Ed Rollins was once Ronald Reagan's political director and now serves as Mike Huckabee's campaign chairman. Last weekend he told a reporter, "The breakup of what was the Reagan coalition – social conservatives, defense conservatives, and anti-tax conservatives – it doesn't mean a whole lot to people anymore." He declared, "it's gone."
Well, I can assure you he's wrong on one point and predict he's wrong on another. This Reagan coalition means a lot to me and to most people I know. Perhaps, Mr. Rollins is suggesting it doesn't mean a lot to him, given that his political clients since the days of Ronald Reagan have included the independent Ross Perot and liberal Republicans like Michael Huffington in Reagan's beloved California and Christine Todd Whitman in New Jersey. Having spent my life around movement conservatives, I can tell you, we still care about uniting these various conservatives into a strong coalition.
Then, I'll predict he's wrong in his epitaph: "it's gone." In fact, I think it will coalesce in the coming five weeks as Republicans select a president and then turn their considerable energies toward defeating their Democratic opponent next fall. But regardless of whether he's right or wrong, I'm disappointed to see Mr. Rollins throw in the towel on such a compelling coalition. It may just be that his current client cannot unite the three legs that make up this conservative stool – but I believe there is a candidate who can.
A year and a half ago, I concluded Governor Mitt Romney was the most qualified person to run for president from either party in my lifetime and decided to support and help him as a volunteer. Mitt Romney has had three undeniably successful careers, heading one of the most successful venture capital and investment management firms in the world, presiding over a profitable and safe Winter Olympic Games just months after the attacks of 9/11, and governing the state of Massachusetts and turning a nearly $3 billion deficit into a nearly $1 billion surplus without raising taxes.
While there have been presidential candidates who may have more business experience, few had ever governed anything. We have also had candidates with more government experience, but none of them has had any business experience. And no other candidate has presided over an Olympic Games, a role that required handling hundreds of millions of dollars, assembling some 23,000 volunteers and mobilizing one of the largest security operations.
Mark DeMoss is president of The DeMoss Group, a public relations firm which works primarily with evangelical organizations and causes. He is author of The Little Red Book of Wisdom (Thomas Nelson, 2007) and lives in Atlanta. He endorsed Mitt Romney in September 2006.
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