Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Monday, December 10, 2007

NRO endorses Mitt Romney

I know, I know. Another endorsement, but this one is more important than any of the more recent ones. It's beats out Pat Robertson for Rudy. It even beats Paul Weyrich's endorsement of Romney. Why do we say this? Simple. As the Editors at NRO point out, they have a job of looking for true conservatives. In their opinion, Mitt Romney is that man: [ emphasis mine below ]

Many conservatives are finding it difficult to pick a presidential candidate. Each of the men running for the Republican nomination has strengths, and none has everything — all the traits, all the positions — we are looking for. Equally conservative analysts can reach, and have reached, different judgments in this matter. There are fine conservatives supporting each of these Republicans.

Our guiding principle has always been to select the most conservative viable candidate. In our judgment, that candidate is Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. Unlike some other candidates in the race, Romney is a full-spectrum conservative: a supporter of free-market economics and limited government, moral causes such as the right to life and the preservation of marriage, and a foreign policy based on the national interest. While he has not talked much about the importance of resisting ethnic balkanization — none of the major candidates has — he supports enforcing the immigration laws and opposes amnesty. Those are important steps in the right direction.

Uniting the conservative coalition is not enough to win a presidential election, but it is a prerequisite for building on that coalition. Rudolph Giuliani did extraordinary work as mayor of New York and was inspirational on 9/11. But he and Mike Huckabee would pull apart the coalition from opposite ends: Giuliani alienating the social conservatives, and Huckabee the economic (and foreign-policy) conservatives. A Republican party that abandoned either limited government or moral standards would be much diminished in the service it could give the country.

Two other major candidates would be able to keep the coalition together, but have drawbacks of their own. John McCain is not as conservative as Romney. He sponsored and still champions a campaign-finance law that impinged on fundamental rights of political speech; he voted against the Bush tax cuts; he supported this year’s amnesty bill, although he now says he understands the need to control the border before doing anything else.

Despite all that and more, he is a hero with a record that is far more good than bad. He has been a strong and farsighted supporter of the Iraq War, and, in a trying political season for him, he has preserved and even enhanced his reputation for dignity and seriousness. There would be worse nominees for the GOP (see above). But McCain ran an ineffectual campaign for most of the year and is still paying for it.

Fred Thompson is as conservative as Romney, and has distinguished himself with serious proposals on Social Security, immigration, and defense. But Thompson has never run any large enterprise — and he has not run his campaign well, either. Conservatives were excited this spring to hear that he might enter the race, but have been disappointed by the reality. He has been fading in crucial early states. He has not yet passed the threshold test of establishing for voters that he truly wants to be president.

Many conservative pundits will yawn at this nomination, believing that Romney doesn't have what it takes to win. On the contrary, he does have all the aspects of a perfect campaign running for him. And NRO is quite correct -- in terms of a true conservative, he fits the bill. Rudy still has questions to plod through (though a focus on national security would greatly help his run), the Huckster seemed to have a chance until oppo-research uncovered a number of skeletons in his closets, McCain never had a chance, and the editors are right on Thompson -- he lacks the passion.

We're still holding out hope that Rudy might be able to eke out the nomination, but this endorsement by NRO carries a great deal of weight. If you're a conservative, then you're aware of National Review and the fact that they wouldn't throw their eggs in a basket unless the carrier could be trusted. They trust him, and should he be the nominee, we will be firmly in his camp. So should all Republicans. No division in the party, and there's no reason why there should be any. If conservatives are dead set against a Democrat winning the White House in 2008, then it's time for them to step up and stand post. We will be.

Publius II


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