Why I voted for Mitt Romney

Sure, he's a charlatan and a pathological liar, but Romney may be the only one to save us from the Republican Party

Topics: Mitt Romney, David Brooks, Politics, 2012 Elections, David Frum,

Why I voted for Mitt RomneyMitt Romney (Credit: Reuters/Jim Young)

I supported Barack Obama in 2008, and expected to find myself doing so again in 2012. The Republican primaries were dispiriting. The party seemed to have learned nothing from its time in the wilderness and taken all the wrong lessons from its return to prominence in 2010. No one seemed to be presenting the Big Ideas Americans know we need to solve our current problems. As the election drew nearer, though, I began to waver. Barack Obama is a good man, who did his best with an awful situation, but elections are about which man has what it takes to lead the country in the future.

Here is why I held my nose, today, and cast a vote for Romney:

As a believer in the urgent necessity of government action to address climate change, I had practically no choice but to support Romney. Romney was a responsible environmentalist as a governor, and I have no reason to doubt that he will once again become one, tomorrow. Plus, only a powerful and well-respected Republican president can strip the partisanship from the issue of global warming, and I am confident that congressional Republicans would soften their opposition to climate science once their beloved party leader gave them political cover to do so. Our best — perhaps only — hope for a carbon tax is a Mitt Romney presidency.

On civil rights for gay and lesbian Americans, the choice is clear: Only Mitt Romney can ensure that gay rights won’t be turned into yet another partisan football.

While Romney’s current stated position is opposition to same-sex marriage, and while he also opposed allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt children, and while his church has long led the fight against LGBT rights, he is such a craven, soulless empty husk of a politician that he will probably just not do anything anti-gay while in office, because gay rights are much more popular than they used to be. This will give activists — including LGBT conservatives, long a marginalized voice in the conservative movement — a chance to fundamentally remake their party from the inside. By the end of the Romney presidency, gay rights might be the default position of both major parties. That cannot happen with an Obama victory.



It is true that the modern Republican Party is extremist, irresponsible, reckless and wholly unfit to govern. They campaign with grotesque white populism, stoke bigotry and xenophobia, and shamelessly work to suppress legal votes by poor and minority citizens. In Congress their unprecedented obstruction sabotaged the economic recovery and ground even routine federal business to a standstill.

This, again, is why we must elect Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee for president.

You see, only with a Republican in the White House is the Republican Party willing to occasionally sometimes act somewhat responsibly. With various worldwide economic and military crises likely to require urgent attention in the coming years, we need our Republicans to be only a little bit reckless and stupid, and not apocalyptically so.

While Mitt Romney has surrounded himself with discredited Bush-era foreign policy failures, he doesn’t care that much about foreign policy and he might let one of the reasonable old Republicans run stuff.

Obviously I am strong supporter of universal healthcare. I don’t want to see Obamacare eliminated. While Mitt Romney has repeatedly and unequivocally promised to repeal it, I don’t believe him. He won’t. In fact, maybe he will introduce a public option. It’s definitely possible.

Once he’s in office, I am confident that Romney will embrace the Radical Center, the old Massachusetts Mitt that we loved. He will definitely get along well with Senate Democrats and probably all the Bush tax cuts will be repealed to fix the deficit.

Finally, the most pressing economic issue of our time is the staggering growth of income inequity. Romney may seem an unlikely person to address that festering rot at the heart of modern American capitalism, but Obama didn’t fix it with liberal stuff so maybe Romney will fix it with business knowhow.

Mitt Romney is by no means a perfect candidate. He may have no coherent or consistent principles beyond a steadfast belief in his own superhuman competence. He may have surrounded himself with charlatans and liars in his pursuit of power for the sake of flattering his staggering self-importance. His vice-presidential nominee may be a bizarre combination of overgrown adolescent Randian and pious ultra-Catholic misogynist. He may have a sociopathic indifference to the concept of honesty.

But there is still a chance that he will magically decide to do all the things that I like and want him to do once he is office.

Also, maybe he will build high-speed rail, that would be cool. Vote Romney.

Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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