Tigerhawk has summarized and compared the positions of both men, so I don’t have to do it. But I’ll add—as I think I’ve been saying right along—that if in fact current front runner Romney is nominated, I plan to vote for him—and in doing so I won’t be having an experience that’s all that different from my vote in all the elections I’ve ever participated in, which is to compromise and vote for an imperfect candidate.
I’ve never been all that pleased with the offerings of either party for president. I think I’ve mentioned before that my most favored candidate ever was Paul Tsongas in 1992—and he didn’t even win the nomination, and then it turned out he would have become gravely ill in office.
I’ve been even less pleased with third party offerings, and even if I’d liked someone like Ross Perot (which I did not), I am a practical sort who wants to make my vote count. The fact that it tends to count as a vote for the lesser of two evils is something I’ve grown accustomed to, and although I haven’t given up hope of someone I can truly admire, trust, like, and even agree with being nominated, I’m practical enough to realize that in politics that’s a longshot.
Sometimes I think that in that I differ from those who voted for Reagan during the 80s. It should come to no surprise to readers of this blog that I voted for Carter twice but that I also was never keen on him, and never hated Reagan either (in fact, I seem to recall having a sneaking admiration for much of Reagan’s foreign policy, although in those days I tended to keep mum about that in polite company). But to conservatives at the time, the emergence of Reagan as a national figure and then president must have seemed nearly miraculous. Voting for him might even have been a pleasure. No wonder so many of those who remember doing so would like to have that sort of feeling again, and those too young to have had the experience would like a similar one.
Well, it’s almost certainly not going to happen this year, unless you don’t mind writing in the name of the person who’s your particular champion and thereby wasting your vote. Of course, you may think that voting for Romney or Gingrich (or whomever is nominated; I think it will almost certainly be one of those two, and probably Romney) is already wasting your vote.
I do not. I think either represents a choice, not an echo (a phrase popularized in Goldwater’s 1964 bid) compared to Obama, although I prefer Romney over Gingrich because of Romney’s far more stable personal life and his lengthy and successful record in the private sector. I like the fact that each man is smart and a good debater, because these skills will be needed to face Obama.
As for Romney’s history with the Massachusetts health care program that’s come to be known as Romneycare, I keep promising a larger post on it. But that post would be so large that I haven’t yet had time to tackle it. Here’s the short version:
Many people consider it specious sophistry when Romney claims that an individual mandate in Massachusetts was okay whereas it’s not okay for the federal government to impose the same thing. But that argument makes sense to me. There are many powers forbidden to the federal government by the constitution that are allowed the states. That is one of the bases of federalism, which is certainly a conservative principle to uphold.
Whether or not you think an individual mandate is a good idea, even for a state, is another question entirely. You may think it’s a bad one. But it almost certainly is not unconstitutional for states.
When so-called Romneycare was enacted in the very liberal state of Massachusetts, the individual mandate was considered (even by conservative think tanks at the time) to be a conservative solution to the problem of extending coverage—a substitute for a government-operated single-payer type system which Massachusetts might have otherwise enacted, and a way to provide a private sector alternative to the then-current practice of treating the indigent for free and passing the bill to the rest of the population via increased hospital bills for those who could pay. Romney also wanted to impose some limits on the bill that the liberal Massachusetts legislature would not countenance, overriding his vetoes.
And Hawkins criticizes Romney for, among other things, not having been a popular governor in Massachusetts. But I’m puzzled as to why that would be a drawback; isn’t it instead a possible testament to his conservatism rather than his unelectability? After all, Massachusetts is hardly representative of the US electorate as a whole—fortunately.