Thursday, August 30, 2012

Santorum, Paul Still Think It's About Them

I've watched with interest, recent interviews with Ron Paul and Rick Santorum at the GOP National Convention. It's been both telling and confirming. Neither of these guys would have been the right choice for the current American crisis.

Ron Paul still refuses to endorse the GOP ticket and suggests he may never do so. OK. We get it. Romney isn't likely to throw the ship of state into full reverse on his first day in office. His menu of reforms is probably not radical enough to return us to the days of Jefferson and Madison or even Bill Clinton's balanced budget overnight. But he will bend our course away from the iceberg that's threatening our bulging hull and he'll do it without throwing half the ship's passengers and crew into the deep.

For Ron Paul, however, that's simply not enough. And perhaps it shouldn't be. Though Paul's Republican campaign has unquestionably catapulted him and his ideals to a level of national prominence that neither he nor his Libertarian compatriots could ever have attained independently, Paul won't be satisfied with a candidate who is less than fully immersed in his particular brand of the libertarian ideal.

That's both laudable and unfortunate. Laudable, because it shows his uncompromising commitment to the founding principles upon which the greatness of our nation rests. Unfortunate, because even the Founders had to find compromise in order to move forward in an imperfect world.

Paul's unwillingness to support his own party's choice of candidates for the Presidency is a betrayal of the very voters and party that have given voice to his ideas. Ron Paul has influenced this election. He has influenced the party platform ('audit the Fed' He has, with the help of his enthusiastic supporters and the broader base of Tea Party Patriots, reframed and refocused  the debate on the aforementioned founding principles and how they might be reasserted in a global egalitarian context and against a domestic tidal wave of entitlement.

Congressman Paul's contribution has been behemoth. Which is why his endorsement would be so significant. But the laser focus that has made him such an effective advocate for "real liberty" amid the rising tide of soft tyranny in Washington is simply not broad enough to encompass "real America" right now. The nation needs a principled, yet patient and pragmatic problem-solver to address present issues; not another radical ideologue. But by not attaching his ideals to the success of the Romney-Ryan ticket, Ron runs the risk of diminishing them yet again. He will almost certainly diminish himself and his influence in the future. Instead, he would be wise to take a page from his son, Rand's playbook.

While Ron Paul's reticence, however misguided, is at least principled, Rick Santorum's is only self-serving. In his tacit, disingenuous endorsement of Romney-Ryan, Santorum displayed his sour grapes and revealed his selfish agenda. Both in his speech and in the interview I saw, it was clear that Ricky still thinks it's about him; about his uncompromising moral courage, about his articulation of the social conservative voice, his near victory (not even close), and his superior fitness to be the man! This plastic patriot who bubbled up at the last minute only by standing on the submerged wreckage of his far more worthy opponents' campaigns, still has the audacity to question the metal of Romney's integrity and resolve. This is why Santorum could never have won, nor is likely ever to emerge as a viable Presidential candidate. He lacks humility and is therefore unable to acknowledge reality or to be trusted with the levers of power.

Don't get me wrong. I thought the Rickster gave an excellent speech. I love his focus on the family as the most essential unit of a successful and prosperous civil society. He's right on when he suggests that the greatest threat to America isn't strictly financial or political--it's spiritual and exposed in the disrespect and dissolution of the American family. But his correctness on that core principle does not, alone, make Sanctimonious Santorum worthy or able to lead.

I'm breathing a super-sized sigh of relief that neither of these patriots, their virtues notwithstanding, are the party's nominee for President. They're simply not up to the task. I believe...I hope...that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are. And that's rational!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Romney & Ryan: The Ticket to Ride!

Mitt Romney's pick of Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate has demonstrated, once again, that the GOP Candidate is a contemplative, serious, intelligent executive and statesman who is committed to the outcome of his presidency and not merely to the task of getting elected. Would that the same could be said of his opponent.

The Mittster could have, and I'm sure many thought, should have sought a more strategic demographic expander. Marco Rubio might have delivered more of the Latino vote and could have made Florida a lock. Condie Rice would have sent a positive message to blacks and women. Governor Christie's dynamic, confrontative style might have further energized the base.  Others may have been "safer" and less prone to criticism than Paul Ryan whose economic reform plan, aimed at steering America away from the approaching financial abyss, has been at the center of Washington debate and the butt of brutal, often disingenuous criticism by the rabid left.

But Mitt Romney is apparently committed to one mission: turning the nation around by reinvigorating the private economy through responsible fiscal and sound regulatory policies including debt reduction, energy independence, healthcare reform, and tax reform.

In picking Ryan, Romney has gone all-in with this vision giving Americans a clear, distinct, choice between the failed Obamanomics of class envy, central command and control, entitlement, deficit spending, and wealth redistribution; and the empowering economics of expansion, job creation, entrepreneurship, and private capital investment coupled with limited government and fiscal restraint.  More importantly, by this choice Mitt has demonstrated his integrity in being willing to lose; to accept the will of the American people on this critical, state-changing matter. I've heard Mitt say it on a number of occasions (and I paraphrase), "If you want more big government, deficit spending, debt, and entitlements, I'm not your guy. But if you want to turn this economy around to create more jobs, opportunity, and less debt for your children and grandchildren, I know how to do that."

Unlike his adversary, Romney won't say 'anything' to get elected. He will not pander to special interest groups, whether black, female, Latino, gay, Brit, or Palestinian. He won't change his accent or syntax whether he's talking to city slickers or southern red-necks. Mitt believes his plan for economic expansion will benefit all together. It won't discriminate. It won't pick favorites. It will empower capital without favoring the rich. It will lift all boats together. It will be fair, transparent, and effective. It will not expand the power and reach of government; rather it will unleash the power and reach of American ingenuity, self-interest, and drive.

Perhaps most impressive of all, in choosing Paul Ryan, Mitt has simultaneously reaffirmed his commitment to bi-partisanship and invested his Presidency more deeply in solid conservative ideology.  Ryan's conservative values have won him the undying support of the Tea Party patriots. But his genuine commitment to creating a better, stronger America, and his command of policy issues and principles of good government have also earned him the 7-term support of Democrats in one of the most left-leaning states in America. Even Ryan's political adversaries agree that this is a man of sound understanding, bold initiative, uncompromising integrity, and genuine personal appeal. Romney is cut from the same cloth. He successfully governed conservatively in a Democrat stronghold with an 85% liberal legislature. His personal and business reputations are impeccable. In every context, Romney is a demonstrated problem-solver, an effective leader, and one dedicated to making life better for all he serves.

As America's come-back team, Romney and Ryan are the principled antithesis of Obama-Biden. The former believe in the power of the individual; the latter in the power of the state. The former in freedom; the latter in bureaucratic control. The former in private investment; the latter in public stimulus. The former in personal charity; the latter in collective largesse. The former in American exceptionalism; the latter in managed decline. Yes, the choice is really quite clear. Hopefully, the American people can see through the smoke created by the media fog machine to make the only rational choice: Romney-Ryan 2012!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Romney's Global Gravitas

I've been more than a little amused at the media coverage of Mitt Romney's overseas exploits recently. Everything from the hollow harangues over the Mittster's so-called Olympic gaffe, to his politically incorrect Israeli/Palestinian positioning, to the outcry over Mrs. Romney's participation in Equestrian elitism.

Ironically, the trip reveals far more about a leftist media's desperation to find anything Romney to hate than it does about the Presidential hopeful's agility on the world stage. So let's put Romney's performance in some rational perspective.

The Great British Gaffe: This is perhaps the most ado about nothing we've seen since the broo-ha-ha over Ann Romney's $900 blouse. Although it can fairly be said that the former Olympic Executive said a little too much, you'd think, based on the liberal media coverage, that Romney had personally hand-slapped the Queen and started a second revolution!

The reality: In an interview with ABC News, Mitt echoed security concerns that were being noised abroad in the British press that very day. He also questioned Britain's unity over the games--an open question in the media as well! His fault, ironically, is that he answered the question candidly rather than blowing diplomatic smoke up the collective posterior of the body politic. Something we say we want in our politicians. Even liberal British-American entertainment Apprentice, Piers Morgan defended Mitt's comments in a rare moment of fair-minded punditry.

But the real story here is in the press' underwhelming over-reaction. The sniping from the far left British press in a classic case of "we can say it, but you can't," was then amplified a thousand times by the lefty loud-mouths in the American media who are all too happy to pile on. Make no mistake about it: ideology is the issue in this shameless display, not Romney's diplomatic acumen. I give Romney a C+ on his Olympic diplomacy--he could have been more generous, though his candor is refreshing--but, honestly, who besides the convicted anti-Romneys really cares? The press, on the other hand, gets yet another F.

The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict:  Once again, the weaselly whiners from the American left find offense in Romney's unabashed solidarity with the Israeli state when they prefer pandering to Palestinian terrorists. In a context of Barack Obama's on-again, off-again Israel "policy" Romney's forthright support of our first, best, Middle Eastern ally must be comforting to her politicians as well as her people; a sentiment reflected in Prime Minister Netanyahu's all-but-endorsement of the candidate. The Palestinians may be a little P.O.'d in wake of Obama's apology tours, but this was a solid home-run for Romney and will undoubtedly strengthen his support at home and abroad.

Remember, the same political pundits that are castigating Romney for his "politically incorrect" observations about Palestine, were equally outraged at Reagan's "Evil Empire" comments, were hysterical when he refused to compromise with Gorby over the issue of  missile defense, and were apoplectic at the Gipper's call to "tear down this wall!" Romney's diplomacy may not yet be Reaganesque, as may be expected from, primarily, a private sector businessman, and he would benefit from the addition of a quorum of foreign policy experts among his chief advisers, but it's already a helluva lot more coherent than Obama's. And the clarity of policy that is likely to emerge in a Romney administration will undoubtedly more resemble Reagan's and offer a breath of fresh air to US allies around the globe.

Props from Poland: Even the liberal media has had a hard time denigrating Mitt's triumphant visit to Poland and the enthusiastic endorsement he received from the internationally popular liberty and labor champion and former head of the Polish state, Lech Walesa. Romney was warmly received by the Polish people as he promised strengthened ties with the American ally under a Romney Presidency and a restored focus on limited government and economic freedom in the post-communist state.

In short, with the possible exception of the Olympic "gaffe," (a matter so trivial as to be laughable) Romney demonstrated deft statesmanship, a command of the issues, and a commitment to America's traditional and proven allies, the like of which they have not seen in 43 months of Obama dis-plomacy. For a little more substantive analysis, I recommend Charles Krauthammer's syndicated column on the subject.