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November 05, 2012

Why I Will Vote for Mitt Romney

I am not -- to put it mildly -- a fan of Mitt Romney. To me, he is, in blood and bone, simply another statist technocrat who will do little or nothing to stop the growth of Leviathan. I fully concur with the estimable and wise Richard Epstein in most of the particulars regarding Mr. Romney.

Romney has wooed conservatives assiduously, even to the extent of taking on Paul Ryan as his running-mate. I have remained immune to Romney's blandishments (I know his record), yet his choice of Paul Ryan kindled a spark of hope in the dead black cinder of my heart. This is why I shall cast my vote for Mitt Romney tomorrow. I find myself once again, as I did in 2008, voting for a Vice President rather than a President. Once again faith must trump bitter experience.

Paul Ryan understands the true dimensions of our fiscal peril. That's rare enough in the precincts of Washington, D.C. But it's not all dollars and cents to him: he understands the role of culture and religion in the American character, and how those things have contributed to the fiscal abyss we now face. The entitlement state says some good things about us as a people: we are caring, kind, generous, and optimistic. But it also says some bad things: we are spendthrift, needy, gullible, and more willing to accept the benefits of a democratic republic than we are the burdens of it. Paul Ryan will need to be the spokesman for a fundamental reform of America's entitlement state, and we could not have asked for a better one. (And let us not forget that should the Senate split 50/50, Ryan will cast the tie-breaking vote.)

As for Mitt Romney.... He gives every indication of being personally a decent and honorable man. But this is true of many men who turned out to be utter villains while in public office. I deplore his record as Governor in Massachusetts, and can only pray that he will live up to the faith small-government conservatives are placing in him. If he wins, his mandate will be to shrink government and not be a custodian of the bloated monster we have now. It will be to fundamentally reform the tax code. It will be to use all his power to repeal the abomination that is ObamaCare. It will be to once and for all explain to Americans why the entitlement state we have now is untenable, and why it must be completely reformed. (I was going to say "abolished" but a libertarian heart does not beat in Mitt's breast -- or Paul Ryan's, for that matter; the most we can hope for is slow and incremental reform.) If he fails in this, he is sounding the death knell of the GOP as far as I'm concerned. This is the last time I will be played for a fool.

I was, I admit, tempted to either sit out this election or to vote for the Libertarian candidate. Bill Whittle convinced me otherwise. Like him, I am tired of being played for a sucker by the milquetoast GOP all these years... but also like him, I am terrified of what four more years of Obama will bring.

Mitt Romney is an unpalatable choice, but only taken in isolation and on his own terms. Compared with Barack Obama, he is the only possible choice. This is not an occasion for the grand, doomed gesture. I know what I want: a nation that is sober, thoughtful, thrifty, proud, culturally strong, and confident both within and without. With a President Mitt Romney, I at least have the hope of seeing such a thing come to pass. Under a second Barack Obama term, that hope would be snuffed out. I cast a vote for Mitt Romney not on his record, which I hate; but rather on the hopes that he will behave differently as President.

We can choose to be free citizens who control our own government, or we can be dependent vassals to an increasingly-overbearing federal government. Citizen, or subject. We must choose.

And we must remember that our children will bear the consequences of the choice we make.

If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide. -- Abraham Lincoln


UPDATE: For those who think I'm being too downbeat, you might want to read this piece by Paul Rahe over at Ricochet. Professor Rahe has been predicting a Romney avalanche since August, and is seeing nothing at this late stage to change his opinion. Michael Barone likewise predicts a substantial Romney victory. The preference cascade may be in full swing.

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posted by Monty at 07:17 PM

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