Journalists and pundits covering the Republican presidential primaries have recently been stuck on the question of whether Mitt Romney will secure the nomination, and how he will do so.
Unfortunately, the question of whether Romney should be the GOP’s presidential candidate has been largely ignored. I believe that the Republican Party — and the United States — will benefit tremendously from Romney winning the party nod.
As an engaged Republican primary voter, I’ve suffered from the same candidate indecisiveness as my peers. One year ago, scintillating apparitions of a Jeb Bush or Mitch Daniels candidacy crossed my mind. Chris Christie and Paul Ryan beckoned me, only to throw in the towel before even declaring their candidacies. I entertained the idea of Jon Huntsman but decided to settle with the thoroughly sensible Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty’s abrupt withdrawal from the race after a disappointing Ames Straw Poll showing left me with one choice.
I gave Romney a second look. Why not? He was running a well-oiled, expansive and innovative campaign. In successive debate performances he came off as the only possible president on the stage. As a mainstream conservative Republican, I was attracted to his prowess in procuring funds and endorsements. So I hopped on board.
I haven’t looked back. Over time, my support for Romney has solidified. For the vast majority of Republicans who value conservative principles, strong intellectual debate, policy results and the hope that Barack Obama will be a one-term president, Romney is an outstanding choice.
Certainly, a process of elimination of other candidates works in Romney’s favor. Ron Paul has shown himself to be far outside the GOP mainstream and an implausible nominee. Rick Santorum has failed to put together a strong campaign infrastructure to propel his belatedly burgeoning social conservative support. Newt Gingrich has shown himself to be the worst in Republican politics: Pomposity and hypocrisy aside, he is an embarrassment to himself and his party with his flailing attacks on the free enterprise system.
Rick Perry’s decision to leave the race yesterday narrows the field further. His brief burst of popularity had plummeted into a humiliating display of cheap pandering, juvenile debate performances and a political operation that was on life support, so to speak. His endorsement of Gingrich seems to be nothing more than a spiteful swipe at Romney, whom he blames for his profoundly bruised ego.
That said, Romney is not just the “least bad” candidate — he is a genuinely good one and has the potential to make a remarkable president. Romney’s conduct on the debate stage and campaign trail has been mature, measured and rooted in the strength of his ideas. He offers detailed plans on economic renewal, trumping his opponents’ simplistic and unachievable pandering with precise insights on our economic prospects.
Ask Romney about his plan for job creation, and he launches into a probing synthesis of taxes, regulation, trade, energy, labor, human capital and government spending. Americans deserve nothing less in their choice for president.
The knocks on Romney cannot be ignored, but his record at Bain Capital is a testament to the function of free enterprise, and his repeated explanations of the differences between Massachusetts’s healthcare system and Obamacare merit greater attention from voters and the media alike.
Nevertheless, some will tar Romney as inauthentic and socially awkward. My response is that President Obama isn’t exactly chummy, either. On the campaign trail, both men are admirably consumed with the details of policy proposals, which unfortunately come at the expense of pizazz.
Obama may have the upper hand in delivering prepared remarks — and Romney in winning a debate — but both sides can concede that neither has the gregariousness of Bill Clinton nor the wit of Ronald Reagan.
That’s not a bad thing. With America facing crises foreign and domestic, and an overarching crisis of confidence in the American way, it is necessary for this November’s presidential contest to be fought in the realm of ideas.
Romney’s detractors on the right can be assured that he will offer a crisp contrast of conservative ideals and prescriptions in a general election against President Obama. He will do the Republican Party proud as a man of integrity, decency, intellect and character. His successful resume in the private sector, coupled with a productive and consensus-oriented term as the governor of a heavily liberal state, bode well for his leadership abilities as the next occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Republicans, take a hint from former candidates Pawlenty and Huntsman: Now is the time to unite around Mitt Romney and offer a bold, detailed, conservative agenda that will defeat President Obama in November.
Sam Dulik is a junior in the School of Foreign Service. He is the Director of Special Events for the Georgetown University College Republicans. QUORUM CALL appears every other Friday.