Have you noticed how all of the Republican candidates can barely conceal their contempt for Governor Mitt Romney? It goes way beyond the typical good-natured competition that usually is the hallmark of Republican contests. Senator McCain has snarled at Governor Romney in debates and Gov. Huckabee has tried to paint Romney as cold and uncaring, while Sen. Fred Thompson attacked Governor Romney right out of the box. This display of hatred usually is the hallmark of the Democrats.
So, why do the other candidates hate Mitt Romney? Several reasons:
- 1. He can win. Governor Romney appeals to economic conservatives and could appeal to foreign policy conservatives based upon his understanding of the issues. Most non-partisan foreign policy wonks who have briefed the major candidates tell me that Romney "gets it" better than any other candidate -- even better than those who have held high profile office for decades. Moreover, he is the candidate that the Democrats most fear.
- 2. Jealousy -- from his hair to his appearance to his family to his money - these are all reasons for deep-seated, if unseemly, jealousy. This green-eyed monster makes its appearance in almost every speech or presentation, in the form of a joke, a jab or a veiled reference.
- 3. He isn't beholden to interest groups. Governor Romney's wealth frees him from any influence that interest groups could apply to others - especially those who lack funds or who are Washington insiders. He doesn't need them, and that scares the interest groups and their allies. He is not of the game and wants to change it - and his personal wealth allows him to do so. He really can change Washington.
- 4. His brains - not only is he one of the smartest people ever to seek the presidency (having earned a Harvard MBA and JD simultaneously), but he understands the complexities of the issues that America faces and is able to devise workable solutions. Just look at his proposal for an economic stimulus and compare it to what the other candidates are proposing. Romney clearly can lead this country through economic challenges.
- 5. His wealth -- again. While he has raised more than any other candidate, Governor Romney doesn't need to raise the money in order to continue. Nevertheless, he understands that successful candidates must have people invested in their candidacy in order to succeed. He has learned the lessons of past wealthy businessmen who make vanity runs for the White House. The other candidates have to constantly raise money in order to continue their campaigns.
- 6. His experience. The rest of the Republican field has been in politics in one form or another for most of their adult lives. Governor Romney came to public service after having a successful career in which he directly created jobs, saved jobs, invested in new companies and turned around failed businesses. He even fixed both the Olympics and the failing state of Massachusetts. More than any other candidate, Governor Romney's experience is most directly applicable to the average American's situation.
- 7. He believes that America's best days are ahead of it, and not a memory. Governor Romney is a man of the future, not of the past. He sees America as a beacon of freedom for the entire world, and not a country limping toward its last days. His infectious optimism is informed by his business experience, his love of country and his family values. His can-do spirit is the antidote to defeatism masked as "straight talk" or "reality."
- 8. His beliefs. When all else fails, Governor Romney's opponents attack his religion in the hopes of sowing fear and loathing. Not only is this unseemly, but it is dangerous. We have seen this type of rhetoric before - in the 1920's and 1930's - from the likes of Henry Ford and Father Caughlin and others who sought to disenfranchise whole segments of the American population. Governor Romney believes in the common American faith of democracy and religious freedom, as he so eloquently stated in his speech "Faith in America." These are the values our Founding Fathers codified in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
Why do the Republican candidates hate him? Because they don't have any answers to his challenges. They seek to undermine him by using personal attacks more worthy of a middle school playground than a presidential contest. This is politics and Washington as usual, and choosing any candidate that employs these tactics will only get us more of the same. One would hope that Americans could see beyond these base attacks and choose the candidate who is best for the country - Governor Mitt Romney.
Amy D. Goldstein is an occasional contributor to American Thinker.