As regular visitors to Race know, I went out on a limb and publicly endorsed Ron Paul less than a month ago.
As I stated at the time, my residence in Iowa lent my support greater-than-average weight. However, I ended up missing the caucuses, on account of needing to get my appendix removed the same day. So, in the end, my backing didn’t really count for much.
At the time I wrote my endorsement, I explained that I liked Gov. Romney, I just feared that the party base would never completely warm up to him, forever suppressing his political capital upon entering office. I still harbor that concern, but recent events have led me to overlook them, due to the stakes involved.
The recent adoption of anti-capitalistic, anti-free enterprise attacks (and for those naysayers who still scorn private equity, I direct you to this magnificent article) from the Democrats and, most alarmingly, other Republican candidates (I’m looking at you, Newt, Ricky P., and Jon!) has revealed just how important this race has become. This election will not simply come down to a choice between a Democrat and a Republican (although, with the way Gingrich, Perry, and Huntsman have talked lately, you’d be forgiven if you couldn’t tell the difference), it figures to evolve into a choice between European-style social democracy and the vibrant, entrepreneurial capitalistic system America so successfully pioneered.
Indeed, as a brilliant commentator I have often linked to here, Jim Pethokoukis, observed today:
Some conservatives were hoping Rep. Paul Ryan would run for president and challenge Barack Obama — not just on his economic record but also his economic vision for America. Probably no conservative in politics today does a better job than Ryan in contrasting the differences between pro-growth, entrepreneurial capitalism and stagnant, state-managed capitalism. But Mitt Romney did a pretty fair homage to Ryan during his New Hampshire victory speech last night[.]
…Some conservatives have worried that Romney would try to make the election all about Obama’s failures — which gets slightly tougher as the economy slowly improves — rather than making an affirmative argument about where he wants to take America. Romney’s speech sure suggests such worry is unnecessary if he is the eventual nominee.
Well said, sir.
Making my decision even easier, the messaging Romney has featured in the last month, or so, has come as music to my ears. His laser-like focus on his optimistic vision of America’s future – a future complete with growth, opportunity, and rising incomes across the board – sounds precisely the right notes for a Republican presidential candidate. I try to avoid the Reagan comparisons that far too many in the party employ, but Mitt’s “Believe in America” themes bear a striking resemblance to the Gipper’s fabled “Morning in America” campaign ads.
To top it off, Romney’s experience with a Democratic legislature in Massachusetts and his non-ideological posture during the campaign assures me that he will not allow himself to get distracted by partisan flame-throwing and gamesmanship. Sure, he may at times irritate the party base by accepting a less-than-perfect outcome to move the ball forward, but we need that kind of leadership if we truly hope to make a dent in the sad state of our political and financial affairs. As the saying goes, something is better than nothing. An agreement that produces 70% of a desired outcome beats 100% of the status quo.
In the end, while I do not regret my initial endorsement of Dr. Paul, recent events have opened my eyes to the sheer magnitude of the choice we face. A Romney nomination and presidency would afford the opportunity to re-draw the political map (assuming he picks the right running mate and maintains his campaign strategy) and re-orient the Republican Party away from identity politics and toward ideas and solutions. When I picture how a Romney administration might look, I envision Mitt working hand-in-hand with visionaries like Paul Ryan, Pat Toomey, and Vice President Christie, Rubio, or Jindal (my preferences, in that order) to craft and implement landmark reforms to address our economy, deficit, and debt, and I like what I see.
Now is the time. The wishful thinking for white knights and brokered conventions is over. The choice is clear. It’s Mitt.