Mitt Romney is a clever and talented man. But, as was evident in the most recent Republican debate, he should not become our next president.
Eight of 10 Americans say the country is on the wrong track. We must consider clearly what kind of individual we need as president to take on the prodigious challenges facing us to get back on track.
We need a leader prepared to tell the American people what they don’t want to hear. We need a leader obsessed with truth, not focus groups. We need a leader whose passion is not becoming president but saving America.
I just don’t see these vital characteristics in Romney. As we know, he has a history of flip-flopping on controversial issues. Most recently, he sat out, obviously intentionally, the whole critical debate on the debt ceiling. And he continues refusing to repudiate his Massachusetts health care system though he says he wants to repeal Obamacare, which is a carbon copy of Romneycare.
On one hand, polls show that Americans see our nation in dismal shape and headed in the wrong direction, yet at the same time other polls show they want moderation and compromise in policy. We are in a paradoxical situation in which most Americans today personally benefit from the same spending and programs that are bleeding us to death.
Almost 70 percent of federal spending today — the spending we all know must be cut if we are to survive — consists of transfer payments to individuals. Fifty years ago, transfer payments to individuals consisted of less than 30 percent of federal spending.
These payments to individuals consist of entitlements that dominate federal spending — Social Security and Medicare.
In polling just released by Gallup asking what actions should be taken to reduce the federal debt, the most favored idea is raising taxes on the wealthy and the least favored idea is reforming Social Security and Medicare to reduce costs.
Raising taxes on the wealthy wouldn’t even begin to collect the amount of money needed. There is only one way reduce our debt. That is by reforming the programs accounting for the lion’s share of spending. These are programs most Americans personally benefit from — Social Security and Medicare.
A bold and talented leader who is prepared to tell the truth to the American people and who can inspire their trust to take on the very programs from which they personally benefit — is who we need.
The other reason Americans lean instinctively against the ideas and leaders that they really need is the liberal bias of mainstream media. Republicans need a candidate who can sell Americans on what they instinctively won’t want to do, and the GOP message must survive a hostile media environment.
A clever candidate like Romney might exploit current dissatisfaction and get nominated, or even elected, by smooth talking and avoiding hard truths. But then we’ll have a leader who won’t lead and where will we be?
Star Parker is an author and president of CURE, Center for Urban Renewal and Education.