Debating Mitt Romney - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Debating Mitt Romney

Through the magic of C-SPAN, right in my bedroom, with my Julie Goodgirl next to me, I am watching a 1984 debate between Walter Mondale and Ronald Reagan. Reagan is great and frankly, so is Mondale. The numbers they talk about are hilarious. They were worrying about a deficit in the billions. Now it’s in the 16-17 trillion range. Wow, are we far out on a limb.

But here is what I noticed and what I recall from 28 years ago. The media were totally aligned against Reagan. They HATED him. But he won by a landslide largely because he was a magnetic, likeable guy, and also because he had a specific program:

*stand up to the Soviets;
*win the Cold War;
*more defense spending;
*cut taxes;
*have a list of specific budget cuts;
*be a patriot.

Now, we have a difficult struggle. The media, except for Fox News, is desperately against Mr. Romney. They love and worship Mr. Obama, the cool mixed-race kid from Hawaii who has skate-boarded and surfed his way into our bland hearts.

But we also have a huge problem of our own making: we do not know who Mitt Romney is. Even to me, who is a political animal, Mr. Romney is a mystery man. Is he “the best, most honest governor Massachusetts has ever had” but a distinct liberal? Or is he now a conservative? What does he stand for? And what does it mean that he is a Mormon?

I worry about that last one. I love the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormons are honest and fantastically patriotic and hard working. But what does it mean to believe in Mormonism? A close friend said she could not vote for him although she is a Republican because, she said, “Mormons are not Christians…”

We know what Mr. Obama is and what he stands for:

(1) He is for apologizing to the rest of the world for our freedoms of speech and for our power and prosperity.

(2) He is an indolent President who has not even submitted a budget for three and a half years;

(3) He loathes the oil and gas sector of the society.

(4) He wants to make as much of the country as possible dependent on the federal teat.

(5) He unequivocally believes in unilateral nuclear disarmament.

And so on down the line of jejune left-wing thought.

So, we know that about him.

But, as I said, Mr. Romney is a mystery. Why doesn’t he use that vast hoard of money he has to make a clear statement of his principles, something like this:

(1) I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am unequivocally a Christian. I respect all peaceful religions and I respect those who do not choose to believe in God. But I am and always will be a Christian.

(2) I believe that the greatest gift that God has ever bestowed upon mankind in the last two millennia is the United States. I will never apologize for the USA, especially not on the soil of despotisms and murderous regimes — but really, not anywhere.

(3) I believe that the first duty of the President is to defend the United States of America. I will not disarm either unilaterally or any other way. This world is too dangerous a place for unilateral disarmament and I do not trust our adversaries enough to disarm. A solid, unquestioned defense is the cornerstone of the edifice of a free people. That includes a defense against ballistic missiles and I will not allow the ill-informed mockery of my opponents to keep me from defending America.

(4) I am horrified at the suffering of so many Americans in the current economic downturn. I will work night and day to get us out of it. I will urgently search for ways to deregulate where deregulation is strangling the economy. I will not take our country off a tax cliff or any other kind of cliff. I will have the smartest people in the nation comb every corner of the budget to find savings in our spending. If necessary to protect defense spending, I will consider revenue enhancement measures.

(5)I will not beat up on and mock and belittle the businesses that make this country run. Man is a difficult creature, but I will not demean all of the tens of millions who work for corporations as evil and soulless as my opponent does.

(5) I will be the President of all of the people. I will encourage those on relief to have self-respect and dignity by getting them off in a compassionate way of the public dole. A working man or working woman is simply a happier human being. The aged and infirm of course must not be denied care and support.

6) I will regulate Wall Street strictly. I have many friends on Wall Street and they helped me immensely in my career. But Wall Street behaved abysmally in the period leading up to and including the 2008 Crash. I will make sure they can never do that again, and if they do, I will make them pay for it.

(7) I will never allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon to threaten Israel or anyone else with.

(8) If we make mistakes that cost the lives or safety of Americans, we will admit it immediately and not cover up the truth

(9) We will not use money paid by taxpayers to do favors for companies with powerful friends in Washington but no meaningful prospects for employment.

(10) I am unequivocally for life.

(11) I will never compromise the retirement security or health care of older Americans in any way, shape or form.

(12) I will not do the kowtow to the teachers’ unions.

Well, you see. That’s a beginning. Let’s have an idea of who he is:

He is more of an American and less of an internationalist than Mr. Obama is.

He is more pro-free enterprise and less socialistic than Mr. Obama is.

His government will be less corrupt than Mr. Obama’s.

He is pro-life, without apology.

He enthusiastically supports powerful defense and defies the terrorists…

And on and on.

If he really cannot come out with a clear list of what he believes in, maybe he should not have been the nominee in the first place.

Ben Stein
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Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes “Ben Stein’s Diary” for every issue of The American Spectator.
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