WASHINGTON — There are some campaign advisors who would counsel former governor Mitt Romney to jog on the campaign trail tirelessly, probably in short pants and with a catchy T-shirt emblazoned with some memorable phrase, say, “Fred Fna Ate Here,” à la Al Gore and Bill Clinton. Jimmy Carter started the presidential candidates’ jogging craze, and since him there have been a horde of presidential joggers, all wearing little boys’ outfits, the notable exception being Ronald Reagan — possibly because, as he campaigned from 1976 on, he was considered too old to be president. On the other hand, the old cowboy had a sense of dignity that all other would-be presidents in recent years have lacked. Perhaps Romney should be photographed windsurfing as John Kerry was in 2004 and downing shots of firewater as Hillary did in 2008. Or he could filch a page from President-elect Vladimir Putin, and campaign shirtless. Adopt the he-man look, Mitt!
Alas, Romney is a normal middle-aged American. He is the kind of man we would all like to have live next door. Facts are facts — all the aforesaid candidates save Reagan and now Romney are weird! Americans do not mind having them wearing funny hats and eating ethnic food on the campaign trail, but almost no American would want them as neighbors. Not so Romney. He would be welcome in our neighborhoods, and maybe even trusted with a key to the house. Romney is NORMAL.
That is one fundamental reason why, as this campaign season draws to an end, I am glad he will get the nomination. Think about it. Practically everyone who has run for the presidency over the last few decades is odd. You would not want them in your neighborhood. Why would you want one of them in the White House? Rick Santorum ran a fine, if improbable, race, emphasizing values many of us share. Dr. Ron Paul reminded us of our constitutional principles that set Americans apart from the citizenry of other nations. Yet Newt Gingrich was the standard-issue candidate of recent decades. He was as bizarre as Bill Clinton and lacks Bill’s charm — if that is the word for it.
Romney is normal. That is what the press corps really means when they say things like he fails to inspire or he commits gaffes. Compared to whom, to Joe Biden? The other day Joe addressed the perfectly nice female president of Scott Community College, a Dr. Theresa Paper, as “Dr. Pepper.” Joe’s list of gaffes is encyclopedic. Moreover, Romney is campaigning for things most Americans believe in, and, in fact, many consider exigent.
He will repeal Obamacare and give Medicaid block grants to the state. It costs less for Medicaid in Idaho than in New York City. He says he will take seriously an alternative healthcare proposal involving Premium Support, after the healthcare proposal of Congressman Paul Ryan. He has promised to cut taxes: a 20 percent across-the-board cut in marginal rates, eliminate the Death Tax, eliminate taxes on capital gains, interest, and qualified dividends on those with an Adjusted Gross Income of $200,000 or less, plus cut the corporate tax rate to 25 percent. What is more, he will repeal Dodd-Frank, amend Sarbanes-Oxley, and initiate a review of all of Obama’s Nanny State regulations. That ought to get the economy revved up!
In foreign policy, he has promised in his first 100 days to reverse Obama’s cuts in missile defense, modernize our Navy, and reverse the decline in the aging inventories of the Air Force, Army, and Marines. He would pressure Iran to stop building nuclear weapons and improve our relations in the Middle East, starting with Israel. He has promised to open America’s energy reserves for development and prevent the overregulation of shale gas and extraction, helping to make America energy independent. He has promised to amend the Clean Air Act, excluding carbon dioxide from its jurisdiction. These are policies that all conservatives can applaud and independents too.
So why is there any doubt that Romney is a conservative? He has already won broad segments of the conservative vote and the Tea Party movement. Soon he will win over large numbers of independents. America is facing a crisis in spending and overreach. I think Romney can meet the crisis and restore America to Happy Days.