In the 1960s, there was a Romney who was a successful businessman, who was a popular governor of Michigan, and who ran for president—unsuccessfully. His name was George. He had a son who also became a successful businessman and governor of a state—Massachusetts—and who ran for president as well—unsuccessfully.
Thus far, Mitt Romney has followed almost precisely in his father’s footsteps. Prior to his political career, he was best known for taking over a scandal-plagued Olympics committee in 1999, and turning it into a world-class Winter Olympics program in 2002. His ability to do that helped ease him into the world of politics.
Using the prestige earned by his Olympics management, he won the Massachusetts governorship in 2002. He declined to run for a second term, setting his sights instead on the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.
He attracted a lot of support from conservatives, particularly economic conservatives, not only for his time as president of the Winter Olympics Committee, but also for his background as CEO of a private equity investment firm. In fact, he won the endorsement in the primaries of the conservative magazine National Review, which lauded him on its cover.
As I watched the primaries unfold, I wondered why he was getting so much support from such staunch conservatives. His views on abortion kept changing over time, and he had set up a healthcare plan in Massachusetts that many see as a state version of Obama’s plan. Romney says he opposes Obamacare, and I don’t doubt his sincerity about that, but he has a lot of explaining to do as his Massachusetts plan has followed the same trajectory of increased costs that Obama’s legislation is beginning to manifest. Some people are wondering, “What’s the difference?”
This political cartoon from a few years ago poses the same question with respect to Hillary Clinton’s proposal back in the 1990s:
While it seemed he might have the inside track for the 2008 nomination, he stumbled in almost all the primaries, much to the chagrin of his supporters who felt he was the most qualified of all the candidates. When he pulled out of the race, economic conservatives were crushed. But why they were so crushed is a mystery to me when I consider what he did to healthcare in Massachusetts.
So, on policy issues, let’s just say I’m not convinced he’s all that solid. One of the complaints against him is that he sometimes seems rather opportunistic, willing to change his views to get ahead.
I have to bring up one more point. It’s a sore point, and will undoubtedly open me up to charges of bigotry [the accusation of choice these days]. He is a Mormon, and I hold steadfastly to the belief that Mormonism is not Christian. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is not simply another Christian denomination; it is an entity unto itself. And, in my view, it is a rather strange entity in its doctrine. Individual Mormons, it is true, often lead lives of strict morality [which is good for the nation], yet the foundation for what they believe is far afield from the Biblical understanding of the nature of Jesus Christ and how salvation occurs.
Some will say, well, what does that have to do with governing? I would rather not place someone into a high office in the land whose religious beliefs are based on what I perceive to be a great deception. This does not mean I hate Mormons. On political matters, they are usually quite conservative, and we can agree on what needs to be done with respect to government. Yet, on spiritual matters, I have to disagree, and religious beliefs do form the foundation for everything else we believe as individuals and as a nation. Personally, I would want to limit Mormon influence in our society.
As I said, I realize this opens me to charges of intolerance, but I submit that is not the case, at least in the manner most would think. I do not think God wants us to tolerate error, yet He always wants us to reach out to those who are in error and be willing to share His truth. We are to love, not disdain or reject, those who have followed a wrong spiritual path.
If it came down to a stark choice—Romney or Obama—there would be no hesitation on my part. Obama’s worldview is so blatantly anti-Christian, and the policies he promotes are so unbiblical, that I could never wish another four years of his administration upon us. In such a circumstance, Romney would have my vote. I just hope I won’t be reduced to those options.
There is no question Romney is running again; his team is already together and moving ahead. In that respect, he is ahead of nearly every other potential candidate. Will he have what it takes to win this time? Personally, I am more comfortable with either Sarah Palin, the subject of yesterday’s post, or Mike Huckabee, the subject of tomorrow’s.