In a campaign season in which I have not been tremendously impressed by any of the candidates, Republican or Democratic, I’ll note one endorsement that catches my attention. The editors of National Review are smart men, whose opinions I respect:
Romney For President
By The Editors, December 11, 2007
“Our guiding principle has always been to select the most conservative viable candidate. In our judgment, that candidate is Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. Unlike some other candidates in the race, Romney is a full-spectrum conservative: a supporter of free-market economics and limited government, moral causes such as the right to life and the preservation of marriage, and a foreign policy based on the national interest. While he has not talked much about the importance of resisting ethnic balkanization â€“ none of the major candidates has â€“ he supports enforcing the immigration laws and opposes amnesty. Those are important steps in the right direction.”
“Romney is an intelligent, articulate, and accomplished former businessman and governor. At a time when voters yearn for competence and have soured on Washington because too often the Bush administration has not demonstrated it, Romney offers proven executive skill. He has demonstrated it in everything he has done in his professional life, and his tightly organized, disciplined campaign is no exception. He himself has shown impressive focus and energy.
“It is true that he has less foreign-policy experience than Thompson and (especially) McCain, but he has more executive experience than both. Since almost all of the candidates have the same foreign-policy principles, what matters most is which candidate has the skills to execute that vision.
“Like any Republican, he would have an uphill climb next fall. But he would be able to offer a persuasive outsider’s critique of Washington. His conservative accomplishments as governor showed that he can work with, and resist, a Democratic legislature. He knows that not every feature of the health-care plan he enacted in Massachusetts should be replicated nationally, but he can also speak with more authority than any of the other Republican candidates about this pressing issue. He would also have credibility on the economy, given his success as a businessman and a manager of the Olympics.”
“We believe that Romney is a natural ally of social conservatives. He speaks often about the toll of fatherlessness in this country. He may not have thought deeply about the political dimensions of social issues until, as governor, he was confronted with the cutting edge of social liberalism. No other Republican governor had to deal with both human cloning and court-imposed same-sex marriage. He was on the right side of both issues, and those battles seem to have made him see the stakes of a broad range of public-policy issues more clearly. He will work to put abortion on a path to extinction. Whatever the process by which he got where he is on marriage, judges, and life, we’re glad he is now on our side â€“ and we trust him to stay there.”
I have trouble with the notion that, as President, Mitt Romney “will work to put abortion on a path to extinction.” Oh, he says that now, when he’s trying to win the nomination of a national party which is strongly pro-life, but such was certainly not his position when he was running for the Senate in Massachusetts, against the unbeatable Edward Kennedy, or when he ran (successfully) for governor of that very liberal state. Either he was:
- lying then, to win votes in a very liberal state; or
- lying now, to win votes in a very pro-life party; or
- he has really changed his mind.
Which one is it? As Governor of Massachusetts, he vetoed a bill that would have allowed access to emergency contraception â€“ the ‘morning-after pill’ â€“ without a prescription. Romney had also vetoed an embryonic-stem-cell-research bill; and in 2006 his administration issued regulations banning the creation of embryos for research purposes, calling such research ‘Orwellian in its scope.’
His actions, at least, have been on the pro-life side. Was he, in his mind, running for the Republican presidential nomination even then? Kate O’Beirne of National Review wrote, last January (long before NR’s endorsement):
Romney has been stating his abortion position with the conviction of a convert, in terms that can appeal to a broad audience. Many social conservatives are persuaded that his conversion is genuine.
As President, Governor Romney will promote a culture of life. Governor Romney believes that Roe v. Wade should be overturned so that the issue of abortion can be returned to the American people and their elected representatives at the state and federal level.
Which would mean that South Dakota and Kentucky and Mississippi could outlaw abortion, if their state legislators so chose, while the entire northeast could, and would, continue the slaughter of the unborn.
That, to me, is an unacceptable final goal, but it may be the best we can hope for in the short (and medium) term.
- “Romney is an exemplary family man and a patriot whose character matches the high office to which he aspires.
“More than the other primary candidates, Romney has President Bush’s virtues and avoids his flaws. His moral positions, and his instincts on taxes and foreign policy, are the same. But he is less inclined to federal activism, less tolerant of overspending, better able to defend conservative positions in debate, and more likely to demand performance from his subordinates. A winning combination, by our lights. In this most fluid and unpredictable Republican field, we vote for Mitt Romney.”
I could legally reproduce those sections of the National Review article that appeared on Governor Romney’s campaign website, because they don’t copyright restrict it. To read the rest of the NR endorsement, click on the picture of the magazine cover.
I’m not sold on Mitt Romney (yet), but it’s still a possibility. This website will not endorse anyone: it is up to the individual writers here to state their preferences.
This article got a shout-out from ALa at Blonde Sagacity; ALa is a supporter of Fred Thompson, and has this video of Mr Thompson speaking less than highly of the National Education Association: