The Case for Mitt Romney

I came to be a Mitt Romney supporter by way of my anybody-but-Obama inclinations. That is no longer the case. Now I am firmly in the pro-Romney camp, and that change is the result of me taking the time to get familiar with his record, thinking about the major problems facing America today, and what he can bring to the job. Now I’m of the mind that Mitt Romney is the right man for the right job at the right time. This makes him unique in presidential politics, and offers us the compelling chance to vote our consciences, instead of for the lesser of two evils.

Words I would use to describe Mitt Romney: Moderate. Moral. Man of his word. Business acumen. Leadership skills. Political experience. No modern president of the United States can lay claim to all these descriptors, and they provide a stark contrast to what President Obama has brought to the job. These might seem like vague terms, but once I’m finished presenting the case for Mitt Romney, I think you might be inclined to agree. I’ve broken this down into the three major issues that I think take precedence over everything else in America right now: The economy, jobs, and budgets.

The Economy

Mitt Romney is a good choice for the economy because of his record producing financial growth. This record extends from the time he graduated from Harvard with a dual Law/MBA degree. Shortly thereafter he went to work for Bain & Company, a management consulting company, where he worked for 7 years, from 1977-1984. There he and his peers created what was eventually called “the Bain way,” which was more than just offering advice, but actively working with companies to implement recommended changes. He became Vice President of the company one year after being hired.

In 1984, with the blessing of Bill Bain, creator of Bain & Company, Romney started an offshoot of the business, the private equity firm Bain Capital. This firm would buy into companies, creating a greater stake than merely consulting on management. According to the LA Times, which hired Stanford economics lecturer Alex Gould to review Bain’s prospectus, the company averaged an 88% rate of return on investment (ROI). To put that in perspective, the current average ROI for hedge funds is 40-50%. Gould made the point that if an investor had gotten in on the ground floor with $1 million dollars in 1984 and left that money there until Romney left for the Salt Lake City Organizing Committee for the 2002 Olympics in 1999, the compensation payout would have been $12 billion dollars. Imagine our economy if Mitt Romney could do that for America.

But let’s look more closely at his record at Bain Capital. You’ve most likely heard the stories of factories that Bain Capital had to close down. But did you know that that Bain company successfully salvaged 80% of the troubled companies they bought into? From the NYT:

The private equity firm, co-founded and run by Mitt Romney, held a majority stake in more than 40 United States-based companies from its inception in 1984 to early 1999, when Mr. Romney left Bain to lead the Salt Lake City Olympics. Of those companies, at least seven eventually filed for bankruptcy while Bain remained involved, or shortly afterward, according to a review by The New York Times.

Everyone and everything can’t be saved all the time, especially in a struggling economy and with companies that have had a history of making poor choices. So while seven companies went under, 33 companies were saved, and many of their employees got to keep their jobs. On balance, I’d prefer this record over Obama’s current record.

In 1999, Romney left Bain Capital to preside over the Salt Lake City Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics. When Romney took over, the games were plagued by scandals that had rocked the world gaming community and threatened the sponsorships on which every Olympics relies to fund events. Through his leadership abilities, Romney was able to restore honor and cooperation among sponsors, gained new sponsors, closed a $370 million dollar shortfall, and successfully pulled off a memorable Winter Olympics that saw a profit of $100 million, at least $40 million of which was set aside for maintenance of the newly built Utah Olympic Park. This is an extraordinary feat considering that most Olympic games result in debts, not profits. So Mitt Romney came on board with a $370 million deficit, raised enough to spend $1.2 billion on the games, and turned a $100 million dollar profit. Imagine if he could do that for America.

In 2003, Mitt Romney became the 70th Governor of Massachusetts, one of the bluest states in the union. His governance of the state economy also suggests that Romney has what it takes to lead America back to prosperity. In his inaugural address, he said he’d bring a “lighter, more agile bureaucracy.” And he did. When he took office, the state faced a $3 billion budget deficit. Over his tenure, he eliminated $1.5 billion in debt via cuts and fee increases. This is the strategy roughly espoused by current economic thinking, except instead of fees, they’d like to see taxes raised. As a taxpaying American voter, I’d prefer to see fees increased, as fees are often voluntary where taxes are not. But he also cut spending by $1.6 billion, partly by restructuring government. Between the restructuring, spending cuts, and fee increases, Massachusetts generated $501 million in new income in his first year in office, more than any other state in the union. Midway through his first term, the state started showing surpluses for the time in decades. He did all of this with a hostile state legislature comprised of 85% Democrats. Imagine if Mitt Romney could bring these dynamics to play in Washington.

It appears as if Mitt Romney has the golden touch when it comes to smart fiscal policy and economic growth. Through careful planning, sound policy, and the ability to persuade those of an opposing view point to his side, he has created economic growth in every job he has held. Mitt Romney is the man we need to restore prosperity to our economy, and in that, most Americans can benefit.

Jobs

Critics often like to tout the fact that Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 states in job creation under Governor Romney. But this only tells one side of the story. Mitt Romney came into office with an unemployment rate of 5.6%. But two years prior to his taking over the governorship, unemployment was almost half that, a paltry 2.8%. Like most states, Massachusetts’ unemployment rate had risen in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, and stood at 6% when his predecessor, Jane Swift prepared to leave office in December of 2002 (source: See “Historical changes” table). When Mitt Romney left office, that rate had fallen to 4.6%. But under Mitt Romney’s governance, Massachusetts added more net jobs than either his predecessor or his successor. Even Factcheck.org agrees. Moreover, he improved Massachusetts’ lot from a ranking of 50th to 47th.

As to the question of whether or not Bain Capital invested in companies that outsourced jobs, the answer is yes. Some of the companies did, as have many companies that were not involved with Bain at all. In some case, it was the only way to save those companies in the economic environment of the time. Here’s how I see this issue. Outsourcing and offshoring of jobs is an unfortunate, widely practiced tool that many companies adopted to shore up their profit margin or reduce their bottom line. But Romney can no more be blamed for that paradigm shift than Teddy Roosevelt can be held accountable for the prevalence of eugenics. Eugenics was a practice Roosevelt supported, and no doubt considered in his political calculations, but he didn’t create it. Like John Maynard Keynes and Winston Churchill, who also bought into eugenics, Roosevelt merely adopted the prevailing protocols of his time. This is also true of Romney and outsourcing. And I have an intuitive sense that this is one modern paradigm that Romney will, of necessity, seek to shift.

The economic and employment impact of the 2002 Winter Olympic games is also an important indicator.  Utah saw 12,600 new jobs created prior to the games, and an end count of 25,000 jobs after the games were over. Obviously, Romney is not responsible for all of those jobs, but he is responsible for turning around those games, and creating an economic environment that promulgated job growth.

In the end, Mitt Romney has a reputation as “a turnaround artist” and “Mr-Fix-It.” This is clear in every job he has endeavored to undertake. These are the skills he will bring to America’s job market. Romney’s record shows that a prosperous economy and real leadership can bring jobs back to America.

Budgets

Unlike our current president, Mitt Romney has a record of actually submitting budgets on time, and that are balanced. Remember balanced budgets and what they did for our country? The only time you’ve ever seen them in your lifetime was when President Bill Clinton submitted them, and he only did so for 4 of 8 years. But perhaps you remember the prosperity that came with his eight consecutive years of budget trimming? That’s what cutting spending and living within our means can do for America. Mitt Romney excels at these two thing.

If Romney’s past is any indication, he’ll start the budget cuts by foregoing his own presidential salary. Romney has never taken a salary for any of the public work he has done, donating to charity pay for his Olympic presidency and refusing a salary for his gubernatorial term. If he chooses to go this route again, and I suspect he will, that will be an immediate savings of $1.6 million over four years. Not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it’s a start, and it means the sacrificing will start at the top.

As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney submitted three balanced budgets in his final three years in office, trimming a total of $500 million in spending. Currently, he is well aware that if we continue to spend at the rate we do, the debt will be 100% of GDP shortly. Some say we have passed it already.  This is budget insanity, and no family can thrive under these conditions. Neither can America. According to his website, Romney says he will start with repealing Obamacare, which is scheduled to cost $1 trillion over the next ten years. He also indicates he wants a hard cap on current spending and future growth of spending. There are few other details as of now, but judging by his past record, you can expect he will attempt this behemoth task without raising taxes, by increasing fees, and by cutting spending. If he is successful in growing the economy and working to create jobs, this necessary pain can be minimized by greater new revenues from that growth.

I am glad we finally have a candidate who understands that Keynesian fiscal policy is unsustainable as it is currently practiced. What we have done since we adopted this economic approach is not implement it fully. Keynes called for borrowing in tough times and paying it back in better times. We have not, with the exception of Clinton, paid the money back during our times of economic growth. Every president since FDR has borrowed more and more, again with the exception of Clinton. Will Romney be the next president to finally pull us back from the precipice of our own destructive habits? I’m banking on it.

Conclusions

As I said at the beginning, the words I would use to describe Mitt Romney include “moderate, moral, man of his word, business acumen, leadership skills, and political experience.” I believe I have proved every one of those words in this essay. He’s taken a moderate’s approach to everything he’s done, and he’s been a man of his word. His business, leadership, and political experience should be evident after reading this essay. His refusal to take a salary for any of the public work he has done suggests he is a moral man, but there’s more to that story too. Not only did Mitt Romney donate his entire $1 million  inheritance to charity (funding income-based scholarships at his alma mater), he donates close to  1/5th of his yearly income to charity, and tithes and additional 10% to his church. Mitt Romney spreads his wealth around.

Tell me, what’s not to like here? Mitt Romney is a proven business leader who has successfully applied his experience to the political world and who has consistently shown concern for those less fortunate than him. For all the research I’ve done, I’ve yet to find a single real scandal or evidence that suggests he is anything like what some would have us believe about the rich. He’s a rich man, for sure, a largely self-made one at that outside of his education, which admittedly was paid for in full by his family. If that’s enough to make you turn away from him as a candidate, I don’t think you can be reached with logic or reason. Romney’s record stands in stark contrast to President Obama’s. He can do things that Obama doesn’t have the imagination to tackle, and he wants to do it against a back drop of unity, not the divisive politics of the left this year.

It doesn’t matter if you identify Republican, Democrat, Independent, or other. Isn’t it time we set aside our differences and fought together for the future of this country? Mitt Romney offers us exactly that opportunity.

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33 comments on “The Case for Mitt Romney

  1. myiq2xu says:

    Does this mean I can sleep in tomorrow?

  2. leslie says:

    I JUST heard you on JWSmart Show. You were awesome. I’d been watching the White Sox game, when I remembered you were going to be on the air. I turned on my computer just in time to hear you from the start. Great job. I hope you’ll let us know whenever you’re going to be back on.
    BTW, i’m forwarding this latest pot of yours to my friends out in WA.

  3. leslie says:

    POST not pot Geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezzzzzzzz

  4. Re-listening to it now. I came on kind of strong because I was hyper. I need to meditate before I do this kind of thing. Calmer approach, Anna Belle.

    • tamerlane says:

      Mediation is always good.

      Coming on strong on John’s show is good, too. After all, what’s the point of holding an opinion, if you don’t hold it strongly?

  5. 1539days says:

    I think a lot of people came to Mitt Romney late in the process. I was a McCain supporter in 2008, compared to the other options, and that didn’t work out. In January I decided I didn’t just support Romney’s nomination, I was looking forward to it. People last week who were Obama opponents were hammering Romney over a perceived bad week.

    Romney is smart. In the primaries, he waited until an opponent was about ready to catch up before he slapped them down. I think it made a lot of Gingrich and Santorum fans mad because they had this belief that they were close to getting the nomination. Obama’s been having so many bad weeks lately that Romney decided not to waste the money. When he got lambasted over this tax return stuff, he decided to slap Obama down, and it is not over by a long shot. Obama’s campaign is now $100 million poorer and all it did was drive presidential approval down.

  6. Check it out folks: http://www.noquarterusa.net/blog/69272/michelle-obama-lauded-bain-created-child-care-company-open-thread/

    Amidst Campaign Obama’s non-stop assault on Mitt Romney’s years at Bain Capital, we learn that First lady Michelle Obama effusively praised a nationwide daycare company — funded in 1986 by Mitt Romney-led Bain when Bright Horizons Family Solutions was a “kitchen table” pipe dream. ABC News quickly seized The Daily Caller‘s July 18 find…

    Read the rest at the link. Romney might be the anti-Obama. The GOP picked smart this year.

  7. tamerlane says:

    1) Show me a large company that HASN’T outsourced;

    2) How can Keynsian theory be blamed, if nobody but Clinton actually followed through on both parts — the spending and also the paying back?

    3) Reckless spending/graft like obama has perpetrated is, of course, worse than useless. But austerity measures inevitably fail, too. Any smart businessmen will tell you, that you need to spend your way out of tough times;

    4) MR will probably make a good dent in the deficit. But he’ll be unable to ‘fix’ the economy in the long run. For his philosophy of laissez-faire & dependency on infinite growth, is fundamentally flawed. But at least he’ll try, whereas obama is just a plundering mafioso;

    5) Massachusetts voters, realizing they have essentially a one-party state, periodically affect a ‘course-correction’ by electing a moderate Gop as gov. I wouldn’t read much more into MR’s one term;

    6) That being said, if Mass can survive one term of MR, so can the USA;

    7) In contrast, our free Republic cannot survive another term of the tyrant, Gaius Caligula obama.

    • I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this Tamerlane, though I particularly disagree with point #s 3 & 4. Romney is not Mr. Austerity. His approach at Bain and at the Olympics was both to trim costs and stimulate growth. I think he has a real shot at producing a recovery, more so than anyone else on the political scene so far.

      As for point #5, Romney was the fourth GOP MA Gov in a row, though admittedly the previous one was never elected (Swift) because the one before her (Cellucci) resigned to become Ambassador to Canada.

      Finally, if you reread my point about Keynesian policy, I didn’t blame it; I actually said it was not fully practiced and that that standard could not continue. I’m fully aware of the necessity of spending in tough times, but our imbalance in application must be curbed.

      • tamerlane says:

        Lola, your proposition was well-considered and thought-provoking. It has stimulated the kind of earnest discussion of ideas and fundamental approaches that the entire nation should be having, instead of the current demonizing.

        * per Keynesian economics, you say it’s unsustainable “as currently practiced.” Conservatives believe it is unsustainable in general, a proven failure. Where does MR land in this debate?

        * The bush/obama stimuli failed because they: 1) were poorly targeted; 2) rewarded failed big businessmen & bankers, and political cronies. The solution is not stop intervening entirely, rather use the strength & dollars of the fed’l govt wisely. I strongly advocate, for example, a WPA program, and a *real* green energy initiative. MR’s proposed solution sounds like ‘let the private sector sort it out.’ Yet our current mess exists because we let the big businessmen & bankers help themselves;

        * No one denies that the fed’l budget is bloated. But no one can agree on what to cut. The military takes the biggest chunk by far. Has MR mentioned any specific areas he wants to cut? I’m waiting for a candidate to take the budget and say, ‘OK, folks, tell me what you want to keep and what you want to cut, and how you want to pay for it.’ Oh, Jerry Brown did that, and everyone – Gops & Dems alike – said, ‘keep everything; cut nothing; no more taxes.’

        * When I live in MA, I voted against Dukakis for gov, but for him for POTUS.

  8. Anthony says:

    Excellent excellent show!

  9. sophie says:

    I would love to see our country get its’ mojo back. I feel a Romney win could go a long way towards restoring some faith in America and its’ people. Faith in gov’t or in DC may never come back fully, but optimism about our country will go a long way towards improving life as we currently know it. so many of my friends feel we are sliding into Banana Republic territory, and they don’t mean the store. I am so sick and tired of looking at both the O’s. With all their hectoring, blaming and whining, you would think someone put a gun to their heads to run for President. I blame the treasonous media almost entirely for this mess. They were so invested in the ‘idea’ of a minority Pres. they never looked past the shiny gift wrap on the package, they had to know he had a murky and suspect past, but they chose to ignore it.
    .And the beat goes on, this week, it took most of the msm ninety four hours to respond to the ‘”You didn’t build this” speech. If not for Romney’s ads responding to the speech, they were perfectly willing to ignore it,, They are a disgrace.

  10. Anthony & Sophia, thanks so much for your comments. I am amazed at the reaction to this post. We’re just short of 12 hours since publication and already it’s been shared 79 times on Facebook. I finally wrote something that’s going viral. Yippee! 😀

  11. Alison says:

    Great piece, AB! I will now consider voting for Romney. I was a Huntsman supporter and I’m (still) skeptical that any candidate can take on issues that are pressing to me such as banks that are too big to fail and congressional term limits that are too long for an honest government. But I’m excited by what you wrote here. I consider myself a moderate and I believe in his heart, Romney is socially moderate as well, as opposed to so many extreme and insane Republicans. I want to thoroughly understand Obama’s record as well so I have a bit of reading to do before making a choice. I also live in a swing state so I consider being informed when I go to the ballot to vote to be extremely important.

    • Alison, if you do decide to vote Romney, or if you just want to get more information, you should join us at Romney Democrats! http://www.facebook.com/romneydemocrats2012

    • Just remember, every vote for Romney is a vote that has to be offset by an Obama vote to keep him “even”, plus one more to let him pull ahead – a total of 2 Obama votes.

      If you don’t vote (or if you vote for a third-party candidate), Obama only has to find one vote to pull ahead. If you live in a swing state, that vote for Romney becomes that much more important.

      I don’t want to make it easy for Obama…..:P

      • tamerlane says:

        This was the “half-vote” vs. “Full-vote” debate we had in 2008. Same as back then, I think the wise approach is to:
        1) write-in or vote 3P in non-battleground states, to strike a blow vs. the uni-party;
        2) vote GOP in battlegrounds, if you can sleep at night after doing so.

        I fully endorse anyone’s decision to cast either a protest vote or a spoiler vote.

        obama is a malicious tyrant, and so dangerous to our freedom, that any legal means are demanded to defeat him.

        • It’s a free country, and certainly anyone is free to cast a protest/spoiler vote (or not).

          obama is a malicious tyrant, and so dangerous to our freedom, that any legal means are demanded to defeat him.
          vote GOP in battlegrounds, if you can sleep at night after doing so.

          I daresay anyone who wants Obama defeated should be able to sleep just fine after casting a vote for the GOP…..

          So many Republicans “stayed home” in 2008 as a protest/message to the GOP. I guess they showed us, huh? (My bet is that every last one of them would crawl across a field of broken glass this time to cast their vote AGAINST Obama…..)

          As much as I love – and fully endorse – the Tea Party, in 2010 they made some rookie mistakes. Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell were not the best candidates, but I would not be a bit surprised to find that Harry Reid had a lot of his supporters vote for Angle in the primary in order to defeat candidates who stood a very real chance of beating him in the general election.

          Christine O’Donnell sent the GOP a POWERFUL message about the will of the people – she wasn’t the best candidate, but the GOP discovered that they couldn’t take the voters for granted.

          Lisa Murkowski also sent the GOP a powerful message – they lost a lot of financial support because of their willingness to allow her to run as an independent after she was DEFEATED in her primary. She won the general election, and has been giving us all kinds of trouble ever since.

          And were it not for “independent” votes in Arizona (had they voted for the GOP candidate instead of a 3rd party), we would now have a cute rocket scientist representing the GOP. Instead, Raul Grijalva retained his seat, and is one more vote for the Dems in the House. She only needed 4,000 more votes to win that contest – there were over 5,000 votes for the 3rd-party candidate.

          We’re (the Tea Party) learning, and we are starting to become politically active – many of us have become Precinct Committee Chairs in our respective voting districts. That’s where it starts – local government is where the “farm teams” are cultivated. We’ve been able to effect some very real change already.

          The good news is that in 2010, the GOP wiped out virtually the entire farm team for the Dems – over 600 seats all the way down to the local level were turned over to the GOP. The Dems still refuse to acknowledge it, but they were dealt a very severe blow all across the country. It’s going to take them at least 10-20 years to cultivate a new bench.

          I suspect we will see a big turnover again this year – maybe not as dramatic, but it’s going to deal another big blow to the Dems.

          Were it any other election, I would tell folks to feel free to vote 3rd party. The stakes are much too high in this election – we MUST make sure that every precinct’s results beyond the “Margin of Fraud” so that there is absolutely NO WAY that Obama can contest the results. We can’t have any ballot boxes “found in the trunk” this time.

    • tamerlane says:

      Define “socially moderate” in terms of Romney’s positions.

      • alikeh says:

        With his pro-choice history I don’t think he’s firmly in the pro-life camp. Probably on some level sides with the philosophy of life, but I don’t think he is one to passionately take on an anti-choice or an anti-gay agenda. His passion seems to be economics, whether you like or dislike his positions on such.

  12. EXCELLENT post, Annabelle! Passed along –

  13. […] My friend Annabelle is a Democrat who is going all in for Mitt Romney this time around: Words I would use to describe Mitt Romney: Moderate. Moral. Man of his word. Business acumen. […]

  14. […] I called it on time. Now STFU and listen to what I’m […]

  15. […] I called it on time. Now STFU and listen to what I’m […]

  16. […] is a little introduction to what you’ll see at the Convention. All the things I discussed in The Case for Mitt Romney will be on display, with emotionally connected slogans like “Mitt Romney: the Man for this […]

  17. […] I said in The Case for Mitt Romney, this is what he does. It’s been his record for the whole of it. In his inaugural address, he […]

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