“He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.” 1 Tim. 3:6 (NIV)
“The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it an unscalable wall.” Prov. 18:11 (NIV)
These are the two verses I’ve dwelled on for a while contemplating the Romney campaign. I’ve given a few people the impression that I dislike Mitt Romney. That could not be further from the truth. But, given repeated concerns, I figured I should tell you exactly how I feel.
In short, any position you can think of today held by Mitt Romney probably has a related sound bite of Mitt Romney saying exactly the opposite within the past five years. I am willing to suspend belief and believe that Mitt Romney’s conversion to conservatism was sincere and not politically expedient. He did, after all, run as a Republican in Massachusetts and he won (of course it was as a pro-abortion, pro-gay rights, anti-Bush tax cut, indifferent to Reagan New England Republican).
Nonetheless, I have a hard time seeing why we should hand the reins over to a new convert to conservatism. He has not yet had time in the wilderness through good and bad to make sure he has necessary fidelity to our core beliefs. I have deep concerns that when it becomes politically expedient for him to do so, he will sell us all down the river. As Paul warned Timothy, new converts tend to think it is about them, not the message. They grow prideful and arrogant. They get sloppy. They forget the principles.
You may take issue with that, but in looking at Mitt Romney’s record as Governor of Massachusetts, I have seen no more than a handful of examples of him fighting the good fight on principle knowing he was going to lose. And if you don’t believe me, I would point out again that he did not exercise his veto of the $50.00 abortions. Short of Saul of Tarsus due to his unique conversion, I believe we should put no new convert in charge of any movement, be it religious, ideological, or political, until the convert has had time to prove he really believes the tenets. In two debates already, Mitt Romney has used tokens of class warfare that should make any conservative wince — once about tax cuts for the rich and once about social security benefit cuts for the rich to help the poor.
My other deep concern about Mitt Romney is not about him, but about his campaign. His campaign has largely operated on the idea that through their money they could wage war against anyone in the primary and anyone in the general election. That hasn’t worked out so well for him. The arrogance of fortune in that campaign gave way to a sense of invulnerability. That sense led to the achilles heel of the campaign — they could buy up all the air time, but they could not sell their candidate to the voters. He has a hard time connecting with the average person. I have no doubt that Mike Huckabee’s line about people wanting to vote for the person they work with, not the person who laid them off, was directed at Mitt Romney, Huckabee’s denials notwithstanding.
This fortress of wealth has made the Romney campaign one of the most predictable campaigns of all time. Every move seems choreographed through abundant polling and implemented with abundant cash. That captures the overwhelming point here. All of Mitt’s money and all of Mitt’s men have not yet been able to connect him to the voters at large, but they’ve spent a hell of a lot of money trying (I suspect they’ll succeed in Michigan).
Finally, I will not belabor this point, but Ben Domenech successfully mocked my last concern. This has absolutely nothing to do with Mitt Romney himself, but it goes to the core of his campaign. Some vocal supporters and sycophants of the Romney campaign have deluded themselves into thinking that if a voter does not like Mitt Romney, he must be anti-Mormon bigots. It is unfortunate, but it has happened. Certainly some people will not support Mitt Romney because they are anti-Mormon bigots. But the vast majority of people do not support him because (1) they do not trust him or (2) they trust someone else more. It is unfortunate that in a Republican campaign, we have stooped to liberal attack canards, e.g. if you don’t like affirmative action you must be a racist or if you don’t like MItt Romney you must be a bigot.
You feel free to disagree with me on these points. I don’t care. Many of you have asked about how I view the Romney campaign. Well now you know (and may wish you didn’t).