FACE OFF: It Is Time to Rally Around Mitt Romney
NOTE: The Santorum campaign was given an opportunity to submit an op-ed, but declined to do so after initially agreeing to.
On Tuesday Mitt Romney won both the Arizona and Michigan primaries. The Republican Presidential nomination process now moves on to Super Tuesday. In spite of our wish to end it all early, it will, unfortunately, because of the new rules, take another month or so before the inevitable is confirmed: Mitt Romney should be and will be the 2012 Republican nominee for President.
As we Republicans move forward, we must understand that contrary to the message the media keeps trying to frame, Mitt Romney is the right candidate to beat President Obama and to restore America. We need to recognize that the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday was absolutely right when it noted that our candidates are all conservatives and that what the public wants to hear now is what our agenda and vision for a better future are.
Last week Mitt Romney presented a bold, aggressive plan to cut spending, reduce taxes and over-regulation, and reform entitlements. That plan would re-ignite America’s growth engine and create the jobs our unemployed and under-employed deserve. That is the kind of vision we need to beat President Obama.
As we move forward in the nominating process, I suggest there are seven questions whose answers make it clear that now is the time for all Republicans to rally around Mitt Romney. They are:
Q1: Is he the most capable of beating President Obama?
A1: Yes, in spite of all the ups and downs of the not-Romney alternatives, virtually all the polls show that Mitt Romney consistently does the best in the head-to-head against President Obama.
Q2: Can we count on him to cut spending?
A2: Clearly yes. When he took over as Governor of Massachusetts, he inherited a $3 billion deficit. He cut spending, eliminated and merged departments and convinced and 85% Democratic legislature to support his efforts. His budget cutting turned the deficit into a surplus with a $2 billion rainy day fund, without raising taxes or borrowing.
Q3: Is he really committed to his tax cut plan?
A3: Of course. He cut taxes in Massachusetts 19 times and knows that taxes and over-regulation are the twin burdens that are keeping jobs from coming back and our economy from really recovering.
Q4: Is he a real Conservative on the social issues?
A4: Yes. He proved that as Governor, when he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the Massachusetts Right-to-Life community and vetoed two terrible pieces of legislation which would have devalued life.
Q5: Does he have the background and experience necessary to be the strong President we need to undo the Obama mess?
A5: Clearly yes. More than any of our candidates, he has the experience leading large public sector entities like a state and major private sector enterprises. That is the kind of experience that nurtures real conservative economic commitment and the capacity to keep bureaucracies small.
Q6: Can he pull the Republican party together to provide a united effort in the November election?
A6: Yes and yes again. His victories North and South in New Hampshire and Florida, and in the West with Arizona and Nevada, and in the Midwest with Michigan show that he can pull the various slices of the Republican party together.
Q7: Is he a better Conservative than the current alternative Rick Santorum?
A7: Absolutely. Romney cut spending, Santorum fell in love with earmarks. Romney vetoed bad anti-right-to-life legislation, Santorum voted for bills that funded Planned Parenthood. Mitt Romney supports Right-to-Work, Santorum voted against Right-to-Work legislation. Romney has taken on the labor stooges on the NLRB, Santorum voted in lockstep with Labor and voted to extend the reach of Davis-Bacon, and even tried to get Democratic union workers to vote against Romney in Michigan to make the Michigan Republican primary meaningless.
Even beyond those seven questions, it is clear that now is the time for Republicans to unite around Mitt Romney as our nominee. Rick Santorum lost more than the primary in Michigan last Tuesday. He lost his honor as a Republican and his credibility as a conservative. Santorum joined Michael Moore and the Obama campaign machine in urging the unions and Democrats to do mischief with the Republican primary by voting for him because he would be easier to beat.
In joining with them he showed how prone he is to abandoning principle when he can gain personal benefit. After correctly condemning the idea of encouraging Democrats to vote in the Republican primary for weak candidates three weeks ago, he changed his position at the last minute in order to gain a few more votes for himself. —By the way Republicans in Michigan went for Mitt Romney in a big way: 48% to 37%.
Even Santorum’s campaign rhetoric seems to be coming from the left. Santorum joined the Democrats and President Obama in attacking Governor Romney’s private sector background. His language in Michigan was right out of the DNC playbook. In his National Review article, Jay Nordinger said it best in his comments about Santorum’s rhetoric in Michigan: “Campaign hyperbole is one thing; the language of the nuthouse is another”.
Clearly, Mitt Romney is the Conservative Republican we need to beat President Obama.
John H. Sununu served as the Governor of New Hampshire from 1983 to 1989.