I read a column in the Wall Street Journal by Bret Stephens which expressed something about the last election results that I have been meaning to say but couldn’t quite find find the words. Some of what he has to say, I agree and some I do not but I am struck by his description of Mitt Romney‘s weaknesses.
Though conservatives put themselves through the paces of trying to like Mr. Romney, he was never a natural standard bearer for the GOP. He was, instead, a consensus politician in the mold of Jerry Ford and George H.W. Bush; a technocrat who loved to “wallow in data”; a plutocrat with a fatal touch of class guilt. His campaign was a study in missed opportunities, punctuated by 90 brilliant minutes in Denver. Like a certain Massachusetts governor who preceded him, he staked his presidential claims on “competence.” But Americans want inspiration from their presidents.
That was my thought in the aftermath as well. The real problem with Romney was not that he was a moderate, or not Conservative enough, although that was part of it. the problem is that Romney does not seem to have a core set of political principles. His whole argument was based on “competence”, just like Michael Dukakis‘s campaign was back in1988. Perhaps it should be otherwise, but Americans are not looking for a competent manager in the Presidency, but a leader who inspired them to aim for something higher. To give the devil his due, Barack Obama is very good at that sort of thing. It is his one major talent. If only he had any talent in actually leading, the country would be a whole lot better off.
I think Stephens also has some worthwhile things to say about the immigration problem. The Republicans, and the country as a whole is going to have to come up with a just and reasonable solution to this problem.
On the subject of idiocy, can someone explain where’s the political gold in demonizing Latin American immigrants? California’s Prop 187, passed in 1994, helped destroy the GOP in a once-reliable state. Yet Republicans have been trying to replicate that fiasco on a national scale ever since.
If the argument is that illegal immigrants are overtaxing the welfare state, then that’s an argument for paring back the welfare state, not deporting 12 million people. If the argument is that these immigrants “steal” jobs, then that’s an argument by someone who either doesn’t understand the free market or aspires for his children to become busboys and chambermaids.
And if the argument is that these immigrants don’t share our values, then religiosity, hard work, personal stoicism and the sense of family obligation expressed through billions of dollars in remittances aren’t American values.
I don’t like giving amnesty to illegal immigrants because I do not favor rewarding people who have broken the law. It seems to me to be unfair to the people who have waited in line and filled out the paperwork to come to this country. Yet, aside from political considerations, we ought not to demonize people who want to come to this country to better themselves. We are going to have to find a way to allow those who are here illegally to earn legal statue and eventually citizenship. We will be a better country for it.
- Mitt Romney: This Year’s Michael Dukakis (washingtonmonthly.com)
- Mitt Romney: This Year’s Michael Dukakis – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)