I serve on the board of the National Association of Evangelicals–the largest leadership consortium of churches and Christian leaders in the United States.
Nine months ago the organization sent a questionnaire to its members asking us which person we favored for president of the United States. At that time there were twelve different candidates in the race–plenty of good people to choose from.
This may surprise some of you, but without hesitation I voted for Mitt Romney.
It looks like the people of Florida agree with me. Because of their decisive vote, and what will follow in the month of February, it is time for people that care about America’s future to unite behind Mitt Romney and propel him to the White House. Here’s why.
First of all, let’s mention the qualities that are crucial for a US president or any elected leader. I believe that two areas are paramount:
- Good Character–including experience, competence, elect ability, judgment and associations. A person’s character includes faith, but it is not the defining issue. We are not electing a pastor. We are electing a leader who is proven, trustworthy, and competent in the area of governing.
- Right Policies– on economics, foreign affairs, and moral/social issues. This is the leader’s worldview which flows from their faith and character. These policy principles should be based on the biblical understanding of God-given rights, faith and morality, free enterprise, hard work, personal responsibility, compassion for the needy, and a strong national defense.
Now let’s look at the three major candidates that have risen to the top of the Republican field. I have met one of them personally, have carefully followed the career of another, and have grown to appreciate the candidacy of the third.
I met Rick Santorum in the mid-1990s when he was a young senator from Pennsylvania. We worked on some projects together and I enjoyed spending time with him in his office on Capitol Hill. I admire his strong faith (Catholic) and firm commitment to family values. His own personal family is both a model of grace and good example to the nation.
In policy areas, Rick is a steady conservative on most issues–probably the most principled of the three. He has his weaknesses which include a penchant for earmarks, his support of labor unions (Pennsylvania is not a Right to Work state), and tendency to some big government solutions.
His biggest weakness is his lack of executive experience and national stature. He lost his last senatorial election by double digits. And until recently, he was nationally unknown–which is one of the reasons for his lack of a credible organization and fund-raising prowess.
Rick Santorum’s day will come. But he hasn’t paid his dues yet to claim the prize of president of the United States.
I’ve never had the privilege of meeting Newt Gingrich but I have followed his career and love his boldness, big ideas and clarity on issues. But his volatile personality and marriage failures are a major weakness. He was involved in a number of affairs, two failed marriages, and was forced to leave his House leadership due to character issues and poor leadership style. He paid a $300,000 fine for one charge of ethics violations.
Newt is a gunslinger that left some collateral damage from his years as House Speaker. To his credit, he now purports to have experienced salvation through his Catholic faith and I have no reason to doubt him. We Americans believe in redemption.
But forgiveness and trustworthiness are two different things. One is immediate and the other is earned. Newt may have found his way back to national popularity, but his potential violatility is a gamble for all who vote for him. Time will tell whether he has truly matured or is just doing a good job of covering his weaknesses.
His experience in government is vast. The Contract with America, the four budgets he helped balance as Speaker of the House, and his championing conservative principles are laudable. But he has no real executive experience. Well–he has a qualified version as House Speaker, but his record there was mixed at best and destructive at worst. And his judgment should be questioned for things like working with Fannie Mae, supporting global warming, giving lip service to Cap and Trade and a healthcare mandate, and numerous other political indiscretions.
Elect ability is the biggest issue. I believe he could beat Barack Obama under the right circumstances, but his unfavorable rating of 57% is a potential albatross. Even if he made it to the White House, would an unpredictable President Gingrich make some mistakes that would discredit conservatives for decades? It’s a big risk. Don’t forget this fact: He is the ultimate Washington insider. Is that who we need in the White House in 2012?
On the other hand, Newt would probably be the boldest president of all with a consistent conservative agenda. He’d fire the czars, dismantle Obamacare, change the tax code, and go after big government entitlements. He’d be tough on Iran and move the Israeli embassy to Jerusalem. He would also lead the charge against anti-Christiian bigotry in the nation.
He would probably make a great president–if he didn’t make a disastrous one.
That brings us to the man I am growing to appreciate and believe is our best choice for president. He is probably not my natural pick, but I believe he is right for America at this crucial time in our history.
First of all, let’s mention the negatives. His Mormon faith is not as “clear” as evangelical faith, but it’s God-fearing and family-centered. Mormonism is outside the Christian mainstream, but it often produces hard-working, moral, and family-oriented people who make good leaders. He should not be rejected for his faith.
Mitt Romney also has past moderate views. But to be fair, that’s also true of Newt Gingrich who began his career as a “Rockefeller Republican.” He changed–and Mitt Romney did too (so did Ronald Reagan). It is no small feat that Governor Romney was elected governor in one of the bluest states in America and led that state in a variety of conservative successes.
Today, Mitt Romney stands squarely behind the Judeo-Chrisian principles of life, liberty, marriage, economic freedom, and national security.
“Romneycare” is a problem. It takes away a big issue from the debate with Obama. But I agree with the governor that state choices are different than national ones. Mitt Romney has promised to give waivers on Obamacare to all fifty states his first day in office and work to repeal it. There are enough differences here with Barack Obama to give Governor Romney an edge–but not a pass.
So what are the main reasons to vote for Mitt Romney?
1. His national stature. Romney has earned the right to represent the Republicans this year. He came in second to John McCain in 2008, and has used his time since then to build a national organization and campaign that is without equal on the Republican side.
The other campaigns can complain about the inequality of money and organization. But that’s the same argument as Barack Obama’s class warfare rhetoric. Mitt Romney has the money and professional team because he earned it--he built it from the ground up and attracted the support. National stature is earned, not inherited. He’s the only R that has it.
2. His business experience and background. This election will ultimately hinge on the dismal economy. Mitt Romney is the only man in the race who is sharp on economics, was immensely successful in the private sphere, and will have the authority to speak and lead on these issues. In the economic debate, he will clean Barack Obama’s clock because our current president has never had a real job nor knows how to generate them. Mitt Romney is a wise and successful businessman who can turn around an Olympics and hopefully do the same for a nation.
3. He is the only Washington outsider in the race. Think about that. Rick Santorum has spent most of his adult life among Washington elites. Newt Gingrich is the poster child of a Washington insider. Barack Obama knows nothing but government service–and community organizing.
Mitt Romney is a business leader and governor who will come to a city he has never lived in to take on the powers that be. Yeah, he may not be a pit-bull like Newt, but despite his wealth, he is one of us. He has never resided within the Beltway.
4. His elect ability. The polls have consistently shown that Mitt Romney has the best chance of beating Barack Obama. And that is the number one goal. I have nothing personally against the president. He seems to be a nice man with a good family and he excels behind the teleprompter and on the stump.
But President Obama lacks executive skills and his quasi-socialist policies are killing this nation. The Democratic Party, in control of the US Senate, has not produced a budget for over 1000 days. The president has no idea what to do about creating jobs, he’s tearing down the Christian fabric of the nation at many turns, and he’s emboldened our enemies around the world.
Barack Obama is a great politician but an incompetent leader. Mitt Romney has the best chance of stopping the damage.
5. And for fun, let’s throw in one more: Romney looks presidential. Hey, in the age of 24-7 media, that ‘s a pretty big deal. Can you imagine Mitt Romney, his family, and his policies representing the United States around the world? I can–and that image will benefit our nation.
Now that Romney has decisively won Florida, it’s possible that he may run the table in the coming month. Key primaries and caususes include Nevada, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Colorado and Arizona. After that, he is the only Republican candidate with the money and organization to compete on Super Tuesday, March 6.
We must get behind him and stop the in-fighting. We also need a Republican (conservative) House and Senate to complete the change in direction. We need to focus like a laser beam on building a movement that can bring some hope to a nation that is running out of time.
There are no perfect candidates. But we have a good one in Washington outsider, successful businessman and governor Mitt Romney.
It’s time to unite behind Mitt Romney for president.