Some months ago, in the heat of the Republican primary I wrote about key differences between Mitt Romney and a prior Republican candidate, Senator John McCain. You may recall that some of Romney’s primary opponents were gallivanting about proclaiming wrongly how Romney was a squishy moderate, “just like McCain”. Of course it was not true then, and now we know better than ever, that Romney is a far better candidate than McCain.
But as the general election draws to a close, and the last campaigning and persuading takes place, it’s the democrats that now want independents and moderates to think that Mitt Romney is just like George Bush. In every stump speech delivered in recent memory, at every rally, the President tells supporters that Mitt Romney represents a return to the policies of George Bush and that “we tried their way, and it didn’t work”. Obama and his campaign team saturate the airwaves with fear that Romney is somehow just like Bush.
Well, Mitt Romney is no George Bush. Here are some key differences– for any moderate Democrat or Independent voter who may be inclined to believe the distortions coming from the left.
Before I give you those differences, know that the very best predictor of what Mitt Romney will do as President is to review what he did as Governor of Massachusetts. While his private sector and Olympic Games experience is certainly relevant and speaks to how he leads, the strategies used as Governor will likely be the ones he’ll fall back to once he takes the oath of office. Given that, here are key differences between Romney and Bush.
Mitt Romney, while forging some of the most effective bi partisan relationships of any political leader in the last 30 years, in any state, managed to do so while simultaneously vetoing nearly 800 pieces of legislation…some of them authored by Republicans. Imagine that. And in spite of that frequent veto propensity, most Democrats in Massachusetts like working with him. If you doubt this, ask yourself why Obama hasn’t found any of them to campaign with him against their former Governor.
Bush, on the other hand, never met a spending bill he didn’t love. He signed virtually anything and everything sent to him by congress. Regardless of which party wrote it and who got it passed, Bush broke out the pen and signed all but a handful of laws. In eight years in office, President Bush vetoed only a handful of new bills.
Lest this be lost on the average American, please understand that the President’s job in part is to hold congress accountable for only giving the President power to spend up to certain limits. There was great collusion between Bush and his congressional cohorts, resulting in much of the fiscal challenge we have today. Romney won’t be afraid to veto the crap that congress will send him.
The second way in which Romney is fundamentally different from Dubya is that while Governor, Romney passed a balanced budget all four years he was in office. Amazing in this day and age, although a number of Republican Governors and a couple of Democrat Governors have done so in the last decade. Most lobby and cajole for power to exceed and usurp, and therefore run up deficits like those in California, New York, Illinois and of course, Washington DC. Romney didn’t do that, and while passing a balanced budget in the first two years of office as President will be a challenge, I believe, based on his past behavior, and well documented stingy nature, that President Romney will soon be signing only balanced budgets. You see, he’s not only terrifically miserly dude personally, he was deeply protective of the people’s money, while in Massachusetts.
Finally, closely related to the budget point above, Romney will reduce the deficit. He did just that in Massachusetts. In four years, he turned a three billion dollars hole into a two billion dollar surplus. Not too shabby, given the pressure the house democrats asserted…in fact, they often over rode his vetoes. But still, he found a way to lower spending, year over year, until he’d left a 2 billion dollar rainy day account for the commonwealth. That’s pretty darn impressive, or should be, to anyone.
Now, much analysis has been made of Romney’s tax reform plan and many have criticized it for not ‘adding up”. All you need to know is that Mitt Romney has never met a budget he couldn’t balance. During his entire career, including private business, and the Olympics, and his Massachusetts gubernatorial tenure, he always found a way to balance income and expenditures. I’m supremely confident he’ll do so as President.
So, don’t be fooled by those who’d have you believe that Mitt Romney is going to take us backwards to Bush. While he surely shares many of Bush’s values and believes, he’s far more competent and skilled at creating ways to actually implement those values without breaking the bank. If you take the time to read some of the detail of his plans, available on his website, you’ll see a few of those strategies, and you’ll see just exactly how Romney will accomplish this, because with all due respect to the former President, George Bush is no Mitt Romney.