Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Mitt Romney, the Real Deal

This summer, governor Mitt Romney sat down with Red County for a one on one discussion. Our conversation covered the gamut. From the politics of health care, immigration, and government spending to the importance of compromise and the influence of his late father, the governor was engaging and impressive. Most importantly, he seemed to clearly understand how his vision, his leadership, and his policy changes could impact those on the west coast. Specifically Orange County and California.

We did not discuss his personal presidential aspirations or his religious faith. On the former, I had no illusion that the governor was going to tip his hand and suddenly deviate from a well-scripted, “I’m flattered, but…” response. On the latter, the mainstream media has been oddly fixated on the well known fact that Romney is a devout Mormon. It’s old news and does not feel pertinent at this stage.

Romney’s faith is also old news in part because of his approach to the topic. It includes a potent combination of candor, seriousness, and a disarming sense of humor. In a speech earlier this year, he was asked how his religion might affect his campaign should he decide to run for president. He quipped, “You may have heard that I’am Mormon,” then added, it’s “very difficult being Mormon” in Massachusetts, where same-sex marriage is legalized. “You see for us, marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman and a woman and a woman…”. the crowd laughed.

Should Romney declare his candidacy early next year, there will be plenty of time for a complete examination of how he will reconcile his politics, his experience, his leadership skills, his values, and yes, his religion.

So without an official public declaration of his candidacy and the field of potential rivals shuffled by the events of the November election, Romney appears to be taking all of the requisite steps of a would-be presidential candidate. From lining up grassroots support and raising money on behalf of his PACs to traveling the country and speaking on all matters both foreign and domestic, Romney has his ducks in a row.

Our conversation took place in a small anteroom adjacent to his official office. The governor appeared buoyed by the recent passage of his health care plan, a landmark piece of state legislation that seeks to provide near universal health care for the residents of Massachusetts without raising taxes. At the time of the interview, Romney had long since announced his intention not to seek reelection and his efforts to help Republicans in the mid-term election season had not yet reached a fever pitch. Romney was busy with the business of governing.

Since then, Governor Romney has visited Orange County on a number of occasions and has raised a significant amount of cash on behalf of his PAC. During one OC event in late summer, Romney organizers raised nearly $1 million. In the process, he has also gained the support of influential business and community leaders and impressed political enthusiasts
with a series of speeches that clearly and articulately conveyed his grasp of the important issues. In short, presidential candidate or not, Mitt Romney is the real deal.

The article was created by Red County, and you can view the rest of the article at Mitt Romney's Commonwealth PAC.

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