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Student Viewpoint: Sanford supports Mitt Romney

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This November, there will be an election touted by many as more tense and pivotal any in our time.

 

Often the story is that of the challenge to America and its legacy; Mitt Romney has presented himself as the champion of our nation’s virtues, a man of skill and integrity with the savvy to renew America after a seemingly failed attempt by current President Obama’s idealistic agenda.  Is Romney the hero that his party heralds to the public?  Is Obama truly as misguided as they say?  Neither of these questions matter at all, but rather it is practice, not the theory that we need to know.  From what’s been said of Romney, that’s exactly what he brings to the table: practice, not theory.

Indeed, the Republican candidate has a long list of achievements under his belt already: his success as venture capitalist, taking money and making more for various investors; as a consultant for venture companies, investing and earning stock gains to get them the money they need to get their business rolling; as governor of Massachusetts, where he brought the state out of debt and ahead of many other regions in terms of recovery and growth;  as CEO of the committee for the Salt Lake Olympic Games, his most stunning achievement, where he raised funds for an important national event that was running $379 million short of its operating benchmark.  All of these, in the words of Vanderbilt economist Margaret Blair, point to man with “a very high level of intelligence, an ability to size up the situation and put the pieces together, to see the big picture, where they’re going to go and what they’re trying to accomplish.”  While there has been much talk about his ties to Bain Capital and attacks on his character, the fact is that Romney is good at what he does, and he brings results.

Yet, the question remains: can he take these experiences and translate them into the realm of politics?  I believe so.  In a recent article this very question was taken up by Time, and answered with some challenging concerns.  One is the fact that the Presidency is quite different battlefield than the CEO.  As an investor, venture capitalist and CEO, Romney had the luxury of sifting through many problems, moving most cases to side and choosing those that had the best chance of being fixed.  He could also take time to investigate each one methodically, collecting and analyzing all the facts before taking action.  In the words of Time, “only the hardest problems head to the Oval Office, many of them with high stakes, high risks, ambiguous evidence and only imperfect outcomes.”  The President must be ready to face the ugly, the uglier, and the ugliest of our nation’s reality.  However, if the Olympics are any evidence, Romney has proven he’s able to take what he’s learned and apply it to different situations with remarkable success, likely due to his superb critical thinking.  In an interview with Businessweek he said “I love the thinking and analyzing as much as anything,” and it shows in his work and results.

Still, just what is Romney’s plan, and where does he stand on this tense political battlefield for the nation?  Let’s start with one of the biggest campaign issues: jobs.  Romney’s strategy combines a rollback of red tape by curbing regulations and unions, and initiatives to strengthen job training programs, moves that could both free up companies for more growth as well as rouse those workers who have been discouraged out of the labor force by current conditions.

Next is his budget, which promises a 20 percent decrease in income tax rates as well as breaks for the top bracket.  He hopes to stimulate “job creators” with this move, effectively freeing capital and giving big hirers the spare cash needed to hire more people.  There are many who disapprove of letting “the rich get richer,” but one would think CEOs and big-time investors would be more driven to find and support companies with a chance of growth and success, which means more jobs.  Otherwise, we’d just be giving the government more money and leaving it to find the companies on its own, and we’ve seen how well that’s worked with Solyndra scandal.

Finally, there is his immigration policy.  While Obama has the lead on pro-immigration policies, Romney isn’t wholly absent of good immigration himself.  He balances his support for stronger border protection (particularly a high-tech fence along the length of the U.S.-Mexico border) with initiatives to keep together undocumented families as well as green cards for immigrants with high-level degrees.  While his Vice President Ryan contrasts this with opposition to amnesty and the Dream Act, these stances demonstrate not only a sense of sympathy but understanding that lends a sense of mercy and practical sense to his platform.  He stands by the integrity of the law, while also imparting mercy on people who are just trying to experience the dream we so proudly put on display for the entire world day after day.

Evidently, Romney seems to be coming up to bat for a game quite similar to the one he’s played for a long time, with training and practice that seems the right fit for the job, and capable of bringing bite to his bark.  Yet, he’s still a politician, and politicians (especially presidential nominees) make many promises they cannot deliver on, and may even outright lie to prove their own legitimacy.  So now the question is, what about Romney’s character?  The greatest concerns about Romney seem to be directed at his integrity.  Some begrudge his flip-flopping views and others fear his Mormon faith.  Others say he’s not Republican enough.  What I do know, from the recent RNC broadcasts and from various other news articles is that Romney is indeed a man of integrity.  Several speakers testified to Romney’s caring spirit, characterized by heartfelt visits and prayers, none of which included anything radical or detrimental to America’s values.  The concern in itself is irrelevant, as much of Romney’s thinking on his various jobs is fact-focused, and not faith-blinded.  In his own words to Time Magazine, “my run for office is devoted to the needs of the nation and not to the need my church might have to clarify positions.”  This won’t be about how the Mormon Church will engage the country’s interests, it will be about how Romney engages those interests.  Just like Romney took on the concerns of those fledgling companies, investors, his constituents, and even the Salt Lake Olympic planning committee.  This can also be applied to his flip-flopping, which likely occurred as he analyzed the facts and acted on them as governor.  This might even be a good thing, because it shows that Romney does what he believes is right based on the facts, carefully scrutinized, and not merely the will of the Republican Party.  In that case I don’t believe he’s too little Republican, in fact he’s just Republican enough.  The evidence points to a man of skill and character, who brandishes his experience and puts it to good use with virtue and honor.  Often he would ask those who he worked with, addressing a potential immoral investment, “do you really want to be doing things that you’re not proud to talk to your friends and family about, much less investors?”  Such questions allowed him to bring his consulters to avoid actions that made money off people’s misery.

(Any personal views expressed in the Pony Express Online are the writers’ own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Pony Express Online staff or Panola College. Readers are invited to comment in the space provided below or by logging on to the Pony Express Online’s Facebook page.)

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