A Different Sort Of Acceptance Speech From A Different Sort Of Candidate
We don't know what Romney can deliver for an America ruined by Obama's extravagance but with a background both in the clergy and in business Romney has the moral anchors and can-do experience that give hope -- JR
In my lifetime, America has not nominated a man like Mitt Romney for the presidency. Yes, like all save one, he is a white man. And yes, like of the others, he is a man of some means – though perhaps more substantial wealth than most of the others. But Mitt Romney is different in that he is not primarily a politician – he is a businessman – and he has also served for a time in a pastoral role. Those things make him stand out among others who have sought the presidency as major party nominees over the last half century.
Nothing made this more clear than the cluster of speeches from those who knew Romney from his work as a local leader in the LDS Church. When else have we heard a story like this one from Ted and Pat Oparowski?
Explaining that they are a family of “modest means” firefighter Ted Oparowski spoke of meeting the Romneys and the son, David, the Oparowskis lost over 30 years ago with the Romneys by their side — “America deserves to hear it” he exclaimed.
“You cannot measure a man’s character based on words he utters before adoring crowds during happy times,” he said. “The true measure of a man is revealed in his actions during times of trouble. The quiet hospital room of a dying boy, with no cameras and no reporters — that is the time to make an assessment.”
Pat Oparowski detailed how son, David, at age 14 was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and the way in with Romney helped David and the family — including helping young David write his will.
“On another visit, David, knowing Mitt had gone to law school at Harvard, asked Mitt if he would help him write a will. He had some prized possessions he wanted to make sure were given to his closest friends and family,” she detailed. “The next time Mitt went to the hospital, he was equipped with his yellow legal pad and pen. Together, they made David’s will. That is a task that no child should ever have to do. But it gave David peace of mind.”
She posed the question: “How many men do you know would take the time out of their busy lives to visit a terminally ill 14 year old and help him settle his affairs?”
And of what other modern candidate would we have heard a story akin to this one from Pam Finlayson about her seriously ill newborn?
Her lungs not yet ready to breathe, her heart unstable, and after suffering a severe brain hemorrhage at three days old, she was teetering on the very edge of life.
As I sat with her in intensive care, consumed with a mother’s worry and fear, dear Mitt came to visit and pray with me.
As our clergy, he was one of few visitors allowed.
I will never forget that when he looked down tenderly at my daughter, his eyes filled with tears, and he reached out gently and stroked her tiny back.
I could tell immediately that he didn’t just see a tangle of plastic and tubes; he saw our beautiful little girl, and he was clearly overcome with compassion for her.
During the many months Kate was hospitalized, the Romneys often cared for our two-year old son, Peter. They treated him like one of their own, even welcoming him to stay the night when needed.
I don’t mean to suggest that no candidate who came before him would have shown kindness and compassion for others – each of them, from Kennedy and Nixon to Obama and McCain, would undoubtedly have shown human kindness in such situations. But if elected, Romney’s experience would put him in a small category among American presidents – only James A. Garfield was a minister, and Romney’s pastoral work was in some ways more extensive than Garfield’s. Yet what they share in common is a certain humility about the work they did in the name of their religion.
That may be why, listening to Romney last night, I heard a speech that struck me as quite humble in tone. As I re-read it I am struck by how it follows one of the rules for preaching that I learned in seminary – for most of the speech, when Romney included deeply personal stories they were there to point to something greater and more significant than himself. While the preacher in the pulpit points towards Christ, candidate Romney pointed towards the greatness of America and what makes our country great. Consider his conclusion.
The America we all know has been a story of the many becoming one, uniting to preserve liberty, uniting to build the greatest economy in the world, uniting to save the world from unspeakable darkness.
Everywhere I go in America, there are monuments that list those who have given their lives for America. There is no mention of their race, their party affiliation, or what they did for a living. They lived and died under a single flag, fighting for a single purpose. They pledged allegiance to the UNITED States of America.
That America, that united America, can unleash an economy that will put Americans back to work, that will once again lead the world with innovation and productivity, and that will restore every father and mother's confidence that their children's future is brighter even than the past.
That America, that united America, will preserve a military that is so strong, no nation would ever dare to test it.
That America, that united America, will uphold the constellation of rights that were endowed by our Creator, and codified in our Constitution.
That united America will care for the poor and the sick, will honor and respect the elderly, and will give a helping hand to those in need.
That America is the best within each of us. That America we want for our children.
If I am elected President of these United States, I will work with all my energy and soul to restore that America, to lift our eyes to a better future. That future is our destiny. That future is out there. It is waiting for us. Our children deserve it, our nation depends upon it, the peace and freedom of the world require it. And with your help we will deliver it. Let us begin that future together tonight.
Yes, Mitt Romney is a different kind of candidate with a different sort of background from that which we are accustomed to. He is the evangelist of an American vision that is both traditional and modern at the same time. As such, he points away from himself and towards that vision that he wants us to share, in the hope that his fellow Americans will be swayed to that call to a secular salvation of freedom and prosperity. It is to be hoped that Americans respond.
Dotty Old Clint Eastwood Gave the Best Speech of the Week
Getting the attention of the media to an anti-Obama speech was gold. And the furious reaction from the Left proves that. Full transcript and some of the Leftist response here -- JR
I made my share of Clint Eastwood jokes last night. But I also watched his performance a second time, which is kind of amazing: How many convention speeches are worth watching twice? And of that tiny number, how many would you watch twice on the same night? This is what I saw:
1. A comedy-improv debate with a chair may be the worst idea for a vaudeville act in showbiz history, but the crowd loved it. Or rather, they loved him. He's Clint Eastwood; almost everyone loves him. Even when he seemed like he might wander off into Rick Perry territory and choke completely, the audience in the hall was rooting for him. So, I suspect, was a lot of the audience at home.
2. Eastwood's criticisms of Barack Obama were the average American's criticisms of Barack Obama. If you want to hammer the president in a way that appeals to undecideds, you couldn't do much better than to complain about high unemployment and an endless war. That won't sound authentic coming from Romney, who has been tagged, fairly or not, as the guy who likes to fire people, and whose position on Afghanistan is 180 degrees away from Eastwood's. But coming from Clint Eastwood, that isn't a big problem...
3. ...because Eastwood barely endorsed Mitt Romney last night. He was really endorsing Not Obama. The most substantial compliment he gave to the GOP's nominee was when he pointed out that Romney was a successful businessman -- and that came in the context of slamming the president for being a lawyer, Eastwood apparently forgetting that Mitt too is a graduate of Harvard Law School. "When somebody does not do the job, we've got to let them go," Eastwood said. That isn't an argument for any candidate in particular. It's a pitch for Despair and Change.
4. Eastwood didn't embrace the Republican Party, either. At the beginning of the address he seemed to be identifying himself with the "conservative people" in Hollywood, but then he rushed to expand the group to include "moderate people, Republicans, Democrats" as well. He had a similarly expansive vision of his audience: "Whether you are a Democrat or Republican or whether you're Libertarian or whatever, you are the best around."
5. Above all, those 12 minutes were interesting to watch. They were a great break from the heavily scripted, relentlessly on-message, and utterly boring infomercial that was the bulk of the convention.
In short: A widely beloved figure came onstage, offered a politically popular critique of the other party's candidate, put it in transpartisan terms that are more likely to appeal to undecided voters, and did it in a way that guaranteed we will remember it. He was human, eccentric, funny, weird, relatable. Maybe I would have preferred a performance of Eastwood's anti-government monologue from The Outlaw Josey Wales, but I'm not the target audience. I say the speech helps Romney.
Democrats' Hypocrisy about the Rich
Did you know that President Obama is responsible for the loss of more U.S. jobs than any other person? Did you know that Sen. John F. Kerry and his wife are three to four times as rich as Mitt and Ann Romney, according to the New York Times, yet paid a lower tax rate than the Romneys in 2003, the year before Mr. Kerry ran for president? Do you know how to lower your tax rate? Read on.
Mr. Romney is being criticized in the mainstream media for having paid just about 14 percent of his income in federal income taxes and having some of his money in places like Switzerland and Cayman (even though he appears to have paid all of the taxes on interest and dividends that were due to the United States). Yet, eight years ago, when the far richer Mr. Kerry and his wife paid a slightly lower tax rate and also had their money dispersed globally, as sensible rich people do, they were lauded by many of the same folks who are now in a tizzy about Mr. Romney's finances. Note: Mr. Kerry's wife inherited her money, while Mr. Romney earned his by building real businesses.
Rich people usually employ others to manage their money. Presidents and presidential candidates put their money in blind trusts, as have Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama. When people hire money managers, they expect them to make the highest after-tax returns commensurate with the level of safety those people desire, and the managers have a fiduciary responsibility to do so. Diversification, by type of investment (stock, bonds and real estate) and by geography, is considered prudent financial management.
Mr. Romney's opponents are asking why anyone needs a Swiss bank account (except for the rich Democrats who have them). Three reasons come to mind: safety, better returns and better service. When Mr. Obama took office, the Swiss franc, in dollar terms, was about 20 percent cheaper than it is today and almost 50 percent cheaper than 10 years ago. Some of the Swiss private banks have been around for more than 200 years and are managed prudently because the owners are totally at risk (unlike U.S. banks). Alas, ordinary Americans are being prevented from protecting themselves from U.S. economic mismanagement by having Swiss and other foreign bank accounts because of new Internal Revenue Service regulations. Some, such as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), are so costly and complex that foreign institutions increasingly are refusing to open accounts for Americans. (Note: Sen. Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat, is the primary proponent of these destructive and oppressive regulations. He demands transparency for everyone else's financial accounts, but he is one of the senators who has refused to release his own tax returns.) The attacks on Switzerland by the Obama campaign in its attempts to stigmatize Mr. Romney have become so vicious and inaccurate that the Swiss government has protested.
The Gawker Media Group hit Mr. Romney last week by "exposing" that some of the funds in which he had invested were registered in the Cayman Islands, and some of those funds had been invested in companies that had gambling and other such allegedly naughty but legal operations. It then was uncovered by an enterprising financial blogger that Gawker Media Group Inc. was a Cayman Islands company. If you own mutual funds, there is a high probability that some of them will be registered in Cayman, which has more funds than any other jurisdiction because of regulatory efficiency, not tax evasion. I expect that almost every major media company — including the owners of MSNBC — has some of its legal entities in Cayman. I also expect that most people who own mutual funds — including Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney — have no idea about all of the activities of the businesses in which the funds invest.
The United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the world at 35 percent, which puts U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage with other countries that have lower rates (e.g. Canada at 15 percent, Ireland at 12 percent, Bulgaria at 10 percent and so on). As a result, U.S. companies are forced to move some of their operations into other countries in order to remain competitive. If they bring the profits back to the United States, they are taxed at the full U.S. rate. So Mr. Obama and others who resist allowing companies to bring back the money to the U.S. at a lower rate are basically forcing them to invest their profits and create jobs outside America. Mr. Levin and other economic know-nothings want to penalize U.S. companies for not bringing their profits back to the United States. Such restrictions would backfire by driving more companies to move their place of incorporation and head offices outside the U.S. The correct solution is to reduce the corporate tax rate to make U.S. businesses internationally competitive.
Many people lower their tax rates by donating substantial portions of their incomes to charity, as Mr. Romney does, or buying tax-free state and municipal bonds — even though they provide a lower rate of return than many taxable investments.
Ham-fisted government in Michigan
Anybody who distrusts government regulators is just being realistic. There have been too many instances of Gestapo tactics from them
Almost any breed of pig can go feral. We have some pretty formidable ones in Northern Australia that are descended from British domestic breeds. It is feral pigs, not a particular breed of pig, that should be targeted. Encouraging hunters would be the best idea but the animal rights and anti-gun people would be outraged
Mark Baker produces cured pork from a type of hybrid swine recently put on Michigan's invasive species list. Baker says complying with the state's new rules will end his business.
It's estimated that as many as 3,000 wild pigs are on the loose in Michigan. Nationwide, they cause more than $1.8 billion in damage to farms each year. So recently, the state's Department of Natural Resources put Russian boar on the state's invasive species list.
Mark Baker left the military eight years ago to start Baker's Green Acres, a small farm in Marion, Mich., with his wife and kids. Since then, he's put a whole lot of love, money and time into developing tasty charcuterie: salted and cured pork, derived from his hybrids of Russian boar and the heritage breed Mangalitsa.
"My chefs love it," Baker says. "They like the dark red meat, the woody flavor and the glistening fat."
At the moment, Baker is the only farmer raising the swine for human consumption who freely admits he has them.
But with Michigan's new order, Baker's herd was suddenly classified as an illegal invasive species — putting him at risk of up to two years in jail and $20,000 in fines. If Baker complies, he will receive no compensation for the loss of his investment.
That, he says, would finish his business. "It's over at that point," he says. "I'd be done." ....
The ultimate resolution to the debate may lie in court. Baker's lawsuit against the Michigan DNR has been joined with four other cases. The combined suit is just getting under way. Ultimately, if a judge rules in Baker's favor, the Invasive Species Order could be thrown out.
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