Michael Novak

Mitt Romney came to national attention because of his skill in turning around failing enterprises. The Salt Lake City Olympics were in serious disarray when Mitt Romney was summoned from his business career to come rescue them. He made those Olympics a smashing success, one of the best in history. The State of Massachusetts was known as “Taxachusetts” when he was elected Governor – in the homeland of Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, no less – and, in more than one way, he turned Massachusetts around.

One of my best friends, a prominent pro-life leader in Massachusetts, told me often what a good friend Governor Romney was to the pro-life cause. When he declared for the presidency, she was proud to join his national advisory council. Another friend, a professor emeritus from Boston University, told me the same thing.

So I have been keeping my eye on Mitt Romney for the many long months of this electoral campaign. For a long time I did not have a single candidate to back. My one criterion was ABC: “Anybody But C....” I did not want to go back to the doublespeak of the 1990s.

As for the most admirable and leading Republicans, my view was, ‘Let them fight it out, and I’ll back the one who wins.’ Although I am still a registered Democrat (in the District of Columbia, what else is practical?), I do not want to vote for any candidates who are not pro-life. I may have to, but I don’t want to.

For me, abortion is one of those rare issues like slavery -- one individual exercising unchecked dominion over another human individual. This abuse is not compatible with the Lockean social compact. Those who cherish human rights cannot support it. That is why this Democrat has strayed toward Republican presidential candidates.

More and more this year, among the other pro-life candidates, I have been attracted by Mitt Romney’s good and cheerful disposition, level-headedness, and unruffable temperament (if there is such an adjective). You may think this is silly, but to me he both looks like and acts like a president. He would be easy to watch on the morning and nighttime news for the next eight years. His quiet and steady voice would be easy to take. He has the habits of an executive, not a legislator – action, not just talk. And I admire the way he honors his wife and his family – including his own mother and father. I like the fact that, as evidenced more in his life than in his conversation, he is a man of serious religious faith.

The discipline he has shown in his career tells me that he is tough-minded.