What do you think of Mitt Romney?
After Super Tuesday, we are seeing that Romney has the clearest path to the Republican nomination and is the likely opponent for President Obama in the fall. I just reviewed what four more years of Obama will look like (http://blankenship-laissezfaire.blogspot.com/2012/03/nowhere-man.html), so we should now consider the major issues that Romney would emphasize as president.
First, if you just listen to the sound bites from media outlets, you assume Romney is two things: 1) a flip flopper, and 2) elite and out of touch with the "average American." On being a flip flopper, let me say that I respect a guy who has been moderately conservative but has grown more conservative with time. If you want a president who has never, ever wavered from his views, vote Ron Paul, I wouldn't be opposed to that. Otherwise, you are being hypocritical because most politicians have adapted over time. Romney may present some legitimate concerns if you feel his current rhetoric does not match his record on some issues, but I urge you to look at the issue in depth, not just the sound bite. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at his record.
On the idea that Romney is "out of touch", I would say, who cares? We are talking about the leader of the free world here, he is not auditioning to be your next door neighbor. We are looking for a great leader, with incredible intelligence, and strong communication skills. Do you get those skills telling jokes over beers at the local golf course. No. Romney has honed his skills over years of leading successful organizations, I will trade his awkward folksy charm for his effectiveness as a leader any day.
So what would four years under Romney look like?
I am impressed Romney has the courage to discuss plans to save these programs. On Social Security, Romney clearly wants to gradually raise the retirement age to 70 and move to price indexing. On Medicare, Romney also wants to go to a premium support system (competition based) to address rising costs. Addressing both of these issues are REQUIRED for America to continue to thrive in the future. Obama has offered no plan on either of these issues, a complete failure.
Romney has explicitly stated that he wants to reduce taxes on ALL Americans by 20%. Further, he will encourage investment and savings for middle class Americans by eliminating capital gains and dividend taxes. He further wants to eliminate the alternative minimum tax and the ridiculous death tax. Romney shows pragmatism here by emphasizing that he would keep taxes for capital gains on the rich and limit deductions for the rich to keep his plan revenue neutral.
Further Romney wants to reduce the corporate tax rate to 25%. This is critical for competing in the world, where we currently have the highest corporate tax rates.
Create Jobs/Cut Regulations:
Romney has a couple of obvious improvements to pave the way for Job Creation. First he wants to repeal Obama-care to reduce this huge new burden on job creators. Second, he wants to repeal Dodd-Frank Financial Reforms, which is putting massive burdens on lenders, lowering loan activity. Finally, he will improve our drilling capacity by increasing federal permits and supporting projects like the Keystone Pipeline.
Basically, Romney will push for free markets to work and if you believe that a job will take care of you better than government coddling, Romney is looking to implement solutions to get government out of the way, and allow the private sector to grow. I outlined here the numerous ways Obama has tried to interfere with job creation.
On top of repealing Obama-care which is a huge pending spending disaster, Romney supports cutting and capping spending at 20% of GDP (currently at 25%). Maybe the most important step Romney supports is moving power back to states through block grants of things like Medicaid. Empowering states to make more decisions will improve competition and allow us to find solutions to providing affordable health care much faster than making mandates at the national level. Big government progressives do not to relinquish central power to the states where people have more control over their choices.
Fight Illegal Immigration:
Romney supports increased border security, adding a fence and increasing patrol. Further, unlike Obama, Romney is an advocate for tougher state immigration laws that make getting work harder for illegals. Also, I do think Romney understands that LEGAL immigration is extremely important and will push to increase that vital segment of workers the U.S. needs to compete.
Now. we hear great promises from all candidates (Mr. "Hope and Change" said he would cut the deficit in half), but the thing that most impresses me about Romney is his ability to deliver. Romney has shown the ability to turn around businesses and states. He has shown the ability to work with the opposing party (Massachusetts is very blue if you didn't know), and also gives well thought out solutions to problems, not just one-liners and partisan rhetoric, showing he will build a winnable game plan and defend it.
Ultimately, I see his biggest liability as his Romney-care legislation passed in Massachusetts. I can see the issues people have with government over reach and I agree. But I will make his case in differentiating this from Obama-care in two very important ways. 1) Romney was still able to balance the state budget after Romney-care, 2) this was a state mandate which is much different than a federal mandate. I think he would be better off had this never occurred, but I do believe we are talking about very different issues, and that he has articulated the importance of abolishing Obama-care well.
In the end, Romney has the leadership capability and policy initiatives to truly turn our country back on the path to be the most free and prosperous nation on Earth. I hope you look at the whole body of work as I think Romney stacks up very favorably to our current President.