Tim Dunkin I really wasnâ€™t planning on voting for Mitt Romney this November. He was just too â€œmoderateâ€ for my taste. He had a terrible rÃ©sumÃ© from his tenure as the governor of Massachusetts and beyond. I thought that he didnâ€™t have the backbone to really have a go at the presidency. Heâ€™s more prone to attack conservative Republicans than liberal Democrats. For a number of related reasons, I had decided after the primaries were effectively over that I was not going to support Romney, even though he was the presumptive nominee. As recently as a month ago, I was arguing that conservatives and Republicans should overthrow Romney during the Republican National Convention and nominate someone with solid conservative credentials. All in all, I was pretty set on not voting for Mitt Romney, and was instead supporting former Virginia congressman Virgil Goode. â€œVote for Goode, instead of the lesser of two evils!â€ became the watchword. Iâ€™d even convinced a number of friends and acquaintances to do the same. I wasnâ€™t really swayed by the arguments of those who wanted me to vote for Romney because, frankly, Romney wasnâ€™t really making the case for himself. If a candidate wants my vote, he or she needs to make a positive case for why I should support him, instead of just trying to â€œscareâ€ or â€œguilt tripâ€ me into it because of the perfidy of his opponent.
Just recently, Mitt Romney finally made that case, which is why Iâ€™m now supporting him.
If you had asked me before, I would have argued that there was very little difference between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Sure, in some superficial areas, they might have diverged, but in their overarching responses and tendencies, not so much. I will grant â€“ I still think this is somewhat true. However, in one very important area, Romney made the difference. This is in the area of foreign policy, more specifically his response to the recent events in Libya versus those of the â€œCommanderâ€-in-Chief currently occupying the White House.
Letâ€™s face it â€“ Obama and his administrationâ€™s handling of the Libya crisis, as well as foreign policy in the Middle East in general, has been an unmitigated disaster of such proportions as to make even Jimmy Carter look like an international relations chess master.
In what was really nothing less than an act of war, militias loosely associated with the new Islamist government ruling in Libya attacked our diplomatic outpost (which is, under international law, considered sovereign American territory), sodomizing and murdering our ambassador, as well as killing several other Americans. What was the administrationâ€™s response? To bumble around like a lobotomized chimpanzee, periodically releasing contradictory press statements apparently designed to so confuse the press corps and the American people that they would give up trying to figure out just how Obama messed it all up. We found out that the State Department had received warnings that just such an attack was going to take place, nearly three days before it happened â€“ yet they still failed to provide the consulate with any sort of credible protection. Then they tried to argue that there was protectionâ€¦but was it provided by Americans, or by local Libyans, or by some British security firm? At some point or another, they tried to tell us any and all of these, but I doubt that any of them really know. Was the attack premeditated terrorism and there really wasnâ€™t ever any protesting going on at the consulate to begin with? Or was it just a protest gone horribly awry? Or was it terrorism of opportunity gone horribly awry under the guise of a premeditated protest? Who knows? Obama and his team sure donâ€™t. The only thing they do seem to be sure of is that the attacks werenâ€™t really â€œagainst Americaâ€â€¦per se, with certain qualifications depending upon the definitions you want to use. The past week and a half have shown that the Obama administration, and the President himself, couldnâ€™t find the clue train even if they were tied to the tracks and blinded by its onrushing headlight.
Of course, all of this outrageous behavior came on the heels of yet another Obama apology tour â€“ this time, aimed at undermining our First Amendment domestically to assuage the feelings of Muslim extremists in Egypt. Supposedly, a poorly-made film about Muhammed was the catalyst for protests in Egypt â€“ and instead of simply telling the protesters that Americans do not need to apologize for the use of our constitutional liberties, especially not within our own borders, Obamaâ€™s state department (the direct voice of the President himself, remember) bent over backwards to express contrition for offending their poor little sensibilities. Not that it did any good, except to further encourage even more protesting and violence at more of our embassies all over the Muslim world, as well as spreading to the embassies of other Western nations who presumably had nothing to do with the film in question. What really happened was that Obama (despite being a Muslim - probably) and his team demonstrated absolutely no
knowledge of the honor-shame societies existing in the Middle East, societies where apologizing when pressured to do so is perceived as a gross weakness and only invites more aggression.
Never mind the fact that the radical Islamist extremists protesting American free speech (and now trying to create â€œinternational lawâ€ through the United Nations to ban â€œIslamophobiaâ€ and â€œblasphemy against Islamâ€) and killing our ambassadors were put into power by the machinations of Obama and his goon squad. Remember how we bombed a stable, though admittedly nasty, regime in Tripoli so that it could be toppled by the radical Islamists? Remember how we lent moral support to the Islamists in the â€œArab Springâ€ in Egypt so they could take over and start imposing shariâ€™a on Egyptâ€™s previously secularized population, as well as doubling down on the persecution of Coptic Christians in that nation? Of course, it is none too surprising to find out that the Obama administration has been providing aid to al-Qaeda affiliated groups in Pakistan so that they can overthrow the Syrian government (and completely surround Israel, I might note).
Indeed, it seems that everything Obama does â€“ right down to dismissing Israelâ€™s concerns about a nuclear-armed Iran out of hand and calling the violence against American interests a â€œbump in the roadâ€ â€“ belies a lack of seriousness and even outright antipathy towards what is best for America and our allies. This is the President who can condemn a YouTube video multiple times in official press conferences, but who canâ€™t find it within himself to condemn Mahmoud Ahmedinejad when he openly calls for genocide against the Jewish people. This has negative consequences across the board, too. Obamaâ€™s ham-fisted handling of foreign policy questions, such that Americaâ€™s image abroad is not one of fecklessness and weakness, is encouraging China to aggressively bully Japan, one of our closest allies in the Far East â€“ something unthinkable under Ronald Reagan, or even under George W. Bush.
What changed my mind was the contrast that Romney presented. Instead of apologizing for American freedom, he condemned the apologies. Romney called the President out on his fumbled responses to the Libyan crisis. Romney had the â€œnerveâ€ (some might say â€œcourageâ€) to actually point out the terrible flaws in Obamaâ€™s policies that the news media have been using reams of paper to cover over and hide. Further, Romney has been standing strongly for Israel, and dared to tell the truth about the Palestinians that the Left has been trying to ignore â€“ which is that they have absolutely no interest in peaceful coexistence and ending bloodshed in the Holy Land, even when they are offered a generous two-state solution.
Why was this a game-changer? It is because the Presidentâ€™s constitutional role, aside from signing or vetoing bills and nominating judges, is largely supposed to be federative â€“ it is about representing the United States of America to the world abroad. This may involve his role in negotiating treaties, nominating ambassadors, giving direction to said ambassadors, and so forth. It may also involve his role as the Commander-in-Chief of our military during times of war. Either way, the Presidentâ€™s primary function relates to exactly those things in which Obama has shown himself to be a weakling and a failure, and where Romney has, at least in word, if not having the chance to do so in deed, shown himself more willing to stand up for Americaâ€™s interests and to retain (or perhaps â€œregainâ€ would be the more proper term) a position of strength on the world stage.
Since making the switch, I have been pleasantly surprised by Romney on some other things, as well. For instance, there was his 47% â€œgaffe.â€ Frankly, the old Michael Kinsley saw that a gaffe is when a politician accidentally tells the truth seems to apply here. Romney was exactly right â€“ there is a large chunk of the American people, which really does number around 47% of us, who do not pay an effective tax rate, and who are therefore much more inclined than the average person to want to keep it that way by voting to stick it economically to producers and business owners and others who are already contributing more than their â€œfair shareâ€ to the tax burden in America. Even though not all of these 47% are on welfare or other forms of assistance, the fact remains that these people send their kids to schools that get federal grants, drive on highways maintained in part with federal monies, and are protected by a military paid out of the federal treasury â€“ they take from the system, but donâ€™t pay in. And guess what? Even if you have payroll taxes deducted from your paycheck each week, if you get all that money back between your refund and the various tax credits built into the tax code, then you are not paying taxes. You are a net drain on the system, rather than a net contributor. Thatâ€™s a pretty sweet deal in the minds of a lot of people, and the temptation to vote to keep it that way cannot be understated. Romneyâ€™s comment â€“ despite being pilloried by both the left-wing media and the harrumph-harrumph Right â€“ was an accurate assessment of the dynamics of this race, and goes a long way towards explaining why an otherwise complete failure of a President is nevertheless maintaining a consistent position in the polls at aroundâ€¦47%.
Iâ€™m sure there are some out there who are aghast that Iâ€™ve â€œsold out.â€ That Iâ€™ve â€œditched my principles.â€ I used to be that way too, patting myself on the back for my purity. And I have to say, I still understand where people are coming from when they hesitate to support Mitt Romney. But let me be very frank â€“ if your principles include essentially allowing Barack Obama to have a second term, then your principles areâ€¦questionable, at best. I submit that you canâ€™t really call yourself â€œpro-life,â€ for instance, when you undercut a guy who, while perhaps making noise about agreeing with abortion in cases where the â€œhealthâ€ of the mother is in danger, nevertheless has at least said he is pro-life and will oppose abortion, and instead effectively support the guy who voted for partial birth abortion when he was in the Illinois Senate. You canâ€™t say youâ€™re against ObamaCare when you oppose the challenger who at least says he will work to repeal it, de facto supporting the guy who forced it onto us in the first place. Iâ€™m sorry, but you canâ€™t. You can huff and you can puff and you can twist yourself into logical pretzels and you can bombastically accuse me of all kinds of things if you like, but in the end, youâ€™re helping to return Obama to the White House.
Here a key point â€“ if Romney is President, he will largely not be making policy on abortion, or gay adoption, or any of the other issues on which we criticize him. Congress does that. Congress makes the laws. The President can only sign or veto them. So itâ€™s important to consider what effects our choice of a President will have on the composition of Congress. It is well-known that whoever wins a presidential race usually is accompanied by â€œcoattails,â€ a net positive effect for down-ticket candidates from the same Party. If Obama wins, this will go a long way towards helping the Democrats hold the Senate and perhaps even take back the House. So, the choice is not just between Romney and Obama â€“ itâ€™s between which type of a Congress do you want sending bills to the Presidentâ€™s desk? Do you want a Republican-controlled House and Senate sending (generally) conservative bills to Romneyâ€™s desk, or a Democrat-controlled legislature submitting bills for Obamaâ€™s signature? Like it or not, that really is the choice we have.
So much against my will, I am supporting Romney. I encourage you to do so, as well, whatever your antipathy toward him might be. This being said, I also believe that conservatives and liberty lovers need to get their act together over the next four years, whoever the President ends up being. If weâ€™d have swallowed our pride and gotten together behind one of the multitude of conservative candidates in the early primaries, we wouldnâ€™t even have to talk about biting the bullet and getting behind Romney in the general. This time around, we need to be ready to act in unison, and be prepared to even go so far as to try to overthrow a President Romney in the 2016 primaries, if he proves to be the disappointment that many fear he will be. But for the time being, priority number one has to be getting the worst President in American history out of office and into the footnotes of history books where he belongs.