Precisely because he’s not Mr. Cool, the self-regarding incumbent and caudillo wannabe.
Obamunistas are saying that Obama is cool, and Romney is not. But cool to whom? Cool is in the eye of the beholder.
I have to admit that if you are an aging hippie who never grew up, still think that the counterculture of the 1960s was the highwater mark of American civilization, reject America’s capitalist economic system as inherently unfair and uncool in the grubby pursuit of profit, see America’s historic world-leading prosperity as crass materialism causing global poverty, and regard America’s world dominating superpower military as the tool of global imperialism, you would see Obama as very cool for bringing your values into the White House. Ditto that if you are a mental infant throwback stuck in the last century who thinks global socialism and Che T-shirts are cool.
But social and cultural conservatives would have just the opposite view. For them, Romney is the personal embodiment of their values. His personal life is right out of Ozzie and Harriett, Leave It to Beaver and Father Knows Best. The practical relevance of his Mormonism is that he is personally devoted to these values at his core. The offbeat theology of Mormonism is not at issue because he is not a Mormon theologian.
Moreover, his professional life involves the core of entrepreneurial capitalism. It has been all about the finance of struggling smaller and mid-size companies so they can grow into successful larger, national companies, creating boomlets of real jobs in the real world. Romney’s whole business life has been about the capital in capitalism, which means he knows first hand how the system works, and how to fix it. This is why he should personally appeal to the Tea Party as well as to social conservatives.
To the Left, therefore, Romney represents the personification of everything they hate (the precise word for today’s Left). A straight-laced Mormon who personally deeply believes and lives out traditional family values who is also personally a successful businessman, himself a card carrying member of the top 1%, from Wall Street to boot.
That frankly makes this election even more high stakes. For Romney is personally carrying the flag for cultural conservatism like no other candidate could. If he wins, he completely shatters left-wing mythology and demonology regarding social conservatism, the top 1%, and Wall Street. This is why social conservatives and Tea Party conservatives should now come together and enthusiastically support Romney.
Add to that the rejection that would involve of the personal embodiment of the Left, Mr. Cool himself, the product of a 1960s hippie and a self-avowed African communist. Indeed, for the Barack Obama/Nancy Pelosi/MSNBC Left to rise to power, and then be repudiated by the voters, would be far more of a defeat for the Left, and victory for conservatism, than if the Left and Barack Obama had never won at all. For their ideas would then have been tried and failed and repudiated by the American people.
How ironic it would be for the anti-Reagan, who did everything just the opposite of Reagan in power, to end just the opposite of Reagan. Instead of reelected in a historic landslide, with his political progeny going on to dominate American politics for nearly 30 years, a generation, he is defeated for re-election, possibly by a landslide, with his party quite possibly routed in Congress, and nationwide. That would quite possibly inaugurate another generation of Reagan conservatism, as the nation goes back to basics with the three Rs, Romney, Rubio and Ryan, restoring the American Dream, traditional American prosperity, and superpower peace through strength.
Given the alternative, Obama’s re-election and the continued decline and fall of America into Hugo Chavez style socialism, or worse, in a second Obama term, this election is among the most critical and consequential in American history, rivaling 1860, 1932, and 1980, a true Paul Revere moment for the American people.
A Historic Veep Pick
In this context, Romney’s pick for his vice-presidential running mate will be highly revealing as to how he intends to govern, and highly consequential as to whether he can reconstitute the Reagan majority coalition. Romney needs to recognize that the country is so polarized and so ideologically divided that he cannot gain by trying to appeal to liberals and slice off a few votes from the Left. Liberals and the Left are going to vote for Obama in any event. Yes, Romney should try to appeal to votes in the middle, but he also needs to recognize the best kept secret of American politics — half of independents are independent not because they are in the middle, but because they are to the right of the Republicans. They are independent because they think the Republicans are too liberal, not because they think the Republicans are too conservative. That is why the Reagan coalition could dominate American politics for a generation.
This is why Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is such a unique, historic opportunity for Republicans. He would enable Romney to bring together and maximize the Reagan coalition again of Republicans and independent conservatives because he is such an appealing conservative. But he brings an added ingredient that is so critical to the future of conservatism and the Republican Party — a powerful, grassroots appeal to the burgeoning Hispanic vote that is not committed to the ideological Left.
The truth is that America’s Hispanic population is growing rapidly and will become a bigger and bigger proportion of the electorate in coming decades. Bottom line, there is no meaningful future for conservatives or Republicans without an appeal to the Hispanic vote. Rubio does so well in appealing both to Hispanics and conservatives, including social conservatives and Tea Party conservatives. He consequently presents the embodiment of opportunity to change the future course of American politics for decades.
That change would start this year. In 2008, Obama took the Hispanic vote by 66 percent to 29 percent. But that vote is deeply alienated from Obama now after his miserable first term performance for Hispanics. They have suffered a depression under Obama, with unemployment well into double digits for his entire term. The disaffection is so broad that the latest data shows a net outflow of illegal immigrants from America, as real people vote with their feet to flee Obama’s economic oppression.
Imagine the alienation that suggests among the Hispanic population of American citizens that remain here, for surely they are aware of the hardship suffered by their ethnic brethren, if not personally experiencing it themselves. They are already living the nightmare of the American Dream receding before their eyes like the Cheshire Cat. They are ripe and ready for change with the right appeal.
Rubio on the ticket would draw much needed attention as well to Romney’s own Hispanic background. While Romney has the demeanor of a WASP, he in fact is not a Protestant, not an Anglo-Saxon, and actually not even white actually but a person of color in fact with his Hispanic heritage back to his family’s roots in Mexico.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?