Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Romney: Family Man, Businessman, Problem Solver

So The Real Romney was a really interesting, revealing biography, at the end of which I've concluded a few things.

  • Mitt Romney would probably do great things for the economy.
  • He'd have a lot of trouble working with Congress, simply on the relationships and politicking level, but might appoint someone with real skill at that as his chief of staff and so obviate that difficulty.
  • On social issues, he's not likely to take a strong stand, so action on Roe v. Wade or other related issues are not likely. While he seems to truly be personally pro-life by conviction, we are unlikely to see any substantial change on the laws regarding abortion in his presidency, unless such a push came from the legislature.
  • He's a good guy, personally.
  • He's not a natural politician.
  • For whatever reason, he appears to be willing to package himself however he feels the need so as to get votes. As in, you want to know who the guy is, take a look at the home/church/family life.
  • He tends to be pretty utilitarian in his decisions, even while avoiding any hint of corruption, such that his national security approach is not likely to significantly challenge the current policies regarding drone strikes, enhanced interrogation, extraordinary rendition, etc., etc., ad nauseam.
At the end of which, I dunno. Vote for the guy who won't get much done on the life issues but won't make matters worse--a sort of holding action--while he does great work on a national economic turnaround but holds the line on the current trend in national security thinking, versus the current President with the strong record of pro-choice decisions, a dodgy record on religious liberty, an up and down record when it comes to national security...

Dunno yet. Read the book. It's well worth it.

On the one hand, I'd love for one of the candidates to be committedly pro-life and determined to do something to seriously reduce the current death toll from existing policies. On the other hand, I'm convinced Romney is, if nothing else, a dedicated Mormon. He, according to the book, has a track record as a Mormon leader of counseling women not to abort. Regardless of what he's said in order to win elections, he at his most authentic is not pro-choice.

So I'm stuck with "Here's a guy who's really, really good at managing a team and running a disciplined, effectice policy shop, drawing on expert opinion and doing the best he knows how when he's in charge of things. Sure, he phoned in part of his time as governor, but that's because he was pursuing the presidency. If he was president, I think the sum total of his aspirations at that point would be to be a very good president and lead the country to maximal prosperity and flourishing. So..." Yeah.

I'm not at all sure how on earth he reconciles an apparent readiness to say rather contradictory things in order to get what he wants in public life with his moral commitments as a Mormon. Of course, the same can be said of many, many other politicians from all backgrounds. So at the end of the day, I think you really have to take a strong look at biography. What have these candidates done and said when they weren't politicians? How do they treat their families? What do they believe in, and how has it influenced their lives? What is their track record of achievement?

I think if you vote for a candidate, you do have a responsibility to write letters and hold them accountable for the life issues and human rights things. I think you have a responsibility to vote, as well. I dunno. Write or call the Romney/Ryan campaign and ask for clear commitments to actions that will measurably reduce the number of abortions occurring in this country, for tighter laws or executive branch decisions that will protect as many children as possible. Heck, if the Democrats for Life seriously think they can get any such concessions out of Obama/Biden, go for it! Anyway...I've got the Barack Obama: The Story on order from the library as well. I'll see what I think of that. Anyone know of a good bio of Ron Paul?

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