Everyone remembers the iconic scene in “Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Confronted by a huge, angry man with a sword the size of a hockey stick, Harrison Ford calmly pulls a pistol from his pocket and fires his weapon, removing the impediment to his progress. This scene keeps flashing across my mind as I watch the slow-motion train wreck that is the 2012 presidential campaign.
Hourly, America is deluged with television ads, radio ads, telephone calls, door knocks, email and mail delivering messages that the campaign gurus believe will motivate us to vote one way or the other in November. Caught in a downward-drifting spiral into the trivial, the Obama campaign is more than happy to allow the discussion of issues to float from one secondary item to the next. Meanwhile, like Indiana Jones, Mitt Romney has a weapon at his disposal that could end the contest now and allow America to move past the nightmare that has been the Obama presidency.
That weapon is Obamacare. A majority of Americans want to see Obamacare repealed, and the only way to do that is to defeat Barack Obama next month. It seems like an easy argument to make, but the Romney campaign appears to be either unwilling or unable to make it.
Are they afraid of being hit as hypocrites because Romney signed a similar piece of legislation into law when he was governor of Massachusetts? Perhaps. But what is worse — taking some lumps from elitist mainstream media hacks and some of the “enlightened ones” of the political class, or losing the election because you lacked the courage to use the one weapon that would have enabled you to win?
One of the greatest statesmen of the 20th century was Konrad Adenauer, the first post-World War II chancellor of Germany. Adenauer faced enormous challenges. He had to rebuild a devastated country and nimbly maneuver between American, British and Russian interests while trying to restore a civil society that had been racked by 12-plus years of sophisticated, permeating Nazi propaganda. He often had to change positions.
Once, after one such about-face, he was confronted by reporters, who demanded to know how he could, in good faith, change his positions so abruptly. The chancellor replied, “I reserve the right to be smarter today than I was yesterday.”
Mitt Romney needs to be smarter today than he was as governor of liberal Massachusetts. He needs to tell the American people that Obamacare is a disaster, that it will kill small businesses, wreck Medicare and impose 21 new taxes on America, taxes that will make the task of digging out of our economic mess even harder. And, he must admit that he once thought some of those ideas were good but “he is smarter today than he was then.”
That is the path to victory. All progress — economic, political or personal — starts with acknowledging the reality of a situation, admitting mistakes and your role in them and making the necessary changes to begin to repair the damage. Such is the thin reed of hope that conservatives have for seeing Obama removed from office. Governor Romney, the election outcome is in your hands and nobody else’s. Will you attack Obamacare, or will you forfeit the election?
Bill Wilson is president of Americans for Limited Government.