Mr. Romney will soon be the nominee of my party, an honor that eluded him four years ago and that his father never achieved.
Outsiders think of running for President of the United States as a glamorous job, but Mr. Romney surely has given up more so far than he has gotten from the Grand Old Party.
First, Mr. Romney did not need to run for office to have a good life. He is at the age when men in his position think of retiring. He is a wealthy, healthy man that turned his attention to public service following the example of his father and the Father of our Country: George Washington. This is surely a commendable thing.
Second, Mr. Romney’s immediate award for service was abuse. President Obama and former President George W. Bush were examples of the kind of abuse he could expect. Mr. Obama has been denied his birthplace, been the subject of racist attacks, and called “antichrist.” Mr. Bush was compared to Hitler, had his faith questioned, and was compared to a chimp. Mr. Romney knew that he would go from collecting philanthropic awards at adoring “roasts” to this sort of attack.
In a Republic, this is not altogether unhealthy, we put no trust in princes, but a successful man cannot enjoy it.
Third, Romney picked Mr. Ryan as his force presidential level appointment. He picked a man to help him govern and not just to win an election. Mr. Romney is a leader unafraid of strong people who might overshadow him. Like William McKinley with Theodore Roosevelt, Mr. Romney was aware of the fact that many delegates and voters will prefer Mr. Ryan to him, but Romney has the self-confidence to know if he wins, then he will be President.
By picking Ryan, Mr. Romney presents Americans with a real choice in this election.
Fourth, I am thankful that as we have learned about Mr. Romney’s finances, we have been set an example of generosity. From classical times, a good leader was expected to be magnanimous. Romney is. He reminds me to do better.
Finally, Mr. Romney has forced me to learn more about his church. He knew the hostility and bigotry that Mormons have historically faced. Americans murdered the founder of his faith, after all. And yet, he has been a nearly-perfect representative of how a good American negotiates the tension between faith and patriotism. He has spoken eloquently and well on faith and government in a way far superior to President Kennedy.
He hasn’t left his Mormon values at the voting booth door. He is forcing American bigots to stop standing in front of the door of the White House.
Whatever the outcome, Mr. Romney is running a race that should Americans proud that he will be honored with the same nomination as Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Reagan.