Last winter I heard Donald Trump interviewed twice on the radio. His direct, confident commentary without a moment of hesitation during extensive questioning made me believe that Trump could easily be our next president. Because Americans today are looking for a leader with a clear grasp of the issues.
And after listening to equivocating, mushy Republicans like John McCain and even the un-sure-footed George W. Bush, Trump seemed like just what the doctor ordered.
We all know that Trump is history and now we must look for another confident and self-assured candidate. And while I like Rick Perry and while I agree that we should not necessarily pick “the smoothest debater” as Perry suggested after his somewhat muddled debate performance in Florida, I must say that after watching many debates in many elections that debates indeed do count. And we need every weapon lined up in our arsenal to unseat Obama, including debating skills.
Because debates reflect the candidate under pressure. And one flub in a debate – or even on the presidential campaign trail under similar pressure - can cook a candidate. Already Perry’s comment that Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme” is being seen as problematic. Democrats have campaign ads for statements like that.
One Perry response to Romney in the Florida debate was a confused series of non-sequiturs that left Perry supporters very disquieted. That kind of response can be put on a tape loop and used to harm a candidate at election time. And don’t think the Democrats are not going to have every knife out and lots of money for such an ad.
No political activist can forget holding his or her breath during a debate and praying that his/her candidate would not make an embarrassing gaffe like Republican Gerald Ford saying in 1976 that communist Poland was not under communist domination. Or Ronald Reagan’s poor second debate in 1984. Or Sarah Palin’s surprisingly good debate with Biden in 2008. Or George Bush’s very middling debates in both 2000 and 2004 when you hoped he wouldn’t say something just plain dumb like “fuzzy math”.
I recently heard Mitt Romney interviewed on the Sean Hannity radio show. As in the debates, Romney is flawless when speaking. His interview was bang, bang, bang, not a moment of hesitation. And in the Florida and New Hampshire debates, he was very sharp. Most viewers thought he won both.
In other words he seems to be a candidate whom you could send into a debate without any worry about a gaffe. In fact rather than being defensive in a debate you could count on Romney to go on offense. And with the whole nation watching the presidential debates next Autumn, that would be a good way to pummel Obama with a few well-placed blows that will set America to talking. And thinking. And don’t think that Romney is not capable of landing such blows.
And so I am starting to think about Romney much more seriously than before because the New Hampshire primary is on the horizon and decision time is nearing.
During his Hannity interview, Romney talked pure conservative - about fixing the budget; about repealing ObamaCare; about reforming Social Security and Medicare; about getting tough on illegal immigration (he vetoed a Massachusetts bill similar to the Texas bill allowing in-state tuition for illegals); about cutting the federal workforce by 10% by attrition (awesome); about his 800 vetoes, including many line-item vetoes, in one term as governor of Massachusetts; about cutting federal workers’ pay to put them more in line with private-sector workers.
Wow. Good for him. This is “our” stuff. Big time. Real reform.
In the interview he body-slammed Obama repeatedly, which is going to be one key to winning. If you think that Obama can be beaten by Nice Guy tactics a la John McCain, just look at what happened to McCain. And if you have read any of Romney’s book No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, you get a sense that Romney may be just what the nation needs and that he will be more conservative than some people think he will. Remember that Ronald Reagan was a Democrat for much of his early adult life.
Romney certainly wants to be president and he now can taste it. He also knows that conservative support is needed and I think he is willing to work for it, not take us for granted – because he surely can’t.
He has a strongly personal motive for wanting the White House too; he wishes to avenge the dashed hopes in the 1968 nomination race of his father George Romney, who was an auto industry executive and then was governor of Michigan at the time.
And don’t forget that Michigan is an important electoral state that Obama won in 2008. And it now has a conservative Republican governor Rick Snyder who is reforming the state in major ways. The Romney name is popular in Michigan.
Romney certainly knows that history is at stake, that the nation is on the brink right now, and that the next president is going to be either Obama, who will ruin us, or will hopefully be a strong-willed reformer who will be perceived as a Reagan-like hero for steering the nation away from the abyss.
Mitt Romney (his full name is Willard Mitt Romney) has had problems. First and foremost there is RomneyCare. It is the biggest strike against him and has been adequately discussed. And when he ran in the presidential primary in 2008 he was caricatured as “plastic” and was disliked by the other candidates. But he seems to have aged well.
Romney is doing what no other candidate on the GOP side is doing except for the unelectable Ron Paul – he made a bid in 2008 and has held on for a second try, just as Ronald Reagan first sought the nomination in 1976, lost to Ford, but came back in 1980 to win the presidency big time.
So Romney has a huge plus going for him – persistence. He is a known quantity and has strong organizations in New Hampshire and Iowa so he can solidify his position as a juggernaut all the way to the White House.
And while he has experimented with his tie-less look to soften his image, he may be coming to the logical conclusion that the real image that worried Americans care about is that of a confident leader with a reformer’s vision for the future.
Romney also is saying proudly and repeatedly that “I’m a private sector guy” and that “only the private sector creates growth” and other truisms that John McCain would never or could never utter. This is what we need in the White House after the massive corruption of Obama Socialism.
And his record in private venture capitalism is a strong one, along with “saving” the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics from fiscal meltdown. That was not selfish interest. It was Romney saving something bigger than himself. So how about the same for America?
Romney certainly knows history too. After the disaster of Woodrow Wilson and the ‘progressive’ era, Republican president Calvin Coolidge ushered in the Roaring 1920s with good private-sector policies like tax cuts and free-market principles. Ronald Reagan did the same in the 1980s after Jimmy Carter’s “malaise”.
Thus Romney certainly is well aware of what needs to be done. And with the right people around him – like Marco Rubio as an activist and engaged vice president; Herman Cain as Treasury secretary; and Rudy Giuliani at defense – Romney can re-make and rebuild this nation with honesty and integrity.
In his radio interview Romney said that every candidate has a “but” as in “I like so-and-so but…” And Romney is not perfect based on his past record.
But these are trying times and we conservatives must realize that we need to do one thing – we MUST defeat Obama in 2012. This is the most crucial election of our times. And in our quest to re-take the nation from the embedded jaws of socialism, it is going to be a long process, but one we must pursue day by day, step by step. 2010 was a fabulous start. A confident, agile, well-spoken Mitt Romney may be the next rational step that will accelerate our cause.
Romney surely is well aware of the calling of a troubled nation at this time. Change is not going to happen overnight, but Mitt Romney can begin to make substantive reforms starting the day of his inauguration. And understanding history, he will continue with those reforms with a firm hand.
Romney is already in the race, he is known, he is active, he is here, he is now. We don’t need to draft him or convince him. He is standing right before our eyes. He is very much worth thinking about.
And if he is elected and screws up, we will primary him in 2016 with someone like Florida governor Rick Scott, South Carolina governor Nikki Haley or Virginia governor Bob McDonnell.
But for the time being the most important goal is to unseat a very dangerous Barack Obama. And Mitt Romney may be just the guy to do it.
Please visit my blog at www.nikitas3.com for more conservative insights.