Election 2012: I. Why We Should Vote For Mitt Romney

(This is the first of five posts I will put up over the next two weeks, exploring my thoughts on the Presidential election. Parts 1 and 2 will be reasons to vote for and against Mitt Romney; Parts 3 and 4 will be reasons to vote for and against Barack Obama. Part 5 will wrap up. Keep in mind, this is my thinking as we go through the conventions. It’s likely that things will change between now and Election Day. A few guidelines before we start.

1. I’m not a Republican anymore. I define myself as a conservative-libertarian but I’m not convinced those interests are served by the GOP in its present form. If I thought electing Ralph Nader would be best for this country, I’d endorse him.

2. I’m not going to endorse that idiot Ralph Nader. Just so we’re clear.

3. These posts are about the candidates themselves. “He’s not Obama” is not a reason to vote for Mitt Romney. “He’s not Mitt Romney” is not a reason to vote for Barack Obama. I’m sick of these “the other side can’t win” arguments. This is sort of a stream of consciousness as I think about both men.)

So Mitt Romney is now the official nominee. I will say, going in, he would not be my top choice or even in my top 50. But of the weak field we had this year, he was the best option. And I don’t think he’d be a disaster if elected.

So why should we vote for Mitt Romney? Well, here’s a few reasons off the top of my head:

Repealing Obamacare: There are parts of Obamacare that are not horrible. There are slivers that could form part of a much more sensible healthcare reform. But we don’t get those parts; we get the whole convoluted overwrought thing. And, despite the CBO’s optimism, I’m convinced that the whole thing will make the healthcare system far worse, far more expensive and far more unaccountable. If Obama is re-elected, Obamacare — or some version of it — is here to stay. Electing Mitt is our best chance to get rid of it.

Will Mitt Romney and the GOP repeal Obamcare? That’s the $716 billion question. Given current projections, doing so would inflate the near-term deficit. And, as I previously noted, there are parts of Obamacare that are popular. It will be very easy for the Democrats to demagogue throwing 25-year-olds off their parents’ insurance or restoring the ability of insurance companies to rescind coverage or deny coverage. The fact is that repealing Obamacare will throw millions out of insurance plans. Does the GOP have the stomach for that? Can they overcome an almost certain Democratic filibuster? There’s only one way to find out.

Romney the Chameleon: Mitt is not an ideologue. He may sounds like one this year, but his history reveals a man centered on one idea: getting elected. And the only thing he wants more than to be elected is to be re-elected. To that end, he’ll say what the GOP wants to hear. But, in the end, he’s going to try to find things that work, even if the contradicts GOP canon (we all saw how well Bush fulfilled his promises). As we’ve seen before, he has no problem misrepresenting his policies. He’ll have no problem cutting Medicare while demagoguing Medicare cuts or raises taxes while saying he’s cutting them. Maybe an unprincipled man is just what this country needs.

I’m not being sarcastic here; I’m being totally honest. Political principles can be very dangerous things, especially given the commitment of the GOP to some bad ideas (e.g., cutting taxes to fix the deficit; federal personhood; aggressive foreign policy). Someone who can placate the party base while pursuing doable practical policies can govern effectively. The question is going to be: How will Romney govern against how he has campaigned?

Mitt is at least vaguely familiar with the private sector: Let’s not confuse running Bain Capital with starting a small business. But Mitt has made tough decisions — shuttering unprofitable factories, for instance — that are critical to a functional economy. He at least listens.

I think Mitt also has a slightly better notion of what’s wrong with the economy — that we’re working out from under a huge pile of debt. Now he’s officially opposed the policies that could help, like Quantitative Easement. But if there is a candidate out there who understands that the government needs to quit trying to help and let things recover on their own, it’s Mitt.

Only Nixon Could Go To China: This will be a recurring theme in these posts. The basic idea is that only a Republican can advance liberal ideas and only a Democrat can advance conservative ideas. The catch phrase reflect the reality of Nixon making nice with communist China. Had a liberal President made peace with China, he would have been pilloried for it. But because Nixon was such a staunch anti-communist, his detente was possible.

We have seen this throughout the last twenty years. A Republican would never been able to get NAFTA or Welfare Reform passed or reined in government spending the way Bill Clinton did. A Democrat would have not been able to jack up spending and pass a zillion regulations the way Bush did. A Republican would not have been able to ramp up War on Terror excesses the way Obama has. They would have been pilloried by the opposition. Politicians do move in ways the other party opposes: Obama on gay marriage; Clinton on abortion; Bush on tax cuts. But there are a number of key issues where the opposition is simply too entrenched, the issues too easy to demagogue.

There are a number of issues where this country needs to move “left”: the War on Drugs, medical marijuana, imprisonment and civil liberties. Obama can not move to the left on those issues; indeed, he’s gone hard right on all of them. But Mitt can. If there is any President who might back off of the War on Drugs, it’s going to have to be a “severe” Republican. In fact, Republicans like Chris Christie have been leading the charge on overhauling our drug laws. Hell, Mitt might even be able to make some market-oriented moves on global warming — as Bush did — instead of Obama’s cap-and-trade absurdity.

The Abyss: One impression I’ve gotten over the last few days is that the GOP may be … may be … coming to their senses. Susanna Martinez, Nikki Haley, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie … there’s been a parade of people who are actually interested in governing. The tone has been negative … any campaign against an incumbent will be … but the venom of 2004 and 2008 seems very diminished.

I worry that if Romney fails to win, the GOP will react by thinking they erred in going with a “RINO moderate” and go with some rockhead ideologue like Santorum or Bachmann. It’s nice that these people are principled. But it’s impossible to govern that way when the country is half Democrat and very concentrated on the center right.

The Debt: Romney’s pick of Paul Ryan has put the debt issue front and center. There are some issues with Ryan’s plan: it doesn’t balance the budget for a long time and cuts taxes before we’ve gotten our debt under control. But electing Romney would be a clear sign that we will not put up with trillion dollar deficits.

—–

Anyway, discuss. But keep in mind this is about reasons to vote for Romney, not against Obama. I’ll put up that thread next week. What about Mitt Romney, specifically, excites you? What about Mitt Romney, specifically, makes you think he would be a good President? What about Mitt Romney, specifically, makes you think he can get the economy moving and balance the budget?

Comments are closed.

  1. West Virginia Rebel

    Romney gave a good speech tonight, a bit long but he did a good job of personalizing the issues.

    I’d vote for him because of his energy policy alone.

    Also, the bit with Eastwood talking to the empty chair was funny.

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  2. Mississippi Yankee

    Anyway, discuss. But keep in mind this is about reasons to vote for Romney, not against Obama.

    With all the negatives you included in your post “about reasons to vote for Romney” I can’t wait for Part 2 ‘Why we should not vote for Mitt Romney’/

    Praising and denigrating the right in the same post has pretty much become your signature style over the last few years tho.
    And as many times as I’ve pointed it out you certainly must realize you’re doing it.

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  3. InsipiD

    Eastwood was awesome. I wish that I could’ve seen it, but I was stuck driving home from work and could only listen to it on the radio.

    You make some good points (as always) Hal, but your liberal tendencies are showing a bit strong in what you said. Prefacing a talk about Obamacare by saying that it’s not all bad isn’t exactly a conservative way to talk about it. When Romney (who basically authored it in MA) is willing to go down the route of repealing it, perhaps we should listen. His own people are a bit too defensive of it, so I worry that he wouldn’t really repeal, but at least he’s saying the right thing for the right reason. I’ll be the first to grill him when he waffles, though.

    He doesn’t always make a good case for himself, because he is such a chameleon. Being the right guy to vote for depending on circumstances is his thing. He’s the most conservative guy that Massachusetts would ever elect governor, but he probably had to move left to govern there. Now he’s moving a little right. That said, voting for Romney is basically like voting for Bill Clinton. In 20 years, the same views have moved literally from Democrat to Republican. Though I don’t, many would consider that alone to be a good reason to vote for him. Who wouldn’t like to have the Clinton years back (whether you blame or credit him, they weren’t bad)?

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  4. Dave D

    Lacking a suitable third party (wasted) vote, Hal leaves voting for the other guy open in his argument above. I assume this means that there could possibly be a democrat politician out there that would serve his “libertairian-conservative” beliefs better, but I surely can’t imagine that one exists in this crop of current lefties. How the heck could ANY seff-described “libertarian-conservative” justify voting for (by definition) the biggest collectivist/Keynsian in the race?

    Also, I continue to insist that ANY vote for a third party is a vote for the ultimate winner, whoever that may be. What good it serves is vastly diminished by this fact, imo, since this will usually be the democrat.

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  5. Kimpost

    If Greens keep voting Democrat and if Libertarians keep voting republican, then greens and libertarians will never really be. Unfortunately, since every election is portrayed as the election of a lifetime, waaaaaaaay too important for wasting on third party candidates, then that’s likely how thing will stay.

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  6. salinger

    Let’s not confuse running Bain Capital with starting a small business.

    This is a major problem I have with his candidacy. The phoney mythology of his single handedly coming in and saving the day whether it was the Olympics ( accomplished with a boatload of federal money)

    As for his experience running the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, Romney says, “”the whole winter games was a combination of the federal, state and local governments along with private enterprise.”

    “We actually received over $410 million from the federal government for the Olympic games. That is a huge increase over anything ever done before and we did that by going after every agency of government,” he says.

    or Bain Capital which benefited from a federal bailout extorted by Romney according to this Rolling Stone article:

    the bonus loophole gave Romney a perverse form of leverage: If the banks and the FDIC didn’t give in to his demands and forgive much of Bain’s debts, Romney would raid the firm’s coffers, pushing it into the very bankruptcy that the loan agreement had been intended to avert. The losers in this game would not only be Bain’s creditors – including the federal government – but the firm’s nearly 1,000 employees worldwide.

    These facts kind of dull the luster of the whole “We built this on our own.” that was the RNC mantra.

    I’d be way more receptive to a “He knows how to work across the aisle and how to wisely spend tax dollars etc. etc.” – than this off key crooning of My Way.

    The more I read about his business dealing the more ruthless and sans conscience he seems to be. I’m not so sure these are qualities I would admire in a president.

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  7. Poosh

    I have no reason to believe anything Tim Dickinson writes, given that he’s writing in Rolling Stone and has proved an unhinged liar previously. However, I cannot make head nor tail of the article, or tell if he is being honest or not (I can infer he is lying about Romney from his past writings, but that’s an inference, not a deduction). I have no way of seeing if his so-called “Facts” are indeed facts. It seems he is simply making assertions and interpretations, and claims about what was gathered under the information act. It’s more than likely he’s missed a junk of information out. I haven’t the time to actually judge the truth value.

    Would require reputable, intelligent journalists to comment. Not a liar in a Rolling Stone article.

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  8. salinger

    Would require reputable, intelligent journalists to comment. Not a liar in a Rolling Stone article

    The FDIC documents linked to at the end of the article seem to support it. Did you read through them – I found them pretty credible. Are you assuming these documents are forgeries?

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  9. Poosh

    No, I said that I haven’t the time to read them – and at any rate, would I understand them? I don’t have any detailed knowledge to access such things, I don’t know if X or Y is common practice etc or anything.

    I will say, that I have heard Romney, in an interview, state specifically that at Bain he failed several times, and that that was part of his life and the risks he took which did not pay off.

    It is incredible that they the sheepy liberal media are now digging hard into Romney’s past – which is mostly open at this point anyway – yet they didn’t lift a finger to investigate Obama. I don’t think any one who calls himself a real liberal can honestly say that that is fair or normal behavior.

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  10. Xetrov

    The FDIC documents linked to at the end of the article seem to support it.

    The article is completely full of suppositions, and flat-out bullshit assumptions. You could write a completely different narative based on those same documents that make Romney look like the savior of Bain Capital, protector of the employees, and hero of federal investment. The article even admits the documents are heavily redacted – well no shit, it’s private financial information.

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  11. Seattle Outcast

    Good post – I was reading and nodding to myself as I went through it.

    And on the other hand, my wife informed me last night she “couldn’t vote for Romney” – no real explanation on why, she just doesn’t like him. She despises Obama and isn’t voting for him either.

    Not a lot of choices left, but a protest vote for a 3rd party candidate in a state that Romney can’t win has some value.

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  12. Dave D

    And that (your wife’s vote) would be functionally equivalent to a vote for the winner, SO, right? A 2 party system DICTATES that compormises must be made. The alternatives (a coalition government or a winner with much less than 50% of the popular vote) are not true democracy, imo.

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  13. AlexInCT

    I am not voting for Romney: I am voting against Obama and the bullshit collectivist crap powermongering scumbags like him believe in.

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  14. salinger

    The article is completely full of suppositions, and flat-out bullshit assumptions.

    For example?

    You could write a completely different narative based on those same documents that make Romney look like the savior of Bain Capital, protector of the employees, and hero of federal investment.

    I would like to see that. For example – how could the fact that bonuses were paid while the company was going under be spun in a positive light?

    Now I am certain nothing illegal was done. Romney is too smart in an analytical number crunching way to break the law, I think. And I don’t blame him for taking advantage of the opportunism afforded him by the law. But we all know – everything legal is not necessarily ethical. I do have a problem with a law that allows these guys to insert these types of poison pills in a contract. It seems rather than a market driven economy we have privatized profit and made loss a public burden.

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  15. Xetrov

    For Example?

    You already quoted one.

    the bonus loophole gave Romney a perverse form of leverage: If the banks and the FDIC didn’t give in to his demands and forgive much of Bain’s debts, Romney would raid the firm’s coffers, pushing it into the very bankruptcy that the loan agreement had been intended to avert. The losers in this game would not only be Bain’s creditors – including the federal government – but the firm’s nearly 1,000 employees worldwide.

    Where do the documents say Romney threatened to use or used that “perverse form of leverage” to get what the end result was?

    I would like to see that. For example – how could the fact that bonuses were paid while the company was going under be spun in a positive light?

    “In order to retain top talent at the firm that would be required to turn the company around, Romney negotiated bonus delivery to those key to the firms survival. Because of this, the company was able to reverse it’s downward trend, and save thousands of jobs.”

    Easy.

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  16. salinger

    Where do the documents say Romney threatened to use or used that “perverse form of leverage” to get what the end result was?

    Slides 6-7- 8 and 9.

    Now, I am more than willing to grant the language used in the resultant article is slanted – but the facts behind it seem to be there.

    Okay, I am on deadline so I really can’t spend any more time on this for the rest of the day.

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  17. Hal_10000 *

    I am not voting for Romney: I am voting against Obama and the bullshit collectivist crap powermongering scumbags like him believe in.

    Holy shit! You’re alive, Alex! Everything OK?!

    I must say that this post started before the convention and was significantly revised during it. What I saw of the GOP was encouraging. Maybe not encouraging enough to give them power. But the optimism was more like the GOP I used to know.

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  18. Kimpost

    A 2 party system DICTATES that compormises must be made.

    But you don’t have a two party system by mandate, so why accept is an inevitable fact? The system might be set up to favor one, but it’s still in the hands of the electorate.

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  19. Section8

    Did anyone here really say, “Gee, I hope Romney gets it.” throughout this whole primary process? Probably not. I agree with Hal for the most part here. We need candidates who we can rally around, and really feel it in our souls when we say, “I’m voting for that guy because he kicks ass.” The feeling you get when you say, “Well otherwise it’s the jerkoff we have now.” just doesn’t have that same feeling does it? No way will I be voting for Obama, but I don’t think I’ll be shouting a great new world is on the way with the GOP either.

    This whole campaign would be better off around the idea that what we pay for isn’t being used efficiently rather than we’re paying too much. State you’re going to audit every damn department out there. State that some programs need to exist, some don’t, and some shouldn’t get a dime more until we can make sure the money is going to the project or people who really need it. The don’t tax me argument really isn’t all that powerful right now, but asking people if they are getting their money’s worth is.

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  20. CM

    This whole campaign would be better off around the idea that what we pay for isn’t being used efficiently rather than we’re paying too much. State you’re going to audit every damn department out there. State that some programs need to exist, some don’t, and some shouldn’t get a dime more until we can make sure the money is going to the project or people who really need it. The don’t tax me argument really isn’t all that powerful right now, but asking people if they are getting their money’s worth is.

    Totally. Any department of Govt that can’t run in a measurably efficient and transparent way should not get any more money.

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  21. Mississippi Yankee

    Alex, it’s very good to see you back in the trenches.
    On the one hand it saddened me to learn Life served you up a ‘shit sandwich’ I’m also happy that your abrupt departure wasn’t because you were just fed up with CM’s Allinsky bullshit.

    If you need anything, legal or…, just let me know.

    P.S. – if it’s a blowjob you need I will be sending a surrogate. /justsayin’/ ;-)

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  22. thelastdakrat

    I am not voting for Romney: I am voting against Obama and the bullshit collectivist crap powermongering scumbags like him believe in.

    It must be like summoning Beetlejuice. Alex was mentioned too many times in the RNC open thread. :)

    I was beginning to wonder if we’d ever hear from you again.

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  23. Seattle Outcast

    I found out her beef with Romney – he’s a mormon. Not that she had any feeling about mormons either way until she was a remote employee of a Boise credit union, and Boise is even more mormon than Utah, but they left a really bad taste in her mouth by the time she moved on to a new job. Suffice to say, she was treated like shit for being the non-mormon employee.

    Mormons in large groups are insufferable assholes, but once you break them away from their support circle-jerk and make them live with normal people, they tend to lose their extremely cliquish behavior. Many of them refuse to go back to what I refer to as “mormontown” once they see how the rest of the world lives.

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  24. AlexInCT

    Hey all, yes, I am semi-back. No, I was not AWOL because of anything anyone said or did here, but because life threw me a major curve, and one I have to admit are amongst the very few I was never prepared for.

    I am not ready to share the details yet, as I am still struggling to deal with this myself, but it sucks and I am coping. I guess no matter how prepared you think you are to deal with things, sometimes you get blindsided.

    Life goes on.

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