M.D. Harmon: Romney stands strong on social issues, sees success in recent polls

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Romney speaking at Liberty University
Romney speaking at Liberty University

For months now, we have been told in numerous ways that Mitt Romney is going to have to “tack back to the center” once he gets the Republican nomination nailed down.

In this view, Romney is seen as having had to convince conservative primary voters that he was one of them. But now that all his opponents have choked in his dust (the last one, Rep. Ron Paul, stopped spending money on future primaries this week), he is free, as the GOP’s “presumptive nominee,” to reach out to independents and moderates.

They presumably make up the largest group of voters as yet undecided about their choice in November. So, by tucking his conservative supporters firmly in his pocket and modifying his stands, or at least shifting his campaign’s emphasis, to topics that polls show people are most worried about (primarily the economy), Romney can begin his real run for the roses.

Trouble is, nobody seems to have told the candidate.

While President Obama was giving the graduation address at one of the country’s most liberal schools, New York City’s Barnard College, Romney — a Mormon — headed south to Lynchburg, Va., to speak at one of the nation’s most conservative schools, Liberty University, founded by the late evangelical leader, Dr. Jerry Falwell.

There, he made a number of comments in support of socially conservative positions, including a staunch defense of marriage as being limited to one man and one woman, which got him a standing ovation from his audience.

He also commended their faith: “You know what you believe. You know who you are. And you know Whom you will serve. Not all colleges instill that kind of confidence, but it will be among the most prized qualities from your education here. Moral certainty, clear standards, and a commitment to spiritual ideals will set you apart in a world that searches for meaning.”

But he also warned them that their beliefs were under siege in a world that increasingly seeks its meaning in ways that reject transcendent morality:

“That said, your values will not always be the object of public admiration. In fact, the more you live by your beliefs, the more you will endure the censure of the world. Christianity is not the faith of the complacent, the comfortable or of the timid. It demands and creates heroic souls like Wesley, Wilberforce, Bonhoeffer, John Paul II and Billy Graham. Each showed, in their own way, the relentless and powerful influence of the message of Jesus Christ. May that be your guide.”

And he obliquely but clearly indicated he had his own view on whether Mormonism was identical with traditional Christianity: It isn’t.

“People of different faiths, like yours and mine, sometimes wonder where we can meet in common purpose, when there are so many differences in creed and theology. Surely the answer is that we can meet in service, in shared moral convictions about our nation stemming from a common worldview.”

That made it clear that he believes there is more to life than economics. As he noted, “For those who graduate from high school, get a full-time job and marry before they have their first child, the probability that they will be poor is 2 percent. But, if those things are absent, 76 percent will be poor. Culture matters.”

Culture matters, all right, and with marriage rates declining in the ranks of the middle and lower classes and out-of-wedlock births skyrocketing among those groups, Romney’s words stand as a strong rebuke to those who think that every important issue in our common life can be denominated in dollars.

As Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, now the GOP candidate for governor there, said recently, “To those who say that marriage is not relevant to our budget crisis, I say that you would not be able to print enough money in a thousand years to pay for the government that you would need if the family continues to collapse.”

That’s not to say the economy isn’t important — it is, and hugely so. But prosperity by itself, in the ruins of a culture that has abandoned the things that offer deeper meaning to life, will find the “pursuit of happiness” to be circumscribed by harsh limits that cannot be overcome by writing a check.

And now that the campaign has begun in earnest, polls are finally beginning to be worth watching. Three surveys this week indicate Romney’s pro-family stance isn’t hurting him at all.

In a New York Times/CBS News poll, Romney led Obama both in overall favorability and among women. It looks like the Democrats’ “war on women” slur hasn’t been all that persuasive, while the New York Times’ 5,000-word expose of a teenage hair-cutting prank (especially balanced against Obama’s youthful confessions of cocaine use) also hasn’t gained much traction.

Romney’s 46-43 overall gap (and his 46-44 rating for women) were within the margin of error, meaning the candidates are essentially tied — but that an incumbent president is tied at this stage of the campaign with an opponent who hasn’t even begun to run national ads is not a good sign for the incumbent.

It is also true that 63 percent of respondents said the economy was their most important issue, but that still leaves a third of voters looking in other directions. However, for those voters, a Rasmussen poll released Tuesday, Romney led Obama in all five areas regularly surveyed by the organization, including leading 51-39 on overall economic outlook.

He also led the president 48-38 on taxes; 45-40 on health care; 43-40 on energy policy; and 44-42 on national defense.

And the Real Clear Politics poll average, which again shows the president’s job approval rating a half point below his approval, has a “right-track/wrong-track” split for the nation of 33.3 to 59.3 — a 26-point negative difference.

However, it’s Gallup that had the most interesting results this week: One poll showed that, even though views of the candidates are essentially tied here as well, voters by a 20-point margin think Obama will win in November.

But in a USA Today/Gallup poll released the same day, 55 percent of registered voters say the economy would get better over the next four years if Romney were elected, while Obama got only 46 percent.

“And,” the poll reported, “for the first time in the campaign cycle, Republicans seem to be taking the advantage in upcoming congressional elections. By 55-44 percent, those questioned said they were more likely to vote for the GOP candidate” for Congress (even though Congress’ overall rating remains mired at 14 percent).

People base their opinions about whom they think will win on their judgments about others’ preferences, but if those views aren’t realistic, then they can’t count for much. Taking all the other responses into account, Romney has a lot to be cheerful about — at least in this news cycle.

M.D. Harmon, a retired journalist and military officer, is a free-lance writer. He can be contacted at mdharmoncol@yahoo.com.

1 COMMENT

  1. Everyone should read this completely before they make up their mind on whom to vote for….
    Here’s a man of integrity and honor.
    He gets my vote for sure.
    GVG

  2. Romney will be an honorable as well as capable president because he actually cares about the United States.  I will be happy to vote for him.

  3. Hi!

    There isn’t any candidate worth voting for this year for the presidency.

    I will stay home.

  4. “Staying home” is a vote for things to continue the way that they are.  If you don’t take a stand, then your complaints have little validity.

  5. Many folks I know have serious concerns about Willard Romney as a candidate let alone him possibly being nominated. The election process across the country has been out of sorts/fraudulent and always favoring Willard. Considering that and the huge push early on in the race by the media and elected officials was absurd. I recall some calling him the nominee. The same media were calling for the end of the democratic election/nomination process as early as the New Hampshire primaries. This was strange and sent out a big red flag across America. No one likes their right to vote/choose interferred with. Listening to Willard Romney during the 2008 and 2012 debates revealed that he was not a good speaker and often spoke in nonsensical short remarks that he frequently repeated. Many times he was caught on camera telling lies. I can’t vote for a man without integrity I said to myself. One of his long list of political gaffes came during a debate. Willard was asked if he was presented with the possibility of going to war, what would he do to prepare? His reply was “You contact the attorneys and let them decide.” I simply can’t vote for someone who is indicisive and lets others make important decisions for him. My vote is for a strong leader who understands the power of the presidency and the common sense to make common sense decisions for this country. He has flip flopped on almost everything he has stood for. I honestly believe the man will say anything to get elected. I feel his campaign has been the most negative in the GOP race that I have witnessed. Furthermore he has a horrible record of outcomes with Bain Capital that he initiated,others carried out before each departure. For him to say he was not present/involved at the time of the collaspe of the companies is misleading.
    Even after one company filed bankruptcy it was on record that Bain officials including Willard Romney made millions in profits. This while the employees got nothing. That portrays greed. I cannot vote for a selfish man. Ed Kennedy in 1984 went after Willard Romney on his Bain record,as did McCain in 2008,Gingrich in 2011 and now Obama in 2012. Why are both Republicans and Democrats bringing his dealings at Bain repeatedly to the attention of the public?
    The revised Ryan plan does not budget anything until 40 years from the day it starts. This is the plan Willard Romney supports…now at 65 will be long dead and gone before it kicks in.
    Truth be told Romney has no real clear cut plan other than to replace socialized romneycare with socialized obamacare. Willard, being the godfather of obamacare would make for an easy transition should obamacare be struck down. The previous stance was to eliminate obamacare but now Willard is favoring some parts of obamacare…another change of mind.
    Even with two remaining candidates in the GOP race Willard Romney is still squeeking by with 60% of the vote on average. His shaky record and unpopularity is what keeps most people home. Willard is less popular than McCain was when McCain beat him in 2008. This same thing is what is upsetting the old rank of the Republican Party that are willing to, as Rick Santorum said “Take one for the team.” This blind mentality is what keeps the old rank republicans up at night. It’s what makes them say and write nasty things about the only other candidate who they fear is getting more attention than their beloved undying devotion to the RNC party favorite.
    They recognize they are standing on shaky ground by supporting him.
    What scares most people I talk to is the possibility of Willard becoming the nominee then president. Willard is a huge unknown where Obama we already know. Obama for 4 more years of the same or Willard for the possibility of 8 years of unknown.
    In 4 years Republicans could effectively have a strong,ethical and morally responsible candidate for president. A real leader who stands for something that people will want to follow, more than simply party affiliation. We really want someone to make us proud to be on their team.

  6. Romney is going to get creamed in the general….far, far worse than McCain 2008…

    If the GOP wants to have a shot at the presidency, there’s only one choice

    Selecting Romney as the nominee will be the death of the GOP and the entire nation, as Obama is sure to win…

    perhaps the Mayans were right, 2012 is the end of something rather substantial…..the end of human freedom and liberty on the face of planet Earth

    it’s a shame the tired, old, blue-haired baby boomer wanna-be conservatives can’t just give it up and let the next generation take over….whether it’s by vote or complete financial collapse, your medicare and social security safety-nets (crucifixes) WILL end and it WILL happen in your lifetime, it is simply inevitable at this point…..best of luck, I’d suggest you reacquaint with friends and family, like people used to before the baby boomer, fantasy land generation destroyed our nation with unsustainable debt and pervasive human misery.

  7. Look on the bright side: even if he is an arrogant, lying sociopath whose record in Massachusetts speaks for itself (Big Dig, anyone?), his Magic Underwear should distort the fabric of reality within the local time-space continuum to keep him from looking like the guy before him, or the guy before that, etc… Corporate America wants the Mitt, because he’s simply not troubled with such burdensome qualities as, for example, a conscience, or a long memory, or even one whit of concern for all the gaffes he fountains on and off-screen. Poetry in motion. I am not suggesting O-Bailout is any more Hopeful, but that perhaps nobody has anything to lose by stuffing Ron Paul in office at this point: at least he has an actual personality, rather than running solely upon image and hype… 

    I think he’d be a better CEO than… Dennis Kozlowski, any day!

    And remember, it’s not whose vote that counts, it’s who counts  the votes…

  8. Uhh, where are we standing? Do you really think your vote counts for anything? Do you really think you ‘re gonna get who you think you voted for? Many liberals got the wrong end of the stick voting for Obama. So if someone chooses not to waste their time participating, donating their time to an illusion of government for the people, they should be content with the status quo? I’ll give you my prediction: no matter WHO gets in, things will go from Already Bad to Worse. Can anyone validly complain about this?

    As George Carlin observed: if you don’t vote for ANY of these creeps, you can complain about whoever you want!

    Remember all the people who thought their voice counted when it came to “Impeach Bush”, Move On” or what-have-you? What did they get? The One-Finger Victory Salute, perhaps?

    And what did they do when it came time to “Hold Obama’s Feet to the Fire” as they proudly proclaimed they’d do while not noticing all his rhetoric was gone the MOMENT AFTER his election, from his website? Did anyone notice Goldman Sachs moving into the drivers’ seat?

     I feel that  perhaps it’s not only time to cut the process loose by refusing to invest our mindshare in politics as usual, but it is our duty as responsible citizens to defund it completely and provide for ourselves. Before it’s all stolen from us, as usual.

    One of the first things Mitt will do is to authorize a preemptive strike against Iran. He will also defund any and every of our social safety nets while providing the bottom half of America the same consideration as Bain employees. And when the bottom half is busy picking their daily lives out of the dumpster and being chased by the police squads into work camps, who’ll be the next Low Man on the food chain? Young people (college debt), middle class people (predatory lending scams), and the elderly (you WILL pay for those nine pill bottles per month! Or else we get what you wanted to leave to your grandkids!)

    Capisce?

    It ain’t pretty, but it is what it is. And I can assure you not one vote or candidate will make one iota of difference.

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