I'd like to take a moment to explain how I ended up so strongly in support of Gov. Romney and why, exactly, I'm doing this.
As with most journeys, the first step was on the wrong path. I'm a pretty restless guy. After taking a short break after the 2004 elections, I was started looking forward to the next election even if my interest was only mild. When President Bush began to disappoint, I started looking more seriously. Early on I came to what was a critical conclusion:
Sen. Clinton will almost certainly be the Democratic nominee and is such a polorizing figure and horrendous speaker that she is sure to go down to defeat as long as the GOP puts forth a strong candidate.
Don't underestimate the importance of that truism, for it frees us in the Republican Party to ignore who would necessarily be the candidate most likely to win (the undeserving Sen. McCain) and instead focus on the candidate that will make the best president
So the search was on for the best our party has to offer. Most of the candidates I looked at had their good points and their bad points. Sen. Frist has a first-class mind and a pretty good personal story, but
his performance as Majority Leader was unexceptional at best. Gov. Huckabee seems conservative enough and probably wouldn't scare too many people, but
his biggest platform seemed to be based on his weight loss. Newt Gingrich is the party's greatest idea factory, but
he's almost as polorizing as Sen. Clinton. I respect Rudy Giuliani very much, but
he's just too liberal on social issues and is probably not suited for the presidency anyway. Sen. Allen seems like a good guy, but
he just doesn't excite me and his football stories got old quick.
I was pretty much prepared to back Sen. Allen and hope he could break through against Sen. McCain. Honestly, I wasn't sure he could, and I can assure you I wasn't motivated enough to start a blog on the subject. You see, I hate voting against somebody. I can't say that I've never held my nose and voted for somebody (not that I would have needed to in order to vote for Sen. Allen), but I much prefer to actively want my candidate to win. None of the other candidates gave me that feeling. Then I gave Gov. Romney a second look.
I hadn't ignored Gov. Romney, I just didn't know much about him. Truthfully, I was more than a little annoyed with him at the time because it was becoming clear he wouldn't be running for a second term as governor (the GOP was already looking at a bad year for holding governorships). But, for the time being, he was a governor which is always a plus when looking for a presidential candidate. So I gave him a chance and caught a speech of his on one of the Road to the White House episodes on C-Span one weekend and I immediately pegged him as a speaker at least on par with Giuliani and well above anyone else in the field.
Still not giving him his due attention, I didn't pay too close attention to the content of what I assume was a variation of the standard speech I've become used to over the past few months. Certainly I found nothing disqualifying. It was enough to gain a bit of my interest.
A few weeks later I was pondering 2008 again. I did some google searching on the various candidates again. His health care solution was very impressive. I was very suspicious of the idea of socializing the whole medical industry, but thought that eventually something had to get done. Gov. Romney set out and actually found a solid balance between a system that wasn't working, and one that wouldn't work (and would bankrupt the state/country to boot).
Successfully tackling the most difficult domestic problem was more than enough to get me digging for more. And the more I dug, the more I liked. His strong response to the Gay Marriage ruling assured me that he was strong on my most important social issue, the judiciary. Being highly disappointed in the GOP's spending binge, his ability to balance his state's budget (yes, without raising taxes) was critical. An excellent politician, he would be elected easily and would probably expand the GOP majority while he's at it. Good businessman. Unlikely to have any skeletons in the closet.
I watched him in action on a few more television appearances and I just got to liking the guy more and more at a simple gut level. Not only is this the best man for the job, but he's someone worth getting excited about to boot. I had my candidate I wanted
to go out and campaign for.
Eighteen months to primary season. I don't know how I'll feel then, but right now I'm exactly where I want to be.