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The Mitt Boom Liberals Will Hate and Libertarians Will Pretend To

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

Like the hostages jetting from Iran the day Reagan raised his right hand, America’s economy is about to bust its chains.

Not everyone will celebrate, even though they should.

America wants to recover.

In all our history, recoveries follow crashes. Usually, the deeper the dip, the steeper the climb back out. The only crisis with a recovery worse than Obama’s is the one that led to policies even more collectively transformative than his.

Builders, growers, producers, achievers—that is, employers--don’t know whether the next blow from the White House will aim at their taxes, their energy, their emissions, their employees’ tort rights, their health care costs, or the very legitimacy of their success and earnings.

Untold trillions of dollars—investment capital that dwarfs what Obama borrowed from China for his unstimulating infusion to the public sector—is sitting safely, unproductively on the sidelines until the people who invest it feel safe that Washington wants them to produce and succeed, not salute and comply.

Mitt doesn’t have to be a genius to unleash a brilliant expansion

The unfair advantage of leaders who believe in free enterprise is this: they don’t have to know what the next big thing is. Freedom will find it. And the next one.

Supply and demand send the signals that greedy, attentive capitalists and entrepreneurs turn into personal fortunes, with the happy byproduct of rising markets, lots of jobs, and lots of associated commerce. More people working. More people buying. More homeowners. More youth with a chance to become productive adults.

Pity poor Obama who has to choose, either by ideology or crony imperatives, upon whom to lavish borrowed billions, hoping for growth in this sector or that. Whether he’s humiliated the “shovel-ready projects” and Solyndras and Volts came to naught, or smug in the comfortable knowledge of what his ill-enriched cohorts socked away for his future, we may never know.

But it all did nothing for his legacy or chances for reelection, and even less for the economy and Americans’ quality of life.

Ronald Reagan understood this. He spoke almost mystically of the power of free Americans vanquishing both Soviet totalitarianism and the vaunted planned economies of the Asian tiger states. Sam Donaldson and Dan Rather were as embarrassed by the Cowboy as was the Harvard faculty.

Except, a miracle happened. America won the Cold War without firing a shot (not counting the Grenada rescue), produced more jobs from 1980 to 1990 than Europe and Asia combined, and ended the 90’s as the globe’s unquestioned super power.

Reagan didn’t have to guess whether the computer or agriculture or transportation was the best bet. He created a free environment that welcomed enterprise. Then we watched things boom.

The Left and media never forgave him. They repay Reagan’s triumph today by body snatching out-of-context quotes and bargains to absurdly argue he was too moderate and reasonable for today’s Republican Party.

In reality, they hated Reagan as much as they hate his successors, especially the more moderate Romney, as well they should. Romney combines Reagan’s belief in free enterprise with technical management and budget skills the Gipper had to hire out for.

Romney is a genius, and intends to find the waste and inefficiency in the executive branch.

If Reagan’s mission and contribution was to remind Americans theirs was the best Constitution and system in the world, and that freedom could succeed, Romney’s is to tackle the excess bloat and inertia of an entitled society and ballooning public sector, spending and spinning out of control.

Reagan had to inspire and persuade the people. Romney has to tame and reform their institutions and parasitic governing bodies. It’s probably the harder task. It’s also one he’s equipped for.

If you had to pick a skill set for someone who might have the tools to reform a sprawling, out-of-control-federal bureaucracy, you couldn’t do better than a private equity turn around artist. The same eye that can absorb budgets, spreadsheets, market opportunities, and operations reports can focus sharp scrutiny on federal offices and expenditures.

The same rigor that values results over promises in the marketplace can elevate results over intentions in public programs.

Imagine the terror of department budget protectors and human resource managers, contemplating an administration and management that can provide better services for constituents, with fewer dollars and fewer employees.

What’s ugly to them should be music to Americans.

Liberals won’t be happy regardless.

As the economy grows and national and domestic budgets pull out of their nosedive, relief will give way to complacency. As they did with Reagan, the media left will magnify every ill or injustice they can conjure. We will again hear in intimate detail, with front page photo spreads, about the unemployed, the hungry (if they aren’t obese) and all who aren’t thriving as robustly , as the big winners in the renewed economy.

It won’t matter that donations to charities and other nonprofits are surging. Nor will it give pause that state and local governments that recently faced steep layoffs are now flush and deciding how to allocate surpluses.

Worldview about government’s proper role draws as much from faith as from pragmatism. Prosperity will not dampen the faith of the anointed who believe wealth is for spreading, not for earning.

Will Libertarians see an opportunity for progress or only an infidel to vote against?

Walking in conservative/libertarian circles for two decades, I’ve come to realize there are two (at least) valid variables at work. One is more abstract and emotional: state control vs. liberty. The other is more bottom line and empirical: what works vs. what fails.

The approaches aren’t necessarily in conflict; they just operate from different foundations and visions. The gulf explains many tensions on the right. I’m more an ideological, liberty guy. Many libertarian friends disdain Romney because he misses some things and doesn’t touch all their philosophical erogenous zones.

Yes, it would be exhilarating to have world-beating philosopher kings with the skills and support to become president. But leading, and being chosen leader, takes certain skills too. From the world of the bottom line, I doubt the nation will ever do better, or again come close, to Mitt Romney.

The existential threats we face are insolvency, bureaucratic and leadership incompetence, and political priorities that ignore practical needs. Consider Romney’s experience, skills, and achievements of record in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors.

There may never have been a candidate in history better positioned to do to what the nation desperately needs now.

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