Overview: My Main Philosophical Reason I’m Voting For Mitt.
I feel so strongly that Mitt Romney is the right choice for president that I wanted to make one last post, my closing argument as it were, in hopes of convincing that one last undecided voter out there somewhere to vote for Mitt. I wanted to explain why I, and the other authors here at Mitt Romney Central, have devoted such time, effort, emotion, and yes, money, to the cause of electing Mitt. My list of specific reasons why I like Mitt, and my counterarguments to President Obama’s case, are below. But I can sum up why I feel so strongly with this: Barack Obama’s vision for America is inconsistent with that of our founding fathers and our Constitution.
A Limited Government Preserves Freedom
Our government was founded on the principles of self-determination and freedom. Americans were not content to be told by the British government how much they should pay in taxes or what freedoms they were entitled to. So they fought a war to gain their independence. When the founding fathers then set up their own government, at the forefront of their minds was the concern for how to preserve their hard-won freedoms. So they came up with three fundamental ideas about the new federal government: (i) it should be small, split into different branches with checks and balances over each other’s power, (ii) it should share power with, and in fact have less power over citizens’ day-to-day lives than, the states, where the citizens were better represented, and (iii) our most basic freedoms should be enshrined in a Bill of Rights to make absolutely sure the federal government did not violate them. This combination of ideas, they thought, would assure, over time, that the God-given rights they had won back from their government at great cost would be preserved against tyranny.
Obama’s Vision of a Larger Government is Antithetical to Freedom.
In 2008 when Senator Obama talked of “transforming” America and saying “we can do better,” it was clear to me he was talking about fundamentally changing these key principles. He stood for a larger federal government; one that would try and take responsibility for the poor and do more for its citizens. While that may sound nice, having a government undertake that responsibility also means it must become larger, tax more (a government that undertakes to define what’s fair for all its citizens will also try and make everyone pay their “fair share”) and become more involved in our lives, much more involved than the founding fathers intended. A larger government necessarily becomes more difficult to manage, begins to take on a life of its own, and becomes very difficult to control. A larger federal government also means a shift in power from the states, where citizens can more easily control their own destiny. And once people begin to rely on government largesse, cutting the size of that government and its programs, even if the government cannot afford them (witness our overwhelming deficits and the troubles in Europe as it tries to cut back), becomes very, very difficult. People become less willing to give up that security, even if it means a loss of liberty. And they can become accustomed to the idea that the government represents someone else, not them, and that they are owed something by that government (witness appeals from the left that sound like class warfare). As a result, I believe the policies of President Obama reflect a threat to our liberty. Perhaps not immediate. Perhaps only a little. But what he wants to do, at its core, is inconsistent with the intended size and role of our government, which means we will inevitably lose a little, or a lot, of liberty. How much really depends on how much further down Obama’s road we go. And in my view, we’ve already lost too much.
As an illustration of what I mean, I’ll use Obamacare. It sounds nice to make sure everyone has health insurance. And there are lots of stories of people who can’t afford insurance, and how having it would benefit them greatly. I get that, and I feel for their situation. This is what Obama meant by “we can do better.” He’d like to use government resources to fix these problems. But, just like when you get your first credit card, you need to look beyond the nice things you can buy and decide whether you can really afford it, because that bill will come due at some time. As for the cost in dollars and cents, it’s clear we can’t afford Obamacare. We just can’t. It adds trillions of unfunded government outlays over the next two decades. And once these benefits are offered to citizens it’s very difficult to take them away. In addition, Obamacare has already begun to infringe on our freedoms. At its core it’s the federal government (not the state, which is the principal difference between Obamacare and Romneycare), forcing us to buy a product. Then, because it forces us to buy this product, it must go further and legislate the minimum requirements of this product (or everyone would buy the cheapest version available). That legislation now includes elements some religions find offensive. How’d we get here? By involving the federal government in something it really was never intended by the founding fathers to be involved in: providing health insurance. Further, because the IRS will be in charge of enforcing compliance with the mandate, it will need to know our personal health information. The founders’ vision of limited federal power, with express limits on what the federal government can and can’t do, has been violated by Obamacare. And having the federal government in this position simply poses a threat to our freedom. The founders knew power corrupts, and while we think we can trust the government now, we don’t always know we will be able to. When will it be your religious belief that’s infringed? Or your freedom of speech? This is why the Republicans resist President Obama so much. This is why Obamacare did not get one single Republican vote. This is why Obama’s own budget was rejected by not only Republicans but his own party. And finally this is why Mitch McConnell said it was his goal to make sure Obama only had one term: to try and make sure the damage President Obama does is not long-lasting. Obamacare is a threat to our freedom, and it’s just one example.
This Ain’t Just Rhetoric.
Let me say that this is not just rhetoric. I’m not just making an argument because I want you to vote for Mitt for some other hidden reason. This is why I’m voting for Mitt, and why I honestly believe everyone should. This is what worries me about the prospect of Obama serving another term. He has already made some strides toward “transforming” America into something I believe it was never intended to be. Obamacare was one very large step in that direction. As Vice President Biden said, it was a “[blanking] big deal.” I know the further we go down this road the more difficult it is to go back. I also know the GOP will fight Obama to preserve that liberty, which is likely to result in more gridlock at a time when our government needs to work together. Unfortunately, though, cooperating with the president can mean, and has meant, the loss of some of these liberties, which makes compromise difficult.
Beyond the grand and philosophical, let me get a bit more into the details and give you a more detailed laundry list of reasons I’m voting for Mitt. See also Dave Parker’s list, with which I fully agree:
1. History of working across the aisle. I noted above it’s sorely needed, and Mitt has shown success at it. He had to work with an 85% Democrat legislature in Massachusetts and balanced the budget. We could use that in Washington right now.
2. The fact Mitt balanced the budget. The cost of Obama’s programs, while the economy has slowed, has resulted in deficits of over $1 trillion each year he’s been president. Mitt picked Paul Ryan for his expertise in the budget so he could cut it when the time came. Where Mitt succeeded in government, the Olympics and business at balancing budgets, Obama’s record is of failure, despite a promise to halve the deficit by now.
3. Mitt’s a success at everything he does. Massachusetts, Olympics, in business. He studies the problem, finds the solution and implements it. It’s what a leader should do. Take charge, not lead from behind. Obama unfortunately spent much of the time talking about how big the problem was, or blaming Congress. You don’t make progress in negotiations by blaming others. You need to take the lead to bring both sides together and work to find common ground, not accentuate differences. Mitt does this while Obama does not.
4. Mitt is a job creator. He’s promised 12 million new jobs. Under Obama unemployment is higher today than when he took office. Mitt knows that too much regulation stifled the recovery. He will unleash the natural strength of the American economy, while Obama’s view of a larger, more involved government will continue to slow our economy’s natural growth, as we’ve seen.
5. Mitt will repeal Obamacare.
6. Mitt will appoint justices to the Supreme Court who will not try to expand governments’ role in our lives, but interpret the Constitution and laws Congress has already passed.
7. Mitt stands for military strength. The key to not being picked on is being strong enough no one wants to.
8. Personal integrity. I’ve said before I know members of the extended Romney and Davies family. I’m very impressed. They are hard working, honest people with their heart in the right place. Frankly they’ve made me a better person for being around them. Mitt’s brother-in-law Jim is someone who’s had a big influence on my life for good, and Jim points to Mitt as the source of that influence on him. I can’t wait to have a president I can say that about.
9. Mitt is pro-life. While it’s very unlikely Roe v. Wade will be overturned, as new issues come up I know Mitt will stand on the side of protecting life and avoiding abortion for convenience.
10. Benghazi. The president’s policies led to weakness, leading to attack. When attacked, his administration was not ready to respond. And afterward our president was not forthright with us, the American people, about the cause or source of the attacks. He tried to tell us in the 2d debate he’d called it terrorism from the start, when the record indicates he didn’t. That itself is dishonesty I can’t accept.
11. Philosophy. As discussed at length above, Mitt’s tendency is to smaller government, which will help protect freedom and reduce spending. Obama’s is clearly larger government. Europe has been trying the Obama model for decades and they’ve got some pretty serious problems as a result.
12. Mitt’s big heart. Never have we heard stories of personal sacrifice or real service as we have this presidential election about what Mitt does when no one’s looking. When he’s out of the camera eye, he’s helping someone else.
13. Mitt’s appreciation for the worker rather than organized labor. He’d have opened that Boeing plant in South Carolina. He’d have opened the Keystone Pipeline. He’d have taken GM through a process that would have helped insure long term success, which is what’s best for each individual worker (a job), not their union bosses.
14. If Obama’s re-elected Joe Biden is once again one heartbeat away from the presidency.
15. Mitt will stand strong against aggressors Iran and North Korea.
16. Obama is a drive-by president. The lack of energy and engagement in the first debate, in the last days of his campaign, and indeed his entire first term, shows he only shows up when he absolutely has to. I don’t think he really enjoys the job all that much. I can’t see that would change in a 2d term. That leads to less leadership, more gridlock, after Obama spends his political capital on who knows what further enlargement of government involvement in our lives.
My Counter Arguments to President Obama’s.
To wrap up, it only seems fair to the president and to that undecided voter out there to take time to respond to Obama’s arguments. So let’s take them one by one:
1. “Mitt’s plans are just a return to the policies that got us into this mess.” Response: Mitt is not George W. Bush. And we can’t really say it was conservatism that caused the recession. The recession was caused by the housing crisis, which in turn was caused by a variety of things. I do believe there’s a role for the Federal government to regulate some things, like the financial sector, to help make sure the system functions. But the causes of the meltdown date back well before President Bush, and the principles of conservatism are not disproved by what happened. They’re what built America, and Obama’s turning from them has slowed the recovery.
2. “Everyone needs to pay their fair share.” Response: Raising taxes on the wealthy will only pay for our government’s operations for a few more days. We need to reduce what’s considered “fair” by reducing spending. That’s the only way to cut the deficit, and saying you’ll raise more by raising taxes on the wealthy is disingenuous. There’s only so much you can take. To raise tax revenue, the best solution, as President Clinton learned, is to grow the economy. Raising tax rates in the highest brackets taxes a disproportionate number of companies that are taxed as individuals, resulting in lower profits and fewer jobs.
3. “He needs two terms to clean up this mess.” Response: With principles of freedom Reagan turned things around in one term. Obama and Clinton are essentially saying the problem was too big for Obama, but this passes the blame and avoids responsibility. If Obama had made much progress in cleaning up the economy he wouldn’t have to make that excuse. In reality, others have performed better than he has in similar situations.
4. “Let him finish what he started.” Response: This one might work if Obama had made progress, but how much progress has he made? He’s doubled the deficit and unemployment is higher now than when he was elected. He spent all his time passing Obamacare rather than creating jobs. And, as I said above, I’m no fan of what he started.
5. “We build America from the middle class out.” This again would be interesting if Obama had any track record of helping the middle class. Unfortunately there are fewer people employed and costs are higher. Many in the middle class are now on food stanps. And taking away liberty to assure their economic success is bad for everyone and will have, as it’s had to date, the opposite effect of what’s intended. This argument is really just disguised class warfare, intended not to unify our country but to tell one group they “deserve” something from our government. I discuss above how dangerous that attitude can be.
6. “Osama bin Laden is dead and GM is alive.” bin Laden is indeed dead, but al Qaeda is not. They just attacked us again on 9/11/12. GM was saved through an initiative started by President Bush, not Obama, and as I allude to above, Mitt’s proposal to take GM through a managed process very well may have made it more competitive than it is today.
7. “Abortion and contraception are women’s health issues.” This is truly hyperbole. Mitt’s position on abortion is that it should be available in cases to protect the life of the mother or for rape, but that otherwise, the interest of the child should enter into the equation. But President Obama not only supports an unfettered right to abortion, he also believes abortion and contraception should be free, paid for by the government or your employer. So we’re not talking about the availability of these things, we’re talking about who pays for them. It’s like me saying you’re violating my human rights if you don’t buy me dinner. It’s not a violation of rights if I’m given the opportunity to earn enough to buy my own dinner.
Conclusion: GET OUT AND VOTE FOR MITT, NOW.
So for you, the last undecided voter, the path forward with Barack Obama is less freedom. I don’t know in what form, but that’s it. It also means higher taxes, higher deficits, fewer jobs and a weaker military. Meanwhile you have a man in Mitt Romney who seems built for this time: a proven solver of large problems in the private, quasi-government and governmental sectors. Do you really want four more years like we just had? I don’t. If you want America put back on the right track, vote Mitt. AND DO IT NOW. What more can I say?