In the race for President of the United States, incumbent President Barack Obama (D) faces-off against former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA). Also on the Virginia ballot are three ‘third-party’ candidates, (C), (L), and (G).
The U.S. has a unique system for electing presidents, where the citizens of each of the fifty states (and the District of Columbia) actually vote for a slate of electors who are ‘pledged’ to a particular presidential candidate. Each state has a number of electors equal to the size of its total congressional delegation, counting both representatives and senators. The District of Columbia has three electors as well, which brings the total number of electors to 538.
Maine and Nebraska allot their electors based on the majority vote in each congressional district, with the remaining two electors chosen at-large based on the total state vote. All other states and the District of Columbia allot their electors under a ‘winner take all’ system, where the winner of the state-wide ballot receives all electors. The candidate who receives a majority vote of at least 270 electors wins the election. If no candidate receives a majority vote, the House of Representatives chooses a president.
Presidents are elected to four-year terms, and may serve up-to two terms.
The Incumbent: Barack Obama
The first I ever heard of President Barack Obama (D) was when he was running for the U.S. Senate in 2004. He delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts, shortly before that body formally nominated Senator John Kerry (D-MA) as the party’s presidential candidate. I remember exactly what I thought as I listened to a recording of the speech a day or two after he delivered it: “This guy’s good.”
Obama’s personal story is quintessentially American. He was born in Hawaii to a white, American mother and a black, Kenyan father in a time when his parents’ marriage (and my own marriage, for that matter) would have been illegal in many states, including Virginia, under racist miscegenation laws. Forty-seven years later, almost fifty-three percent of Americans voted to make him President of the United States. With an electoral college landslide of 365-173, Obama became our first mixed-race president (though he is often erroneously labeled as our first African American president—a description that is, at best, only half true). In 2004, speaking at the Democratic convention, he described himself as having been “a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him too.” Four years later, he found that America doesn’t just have a place for him, but was willing to elect him to the highest possible place—the White House.
In that election, I endorsed his opponent, but it was not because I didn’t like Obama. Actually, in some ways I liked him better than Senator John McCain (R-AZ). The mantra of ‘hope and change,’ as vague as it was, had a certain populist charm that I really liked. I appreciated his promises that he would change the tone in Washington, and that he wouldn’t be afraid to work with his political opponents. And, like many fiscal conservatives, I had grown to despise the fiscal policies of President George W. Bush (R) that McCain was likely to keep in-place if he had been elected. Deep down, I really wanted to be able to vote for Obama. He sold himself as a new, different alternative for those of us who had tired of ‘business as usual’ in the nation’s capital. But when I looked at the actual policies he proposed, and compared them to McCain’s, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. For all his talk of change, Obama’s actual campaign proposals were just the same-old same-old—a Pollyanna policy abroad, and a leftist federal expansionism at home.
When President Obama won the election, I wrote an analysis of the results in which I largely blamed the Republican Party for its own defeat. I also warned Obama against taking the election as a mandate for ‘progressive’ policies, since it was mainly an electoral rebuke of the Bush deficits and bailouts rather than an endorsement of progressivism. I also said this: “All-in-all, I’m a little disappointed in the outcome of this election. Having said that, it is my fervent hope that Obama will be a good president. I pray for his safety, and I pray for prudence in his decision making. I am hopeful that Obama will unify this country and refrain from pursuing (with a Democratic-controlled Congress) a radical [progressive] agenda. When he walks down the wrong paths, I will call him out. When he walks down the right ones, I will support him.”
Given the national mood in 2008, I expected that Obama would embark on major foreign policy changes (for the worse), major fiscal policy changes (for the better), and steer clear of major ‘progressive’ domestic policy initiatives altogether. I also expected that he would go out of his way to make friends with Republican leaders in Congress. I was wrong on all counts. Either Obama mis-read the electorate, or I mis-read Obama . . . or both.
Having risen quickly through the political ranks, from Illinois state senator to U.S. senator to president in just eleven years, it is clear that Obama came into office with a distinct lack of experience—especially in foreign relations. Early on, he made a number of embarrassing (though inconsequential) missteps. One of these—bowing to a foreign monarch—was an unfortunate break with more than two-hundred years of presidential tradition. But I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly Obama pivoted on foreign policy after the election. Almost immediately after he began receiving classified national security briefings, he started moderating his positions on Iraq, Afghanistan, and anti-terror policy in general.
On the whole, I applaud the president for his willingness to fight the global war on terror using all the means at his disposal—including controversial means like drone strikes and the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Obama deserves special praise for signing-off on the Navy SEAL mission into Pakistan that resulted in the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Obviously the SEALs themselves deserve the bulk of the credit, but there is no doubt the authorizing such a mission was a gutsy decision for the president.
Obama has, however, been far too willing to hem-and-haw about U.S. foreign policy before foreign audiences, leading directly to the accusation that he spends his time abroad ‘apologizing for America.’ This proclivity was especially frustrating after the recent embassy attacks in Egypt and Libya, after which the Obama administration’s statements have been too strong on the apologies and too soft on the condemnation. People here can make offensive videos about any topic, including Islam. Our government’s job is to defend the free exercise of our basic human rights; our leaders should never apologize for the fact that we are a free country. But my complaints about this administration’s foreign policies are almost entirely about perception and presentation. I have little complaint about the actual substance.
While we should give credit to Obama for leaving the vast majority of Bush’s foreign and anti-terror policies in-place, we should condemn him for doing the same in the area of fiscal policy. Much of the voter anger in 2008, which manifested itself in Obama’s favor, was over the Bush bailouts of financial and automotive firms and frustration over the growing federal deficits. Most Americans know that, in a free market economy, businesses that screw-up go bankrupt. It is not government’s job to try to ‘fix’ dysfunctional companies with taxpayer money. The socialist bailout bonanza under Bush ratcheted political frustration in this country to a level I had never seen in my lifetime, and rightfully so. Unfortunately, those bailouts were supported by both major-party candidates in 2008.
Despite Obama’s initial support for the Bush bailout bonanza, I was cautiously optimistic that, in the face of such an impressive negative response from the voters, he would reverse course when he took office. He didn’t. Obama embraced the same policies, accelerating and expanding the bailouts and passing even more ‘stimulus’ bills that didn’t successfully stimulate anything. He appointed Timothy Geithner, who had been the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and one of the architects of the Bush bailout of AIG, Inc., to be his Treasury Secretary. Most insultingly, he reappointed Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke—a Bush appointee who had been one of the central planners behind the bailout bonanza, and who has championed the Fed’s destructive, inflationary monetary policy.
Our economic downturn cannot, and should not, be blamed on any president—not Bush, and not Obama. Although federal policy plays a role, the fact is that a free market will have ups and downs no matter what government does. What government should do is maintain a stable currency, keep its own fiscal house in order, and give the economy room to repair itself without onerous regulation and taxation. Instead, the Fed has embarked on inflationary policies and the government has spent, spent, and spent some more on socialist endeavors like the gerrymandered auto bankruptcy. In addition, the government has foisted new banking, health care, and environmental regulations on American businesses, creating so much uncertainty that it is helping to depress any positive move in the unemployment numbers. Instead of directing our government to do the three small things it can do to try and foster economic recovery, Obama and his advisers have done exactly the opposite.
In 2009, President Obama directed Congress—which then had solid Democratic Party majorities in both houses—to develop a health care reform plan, even though he had little mandate to do so. He had promised during the campaign that any health care reform bill would be crafted in public view, would take Republican Party recommendations into consideration, and would be posted online at least a week before a vote so everybody could review it. Instead, the Democratic leadership locked itself behind closed doors and developed a plan on their own with virtually no Republican involvement. When the bill was finally brought forth for consideration, Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA 8th)—then the Speaker of the House—famously quipped that Congress would “have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.”
What struck me most about the president during the health care debates is how absent he was. He had very little involvement in crafting the final bill, which makes it especially odd that it is now branded ‘ObamaCare.’ Although Obama did support the bill and ended up signing it into law, all he really contributed to it was insistent public demands that Congress hurry up and get it done.
Obama’s support for the final bill does point to his unfortunate disregard for human rights and civil liberties—another point of diversion from the kind of leadership many of us expected from the president. The Tenth Amendment, which strictly limits federal government authorities, is part of our Bill of Rights. The ‘ObamaCare’ legislation—most especially the purchase mandate—runs directly counter to it. Taken on its own, this could be interpreted as nothing more than a typical ‘progressive’ misreading of the U.S. Constitution. But consider the First Amendment violations of the Health and Human Services contraception and abortifacient mandate, the First Amendement violations of the proposed DISCLOSE, SOPA, and PIPA acts, the Fourth Amendment violations of the ICE domain seizures, the Fourth Amendment violations of the TSA nude scanners and pat-downs, the failure to recognize the government role in protecting the fundamental right to life, and so much more.
One human rights violation could be labeled an oversight or misinterpretation, but this many can only be attributed to a truly disturbing disdain for basic American liberty.
In addition to these direct government actions under Obama that run counter to the protection of basic human rights, Obama’s two appointees to the U.S. Supreme Court have ruled against individual liberty on a number of major cases. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Obama’s first appointee, voted against the First Amendment protection of political speech during election season (Citizens United v. FEC) and against the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms (McDonald v. Chicago). She also joined with Obama’s second Supreme Court appointee, Justice Elena Kagan, in voting to eviscerate the Tenth Amendment limits on federal authority (NFIB v. Sebelius).
And what happened to those promises of a new day in Washington? What happened to the end of ‘politics as usual?’ Unfortunately, the single thing many Americans most wanted to see in an Obama presidency just didn’t happen. Obama’s major appointees, with a few exceptions, are the same kinds of partisan hacks that past administrations have appointed. When they misbehave—even committing perjury in an effort to cover up a major gun-running scandal—the president, in a fine example of Bush-style cronyism, stands by them instead of firing them.
The transparency that Obama promised—one of the biggest reasons that many voted for him—never materialized. The ‘most transparent administration in history’ is, in reality, one of the least transparent. Bills still aren’t posted online ahead of votes in Congress, despite Obama’s own party ruling both houses of Congress for the first two years of his presidency. And the president has made no real effort to engage with the Republican opposition; just three days after his election, he met with congressional leaders and, when presented with some Republican economic proposals, dismissed them with a glib declaration that “elections have consequences. . . . I won.” Any real hope for a bipartisan rapprochement died that day.
Obama makes a number of promises about what he will do in a second term. He’ll revive U.S. manufacturing, dump more money into our failing schools, increase domestic natural gas and oil production, expand the grand experiment in changing what the word ‘marriage’ means, protect the sacrosanct ‘right’ of mothers to kill their own children, ask everybody (except, of course, the forty-seven percent of Americans who pay no federal income tax) to pay their ‘fair share,’ and more. Even if we accept without argument that these are all good things (they aren’t), this president has an unfortunate record of, as George Stephanopolous once gaffed about President Bill Clinton (D), keeping only “the promises he intended to keep.” Of course, this is not at all unique to this president . . . but this president is the one who promised that he wouldn’t succumb to this kind of ‘politics as usual’ nonsense.
What it boils down to is this: I expected a lot more from President Obama. During the campaign he seemed so sincere and ‘real.’ I genuinely liked him, even though I ended up not being able to vote for him because our policy disagreements were too strong. And for the first year-or-so of his presidency, I still really liked him, even as I vehemently disagreed with his fiscal policies (but found myself unexpectedly in-line with many of his foreign policies). It wasn’t until the ‘ObamaCare’ debacle, and the various other civil liberty assaults that followed, that I began to feel that I had been badly duped—that this president really didn’t care about me or, for that matter, the American traditions of liberty and limited government.
At his inauguration, Obama swore an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. Perhaps I was naive, but I actually expected him to do so. I knew I wouldn’t usually agree with him, but I never thought he would govern in a way so contrary to the nature of our free, federal republic, or so blithely contrary to the will of the people.
The Challenger: Mitt Romney
Former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) has been moving through Republican circles since volunteering in the 1962 campaign that saw his father, former auto executive George Romney (R), elected Governor of Michigan. Romney was first exposed to presidential politics when his father sought the Republican nomination in 1968, a campaign that he lost to the man who went on to win the presidency that year—Richard Nixon (R). Romney’s mother, Lenore Romney (R), also mounted an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate in 1970.
After completing his undergraduate and law degrees, Romney pursued a career in management consulting at the Boston Consulting Group and, later, Bain & Company. In 1984, he left Bain & Company to co-found an investment firm named Bain Capital, where he remained until 1999. His business career has netted the Romney family an estimated net worth of between $190 and 250 million dollars (2007). In 1999, Romney left Bain Capital to become the president and CEO of the beleaguered organizing committee for the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, which had been mired in debt and sullied by a bribery scandal. Under Romney’s leadership, the committee turned itself around and the 2002 Winter Olympics ended up clearing a 100 million dollar profit.
Romney had dabbled in politics, mounting an unsuccessful 1994 campaign to un-seat Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), but did not serve in any elective office until he was elected Governor of Massachusetts in 2002. He campaigned in that election as a political outsider, saying that he thought people recognized that he was “not a partisan Republican, that I’m someone who is moderate, and that my views are progressive.” As governor, he resolved an inherited budget shortfall with a combination of budget cuts and fee increases. His most notable policy initiative was a comprehensive health care reform law colloquially known as ‘RomneyCare,’ which served as a partial blueprint for the national health care reform law enacted under Obama now known as ‘ObamaCare.’
Romney opposes ‘ObamaCare’ and promises to repeal at least the most pernicious of its requirements, and some have accused him of hypocrisy because ‘ObamaCare’ is very similar to his own ‘RomneyCare.’ However, the Tenth Amendment—the civil liberty protection that makes the federal health care reform law unconstitutional—explicitly reserves non-enumerated powers to the states. Massachusetts, and any other state, is within its rights to initiate health care reform—to mandate health insurance purchases or even to establish a single-payer system. That does not mean that the federal government has the same authority.
But there is no doubt that Romney governed Massachusetts as a big-government Republican. Although he did work to streamline and improve the state bureaucracy, he did not reduce taxes, and did not hesitate to support government intrusion into the state economy—most notably via ‘RomneyCare.’ He has supported unconstitutional limits on the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, even enacting a nonsensical ban on certain types of guns in Massachusetts. Following an unsuccessful run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, Romney came out in support of President George W. Bush’s (R) bailout bonanza, although he did oppose the related auto industry bailouts.
And this illustrates why Romney had such a difficult and chaotic run to the Republican nomination. He was singled out early-on as the desired choice of the Republican establishment machine, with the willing cooperation of many major media outlets. But in the aftermath of the bailout bonanza and the socialist economic interventionism of the last four years, combined with over a decade of mindless deficit spending from both major parties, the fiscal conservatives in the Republican base had run out of patience with the machine. The base was agitating for somebody, anybody, with a solid small-government record. And so they went, one-by-one, through the candidates . . . but in the end the ‘inevitable’ Romney was the only one left standing.
The concerns that motivated the fiscal conservatives’ efforts to nominate ‘anybody but Romney,’ however, haven’t gone away. Although Romney has a long, successful business history, he has even less experience in elective politics than Obama did in 2008. We have only a very short record upon which to judge him, and that record is as the perennially ‘moderate’ governor of one of the most leftist, ‘progressive’ states in the union. I don’t believe that Romney’s record in Massachusetts can be directly extrapolated into a view of how he would govern as president; close observers of Romney’s governance there can find signs that he had moved to the left of his real beliefs, an unfortunate necessity for a Republican in a heavily-Democratic state. It is likely that he will be a center-right president, even though he was a center-left governor. But that’s just conjecture; there is no way to be certain.
Although Romney levels a number of criticisms at Obama in the foreign policy arena—some of which, like his condemnation of the Obama administration’s apologies for free speech, are perfectly justified—there is little indication that Romney would make any significant changes. American foreign policy remains largely unchanged from the Bush years, and likely won’t change much under the next president. So we can now turn to Romney’s views on fiscal and domestic policy.
Instead of engaging in a poisonous ‘us vs. them’ class warfare, Romney calls for a fairer, flatter, simpler system of taxation. It is utterly reprehensible that we live in a country where the richest one percent of our citizens—those who make nineteen percent of the national income but already pay thirty-seven percent of the taxes—are being asked to pay more, while nearly half of the country pays no federal income tax whatsoever. Yes, everybody ought to pay their fair share in federal income taxes. Most of the ‘rich’ already do, and asking them to pay even more while we ask almost half of the country to contribute nothing is the very definition of ‘unfair.’
Romney also calls for an energy policy that embraces domestic energy production, an area where the Obama administration has engaged in unjustifiable obstructionism and interventionism. He calls for repealing the bulk of the ‘ObamaCare’ law as unconstitutional and for implementing a new reform plan that would respect individual liberty, although his proposal lacks detail. He would support a beneficial expansion of international free trade.
Federal spending would see significant cuts under Romney’s proposals. He recommends capping spending at twenty percent of the gross domestic product, which is a start, and reducing discretionary spending below 2008 levels. Although he makes a number of small recommendations for ways to reduce ongoing federal expenditures, he makes no concrete proposals that would actually help us achieve a balanced budget any time soon. The Romney plan for a more fiscally responsible government would be an improvement, but remains woefully insufficient.
In his campaign, Romney has come out strongly in favor of government policies to protect human rights and civil liberties. He supports the right to life, First Amendment conscience rights, Second Amendment liberties, and Tenth Amendment restrictions on federal authorities. He has publicly opposed liberty-killing bills like DISCLOSE, SOPA, and PIPA. But Romney’s human rights record is, at best, inconsistent. He was much weaker on these issues as Massachusetts governor than he appears to be now, and it is unclear where he stands, if anywhere, on the current administration’s repeated trampling of the Fourth Amendment.
And while Romney promises to appoint Supreme Court justices who will rule in accordance with the plain text of the U.S. Constitution, instead of some ‘progressive’ re-imagining of it, he lists Chief Justice John Roberts as the kind of justice he would appoint. Roberts, of course, recently voted to repeal all Tenth Amendment limits on federal authority so long as we pretend everything is a tax.
In the end, Romney appears to be a run-of-the-mill, big-government, machine Republican. That he has only once held elected office doesn’t make him an ‘outsider,’ and that he now touts fiscally conservative, pro-liberty positions doesn’t mean it actually jibes with his record. He stands as the Republican nominee because he was the ordained successor to Bush and McCain, and the party bosses weren’t going to let a bunch of populist, ‘tea party’ rabble change that.
The Third-Party Candidates
Constitution Party: Virgil Goode
Former Representative Virgil Goode (VA-5th), perennial party-hopper, appears as the Constitution Party nominee. Goode was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996 as a Democrat from Virginia’s 5th District. In 2000, he declared himself an independent and began caucusing with the Republican Party, and then officially declared himself a Republican in 2002. He lost his bid for reelection in 2008 by an incredibly slim margin, and then joined the Constitution Party in 2010.
Goode advocates for a balanced budget—not at some far-off date, but immediately when the next president takes office. He calls for a rapid reduction in the size and scope of the federal government, a Federal Reserve audit, strong anti-illegal immigration policies, establishment of English as the official national language, energy independence, a transition from the income tax to a national sales tax, protection of civil liberties (including the Second Amendment and the right to life), and congressional term limits.
Although many of these positions are laudable, and Goode was generally a strong pro-liberty voice in the Congress, he goes badly astray in matters of free trade—to the point that he sounds like a conspiracy theorist fighting against some ill-defined threat to national sovereignty. He also takes a borderline-xenophobic view of immigration.
(I lived in the 5th District from 1997 until 2002, during which time Goode was my representative. Off on a Tangent did not begin making political endorsements until 2004.)
Libertarian Party: Gary Johnson
Former Governor Gary Johnson (NM), a former Republican, appears as the Libertarian Party nominee. Johnson served as Governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003.
Like Goode, Johnson advocates for immediately balancing the budget with a rapid reduction in the size and scope of the federal government, an audit of the Federal Reserve, a national sales tax to replace the income tax, a rejection of bailouts and economic interventionism, and protection of civil liberties (with strong support for First, Second, and Fourth Amendment liberties, including the right to travel without being accosted by TSA agents). Johnson does not fall into the xenophobic nonsense that Goode seems to embrace, taking positive positions on free trade and immigration.
However, he would set an arbitrary ‘viability’ standard for allowing abortion, a nonsensical position from an otherwise strong civil libertarian. As Dr. Seuss once wrote, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
Johnson would legalize marijuana, which is arguably less harmful than alcohol, while treating addiction to ‘hard’ drugs as a medical, rather than a legal, problem. He points out that much of the border violence between the United States and Mexico can be traced to the marijuana trade, and would thus be reduced or eliminated by its legalization.
Green Party: Jill Stein
Lastly, Dr. Jill Stein, a physician, appears as the Green Party nominee. She embraces a typical, far-left statist platform that is a complete non-starter.
Stein would increase government economic interventionism, move toward a socialized workplace, make our tax code more ‘progressive’ (i.e., unequal) than it already is, make unreasonable hikes to the minimum wage, nationalize much of the banking system, offer ‘free’ college to everybody and forgive all student debt, eliminate teacher merit pay, outlaw foreclosures and evictions, eliminate incorporation as we know it, establish a ‘free-for-all’ immigration policy, and enact a suite of absurd and irrational environmentalist policies.
And in case that wasn’t enough. . . . She would also ‘reverse’ the restoration of First Amendment rights under the ‘Citizens United’ Supreme Court ruling, and do nothing to protect the fundamental right to life. She makes no statement on property rights, or on the Second Amendment. She would reduce the military budget by fifty percent and close nearly all of our bases abroad and, perhaps most nutty, “Create a nuclear free zone in the Middle East region and require all nations in area to join.” How, pray tell, shall we ‘require’ every middle east country to sign on to a nuclear free zone?
I’ll give Stein credit for crafting a platform that is good for laughs, but that’s about it.
It is plainly clear that President Barack Obama (D) should not be reelected. The utterly insane federal deficits, misguided and counterproductive monetary policies, ineffective spending and ‘stimulus’ plans, stunning and terrifying erosion of human rights and civil liberties, and poor Supreme Court nominations—combined with a litany of broken promises relating to transparency, openness, and bipartisanship—should disqualify him from serious consideration. The question is, who should replace him?
We are faced with many serious issues, but there are three particular areas that the next president absolutely must address. First, he must rein-in federal spending and begin rapidly reducing the national debt while fostering a rational monetary policy. Second, he must reverse the erosion of our civil liberties that has taken hold and rapidly accelerated over the last four years. Third, he must appoint Supreme Court justices who will apply the laws and the U.S. Constitution as-written, not as-imagined or as-desired.
Romney has promised to do each of these things . . . but I am not certain that we can trust him. Fiscal conservatives were duped into voting for President George W. Bush (R) on similar promises, but he ran a deficit every year he was president and, when the economy turned south in the latter half of 2008, he dumped trillions of federal dollars into socialist bailouts and buyouts. Romney has been uneven on human rights and civil liberties, and while I have no doubt he would be an improvement over the incumbent I doubt he will be a consistent pro-liberty voice. And the Republican establishment’s record on Supreme Court justices is also uneven, to say the least.
Evaluated objectively, Gary Johnson is the best candidate on these three key issues—with the notable exception of his nonsensical position on the right to life. But Johnson is not going to be president, and voting for him would have the unfortunate side-effect of making it more likely that Obama will be reelected. I have voted for third-party candidates before, and I generally encourage people to vote for whichever candidate they think is best regardless of his chances of winning. But with the severity of the problems we are facing—the record-setting federal deficits, the downright terrifying erosion of civil liberties, and the need for more pro-liberty justices on the Supreme Court—a protest vote would be too risky.
So I endorse the election of Mitt Romney as President of the United States.
I do so not because he is a particularly strong or trustworthy candidate, but because he would almost-certainly be better than the president we have today, and because he stands an actual chance of winning. If elected, we must be unusually insistent in demanding that he keep his promises. We must constantly demand that he govern in a way that is fiscally responsible. We must continue to jealously guard our civil liberties against government intrusion. We must carefully review him at every step—policing his proposals and appointees more carefully than we ever have before.
And what if he lets us down? Sadly, there is a good chance that Romney will be only the ‘lesser of two evils,’ continuing the deficit spending and big-government policies of his predecessors—just a bit more slowly. If so, the Republican Party bosses’ betrayal of the fiscally conservative, pro-liberty party base—and like-minded independents like myself—will be complete. Chances are that the rift between the conservative movement and the party that was once its standard-bearer will be irreparable, and the Republican Party as we know it will be doomed.