RJC in DC–Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition 2008 Candidates Forum. As always, he was engaging, funny, and deadly serious when necessary.

I had the pleasure of meeting Mitt Romney earlier in 2007 in Los Angeles at the California Republican Party Convention. I was unfamiliar with him, and he was barely above an asterisk in the polls. George Allen had just self-destructed, providing an opening for a fresh face. He had a couple of great lines I still remember.

“People criticize me for not getting along as well with the democrats in the Massachussetts legislature as Arnold Schwarzenegger gets along with the democrats in California. Of course Arnold gets along better with the democrats. He sleeps with one.”

“When I was asked to head up the Olympics, and my face was on the cover of magazines and sports pages, my sons came to me and express that in all their lives, the last thing they ever thought they would see is their dad anywhere near the sports section.”

http://tygrrrrexpress.com/2007/03/more-than-just-dilberts-mormon-manager/

I asked him a question at that event, but because it was not a serious question, I did so privately.

“Governor Romney, despite your willingness to be tough on crime, your state does not have tough drunk driving laws. Are you facing any opposition from anyone in your state with regards to strengthening these laws?”

He laughed and replied, “I just try to stay off the road when he gets in his car, and on the road when I get in mine.” 

I then took a picture with him with my surprisingly effective 18th century camera.

Before getting to the substance of Mitt Romney’s remarks, which were plentiful, a couple issues should immediately be confronted for good.

First of all, people refusing to vote for a man because of his being a Mormon are bigots. Period. End of discussion on this issue. Next, some people complain that he is too perfect. Yes, he looks like a prototypical successful management type out of “Dilbert.” His hair is perfect, his jaw is perfect, his wife and family are perfect. People who object to this are guilty of jealousy. I think we should celebrate the fact that a man in a career as tough as politics produced good children. Those who think he is all image, too “slick,” and “polished,” should remember that we live in a media driven world. We want candidates to look an act a certain way, but if they do it “too well,” we denigrate them. We criticize some candidates for marital problems, divorces, and even baldness, and then turn around and criticize a happily married man with good hair. Those who claim that he is “scripted” do not seem to have that objection to the democrats running for President, and they read off of scripts that were popular 40 years ago.

Mitt Romney is not a top tier candidate because of his style. His appearance before the RJC reflected a man who clearly “gets it” with regards to what America is facing. With that, here are the bulk of his remarks.

“I believe all Jewish liberals should be converted…to republicanism.”

“In Alaska, Jewish democrats pray at the Synagogue of the Frozen Chosen.”

“Boundaries are not the issue in the Middle East. A Palestinian state is not the issue…nor is Palestinian poverty. A lack of healthcare and housing is not the issue.”

“The Palestinians have their view and the Israelis have their view. Isn’t there some truth to both views on Israel? No!”

“Todays democrats are like Neville Chamberlain.”

Governor Romney then outlined four pillars of foreign policy.

“1), Sucess means no safe havens for Hamas and Hezbollah. We also should have refused to provide security for Khatami to the airport from Harvard. Armageddonijad (my spelling) should be indicted in New York, not invited to New York.”

“2) We need to ask the dmeocrats point blank…’Will you stop a nuclear Iran?’ I will.”

“3) We must pressure Arab states.”

“4) We must let the Iranian people know that being a nuclear power is not a source of pride.”

He continued with his remarks along the same lines.

“America will never allow the destruction of Israel.”

“Israel is a nation that arose (literally) from human ashes. Never again.”

“We must overwhelm global jihad…and add 100,000 more troops.”

“The United Nations has failed. Only free nations should work in a new group.”

“(With regards to) The U.N. Human Rights Council, the U.S. should end support for this sad spectacle.”

Governor then took questions. The first one was about fossil fuels. He stated that the President “must be the Educator in Chief, must show the horrors of $100 or even $150 per barrel of oil. We need more nuclear power, and more uses of liquified coal.”

One person asked a question regarding torture. It was a question I had thought of many times. The person wanted to know exactly what torture was, and what did not rise to that level (burning cigarettes as opposed to sleep deprivation, etc). The fellow listed many tiems, and Governor Romney jokingly interjected, “You need to add to that list.”

When the fellow asked the Governor to flat out state what was within bounds and what was out of bounds, Governor Romney replied, “I will not do that, no Presidential candidate should definte what torture is, because that will aid the enemy. America does not torture people, but we will not tell our enemies exactly what we will and will not do.”

Anybody who wants to accuse Governor Romney of pandering should reconsider, at least with this issue. I reversed my own view,and accepted his explanation as one I had not thought of before.

At one point his wife came slightly closer to him on the stage, and he asked, “Would you like to say something?” She replied, “I just want to stand next to you.” He responded, “You can always stand next to me.” Whether that was scripted or spontaneous should not diminish that they are a happily married couple, which again, in our society is something positive.

He then offered other responses to questions asked.

“President Bush has kept us safe for the last six years. He fought for the Patriot Act.”

“When captured, Khalid Sheik Mohammed said, ‘See you in New York with my lawyers.’ No, he did not go to New York with his lawyers. He went to Guantanamo Bay where he belongs.”

When asked about healthcare, he stated, “Higher regulations lead to higher premiums. We need to focus on private, market based solutions.”

When asked why Evangelical Christians might be hesitant to support a Mormon, he replied, “I don’t know, ask my neighbors.” The crowd laughed, and he continued. “Evangelicals share my values. Iowa has evangelicals, and the polls show me ahead in Iowa. I am doing well in New Hampshire. My own polls show me ahead in South Carolina, of course I make them up.” The crowd laughed again, and he got in a very subtle dig at his competitors. Actually, I would not even call it a dig it wa sso mild. “The issue is not Mormonism, divorces, or age. The issue is leadership.”

When asked why we would support Fatah, given that they are just as bad as Hamas, Romney did not tell the crowd what they wanted to hear.

“As for Fatah, I want more evidence about them. How can you have peace talks when there is no one to talk to?”

He ended with some remarks about the nobility of America.

“In the history of the world, people win wars and take land. America wins wars, but does not take the land.”

Mitt Romney is a self made millionaire with a clear grasp of the defining issue of our time, that being the War on Terror. He has never wavered on that position, and he clearly understands that everything our forefathers fought, bled and died for is at stake.

Governor Romney deserves to be a top tier Presidential Candidate.

Now if only I could only get my hair to be half as perfect as his is.

May God Bless his him and his family. Good luck on the campaign trail Governor.

eric    

18 Responses to “RJC in DC–Mitt Romney”

  1. Muslims Against Sharia commend Governor Romney for clearly defining the enemy and standing up to Islamist lobby and PC establishment.

    Link to video

  2. “Muslims Against Sharia”? “Islamist lobby”? “PC establishment.”?

    That’s it. I’ve officially heard everything.

    I wrote a piece of advice for Romney the other day. The Salt Lake Tribune editors were urging Romney to take on the issue of his Mormonism head-on with a Kennedy-esque circa 1960 speech. I advised Romney not to do it.

    Forgive me for plugging here, but I thought it may be a useful contribution.

    http://jerseymcjones.blogspot.com/2007/10/separation-of-church-of-latter-day.html

    JMJ

  3. Lily says:

    Nicely written. I, too, support Mitt Romney – not because he looks perfect, but is more qualified than any of the other candidates. He has executive experience, he is fearless, he gives straight answers, he is pro-life (always was; when Governor of Mass., he was compelled and obligated to uphold that state’s pro-choice laws, period); he is single-minded in wanting to do everything possible to protect the United States from further attacks. What else? Oh yeah – he’s a turnaround genius, taking a losing situation and making it a winner, and profitable. He’s the only man emotionally fit to be President of the United States.

  4. NJ GOP says:

    Thanks for the info in Mitt. I have liked pretty much everything I’ve heard from him so far, but haven’t yet made up my mind. The pro-life thing doesn’t impact my vote so much, so I could go with Rudy — just not sure yet.

    I disagree with your comment that anyone who doesn’t vote for Mitt due to his Mormonism are bigots “end of discussion”. There are books written about how the Mormon agenda is to attain high public office in this country toward the goal of a Mormon-ruled country. “One Nation Under Gods” is one.

    I personally don’t have an issue with Mitt’s Mormonism, but if you don’t think the Dems haven’t already started their fear campaign, think again. All it takes is that seed of doubt; and you have to admit the Mormons are still a bit scary to many people.

    I recently visited Salt Lake City with an educated, articulate colleague who asked me just before the trip, if any of the people we would be meeting had multiple (unofficial) wives. I thought she was kidding; she wasn’t.

  5. wxwatcher says:

    NJ GOP.

    If you want accurate information about members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) then go to a place you can get that information. mormon.org this is a very accurate account of the beliefs of the church. There is NO poligamy in the church today. Yes there was in the past but that was a long time ago. Family is First in the church and Governor Romney is much like many of the Mormons I have met. Although they are not all perfect they certainly have their priorities in the right place.

  6. NJ GOP says:

    wxwatcher:

    I’m pretty “up” on the Mormons and their beliefs. I said there are books written about the Mormon agenda; but I don’t necessarily agree with those theories. In fact, if Mitt were the nominee, I’d definitely vote for him.

    My point is that the Dems will use this even if it means demonizing Mormonism to the same level as the KKK, and since so many people (yes, educated people) see them as a bit mysterious and not a mainstream belief system, it won’t take a lot to pull it off.

  7. Hueguenot says:

    As an evangelical Christian, I have serious disagreement with Mormon beliefs and doctrine as I understand them.

    And I have no qualms about voting for a Mormon as president.

    In fact, not only would I vote for Mitt or any other Republican in the general election, at this point, I may vote for him in the primary.

    Contradictory? I can see why some people might think so, I can understand why some might have a problem with voting for one. I would disagree with them, but I think it would be an oversimplification to label them as bigots.

    The Dems may try to demonize Mormonism as mysterious and mainstream, but in so doing might underestimate the extent to which a lot of people would prefer a witch doctor or Druid priest to Hillary 🙂

    An aside:

    “The United Nations has failed. Only free nations should work in a new group.”

    Thank you, Mitt. This shows he understands the heart of the incompatibility of the U.S. and the U.N. Our Declaration of Independence brilliantly set forth who we are and what we’re about. In his address at Gettysburg, Lincoln eloquently reaffirmed the same. Any nation for whom these ideas are alien is a nation that we cannot bind ourselves and give up sovereignty to.

  8. Hueguenot says:

    You know, I really ought to get with that whole proofreading thing.

    …In fact, not only would I vote for Mitt (or any other Republican over any Dem) in the general election, at this point, I may vote for him in the primary…

    …I can see why some people might think so, I can understand where someone who has a problem voting for a Mormon would be coming from. I would disagree with them, but I think it would be an oversimplification to label them as bigots…

    Must be time for bed. ‘Nite, all.

  9. Carole says:

    Frankly, to not vote for a Presidential candidate based on whether they agree with your faith based issues or not, or because they are not of your faith, is shallow thinking. When it comes to the President of the United States, you want someone that will realistically address the domestic needs of the country – financial, energy, etc – is an experienced executive/manager, understands national security, and can communicate well. I am a devout believer, but have never voted for or against a candidate based on their religious views. It is simply irrelevant. I am also not concerned about social issues in a President, as that is truly not their major calling. Experience as an fiscal executive, the ability to operate as a Commander in Chief, and the ability to manage foreign affairs rank much more highly on my relevance scale.

    I have heard good thing about Romney, but never really heard from him. So far, I have not been impressed either way…but I have had little exposure to him. But if anything, his Mormon faith affiliation means he is strong on family values, which is a definite positive in his column, as whatever you may believe, the strength of families is still the most important influence in our society. My more faith based cohorts should take note of this before they rush to judgement based on his spiritual beliefs.

  10. Jettboy says:

    Theology shouldn’t even be on the radar of why you vote for a President. That is, unless it has direct impact on how that leader will lead. Considering all of the Mormon beliefs about the place of the United States as a divine creation for the betterment of the World, that should be a plus rather than a negative. Other than that, there isn’t anything about Mormonism that has any relation to governing other than personality traits.

    I have heard vague explanations from people that claim some grand Mormon conspiracy to take over the U.S. and then the World. They never fully explain what that conspiracy is or how it is to be accomplished. Most of the specific explanations that are given are the exact same beliefs as those who are critical. In other words, its like those who criticize over the supposed “conspiracy” are angry because they have competition for something they want themselves.

    For instance, I used to believe all the Liberal accusations that the Religious Right were trying to set up a Theocracy rather than Democracy in the United States was hogwash. They wanted a more moral society based on decency, self-control, and family values. Since Romney has gotten into the Presidential race, I am not as sure Theocracy isn’t the goal. Although some high positioned conservative leaders have backed Romney, many have not because he isn’t “Christian” according to how they define the word. That goes doubly so for many rank and file. Often times it comes down to “do you want a Christian for Pres. or not?” That is a literal question. No others need apply. That sounds like theocracy to me. And people are worried about Mormonism?

    Romney should be the Conservative choice (as one possible reason) because such support can both repudiate the theocratic inclination of the Religious Right and still remain within the values of the Republican Party.

  11. codgerrumblings says:

    Eric,

    Sorry this has nothing to do with your current entry, but I just noticed your request on my Bullfrog-at-Townhall-dot-com to consider linking to this blog of yours. Done. I linked here from Bullfrog. I have a couple of WordPress blogs, but neither is devoted to politics.

    Jane, aka Bullfrog

  12. NJ GOP says:

    I disagree with you Carol that a leader’s faith is irrelevant. In any organization, the “world view” of the leadership impacts everything that happens under that leadership. I once worked for managers who literally ordered me to overcharge my customers, by huge amounts of money — this is a major corporation listed on Nasdaq, not some mom and pop shop. Right now I am working on an investigation of a company (in a different industry altogether) that bilked enormous amounts of money from unsuspecting people. The management is responsible, and they let this occur right under their noses for at least the past 2 years.

    Ethical people tend to draw ethical people to their team; and a no tolerance policy toward irregularities may not make your organization bullet-proof, but it sure helps.

    If you don’t have a person of solid character then you have nothing. I distinctly remember when Clinton was running in the primaries and the whole infidelity thing broke in the news. My reaction then was that if this guy can’t be faithful to his wife, whom he stood before God and swore to be faithful to, how faithful is he going to be to the voters?

    It makes a difference.

  13. Jettboy says:

    “I disagree with you Carol that a leader’s faith is irrelevant.”

    Sorry NJ, everything you said had to do with a moral world view and not primarily a religious one. As such, how “faithful” you are to your wife and how ethical you are with a company has NOTHING to do with religion. Now I know that there are religious people out there who, for whatever reason I cannot understand, believe morality and religion are the same thing. As someone who considers himself highly religious myself, I do not believe theology means morality. Often I have even seen theology used as an excuse to be anything other than moral or ethical.

    If I misunderstand what you say, I can only think of one other way to take your discussion. It is true that how a religious organization thinks and behaves can determine predictability of individuals who belong. However, I believe there are very few instances where theology can determine anything other than what a person believes. That is because there can be so many different ways that individuals within the respective religious organizations can interpret their own theology. Frankly, theology is not very practical other than as a determination of the different denominations that exist. More important is how religious people treat others who don’t believe as they do. That is a better indicator of how a person will govern than what they believe about the nature of God and Eternal destiny in most instances.

  14. Jersey McJones says:

    Speaking as a liberal, I was appalled when three GOP presidential nominees raised their hands in agreement that they did not believe in evolution. One of them was Huckabee. Romney did not. I get the distinct feeling that Romney’s religious epistemology won’t play much into his actual leadership, but I could be wrong. I get the feeling he’ll be more of a corporate shill. Still though, with the SCOTUS being the age it is, the thought of another “strict constructionist conservative” (I can think of at least three things wrong with that title) on the bench is a disturbing prospect. These guys are the most selectively authoritarian, corporatist, intentionally vague and regressive “strick constructionist’s” in the history of the expression.

    JMJ

  15. micky2 says:

    I know Hillary always wears pants suits.
    But its not nice to call her a guy.

  16. Carole says:

    Well said, Jettboy.

    NJ Gop

    Right. The world view. I am not going to vote for a socialist world view, or a tax and spend world view, nor a victim world view. But forgive me. I grew up steeped and scalded up to fatal burns in religion. I am intimately acquainted with a Lutheran minister that thinks our post-his-marriage tryst was not wrong. I don’t think his theology is really impacting his world view, do you?

    To find God, I had to leave religion. I have a jaundiced view of someone that make a political point of their religion, and an especially jaundiced view of their opponents who do.

    Kindly do not miss the point; that being there are enough issues that actually count more than theology as a deal killer.

  17. NJ GOP says:

    The statement I was referring to was that a “leader’s faith is irrelevant”. How can faith be completely irrelevant? That’s a little simplistic don’t you think?

    If an Islamic Jihadist was running for office, would you say his faith is irrelevant? I don’t think so. No, you have to look at the whole person, and a person’s faith generally is a foundation for his or her world view.

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