Do not discount the importance of personal traits in a candidate for president. As we said in our 2007 endorsement of Romney, if a presidential candidate is a polarizing figure within the halls of Congress and devoid of the personal characteristics necessary to inspire Americans to listen and follow, his or her plans have little to no chance of success, regardless of how detailed and well-conceived they might be. Like the popular Ronald Reagan, Romney combines a pragmatic conservatism with confidence (not arrogance) and an easy, comfortable style and manner, even charm.
If as a Republican your No. 1 priority is the defeat of Obama, consider this: Romney is the candidate within this field who is best-positioned to win general election votes from not simply Republican voters, but from the all-important Independents in the middle, as well as from moderate Democrats on the left.
We do not question Romney’s conservative credentials, whether the issue is economics, national defense or social issues. In Romney, the nation would get a candidate committed to reduced taxes, reduced spending and reduced regulation. He advocates for hiking defense spending to 4 percent of GDP and increasing active-duty forces by 10,000, and we trust him in taking the 3 a.m. national security call. If it’s a “family values” candidate you want, Romney is a good and decent man of integrity who lives the values he espouses. By virtue of his bid for president in both 2008 and 2012, no candidate in this year’s Republican field has been vetted like Romney. If no skeleton has been discovered in his closet to this point, it’s likely there isn’t one.