My Closing Argument, and This Ain’t Just Rhetoric

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.

Example: Obamacare.

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.
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Mitt hits a homer! Text of CPAC Speech

“Barack Obama is the poster child for the arrogance of government.” –Mitt Romney at CPAC

Read for yourselves. Mitt needs to be our next president. UPDATE: Watch the speech here.

Thanks, Al, for that warm introduction.

This year, here at CPAC, we’ve got a great crowd. It’s been a great conference. For that I suppose we should acknowledge President Obama, the conservative movement’s top recruiter. Turns out, he really is a great community organizer. Although, I don’t think we were the community he had in mind.

Today we are poised for a great victory in November. The pundits and the pollsters tell us we can win this election. But we must tell the nation why we should win. It is up to us to prove that we are truly ready to step forward and lead this country. This election is not just about getting more votes. Defeating Barack Obama is only one step toward our greater goal of saving America.

Of course we can defeat Barack Obama! That’s the easy part! Believe me, November 6th will be the easiest day our next President will face.

This country we love is in jeopardy. It’s more than the economic statistics we read, it’s the pain we feel in our hearts. For three years we have suffered through the failures not only of a weak leader, but of a bankrupt ideology. I am convinced that if we do our job, if we lead with conviction and integrity, that history will record the Obama Presidency as the last gasp of liberalism’s great failure and a turning point for a new conservative era.

But it’s not enough to show how they have failed. We must prove we deserve to lead. I am here today to ask you to stand with me shoulder to shoulder as we go forward to fight for America.

As we step forward together, now is the time to reaffirm what it means to be a conservative and why this must be our greatest hour. America is like no other country in history. At the very heart of our American conservatism is the conviction that the principles embodied in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are uniquely powerful, foundational, and defining. Some see the hand of Providence in their authorship. Others credit the brilliance of the Founders. Many of us see both. But conservatives all agree that departing from these founding principles is a departure from the greatness of America– from our mission, from our freedom, from our prosperity, and from our purpose.

I know this President will never get it, but we conservatives aren’t just proud to cling to our guns and to our religion. We are also proud to cling to our Constitution! (more…)

Mitt Romney: A Bigger Man Than I

I found this video today of Mitt Romney speaking at the NRA convention in Louisville, Kentucky back in May of 2008. He spoke in behalf of John McCain, a few months after bowing out of the 2008 GOP Presidential primary race in support of McCain.

I can remember at the time how disappointed I was and that how I was not a fan of McCain who I felt ran a dirty campaign. I can still remember how hard it was for me to vote for him in the general election.

This post isn’t about that, this is about the character of Mitt Romney who could have just as easily walked away after the primaries and left McCain to fend for himself. I know I would have. Romney didn’t.

He knew what was in store for America as he points out in the following video of that speech he made at the NRA. He was doing everything in his power to keep Obama from winning the Presidency. I still share the vision of America he spoke of here:



Rudy and the Second Amendment

Near the end of my second year finals this last spring, I read the recently released D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals case of Parker v. District of Columbia. My Constitutional Law class hadn’t covered the second amendment and so it was intriguing to me. Judge Silberman does an extensive treatment of the text of the 2nd Amendment, parsing through its tangle of clauses. Notably there is little Supreme Court precedent on the subject. Judge Silberman concludes:

[T]he Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the formation of the new government under the Constitution and was premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad).

Parker v. District of Columbia, 478 F.3d 370, 395 (D.C. Cir. 2007). In Rudy’s speech to the NRA (as reported by Marc Ambinder), Rudy refers to Parker v. District of Columbia as a source of persuasion in finding more utility for an individual right to bear arms. Yet, Rudy does some subtle hedging on his conversion:

“Your right to bear arms is based on a reasonable degree of safety,” he said.

He indicated that he would oppose new efforts to tighten national gun laws.

“I believe that law enforcement should focus on enforcing the laws that exist on the books as opposed to passing new extensions of laws,” he said.

Rudy concludes that the right to bear arms is, interestingly enough, not based on a constitutional provision, but on a reasonable degree of safety. When you think about it, that’s a pretty remarkable shift. Not based on independent (and constitutional) principles, Rudy believes that your right to bear arms is relative to your safety. That’s like saying your right to free speech is relative to your viewpoint.

Rudy also references that he would oppose any new laws restricting gun ownership, not because those laws are wrong, but because there are enough laws on the books as it is. Is this really a rationale that we are comfortable with? Nor does Rudy say that he would deregulate guns in anyway. Indeed, Rudy’s stance has not truly changed, but he has reframed his issues around policy judgments like safety and enforceability, not constitutional principles, making gun-owner rights still relative to his judgments.