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How Romney and Our Republic Can Win (Part 1)

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
With President Barack Obama's officially starting his campaign this Saturday, many are wondering whether the GOP front-runner and former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney, has a real chance at winning the general election. But I know a way he could pull it off, and my wife, Gena, even dreamed about it.

I said that I would vote for whichever candidate won the GOP nomination. As of this writing, it appears to be Romney. Truthfully, I believe that Mitt has the skills and organization to defeat Obama and stop his fundamental transformation of America. We all know what four more years of increased socialistic decisions would do to our country.

By all reasonable rationale and political forecast, in a couple of months Romney will reach the necessary delegate count and become the Republican Party's official nominee. And before the GOP fractures with a third-party candidate (as it did in 1992 and 1996) and hands over the election again in doing so, I want to propose to Romney a way to rally the GOP base and even, I believe, those who dislike him.

Typically, this is the time when we all speculate about the GOP nominee's choice for vice president -- his running mate -- and we pray to God that his decision is so magnanimous that it instantly will rally the entire spectrum of political preferences at his side. Of course, that's a political pipe dream and, I believe, a shortsighted, typical campaign technique in a unique election war that requires a very unconventional strategy for winning. With existing polarities (indeed, divisiveness) in the GOP and conservative base alone, choosing the right VP is alone not going to be enough, inasmuch as a Super Bowl team couldn't rally its fan base based upon just a controversial quarterback and a great wide receiver.

For those optimistic statisticians who would point out that just last week a Fox News poll showed that the race between Obama and Romney is dead-even -- with 46 percent of society favoring each -- I would remind them that those numbers are equal despite four years of President Obama's reckless decisions against our republic and despite the fact that his re-election campaign hasn't even unleashed its billion-dollar war chest against Romney. (That sum makes Romney's effectual $20 million he used to destroy Newt Gingrich's candidacy back in the Florida primary look like chump change.)

If the Obama campaign machine and its mainstream media minions are already pigeon-holing Romney as "extreme" and "right-wing" (are you kidding?!), imagine what they will say and do to his likely more conservative running mate. (Does anyone remember the plight of Sarah Palin with Sen. John McCain in '08?)

I think Romney and maybe even most Republicans are underestimating the difficulty of persuading conservatives, evangelicals and libertarians, let alone the rest of the country, to vote for Romney, despite the prospect of the sultan of socialist swing's remaining in the Oval Office. General election apathy and depression in the fall could take their toll.

It doesn't take a political scientist to see that if liberals such as former President Jimmy Carter say they would be "comfortable" with Romney, conservatives, evangelicals, libertarians and others are going to have a gigantic struggle rallying around Romney. But if he would take the following course of action, they might find backing him much more palatable.

Enough talk. The idea is this, and it is not my idea but the action of President Abraham Lincoln.

A book that highlights Lincoln's brilliant action is titled "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln," by Doris Kearns Goodwin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and presidential historian. In addition to topping charts and receiving scholarly acclaim, the book itself is political genius and outlines the crucial strategy needed not only to rally the present GOP base but also to win the White House and save our republic. (I also wrote about this unifying strategy in a former column, "The 8th Miracle To Save America," which can be read at

Goodwin's prize-winning treatise details how Lincoln brought together his candidate rivals by appointing them to key positions in his administration when he became president.

Let me re-highlight a few critical points from Goodwin's book review in The New York Times:

"The party in the 1860's was a coalition of politicians who only a few years earlier had been Whigs (Lincoln, Seward, Bates), Democrats (Blair, Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles and Vice President Hannibal Hamlin), Free Soilers (Chase), or had flirted with the short-lived anti-immigrant American Party, or Know Nothings (Cameron and Bates). In addition, several cabinet members personally disliked each other: Blair and Chase, Seward and Welles, Chase and Seward, Blair and Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, who replaced Cameron in January 1862. Lincoln's 'political genius' enabled him to herd these political cats and keep them driving toward ultimate victory.

"How did he do it? Goodwin deals with this question better than any other writer. Part of the answer lay in Lincoln's steadfastness of purpose, which inspired subordinates to overcome their petty rivalries. Part of it lay in his superb sense of timing and his sensitivity to the pulse of public opinion as he moved to bring along a divided people to the support of 'a new birth of freedom.' And part of it lay in Lincoln's ability to rise above personal slights, his talent for getting along with men of clashing ideologies and personalities who could not get along with each other."

Whether you agree with Lincoln or not, his team of rivals worked, propelled his leadership and ultimately unified the country.

Isn't our divided country again ripe for a new "team of rivals," made up of past presidential candidates and other vetted, qualified and esteemed national leaders, rather than merely a dynamic duo fighting the Obama campaign machine?

Lincoln recognized the wisdom of Jesus when it came to collective success: "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

The question is this: Will Romney?

Next week, I will not only elaborate more on this concept of a team of rivals and the people I believe should be a part of it but also share the inspiring dream Gena had, which we both hope comes true.

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