If Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove, Dick Morris, Michael Barone and others are right and Mitt Romney is our next president, we moral conservatives cannot take our foot off the gas. We cannot let up in our advocacy for life and family. We cannot relax or shift into neutral as if some great victory has already been won. To do so would be to make a fatal mistake, and four years from now we will be kicking ourselves again, vowing once more not to sell our souls to the Republican Party, claiming that this time we have learned our lesson, only to repeat the cycle four years hence.
But being forewarned is being fore-equipped, and that negative scenario does not have to unfold. Instead, if we do our job and urge the president to do his, calling him to account at every point and offering positive support, whether he fails or succeeds, our mission will continue unabated. In fact, the more he fails, the more will we realize that the responsibility for moral and social change falls on us, not on him.
Now, my hope is that President Romney will follow through on his promise to defund Planned Parenthood, that he will be a champion for the rights of the unborn, that he will appoint excellent justices to the Supreme Court, that he will offer compassionate and practical solutions to help and empower the poor, that he will push for a federal amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, and that he will defend DOMA in the courts in accordance with the pledge he signed for the National Organization of Marriage. (In stark contrast, one shudders to think what Mr. Obama would do if elected to a second term, barring a miraculous change of heart.)
That is my hope for President Romney, but it is not my expectation. Rather, I expect that his overriding emphasis will be on fixing the economy, that he will work hard for a bipartisan base, that he will seek to govern as a statesman who unites the country, and that he will avoid “divisive” issues. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if some of his first appointees were anything but moral conservatives.
Of course, this is not to downplay the importance of the economy, which itself has all kinds of moral implications. As stated in the recent New York Daily News
And if President Romney can help breach some of the deep divisions in our country, assuring the nation that he is the president of all Americans, that too would be a positive moral and social accomplishment.
But I am not putting my trust in a political savior, especially one with a mixed track record like Mitt Romney when it comes to abortion and gay activism, and I am determined to learn the lessons from the past. No more looking to the White House to transform America!
Really now, how many times will we aggressively get out the vote for the latest conservative savior – or at the least, the conservative antidote to the latest evil emperor – only to say, “We’ve been used! You let us down!” How many times we will live out Einstein’s famous definition of insanity, namely, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”?
So, my vote is for Mitt Romney, with some hope, with a lot of reservation, and without a lot of expectation, although I would be absolutely delighted to have my reservations proved wrong.
And what if Barack Obama is re-elected? Then we would do well to avoid the trap of putting most of our energies into rebuking the president’s latest transgressions. Instead, we will have to focus our efforts like never before on fomenting a moral, cultural, and spiritual revolution. Come to think of it, that would be a sound course of action if Mitt Romney is our next president too. Can I count you in?
The time for this kind of revolution – not a violent one but an ideological, cultural one – is long overdue, and I for one am not waiting for the White House to make it happen. How about you?
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.