We have a defining choice in November, and it is imperative that we become informed before committing to our decision; informed as to the character of those seeking the highest office in the land, for ‘character matters.’ The absence of principled character often results in negative consequences, the impact of which can seriously compromise that which matters most to our Nation and lead us down a path of decline. It doesn’t mean that everything will always go right or be easy, but in the difficult moments that come, and they have and will continue to come, character is what enables us to come through the trials with integrity, tutorial perspective and become better for the experience, individually or as a Nation. It is with principled character that we progress through trials with an ultimate positive result.
When pondering the question about who? We have to ask certain fundmental questions; for example: what are the defining and guiding principles that determine a person’s character? How and in what way is character manifest? Can I trust them to do what is right, or what I think is right. Character establishes the basis of trust; and we need to ‘trust’ our President. We need to trust him or her, to do what is right; to lead our Nation with integrity; to lead with principle and with character above reproach; we need him or her to lead with values that are consistent with our American ideals and values. We needn’t necessarily agree with them on all points, but we should agree with them on what matters to us; what we feel is important!
As we consider the two candidates for President of the United States, we should be wont to know their character; to know them as best as we are able before choosing who will secure our vote in November. Mark DeMoss, principal with the DeMoss Group, offered the following statement in his introduction of Mitt Romney when Governor Romney spoke to the 2012 graduating class of Liberty University. He said, “I was struck by the difference between knowing about someone and knowing them. You see you can know about someone simply by reading about him or her, but you can only know someone by spending time with them.” I agree with this statement completely, but it is difficult for every American to spend time with either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. For most of us we are only able to glean insights through what we read about them, or what others might say who we have come to know and trust through personal experience, or by measuring our trust in them by and through observation over time. Another way we can come to know the candidates is by the company they keep, or observing their actions over time. Notice, I said actions, not just in the words they speak. The adage is true that states, “I can’t hear what you are saying because your actions speak more loudly.”
Why the company they keep? As individuals, or as a group, we tend to feel most comfortable associating with those most like us in key measurements; people with whom we share common values, ideals, and perspectives. We typically find discomfort being among those least like us in these key measurements. In fact, we most typically choose friends with whom we share similar core values. This point has been clearly illustrated in the current factions or divisions in our society. There are exceptions, but they are rare.
It is important that we spend time studying, reading and understanding the nature and character of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. In this regard, I am trying to remain objective, but knowing Mitt and Ann Romney personally, and having spent time with them in public and private moments, I acknowledge my bias.
Even so, there is plenty of material available to read to come to a better perspective of these two men. Of course we need to take into account the respective bias and/or perspectives of the writers to better understand their personal experience with the individuals and further ascertain their motivations. But, we should still be consumptive in our reading; with perspective. With this foundation, we ought not to be wholly reliant upon our reading for reading alone often offers a myopic glimpse about the individual. To paraphrase Mr. DeMoss, reading doesn’t really help us to truly ‘know’ them. To know them also demands experience, ours or others for whom we have trust; and trust comes through experience and observation over time. Conjunctive with reading and personal experience – ours or others, i.e., the company they keep, we can also triangulate our character assessment with what we observe of each individual over time.
Only knowing President Obama through the eyes of others, I have sought the following readings: The Brief Against Obama by Hugh Hewitt and The Amateur by Edward Klein. Hugh Hewitt is a friend whose integrity is above reproach; he speaks with candor and honesty. Hugh’s book reveals through Obama’s own words his unkept promises and the terrible cost and consequence of failed leadership and false ideologies. I dont’ know Edward Klein personally, but know that as a left leaning writer with the New York Times and advocate for principles aligned with Barack Obama he would offer a fair assessment of the President. By and through his eyes and innumerable interviews of those most closely associated with Barack Obama, we can glean a true assessment of the man.
Irrespective of my personal experiences with Mitt Romney, I again defer to Hugh Hewitt. Hugh has written, A Mormon in the White House, offering candid insights about Mitt Romney and what has shaped his character. Also, I have written a personal tome about Mitt Romney, with a further insights as to the choices facing our Nation in November, On The Brink, America’s Choice 2012.
As to personal experiences with Barack Obama, of which I have none, I can look to those who have been and are friends of Mr. Obama through the years. With whom did, or does he associate? Are his and their values reflective of his character, for good or bad? It has been somewhat challenging because of the lack of writing and disclosure, but we will go with what little is available. Some of these individuals are quoted in Mr. Klein’s book and offer glimpses into the man. Some of Mr. Obama’s friends/associates are noted below and offer insights into Mr. Obama’s character:
Dr. David Scheiner – Personal physician to Barack Obama for over 20 years. Obama is distant and detached, lacks passion and feeling.
Douglas Baird – Dean, University of Chicago Law School. Worked with Obama for 12 years – “He was a ghostly presence among the faculty”
William Ayers – A friend and radical member of SDS and Weatherman, participated in terrorist activities and planting a bomb in the 1970′s
Rev Jeremiah Wright – Obama’s friend and Pastor for over 20 years; outspoken, inflammatory and racially divisive preacher.
Tony Rezko – Obama friend, business colleague and convicted felon for bribery and fraud
Eric Holder - US Atty General, Obama friend and colleague – refused to enforce US laws and held in contempt of Congress
Appreciating my personal relationships, there are many whose relationships are far deeper with Mitt Romney and whose associations render unique insights. In fact, there are thousands of individuals who have had significant personal experiences with Mitt Romney through his career in business, the Olympics, as Governor and Presidential candidate, most of whom actively support his candidacy for POTUS. A few are:
Robert Gay – Friend and former partner at Bain Capital. Successful in business and service. 3+ years serving in Ghana, and on many charitable boards.
Meg Whitman – Friend and former CEO, eBay and current CEO, HP. Successful business leader in the US and former candidate for Governor
Fraser Bullock – Friend, and former partner at Bain Capital, and COO of the 2002 US Winter Olympics.
Beth Myers – Friend, former Chief of Staff, Campaign Manager 2008 Presidential Campaign, Lawyer and Senior Advisor
Michael Leavitt – Friend, former Governor of Utah, Cabinet Secretary HHS for GW Bush, Senior Advisor and successful businessman
Dane McBride – Friend, Medical Doctor and one who has served his community and church in various leadership responsibilities
Mark DeMoss – Friend, Principal of the DeMoss Group, a PR firm, and leader among the Evangelical Community
Notice the difference in the associations? Each of those listed for Mitt, stand with him today and do so with stellar careers and character; each speaks highly of his capacity and character. Those who stand with or express character traits of Barack Obama are sufficiently distinct and clear in their words and histories.
Obama Observations -
Without equivocation or apology, and with arrogance Barack Obama has elevated himself above others in most instances of his Presidency. When the SEALs took out Osama Bin Laden, Obama took credit; When running for POTUS, Obama stated that the oceans would cease to rise; With arrogance and personal elevation he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize; Obama interposed elevating statements about himself in the Presidential Profiles of at least 10 past Presidents; He stated that he stood as one of the 4 greatest and most accomplished Presidents of our Nation; and the list goes on… President Obama, with unbridled pride, has placed himself above cause, purpose, the US Constitution and American people with condescension and arrogance in innumerable instances. Evidenced by his repeated actions and personal elevation, his fundamental character is revealed and further affirmed by those who know him, associate and advocate for him, and who further define him by their words.
President Obama has surrounded himself with individuals who, like him, place personal interest above that of others. As servants and subordinates to the people of the US, each has acted with sufficient self interest so as to compromise that which matters most to our Nation. The security leaks; the consumption and want for power manifest in obviating Constitutional fundamentals (czars, edicts, etc); the detachment from leadership avoiding duty; the continual pursuit of personal interests, i.e., golf, vacations and the like over Presidential responsibility; the lavish lifestyle in difficult times with a ‘let them eat cake’ attitude, all place individual and personal interest above the needs of the people and Nation. The resultant consequences enumerated above are reflective of a self absorbed prideful President, whose diminished character has been shaped through personal associations, personal interest and pride.
Romney Observations -
I have observed Mitt Romney in public and private moments through the years, and in all occasions that I have known him, he has always placed others above himself. His life’s experiences have led him to a sense of duty and care for others, and such is what drives his want to serve his country. In every leadership experience he has undertaken, it is never about him, but about the team assembled and the cause engaged – be it business, philanthropy, or government service, his interest is always to make a difference and give deferential credit to those who surround him. Cause and purpose over self is one of the defining character traits of Mitt Romney. Those who know him and who have associated with him throughout the years stand in unison and support him as a man of faith, character, integrity and commitment to service. I will close with another quote of Mark DeMoss. “But for the past six years I have had the opportunity to really get to know Mitt and Ann Romney. Not as well as some people who have known them longer, but better I suspect than most in this stadium. I have been with them on the campaign trail from Iowa to New Hampshire and Michigan to Florida. I have been in their home on numerous occasions, and have observed their lives in countless public and private moments. I have gotten to know several of their sons and their families. My wife April and I have even sought parenting advice from the Romney’s because their record is so good. Over the course of these years, we have prayed together, shared scripture together and talked about life together. And, here is what I have found; I do not have two better friends on this earth than Mitt and Ann Romney. I have been privileged to know and work with some remarkable people in my fifty years and our speaker and his wife are among the most extraordinary people I have ever met or known. I love telling people about Mitt Romney; for six years governor I have been talking about you to anyone who would listen and I am afraid even some who wouldn’t. Now it seems many people want a President they will agree with on everything, and if that is your standard, perhaps you should run yourself. After all I don’t agree with April on everything and we have been married twenty-four years. I suspect I won’t agree with Mitt Romney on everything, but I will tell you this – I trust him; I trust him to do the right thing, to do the moral thing, to do what is best for our country; I trust his character, his integrity, his moral compass, his judgment and his perfect decency. And finally, I trust his values for I am convinced they mirror my own.“