Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ann's Testimony of Love

Tuesday night America's voters watched and listened as an impassioned case was made in the court of national television. Standing before a panoramic wall of family photos, an ingenuous Ann Romney testified to the motives and character of her husband and sweetheart of 42 years, Mitt Romney.

Millions viewed as the possible next first lady, lovely in a red dress before a backdrop of black and white photos, assuredly spoke a portrait of her partner and best friend. Ann began, "I want to talk to you tonight not about politics, and not about party...I want to talk to you about the deep and abiding love I have for a man I met at a dance many years ago. And the profound love I have, and I know we share for this country."

For months the electorate jury had been tainted with reports from mainstream media of a wealthy, out of touch candidate--unsympathetic to their plight and daily struggles. The case had been made on a regular and relentless basis, that Mitt Romney's phenomenal success had immunized him against the worries and heartaches of everyday, small-town folks. The print and television prosecutors had a strategy: convince the citizenry that a man of great wealth was bereft of empathy and understanding. The left mounted the case that a rich man was somehow, by his very nature of being rich, bad and suspect of at least callous indifference.

Incumbent upon Mrs. Romney was the task of refuting the Democrats' characterization of her husband: she must nullify weeks and weeks of skewed messaging and replace the false image with a true likeness. Ann acknowledged the audience's acuity with, "I've heard your voices! ...We're too smart to know there aren't easy answers, but we're not dumb enough to accept there aren't better answers!"

Ann recounted the story of marrying young and having 5 boys and summarizes with, "I'm still in love with that boy I met at a high school dance. And he still makes me laugh!" Anticipating and answering the unspoken assumption of millions that money eradicates trials, she adds, "I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a storybook marriage...those storybooks never seemed to have chapters called MS or breast cancer."

By this point in her statement, Mrs. Romney has the rapt attention of every women, every citizen juror and speaks to her spouse's core character, "I know this good and decent man for what he is...he has tried to live his life with a set of values centered on family, faith, and love of one's fellow man." Another fact of Mitt's integrity was given, "Mitt doesn't like to talk about how he has helped others, because he sees it as a privilege--not a political talking point."

Ann became more intense, her voice rose as if daring us to discount what she spoke next, "I can't tell you what will happen over the next 4 years, but I can only stand here tonight as a wife and a mother and a grandmother, an American, and make you this solemn commitment: this man will not fail!"

Once Mrs. Romney concluded her heartfelt speech, her husband strode from backstage and gave her a hug as applause and The Temptation's "My Girl" filled the auditorium. Ann had done it: she had courageously addressed and discounted the accusations of disconnectedness and unsuitability. Ann had brilliantly voiced her testimony of love on Mitt's behalf...let's hope the nation heard every word.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mitt and Ann: A Compelling Portrait

Throughout America's relatively short history, men and women of character have arisen at every critical juncture; people who shepherded us onto the high ground, led us to victory in battle, and gave voice to lofty and noble visions. These leaders perhaps appeared rather ordinary at first glance, but over time distinguished themselves and rose above other voices, supported by indefatigable moral and principled convictions.

Over the past couple decades the claim has oft been made that leaders, even presidents, can be great leaders for a nation while, at the very same time, being suspect in their personal lives. And yet, how can the public expect a president, who will not be faithful and loving to his spouse, to be faithful and unwavering in promises made to the electorate? Can voters expect a leader who does not respect the one they've vowed to cherish most in life...can voters expect this self-same leader to respect the public at large?

Chris samples Ann's buttermilk pancakes
Chris Wallace sat down with Mitt and Ann Romney at their summer home on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee, unveiling a loving, devoted couple. Watching 2 people interact can be very telling, and  the Romney's interact like best friends and sweethearts, eager to point out each other's good attributes.  Neither Mitt nor Ann will divulge their topics of disagreement, "We have to have a united front" spoke Ann, when asked to list any points of contention.

Mitt and Ann fell in love as teenagers, married in 1969 when he was 22 and she was 19, then proceeded to have 5 boys between 1970 and 1981. After 43 years of marriage, the couple still display such affability and respect for each other that viewers will find their laughter contagious. "Being around each other just gives us a sense of security and serenity and peace" Ann offered. Mitt quickly added, "She [Ann] has been my best friend, obviously, and my counselor throughout my life." One begins to draw a picture, not unlike that of the historically loving John and Abigail Adams, the adoring Reagans, and George W. Bush and his cherished Laura.

Ann smiles and continues, when asked about Mitt being out of touch, "I will tell you something. When I was really, really sick...I was unable to do anything in a normal life...this was during the time Mitt was running the Olympics and he was putting in long hours. He would come home, on his way home he would stop at the grocery store, he was making dinner..." Chris Wallace followed with, "I also hear from my sources that you have an unhealthy attraction to Costco?" Both Mitt and Ann laughed as she answered, "Oh! We both love Costco!" Hmmm...not as out of touch as Chris suspected.

Ann & Mitt Romney summer family picture at the lake house
In a mere 12 plus minutes, the Wallace interview allows the nation to glimpse Mitt and Ann as they always seem to be when together: relaxed and just plain happy. Mitt confesses, "If I have any time available, and people ask what would you like to do...the thing I'd like to do is be with Ann." Mitt has faithfully loved his Ann through 43 years, which include her battle with MS and breast cancer (the cancer was  successfully treated 2008). Romney has been a stalwart man of his word to his wife and his sons.  

In a time when star-quality often eclipses integrity, voters must look past the facade to the substance of the candidates.  A good way to judge a man's substance is to examine his treatment of those in closest relationship to him. In November, Americans must be reminded to vote for a man of relentless principles and careful character. A man who would sacrifice himself for his wife, who he loves, will do no less for the country he loves. Mitt Romney is such a man.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

All Aboard the Romney Bandwagon!

As excitement builds for the Romney/Ryan ticket, an undercurrent of hope runs through the nation and I am completely caught in the rip-tide. That was not always the case--I am a Johnny-come-lately to the campaign, and so take a moment to reflect on the events which swayed my loyalties.

Last November the GOP presidential field included Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. My initial preference was either Herman Cain or Rick Perry: but then, following some scurrilous accusations, Cain withdrew and  a couple months later, with leaden approval ratings following a couple subpar debate performances, Perry withdrew.

I was troubled, but decided to support Rick Santorum--a consistent, life-long conservative. Then on April 10th Santorum withdrew and I reluctantly moved my allegiance to Mitt Romney. Oh it wasn't that Mitt was a bad person--by all reports he had lived a good and moral life. But there were nagging questions concerning his validity as a true conservative: he had signed onto RomneyCare and he had supported Roe v. Wade prior to 2004. However, when faced with the abysmal failure of Obama to do anything but break promises and push America toward socialism, I was left with little choice.

Then came the pivotal moment: Hilary Rosen spoke a firestorm into being with the words "His wife [Ann Romney] has actually never worked a day in her life." I heard that one statement from an elitist MSMer and former HuffPo editor, and was immediately indignant.

As the daughter of a stay-at-home mom, I know first hand the hard work and tremendous sacrifice of such a choice. No one worked harder or deserved more praise than my mom, and the millions of other such homemaker-mothers. Raising children and balancing housework, meals, meetings, sports and of course, a marriage, is a 24/7/365 demanding proposition.  Ann Romney had 5 boys between 1970 and 1981: Tagg, Matt, Josh, Ben and Craig. Mrs. Romney has also had the challenge of dealing with MS (diagnosed in 1998) and breast cancer (diagnosed, surgery and treatment in 2008). Come to think of it, if the tone-deaf, left-ward leaning mainstream media wants to target Ann Romney, go right ahead! Women across this nation will continue to defect the Democrat party to side with a true lady who has raised 5 good and productive sons, lives with MS, survived cancer and suffered a miscarriage--a less-frequently mentioned loss and heartache.

The next events that prodded my heart and convictions to side with Mitt were his excellent run of speeches: the July 11th speech at the NAACP Convention, the July 24th VFW speech, and the July 29th speech in Jerusalem. At the first venue Romney showed great poise and courage before a non-supportive audience. In the next speech, Mr. Romney resonated with veterans and stressed national security in an almost Reagan-like delivery. And in Jerusalem, Mitt re-affirmed America's commitment to our strongest Ally in the Middle East--Israel.

As if these speeches were not telling enough, Romney made time during his August 2nd visit to Denver to meet with Gary Bauer, Dr. James Dobson, Sen. William Armstrong and Lt. General William Boykin, all men of deep faith and firm convictions. CAIR was livid over the meeting, in particular to Lt. Gen. Boykin's attendance. CAIR's displeasure only confirms the rightness of such an event!

Finally, all hesitation was erased on Saturday, August 11th, when Mitt introduced his Veep pick: Paul Ryan. Ryan, who had long been my favorite, signaled that Romney was serious about the economy, serious about the sanctity of life, serious about foreign policy and peace through strength. This was a solid pick of a man of character and conservative values. At that moment I knew.

I knew my head and my heart were unwaveringly convinced Mitt Romney was a sound choice. I knew I was seeing the resurgence of hope amongst conservatives. And I knew that I was now whole-heartedly, enthusiastically on board Romney's Bandwagon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Andrea's Assumptions

I, like dozens of my friends around the country, set my clock to 5:45 AM (PT) Saturday to watch Mitt Romney announce his VP choice form Norfolk, VA.  As of late Friday night the AP was reporting the pick would be Paul Ryan, a "leak" which prompted thousands of excited tweets and elevated expectations.

Romney had a pretty deep bench for Veep picks, several of whom would have filled the VPOTUS shoes very well, especially contrasted with the current man wearing those shoes. The 1st and 2nd tier candidates included Gov. Bobby Jindal, OH Senator Rob Portman, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Senator Marco Rubio, Gov. Chris Christie and Congressman Paul Ryan--all credible and serious contenders, each adding different pluses to the ticket if chosen. Ryan, however, was my favorite from the beginning.

Saturday morning was so exciting: my faith in Mitt Romney's mindset and commitment to fight for the win was renewed. With the selection of Paul Ryan, Romney brought the campaign spotlight back on the big issues: jobs, the economy and the national debt.  In addition, Ryan is a pro-life man of faith, a known family man and rock-solid Conservative who espouses the Tea Party core beliefs.

Then I heard Andrea Mitchell, covering the event for MSNBC, state, "This is a base election. This is not a pick for suburban moms, this is not a pick for women."  I immediately wondered how Andrea discerned this judgement. By all accounts, Paul Ryan's family was close-knit, and even more so following his father's fatal heart attack when Paul was 16. Ryan reassured Bob Schieffer in a 60 Minutes interview, "My mom is a Medicare senior in Florida. Our point is we need to preserve their benefits, because government made promises to them that they've organized their retirements around." So Paul is concerned about the welfare of his mother--that doesn't ring of "anti-women fervor".

Paul's wife, Janna, a Wellesley graduate and George Washington Law School educated lawyer, is a bright and beautiful woman who has chosen, at least for a season, to be a stay at home mom. Her choice reminds me of Barbara Bush's words in her 2001 Wake Forest Commencement address, "As important as your obligations as a teacher, a doctor, a lawyer or a business leader will be, your connections with spouses, with children, and with friends are the most important investments that you will ever make. There's a big difference between having a career, and having a life. Be sure not to confuse the two." Mrs. Bush emphasized the point, "At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, or a parent."

The fact that Janna has chosen to invest her heart and intellect into the lives of those she loves most, her children and husband, exhibits great wisdom and strength of convictions.  My own mother, though not a lawyer, made the same decision and sacrifice and not a day goes by that I'm not thankful for the choice she made. One friend of the couple, Gloria Dittus, says of the Ryans, "She is rocket smart and he's rocket smart. Big brains, small town values."  Perhaps Andrea Mitchell's assessment deems stay at home moms as an "anti-woman" choice?

Further, as the Ryans live in Janesville (Paul is fifth generation native of Janesville), a small city in southern Wisconsin, it would seem Janna Ryan is indeed a suburban mom. Perhaps Andrea Mitchell misspoke in saying, "...This is not a pick for suburban moms"?  I can only deduce one conclusion from Andrea's pronouncement: Ms. Mitchell was judging the Ryans' worldview, not their actions.

Paul and Janna Ryan are both devout, practicing Catholics; which faith includes adherence to pro-life practice and principles. In fact, Representative Ryan has accrued a 100% pro-life voting record over his years of service!  Paul Ryan's love of his wife and family is evident as he sleeps on the couch in his DC congressional office and hurries home every weekend to be with his wife and kids. So it would seem Mr. Ryan is pro-woman, pro-life, pro-child and pro-mom.

Andrea Mitchell's statement, offered as a journalist's assessment of a fact, supports the pre-suppositions with which Main Stream Media is tainted. To blatantly declare the Ryan pick as "...not a pick for suburban moms, this is not a pick for women.", is to ascribe a monolithic, pro-choice world-view to all women in America.  Even the 2012 Gallop poll shows the percentage of pro-life adults greater than the percentage of "pro-choice" adults. Thus, Andrea may be the person who is out of step with women and moms in America, not Paul Ryan.  Andrea's assumptions should alert all of us watching the race:  the MSM will skew and color their reporting and we must be ever-diligent to glean the truth from these supposed objective journalists. We must know the facts and make them known. And we must refute those Media elite who would presume to speak for us.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Crafting an Electorate

Checking through the usual litany of emails in my inbox yesterday, I stopped scrolling as I saw one startling missive from a good, conservative friend. He had sent along an article posted by FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform) which detailed Oregon's Governor John Kitzhaber and his plan to issue a new form of ID for illegal aliens.

I had to read the short piece twice.  This governor, who I campaigned against on behalf of Chris Dudley, is leading the charge to emulate President Obama in regularizing illegal aliens. Consider that Kitzhaber won in this blue state by a mere 1.52%, with the lion's share of the votes cast in dark blue, progressive Multnomah and Lane counties, both the location of major, liberal universities.

While there are exceptions, college professors and students are heavily weighted Democrat. Even without studies, this makes pure sense from a logic standpoint: professors are often employed at state institutions, receiving government funds and grants and once they receive tenure, can spout any ideology sans repercussions.  The longer insulated from the "real world" of competitive free markets, the more skewed the world-view.

And students, unless secure in their belief system and adept at critical thinking, are rife for liberal indoctrination. The freshmen arrive at campuses, many away from home for the first time, filled with youthful enthusiasm and at least some element of rebellion in their nature. These students look up to their various profs and eagerly consume either subtile or overt, liberal presuppositions. Combined with commonly no full-time jobs nor taxes, the collegians have no real-life experience to temper the messages they receive in the classrooms. Thus, academia, is, on average a very liberal sector of the voting block.

Now President Obama has de facto implemented The Dream Act, which stops the deportation of nearly 800,000 illegals between the ages of 15-30--college age! In addition, the AG filed suit in July of 2010 to hamstring Arizona's SB 1070 which sought to curtail illegal immigration. The Supreme Court upheld the provision 8-0 (Justice Elena Kagan did not vote), which compelled Obama to advance his vision of immigration reform with renewed vigor.

So, we have Governor Kitzhaber pushing for valid ID for illegals in Oregon. The Governor hopes that changes in the Oregon driver's license laws "...would allow "[illegal aliens] to come out of the shadows."  At a time when Oregon has an mean unemployment rate of 8.5% and state debt of over $34 billion, the governor wants to encourage those who would further drain our public resources. The opportunity for voter fraud is huge, especially in a 100% vote by mail state.  As my father is fond of saying, "If you pay Peter to vote for Paul, Paul will always win!"

As a grand-daughter of Norwegian immigrants who came to America legally, immediately began the process to become citizens, and birthed a legacy of hard work, I could not be more opposed to the notion of illegal immigration. In a nation of laws, it would seem legal citizenship is the most basic of precepts. To my grandfather, citizenship was an great honor, not a troublesome aside, and voting was a good American's sacred duty.

It would seem President Obama and Governor Kitzhaber are building a sector which will vote for those they owe the most, vis-à-vis entitlements.  Said entitlements are paid for by hard-working and overly taxed Americans and create a mindset which is the complete opposite of JFK's famous statement "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country!"

To complete the scary scenario, just last week Obama's re-election campaign, in conjunction with the Ohio Democratic Party, filed a lawsuit to block a new Ohio state law that allows the troops to vote early up until the Monday before an election.  All other voters must have their early ballots in by 3 days prior to an election. The rationale behind the law being that service members may be stationed overseas and need the extra time for ballots to be returned. There were issues with military ballots not being allowed in the 2000 and 2004 elections. Considering that members of the armed forces, especially the upper echelons, tend to be more conservative than the country as a whole, it would behoove Obama to limit any special consideration given those serving. A purely unscientific survey taken amongst 100 of my military twitter followers indicated that all were voting for Romney, and all but 1 felt the majority of those serving would vote for The GOP candidate.

Thus, as I consider all of these tactics on the part of the President and the left, I see a strategy that is as smart as it is frightening: by a combination of entitlement gifts, and promises to not legally eligible voters, and by litigation to impede more conservative voting blocks, Obama and his supporters are carefully crafting an electorate. I can only hope that The GOP and Romney's team are on their A game and working intensely to overcome these despicable tactics.  And I hope that every conservative, common sense independent, and Reagan Democrat American turns out to vote in massive numbers come November...the exceptional legacy of this great republic depends on it!