One may find it ironic that when Bill Clinton was running for President in 1992, former President Nixon lamented the fact that if Clinton was elected, it would mean that moral values would no longer be part of the Presidential criteria for the majority of the country. Well, Bill Clinton was elected President of the United States; America endured scandal after scandal and became desensitized towards immoral actions that occurred in the “personal life” of the President of the United States. Nixon was right and even though one may choose to find it specious that the statement came from Nixon, it doesn’t take away from its accuracy.
Remember, in 1988, Democrat Gary Hart’s campaign was derailed because he was found out to have had an extra-marital affair. By virtue of his election and re-election in 1992 and 1996, Bill Clinton and his famous lifestyle opened the doors (and windows) for those with questionable personal moral values to aspire to the Presidency.
The idea that one’s personal moral values can be separated from one’s governing style has seeped into the Republican Party. It has never been clearer than in this election. For many Republicans, their support for one candidate or another is based on their misguided notion that since a particular candidate is the only candidate that can beat Hillary Clinton, moral character won’t affect their vote. Even though they disagree with the past immoral actions of said candidate, they rationalize that moral behavior and public political identity are two distinctly separate things. Immorality has now been termed “past mistakes” and the fact that “nobody’s perfect” is used to excuse politicians from their deeds. This is wrong, plain and simple.
The President of the United States may not be America’s Priest, Pastor, or Rabbi, but the President represents the face of America to the rest of the world. Let’s face it, whether we like it or not, the President represents the face of America to us as well. If our leader is immoral, whether we consciously think it or not, we assume the rest of the country is as well. Or, at the very least, we assume that all politicians and political figures are similar in nature. Our leader’s moral values play a part in how we perceive America. Under Reagan, we felt that America is a shining city on a hill. Under Clinton, we felt that America’s light was hidden under a bushel.
Whether one supports Mitt Romney or not, one must admit that there hasn’t been a hint of immorality or ethical problems associated with his character. His character is unassailable. His fruits are evident, for all to see. One can see how his children turned out. One can see it in his relationship with his wife.
It has also been clear that his morals are not separate from his professional life. While at Bain Capital, an employee’s daughter went missing in New York; Romney shut down firm operations and took the entire firm to New York to look for her.
Governor Romney has been maligned and labeled a “Flip-Flopper” because he changed his stance on important issues, such as abortion. To some, it does not matter that he realized his error and embraced the correct view of a particular issue. What is most telling about him is that he freely admits he was wrong on an issue like abortion. In the history of politics, it has been extremely rare for a political figure to freely admit they were incorrect about an issue. To me, it shows strength of character to admit to being wrong about an issue. Typical politicians try to justify or qualify past opinions while at the same time espousing a new one. Mitt Romney does not do that and instead, tells it like it is.
Republicans have lionized Ronald Reagan for a variety of reasons, but I wonder if some forget the central part of him, his moral character. Those that were diametrically opposed to his political beliefs respected his character and convictions. Liberals and Conservatives alike were proud of him because he stuck to his principles, no matter the situations. The elite media and Democratic political machine tried to destroy him, but it didn’t stick because his character was respected by the average American, no matter their political ideology. Mitt Romney has the moral character of Ronald Reagan. He’s demonstrated this in all aspects of his life, both public and private.
Americans live in a time where moral character is not nearly as prized as it should be. America needs a President to lead us into the future and demonstrate that being the President of the United States does not preclude having moral character. As President, Mitt Romney will demonstrate this and perhaps bring moral character back into political vogue.
The average American needs to become proud of being an American again. We need a return to the time of when character was king. In the 2008 Presidential Election, Mitt Romney is the only person that can aide in that quest.