Is Mitt Romney More of a Dude Than We Thought?

You know whom I'm beginning to like, respect and admire? Mitt Romney.

I know! We conservatives aren't supposed to do that. We're supposed to look askance at him as one of those hell-bound establishment moderates, a RINO in Reaganesque clothing. We're supposed to bitch and moan about his lack of vision, his suspect credentials, his refusal to eat the children of illegal aliens for dinner (they are tasty). We're supposed to complain that he hasn't gotten specific enough about which federal workers he's going to guillotine and is therefore not really committed to returning the government to its 1776 levels of spending as God and the founders intended. If we really want to strut our red cred, we're even supposed to claim there's no real difference between Romney and Obama — and we're supposed to do it with a straight face, too.

But I've been watching the guy operate and I'm beginning to think a lot of that may be — how can I put this politely? — crap.

Don't get me wrong. It's all good conservative stuff all right. In fact, it's generally how we roll. As the brilliant Ann Coulter brilliantly pointed out in her brilliant book Demonic, "Most of the time, conservatives can barely tolerate their leaders. Republican presidents are lucky if their own party doesn't move to impeach them." She then goes on to prove her point by citing the ceaseless stream of criticism conservatives trained on Ronald Reagan when he was, you know, being the greatest conservative president of, like, ever. (Coulter, I should add, was an early Romney supporter and, as far as I can tell, hasn't got a moderate cell in her whole stirring cellular makeup.)

But while conservative Mitt-crit is certainly in keeping with our characters, I'm starting to feel much of it isn't actually true. For instance, I watched, listened to, and then read the transcript of Romney's address to the left-wing NAACP last week. I thought it was an excellent speech, clear in its free market approach, as rich in specifics as it needed to be, and courageous in speaking truth to a hostile crowd. 

Most importantly, the Romster defied the NAACP's requirement that blacks be treated like dependent children unable to fend for themselves in a free nation. "As you may have heard from my opponent, I am also a believer in the free-enterprise system," he told the crowd. "I believe it can bring change where so many well-meaning government programs have failed. I’ve never heard anyone look around an impoverished neighborhood and say, 'You know, there’s too much free enterprise around here. Too many shops, too many jobs, too many people putting money in the bank.'

That didn't sit well with those who need to keep blacks bitter and scared in order to chain them even more securely to the government plantation. "You cannot possibly talk about jobs for black people at the level he's coming from," scolded Charlotte Stoker Manning, the head of Women in the NAACP. "He's talking about entrepreneurship, savings accounts — black people can barely find a way to get back and forth from work." In other words, blacks are helpless and anyone who says differently is racist. How's that attitude been working out for you, African-Americans? Let me tell you: your unemployment is close to 15 percent and rising. And it will continue to rise as long as people like Obama and Nancy Pelosi remain in power.

With Obama and leftism failing so spectacularly and completely, we conservatives are hankering for a Reaganesque visionary to ride out of the dawn horizon and set things moving rightward once and for all. That's not Romney's style. Sad panda. But his stands on the major issues are exactly where we would have them be: he supports Paul Ryan's entitlement reform (another act of real political courage), he swears he'll repeal Obamacare, he's strong on immigration, thoroughly reasonable on Islamism and Israel, and committed to marriage and life without showing any trace of bigotry or hate. Has he made mistakes? Yes, he has. But I made a mistake once and it hasn't stopped me from becoming perfect since. On where he's headed now, I think we can take the man at his word.

Which may be the biggest point of all.  I'm beginning to suspect Mitt Romney is an actual real live man of integrity. This is no small thing. In fact, in light of his openly conservative agenda, it may turn out to be everything.

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