It’s Primary day in Illinois. You wouldn’t know it from the weather. We’re used to headlines along the lines of “Voter Turnout Low Due To Blizzard,” but I guess we’ve been using too many incandescent light bulbs around here.
However, this year the beautiful, sunny weather reflects my excitement about the election, and my hope for a bright, sunny future just over the horizon.
Get ready to cue the groans and complaints from my liberal friends, my “true conservative” friends, and my Paulbot friends, but gosh darnit, I’m excited to cast my vote for Mitt Romney today.
I understand that Rick Santorum has a more conservative record. I know you’re worried about Romney’s moderate past. I am too. But let’s look at a few facts. When Ronald Reagan ran for President, he was a former Democrat, former union boss, a governor that had signed the most radically permissive pro-abortion bill in US history.
People change. Reagan did. Mitt Romney has spoken about his changes of heart. And, he will have a very different climate in which to govern as President next year than he did as Governor of a very liberal state years ago. Not only will he be representing all Americans both red and blue, rather than only deep-blue Massachusetts, but after the budget explosion of the last three years and the Tea Party response, he will have very little room to break deficit-cutting promises. And after spending months campaigning on a platform of waiving and repealing Obamacare, he will have neither room to flip nor flop on that issue.
Now, a word about Santorum. Yes, his record is cleaner, and I agree with much of what he says. This morning I listened to WLS-AM in Chicago while host and commentator Dan Proft said that in a primary, we should support whomever we believe would be the best standard-bearer for the party; in his opinion, Santorum. But “best standard-bearer” does not necessarily mean, nor is it restricted to, “agrees with my opinions most closely.” In fact, despite my generally liking and agreeing with him, there is no doubt in my mind that Santorum would be a disastrous representative of the conservative movement. Santorum is far too easily painted as a crazy extremist, and it’s not all the media’s fault.
Sure, the contraception debate has been a made-up issue, but instead of refusing to engage, Santorum takes the bait and talks about how he feels about birth control. Appending a quick “but as a Republican, I don’t want a government program to deal with this” at the end doesn’t help with the public perception. The sound bites are already recorded, and now Republicans want to ban the pill in the minds of every voter that only reads headlines. Now he’s talking, all on his own, about wanting to outlaw pornography. He gets caught up talking about gays and women in the military. It doesn’t matter how you feel about these issues. They are not what we need to be talking about right now. With unbelievable deficits, massive unemployment, and a floundering recovery, we need someone who will focus completely on jobs and the economy. Someone with successful executive experience in both the private and public sector. Someone exactly like Mitt Romney.
Allowing the debate to shift to pornography and birth control will drive an entire generation away from the GOP, and we cannot let that happen. But by focusing on jobs and the economy, by supporting Mitt Romney, we will not only win in November, but we can win converts to the conservative cause.
And that’s why I’m excited to support him today, and I hope you will all do the same.