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About Paul R. Hollrah
Paul R. Hollrah is a freelance writer. He is a member of the Civil Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni at the University of Missouri - Columbia and a Senior Fellow at the Lincoln Heritage Institute. He currently resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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Is Mitt Romney Tough Enough?
Paul R. Hollrah
August 20, 2012
The very first email at the top of my inbox recently was a Wall Street Journal Review & Outlook editorial titled “Why Not Paul Ryan?” Having just listened to an hour of Fox News reports on the latest Romney miscues I couldn’t help but wonder which job they were touting him for.

The 2012 General Election will be the most decisive in U.S. history. Between now and Election Day, Mitt Romney will be attacked on a daily basis by some of the most evil people on Earth...Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and (name a Democrat). So the question arises, does Mitt Romney have what it takes to lead our party to victory against the forces of evil and then rescue the nation? Until Paul Ryan came along, conservatives had every right to be uneasy.

For example, after a scathing Wall Street Journal attack on RomneyCare, Romney provided the weakest of responses. He said, “I stand by my successful healthcare plan in Massachusetts, but ObamaCare is a disaster because it does all of the things that RomneyCare does, just on a national level. So, if I am elected president I will give waivers to states so they can repeat my mistakes if they want to, or, if they are smart, they will reject both my approach and Obama’s.”

He was not a novice in the political arena. He should have known that to characterize his own Massachusetts healthcare initiative as a “mistake” was, in itself, a mistake. If he had any real sense of how conservatives see the respective roles of state and federal government he would have said, “Yes, the Massachusetts healthcare reform plan has not been the panacea we hoped it would be. But the states are the laboratories of social and economic policy in our federal system and it is the states that must take the lead in trying to solve problems such as the healthcare crisis. Obama and the Democrats in Congress don’t seem to understand that, when it comes to problems as great and as intractable as healthcare, the one-size-fits-all formula that they’re so fond of just won’t work. At least we tried. Now the Congress, the next president, and the other 49 states can learn from our experience in Massachusetts.” That would have been the perfect answer.

But it was in his announcement for the 2012 nomination that Romney caused conservatives to have serious doubts. Appearing before a crowd of New Hampshire supporters, he said, “I don’t speak for the scientific community, of course, but I believe the world is getting warmer. I can’t prove that, but I believe, based on what I read, that the world is getting warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that. I don’t know how much our contribution is to that, because I know that there have been periods of greater heat and warmth in the past but I believe we contribute to that. And so I think it’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and the global warming that you’re seeing.”

A more wishy-washy endorsement of global warming does not exist. If his purpose was to throw an ironclad conservative position “under the bus,” based on nothing more than conjecture, why would he repeatedly insist that he didn’t know anything about the issue?

During the weeks preceding the Iowa caucuses, when Newt Gingrich was challenging him for frontrunner status, Romney decided to spend $15 million in a negative campaign to derail him. It had the desired effect, but Romney looked really bad doing it. So, if he felt uncomfortable going toe-to-toe with Gingrich, how could he ever expect to defeat a bunch of Democrats who will say and do literally anything to reelect Obama? At this stage of the game we can only hope that Romney will grow tougher and more resolute as we move past the convention and into the fall campaign. There are ways to take Obama apart piece by piece and make him lose his cool, but is Romney capable of doing that? Does he have the toughness to get the job done?

For example, in their latest advertising outrage the Obama people have produced an ad in which a former steelworker...laid off when his employer was taken into bankruptcy by Bain Capital, two years after Romney left the company to manage the 2000 Winter Olympics...attempts to lay blame for his wife’s death directly on Romney’s shoulders. The fact is, the wife continued to have a job, with healthcare insurance, and was not diagnosed with cancer until 4 or 5 years later.

In baseball terms, the Obama people have tossed Romney a high hanging curve. But instead of using the charge to show that Obama and his people are the lowest form of bottom-feeding scum, a Romney press aide, Andrea Saul, suggested that if the man had lived in Massachusetts under RomneyCare he would have had health insurance. Is Ms. Saul still employed by the Romney campaign? And if so, why? Romney has audio tapes of a senior White House aide discussing the contents of the ad with the former steelworker. The man’s outrageous charges could only have gone from the White House to the Obama SuperPAC. That is patently illegal, but where is Romney’s demand for resignations and indictments?

In the same news cycle, the Daily Caller reported that they have obtained emails showing that top Obama administration officials, including Treasury Department officials and Obama’s auto czar, were the driving forces behind terminating the pensions of 20,000 salaried retirees at the Delphi auto parts division of General Motors. Those employees were singled out solely because they were not members of unions. Imagine the heartache and the desperation Obama has caused in those 20,000 households.

According to the Daily Caller, “The internal government emails contradict sworn testimony, in federal court and before Congress, given by several Obama administration figures. They also indicate that the administration misled lawmakers and the courts about the sequence of events surrounding the termination of those non-union pensions, and that administration figures violated federal law.”

Again, where is the outrage in the Romney camp? Does Romney have what it takes to counter Obama’s brand of gutter politics? Before arriving at the White House, Obama had never so much as run a sidewalk lemonade stand. How could he ever hope to reorganize the auto industry? Ridicule is a powerful tool. Are the Romney people smart enough to use it?

On the subject of job creation, House Republicans have passed and sent to the Senate at least 20 job-creating bills. But Majority Leader Harry Reid, the most despicable human being ever to set foot in the United States Senate, refuses to allow them out of committee for fear that Republicans might be given credit for a turnaround in the unemployment figures. And since the Democratic Party is wholly dependent on people’s misery for their very existence, it’s not likely that any of those bills will ever see the light of day. Will Romney have what it takes to hang that issue around the necks of Obama and the Senate Democrats?

And finally, Obama’s ill-conceived attack on Roman Catholic doctrine, contrary to the best advice of his own vice president and his chief of staff, is a gift that will just keep on giving...IF Romney has the political smarts to use it for all it’s worth. While a majority of Catholics may not agree with church doctrine on contraception and may practice birth control in violation of church teachings, the laity see the issue in a much broader sense. Along with the vast majority of voters in mainline protestant denominations, Catholic laymen see it as an attack on religious liberty. It is the proverbial elephant in the living room. Can Romney capitalize on it? Will he?

And while Obama will never willingly put documents on the table to let us know who he is, there’s nothing to stop Romney from assembling every conceivable kind of personal document, including tax returns from the years when he supposedly paid no federal taxes, spreading them out on a table, and saying, “Here they are boys and girls. This is my life. I have nothing to hide. Now, Mr. Obama, let’s see the story of your life. Put up, or shut up.”

These are all questions that conservatives have been asking since the beginning of the primary season. After our experience with Bush (41), Dole, Bush (43), and McCain, conservatives have every right to question whether or not we want to take a chance with another moderate. If Mitt Romney is still unaware at this stage that Democrats don’t play beanbag, then it’s up to us to throw a few high hard ones past his chin just to get his attention.

But there are signs that that may not be necessary. Now that he has named Paul Ryan as his running mate, Romney appears to be animated in ways we’ve never seen before. In response to the latest Obama-Biden outrages he demonstrated a bit of anger, saying, “Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago.” And in response to Joe Biden’s suggestion that Romney and Ryan would like to put black people back into chains, he said, Biden’s comments are “what an angry and desperate Presidency looks like.”

But just as Romney begins to excite a bit, something happens to make him disappoint us. The Obama challenge to drop the issue of Romney’s tax returns if he will only release five years of returns, was the perfect opportunity to challenge Obama to release all of his college entrance documents, his college papers, and his college grades. Tit for tat. But that’s not what happened. Instead, a Romney spokesman merely responded, “No.” Another opportunity lost.

Nothing less than the future of western civilization rests on the defeat of Barack Obama. If he wins a second term, everyone loses. It’s as simple as that. As my former colleague, Alan Caruba, has written, “Barack Obama exists only as the sock puppet of his handlers, of the people who have maneuvered and manufactured this pathetic individual's life. We laugh at the ventriloquist's dummy, but what do you do when the dummy is President of the United States?”


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