What I wish Romney would say…
Of all the things I thought I would have to do in this election, proving to Republican voters that I was conservative wasn’t one of them. I have been a Conservative my whole life.
At its most fundamental level, Conservatism is a way of looking at the world – we look at the world as we think it is, not as we wish it to be. Conservatives want a better world, just like Liberals. When people on the left talk about the better world government can create, we aren’t against that better world. But the starting point for any policy needs to be recognition of the way things actually are, not the way we want them to be. And if you base policies on the real world, what our experience shows us is the way things are, then pretty quickly you get to a realization of the limitations of government power – in the real world, the government can’t usually create that better world. This really is what differentiates Conservatives from Liberals – Conservatives live in the real world.
I have lived in the real world my whole life. I have helped grow businesses in the real world, and yes I have helped close failing businesses in the real world. I have met a state budget in the real world. I am Conservative in the most fundamental way – I am a realist.
It is because I am a realist that I am optimistic about the future of the United States. Obviously I have serious concerns about the direction of our nation and the competence of our current president. Yes, our nation faces challenges. Yes, we have problems. But I sincerely believe that we do have answers, in the real world.
Many of the problems we face are because government pursues policies that are based on the world as Liberals would like it to be. Right now we are having a debate on whether or not to allow the Keystone Pipeline to be built from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The people that oppose the pipeline want a world in which we are not dependent on polluting fossil fuels. I agree, such a world would be wonderful. But that is not the world we live in – that is not a policy based on reality. We are dependent on fossil fuels, and yes some of them are dirtier than others, but in the real world we need the oil. The administration’s opposition to the pipeline is based on the world as Liberals want it to be, not the world as it is. The real world answer is that we need to allow the Keystone Pipeline to continue. Its not a perfect answer – it doesn’t reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. But it addresses problems in the world as it actually is.
And it’s not just the pipeline. For most of the challenges facing our country, there are real world solutions – we have an answer for almost every challenge. They might not be easy answers, they might not be glamorous answers, but we do have answers. Its hard for me not to be hopeful, because if know if we go back to basing our policies on the real world, we can fix what is wrong with our country.
I have had advisors tell me I need to be angrier when I talk about what is wrong with our country, that voters are angry and I need to be angry as well. I can tell you, from real world experience, that anger is not an effective emotion for a leader. Anger makes leaders say silly, counterproductive things. It might feel good when you say it, but the statements usually do more harm than good and keep us from moving toward our goals. I understand the frustration and even anger with public education. But does anyone think that a real world solution is to close a hundred thousand schools and return 50 million children to home schooling? Does anybody actually think that is a good idea? Angry comments from people trying to be our leaders hurt the cause of conservatism – they take attention away from real world solutions.
And at a practical level, angry people do not win elections. Ronald Reagan wasn’t angry. George Bush wasn’t angry. Because voters know that angry people do not make good leaders. I’m not angry, and I never have been. I know a few of you are concerned that my positions on issues have evolved over the years and that is certainly true for most of us as we gain life experiences. But my character has not changed. The person I am has not changed. My whole life I have been a hopeful, resolute Conservative. And I am still hopeful. I actually believe we can get our country back on track and create a better world for our children and grandchildren.
If you are looking for an angry candidate, then I am not your guy – I will never be the angry candidate. But if you are looking for a Conservative president that can actually make a difference, then I am your man. I am the resolute, experienced Conservative Republican that can actually change the course of this great nation.