Romney and Rubio in 2012

In the September 22 Republican presidential debate, Michele Bachmannn declared it inevitable that Obama would lose to any Republican, and therefore it was time to get a true conservative instead of a moderate.  Bachmann is wrong.

Don't get me wrong: I share Bachmann's frustration with the political process in the U.S. that has led us down the long, slow, painful path of socialism.  I also agree that we could use a good, strong constitutional conservative in the White House.  As appealing as her call is to take the big, bold step, the 2012 election is about one thing and one thing, only -- making sure there is a Republican in the White House come January 2013.  Even if we believe we can beat Obama with almost anyone, it's not worth taking the gamble of putting up someone with anything less than the best possible chance.  At this point in time, the best chance is Mitt Romney.

The problem with Bachmann's statement is this: it ain't over 'til the fat lady sings, and she ain't singin' for another fourteen months.  Anything can happen.  As unlikely as it seems, unemployment might even start dropping.  If that happens, Obama may have a fighting chance.  Most analysts seem to think that undecided voters tend to make up their minds by October of election year -- one year from now.  But we have to choose our candidate well before that.  If we don't go with the most electable, a shift in the political winds of Washington between the GOP convention and election day could spell disaster.

But there is more.  We don't want a candidate who is likely to fire Dems up.  Republicans are fired up enough as it is.  We will go to the polls.  GOP turnout will be high.  That's not a problem.  The worst thing we can do is nominate a candidate to mobilize the opposition.  I submit that, of the frontrunners to date, Romney is the least likely to get the left mobilized.

One reason that's important is because the outcomes of the Senate and House elections (as well as state houses and local elections across the country) may rest on partisan coat-tailing in the presidential election.  Even if we win the presidency, getting the Dems revved up or alienating independents could result in losing seats in Congress (especially the Senate) that we might have won.  There may be a few Dems who would vote with the GOP, but it would be nice to have a 60-seat majority so we don't have to count on it.  The other critical issues such as Cap and Trade, Dodd-Frank, and the myriad of appointments to the many (too many) various federal agencies such as the EPA require that the GOP wins the presidency and has substantial majorities in congress.  And let's not forget the possibility of a retiring Supreme Court justice.

Sure, there will be criticism of Romney's Mormon faith, which isn't to be taken lightly.  Of course, the Democratically partisan MSM won't come out and say, "His religion is a problem," but the insinuation will be there.  My view, however, is the non-secular independent and moderate voters who do not want religion as part of politics will react more favorably to a mild-mannered Mormon than to an outspoken evangelical.

I also believe that the public largely doesn't want to be duped again into voting for an inexperienced candidate.  Sure, policies are the main issue, but leadership ability is valuable as well.  And Romney presents himself as a leader.  He looks presidential.  Granted, there is general displeasure with Washington insiders, but look what happened by electing a non-Washington guy.  Romney is not a Washington guy, but he is definitely "establishment" in appearance. 

And then there is the vetting process.  You can absolutely bet your Christmas turkey that the Republican candidate will be investigated, slandered, and turned completely inside-out -- both by the media and the DNC.  Romney has been through considerable scrutiny, and virtually nothing has turned up.  It's unlikely that anything will be found that will sway the independents negatively.  The truth about the other candidates is that we just don't know. 

Not the least important is debating ability.  Romney, while reasonably forceful and clear, does not come across as radical.  He is attractive and presidential, and he carries himself well.  And all he has to do is not lose a debate.  Bachmann and others may be able to hit a home run, but they are also more likely to strike out.  Look at the huge drop in Perry's numbers after he stumbled in the Fox/Google debate.  Home run is good, but not necessary.  Strikeout is bad.  So far, Romney has presented himself well in the debates and has indicated he can stand up to whatever comes his way, à la Bill Clinton.  A little Teflon is a good thing to have.

Rounding this out, Romney also has experience winning an election in Massachusetts -- not an easy task for a Republican in a staunchly blue state -- considerable business experience, and success turning around the 2002 Winter Olympics.  (Here is a link to Wikipedia on this subject.  The section on Romney's involvement is a short but good read, and gives some insight into Romney's character.)

As a friend of mine has stated to me many times, "R&R in 2012."  Romney and Rubio is a winning ticket.  In addition to the abundant positives of Romney as a presidential candidate, Marco Rubio (of Cuban descent) is the ideal man for the second slot.

It has long been my feeling that Hispanics should be mostly Republican for many reasons we don't have time to discuss here.  Unfortunately, the bulk of outspoken Hispanic leaders are pro-Democrat.  Rubio, in addition to being a stellar politician with the right ideas, is well-spoken, reasoned, and convincing.  He might be the man to bring the Hispanic people into the GOP.  He also might be the man to get the GOP to understand the Hispanic community better and move us toward them a little while bringing them towards us.

One last thing -- Herman Cain.  Mr. Cain is an enigma to me.  Of all the candidates, he is my favorite in many ways.  His executive abilities have proven exemplary, and he brings the most creativity to problem solving of any candidate in the hunt.  He is likeable and always positive.  Because he is not as well-funded as some of the other candidates, however, he does not have the resources to support his theories on taxation and his other proposals, which sound good at first blush but are hard to get your arms around.  For that reason, I think Mr. Cain should not be on the ticket this time around.  However, he would be my first cabinet choice.  Cain is creative and capable of looking outside the box for ideas and possible solutions.  He is a quick study, so once inside Washington, he would be a valuable asset, and spending some time inside the halls of the administration might give him what he needs to add "POTUS" beside his name in the future.

Romney is the one to beat Obama and bring in the best overall GOP results.  However, on June 6, 2012 (California primary), whoever the polls say has the best chance to beat Obama gets my vote.  Period.

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