Off topic: If You’re in Massachusetts, Come Vote Republican for a Day!

Don Quixote vs. John Kerry
Ron Paul may seem like Don Quixote, but do you know who Mitt Romney is? He’s the John Kerry of the Republican party.

I’m planning to be part of the Super Tuesday Republican primary. Am I a registered Republican? Nope. You don’t have to be.

Most Massachusetts voters are listed as “unenrolled.” Maybe you are too. This means you can switch affiliations at will, and can vote whenever you like.  Lots of people do this, Mitt Romney did back in the 1990s.

The Ron Paul campaign has stood-up a whole campaign called Republican for a Day, encouraging swing voters to come out for their guy, now my guy for the day, Dr. Paul.

My Once-Friend, Governor Mitt
Why would I not want to vote my my state’s “favorite son”? For the last decade, our former Governor has traveled the country using Massachusetts as a punchline in his stump speeches for national office. But more than that, he’s running away from legitimately good accomplishments. There was more to like about Mitt the Governor than Mitt the candidate.

I first met Mr. Romney 20 years ago, before his two senatorial runs and Governorship. That night, he made two clear points: 1) Mormans are Christian; 2) He was running for President.

I admired a number of his achievements as our state’s Governor. Closing patronage-rich agencies, negotiating our state’s health care plan, and the irony that it took a guy who abstains from alcohol to make  its sale on Sunday legal wasn’t lost on me. He even supported the Big Dig, which has transformed Boston. Governor Mitt was part of some good, all of which he’s run away from.

Using the state he led as a campaign punchline seems disloyal, but it’s understandable, once you know Mitt. He wants to be President so badly he’s willing to do what it takes. To raise money, to seem like a commoner (count the houses, especially the 11,000-square-foot pad in California), and along the way he’ll be as bought and sold as it takes to win the office his dad didn’t.

Ron Paul: The Peace Candidate?
The contrast between Romney and Paul couldn’t be more stark. The Romney candidacy rests on his resume. The Paul campaign is about his commitment to constitutional concepts. Romney’s drawn huge investment; Paul draws zealots.  

The question is, which member of the Odd Couple do you want to go up against President Obama? I’d like the clash of ideas brought by a Paul, rather than the monied politics and footwork of Romney. (“Corporations are people”? “I’m not very concerned about the poor”? “I don’t know NASCAR, but my friends who own teams sure like it”?)

This is what makes Mitt Romney the John Kerry of the GOP. He’s a fine, qualified man, who wants the job so badly he’ll contort himself for the campaign. Like Kerry, he sorely lacks the common touch. Though his candidacy will shift to ideas, Mitt Romney isn’t an idealist, which makes him unlikely to ignite his party, moderates, or much else.

Call me a political romantic, but a Don Quixote would do far more to get out the vote than yet another in a long line of hollow men running for President from my state of, yes…wait for the punchline, Massachusetts. 

John Kerry, Mike Dukakis, Bill Weld, and Mitt Romney at least once failed to cross the chasm from smart guy to national leader. Perhaps a Texan constitutionalist isn’t as Quixotic as you’d think.

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