Politics & Policy

For and Against

I am voting for Romney and against Obama. (Not that anyone should care, especially. But opinion-giving is part of what I do.) I thought I would list my reasons. I will not list all of them, but some of them — certainly the basics.

I will first say why I will vote for Romney. And then say why I’ll vote against O. Here we go.

I’m voting for Romney because

‐He’s a good and decent man (as far as I can tell). An exceptionally good and decent man. (Though politics brings out elbows, to be sure. So does business.)

‐He understands the economy. He’s a free-marketeer. He understands the importance of employers. He has ample business experience — useful in a president, especially now.

When he says, “The economy is in my wheelhouse,” I believe that. I don’t think it’s merely a boast. During the primaries, he often said, “I’ll get that done.” Meaning the solving of some problem. “I’ll get that done.” I believe it.

‐He is a “turnaround artist,” and this country is in sore need of a turnaround. As my colleague Kevin Williamson says, no one has ever been sorry he hired Mitt Romney to do a job.

‐He is against abortion. He wasn’t always, apparently. I believe he is now. The testimony of Mary Ann Glendon, about his tenure in Massachusetts, is important. (Glendon is a professor of law at Harvard, and a leading opponent of abortion.)

He would certainly not have taxpayers pay for abortions, as Obama is.

‐Romney would respect the rule of law, I think. He’s very ambitious: Anyone who runs for president is. But I don’t think he’s power-mad. I think he would respect the rule of law — process; the Constitution.

‐I believe he’s serious — actually serious — about entitlement reform. (As George W. Bush was. But it’s hard to be as bold as Bush, on Social Security and other matters.)

‐I like his running mate, Congressman Ryan, a lot.

‐Romney appreciates the rightful position of America in the world. That is, I think he has a good understanding of what America’s position ought to be. He is not ready to accept American decline, at home or abroad. He certainly would not welcome that decline. He understands America to be a force for good. He appreciates, I think, that decline is a choice, not an inevitability. And he chooses against.

‐He knows the importance of Israel. He knows its vulnerability. He wants to do something about it.

‐He would confront Iran. He would not flinch before it. I think he knows the folly of appeasement — the horrible consequences that so often flow from appeasement.

‐While properly “realistic,” he appreciates democracy and human rights. And knows that America can, and should, be helpful in furthering those things.

‐At the end of the 1984 vice-presidential debate, George Bush said, “I can’t tell you what a joy it is to serve with a president who will not apologize for the United States of America.” Geraldine Ferraro had the most perplexed look on her face. I knew exactly what Bush meant. I believe Romney would be the same kind of president.

That does not mean he’d be arrogant, about America. We’re not perfect (as I spend almost every day writing). But we do a lot of good in the world.

‐He would cancel Obama’s softness on the Castros — the kinder, gentler approach that has yielded absolutely nothing. (An American aid worker, Alan Gross, has been held hostage in Cuba for three years.)

‐He would not be pushed around by the U.N. He would not crave the approval of the U.N. He would recognize the Human Rights Council for the sham it is.

‐He would pursue missile defense, which Obama has stalled.

‐He appreciates the helpfulness of a market — of competitiveness — in health care.

‐He does not think that transferring certain responsibilities from the federal government to the states is some moral abdication.

‐He has a sensible view of the environment: He wants to be a good steward, but at the same time is not an earth-worshiper. He does not think that man is automatically a rapist of the earth. I have a feeling he thinks the earth should actually serve man — which is heresy today, of course.

‐He is willing to unleash American energy — or “legalize American energy,” in Michele Bachmann’s phrase.

‐He is not beholden to the teachers’ unions. When he thinks of education, he thinks of young people, students — not unions.

‐He does not go in for divisiveness. He doesn’t hate. He grants the humanity of the other side (even if the other side is unwilling to do the same).

‐I like that he’s religious. There are plenty of wicked religious people, and plenty of saintly secular people. But I count his religious outlook and devotion as a good.

‐I love — love — that he was willing to tell a left-wing heckler, “Corporations are people, my friend” — which they are. He calmly explained why. One of the best things I have ever seen in a campaign. (Watch it here.)

‐I like his occasional goofiness, his squareness. His 1950s language, which the Left loves to mock and revile. Makes me admire Mitt all the more.

‐In office, he would talk plainly. He would not call the War on Terror “overseas contingency operations,” or terrorism “man-made disaster.”

‐I think he’s the right man at the right time. A turnaround artist who ought to be hired by us, the people, to turn us around, before it’s too late.

Okay — enough of the positive (!). I’ll now dwell on the negative. I’m voting against Obama because

‐I think he’s been a lousy president. But also because he acts like we Republicans are bad people: inhumane and unpatriotic. I think he thinks we’re nuisances or threats, not fellow citizens to be engaged with.

‐I don’t believe that the “stimulus” was really and truly a response to the financial crisis. I think it was a whole mess o’ spending the Democrats had long wanted to do anyway.

‐Same with what we now call “Obamacare.” This has been the Democrats’ dream for ages. It has nothing to do with good times or bad times.

‐I don’t believe that Obama has any interest in reforming entitlements. I think he thinks those of us who want reform are motivated by the desire to hurt vulnerable people.

‐For him, businessmen are bogeymen. He demonizes them all too easily. I sense an underlying hostility to business.

‐I’m not convinced that President Obama doesn’t think American decline is a good thing — both for America and for the world. The world especially.

‐He is an abortion extremist: for public funding, for partial-birth abortion. Even unwilling to vote for the Born-Alive Infant-Protection Act.

‐Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan.

‐I’m not sure Obama is honest — about matters past and present. To take a present matter: the Benghazi attack. To take a past matter: the New Party. Stanley Kurtz has pretty much proven that Obama belonged to this party, a hard-Left organization. Obama and his camp have denied it up and down.

‐He has campaigned dirty, campaigned low — “Mitt Romney: Not one of us,” etc.

‐He is not telling the truth about Romney and taxation, about outsourcing, about Planned Parenthood and mammograms — about many things.

‐He will not stop caricaturing Republicans. He paints us as a bunch of plutocrats who gladly run over urchins as we’re chauffeured in our Rolls-Royces. This bears no relation to reality.

‐Bush handed him victory in the Iraq War. Obama just walked away from Iraq, because he couldn’t see any good in that war at all. At least, that is my impression. I believe he is willing to let Iraq go to the dogs, which would raise the question, Were our sacrifices in vain?

‐In 2008, he talked up Afghanistan as the good war. That was just a campaign trick. As president, Obama has wanted to “end” the war, not win it — big, terrible difference.

‐The Obama State Department expressed guilt to the Chinese Communists over the Arizona immigration law.

‐Democracy and human rights have been off the agenda — too George W. Bush-like, apparently. On the streets of Iran, democracy protesters chanted, “Obama, Obama! Either you’re with them [meaning the dictatorship] or you’re with us!” Obama stood silently by.

Sharansky called this “maybe one of the biggest betrayals of people’s freedom in modern history.”

‐Obama calls Iran “the Islamic Republic of Iran,” just as the mullahs want.

‐GWB sent Nowruz (New Year’s) greetings to the Iranian people. Obama has sent them to “the people and leaders of Iran.” He told Tehran he wanted “engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect.” Mutual respect? The Iranian government, bear in mind, is one that stones girls to death for the “crime” of having been gang-raped.

‐I’m nervous about the “flexibility” Obama promised in a second term. What does that mean?

‐With the French president, he griped about the Israeli prime minister.

‐He told American Jewish leaders that Israelis needed to “engage in some serious self-reflection.” The Israelis, of course, are the most seriously self-reflecting people in the history of peoples.

‐He had no respect for Honduran democracy. He sided with the Castroites and Chavezistas in that country.

‐He called Chávez “mi amigo,” his friend. Chávez is not a friend to any true democrat.

‐He has played nicey-nice with the Castros, and gotten nothing for it. An American aid worker, Alan Gross, has been held hostage in Cuba for three years. (Have I said that?)

‐Was it really necessary to have the Dalai Lama leave by a back door of the White House, next to piled-up garbage? Those photos sent a strong signal.

‐All of Obama’s bows have been unseemly. But the one to Chinese party boss Hu Jintao — disgusting.

‐The sight of American flags intertwined with Chinese Communist ones on Pennsylvania Avenue — disgusting.

‐Obama yanked missile defense from Poland and the Czech Republic. Worse, he put the program here at home on the back burner, if he didn’t take it off the stove altogether.

‐He gave the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson, the U.N. official who presided over the Durban Conference, that festival of Jew-hating.

‐He lent the prestige of the United States to the U.N. Human Rights Council, a body that serves the interests of human-rights abusers.

‐He called the War on Terror “overseas contingency operations,” and terrorism itself “man-made disaster.” (I’ve mentioned this, I know.)

‐He stood with the teachers’ unions against D.C. schoolchildren, who depended on vouchers for a decent education.

‐He has blocked American energy. He is bizarrely hostile to oil and gas, while favoring solar, wind, etc.

‐He is a central planner, picking winners and losers in an economy — meaning everyone loses, before long.

‐His vice president, Biden, is a joke, and sometimes a nasty one.

‐This president’s self-regard is too much: He knows more about Judaism than anyone else who ever held the office. He did more in his first two years than any other president — “with the possible exceptions of Johnson, FDR, and Lincoln.” “Possible”!

Enough. I do not think Barack Obama is all bad. I really do not. I know Mitt Romney isn’t perfect. Anyway, you know how I’m voting, and my reasons, many of them. Happy democracy! We’re lucky to live in such a country.


To order Jay Nordlinger’s new book, Peace, They Say: A History of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Most Famous and Controversial Prize in the World, go here. To order his collection Here, There & Everywhere, go here.


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