Why I’m Voting for Mitt Romney (To My Fellow Conservatives)

To my fellow conservatives:

Mitt Romney was not my first choice for president.  I didn’t vote for him in the 2008 election, and I didn’t vote for him in the 2012 primary.  There are a lot of areas in which our opinions would differ; however, I will be enthusiastically voting for him in November and would implore you to do so as well.

I realize that there may theoretically be a minor party candidate (out of the 16 choices on the Colorado ballot) who holds to views more closely aligned to my beliefs, but I’ll still be voting for Mitt and not a minor party candidate.

Here’s why:

The choice this November is either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama.

Even those planning to vote for a minor party readily admit that the next president will be Mitt Romney or Barack Obama.

Some vote for a minor party because they think doing so is the only way to make a difference in America’s future. Everyone understands that America is currently a two-party system.  Yes, new parties will rise up and perhaps in a few election cycles, we won’t be deciding between Republicans and Democrats, but you will start to see those new parties rise up in smaller offices first.  There aren’t “Cinderellas” when it comes to the presidential final.

Am I saying that you shouldn’t ever vote for a minor party?  Definitely not.  At some point, new parties will rise and it will take your vote to get the new party candidates into office.  But again that’s something that is going to start long before the presidential election, and on a much smaller, less noticeable stage.

Before the Golden Delicious party can get into the Oval Office (yes, I just made that up as I’m staring at apples on my countertop), there will be Golden Delicious state legislators, Golden Delicious senators and representatives, and Golden Delicious governors.  The Golden Delicious party will start out with one small state office, and then two, and then there will be a Golden Delicious governor, and then maybe someday, there will be a Golden Delicious president.

If you don’t like the parties right now, then in the years in between the big elections, get to work getting your Golden Delicious party candidates into offices in your state.  Or, work hard to influence your local major party’s platform and get good, conservative candidates into your state offices.  You may also need to work hard to educate your fellow voters on why they should vote for more conservative candidates, because an awful lot of Americans don’t like government interference unless it helps them personally.

Get the candidates you really love past the qualifying rounds and then someday they’ll make it to the quarterfinals, then the semis, and then the big final.

I’m wary of untested candidates.

Many lesser-known presidential candidates look good and seem to be perfect only because they have not been placed under the magnifying glass that is used so often for major-party candidates.  The dirt has not been uncovered and twisted in attack ads and sound bytes, but it is there.

Minor party candidates often have little to no record to speak of.  All that you know about them is what you see on their own website, and if you’re willing to vote based on the candidate’s own website, Mitt Romney would probably look pretty good to you, too.  Minor party candidates often have never demonstrated how they will actually govern, or if they can even effectively lead a group of people that have vastly different beliefs.

If a person cannot get elected to a high-level public office, how can you expect them to be elected to, and capable of responsibly holding, the highest office?

A Romney presidency will help your congressional leaders pass legislation you agree with.

Perhaps you don’t agree with Mitt Romney on an issue, or two, or twenty.  But perhaps you do agree with him on some very important issues.  And as a conservative, you probably disagree with Obama and the Democratic party on just about everything.

You’ve worked hard to elect senators and representatives that represent the values most important to you, but by not voting for their party in the presidential election – which in turn helps the other party get elected – you have made the job of the senators and representatives you’ve been so enthusiastic about very difficult.

Your pro-life, limited-government, fiscally-responsible congressman will have a hard time passing any legislation that you agree with when they are trying to get it past a president that disagrees on every fundamental issue.  Look at the past four years!

Mitt Romney may not be the ideal conservative, but he will sign the laws that the members of his own party pass.  It would be political suicide not to do so.

We are electing a president, not a pastor.

Do I agree with the major premises of Mormonism?  Absolutely not.  But we aren’t electing a national spiritual leader; we’re electing a national political leader.  If you look to your president as a spiritual leader, well, we need to talk.

Does a president’s religious beliefs affect how he governs?  Absolutely.  So, frankly, I feel comfortable electing a Mormon to the presidency, since members of the Mormon church tend to hold traditional values pretty strongly.

What if Rick Santorum – a Catholic – had been the nominee?  Would you have voted for him even if you disagreed with the basic tenets of the Catholic faith?  For most orthodox evangelicals, the answer is yes.

I don’t think it’s the President’s job to convert a nation to orthodox Christianity, and I don’t think Mitt Romney will try to make the Mormon faith the state church of the United States of America.  I simply want a president who understands the principles of liberty and will allow Americans to worship in freedom as we have for the past 200 years.

I’m comfortable electing a Mormon as president, just like I would be fine with having a Mormon as my boss or as my employee.

I’ve heard several Christians say they don’t want to vote for the “lesser of two evils”.  Frankly, unless you plan to write Jesus Christ himself in, you will be voting for the lesser (of 16, in Colorado at least) evils.

The time to affect a change in our country’s leaders begins long before November.

Though it may appear this way to some, a serious presidential candidate does not simply “walk on” to the ballot.  Getting candidates on the ballot and into office begins long before November.  It begins at your local political meetings; your neighborhood’s caucus; your races for mayor, state senator, and governor.

If you want to see a different type of candidate in office, then you must put forth effort to get those people elected to other offices first.  You must attend your caucus, research the candidates in the big and small races, become a delegate, serve as precinct leader, become part of your local party’s steering committee, or volunteer on a campaign.  Frankly, the real election happens the few years before the actual voting takes place.

If people cared as much about who they have to vote for in their statewide races for legislature, you’d have a much different ballot come time for the presidential election.

A conservative vote that’s not cast for Mitt Romney is a vote for Obama.

Mitt Romney will need the vote of every single conservative and quite a few unaffiliated voters to beat Obama in November – especially in crucial swing states like Colorado.  A conservative vote for a minor party is a vote for Obama and his agenda.  My previous points have demonstrated that this is true.  Is that how I would chose to have it?  Not necessarily, but you can’t change reality.

Conclusion

Fellow conservatives, I’ve stuck my neck out with this post – something I really prefer not to do.  I hold strong opinions, but also hate conflict, so I normally choose to stay quiet.

I’m writing this – and will be sharing it often – because I’m concerned about the damage that my conservative, well-meaning friends could do by voting for a minor party.  I know that there are some valid reasons to not vote for Mitt Romney, but I write this in the hopes that those conservatives thinking of voting for a minor party will realize that the Presidential election is not the place to protest vote. 

It won’t do anything but re-elect the party that you couldn’t possibly disagree with more. 

It will send our country further down a path that will make it even more difficult to get conservative leaders in office in the future.

As laid out above, electing leaders that will uphold your beliefs starts long before the presidential election.  Voting in the presidential election is important, but if you really want to impact change, you will need to do more than check a box every four Novembers.

I feel strongly that this is a pivotal election for our country.  Our country’s economy, national security, and morality cannot take another four years of Obama’s careless policies.  Please consider casting your ballot for Mitt Romney.

The myth of growing your LinkedIn presence

How bad would it be to return a request for a LinkedIn connection with a simple question:

Why do you want to connect with me?

Are you going to write a recommendation for me or do something otherwise beneficial, or are you just trying to grow your network?

Does it really do you any good to grow your network if all you’re doing is building connection upon connection without ever interacting?

How effective would Facebook be for keeping in touch with family and friends if you had thousands of connections but no one ever wrote an update or sent a message?

Would it be more effective to have 1,000 connections on LinkedIn and no reviews or recommendations, or to have 100 connections with five genuine recommendations from people you truly know and have worked with?

Why do you want to connect with me?