I was baptized into the conservative movement in the waters of Reagan back in 1976. In that campaign we had no money, few wins and little prospect. But none of that mattered. We had a candidate we believed in with all our heart and soul.
I saw him as bigger than life and was amazed that not everyone agreed. It took four more years and a winning primary before most Republicans saw what I did. But when they did, we had ourselves the greatest president of my lifetime.
When my brother Pat ran for president, I again wondered why more conservatives didn’t embrace him. He was so right for the country, I thought. But that’s politics. People gravitate toward one candidate over another for different reasons and become so committed to theirs that they can’t see much good about the others — until their candidate is beaten in the primary. Then, begrudgingly, they begin to give the winner a second look. It is only then that it’s possible for them to see that—just maybe—this other guy has what it takes to be a great president.
This time around, it is déjà vu all over again. When Gov. Romney threw his hat into the ring, I was thrilled with him — a born leader, eminently prepared to be president, ideally qualified to handle the problems America faces, impeccable character and a proven conservative. Yet I am amazed how often I have been asked how a conservative like me could be with Romney.
I let them all know that I not only support Mitt, but I do so enthusiastically. And I’ll tell you why:
America is in a deep fiscal crisis and desperately needs a leader at its helm who is committed to cutting spending, balancing the budget and getting Americans back to work. And this is exactly what Romney has done all his life — whether he’s in business, running the Olympics, or being a governor.
Most of his career he spent in business — creating value and creating jobs. He understands markets as no career politician does and has near-perfect knowledge about how to create an environment that will give our businessmen and women a powerful reason to begin building and expanding again.
When he came into office as governor, his state had a $3 billion budget shortfall. Without raising taxes — indeed, he cut them 19 times — he closed the gap. By the end of his term, he left the taxpayers with a $2 billion rainy-day fund. He even turned the legislature’s $250 million retroactive capital gains tax into a $250 million refund. To get all this done with an 85% Democratic legislature, Romney used the line-item veto more than 800 times.
Gov. Romney is a tough fiscal conservative; his record proves that. But what makes him even more attractive is that he is a real “outsider”. Rather than Washington’s all-powerful lobbyists having a friend in the White House, it’ll be working men and women who do.
Then there’s character, an essential quality of a great leader. Mitt’s family life is his greatest accomplishment. He’s been married to Ann—the love of his life—for more than 40 years. They are partners in every sense of the word and together have five sons and 16 grandchildren. If we conservatives know anything, we know character counts.
When it comes to the social issues, Romney again shines.
In the face of the movement to legalize same-sex marriage, Mitt pressed for an amendment to the state constitution to protect traditional marriage. He enforced state laws preventing out-of-state couples from marrying in his state. He testified before Congress in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment. The “single most eloquent and articulate defense of our traditional understanding of marriage I have heard from an American politician,” is how Maggie Gallagher characterized his testimony.
After he joined the pro-life cause, Romney fought tirelessly to protect the unborn. He vetoed bills that allowed for human cloning and bills that would have expanded access to abortifacients. He directed funds to a faith-based organization for abstinence education. According to John J. Miller of National Review, “a good case can be made that Romney has fought harder for social conservatives than any other governor in America, and it is difficult to imagine his doing so in a more daunting political environment.”
On illegal immigration, Mitt is hands-down the best guy in the race. He’s opposed to all amnesties; against in-state tuition for illegals; supports E-verify; and wants a secure fence on the border. And, as governor, he ordered the Massachusetts State Police to enforce federal immigration laws.
It’s time for conservatives to give Mitt Romney a long hard second look. As president he will repeal ObamaCare; cut spending; balance the budget without raising taxes; appoint strict constitutionalists to the bench; secure the border; enforce immigration laws; and defund Planned Parenthood. And he can defeat Barack Obama.