Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Romney In '08 - Is It Official?

Breaking news, found thanks to The Corner: Mitt Romney is to announce today that he will not seek another term as Massachucetts governor in 2006.

Why? Well, it's not official yet, but there's one obvious reason: Mitt Romney intends to become the 2008 Republican candidate for President of the United States. Mr. Romney has been testing the waters as of late, making appearances in New Hampshire and Iowa, key states for a primary win.


Governor Mitt Romney will announce at 6 p.m. that he will not seek re-election to a second term, setting the stage for an expected campaign for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, a senior aide to the governor said today.

The aide told the Boston Globe that Romney will announce that he will fill out his term, which ends in January, 2007. The move is widely seen as another step in his plans to launch a presidential campaign. His announcement today is expected to be televised live from the State House.

The 58-year-old businessman, son of former Michigan Gov. George Romney, has spent less than three years in elective office, but in that time the state has closed a $3 billion budget deficit without raising taxes, schools have scored first in national math and science tests and Romney held out until the Legislature gave him a tough new drunken driving law he demanded.

Romney began calling supporters and other political figures this afternoon to let them know of his decision. In between calls, he was putting the "final touches" on his announcement speech, which his wife, Ann, planned to attend, the source said.

Religion has the potential to play a big role in this race. Whether Mr. Romney will run as a Mormon candidate or a candidate who happens to be Mormon remains to be seen, although I suspect the latter will be what we see. He did not lean on his faith in his Massachucetts races, but he did not back down from his beliefs either. I suspect that if religion comes up, it will be brought up by an outside party, not a rival candidate. Bashing another's religion could (and should) be a quick route to political Siberia.

But there are some - some - who find an LDS candidate to be a heinous crime against God, man, and life. There are some evangelical groups and some Baptist groups who really don't like Mormons - as this from implies:
There has also been an undercurrent of concern among Christian conservatives, particularly in the vital South, rooted in his Mormon faith. One political operative in South Carolina branded the religion a ``cult.''
(One political observer in Utah branded that political operative in South Carolina a "moron.")

And there are others who will find a man of any faith to be repugnant - just look at some of the stranger criticisms of George Bush. The mere fact that Romney has faith in anything will draw some weird and rabid criticism. 2008 could bring a contentious election where God becomes a major issue.

The current political climate is polarized and rarefied, and I am of the belief that the 2008 election will make 2004 look like a roll in the hay, regardless of the candidate, unless the Republicans just surrender outright. As the number of national Democrats in which I have any faith can be counted on one hand (and none of those have a shot at the Democratic candidacy), I hope that the Republicans play for keeps in 2008. I also hope I'm wrong about the religion issue - but I'm not holding my breath.

As for Mitt Romney - I'm optimistic but reserved. While I think having an LDS candidate would be good for my faith, dispelling some myths and inviting the world to take a fresh look at what it really is to be a Mormon, that is not a reason to vote for him or support him.

I want to hear his ideas. Romney impressed me enough during the 2002 Olympics that I have confidence in his character and some confidence in his executive abilities. He appears to have done good in Massachucetts, but I am troubled that he will have only served one term - that's a good test track for a politician, but I'd like to see how he does down the stretch.

On the other hand - being an outsider may be an asset. He's not a "business as usual" kind of politician, which definitely works to his favor. There's a lot of people who are simply fed up with politics as usual.

What ideas will he bring to the table? What are his views on winning the War on Terror, dealing with Iran and Iraq, and dealing with North Korea and China? What about size of government, debt, and tax policy? Along with other things, such as judges and abortion? And who will he surround himself with to advise him?

So I'm not volunteering for "Romney in '08" yet. But he has plenty of time to make me a believer.

P.S.: I need to know - would anyone be interested in a "Romney Watch" feature if I started one? Let me know in the comments.

P.P.S.: The Corner has been following this since the story broke. Start here and scroll up. John J. Miller writes:
When I wrote my [National Review] story on Romney earlier this year, I cited a poll in which 4 percent of Americans said they'd never vote for a Catholic for president, 6 percent said they'd never vote for a Jew -- and 17 percent said they'd never vote for a Mormon.
That June 2005 article has now been posted on National Review Online here.

You might also find Terry Eastland's Weekly Standard article from June 2005 interesting as well. You can find that here.


At 8:08 AM, Blogger Maine Man said...

I think many of his ideas are already known. For example, you can infer that because he cut the MA debt without raising taxes that he favors smaller and more fiscally responsible government.

I also think that being LDS is a good reason for me (also LDS) to vote for him but if his actions differed from my ideals, that would be reason not to vote for him. I would vote for Reid because he is a Mormon, except that his actions as Senate Minority Leader (IE: supporting the "Bush lied to us" crap and the filibusters) would override that reason so in the end I wouldn't vote for him.

At 8:37 AM, Blogger Tyler said...

WHat I'm saying is the fact that Romney is LDS isn't enough for me to support him - there are LDS people who wrap themselves in the faith but I wouldn't trust any farther than I could throw them.

Now, as far as Gov. Romney goes, that isn't an issue. He walks the walk. But more importantly - he has good character, as he demonstrated to my satisfaction during his administration of the 2002 Olympics. He lead well, was honest and direct, and he got it done.

I like him - I just want to hear what he has to say. And he has plenty of time to say it.


Post a Comment

<< Home