With Super Tuesday hours away, and McCain apparently in a comfortable lead, the general mood amongst the right-leaning commentariat and blogosphere seems to be sit down, shut up, and accept the inevitable coronation of McCain.
Which I don't understand, frankly.
Having had the opportunity to see Governor Mitt Romney in action during the 2002 Winter Olympics, I have not understood the animus he has faced. Accused from the beginning as a flip-flopper, his record does not bear it out. When the Massachusetts Supreme Court read into the state constitution the right to homosexual marriage, Romney criticized the move.
When action on health-care was demanded, Romney worked on a compromise market-friendly solution. Is that solution perfect? No. But remember this - Romney had to satisfy a Democratic legislature. That Romney was able to accomplish this should be noted to his favor, not his detriment, especially at a time when a majority of Americans will embrace any solution that will reduce their growing medical costs. Any.
(Hillarycare will be back. Do Republicans have anything to counter it?)
Those do not take note of his executive skill. Romney stepped to the helm of an ailing Olympic organization and led it to the Games to not lose money in decades, and a credit to Utah's reputation. And Romney's.
Is Senator John McCain a bad guy? No. His military service is a source of inspiration. But his recent political career is a source of frustration.
When his leadership was needed on the Republican domestic agenda, McCain simply wsn't there. It's one thing to occasionally disagree; I can tolerate that. But again and again McCain has worked to emplace legislation that ran contrary to my views. More aggravating for me is that his views seem to mirror those of the press, rather than any constituency. His stance on the supposed "torture" controversy being a good example - whose views were being represented? Let's be realistic here - the inmates of Guantanamo are hardly wayward Afghani boy scouts. They are hardened killers, who are ready and willing to visit horrors (far greater than any punishment we dare inflict) any any they deem an enemy. That subjecting these barbarians to sleep deprivation constitutes is laughable - and McCain could have done much to clarify this debate. But he did not, and more's the pity.
Couple that with his anti-business populist twaddle he has been selling in the last couple of debates, and McCain leaves me cold.
McCain's stance on the war in Iraq is heartening, and his rallying ws a great help. He could have had the same effect and brought sanity to the "torture" debate - but he didn't.
WHEN it comes to the final weighing, Romney's record shows that he is willing to work for and advocate for the things I believe in. McCain's record is less straightforward - will he stand up to years in the hot seat over Iraq? And will he respect the viewpoints of the Republican Party that will take him to the dance, or ditch them in the parking lot for the editors of the New York Times?
That I'm not sure is a problem for McCain. One that he has so far shown no interest in remedying.
Romney, on the other hand has endured some low and odd blows in his campaign. This race is showing some troubling fault lines in the American psyche; that members of the LDS Church (a church which I happily belong to) have recieved some odd, bad-faith criticism in this day in age may cause some Mormons to question their political affiliations, or at least look more skeptically at those who purport to be their allies.**
Romney's record, standing up for fundamental conservative principles during the Massachusetts gay marriage shows me he will stand for the things I believe in.
Which is why Romney has my vote.
**This is not to say all criticism of Romney was in bad faith, or even ill-founded. Nor should this be construed to say that the LDS Church is infallible - it is run and operated by mere mortals, inspired by God. People make mistakes. But there has been some truly vile statements made by men and women who would be shocked to hear such disparagements made against a race or ethnic group. Such is the quality of intellectuals in this modern age. (Article6 Blog is a good place to explore this different side of the 2008 elections.)