I recently finished Mitt Romney’s book, No Apology: Believe in America.
Now in the interest of full disclosure, Mitt Romney was not my first choice for the Republican nomination. Given the speed and direction that our nation has been going, he wasn’t even my second choice.
But I am a realist. I know that not everyone will agree with me, but I believe that sometimes you have to hold your nose and vote for someone who isn’t your first choice in order to oust the person he is running against. Which idea did I dislike more, voting for Mitt Romney or another four years of Obama?
Knowing what I know about the current administration and the ideologies thereof, I was prepared to vote for whomever ran against him as long as his/her ideology was to the right of Obama’s. I know that sound cynical and trite, but it is my true feelings nevertheless.
That all being said, just because I was prepared to vote for Mitt, did not mean that I didn’t want to know what he stood for and where he was coming from. I mentioned to you last year, nearly everyone running for president has at least one book (some have several) and that it would be wise of us to read what they have written so we know exactly what we are voting for. We need to decide if those things we like outweigh those things that we don’t.
I wanted to share with you what I learned about Mitt Romney.
First of all, this was not a page turner, even for someone who loves politics as much as I do. There is a lot of information and a lot of explanation. No Apology is not an autobiography, and within the pages we learn very little about Mitt’s personal life and past. When I read Going Rogue and Core of Conviction I was able to learn about their pasts and how they got to where they are now. While I have no reservations about Mitt’s character or integrity (having lived so close to his North East stomping grounds, I have heard enough about him as a person to believe he is an honest man of integrity), I wish I could have learned more about the Romneys.
That being said, I learned a lot about what he believes and the policies I can expect from him. He went through several of the important issues that our country is facing and laid out exactly what he would do and why, what options we had and didn’t have, and what he wouldn’t do and why. He was so detailed, in fact, that I find myself shaking my head at people who claim that he is “vague”. You can only give so much of an answer during a 60 second time limit of a debate or a 30 second commercial, but in his book Mitt has laid everything out there in enough detail that anyone who reads his book will have no problem knowing where he stands.
Mitt talks about everything from Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid to Russia and China. Foreign trade, the military, immigration, education, welfare, family values, healthcare, climate change and everything in between.
One thing I liked was that he not only talked about the troubles we face, but he gave realistic solutions and was able to spend whatever amount of time (or paper) necessary to explain it in full. He also addressed the solutions that his opponents propose and explained in detail why they would not work.
Another interesting thing that Mitt did, was on certain issues (Medicaid/Medicare for example) he laid out several solutions, each of which had a good chance of working to reign in the out of control entitlements. Honestly, the chapter on entitlements absolutely blew me away, we all know that Medicare is bankrupting us and that something has to change, but I had no idea as to how deep the problems were, why they were bankrupting us an how corrupt the whole system is!
He was also honest about the fact that for a lot of our problems, there is no silver bullet and there needs to be a multi-step process to get us back to where we need to be (i.e., we can’t just lower taxes, we have to lower taxes, massively decrease regulation and stop propping up failing institutions).
Lest you think that I’m easily brain-washed, I do not agree with everything he believes. For example, I do not agree at all with a progressive income tax. I’m an advocate for a fair tax (or ideally no income or corporate tax at all). But the direction that Mitt wants to take us is as massive step in the right direction.
I also don’t agree with his assessment that man-made climate change is something we should at all be focused on. But what I do like is that about this subject he basically says “I believe that climate change is real and that man has an impact, but I will not enact any environmental legislation at the expense of our economic policy, national security or humanitarian efforts.” He calls out things like the Kyoto treaty for what they really are, nothing more than a massive international policy for redistribution of wealth and population control. He also has no illusions that entities like the UN have any business dictating American policy or have American interests at heart. While Mitt and I clearly don’t agree with the validity of man-made climate change, we are both equally open to alternative forms of energy, provided that they are better and/or more economical and, most importantly, market, not politics driven. We should not allow the fear mongering of the radical environmentalists dictate what companies are and are not allowed to thrive and what jobs are and are not allowed to be created. I can respect a man who says that just because he believes something, that does not mean he will force everyone to bow to the alter of that belief.
I loved his chapter on education. This is the chapter that changed my view from “holding my nose and voting for him anyway” to actively supporting him. One of the things I liked so much about Rick Santorum was his ardent support of the family and how he understood how the deterioration of the family is at the core of a lot of our country’s problems. When Mitt spoke about education he spent several sections explaining how the collapse of the family one of if not the biggest reason that our country’s educational system is broken. He said:
“I believe it’s time for all American’s to be honest with ourselves. We will never be able to truly address the achievement gap until we eliminate the high rate of out-of-wedlock births in our country. It is not a coincidence that student achievement scores by ethnicity mirror the rates of out-of-wedlock births.
…kids must be taught in school about the advantages of marriage. Welfare and safety-net programs must be reshaped to ensure that they do not facilitate or encourage out-of-wedlock births. Media and advertising executives must be held to account if they tacitly encourage the choice to conceive babies with no intention of bringing them up in two-parent families. It would make an enormous difference if film, music, and athletic role models around the country began to take their influence on millions of young people seriously. Unlike them, single parents in real America can’t afford a phalanx of nannies.
…These [single] moms are some of the best people we know. They work hard and sacrifice much to raise their children. But given the enormous human and national implications of nearly half our children being raised without the benefit of two parents, it is long past time to tell the truth: a marriage between one man and one woman is one of the best things a parent can do for a child.”
He has been in the private sector for the majority of his adult life. He knows how the economy works and he knows how people work. In spite of having grown up in a privileged home, he still knows what it is like to actually work for a living. Heck, the fact that he hasn’t been able to sell himself as well as he could (since he’s not willing to brag about his many personal accomplishments) shows that he is not a professional politician! If he were he would be saying all the right things and everyone would be sold on him (remember how the last election went?).
After reading this, I am convinced that he is the absolute best option we have right now. He will not slow down the socialization of our country, he will halt it and put us back on the free-market track. He might not be as hard core as I would like on some issues, but as much as I would like to see a flat tax, the disillusion of several government departments, Social Security entirely eliminated, disability limited to people who are actually disabled (as opposed to pretending to be disabled) and welfare privatized, I’m also realistic enough to know that it took us 100 years to get to this point of dependance on government and it is going to take us more than four years to get us back. We need to wean ourselves off of entitlements and remember what it’s like to be a self-sufficient and responsible people. Mitt Romney is the best man to help ease us out of dependance and pave the way for my dream president in 2020!
He clearly loves America and has enormous amounts of faith in the ingenuity and ethic of the American people. He loves our unique history and sees us as the City on the Hill.
I would encourage everyone who plans on voting in November to read No Apology (I will also suggest that you read both of Obama’s books, but I can’t tell you what is in those since I haven’t finished them yet). I especially would like to see everyone who is on the fence read it. This is the most important election of our time. Please be informed. If you are a citizen of voting age and not planning on voting I would plead with you to reconsider. This cannot be a close election! In my opinion Romney has to win and he has to win in a land slide because those who are in control now will not go down without a fight. If you think I’m being overdramatic, just come back and read this again after the election ;)
As of today, I will get up and proudly pull the lever for Mitt Romney.