I know well the arguments for Mitt Romney, that he is:

1.) A Yankee
2.) A Mormon
3.) A Flip Flopper or a liberal in conservative’s clothing

I will not try to persuade anyone out of the first two, but will say this about the third. He had to govern a very liberal state, and did what he could to win the election.
I will here try to make the case for Mitt Romney for president. For social and religious conservatives, he governed to their strengths on issues like gay marriage and stem cells. I’m not going to endorse him outright as I have major concerns about him, but I think he deserves more credit than he gets, particularly around here.

For one, Romney addresses some of the major flaws of our current president, in that he is intelligent and competent. GWB may have been competent as governor, people still love him down here in Texas and the economy is still booming, but Texas has the weakest executive branch in the country and has a lot of factors working in it’s favor. By any reasonable measure GWB is a failure at communication, even when his policies are right. Bush has kind of fell upwards in several ventures, failing often until his run for Governor. By contrast Romney is quite articulate and has turned around several enterprises and grown several businesses. He was elected governor as a republican in a heavily democratic state and was mostly a fiscal conservative. Mike Huckabee, who has been getting a lot of press lately, raised taxes to cover budget shortfalls. I think in this way Romney addresses a desire for change from the current administration. In fact I think his slogan should be “competent conservativism” over “compassionate conservatism”.

Speaking of compassionate conservatism, let’s talk about it’s most enthusiastic proponent, Mike Huckabee. He seems like a nice guy, the kind of preacher to whom I would have enjoyed selling books had I ever swung a sample case in Arkansas. But the recent article in the New York Times was definitely eye-opening. People have been debating for the last year whether or not a Mormon should be president. I am surprised to see very little concern about a televangelist becoming president. Although I have problems with GWB spending tax money on faith based initiatives, I have found the uproar by the left over his ties to the evangelical right to be blown out of proportion. W may pay tribute and lip-service to the evangelicals, but Huckabee is one of them, inside and out. He’s a nice guy, but so was Jimmy Carter.

A couple of particularly troubling quotes:

[W]hen he announced he was giving up his ministry for a 1992 Senate run, many of his confidants, as well as Baptists across the state, were shocked. He had not hinted about his ambitions. And while the Rev. Pat Robertson had run for president four years before, a local pastor running for Senate was something else entirely.

“Politics were worldly as opposed to Christian pursuits,” said Charles Barnette, a member of the Texarkana congregation, explaining the discomfort.

Some followers were surprised that he was running as a Republican. Mr. Huckabee told them the Republican Party was “just one vehicle to the goal of getting into office,” Mr. Barnette said.

Yikes! This guy is hungry to use that office for all the compassionate conservative (i.e. redistributive) policies our treasury can afford.

The case for Mitt Romney

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