Having attended the Romney Victory Leadership Retreat, I wanted to offer a brief insight and some personal takeaways from the Park City event this weekend. In a subsequent post I will address the issue of Substance and Depth: The Candidates.Appreciating an expected crowd of 300, then 400, then 500+, and ultimately nearly 800 attendees, the recent retreat at Park City, Utah was a moving and inspiring experience. While returning to the hotel after Friday’s dinner at the Olympic Park, we were conversing with a couple from Florida, who at the last minute (Thursday night) decided that they would come to Utah, and they did. That seemed to sum up the attitude of so many present in Park City – this was an event not to be missed; everyone was energized.
James Baker offered one of the most cogent, articulate and impassioned arguments of any I have heard and read as to why the nation needs Mitt Romney! James Baker has spent his life in service to our nation and, having served four US Presidents in key positions, provided a compelling and detailed introduction of why Mitt Romney is the most qualified of any in our lifetime to lead our nation at this critical juncture of domestic and global uncertainty. Of any who would know, it would be James Baker.
Ann and Mitt Romney then followed with a ‘tenderly’ humorous introduction of their sons (by Ann), and a passionate and galvanizing speech about the greatness of the task before us (by Mitt). Governor Romney went on to talk about his faith in, and the depth and capacity of, the American people; to rise above trial, tribulation and a dearth of leadership in our most critical moments, and fulfill our responsibility to pick up and carry the torch of freedom; a torch carried so capably by our ‘greatest generation’. He said it wasn’t our torch, but it was our privilege to carry it and hold it high. He inspiringly spoke of our greatest generation who valiantly fought for and preserved our freedom, and the freedom of so many in the world. Acknowledging the sacrifices born by this generation of our fathers and grandfathers, and the diminishing numbers who remain, Mitt movingly touched the hearts of all present to stand tall; to stand firm; and pick up that which so was so valiantly fought for by our fathers; and upon whose shoulders we stand. I have heard many speeches in my 60 years, but this one will stand apart, for it resonated in my heart as few have; and I was not alone in these feelings.
Saturday we were privileged to further hear from Senator John McCain, Secretary Condoleezza Rice, Reince Preibus, Jeb Bush and Governor Romney, among many others.
Senator McCain stated with clarity that America is no longer leading from behind – we are not leading at all. He talked of the Arab Spring and that it is only the beginning, with more to come. He further emphasized that at a time when Obama has undermined trust with our allies through critical security leaks, outing British and Israeli cooperation; when our relationship with Israel has been undermined and is at its worst in history; when we have placed greater risks to American lives and the lives of our Allies; we don’t need a President who politicizes our national security and allied relationships through security leaks and self promotion; we need a LEADER who understands America’s exceptionalism in the world; we need a LEADER who can restore trust and what has been lost; we need a LEADER who puts country and others above self; we need a LEADER with sound judgment, trust, capacity, and integrity; we need a LEADER who is principled; we need Mitt Romney.
Secretary Rice was absolutely inspiring. She spoke of the three great shocks that have occurred in the last decade; (1) 9/11 challenged our physical security, (2) the financial meltdown in 2008 challenged our economic security, and (3) the pinnacle Arab Spring, perhaps the most dramatic, illustrated the risk to and opportunity for freedom. Even so, the need for and absence of American leadership in the latter has exacerbated tumult, chaos and created a more dangerous threat to our American and global societies. The world looks for and needs American leadership. In the absence of American leadership, the void will be filled elsewhere, and no one can or will fill such a void with the fundamental principles of freedom. She stressed, with depth of understanding and experience, that the narrative of America is empowerment, not entitlement. Without equivocation, Secretary Rice was clear in her entreaty – we need someone who understands and can lead – that person is Mitt Romney!
Reince Preibus talked of his rearing as a young man at the feet of his grandfather, a resident of Greece; and how much his grandfather loved America! Chairman Preibus was equally inspiring in clearly delineating our task ahead, for we are engaged in a battle for freedom as with our founding fathers and the greatest generation before us. This is our moment to fill the shoes of those who have gone before.
Much more was discussed by panelists on innovation and the media, as well as a strategy breakdown from the tremendous campaign team of Governor Romney.
Jeb Bush was absolute in his advocacy for the message of and person in Mitt Romney, while reaffirming what all present believe – Mitt Romney is uniquely qualified and prepared at this critical juncture in our nation’s history to lead America forward in freedom and prosperity. He stated that where we have been in the past three and a half years has set us on a course of intended decline, a decline that MUST, CAN, and WILL be reversed; that Mitt Romney has been prepared for this moment; and that we, as a nation, need him!
Of course, as has been written, we were also able to enjoy private and group interactions with leading surrogates for the Romney campaign.
10 Key Personal Takeaways
1 – We are living in a more tumultuous, chaotic and dangerous world because of failed American leadership.
2 – Through a conscious and deliberate effort by a self-aggrandizing President and his team who place personal interest and position above the needs and security of our Nation, the lives of many Americans and Allies are at risk.
3 – Mitt Romney is distinctly and uniquely qualified as few have been, to lead our nation through its current crises.
4 – Gathered were some of our nation’s most influential business leaders, entrepreneurs and bankers who collectively have the capacity and ability to move our economy, if government would empower and not constrain or burden them. We gathered together because we support and see in Mitt Romney, an incomparable leader for the 21st century; one who can turn around an ailing nation and economy; a leader who can make a difference in the lives of every American; a leader we can TRUST, whose judgments are sound and whose principles are aligned with America’s; a leader who gets it; a leader who will LEAD.
5 – Mitt Romney not only can, but will win in November – because of who Mitt Romney is, his message of a Strong America, the team he assembled to manage his campaign, the coalescence of Republicans, Independents and the coalitions of so many whose concern for America has elevated beyond measure; and the depth, commitment and energy of so many like unto those attending in Park City this weekend.
6 – A comparable gathering by Barack Obama would look completely different – instead of influential business (large and small), banking and entrepreneurial leaders, and coalescing constituencies, Barack Obama would draw Hollywood celebrities and community activists. Unlike those supporting Mitt Romney, i.e., successful entrepreneurs and coalescing assemblages across all spectrums, who are deeply connected to our economy and jobs, and making a difference, those supporting Barack Obama comparatively have little impact on the granular depth of our economic recovery and jobs. Hollywood will not lead our recovery.
7 – There is an undeniable energy and intensity on the part of all in attendance to effect a change and assure that Barack Obama has a job in the private sector come November 6, 2012. To a one, everyone in attendance is stepping up their game, which is huge because of what has been accomplished thus far.
8 – Not to underestimate the capacity of Barack Obama.
9 – Mitt Romney will not be outraised by Barack Obama, nor will his message of a Strong America be silenced by the MSM or Barack Obama.
10 – Barack Obama continues to run a fractured, fear-based, and divisive campaign, seeking to elevate himself at the expense and attempted destruction of others.
As private as this retreat was, it was by greater measure a furtherance of Mitt Romney’s campaign for America to a cause greater than self.