Mark Ellis
Dear Mitt
By Mark Ellis
June 5, 2012

Where do I get off offering advice to you, Mitt Romney?

I represent just one vote, but at the risk of seeming presumptive I'm going to respectfully exercise my right to free speech in an attempt to clarify what I'd like to see from your campaign going forward.

In 2008, after a brief and unrequited fling with Rudy Giuliani, I moved over to the Huckabee camp. I stayed there until John McCain's inevitability left me no choice but to cast my vote for him, with an able assist from Sarah Palin. In this election I have supported Romney 2012 from the jump, most visibly with my op-ed in Portland's Oregonian, "The Unwounded Warrior," but also in face to face bull sessions with family, friends, associates and other conservatives, some of whom were quite resistant to my core equation: "He can win."

Here are some thoughts about how candidate Romney can offer me an assist in my continued advocacy for the man I believe will be the next president of the United States. I'm sure the professionals around you have figured all this out, but it never hurts to hear from a voter.

Make sure that anyone who denigrates your Mormonism as a means to attacking your candidacy gets quickly consigned to a rhetorical circle of political hell. We don't judge religious beliefs like that in this country, not even theologies which contain radical elements that seek to knock our buildings down. I'm Catholic, and I never gave your religious faith a second thought. Fair-minded voters shouldn't either.

You took a hard line on illegal immigration during the primary campaign. Don't go soft on us now. Hispanic Americans with a stake at the economic table understand that if our national lifeboat is swamped it will capsize, and we'll all be circling the Euro-Socialist or Third World drain. President Obama's maladroit economic policies have resulted in the undocumented crossing back over the southern border in droves. They'll come back for a Romney recovery and blunt its economic power. Keep rocking the boat on American citizenship.

Don't worry about palling around with Trump. Smart conservatives distanced themselves from the birther nonsense long ago, but when the Donald talks tough on China's egregious trade and monetary manipulations, and suggests we "take the oil" from the ingrate Iraqis, it resonates. Worry more about bad actors hiding in the woodwork, guys like Jack Abramoff. Don't give libs any viable guilt-by-association cudgels.

Never apologize for your wealth. You're worth $250 million and counting. So is Oprah, George Soros and Rush Limbaugh, so what?

Speaking of Rush, he always cautions against Republican centrism. Don't make the mistake of thinking that if you talk a good bipartisan game it will appeal to crossover Dems, and make it seem as if you are appealing to all Americans. The only Republicans Democrats ever accept are other Democrats, like Jon Huntsman. Of course we want disaffected Democrats to come over. But this is a center-right nation; you don't need them to win.

Please don't be reticent about talking tough, and passionately. Your financial pedigree and political endurance has gotten you to the threshold of the Oval Office. Now show us what moves you, what you deeply care about, the way you did in Mike Huckabee's forum with the father whose son had been badly wounded in Afghanistan.

Regarding your choice of running mate I'll take my cue from Senator Marco Rubio, respect the process and keep my opinions to myself.

Finally, look, I love dogs, more than a lot of people, actually. I wasn't thrilled about Seamus's rooftop ride. There's a difference between a dog sticking his head joyously out the window of a speeding vehicle and riding strapped on the roof like a crate of camping equipment. I forgive you.

Good luck, Governor.

© Mark Ellis


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