Just to be clear, I do not think that divulging who I will vote for in my state caucus is any big deal. Mainly, I just wish to be upfront about it in the interest of full disclosure. However, the decision to formally announce which candidate I will support for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination was a difficult one for me to make due to my position as Managing Editor of this site. I have always wanted Race42012.com to be a forum where all Republican presidential candidates are treated equally and fairly, and where the supporters of all candidates feel welcome. I realize that I have achieved varying degrees of success in this regard throughout the years. However, I can honestly say that this has not been the case due to a lack of effort or commitment on my part. So I am fully aware that the act of publicly endorsing a candidate comes with the risk of appearing to undermine one of the core principles which has guided me in managing this site.
So why announce my decision now? Mainly because I feel that I owe it to the readers of Race42012 to be honest regarding where I stand. I feel that it would be wrong for me to continue to manage Race, claiming to be undecided, but knowing full well who I will vote for in the Minnesota Republican Caucuses come February 7th, 2012. From the beginning of the 2008 cycle, I made it clear that I was a supporter of Rudy Giuliani, and I believe that my decision to be upfront with about it was the correct one. My public support of Hizzoner did not prevent me from being invited to travel with the campaigns of Gov. Mike Huckabee and then Sen. Sam Brownback, nor did it inhibit Race42008 from becoming one of the most vibrant and intellectually diverse political communities in the Blogosphere.
I am now able to wholeheartedly endorse Mitt Romney because the two obstacles which have always prevented me from supporting him: the scorched-earth, negative campaign tactics that were employed against his fellow Republican candidates in the 2008 cycle, and the insufficient detail as to exactly how he would repeal and replace Obamacare as President, have been addressed to my satisfaction. Also, I wanted to wait to make my decision until the field was set and I had given enough time for each candidate to make their case.
It has been clear from the outset of the campaign that Gov. Romney will, as Michael Medved often says, focus like a laser beam on Barack Obama’s extremely poor economic record as President. It is now evident that Romney has learned a crucial lesson from his last campaign, namely, that you do not win the GOP presidential nomination by infuriating the supporters of other candidates whose votes you will need when their chosen candidate drops out of the race. This, of course, is exactly what happened the last time and is one of the primary reasons why John McCain won the nomination rather than Mitt; as every time a candidate dropped out of the race, his supporters flocked to the candidate who they felt would have the best chance of “stopping Romney.”
When I see the way in which Gov. Romney is conducting his current campaign, where his focus is on the President’s record and not on his GOP competitors, I see a frontrunner, a nominee, and a President. I have full confidence that Gov. Romney and his team understands that this election will be a referendum on the economic record of Barack Obama, and have no fear that Romney will be side-tracked into territory where he is clearly not a good fit. There will be no calls for V-chips in personal computers or anti-pornography web ads this time around. Romney is committed to hammering President Obama on the main concern of the vast majority of Americans: jobs.
Regarding Obamacare, the release of Romney’s health care reform plan assuaged my concerns that Gov. Romney did not intend to do away with the most onerous aspects of PPACA (Obamacare’s legal name). You may remember that about a year-and-a-half ago, my story on a question I posed to Gov. Romney at a booksigning in Bloomington, MN made national headlines when I reported that Mitt told me that his newly announced initiative to “Repeal and Replace” the “worst aspects of Obamacare” did not include the repeal of the Individual Mandate/Pre-existing Exclusion in the act. These provisions form the heart-and-soul of PPACA, and any legislation which did not include the repeal of both of these elements would amount to mere window dressing.
Romney’s new repeal initiative does away with the Individual Mandate completely and provides for reasonable Pre-existing Exclusions; ones which will allow people with pre-existing conditions to obtain health insurance coverage without destroying the private health insurance market. The plan is also market-based and pro-growth. Upon close inspection, it does not differ in any substantial way from the reforms I have suggested that Republicans propose since the passage of PPACA.
Of the other Republican presidential candidates, I have nothing but good things to say. Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman, et al…, would all make excellent presidents – and I would proudly vote for any of them against Barack Obama. But it is clear to me that Mitt Romney has learned much from his 2008 campaign and fully understands how to mount a successful primary and general election campaign this time around. Perhaps the insight which comes from running and losing once before is the real reason why Republicans always seem to nominate the guy who “came in 2nd the last time”? The experience undoubtedly helped Romney, who is running a truly “First-Class” Republican presidential campaign. In the end, I have no doubt that Gov. Romney can form a coalition of Republican, Independent, and “moderate” voters that is necessary to defeat Barack Obama come November, 2012.
Perhaps the most common theme espoused by candidates in U.S. Presidential elections is that Americans face a choice between preserving the greatness of our nation or enabling its inevitable decline. Rarely have these claims held any truth. However, Barack Obama’s ideology and conception of America’s place in the world is unique among the historical offerings of Democratic Party. The American Dream is indeed on life support and cannot withstand four more years of an Obama presidency.
Of all the available choices, I believe that Mitt Romney stands the best chance of defeating Barack Obama and preserving the promise of America for generations to come. Mitt Romney has asked all of us to “believe in America” once again. In the end, I must admit that I believe in Mitt and his ability to return our nation to greatness.