(This is another in a series of columns about potential Republican presidential candidates for the 2012 election. Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, is seen as the front runner in some polls after he failed to win the nomination in 2008. Romney has been making media appearances recently with his new book, No Apology: The Case for American Greatness (St. Martin’s Press), which seems to be setting the stage for his 2012 run as a patriotic, no-nonsense, capitalist conservative.
Romney is touted for his career in private business through his investment company Bain Capital which helped to grow companies like Staples, Domino’s Pizza and others. In 2002 he served as CEO of the troubled Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and turned them into a success. He served as Massachusetts governor from January 2003 to January 2007. He is the son of 1968 presidential primary contender George Romney, who was Michigan governor. Here are excerpts from his new book and from his March 7 appearance on Fox News Sunday, each followed by my comment.)
On the Massachusetts health care overhaul, which Romney backed as governor, he writes: “All of us knew the bill (establishing universal health care coverage in Massachusetts) wasn’t perfect; nothing that groundbreaking could be. But it was a big improvement over what we had. It would need to be fine-tuned as it was implemented and it would undergo midcourse correction as time went on. From the outset, I and my team knew that some of the features the legislature had added would be expensive, including the full complement of coverage mandates such as unlimited in vitro fertilization treatments and dental care, a small fee paid by employers who didn’t insure their employees, and no opt-out provision for people who wanted to forgo insurance and pay their own way. I was also concerned by the implementation decisions of the administration that followed my own.’’ Comment: This plan could be Romney’s Achilles heel for many who will see him as just another liberal Republican. He needs to explain himself very clearly.
Romney writes: “Never before in American history has its president (Obama) gone before so many foreign audiences to apologize for so many misdeeds, both real and imagined. It is his way of signaling to foreign countries and foreign leaders that their dislike for America is something he understands and that is, at least in part, understandable. There are anti-American fires burning all across the globe; President Obama’s words are like kindling to them.’’ Comment: Good. This is the kind of blunt talk that McCain avoided in 2008. This is the kind of talk that wins elections.
Romney writes: “As President Obama proposes to once again reduce our investment in national defense, I acknowledge the public fervor and widespread wish that world peace will prevail nonetheless. …The truth is that we are at war with a formidable enemy and that nations like Russia and China are intent on neutralizing our military lead. The truth is that hatred and tyranny are pervasive; that we will be attacked again and that we cannot confidently predict the nature of the attack, or when or from where it will come. And so the truth is that for our freedoms to endure, we must pay a large price to maintain our freedom, and if we do not pay enough in dollars, we may be forced to pay the price in blood.” Comment: Yes, let’s not let down our defenses. Romney obviously is positioning himself as a Reagan-like figure in so many ways. This is significant.
Romney writes: “Even so, because we significantly dismantled our military prior to World War II, the investment required for us to catch up and confront our enemies was massive. The defense budget reached 34.5 percent of the GDP in 1945, about nine times today’s 3.8 percent, and the delay prolonged suffering and loss of life.” Comment: It is refreshing to hear real numbers. They bring our current situation into focus. This is a good strategy.
Romney writes: “I can think of no social program that is more valuable than the lives and freedom of our sons and daughters. Rather than scale our military according to our hope for peace or out of a desire to shift funds to domestic priorities, we should build it to be capable of fulfilling each of the missions necessary for our sure defense. Only then can we be confident that we will secure America‘s place in the world and preserve life, liberty, and prosperity.” Comment: We can only build a nation that is secure. This should be a central campaign theme for Romney. It makes sense to millions who are concerned that cuts in security spending are hugely counterproductive.
Romney writes: “I can remember only one time during my life when most Americans presumed that we didn’t really have any great challenges. It was during the period that largely coincided with the Bill Clinton presidency. George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan had pushed the Soviet Union to the wall and won. The Berlin Wall had come down, the Soviet Union had dissolved, and here at home, there was talk of a “new economy” that sent the bulls running on Wall Street…. We shrunk our military by 400,000 troops during the 1990s, retired over one hundred ships from the navy, and decreased the size of our air force by more than a quarter. More ominously, we gutted our human intelligence capabilities…” Comment: This is straightforward language that will resonate with millions in light of our current situation.
Romney writes of a meeting with prime minister Shimon Peres of Israel, who said: “Only one nation in history, and this during the last century, was willing to lay down hundreds of thousands of lives and take no land in its victory— no land from Germany, no land from Japan. America. America is unique in the history of the world for its willingness to sacrifice so many lives of its precious sons and daughters for liberty, not solely for itself but also for its friends.” Comment: This is uplifting to hear after Obama’s litany of grievances about America. Go Romney!
Romney said about the Massachusetts health plan on Fox News Sunday: “Let me tell you, there’s a big difference between what we did and what President Obama is doing. What we did, I think, is the ultimate conservative plan. We said people have to take responsibility for getting insurance, if they can afford it, or paying their own way. No more free- riders. And we solved this at the state level — not a federal plan, but a state plan. This is a federalist nation. States should be able to solve their own problems. We didn’t raise taxes. We did not at the same time cut Medicare and expect our seniors to have to pay for all this. We didn’t do what President Obama’s doing, which is putting controls on our system of premiums for private insurance companies.” Comment: Still, conservatives are going to have questions.
Romney said about Obama’s scapegoating of insurance companies: “Our health care costs are very, very high because we use a lot of health treatments. Hospitals, doctors, MRIs, surgeries and so forth are more extensively used and far more expensive in this country than they are in many other countries. It’s not the insurance companies that are driving our health care cost up and up. The reason their premiums are going up is because doctor bills and hospital bills and usage and so forth is also going up.” Comment: This is clear language that explains the situation. Americans must realize that excessive use of health care is driving up the cost.
Romney later said: “And frankly, I’m very, very concerned that America is on a severely wrong track, that if America doesn’t change course that we’re going to kill the American dream for our kids and our grandkids, that we’re going to get surpassed by other nations. And that’s why I wrote the book, which is to lay out precisely what I think we have to do in everything from energy, education, taxes, deficit spending, the debt we’ve racked up through entitlements. We’re going to have to make some dramatic changes in America or we’re going to find ourselves being weakened. And this president is not doing that job. He’s not taking the action that needs to be taken to make America strong in the face of the kind of challenges we have.” Comment: This is the type of thinking that is spurring millions of Americans to get involved in politics. They are deeply troubled. Romney is clear and unequivocal and will appeal to those people. Because our current course is unsustainable.
Romney said: “And I continue to believe very deeply, as I have in that last campaign described, that marriage must be defended. I think it’s under attack. I speak at great length in the book about the importance of marriage prior to children. And I believe that being pro-life is a very important feature of the American culture, and that’s something I will continue to defend.” Comment: Excellent. Someone who is not afraid of the homosexual lobby or the abortion lobby.
Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can print out for free my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.