Making Peace with Mitt

I’m making peace with the idea of voting for Mitt. I think we need to pick a candidate based on his competence, not every nuance of his positions. Mitt isn’t a vision guy, and I think folks want a vision guy, because they inspire you and make you feel good. Reagan was a vision guy — saw the big picture and understood it well enough that he could bring you along and help make it happen. Mitt is a technician — he knows how to make the process work to bring out the optimal possible outcome. This is what is causing him so much trouble in the primary — he made the best of a number of bad situations, and some of them couldn’t be that good. I think he’s got a bit of knight-in-shining-armor going on, and that makes him a sucker for a lost cause, and nobody can fix them all all the time.

He’s not an ideologue, and ideologues will hate him because he seems to have no principles. He has principles, but he understands that the policy world is about where you can find agreement — the best possible deal that can be made is better than the perfect deal that can’t. So he accepted deals in Massachusetts that gave him half a loaf, because this was Massachusetts, and he had to fight to get any loaf at all. The last Republican technician president was Bush 41, and ideologues hated him too. But Bush 41 tied together an improbable international coalition that was able to militarily dominate Ba’athist Iraq — totally dominate it — without making the whole region explode — even kept Israel from retaliating when the Scuds hit. That’s really an amazing thing to have done — arguably tougher than getting Churchill and Stalin into an alliance. But he lost badly his re-election because people didn’t like him, just as they don’t like Mitt, and for the same reasons.

The reality is that president’s have a limited impact on policy decisions. They have to deal with the Congress, and congresscritters live relatively anonymously when compared to the attention the president gets, and most folks expect the president to just force his way through them. But presidents can’t do that very often, so the Congress is a real restraint on the available options. And, also, events outside the President’s control can limit those options further. This is why Pres. Obama’s foreign policy actions (not his speeches) have been very similar to those of his predecessor – they were the best available option, and the price of doing those things the way he had promised during the campaign proved to be too high. John McCain would have made most of those same decisions the same way.

So I have made peace with voting for Mitt when the time comes. I may choose another candidate in the primary if he’s got the nomination locked before we caucus. I don’t know. I won’t be excited voting for Mitt, and I may not enjoy his presidency very much. But if there was ever a time for a knight-in-shining-armor who wants to save a potentially losing cause in the form of our economy, I’d say this is it. He’s not sexy. He won’t make a thrill run down your leg (probably). But I believe he’ll do the job well, and I can’t really say that about anybody else in the race.

About the Mormon thing (because I’m sure it’s on some people’s minds, due to my own Mormon status), I don’t really care about it.  It has nothing to do with this making of peace, or my subsequent voting.  If you think he’s going to try to steer the country toward Mormonism through anything other than his own example, or that he’s going to be controlled by the Church leadership, or any of the other conspiracies floating around of that nature, then I’m afraid you really don’t know what you’re talking about.  Nobody has brought forward evidence of him trying to steer Massachusetts in a way to favor Mormons, or that he was controlled by the Church leadership then — I’ve never even heard any rumors of that nature.  I’m find with people not liking Mitt, and not voting for him because they don’t like his hair-cut, the sound of his voice, or because they don’t like what they know of his business or government record.  I’m not okay with people who oppose him due to anti-Mormon bigotry.  The people who are doing so know who they are, and my finger is not pointed.

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