This blog has been quiet since the Florida primary–it’s been a time to think. I’m sure my gentle readers prefer that these posts be a product of sound reflection rather than an exercise of writing just to be writing. There is enough of that in the world already. Ours is an age of “information overload.” We don’t need more information. We need better information, honest information, and sound, reflective judgment. That’s not what we usually get from most of our political leaders, and Americans know it. What Will Rogers said decades ago holds true today: “Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.”
My political insights arise as a product of intuition, and I’ve learned the hard way that I should listen attentively to my intution. What’s it telling me these days? That’s why I’ve been quiet. Though I’ve predicted a Romney victory in the GOP nomination process, I’m ready to go the next step. My intution is screaming at me and here’s what it has been saying: Mitt Romney will be the next President of the United States. I suppose Romney feels it, too. Now that Herman Cain has dropped out, he’s the only GOP candidate remaining who has requested Secret Service protection.
This prediction isn’t based upon my own political hopes, nor is it based upon a sense that this choice is inevitable. There is very little in life that can’t be changed. I think Romney will be the successful candidate for the presidency mostly because of the powerful reality of “group think”–the same phenomenon that gave us Barack Obama. The GOP establishment is increasingly voicing its approval of Romney, the money continues to flow in for him (though not as quickly as for Obama), and most Republicans and independents will fall in line. That’s not to say that they have to fall in line, but they will.
When I talk politics with friends and acquaintances, the strongest sentiments fall mostly into two camps. One side argues that Obama has to be re-elected in order to finish the job of “fixing” the economy. God help us. The other tendency argues that the primary concern is to get Obama out of office. In other words, this election appears to me to be Obama vs. Anybody But Obama with the latter being the victor. God help us on that score, too.
Voter turnout among Republican primary voters in Florida was lighter last week than in 2008, suggesting a lack of enthusiasm. In addition, exit polls tell us that nearly 40% of the voters who turned out want to see someone else in the GOP race. Does Romney have his fervent supporters? Of course. But most of us aren’t any more excited about him now than we were four years ago. We still don’t really know who Mitt Romney is, other than what we’ve seen from his work as the governor of Massachusetts. That doesn’t sit well with us. Of course he’s a great businessman, but like most owners of large companies he favors a top-down model of problem-solving. When translated into political life, that means more control in DC, more decisions and rules being disseminated from a centralized source, and less of the liberty that made our economy strong.
When Romney is elected to an anybody-but-Obama presidency, I believe America will be surprised at how far to the Left his policies are. Commentator Charles Krauthammer put it perfectly a few days ago when he pointed out that Romney is new to conservative values. He’s a latecomer, and when it comes to his conservative ideology, “he still can’t speak it very well.” Over at the National Review, Jonah Goldberg puts it this way: “This, in a nutshell, is Mitt Romney’s biggest problem. A late immigrant to conservatism, Romney doesn’t speak the language naturally.”
By the way, I no longer fear a Ron Paul third-party candidacy in the general election. You may adore him or despise him, but the Congressman is honest in his country-first attitude. He knows a third rail in November will guarantee an Obama victory. I believe he’s building a strong constitutional base on which is son, Rand, can carry the small-government banner. Rand Paul for president in 2020, anyone?
Back to Romney. His presidency might not be a disaster, but it also won’t be the change we need to return us to the constitional values that made us a strong nation. Romney has tipped his hat to the Constitition and he has made some conservative promises (regarding Obamacare and genuine cuts to federal spending). He may very well be true to his word. But since he speaks conservatism as “a second language,” it’s doubtful that he’ll actually govern as the constitutional conservative that the nation so badly needs now … before it’s too late.
The economic chickens have their claws in the door but haven’t quite made it home to roost yet. They won’t wait forever. A Romney victory in the 2012 general election will send an immediate jolt of vitality to the markets. There would be an upswing in the money invested by businesses, but the long-term prognosis will remain vague until Romney’s conservative credentials are tested.
As a business partner, President Romney will be trusted by businesses, but that will be part of the conundrum. Constitutional conservatives like me don’t want to see government as a business partner at all. Economic winners and losers must emerge from the free market, not the Oval Office. If the so-called “conservative” Romney plays the same game as Obama, then it will be quite clear that Romney’s conservatism is not just a new language to him, it’s one that he simply doesn’t understand.
Have you ever owned a parrot? You can teach the darned thing to say almost anything.