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Friday, February 8, 2008
posted by Jon | 10:17 AM | permalink
Now that I’ve had some time to process the fact Mitt has now exited stage right in the 2008 Race for the Oval, I’m ready to look ahead to what awaits in the remaining months before the conventions and the general election this November.

I’ve seen the various reactions to Mitt’s “stepping aside” as pundits, bloggers, and everyday people make their feelings (good, bad, and indifferent) known. I must admit that I find troubling the number of people who declare steadfastly that, now that Mitt has taken himself off the field, there is no way they will ever support the candidacy of John McCain.

People, this is the way politics work. Sometimes your guy wins, many times he does not. Either way, once the squabbling and primary brass knuckle fights are over, there comes a time when you need to look at reality and get behind the candidate who comes nearest to your values.

I have made no bones about my disagreements with Senator McCain. I could go into great detail about where he and I differ on policy, strategy, and overall Republican-ness. I do not believe he’s the best qualified candidate for this nation’s highest office. The best candidate, in my mind, is Mitt Romney. Mitt stepped aside, so while McCain may in fact be a Maverick SOB, now he’s my Maverick SOB.

Some of you reading this are probably too young to remember the 1976 Republican primary contest. I was only five-years-old, so what I know about that contest I read from history. The long and the short of the story is that Ronald Reagan fought Gerald Ford tooth and nail, state by state, all the way to the Kansas City convention. Ford narrowly beat Reagan on the first ballot, and Reagan gave a speech endorsing Ford which in fact overshadowed Ford’s own address.

Reagan had a way of overshadowing everyone. But I digress.

There was no love lost between Reagan and Ford. The two had deep differences and Reagan could have just as easily left the stage and gone home. He didn’t. He put his heart and soul in to campaigning for Ford. When the convention dust had settled, Reagan knew Ford would have been better for American that Carter ever would be. He was right.

There are those within the Republican Party who believe four years of wandering in the wilderness dragging the two-ton anchor of a Hillary or Obama presidency would teach the Republican Party and American a lesson. They look back to 1976 and see the intervening Carter years as penance America paid for leaning too close to the left side of the political spectrum. They see Reagan’s 1976 loss as a “strategic defeat” which enabled the Reagan Revolution to start with a bang in 1980.

History always provides a 20/20 hindsight view which is unavailable until you’ve already been there. 2008 is not 1976. Let’s quickly review the Carter legacy – most of which we still have to deal with.

1. The High Water Mark of the Misery Index.
2. The hollowing out of the American military.
3. 444 Days and the rise of Islamic Extremists.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the electorate, we are still dealing with the after-effects of the Carter years some 30 years after he was driven from the White House by the Reagan landslide. I’m pretty safe in saying Reagan would have preferred to have beaten Carter before he had a chance to run America into the ground.

November is fast approaching. The United States cannot afford (literally) to place the reigns of power in the hands of a man or woman who will run the white flag up in Iraq and other fronts in the Global War on Terror. If either Obama or Hillary cut and run from this war, you can rest assured their successor will be forced to send many more of your sons and daughters to fight the same battles again – this time at a much higher cost which will be measured in blood.

While I may have my personal differences with John McCain, like Mitt I know that for him, surrender is not an option. That’s enough for me. If we lose this war, the domestic stuff won’t matter much. It’s hard to have a thriving economy when cities are on fire.

Mitt made the decision to stand aside based on the belief that both Hillary and Barack are unacceptable options to lead this great country in time of war. Take special note of this line from his speech:

If this were only about me, I would go on. But I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America, I feel I must now stand aside, for our party and for our country. (Emphasis Added)
Simply put, dear reader, if you sit home to “teach this country a lesson” and thereby hand the White House keys to Hillary or Obama, you’re putting your pride above what’s best for this nation.

I know for a fact there’s no other titled (aside from that of husband and father) that Mitt would rather have than “Mr. President”. I saw him yesterday swallow his pride and ambition in order to do what he thinks is best for this great nation. This country means that much to him.

This isn’t about Mitt. This isn’t about you. This is about America. Mitt made that clear yesterday.

That’s good enough for me.

It’s time to close ranks and move forward.
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Thanks so much for all your posts - it has been great reading the encouraging truth about a great man. Truth has a way of vindicating itself - I think the Mitt Romney story isn't over and that it will come full circle. People will eventually be forced to realize that Mitt is even better than his "too perfect" appearance and manner.

Very well written! I heard so many say that now that Mitt is out, they will vote for Obama. WHAT?? Supreme Court appointments alone is reason enough to now stand behind McCain. He'd probably appoint a Sandra Day but that's better than a Ruth Bader. I'll be directing my friends and blog readers to this post!

Thanks for the posts! I think the most impressive quote I've heard from Mitt speaks volumes, "If this were only about me, I would go on..." What does this say about Mike?

By Anonymous SkinnerVic, at February 8, 2008 at 11:25 AM  

Awesome post. As a republican in Ohio I am feeling a little disenfranchised that the best conservative candidate is out and the primary voters in almost half the states did not get a chance to vote for Mitt. What can we do? I still want to vote for Mitt in the Ohio primary! Is there any good in that? Can we still communicate to the convention delegates that even though the campaign is "over," lots of America was never heard from?

Just can't do it. After McCain's blatent lying to vote for him would be to perpetuate politics as usual. Just can't do it.

Well, as much as I said I wouldn't, I will vote for McCain. I know my religion too well to sit this one out. Cities on fire is exactly right. Thanks for helping me get over the hurt and move on to help my country.

By Anonymous Robin from Indiana, at February 8, 2008 at 12:34 PM  

Keep working it. I may come to join you.

Thank you so much. A couple of days ago I was one of those Republicans who would have rather seen a democrat screw things up than McCain. Then I watched Mitt's speech, and all day the question gnawed at me - "What would he have wanted me to do?" And I finally came to the conclusion that I couldn't let his hard work go in vain - he would be so disappointed. Like you said, it is time to swallow our pride and think about the good of the country. If there is even the tiniest bit of a chance McCain will consider letting a conservative judge on the Supreme Court, that is better than what the dems would do. Thanks for all of your hard work, insightful analysis, and thank you for keeping us informed. God bless.

John McCain was so mean and snarky (remember the New Hampshire debate?)... I just can't vote for John McCain.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2008 at 1:16 PM  

Sorry, but I just can't vote for McCain either. He's too similar to liberals and if he gets in the White House he'll do more harm to our party than good. He'll move our party to the left and I refuse to let that happen.

By Anonymous J. Martin, at February 8, 2008 at 1:22 PM  

I agree, lets get behind McCain 100%, and lets do it for Mitt!!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 8, 2008 at 1:24 PM  

Oh man, no way. I believe that in America we have a right to decide who to support and who not to. I am an American before I am a Republican, and there is just no way on God's Green Earth that I can vote for McCain.

I'm not convinced that a vote for McCain is in conservatives' long term best interest, because I believe he'd be seduced by the media/Kennedy/New York Times editorial board to nominate the same liberal Supreme Court justices that Clinton or Obama would.

McCain is worse than a liar. He's a cheap shot artist and a pleaser who reserves his sharpest attacks for conservatives - not liberals.

Nor am I convinced 100% that "our cities would be in flames" if Obama or Clinton won (because that would cost them votes, so they'll be somewhat vigilant), but I am convinced that 70% of conservative principles would soon be "in flames" because McCain wants to please his new buddies at the New York Times and "reach across the aisle" -- which actually means, "sell out conservative principles" on border and social issues. (Even Bush was upset at Romney for his firm stand on illegal immigration, and McCain has a former cabinet officer in Mexico on his "Hispanic outreach" staff who believes Canada, America and Mexico are simply one region -- not three separate countries.)

It may be AWFUL medicine, but maybe the fastest way to cure the country of pie-in-the-sky liberalism is to elect a spineless Obama who's never managed anything, let him "Carter-ize" the American economy and produce another 20% misery index with inflation and unemployment (while we turn our full attention to having stout rebellion among Republicans in the House and Senate to minimize Obama/Carter damage), and thus set the stage in 2012 for voters to actually find and elect an actual problem-solver outside of Washington.

If Romney choses to run then (or if someone like him takes up the torch), that person can show clips of Romney this year telling everyone that Washington is broken and show all of the big newspapers endorsing the Washington insiders that produced the economic disaster.

If Congress' approval level right now is a historic low of 22%, maybe it needs to drop to around 10% before the liberals will be tossed out on their can, for a whole generation.

Look what Pelosi's "we'll fix everything" leadership has yielded. Ah, 22% approval?

In two more years, she might even be dumped in her own liberal district (just kidding, she's from the Bay area).

McCain has been and will continue to be part of the problem of Washington being broken, not part of the solution.

If the conservative base totally abandons McCain this November, we'll finally have some leverage to get the RNC to (a) require true proportional voting in all State primaries and (b) close Republican primaries to all but registered Republican voters, so that Ohio and Texas and the other late voting states have a voice.

Under the present "Washington is broken" setup where Independents could invade a Republican primary and whack the most formidable conservative (thus stealing the election from conservatives, in that State), the deck was stacked against any conservative outsider.

The insiders like power. They will hold onto it, unless we rip the power out of their hands.

Because they love their power, these insiders will keep the deck stacked against the conservative base unless there is a 9.0 Richter scale revolt from core conservatives.

This is a friggin' war for the soul of conservatism. Not a tea party.

McCain cannot "paper over" the deal-breaking compromises with Kennedy, Feingold and all the other garbage that makes the New York Times editorial board feel warm and fuzzy toward him. He hasn't changed his spots, and now he wants to say a few nice words and pretend -- until elected -- that he doesn't really like Kennedy and Feingold more than his more conservative peers.

I'm not going to be a party to his scam.

The RNC needs to play square with conservatives, or they can go out and form their Moderate Party (with no conservative support) and see how that works.

That would be interesting, a 3 party system with each party holding 33% or so of the pie.

I'd like our chances.

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