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Romney Liberty University Speech: Fair Words Need Deeds

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney gave the commencement speech at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University this past Saturday, May 12.  When Romney was announced as the speaker, initially there was so much uproar that the University had to take down a Facebook page dedicated to the event. 

Mitt Romney speakingHowever, Romney largely confounded the critics with a speech that was a polished, at times eloquent, statement of faith, and most importantly, grounded in conservative principles the late Dr. Falwell would have recognized and applauded.

Governor Romney set the direction of his remarks by noting historian David Landes' study of cultures throughout history, and observing that, “Culture makes all the difference. Not natural resources, not geography, but what people believe and value. Central to America’s rise to global leadership is our Judeo-Christian tradition, with its vision of the goodness and possibilities of every life.”

Governor Romney then brought the speech out of the academic realm and onto the front page of today’s newspapers by saying, without mentioning President Obama by name, “As fundamental as these principles are, they may become topics of democratic debate. So it is today with the enduring institution of marriage. Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman.”

Romney was expected to use the speech to reach out to those who have questions about his Mormon faith, and in this regard the speech was also strong.  Throughout his remarks he emphasized the values of service, hard work, faith, and most importantly family, that are shared between Evangelicals and Mormons. 

While Governor Romney’s remarks will certainly not bridge the gap between Evangelicals and Mormons, they may have reassured many that, as Romney put it, “People of different faiths, like yours and mine, sometimes wonder where we can meet in common purpose, when there are so many differences in creed and theology. Surely the answer is that we can meet in service, in shared moral convictions about our nation stemming from a common worldview.”

In one of the more graceful passages in his remarks, Governor Romney paid tribute to the late Charles Colson. Lauding Colson’s decision to witness to carry God’s love into every life rather than accept worldly opportunities his friends offered him when he left prison after Watergate to “…set him up once again as an important man…” Romney concluded, Chuck Colson’s “choice at that crossroads would make him, instead, a great man.”

For those who were counting, Romney referenced God eight times, Christ three times, Rick Santorum once and he quoted C.S. Lewis and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., among others.  Those elements of the speech were important to its structure, but where Governor Romney genuinely shone was in his remarks about family.  Saying, “In this life, the commitments that come closest to forever are those of family…” time and again Romney returned to the theme of family and its importance to society and to him personally. 

Conservatives who saw the speech or read it afterwards may now have more reason to warm to the Romney candidacy.  Ultimately, however, to gain the conservative vote Governor Romney must translate those graceful words into deeds – commitments to nominate a conservative Vice President, appoint conservatives to key positions in his administration and govern as a small government constitutional conservative.

Anything less will tell conservatives Saturday’s remarks were fair words merely meant to be applauded and forgotten.

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Did Rand Paul endorse Mitt Romney?

See the following report from Roll Call:

Two quotes purportedly by Rand Paul:

The news comes after his son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), late last week dismissed the suggestion that his father is quietly planning a nominating convention coup. “For all practical purposes, it is over. The numbers are there and Mitt Romney’s going to win the nomination,” Rand Paul said during an interview Thursday.

Rand Paul, who holds similar views to his libertarian-leaning father and is a top surrogate for his presidential campaign, expressed satisfaction with Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, as the Republican presidential nominee. The Senator said Romney’s nomination would set up an election of sharp contrasts and spark an important philosophical debate on the direction of the country.

“I think he’ll be head and shoulders above [President Barack] Obama,” Paul said. “Because [Romney has] sort of experienced the success of the American dream and President Obama is very much for deriding those who are successful and saying they’re not paying enough of their fair share, I think … the election in many ways will be about whether or not we still believe as a country … in economic mobility; whether we believe that our kids or ourselves could be successful and whether we want to divide up the shrinking pie and make things more fair or more egalitarian or whether or not we’re willing to accept that some people will make more money and by letting them make more money, their success also creates more opportunity for the rest of us.”

Hmm ...

As long as ...

If Romney truly embraced conservative principles, including those of abiding by the constitution and limited government, he would tell the GOPe and his own people to stop the attacks on Sarah Palin. But, just this morning, we had another attack launched by unamed operatives against Sarah Palin via a piece in Politico.

Palin Derangement Syndrome: Romney Camp Allows Media To Impact VP Choice

The reality is that Romney's deeds and those of his campaign belie his words.

The question we must ask ourselves...

... is, simply, "Do we believe him?"

This conservative does not.  I am not convinced the GOP even seeks to win in November, and may intend to simply put on a good show, let Obama and the current administration take even more of our liberties, and then show up with a new face in 2016.  That, my friend, is what we might call "Hopeless Change".

We do ourselves a great disservice to fool ourselves into thinking Romney is anything more than another Obama, full of well spoken words, empty promises, and a desire to be a new power broker between the three branches of our government as we rapidly slide away from being the republic of our founders.

There is still a real constitutional conservative in the race, who has a 30 year record of backing up his words with his vote and his actions.

small government conservative

Asking Romney to govern as a small government conservative is beyond reason.  Look at his past record.