My latest OpEd for the Los Angeles Daily News ran this morning. Opinion Editor Chris Weinkopf asked the bloggers from Friendly Fire to contribute pieces making the cases for our preferred candidates. I came down, luke warmly, for Mitt Romney. With Fred Thompson out of the race, that position is distinctly strengthened.
Here's the text of...
The Case For Mitt Romney
THE next president of the United States will have to lead this country through some of the most tumultuous times in its history. Our currency is plunging; the economy is stumbling; the military is stretched in the face of a tenacious, lethal threat; and our character and resources are being drained through the tattered remnants of our sovereignty.
Our next president will have to shore up the economy using a weak dollar while navigating an enormous foreign debt. Our borrowing from the Saudis and Chinese to ensure that the latter can get oil from the former, has cost us lives, treasure and made oil more scarce.
The next president will have to address the threats in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. Finally, he'll have to effectively seal our borders, fighting off business and social lobbies at each step. And, he must do so while navigating the disruptive effects of removing a discount labor pool from companies.
For my money (and, yes, my money is a big part of this), the only hope we have lies in one former Gov. Mitt Romney. Romney is the man with the right answers right now. That's a bit scary. Three months ago Iraq was the only issue of the campaign. Now it's faded - time enough for three more cycles before Election Day.
Moreover, Mitt's somewhat, um, cyclical ... approach to position-taking over the years makes one wonder if his beliefs now will be his beliefs throughout those pre-election cycles. [the following sentences were editor out for brevity, here's the author's cut - rcjp]. More bothersome, the constant, pre-programmed drumming of the likes of Hugh Hewitt should give anyone concerned with matters of integrity and truth even more pause to consider Romney's veracity. That I even pay a whit of attention to Hewitt after his 2000 prediction of a Bush landslide defies logic. But, I digress.
All we can go on is the here and now. And for that, Romney wins hands down.
George W. Bush has been called the country's first MBA president, but he hardly fit that mold. Romney, however, is the mold. If he brings to bear the skills with which he built Bain Capital and his own fortune, the economy will have a chance.
True, MBAs are the ones who have sent so many jobs overseas - and they understand the value of cheap "in-sourced" labor. But, venture capitalists are the ones who turn small companies into the Staples, Brookstones and Domino's Pizzas of the world (all of which Romney had a hand in).
If Romney realizes America is his client - every voter in every heartland factory is his boss - then we will be hard-pressed to find a better man for the economics job.
The war question is the matter of which I am most certain on the governor. He gets it. It doesn't take buildings collapsing around your ears (which is really all Rudy Giuliani practically knows about the war) to understand that some bad dudes want us all dead. Romney knows a thing or two about being on the receiving end of religious bigotry, experience which will be valuable in understanding the enemy.
He also knows resources only go so far, and you get what you pay for. If he doesn't want to be the president who loses the war, he will invest in our forces and reverse not only the Clinton decade of neglect, but the effects of Rumsfeld's outsourced war on the cheap.
Finally, Romney is the strongest candidate on illegal immigration. While dismissing his gardener was a bit of political theater, the fact of the matter is the man is resolute in his statements. He understands the fundamental unfairness of forcing some folks from certain geographic regions to wait in a line, while others saunter in as though there is no line - many of whom (not surprisingly) take far more than they give. As the son, grandson and son-in-law of immigrants, this is key to my vision of the American character.
Perhaps most importantly, as an MBA - and a rich one at that - Romney knows that the only way to pay for that cheap labor pool is to take resources from elsewhere in the economy. Specifically, his and my pocket.
There is, of course, the danger that Romney may flip or flop off in another direction between now, Election Day and the last day of his final term. That's a risk I'm willing to take.
America needs a president who understands that we are a country facing grave challenges. Mitt Romney is the only candidate with the skills to conquer them.
Robert C.J. Parry, an independent observer of politics and media in Los Angeles, blogs at insidesocal.com/friendlyfire. Write to him at email@example.com.