The always-impressive former Rep. Artur Davis wrote an eloquent column last week on “The Case for Mitt Romney,” well worth a read. (I meant to post it last Monday, but with Sandy hitting the East Coast, I decided to wait a few days, and just now remembered to do it.) Davis seconded Barack Obama’s nomination at the Democratic convention in 2008 but always has had some conservative instincts and always has exhibited great personal decency (he bucked the national Democratic Party way back when, by endorsing conservative William Pryor for the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals despite massive and vicious opposition to Pryor from Davis’ then-party, the Democrats). But the longer he stayed in Washington, the more disillusioned he became with the lefty Dems, and broke with them strongly by opposing ObamaCare. Anyway, and quite significantly, Davis’ support for Romney doesn’t rely mostly on ideology, but on competence:
[R]ather than tackle the crisis with single-mindedness, Obama veered off in too many scattered directions: a stimulus whose legacy is a slew of poor returns on investments in alternative energy and uncompleted construction projects, a partisan healthcare law that drained off a year of the administration’s efforts, a massive overhaul of the carbon producing economy that was too unwieldy for even many Democrats to embrace, a financial industry bill that has not stopped excessive leveraging in the capital markets. The portfolio is one that Obama and his allies have strained to explain, much less justify.
One by one, Davis tears apart the excuses of the pro-Obama partisans. Here’s one example:
The bracing truth is not that Obama was denied a chance to govern, but that the government he produced has proved so unappealing and been so inadequate to the challenges of the times. The healthcare reform, Obama’s most notable victory, is illustrative. The law’s convoluted path, the single instance since the thirties of a party-line vote carrying landmark legislation, has contributed to Washington’s distance from Main Street. That gap will only grow more distressing as middle income Americans are subject to new taxes if they don’t purchase insurance, as small businesses minimize their work force to avoid the law’s mandates, and the estimates of higher premiums touch the pockets of ordinary families.
But this is no mere attack on the Obama administration. He merely clears out the myths of the Obamites in order to set the stage for the positive case for Romney:
[A]s Romney has come into full view, it is evident that his central virtue is experience in effectively managing complex systems, a trait rare in national politicians. As much as the President demonized it, Romney’s development of Bain Capital into a private equity model required him to master the challenge of maximizing investor earnings in extremely unfavorable circumstances: Romney’s tenure there was a consistent narrative of turning companies around and if anything, his campaign should have touted it more. His gubernatorial term in Massachusetts happens to be exactly what a successful presidency would require, from a capacity to bargain with as well as outmaneuver a hotly partisan opposition, to a willingness to experiment with the fine points of policy. Romney’s is the record of a consistent conservative, but not one who would wage his own distracting counter-revolution. His history is one of grappling with hard political questions while showing a respect for the side of a dispute that does not share his views.
And Davis endorses the idea that Romney can effectively build coalitions across the aisle for right-leaning goals, saying that Romney’s “blueprint is the basis for an authentic bipartisan compromise in 2013.” Specifically, this isn’t some fuzzy-headed, low-content compromise to which Davis refers, but rather the Romney initiatives to enforce budget discipline, cut the corporate tax rate, and “simplify the tax code.” These are reforms all good conservatives embrace.
Please do read the whole thing. Really good stuff.