Editor’s Note: The summary below is based primarily upon our first support statement, drafted when this site launched in 2006. It holds up well, we think, but since 2006 the case for Mitt Romney has only grown stronger. While EFM believes that cultural issues are — and will remain — central to the life and health of our country, we cannot focus on cultural issues to the exclusion of the very real economic and military challenges we continue to face. While the surge has led to a fragile victory in Iraq, our economy has not fared so well. Between now and the date when Governor Romney decides whether (or not) to pursue the Republican nomination, we will often speak of the “relentless logic” of his candidacy. After all, which (potential) candidate combines his level of proven economic expertise with the right character, temperament, resolve, and commitment to life and the family?
We want a candidate who shares our political and moral values and priorities, can win in 2012, and can govern effectively thereafter by articulating and implementing an intelligent, values-based governing strategy. This is just what Mitt Romney did as governor, this is just what Mitt Romney did in business, and this is what he would do as president.
Governor Romney Shares Our Political & Moral Values
Political and moral values are informed by — but not the same as — one’s religion. That’s why we are not casting our lot with the person whose theology we like most. History shows that to be a poor approach.
For example, in 1980 voters had two choices: a divorced movie actor who did not regularly attend church and was not on good terms with all of his children, and a once-married Southern Baptist whose evangelicalism was at the core of his public identity. Voting on the basis of whose religious doctrine was better would have meant electing the second guy — Jimmy Carter — over the first, Ronald Reagan. Excluding those who don’t hold to orthodox Christianity would also have meant excluding such great Americans as Thomas Jefferson — who denied the divinity of Christ — from positions of authority. But Is anybody going to argue someone else should’ve written the Declaration of Independence?
We need a president who embraces a comprehensive and positive values agenda: standing for the sanctity of life, protecting traditional marriage, defending religious liberty and basic human rights at home and abroad, combating poverty and disease within the world’s poorest communities, fighting for better quality of life for our citizens, and winning the War on Terror.
We need a president who has the right economic values. We too often place the economy and culture in completely separate spheres, content to worry about “social issues” when (and only when) our paychecks are secure. This is exactly the wrong approach. Governor Romney understands that the health of the economy and the health of the family are inextricably intertwined. There can be no long-term prosperity without healthy families, and it is a profound moral problem when we pay for the sins of the present by bankrupting our children
Governor Romney Can Unite the Conservative Movement and Forge a Winning Coalition
If the debacle of 2008 taught us anything, it’s that you cannot abandon the base and win an election. We must unite fiscal and social conservatives within the same tent. We cannot argue over which of the self-described “wings” of the party are most crucial. At its best, the Republican coalition combines a fierce commitment to national security, sound economic conservatism that is responsive to changing economic conditions, and an abiding commitment to life and the family. When this coalition breaks down, when any one of the three “legs” of the stool break, we lose. And lose big. In 2008 we nominated a national security conservative who knew very little about the economy (and was dangerously prone to ineffectual bouts of populist outrage), seemed to enjoy skewering fellow Republicans, and held many religious voters in near-contempt. In the next primary season, we must choose better.
But there’s more than that. Above all else, the president has to lead — he has to be a good executive. Fortunately, Governor Romney has been a leader longer than he has been a politician. Prior to his political career, Governor Romney helped to launch the very successful Bain Capital — which helped launch such successful franchises as Staples and the Sports Authority — and then led a turnaround at Bain Consulting. He also saved the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City which, prior to his leadership, were mired in debt and corruption but subsequently became one of the most successfully-run Games in memory.
And he’s governed in a difficult political environment, too. Massachusetts is the most left-wing state in the union. If you think Bay State Democrats aren’t any different from their Arkansas or Alabama or Tennessee counterparts, try defending traditional marriage or vetoing stem-cell funding up in Boston, as Governor Romney did, and see what they do. But Governor Romney did — in addition to helping turn the economy around, opposing driver’s licenses and in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants, and defending Catholic Charities’ right to restrict adoptions to man-woman couples. No other candidate has a record of such successful, across-the-board conservative leadership—especially on such hostile terrain.
Summing It All Up
Mitt Romney has been a standout conservative governor of a very liberal state. He believes in the traditional family, and he has fought for it — just ask Massachusetts’ pro-family leaders. He’s admitted he was wrong on abortion, and is now solidly pro-life — as his record in Massachusetts testifies. He also opposes embryonic stem cell research’s speculative and open-ended carelessness with human life. He’s shown courage under fire in several challenging situations, and has lived out his values (both publicly and privately) during a time when other Republicans, sadly, have not.
In addition, we challenge our readers — friendly or hostile — to name one national political leader on either side of the aisle with a better record of business and economic leadership than Mitt Romney. We do not know what the economy will be like in 2012, but if it’s anything like it is today, who would you want at the helm? The former community organizer we have today? Or the founder of Bain Capital, the man who rescued the Salt Lake City Olympics, and the Governor who brought a state back from the brink of bankruptcy?
In other words, he’s not just a man evangelicals can support — he’s the best choice for people of faith. It’s not even close.