Michael Gaynor
Obama's divisive Republican opposition is making his day
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By Michael Gaynor
February 9, 2012

The sooner the fractured opposition to Obama knows all the relevant facts and coalesces behind Romney as the person with the experience and skills needed now, the better.

The race for the Republican presidential nomination is a disgrace and conservatives who should know better have become Obama's unwitting allies.

Saying that this brutal contest will only make the eventual nominee stronger is like whistling past the graveyard.

The real beneficiary is Barack Obama, who was so very vulnerable when the race began and has become much less so as the race has proceeded.

I supported, and continue to support, Mitt Romney, not because it's "his turn" (no one is entitled to the nomination), but because (1) he is a person of outstanding moral character, (2) he is a conservative (although he was not always one), (3) he has vital executive experience in both business and government, (4) he has a bona fide record of success at turning things around (as the head of Bain Capital and the savior of the Salt Lake City Olympics) and (5) he was the candidate most likely to beat Obama and beating Obama is critically important.

None of the so-called Romney alternatives is a better choice.

Newt Gingrich's great ambition and big ideas (some sound, some silly) are not substitutes for good character. Character counts. Both Gingrich's serial marital infidelity and House ethics violations demonstrate that trusting him is problematic. Gingrich showed that he could lead Republicans to take control of the House, but he resigned after only four years because he lacked governing skills and lost the support of his fellow Republicans Further, Gingrich is not candid with the American people. In fact, he deceives. For example, Gingrich tried to portray himself as a lifelong conservative in a debate by stating that he went to a Goldwater meeting in 1964 and describing himself as a Reagan Republican. He didn't mention that after attending that Goldwater meeting he became a Rockefeller state chairman. Doubt it? Watch this video of Gingrich being interviewed in 1989 and boasting of backing Rockefeller: www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2012/01/24/145730393/gingrich-wisely-left-rockefeller-off-his-conservative-resume. Further, during the Reagan years Gingrich was a backbencher who sharply (and foolishly) criticized Reagan for meeting with Gorbachev at the time and now greatly exaggerates his important to the Reagan Revolution. Mitt Romney told Gingrich during a debate, "I looked at the Reagan diary. You're mentioned once in Ronald Reagan's diary. And in the diary, he says you had an idea in a meeting of young congressmen, and it wasn't a very good idea, and he dismissed it. That's the entire mention," As a former Rockefeller Republican, Gingrich's complaint that Romney wasn't always conservative rings hollow. Both of them became more conservative and that's a good thing to be appreciated.

Rick Santorum is a conservative who served in both the House and the Senate and he appears to be a wonderful husband and dad (like Romney and Ron Paul), but that's no enough to give him the nomination.

Santorum became part of the Senate Republican leadership until now Senator Bob Casey challenged him in 2006 and Santorum earned the dubious distinction of losing by the biggest margin of any incumbent Senator in Pennsylvania history. Unlike conservative former Senator and presidential hopeful George Allen of Virginia, who lost his Senate seat by a very narrow margin, Santorum opted not to try to win back his Senate seat and instead is trying to be promoted to President.

These days Santorum is railing (and rightly so!) about the Obama administration's attack on religious liberty manifested by absurdly narrow conscientious protection afforded in HHS regulations. But, in 2007 Santorum made a point of disputing Romney's assertion that "a person should not be rejected...because of his faith."

Santorum commented: "...Obama was born black; Romney is a Mormon because he accepts the beliefs of the Mormon faith. This permits us, therefore, to make inferences about his judgment and character, good or bad." Romney is, by all accounts, a moral exemplar, and Santorum's insinuation that people of the Mormon faith may have a lesser character than people of other faiths BECAUSE they are Mormons is nonsense. Romney is right that the religious preferences of candidates should not be made political fodder. The Constitution prohibits any religious test for office and America will be choosing a President and a Commander-in-Chief, not a religious leader. Given Santorum's Opus Dei ties (he publicly praised Opus Dei and sent two of his sons to an Opus Dei school, but claims to merely be an admirer of its founder and not a member), Santorum should agree. Let's have an election to pick the best candidate, not the best religion!

Finally, Santorum is astonishingly insisting that he is the best person to challenge Obamacare. Really? But for Santorum, Obamacare would not have passed! In 2004 Santorum strongly supported fellow Senator Arlen Specter's bid for re-election in a Republican primary against conservative Pat Toomey (who was elected to the Senate in 2010). In 2009, Specter switched parties and gave the Democrat an esssential vote needed to pass Obamacare. At the end of that year Specter cast the 60th vote for cloture on Obamacare. Then Specter cast the 50th vote for Obamacare that permitted Vice President Biden to cast the tie beaking vote.

Santorum's 2004 commercial for Specter is telling. Santorum assured that pro-abortion, pro-Obamacare Specter was "with us" on "the votes that mater." Doesn't LIFE "matter," Senator Santorum? Doesn't Obamacare "matter," Senator Santorum? Watch the Santorum comercial at http://legalinsurrection.com/2011/12/how-disastrous-was-santorums-endorsement-of-specter-can-you-say-obamacare/.

Santorum doesn't admit it, but there are huge differences between Obamacare and Romneycare and Romney can make the case against Obamacare very effectively. First, Obamacare is unconstitutional, because it includes a federal individual mandate, while Romneycare is constitutional under the Massachusetts Constitution. Second, the American people did not want Obamacare care, while the people of Massachusetts did want Romneycare and continue to support it by a huge majority. Third, states' rights matter under the Constitution and Santorum is being hypocritical by blaming Romney for Romneycare while justifying his own opposition to a federal right to work law as due deference to the people of Pennsylvania. Curiously, Santorum supports federal law protecting traditional marriage but not the right to work. Aren't BOTH fundamental in a nation that recognizes God-given rights to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," Senator Santorum?

Finally, although Paul is admirably principled, sincere and right about many matters, he is older than Senator John McCain, he is not the best choice for dealing with the foreign policies challenges America will face and he would not become the first person to be promoted from the House of Representatives to the Presidency since James Garfield.

The sooner the fractured opposition to Obama knows all the relevant facts and coalesces behind Romney as the person with the experience and skills needed now, the better.

© Michael Gaynor

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Michael Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member... (more)

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