I recently took my business coach CJ McClanahan up on an interesting bet. He would have 1 hour to convince me to vote for Mitt Romney and if he failed then he would take me and my wife out to a nice dinner. I'm thinking Late Harvest Kitchen but I don't want to get ahead of myself. He is confident he can convince me to change my allegiances. I seriously doubt it.
It's not that I don't vote for Republicans. I have voted for Mitch Daniels, Dick Lugar and came close to voting for Mayor Ballard in the recent election. I look for leaders that have a clear, compelling and consistent vision and a track record to back it up- regardless of party. Although I don't buy into many of the comparisons between government and business I do think, like business, that every effective leader follows their own path. This means they wil make decisions others disagree with. So I don't approach politics as much from ideology as practicality- can this person be an effective leader?
I don't see Romney as providing a clear, compelling and consistent vision. He is the quintessential shape shifter and his campaign is remarkably opaque about how he would actually lead. From his track record it appears he may be more moderate than his current positions would suggest. But we are left with the option of voting for someone (Obama) that has been mostly consistent and often compelling (if not always as clear as needed) or a wild card. They both have the experience. At this point you can't seriously argue that Obama is inexperienced.
The reality is that the Republican party knows this is probably their last chance for a serious power grab. If they don't get control of all three branches of government in this election they may not be able to change the rules of the game to favor their fading base. Every 4 years pushes this country towards a more liberal voting base. Look at the radical shift around gay rights/marriage in the past decade. We will see similar, even greater, shifts in the coming decade as the realities of the new economy and climate change settle in. The GOP's base is, frankly, dying off. It will be hard to convince me to invest in the a political party that is dedicated to returning to a fictional, nostalgic past. But I'll let CJ give it a try. As my Dad says "eat up kid, it's free!".