Virginia has the chance to send a message.
For several decades the GOP has continued to nominate candidates who espouse a limited government philosophy but fail miserably to practice what they preach. In the 1980’s, Bob Dole chaired the Senate Finance Committee and led Senate Republicans as Majority Leader, all while compiling a moderate record, doing nothing to stop the growth of government and the burgeoning relationship between government and corporations, and garnering a reputation as one who could bridge the divide between the left and the right in Washington. Campaigning in 2000, then Texas Governor George W. Bush championed a frugal foreign policy before beginning wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, both of which outlasted his presidency by several years. The tail end of his tenure gave us bailouts and economic “stimulus” that was continued by his successor. In the most recent presidential contest, Republicans nominated noted moderate and military hawk John McCain. During the campaign, McCain famously called on Barack Obama to delay the first presidential debates so that they could both return to the Senate and work on the bailout of big banks, a proposal anathema to limited government.
Now the Grand Ol’ Party is on the verge of nominating Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor is most famous for implementing a health care insurance reform law that contained the individual mandate – a central tenet of the national reform ushered in under Barack Obama. Romney has attempted to quell concern over the individual mandate with fairweather federalism; he claims that he, as governor, did what he thought was best for his state though he would never implement such a plan on a national level (despite saying that he was “glad to hear” that the President Obama was copying his model). This federalist philosophy vanishes when the issues moves away from Romney’s individual mandate and onto gay marriage, where he supports amending the United States Constitution to ban same sex marriage! Quite evidently Mitt Romney does not actually believe in federalism or a limited federal government. He merely needs some sort of justification to reconcile a particular egregious big-state government policy with his anti-big federal government rhetoric.
Mitt Romney’s second most glaring defect is his variance of positions taken on several issues. During his campaign for U. S. Senate in 1994, Romney was fervently pro-choice:
I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for twenty years, that we should sustain and support it and I sustain and support that law and the right of a woman to make that choice.
He reiterated this view when running for governor in 2002:
…with regards to protecting a woman’s right to choose, and I’ve been very clear on that. I will preserve and protect a woman’t right to choose and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard. I will not change any provisions of Massachusetts’ pro-choice laws.
You know I want the voters to know exactly where I’m going to stand as governor, and that is I’m not going to change our pro-choice laws in Massachusetts in any way. I will preserve them, I will protect them, I will enforce them. And therefore I’m not going to make any changes which would make it more difficult for a woman to make that choice herself.
There was a woman who was running for political office, U.S. Senate. She took a very bold and courageous stand in 1970, and that was in a conservative state. That was that a woman should have the right to make her own choice as to whether or not to have an abortion. Her name was Lenore Romney, she was my mom. Even though she lost, she established a record of courage in that regard. She had very strong personal beliefs about what decision she would make for herself and her family if offered to make that choice. But she also made it clear that she thought a woman should have her own right to choose, and believed in the separation of church and state. I have held that view consistently.
Now that he is running for president, Romney blames his pro-choice views on law. He claims that he was only trying to uphold the law as determined by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade and not “legislate against it.” He claims to have never been pro-choice, despite very clearly stating that he was.
In another 2002 gubernatorial debate, Romney explained his position on gun control:
We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts. I support them. I won’t chip away at them. I believe they help protect us and provide for our safety.
During his two campaigns for the presidency, Romney has courted the NRA and gun-rights advocates. In 2007, Romney stated that he was a lifelong hunter. It was later revealed that he has never held a hunting license in any of the four states in which he has resided, and has only been hunting twice.
Not only is Mitt Romney a liar and flip-flopper, he is also a stringent economic interventionist. In 2008 he authored a short-term stimulus plan, and in 2009 he praised President Obama’s stimulus. Romney has also been a long supporter of TARP.
The only other candidate on the ballot for the Republican primary in Virginia is Ron Paul. Congressman Paul is by far the most liberty-friendly candidate running for the Republican nomination. He has never voted for a tax increase and has always opposed bailouts and other forms of economic intervention. Congressman Paul’s adherence to the basic principles of economics led him to predict the housing bubble that collapsed in 2008. That prediction came in 2003, five years before the collapse.
With the 2012 election poised to be another choice between two big-government candidates, Virginians have a chance to send a powerful message to both Washington, D.C. and the Republican Party that they are fed up with candidates who refuse to cut government down to its appropriate size.
Virginia, vote for Ron Paul.