Phil: OK, Ethan, you had your turn last week making the case for President Barack Obama. My turn to make the case for Mitt Romney to be our next president.
Ethan: This should be good. I will now start holding my breath to see how long it takes for you to say, “Romney should be president because Obama is bad!”
Phil: Better exhale now, or you’re going to suffocate. The Romney pedigree is so compelling there is no need for him to engage with Obama’s Chicago-style fear and intimidation squad. Romney is actually the true uniter and the leader this country needs. My starting point is Romney’s private sector job creation experience.
Ethan: Whew! Two paragraphs in, and you’re already bashing Obama! Thanks for letting me exhale so quickly. But, out of curiosity, when you say “job creation” do you mean the jobs he created in Mumbai?
Phil: You haven’t actually exhaled have you? Can you imagine what it would be like to have someone in the White House who has actually signed the front of a paycheck? Romney can empathize with everyone who’s actually created jobs and the tax revenue our government couldn’t exist without.
Ethan: Signing a paycheck is nice, but personally I’d rather have someone in the White House who has actually depended on a paycheck to support their family. Now, when you talk about revenue generation, I assume you are referring to the taxes paid by Romney’s Bermuda based corporations?
Phil: When the USA’s reputation was on the line as the host of the Olympic Games, and a financial calamity and international embarrassment loomed large, who did the organizing committee turn to? Romney. How did he perform under international scrutiny? The games went on as scheduled; venues were first rate; and the financial results were positive.
Ethan: Ensuring that luge and curling don’t overlap during prime time is a qualification for the presidency?
Phil: In addition to being a successful Olympic-quality community organizer, Romney’s entrepreneurial success as a job and wealth creator, combined with his public service as governor of Massachusetts, is just the mix of private and public service we need to lead and inspire America again.
Ethan: Did you really just say Romney’s being a “community organizer” made him qualified to be president? Be still my heart! In terms of his record as governor, do you consider losing 40,000 jobs and being 47th in job creation to be resume builders? I mean, I know he said he likes firing people, but, geez, that’s a lot of pink slips.
Phil: Actually, I see his track record of getting big things done, sharing the credit, working with the liberal Massachusetts Legislature, balancing a $3 billion state budget gap, successfully resolving the Big Dig largess and offering a health care experiment as indicators of his qualifications to be president.
Ethan: Here’s the problem, Phil. Romney seems like a decent person, a devoted family man, an upstanding member of his church, and he pays all the taxes he is absolutely required to pay. So why is his character such an issue in this campaign? For my money, he just doesn’t get the lives of the 99.99 percent of us who do not dwell inside his bubble of money, privilege and power. We have had other presidents who came from wealth and privilege: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, both Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and George H. W. Bush. But in each case their sense of entitlement and privilege was tempered by war, tragedy, illness or their own curiosity. Romney appears to have stayed inside every bubble he was given: wealth, privilege and power, and it is hurting him terribly with average voters.
Phil: Romney was given nothing but a belief in himself and the American Dream. His father didn’t leave him a legacy, rather Romney built his. In the broader political realm, Team Obama has sought and used every tactic to take the message off of Romney’s performance and to inflict negative stereotypes.
Ethan: I don’t think you’re getting it, Phil. When Romney makes a $10,000 bet the same way you and I bet $5, or when he tells kids to just borrow $20,000 from their parents if they can’t find a job, or when he is paid $100,000 as CEO of a company he didn’t even work for, he just doesn’t come across as someone who understands what normal families are up against.
Phil: While I agree with your political perceptions, the adage that labeling can be disabling appears to have stuck. In person (I’ve had dinner with him and his wife, Ann), he is engaging, likeable and very humble, which I believe contributes to his aloofness label. We’ll see in the weeks ahead if Romney has the unique ability to transcend his responses onto Main Street and his vision of the future into a Romney Revolution on Election Day.
Ethan: Phil, so far your arguments are pretty thin. Running a successful Olympics and having a humble dinner just aren’t going to leave many readers inspired to vote for your guy.
Phil: If you believe, as I do, that America needs a president who has the experience to solve big and complex problems, and has lived his life as a job creator and giver of his time and money for the common good, and supports the necessary role of government in your life, then Romney is your candidate.
Ethan: Well, at least you didn’t say “because he isn’t Obama!”