Alexander's Column

Patriot Candidate Profile: Mitt Romney

By Mark Alexander · Feb. 1, 2008

“The aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good…” –James Madison

Once again, risking a mix of approval and disdain from our Patriot readers, I offer another candidate profile from The Patriot’s perspective – this one on Mitt Romney.

Let me start with the obvious: Romney’s record in the private sector is outstanding.

He holds post-graduate degrees in both business management and law (cum laude) from Harvard. Despite that deficiency (as my friends at Yale and Princeton would say), he led Bain & Company management consultants out of financial woes between 1978 and 1984. He then founded Bain Capital, a successful venture-capital firm.

He was recruited in 2002 to salvage the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, which had run up $380 million in debt, and turned that fiasco into a $100-million profit maker. He then returned his salary as a measure of good will.

Unlike John McCain, the other leading contender for the Republican nomination, who has a substantial congressional voting record for examination, Mitt Romney has but one term as governor of the People’s Republic of Massachusetts from which to glean some understanding of his public-policy record.

Romney’s record as governor is a source of both contentment and concern for conservatives.

To his credit, Romney helped turn Massachusetts' $1.2-billion deficit into a surplus over the course of his four years as governor, though credit for that success is shared by an upward economic trend and, accordingly, increased tax collections.

However, his recent campaign promise to implement a $233-billion stimulus package, sans any spending cuts – a package far larger than the $145 billion in largess proposed by President George W. Bush – certainly implies that he would not take federal-deficit reduction any more seriously than would the current Beltway politicos.

Social conservatives can’t overlook his 1994 stump speeches, when Romney attempted to unseat Sen. Ted Kennedy (notably, coming closer to ridding the nation of that disgrace than any Republican ever has).

Back then, Romney supported abortion on demand and special rights for homosexuals.

After being elected governor of Massachusetts in 2002, though, Romney opposed so-called “same-sex marriage” and, after closer study of the abortion issue, became decidedly pro-life, even opposing cloning and embryo farming.

On the subject of cloning, Romney told The Boston Globe in 2005, “Once cloning occurs, a human life is set in motion. Calling this process ‘somatic-cell nuclear transfer,’ or conveniently dismissing the embryo as a mere ‘clump of cells,’ cannot disguise the reality of what occurs.”

The nation’s leading abortion advocate, NARAL Pro-Choice America, criticized Romney, writing: “[A]s governor he initially expressed pro-choice beliefs but had a generally anti-choice record. His position on choice has changed. His position is now anti-choice.”

Constitutional constructionists also take note of Romney’s support for extra-constitutional initiatives undermining the “palladium of all other rights,” the Second Amendment. He supports the Brady law and Feinstein-Schumer gun-control regulations, going as far as to say that he, like President Bush, “would have signed the [so-called] assault weapon ban” if it had passed Congress for his signature. He signed a similar bill in Massachusetts.

He now says, “I do not believe we need new [federal] legislation. I do not support any new legislation of an assault-weapon-ban nature, including that against semiautomatic weapons. I instead believe that we have laws in place that, if implemented and enforced, will provide the protection and the safety of the American people.”

In his last year as governor, Romney proposed and signed into law what he describes as market-based reforms to provide every Massachusetts citizen with health insurance – without raising taxes. However, a plan that neither allows individuals to opt out nor deregulates the insurance industry is not exactly “free market.” The outcome of those reforms, as with most states which have implemented such reforms, is mixed, though one outcome is clear: Insurance in Massachusetts has about the highest price of any state.

Also in 2006, affirming his standing among his peers, he was elected to chair the Republican Governors Association and raised some $27 million for State House contests around the nation.

Of vital significance to his prospective role as Commander in Chief, Mitt Romney gets high marks for his grasp and support of critical national-security initiatives, and the threat posed by jihadi terrorists and Islamic fascism.

His positions on border security and immigration are consistent with those of mainstream Republicans.

Romney is, unquestionably, a man of strong faith. He is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a religious sect that includes about two percent of the U.S. population.

Mormons are a decidedly conservative lot, albeit with some regrettable exceptions, such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Understanding that few Americans outside of Utah know much about Mormonism, Romney spoke plainly about his faith on 6 December 2007 at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University: “I do not define my candidacy by my religion,” he said. “A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith. Let me assure you that no authorities of my church, or of any other church for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions. Their authority is theirs, within the province of church affairs, and it ends where the affairs of the nation begin.”

He continued, “I will put no doctrine of any church above the plain duties of the office and the sovereign authority of the law. My faith is the faith of my fathers. I will be true to them and to my beliefs. … I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind.”

He concluded his comments by noting that during the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia, there were objections to a call from the floor to prayer. “Then Sam Adams rose and said he would hear a prayer from anyone of piety and good character, as long as they were a patriot. And so together they prayed.”

Personally, I would not be inclined to subscribe to the extra-biblical prophecies of the Mormon Church, but then, I am a fifth-generation Episcopalian who checked out of that institution about ten years ago because of extra-biblical doctrines. Though I would not be a good prospect for Mormon proselytizers, I have no reservations about Romney’s reliance upon the Gospel of Christ over and above any church doctrines.

Finally, unlike some other notable Republicans, Mitt Romney is still devoted to his first wife. Romney has a great marriage, according to his closest friends, and is part of a large, loving and caring family.

Perhaps the greatest of Romney’s endorsements, though, is the utter contempt with which he is regarded by the mainstream media. I subscribe to the old maxim, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer,” because knowledge of your enemy’s objectives is critical to his defeat. To that end, as Leftist talkingheads and scribes swoon over McCain and Huckabee, while expressing their contempt for Romney, take note.

The bottom line: Romney rates a somewhat respectable “7” in our Presidential Candidate Ratings compared to McCain’s decidedly unflattering “5” rating.

(Publisher’s Note: The Patriot’s editors have provided Presidential Candidate Ratings. These ratings are based on comprehensive analysis of many factors, including each candidate’s record, experience, capability, character, leadership qualifications and, of course, demonstrated ability to grasp the [plain language of our Constitution | http://patriotpost.us/alexander/2006/07/07/constitutional-exegesis-v-eisegesis/] – and promote it accordingly.)