I Was Wrrrr...ong. So Now What? We Can Restore America With Romney
by Larry Perrault on May 3, 2012 at 9:19 AM
I want to look at the current situation very carefully and imagine a positive course forward. But I have to get a few things out of the way at the top. Anyone who has peaked in at what I’ve written will know that I have assertively opposed Mitt Romney since Herman Cain’s star fell…or was shot down. I never bought the smear of Cain. You should notice that the charges stopped when he withdrew, but they would surely have continued if he hadn’t, especially if he rose in the polls again. I did gag a bit at his 9-9-9 plan, because of the horror of opening a new revenue stream for the federal government. But A) the plan scrapped the hideous monster that is the current tax code, with all of its government manipulation for rent-seekers. And B) Cain called it a transitional plan to a national sales tax and the elimination of all personal work and income filing. Frankly, that raises big questions to me, but whether it would be an improvement is not one of them; not even close. But for several months I have promoted and followed Newt Gingrich, who clearly understood some critical needs that no other candidate even considers. I hadn’t thought younger people would get excited about him or remember his accomplishments. But when he rose in the polls, I was definitely on-board until I wrote that he should align behind Santorum to try to thwart Romney.
Last October I wrote Why Romney Won't Win And Shouldn't. I couldn’t see how the forces that drove a historic Republican win in 2010 would watch Romney get nominated this year. Maybe not even the pro-Romney forces at FOX News would give The Tea Party a big public platform this year. Romney never won a majority outside of blue states. But Gingrich and Santorum were smeared with millions of dollars worth of mostly misleading or outright false advertising. Advertising, and they could never get the momentum to overcome Romney’s support; especially separately. Without enough money, Santorum 3 weeks ago and Gingrich on Tuesday, have suspended their campaigns. So first, Romney is the last man standing, and I was wrong that he wouldn’t be nominated. And secondly, yes I will support and vote for him in the general election. But I still have preferences about how we could proceed from here.
Though I was irritated by his false attacks, I never said Romney has a malicious agenda, or even called him a liberal as some have. I don’t think he has an ideological political agenda. He’s not a thoroughgoing liberal or conservative. He wants to be President, and I do think he believes liberals have overdone it; not exactly a mystery. He never studied or lived under a conservative political teaching. His father was a moderate Republican over 40 years ago. I would guess he believes the popular culture account that meticulous conservatives are driven by passions more than ideas. But true conservatism is not about anger or fear. True conservatism is about the respect of liberty and the belief in its justice and productive power.
According to the original American ideal, freedom should only be limited by the protection of the rights of life, liberty and property. More precise governance is the province of states and localities. True conservatives want to restore those values. Romney hasn’t been a student of American history or the power of liberty. He’s a pragmatist who sees government as a source for the enforcement of good things and the aggregation of money for causes such as TARP, RomneyCare in Massachusetts, and the fixing of the Salt Lake City Olympics which is so high on his public resume. As he has said, “That’s where the money is.” Some also stress Romney’s success as a businessman. But successful businessman are all over the political map. President Reagan nor Speaker Gingrich were businessmen. But they understood that lowering taxes and regulation liberated private property and promoted growth.
So here’s what I hope for now. All of his former competitors have endorsed Romney or soon will. And many conservatives like Bob McDonnell, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Mike Lee and Tom Coburn had already projected Romney to win and endorsed him. They and Santorum, Gingrich, Cain, Perry and Bachmann all need to discuss how they will help the country; especially at this very critical time when there’s little room for error. And they need to secure commitments from Romney on agenda specifics and agree to all campaign for him to motivate the conservative base. Ronald Reagan said, “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don't care who gets the credit.” So they can all let Romney have the title and even take the credit if they can all contribute to accomplishing good for an America in critical condition.