Mitt's Potential: Better President Than Campaigner
By Quin Hillyer on 9.26.12 @ 6:10AM
Why we might thrive if Romney is in the West Wing.
So, you ask, tell me why Mitt Romney will make a good president.
For background, you say you are a voter who has watched Mitt Romney for a long time and just, well, you know, you just don't like him. Worse, you think that as a candidate, he's a dolt. You think he exhibits the emotional depth of Hymie the robot from Get Smart. You think he has the philosophical solidity of a sand castle below the high-tide line. You think he shows the boldness of an Ecuadorean dipping his toe into the Arctic Ocean and vowing never, ever again to risk such a shock to his system.
To which the best response is: Get over it. First, we're not in a position to wait for perfection. Second, the skills of a good candidate do not necessarily translate into the skills needed for the presidency. As Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter both proved, a good campaigner can be a godawful president. Conversely, and more to the point here, a weak campaigner can turn into a very good president. A man of competence and decency can steadily assert his own style onto the template of what the public expects from the man in the Oval Office, and grow in public stature as he does.
Let there be no mistake: Gov. Romney is by all believable accounts a man of great personal decency and generosity, and there can be no doubt about his competence as an administrator and organizational leader. Mere money changers might get rich pushing financial paper, but Romney's history is different: He put both money and expertise into real goods and services, acting not just as a bettor on somebody else's skills but instead as an abettor of other people's dreams, using his own management skills as a force multiplier for sales, profits, and, yes, new jobs. His Bain Capital company did not just trade financial capital; it invested human capital in a way that allowed other human capital to flourish in abundance.
These are skills a president could well use. There can be no doubt that the behemoth that is the federal government can be better managed -- that not only can savings be achieved for taxpayers through better management, but that services can be better delivered even while the costs for those services are being ratcheted downward. Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Jeff Sessions of Alabama all have identified numerous ways such savings can be achieved.