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Start the Year Right-Nominate Mitt

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

The debates are over and the task of nominating someone to replace our current President now becomes a reality. The need to choose wisely could not be more important. The full impact of Obamacare and Dodd-Frank was deliberately deferred until after the 2012 election to disguise their disastrous effects. These policies will need to be dramatically altered in 2013. After months of campaigning, it’s clear that Mitt Romney is the best choice to do this and to be the nominee of the Republican Party.

Yes, Romney has faults as do all the candidates. We can debate that forever. But more importantly, he is the only candidate who will beat Barack Obama. After seeing Marco Rubio speak recently at the Reagan library, I told my wife as we walked by a statue of Reagan that the interesting thing about Mitt is that he is more conservative than Mr. Reagan was in his time. The sage advice of the late William F. Buckley was never more pertinent: “Nominate the most conservative candidate who is electable.”

The great Thomas Sowell questioned last week whether Mitt would win by default and be a mushy middle candidate like John McCain. In all deference to Mr. Sowell, Mitt and his campaign could not be further from the McCain circus. McCain’s campaign fell apart and never quite recovered. I personally experienced its ineptitude. He had to pick someone who was a reach as his Vice-Presidential nominee, and she ended up outshining him. McCain was plainly a pretty weak candidate. But with all that he still would have won had the financial meltdown not happened. Romney has an outstanding machine that will match the Obama bunch toe-to-toe in every facet of the campaign throughout the entire country. He has recruited the best of the best in every aspect of the campaign.

The mainstream media, which regurgitates Democratic talking points, endlessly drones that Mitt is running as a “technocrat.” Nothing could be further from the truth; Mitt is running as a leader. Mitt grew up watching his father demonstrate leadership in action and then set out to test his own ability. Just as Tony Gwynn was never a “natural hitter,” there is no such thing as a natural leader. You learn from experience, from mistakes, and from the counsel of others.

Mitt successfully created one of the most robust financial companies from the ground up – Bain Capital. He rescued a potential American embarrassment – the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. When he and the people he brought in (yes, that’s what a leader does – builds a team) were done, the 2002 Winter Olympics were the most successful in history. He was then elected Governor of Massachusetts, our nation’s “bluest” state, and straightened out its finances, eliminated its deficit, and balanced the budget despite having a legislature packed with 85% Democrats. No other candidate has his depth of experience and leadership, and neither does President Obama. Mitt is no technocrat – just a hard-nosed, skilled leader.

Right now, Romney’s competition for the nomination appears to be coming from Newt Gingrich. I have been a fan of Newt since the late 1980s, and celebrated his remarkable achievements in 1994, when he completed the work that Barry Goldwater so ably started 30 years before. My office wall proudly displays a picture with him taken when he was Speaker of the House. Even when my wife suggested – during one of the periods that Newt had fallen into disfavor – that we “remodel” the wall, I insisted that Newt’s picture remain prominent, and, even today, I continue to greatly admire the man.

Unfortunately, he raises serious concerns as a Presidential nominee. My discomfort is substantiated by a recent incident – one that is indicative of what will happen many times in the next ten months if he moves forward as the Republican standard bearer.

Studies have shown that there is one primary catalyst that causes children to become productive working adults: having parents who are productive working adults. Kids who see their parents go to work every day have a great role model. Strong Republican leaders support and communicate this fundamental principle, and point out that President Obama’s policies prevent our kids from accomplishing that goal while crippling their ability to compete for the American Dream.

But Newt instead throws out an idea that we should fire overpaid janitors in schools and let kids take over their jobs. His remarks, of course, started a firestorm. He would have been much better off saying that every kid should start by working at McDonald’s, where they will learn the basics of showing up on time, interacting with customers, working as a team, and earning a paycheck. The issue of the 2012 elections must be the Obama Presidency – not Newt’s questionable statements.

As intriguing as his comments about janitors and kids may seem to some (including me), that’s not what a candidate says if he wants to win an election. He has to promote policies that attract the support of independent voters – and we must never lose sight of the fact that Republicans (and Democrats too) need to appeal to Independents to win elections. Newt is like the enforcer on a hockey team. You cheer wildly when he knocks around the opponents, but you also know that it’s your star player – Wayne Gretzky or Sidney Crosby – who wins games. That’s the person you nominate.

An independent voter friend of mine told me that we need Romney as President because after the Bush-Obama years, America wants a leader who can bring the country together, and start to address the overwhelming fiscal mess – not to mention potential international threats – that we currently face.

But that doesn’t mean that Romney will become President by compromising our principles. It means that because he will enjoy rock-solid support from both Republicans and Independents, he will be able to secure the assistance of sensible Democrats in order to accomplish our goals. He will repeal Obamacare and replace it with thoughtful improvements to our health care system. He will radically alter Dodd-Frank to ensure stability for our financial system – something he actually understands. He will put a leash on the EPA and balance the benefits of a healthy environment with our need for jobs. And he will move the country toward an American-based energy strategy that replaces our current anti-American policies that are driven by whimsy, daydreams, and junk science.

There is no one who wants to win this election more than I do and I am not interested in sacrificing Republican goals to win. When Mitt gets on stage with Obama, Americans will see a well-spoken, smart, and likable person with whom they will feel comfortable. Mitt is the right man; now let’s go about voting him the nomination.

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