the scenes.
We now know that Mitt Romney is not going to be handed the nomination, simply because he is asking for it. With the large margin of victory in South Carolina yesterday, we now know that Newt Gingrich is going to challenge Romney for this nomination. In every debate and in every townhall meeting he participates in from here on out, Newt will be promoting his vision and the ideas he has to make that vision a reality. Romney will be forced to defend his flawed record as a Massachusetts moderate, one that has him closer to Obama’s ideology than anyone else left in the race.
We know that Romney has been waiting for this moment since the day he bowed out in 2008. He started building his organization the moment Obama was sworn in. Like Hillary in 2008 on the Democratic side, he now feels a sense of entitlement…..like it’s owed to him. It has been assumed by him and those who support him that it was his to lose.
Everyone knew that Obama would have some real cash on hand to fuel his re-election so Mitt courted his donors early on. He has amassed a lot of campaign money to go with whatever he is willing to spend out of his personal fortune. He has been planning for the long haul. In a perfect world ten years ago, this would be enough. But this is today.
You see, Mitt Romney is a salesman and gives every appearance of running for CEO. I haven’t figured out what he wants to sell yet, all he has done is promote himself. He hasn’t fully defined what products he wants to produce or how. But he can tell us how he’s the guy to do it, as well as anyone I have ever seen before him.
Newt is also a salesman but he does more than sell himself. He does have ideas to market, and has quite a few proven accomplishments to demonstrate. Romney makes boardroom presentations, complete with charts and graphs. Newt has a sample case of products he pulls out, like the old traveling salesman who worked the pavement.
Newt is not without his negatives. His worst fault is, he is perceived to an arrogant elitist DC insider. Much of this comes from Romney’s machine, but others have made this case too. The positive side to this is most of his negatives are well-known. Even the hit job ABC and WaPo tried to do days before the SC vote wasn’t enough to dissuade many from jumping to Romney.
He has other faults. He can be mean-spirited when you try to make him look like an idiot. As we have seen, has does have a vengeful side to him. But in the case of Romney’s PAC going after him with distorted information, I can’t altogether say I blame him. When everyone else was attacking the front runner Romney on the debates stages, Newt was not. He was calmly and sincerely saying that anyone on the stage would make a better President than Barack Obama….to include Gov. Romney. And when Romney stood up and said I can’t do anything about it, that was a lie. He may not have been able to contact the organization directly, but he could have completely disavowed the erroneous data being broadcast publicly.
It’s true. Politics is a tough game and people need to have thick skin when they enter the arena. But when the goal is to defeat an incompetent sitting president, a candidate does not need to put his stamp of approval on lies and distortions to win.
Before anyone gets riled about the lack of commentary on Santorum and Dr. Paul in this essay, here are few thoughts on them.
Rick Santorum is a good and decent man. I believe he is as sincere as one can get as a politician. He has his personal values, but I am not looking for a pastor of a church. His take on Iran is spot on, he has had the courage to articulate them well thus far. But strength is not articulated in speech, it is demonstrated through actions (overt and covert). Iran cannot be the entire foundation of our foreign policy. It must be just one component of a larger comprehensive plan to restore America’s reputation as a defender of what is right. Iran may be the more immediate distraction, but China will be a more long term foreign policy dilemma. Russia bears some attention as well.
Dr. Paul is also a good and decent man. On a personal level, we have all heard the stories of a man who delivered babies for a living, doing many for free when parents had no insurance or means to pay. It’s hard to attack that kind of person for this, for it demonstrates an inherent quality of compassion that is so difficult to find in this day and age. On the policy level, he gets it on fiscal matters and has a very clear view of the role the Federal Reserve is playing in this current economic crisis. He knows that the spending and debt problems are out of control and cannot continue to increase, as they are presently. But we didn’t get into this mess overnight and we cannot get out of it by slashing everything with one swing of the sickle. Too much too quick will shock the system and create more problems than we have today. I also cannot support his lack of concern when it comes to foreign policy, which is more isolationist than Pat Buchanan ever could be.
This leaves Newt. This leaves a man that balanced the budget four years in a row, the only Speaker of the House to do so in our lifetimes. And he did it with a Democratic President.
He led a Republican Revolution in a day when the Dems had controlled the House for 40 years. He was the original TEA Partier, long before the current version ever was thought of. His ideas were what led to this switch in power, his salesmanship helped but he had a product that sold itself in between lines.
I strongly believe Gingrich is the only one who can go up against Obama on a stage and decimate Obama’s record (and his stances) on all of the major issues. And while there are many Republicans who portray him as a progressive in conservative’s clothing, they aren’t listening to him very much. They cannot keep pointing to the couch with Nancy Pelosi, as he has admitted it was a mistake. They cannot point to his advisory roles with Freddie and Fannie, because he was paid for advice. (And oh by the way, it’s apparent that no one there took his advice.) They cannot point to his stance on immigration because none of them would begin to round up every illegal alien and ship them out, either.
Forget his personal life. Put your soul in the hands of the deity of your choice if you want salvation.
Stop judging a man who has admitted his failures and stop crucifying him for sins he may have already been forgiven for, for we all have things we are not proud of in our past. This is not a church, this is a nation that has always been protective of or right to believe and worship as we choose. And if you do want to continue to have this right without being demonized for your beliefs, I truly believe that a forgiven sinner will be more apt to maintain that right, than anyone else.
I will vote for whoever wins the nomination, because I don’t think this nation can survive another four years of a union controlled President who wants to spend the nation into poverty to make things fair for others. But while we have the chance to pick someone, let’s not pick someone who will need to defend an indefensible record of progressive lite…just because the media and the Democrats tell you they fear Romney the most.