No, the title of this piece is not intended merely to be an attention-grabber. I really, really mean it. I have written a lot of things over the years, and I have felt (and continue to feel) very strongly about a lot of things. But as we enter the very final stretch of the 2012 Presidential election, I have to make one last stab at articulating the crucial nature of voting Barack Obama out of office. The reality of our two-party system means that if my last sentence is correct (and it is), then so is this sentence: It is of dire significance that we vote FOR Gov. Mitt Romney.
I am not writing this piece for those on the far left. I hope many of you will stay home and sit this election out, as you surely must be very disappointed with your President, who has not closed Gitmo, who has ordered 10x the drone attacks that President Bush ever ordered, who orchestrated the assassination of a man (Osama bin Laden) without a trial, who extended all of the Bush tax cuts for two years when he had the majority in both chambers, who passed health care legislation that was stripped of the public option, who never even proposed immigration reform to the Congress, who spent 275 days of his Presidency opposed to gay marriage, who has still not ended the war in Afghanistan, who has never passed a budget (or received a vote for one) … That’s right – as contemptible as I find the President to be, I can only imagine what you far leftists must think. Yikes. What a disappointment. And if it isn’t, what a bunch of hypocrites and posers you are.
I am also not writing this piece for folks like me on the right. We know that class warfare is a recipe for failure. We know that Obama loathes the principles that have made America great. We know that his Supreme Court appointments have been an utter embarrassment. We are well aware of the path to fiscal ruin this President has our country on. There is no need to convince you of his disdain for an American footprint in the world. We know the failures of his stated energy policies. We know that he views the tax code as a means of forcing his version of social justice upon society. We have seen the laughingstock appointments he has made in Steven Chu, Eric Holder, Van Jones, and countless others. And most importantly, we know the doom for America that his signature legislation represents – the atrocity that is ObamaCare. We conservatives do not need to be talked into fearing an Obama re-election. In fact, I have been very restrained in keeping this paragraph short.
This article is, instead, for those who are just simply not enthused about voting for Mitt Romney. You may not be thrilled with the idea of voting for Barack Obama, and in fact, you may be repulsed by it. However, for any number of reasons, you feel uncomfortable with a vote for Romney, and are considering sitting this one out or voting for a third-party candidate. It could be the Mormonism of Gov. Romney you do not like, or it could be his various position changes over the years (most notably on abortion). Particularly in states like Nevada, Ohio, Colorado, and Wisconsin, your non-vote for Romney could very well put Obama back in the White House for an additional four years. You are the target audience of this article.
I am not going to defend every single piece of Mitt Romney’s record. I have spent a little time with the Governor over the last few years, and I have found him to be an extremely bright and knowledgeable man, but I would not say that ideological conservatism runs through his veins. I doubt he grew up reading Hayek, Kirk, and Buckley. For those of you who are devout evangelicals or Roman Catholics, you are well aware of the differences in his religious viewpoint from yours. He has some stinker votes out there, and he has changed his position on a couple key issues over the years. It is not possible for me to claim he is a perfect man, or a perfect candidate. But I will suggest to you that the negativity some feel towards him is perhaps misguided …
The most common objection lodged against him is his reputation as a “moderate” when he governed the state of Massachusetts. When a Republican Governor is elected head of Ted Kennedy’s state, and asked to serve over an 82% Democratic legislature, I would suggest to you that a little grace and understanding are in order. If you evaluate each and every action he took as the Governor of that state, you will find (as I did) that he was constantly moving his state to the right, even if it never went as far right as you and I may prefer. He is a true incrementalist, and he moved the ball in the right direction, which I believe is what we elect leaders to do.
I would spend more time on the abortion flip-flop except for the fact that I have no doubt that his “pretend position” was when he was pro-choice, not when he became pro-life again. It is inconceivable that he and his devout Roman Catholic pro-life Vice-Presidential selection, Paul Ryan, would select judges who set the pro-life cause back. I have been wrong on issues in the past, and so have you. I encourage you not to hold it against a candidate that before he was right on an issue, he once was wrong. That is backwards thinking, is it not?
I have written in the past of the very limited things a President can actually do. He cannot restore the size of government to the “right size” many of us wish it to be. He can, though, work diligently and intelligently to get the right things done. I would suggest that some of those crying needs of the hour are exactly what Romney will do, and do phenomenally well. He will work with Congress to reform (but not perfect) the tax code. He will reverse the direction of the budget deficit, even if he will not solve it entirely.
The direction he will take the fiscal state of our country vs. Obama is the most important issue in this election. He will flatten the tax rates, which undeniably spurs economic growth, all the while cleaning up many of the silly and price-distorting deductions that have to be reformed (I learned this from Obama’s former economic czar, Christina Romer, by the way). He will assemble a team of competent cabinet members, as he has done his entire career (do any of Romney’s critics want to criticize his eye for talent at Bain Capital, or in Salt Lake City, or in the Governor’s mansion?). Obama has filled his cabinet with cronies, fools, and extremists. This distinction alone is enough to show up and vote.
I do not believe we will run a budget surplus in four years, and I do not believe abortion will be criminalized at the end of Romney’s first term. What I do believe is this: At this time, at this point in history, in this present set of circumstances, God has seen fit to give us a clear and simple choice between a radical, unqualified, dishonest wretch of a President named Barack Obama, and a competent, managerial, efficient, intelligent, decent man named Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney will be a tool God uses to move the ball down the field.
Romney did not have to choose the extraordinary Paul Ryan as his running mate, and in fact took great political risk in doing so. Gov. Romney is a problem-solver in a country filled with problems. He is not a quintessential conservative Libertarian kind of guy, but he is the antidote we have to the Ivy League radicalism of Barack Obama. He is the alternative to four more years of $1 trillion+ deficits and an utter blindness to the train wreck our entitlement system represents. He has the proven ability to work with other people to accomplish something, as opposed to the community organizer we have in office now who has never so much as led a school sports team, let alone a business, a state, or an organization.
I am not writing because Mitt Romney is perfect. I am writing because he is good enough. And I am writing because Barack Obama is the biggest disaster our country has faced as a mature country. If you worry about the direction of the Supreme Court, and you worry about the size of our government relative to GDP, and you worry about confidence in the business community coming back so as to spur economic growth, then you have a man to vote for who will advance your cause(s) – Mitt Romney. You also have a man to vote against who represents the worst of all possible worlds – Barack Obama.
Please, do not sit this one out. Our country – the last, best hope on earth – needs your vote. I have every confidence in the world that we will be pleased we voted for Mitt Romney – every confidence in the world. Share as you wish. And I will see you at the polls.
David L. Bahnsen, CFP®, works as a Senior Vice President in the private client group of one of the premier Wall Street firms in the country where he provides financial planning and investment management services to individuals and families. To receive his Market Updates via email, go to DavidBahnsen.com