On the other hand, other than one-on-one interviews with press, presumptive GOP nominee Gov. Mitt Romney is on TV when media decide to feature snippets from his campaign appearances. I’ve never seen Obama in person.
Today I got to lay eyes on Romney when he visited Jacksonville (Fla.) and frankly, I was a bit surprised.
For starters, Romney is a classically handsome, youthful looking man. He has a natural elegance. He is not rigid in his posture—it’s more like a bearing similar to what many in the military demonstrate.
Aside from that, I figure he is very disciplined. He has that air about him.
Romney is not into theatrics. He doesn’t pound the table or scream that Democrats “don’t get us.” Rhetoric is not his thing and for that I am grateful. Politicians who rely on rhetoric rarely deliver substance.
Obama is the consummate giver of speeches. Our president has a natural knack for being up on a stage and I’ve even wondered at times whether he missed his calling by not pursuing a career in show business. I mean that as a compliment, by the way.
If I’d met Obama before he went into politics, based on what I’ve read in his books (I actually read them), I’d have pegged him for a liberal arts type more given to poetry than policy.
In Jacksonville Romney talked to supporters with an energy you see in someone who builds things. I thought of my uncle who would take me with him as he visited his business customers. He loved to talk about what they needed and what he planned to do to provide that service to them.
Romney gets that way when he talks about getting America “back on track.” He used the phrase “economic freedom,” and if one theme should hit home with anyone who wants to better his lot in life, it should be that theme. He also talked about the expansion of regulations and the negative impact that has on small businesses.
I don’t think Obama and most Democrats understand that because their vision revolves around government rather than the private sector.
When Romney talked about getting the country back on track, he was talking as a builder might. You could hear the excitement in his voice.
Romney also brought up the divisiveness we’re currently seeing the Left promote—“99-1 is a very different perspective than what we’ve had in America in the past.”
The governor’s approach is directly opposite to Obama and Vice President Joe Biden’s. Romney doesn’t set up the scenario of Americans as victims—the governor is more like the guy eager to roll up his sleeves and start fixing the mess he acknowledges both parties contributed to.
Romney also understands how the energy sector influences our economy, something Democrats simply do not understand. Obama seems happy with our paying record prices for everything—energy affects the price of everything—while he promotes alternative energy. Most of us want as many sources of energy as possible, but those of us who live on Main St. know it will be awhile before we can count on alt-energy in a significant way.
Obama’s subsidies in the alt-energy sector for his political allies is particularly insulting when we consider that even as one major recipient (of more than $500 million taxpayer dollars) went bankrupt, the company still gave out bonuses. We taxpayers will never get that money back. Obama has yet to apologize to taxpayers for his administration’s energy blunders.
Romney noted Obama claims an “all of the above” energy policy. The governor grinned and said he wanted all of the above, but he wants what’s below as well. Fact is, what’s below is cheaper right now than what’s above and the jobs associated with that sector pay very well. It’s doubtful Romney would “shut it down in a single day” when it comes to the Gulf drilling industry as Obama did. No one thought to count the jobs lost by the president's kneejerk reaction.
More than anything else about seeing Romney up close, I realized there’s an intense commitment to making changes that count for all of us instead of just benefiting the political class. He isn’t into class warfare or even overtly bashing his opponent although unlike the GOP campaign in 2008, Romney’s campaign will throw a punch when it has to.
I have yet to meet a small business owner, and I meet many of them in various endeavors, who doesn’t want Romney to win the White House in November.
What this election will boil down to in some ways is a choice between a guy who wants to build things and a guy who wants to redistribute proceeds from what other people have built.
Up close Romney is a very engaging, attractive man whom you’d feel comfortable striking up a conversation with if you bumped into him in an elevator. That came across today as he did meet and greets in Jacksonville. He surprised me.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/May 17, 2012)