Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Mitt Romney most qualified for presidency

Mitt Romney’s tenure as the head of Bain Capital, a Boston financial firm, has rightfully come under scrutiny as he campaigns to become the Republican nominee for president. Media, voters and other politicians should be expected to question and critique the records of presidential candidates, whether those candidates have spent their careers in the private sector or public office. That’s how we identify the candidates who have consistently displayed sound judgment, and who can be trusted to campaign for and responsibly govern as president of the United States.

So the protests of Republican opinion leaders, who have recoiled at attempts by other Republican candidates like Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry to criticize Romney’s career, ring hollow. Romney has made his business background a central part of his campaign, opening it up to criticism from his rivals across the political spectrum. It isn’t an apostasy for free-market capitalists to believe that a businessman can make bad decisions.

Fortunately for Mitt Romney, he doesn’t appear to have made any politically significant blunder as head of Bain. His opponents have been hammering his record for over a week without making a dent in his poll numbers. And he has a depth of executive experience beyond Bain Capital that should make Republican voters more comfortable envisioning him as their candidate for the White House.

Mitt Romney’s most politically significant service managing a large enterprise, though, does not come from his time as a corporate CEO, governor of Massachusetts or even head of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, although he handled the games especially well. It comes from his experience at the top of his current campaign, which has moved through the early primary process with remarkable discipline and consistent results.

Sure, running a presidential campaign does not qualify someone to be president, despite the assertions of Barack Obama who, in 2008, had few other notable experiences to mention. But running a primary campaign well does indicate that a candidate can be trusted to run a strong campaign in the general election, something Romney’s Republican rivals seem incapable of doing.

Newt Gingrich opened the door on attacking Romney’s record at Bain, before indicating he would stop criticizing his rival’s private-sector experience, before the former speaker began attacking Romney again. Rick Perry’s campaign quickly turned into one of the fastest shooting stars in recent American political history, and now appears headed for an end in South Carolina. Jon Huntsman dropped out yesterday after essentially running a Republican primary campaign against the Republican Party.

Earlier, Michelle Bachman left the race after failing to capitalize on the initial energy and enthusiasm behind her campaign. Hermain Cain dropped out after damaging allegations about inappropriate sexual relationships emerged. And Rick Santorum has failed to see any meaningful, lasting bump from his surprise finish in Iowa.

Meanwhile, Romney has moved from state to state, winning first place in both Iowa and New Hampshire and leading the polls in South Carolina and Florida. He has avoided making mistakes on the campaign trail, built a large and effective campaign operation and communicated a clear and consistent message.

At times Romney has seemed reduced by his inability to capture a larger percentage of the vote against the cast of characters running against him. It is hard to score an impressive win against unimpressive competitors. But while Romney may be running against a troupe of erratic and unserious contenders, it is important to remember that Romney himself is a very serious candidate.

Political campaigns are enormous undertakings. President Obama’s re-election campaign could raise up to a billion dollars. It is easy for campaigns to overextend themselves, fall off message or become engulfed by internal divisions. Of the current Republican candidates, Mitt Romney is the only one to lead a campaign that has largely avoided these pitfalls.

His ability to portray himself as a competent and responsible presidential prospect has propelled his success in the early primaries. He is seen as the best candidate to beat President Obama because he is the best candidate. That’s why he will likely continue to sweep his Republican opponents, and hopefully go on to be competitive against President Obama next November.


Tray Smith is the special projects editor of The Crimson White.

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