I recently wrote a letter to a locally-based, syndicated talk show host regarding his rationalization about who will be the next nominee for the Presidency. Of course, I have my horse in the race: Gov Rick Perry. But the host’s position was frustrating enough for me to write him personally with this response:
This morning, you said Mitt Romney is the more prepared candidate, making him a better one. Romney has been running for nearly 5 years, of course he’s more prepared. That doesn’t make him the better candidate.
You challenged listeners on what Mitt Romney has they don’t like, and when you responded it was most often was “what he says…”
This is the problem Conservatives have with him. What he says changes and what he believes has evolved the same the PARTY has evolved. Which yes, is an improvement. But the GOP has evolved because of new blood, not changing principles. Romney has improved through evolution, not an epiphany.
You talk about a border fence as though that is a Conservative Principle: who decided that? I was once for a fence, then realized the unfortunate truth that a fence would still be climbed over, breached or tunnelled under, therefore requiring the same boots, technology and other volunteers watching the border that we’d need WITHOUT a fence. Perry made this argument, and I now believe the same. We could spend $8 billion on a fence, then $200 million a year maintaining it, just to need another $200 million for the technology to do what saving $8 billion could also accomplish.
Romney’s stances on multiple issues over the years reveal his INSTINCTS, you were making a case only for his rhetoric:
HEALTH CARE (government management, Federal OR state/local is the problem)
GAY MARRIAGE (he once violated his own faith by embracing the right to gay marriage because it was politically expedient. Silence since then on the issue is equally complicit.
FEDERALISM - Is not a strong advocate in state matters – he is not a firm believer in federalism and believes the Feds can exact change from the top down, even well intentioned policies. This is Bush 2.0
ETHANOL - he stated 3 weeks ago he is in strong favor of subsidizing this industry, and that reveals a flawed progressive thinking that hurt the steamboat industry, the railroad industry, the early flight industry and others. Free enterprises without subsidies have always developed quicker than their sponsored counterparts. Romney favors a subsidy YOU’RE AGAINST. And this is recently.
GLOBAL WARMING - he very recently made comments in support of the concept of man made global warming and the need to enact policies that are “responsible” to that end. His campaign then leaked they were “recalibrating”.
This leads me to my third point:
Romney is a MAN MADE candidate (pun intended)
Perry is a SELF MADE candidate
Real leaders sometimes take different positions on how to handle the same problem, using the same principles we share with them. No one person can define Conservative Principles as a particular law, a particular fence, a particular mandate. It is the principles that matter, not the application of them that define the philosophy.
I disagreed with Perry on the border fence, but we share the same belief in protecting borders, national security, states rights for different approaches and local control, etc. In the end, his principles of security and reformed immigration procedures match mine, but I came to understand his position that doubling up the costs of securing the border were silly outside urban areas.
But a real leader, like Reagan, can make a persuasive case to another end, and inspire people to follow his method.
Something the current occupant of the White House cannot accomplish, even within his own Party.
It is this reason that I believe Perry is the best candidate. He is almost as squeeky clean as Romney in his personal life, has just as much, if not more executive experience, has proven diplomatic skills with both sides without compromising his principles and has an ability to not flip flop, making his case and winning people over.
Screw “preparation”, if we get Romney as our nominee, we get a product, made by man for the office.
If we get Perry, I am convinced we get a man, made by circumstances and proven by fire.
Perry is the anti-establishment candidate, the Teflon Conservative, the unapologetic, albeit imperfect leader that fits no mold but his own and can make a case for the positions he takes. He learns from mistakes, not focus groups, and he knows why he believes what he believes.
And THAT is why I support him.