Now that Fred Thompson’s withdrawal seems imminent and Gov. Huckabee’s appeal seems too limited for a general election, we’re getting many e-mails and phone calls from disappointed conservatives ready to look at Gov. Romney for the first time. Welcome, guys.
David is helping, all the way from Iraq, and wrote a very interesting letter to a friend who is struggling with whom to support now. While I’ve deleted anything that is personal or identifiable, I thought I’d let you in on this correspondence, written in his individual capacity only, not as an Army officer or as an employee of his non-profit Christian legal defense firm.
You almost certainly don’t remember me, but we had some correspondence a few years ago…
But all of that seems somewhat far away right now as I’m in the Diyala River Valley, northeast of Baghdad, supporting Operation Raider Harvest. I’m a captain in the United States Army Reserve, and I’ve been mobilized and attached to the 2d Squadron, 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment…
Fortunately, I have relatively reliable email communications back home (even when deployed outside of my “home” forward operating base and working out of a temporary command post), and my wife sent me your letter to her and a copy of her response.
While she did a great job dealing with the issues you raised (and I hope the attachment she sent was helpful also), I wanted to supplement her thoughts with a bit of wider context.
I think Mitt Romney is misunderstood and underappreciated by elements of the broad conservative coalition – especially the Christian conservative branch. He is a governor in the truest sense of the term. He achieves what it is possible to achieve within the context of his position. When I hear many Christian activists critique his performance as Governor of Massachusetts, it is almost as if they believe that the only things he should have been thinking about were defeating same-sex marriage and rolling back abortion. Yet the tactics many of these activists advocate are the same tactics that led to Roy Moore removal from office (and subsequent electoral defeat) in one of our most conservative states; yet Governor Romney was the chief executive of perhaps the most liberal major state in the nation (Vermont doesn’t count). How could the tactics that failed for Moore possibly succeed in a far more liberal state?
Mitt Romney knows that a President must run an entire country across a full spectrum of issues. When he was governor, it is not as if the emergence of the same sex marriage issue suddenly meant that he didn’t have to deal with a fiscal crisis, didn’t have to deal with the Big Dig collapse, and didn’t have to achieve a creative solution to a looming health care battle with an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature.
Yet Governor Romney balanced a budget, managed a crisis in one of he most complex and expensive construction projects in history, and crafted a health care plan that – while not ideal – contains innovative reforms rightly applauded by many conservatives. But here’s the critical thing: he managed to do all this at the same time that he vigorously resisted the same-sex marriage decision (up to and including suing the legislature in a successful effort to force them to vote on a state marriage amendment), resisted legislative efforts to dramatically expand stem cell research, fought for Catholic Charities’ right to religious freedom, and vetoed legislation that would have expanded access to the “morning-after” abortion pill. These are not small things.
To be honest (and I say this as a Christian conservative activist), one of the bad side effects of the otherwise good growth of Christian political and cultural activism is the tendency to see the world through activists’ eyes. The activist rightly sees “their” issues as important, but since they so often make a living advancing “their” issue, it is easy to lose perspective.
From where I sit in the Diyala River Valley, listening to the thunder of (thankfully outgoing) artillery, looking at news reports of a sinking stock market, and worrying about all the religious liberty litigation I left at home, I want a president who is good at dealing with all those things — a person of deep moral conviction who wants to lead an entire nation, a master of the art of the possible, and a man of real personal integrity.
I have not chosen to dedicate my professional life to defending life and religious liberty, only to throw that away by supporting a man who does not share my values. I have not laid my entire future on the line in Iraq, only to throw that sacrifice away by supporting a man who would yield to Jihadist terror. Since my wife and I started Evangelicals for Mitt, we have gotten to know the Romneys and their sons. They are people worth supporting.