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Romney for president

John Sandberg | Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I don’t love Mitt Romney, but I am going to vote for him.

At the risk of sounding too sentimental, it’s funny how this year’s election fits into the realities of growing older.

Ever since I caught the politics bug in Mrs. Figg’s U.S. government class, I looked forward to the day when I’d vote for president. Just as young voters proclaimed “I Like Ike” in 1956 and others made themselves “Clean for Gene” in ’68, I looked forward to the day when I would campaign with similar enthusiasm.

But as I’ve learned recently, the gift of growing older comes with the realization that things in life are rarely as glamorous as they once seemed.

The most inspirational athlete of my generation turned out to be a cheater, not everyone gets their dream job after college, and presidential elections aren’t as uplifting as I thought they would be.

This year’s campaign has largely been a competition between two well-educated men, each trying to win your vote by scaring you away from the other guy. If today’s campaign model were applied to 1956, Eisenhower supporters would have changed ‘I Like Ike’ into ‘I’m Afraid of Adlai.’

For months I was undecided on whom to vote for, and I wore that indecision with pride. With so much at stake I waited patiently for President Obama or Romney to earn my vote, the type of vote which each of them holds so dear – that of the independent voter.

The moment of enlightenment never came. Maybe the external environment of this election has made things different from the elections of the past, or maybe I was expecting too much. In either case, each candidate left me wanting something more.

Still, we have two choices of who has the best chance of putting the country back on track in a time of unparalleled uncertainty. And that’s why I’m voting for Mitt Romney. This won’t be the strongest endorsement he receives, but in a time when white-hot political blustering seems to be the norm, I’ve chosen measured, lukewarm support instead.

From day one this election has been about the economy. Nothing else will matter as long as Americans are discontent and out of work. And as a young American in particular, I’m voting for the person who is going to reduce the mounting and potentially debilitating burden of debt.

I’m no expert on economic policy or job creation, but I do know much of Romney’s time in the private sector was spent on getting struggling businesses up and running again. And from what I understand, he was very good at it.

America is in need of a problem-solver. I don’t resent President Obama, but I do think it’s time for a change. When it comes to fixing unemployment and reducing wasteful spending, Mitt’s my man.

I have my reservations, to be sure. Romney’s lack of foreign policy experience cannot be ignored. And I wish Romney shared Obama’s commitment to clean energy and the environment.

Even more so than leading the country, I’m concerned about Romney leading a party that seems to be more extreme every day. I’m all in favor of lean government and low taxes but today’s Republican Party is more about uncompromising government and no taxes. That’s simply not leadership, and I hope Romney realizes it.

David Brooks wrote Tuesday in the New York Times that, if elected, Romney is more likely than Obama to get “big stuff done” by compromising with Democrats in Congress and pulling radically-right Republicans to the center with him. Reluctant as they may be, none of the most conservative members of Congress will want to destroy a Republican president.

The core lesson of Romney’s campaign, Brooks wrote, has been: “conservatism loses; moderation wins.”

I can only hope that proves true in a Romney White House.

As for some of the more popular criticisms of Romney the person – I’m not buying them. He is a man of sound personal values, uncommon intelligence and work ethic and deep appreciation for his country. I’m well aware of some of Romney’s poorly-worded remarks throughout the campaign, but far too much has been made of his wealth and supposed inability to empathize with average Americans.

No, I don’t love Mitt Romney. But in Washington these days, when we’re all just looking for someone to get things accomplished, I don’t need someone to love. I don’t need someone to have a beer with or sit next to at a ballgame – I need a president.

And in Mitt Romney I believe I’ve found one.

John Sandberg is a junior political science major from Littleton, Colo. He can be reached at jsandbe1@nd.edu