Sunday, January 27, 2008

Captain's Quarters Endorses Mitt Romney!

Captain Ed Morrissey has endorsed Mitt Romney for the GOP presidential nomination:

Over a year ago and many times since, I wrote that I could give no endorsement, because I had honestly not made up my mind about which candidate to support. I also told the CapQ community that if I did make a decision, I would announce it as soon as I made it so that they knew where I stood. The deadline for that decision rapidly approaches, since Minnesota caucuses on February 5th, and I have decided to caucus for Mitt Romney.

This decision did not come easily. Some have complained about the choices available to the Republicans, but I have seen the field as a collection of highly accomplished, experienced candidates, almost all of whom I could support -- enthusiastically -- in a general election. That made the decision as hard as it was, and it forced me to analyze what I want to see in a nominee.

First, I want to have someone who supports conservative values. In this, we have no perfect candidates. Fred Thompson came closest, but he quit, and I'm not going to cast my vote for someone who has already dropped out. Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, and John McCain all have some claim to a portion of the conservative mandate based on their accomplishments. Of the four, I trust Romney and Giuliani most to continue supporting conservative principles in the face of opposition -- and in fact I'd probably trust Giuliani a little more.

Second, and very importantly, the Republican should have demonstrated success in executive management in both private and public sectors. This eliminates everyone except Romney and Rudy. John McCain wants to make the case that his experience as squadron leader qualifies, and it does demonstrate leadership, but not executive experience. Both Rudy and Romney have led entire organizations in both the public and private sectors, with Romney getting the best in this area. They have had the buck stop at their desk. Both Rudy and Romney have transformed failing entities (New York City and the Salt Lake City Olympics). McCain led 400 men, but he answered to commanders above him at several levels while doing so, and I have yet to see an argument for transformation under McCain's leadership.

Why is this important? The Democrats have no one who can match that experience. Putting McCain or especially Fred Thompson against the Democratic nominee, whether that is Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, effectively cedes the inexperience argument. It argues that Republicans consider resumes to be irrelevant, and that will have us fighting with one hand tied behind our backs.

Third, we face a tough election if the economy turns south, even mildly. We saw this in 1992 and lost when Bill Clinton successfully convinced people that he had the best ideas for a turnaround. We have one candidate who has undeniable success in the global markets, who understands them and the players that run them. Romney gives us an advantage as the nominee that none of the others can match in this regard.

Over the last two weeks, my focus has come down to Rudy and Romney. Both would make good Presidents. Mitt, however, has shown that he will fight in every state, while Rudy played a bit of rope-a-dope -- and has apparently lost the gamble. Until the debate, I thought Rudy might have had the right idea, but Rudy still hasn't come out of the gate in any effective manner.

Romney is not a perfect candidate. We don't have any perfect candidates. In fact, I could still support Rudy, McCain, or Mike Huckabee without reservation in a general election against either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. I think, though, that Romney has the most staying power, the better argument, and the best resume of the remaining Republican candidates. I will enthusiastically caucus for Mitt Romney on February 5th.
Oh, a few have complained about the choices available to the Republicans?

You don't say!!

That's putting it mildly, no? What's it going to be today, Captain, toast or English muffins? Tough choices ahead. Whew!!

But I kid. It's a good analysis, actually.

I think the Captain's correct on the "right conservative" question, although the point about executive experience isn't all that compelling. I'm mean, really,
the greatest president in American history served one term as a back-bencher in Congress before being elected to the presidency. One of the reasons we've had so many governors win the White House is that being the executive of a state allows more time away from governing, considering how long and grueling the contemporary nomination process has become.

The Captain takes a pretty cheap shot at John McCain's military experience, by the way, in the process discounting over 25 years of service in Congress - and that's with an unparalleled focus on national security. That's not "ceding the inexperience" argument to Clinton or Obama, whatever that's supposed to mean. The truth is, McCain's experience in international affairs
is exactly what Democrats fear most! Nobody's arguing resumes don't matter...hello?

Captain Ed also suggests that Romney's business experience best qualifies him for presidential leadership on the economy. Perhaps, although I doubt Ronald Reagan's acting days or pitchmaking gigs he did for GE honed is skills at international trade's double-entry bookkeeping in balance-of-payments accounting! Hey, where's David Stockman when you need him?

The Captain also assumes that Romney is best positioned to make the sale to the electorate. He's the perfect candidate? Say what? Come I've reported here time and again, the public's looking for national experience and tested leadership, and
public opinion's overwhelming supporting McCain in this regard.

(McCain's also clearly
the leading candidate of either party on measures of electability.)

I respect Ed Morrissey tremendously. He's an outstanding political analyst (wrong only on occasion), and frankly I'm blown away by his blogging fecundity and intellectual scope.

But I can't help wondering if his selection of Romney reflects the path of least resistance.

I mean, he's among the top voices on the right side of the blogosphere, and he's apparently got some pretty big aspirations in radio broadcasting. So why rock the boat? The Rush-bots are unforgiving, you wouldn't want to alienate those bedrock conservatives!

Romney's a respectable choice, no matter what happens. I've supported McCain since he threw his hat in the ring for '08. If he's unsuccessful, I'll be thrilled to back Romney if he emerges as the GOP standard-bearer.

In the meantime, I'm not going to get squishy appeasing
any potential right wing enemies. This is a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party. There's a movement to be won!

On to the McCain Revolution!