Someone Needs To Defend Governor Romney..
I wrote this article a few days after the election, but put it aside assuming the back-biting would subside. Although there have been some conservatives defending Mr. Romney, the grassroots conservatives such as myself don’t seem to be among them.
Talk about fair-weather friends! Apparently President John F. Kennedy was on to something when he said, Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan. It doesn’t seem that long ago that laudatory articles were being published and the airwaves were filled with voices praising the Republican candidate for the Presidency of the United States. It may be true that those who were reluctantly supported his candidacy were less likely to criticize him during the campaign, but surely he didn’t turn into a pumpkin at midnight leaving not even a glass slipper behind.
Was Governor Romney the perfect candidate? Absolutely not, but then who is? I was not an early supporter of Mitt Romney’s, and even now I can’t say that I agree with his position on every issue nor with every decision he made during the campaign, but the unseemly need to strip the man naked and flay him alive just doesn’t reflect my understanding of conservative behavior. Let us agree that the man lost, the one fact that is indisputable, but I’m afraid that I just don’t agree with what many suggest is “the rest of the story”.
As was the case in the general election, the first question that must be answered by Republicans is whether there was a better candidate available. In the final analysis I would suggest that the answer for 2012 is that the best choice available was Mitt Romney. Many conservatives may well disagree with that opinion, but the inability of the other candidates to survive the intense scrutiny of the primary season tell a different story. Although the concept of “electability” is often maligned by many conservatives, I would suggest that any candidate’s lack of appeal to the greater electorate should certainly be taken into consideration.
For the most part, it seems to me that no good can come from a rehashing of old news highlighting how and why the various Republican contenders eventually flamed out and suspended their campaigns. I will say that from what I understand there was a significant group of individuals, primarily from the Ron Paul campaign, who resented the way in which those who represented the Romney campaign went about conducting their business. Perhaps those individuals might wish to consider that the quest to secure the office of the Presidency is not for the faint of heart. The fact that they were unable to outmaneuver the forces supporting Mitt Romney in the primary strongly suggests what their fate would have been had their candidate become the Republican standard bearer. I am a strong supporter of grassroots involvement, but the truth of the matter is that naivete at the highest levels of political competition is unfortunately not a winning characteristic.
The sour grapes component in Mitt Romney’s eventual defeat becomes somewhat obvious when one considers that had any of the other candidates made the cut, conservatives of every stripe would have certainly been expected to support the winning candidate in the general election. It is unfortunate that their hurt feelings and political immaturity may well have played a significant part in re-electing the President. There is a fine line between standing on principle and taking your ball home because you didn’t get exactly what you wanted.
So, assuming that nothing new comes out about Governor Romney, what is it about the man that makes me want to defend him? As I said in an article published in October:
After reviewing his life story I do think he is such a man which is why I am voting FOR Romney, not just against Obama. Obviously it is impossible to know anything for sure, but he seems to be a man of the highest integrity. A man who loves his country and the principles which made it great. A man who has standards, but also that human beings are not perfect. A man who will stand up for America and American Values without apology and yet welcome those who espouse those same values regardless of minority status.
This was a man whose real crime was that he truly believed the electorate was still primarily composed of those who supported traditional American Values. In other words, there was a kernel of truth in the liberal charge that Mitt Romney sought to bring back the values of the 1950’s. Of course where liberals and conservatives differ is in how they define those older values, but from the point of view of the conservative it should have been a slam dunk.
There is no real point in revisiting all the characteristics associated with Governor Romney which made him much more than a “weak candidate”, but instead I would like to share with you what I consider to be the defining moment of his candidacy. This was the moment that stripped all pretense of artifice and revealed the inner man who trusted his fellow Americans to do the right thing. I refer to the moment during the second Presidential debate when he proved to the world that the President was lying and Candy Crowley defended the lie with a lie of her own.
Some have criticized him for how he handled the follow-up and the discussion which took place after the event, but what I see is an honest man who truly believed that goodness does eventually win over evil. There is no doubt in my mind that he left the auditorium that day believing that he need not embarrass the President any further by making any additional comments. Look at his face. Look at his movements, his expression, and listen to the sound of his voice. This was a man who was fully confident that his fellow Americans, regardless of ancestry, would vindicate his belief in their inner goodness.
Sadly he, and many of the rest of us, were to be disappointed.
(As an aside, an interesting fact to note is that MSN lists this debate as the First Debate..rather then the second..I guess that first one really was that bad)