Editorial Endorsement: George Romney for President
Very rarely are the stakes as high as they are in the 2012 Presidential election. The survival and direction of the American economy, issues of social justice, and concerns about our military involvement in the battle with international terror demand that we, as a nation, do not take our votes in November lightly.
Our editorial board at The Cranky Cuss Gazette, after much discussion, has decided to urge voters to cast a write-in vote for George Romney for President. While this endorsement may raise eyebrows – after all, he is the late father of the Republican candidate - we believe that George Romney’s record as a businessman, politician and public servant is exemplary, and that his fitness for national office is beyond question.
The direction of the economy and the creation of jobs is still the dominant issue. While the Republican candidate’s claim to business acumen is undercut by his record of sending jobs overseas and instigating layoffs of American workers, it is important to note George Romney’s ability to turn around the fortune of an automotive company, the American Motors Company, created thousands of good jobs in America and not a single one overseas while maintaining a co-operative relationship with union workers. He shunned greed, incredibly cutting his own salary while CEO and giving money back to the company whenever he felt his compensation had grown excessive.
Even better, George Romney’s record as a three-term Governor of Michigan (1963-1969) and as Richard Nixon’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development demonstrates not just a fiscal prudence but also a commitment to fairness. Inheriting a budget deficit as Governor, George Romney understood that he couldn’t balance the budget without increasing tax revenues, in contrast to the Republican Presidential nominee, so he installed the state’s first personal and corporate income taxes. From his first Inaugural address, George Romney stood up for the less fortunate by declaring racial discrimination the state’s biggest problem, and as a member of Nixon’s cabinet, he fought for an open housing plan that would desegregate many neighborhoods in the country.
Furthermore, the stories of George Romney’s personal integrity provide the most persuasive evidence justifying our endorsement. As a recently unearthed interview with his wife Lenore revealed, George Romney spent some of his early years on welfare and claimed to have spent a year eating nothing but potatoes. At a time when the American safety net, and the citizens assisted by it, is under attack and the Republican candidate wishes to overturn national health care, it is important to have a President with personal knowledge of what it’s like to be among the nation’s less fortunate. Having spent his early years in Mexico, George Romney would be likely to have a compassionate view of immigration (again in contrast to the Republican candidate). In addition, while many candidates today kowtow to the extremists of their party, it’s notable that when George Romney ran for re-election in 1964, he refused to appear onstage with his party’s nominee, Barry Goldwater, or any of his representatives.
One of the most impressive stories about George Romney’s integrity took place in 1994 when he endorsed a candidate for the Senate seat in Michigan and then refused to rescind his endorsement even when a family member jumped into the race. George Romney’s insistence on keeping his word and sticking by his principles provides a stark contrast with candidates who change their positions whenever it becomes expedient.
Rancorous would describe the argument about our endorsement in the Gazette editorial board room. There are obvious drawbacks to our endorsement. First, George Romney has never declared that he is a candidate for the office. Second, he is the father of the Republican nominee, a fact which could cause embarrassment and hard feelings on Election Night. Third, and foremost, George Romney passed away in 1995. However, we feel that the strength of his credentials outweigh these mere quibbles.
Other board members argued vehemently that it was not pragmatic to support a man who has been dead for 17 years. However, the more idealistic members of the board prevailed, arguing that George Romney’s repose insured that he could never sell his soul to corporate lobbyists and that, unlike his 44 predecessors, he could never compromise in order to get imperfect legislation enacted by Congress.
Board members insisted that supporting a third party candidate was pure folly and akin to taking money from a savings account, spending it on Power Ball tickets and claiming it was sound economic policy. They argued that Barack Obama deserved a second term, citing health care reform, the Dodd-Frank financial regulation act, the bailout of the U.S. auto industry, the steady if slow economic recovery, the removal of American soldiers from Iraq, the killing of Osama bin Laden, the Lilly Ledbetter Act, his support of same-sex marriage and his continued support for reproductive rights, which could make the selection of the next Supreme Court Justices critical. However, other board members argued that Obama failed to keep many of his promises and that while the main reason for those failures was the obstinacy of the Republican-led House, we were following the American tradition of blaming the President for everything that happened on his watch, whether his fingerprints were present or not.
A majority of the board argued further that there is no significant difference between the two main parties. The 2000 election proved this, when George W. Bush, elected by the slimmest of margins, started two wars in the Middle East, authorized the torture of detainees, enacted large tax cuts that turned a budget surplus into a massive budget deficit, appointed Supreme Court Justices that created a majority in ruling on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, responded slowly to the flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, refused to implement the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, and severely limited stem cell research; in other words, exactly what an Al Gore Presidency would have done.
Making the decision to endorse George Romney also allows us to keep our conscience clear. When President Mitt Romney repeals universal health care, proposes a budget that slashes deeper holes in the safety net, appoints Supreme Court Justices that finally overturn Roe v Wade, privatizes Social Security, replaces Medicare with a voucher system, and gives greater tax breaks to the wealthy, we can say, “It is the same thing Barack Obama would have done, and at least we didn’t vote for him, so our hands are clean.”
America is at a crossroads, and though a freight train is barreling down the tracks, we cannot wait for the red caution light to turn off. We must act urgently and recklessly. We urge you to write in the name George Romney on November 6.