Sitting on the floor of the Arizona Republican convention, we have a sick feeling in our stomachs. Everyone in this room wants to defeat Barack Obama, but divisions are deep, and much work needs to be done to heal the wounds.
Early in the day, we heard a series of speeches from Arizona and GOP luminaries. Despite being united in purpose, the catcalls, boos, and jeers are easily heard over the tepid applause.
Mitt Romney’s third son, Josh, took the podium and offered inevitability. He said, “my Dad realized he would be the next president the Rick Santorum called him to say he was suspending his campaign.” He acknowledged the other candidates, and when he offered kind words about Ron Paul, the room erupted in cheers.
Next up, the Ron Paul campaign appointed a local GOP leader named Sydney Hay to speak. She talked about the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. She seemed to understand Paul’s underdog status, but the Paul supporters cheered her wildly.
The Romney supporters were much more polite; they didn’t jeer the way the Paul crowd jeered Romney supporters.
Listening to the cheers and jeers, the energy in this hall is with Paul, but the majority of delegates are clearly with Romney.
So why is there less energy for the front-runner and presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney?
We decided to ask some of the delegates why. Here is what we heard from the respective campaigns’ delegates:
“Ron Paul wants to follow the US Constitution; Mitt Romney supports the unconstitutional bailouts of the banks.”
“Mitt Romney is the most qualified, he has run businesses, he has run the the Olympics, and he can run the government.”
“Ron Paul is against NDAA, the bill which allows for the arrest and imprisonment of Americans without trial, and Mitt Romney supports the NDAA.”
“Mitt Romney will enforce our immigration laws; Ron Paul will let people cross the border.”
“Ron Paul is a Christian, and Mitt Romney isn’t.”
“Mitt Romney can win, and we will appoint conservatives to the Supreme Court.”
Romney garnered 47 percent of the votes in Arizona’s primary, and Ron Paul only received 8 percent, but because of this enthusiasm gap, the Paul supporters are making the delegate campaigns a close race.
Our own belief is that if Romney wants to run away with this race, he should not be moving to the middle so quickly.
When Barack Obama endorsed homosexual marriage this week, Romney responded by affirming traditional marriage, but then he undercut his own message by endorsing homosexual adoption. This type of “splitting the baby” approach to issues is alienating the conservative GOP base he needs to work hard for his campaign.
Romney will never get the homosexual vote, so why try to placate them by endorsing adoption into untraditional families?
Mitt Romney needs to sound a clear message and not fear the media. He needs to stand on conservative principle.
In this regard, he could learn much from Ron Paul. He would do well to choose Senator Rand Paul, Ron’s son, as his running mate this fall. It would show that he hears the voices of those yearning for a candidate that stands firmly by the US Constitution, and it just might bring some enthusiasm to his campaign.
Photo Credit : Gage Skidmore Creative Commons