As an attendee to my fifth Republican National Convention (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012), my new iPhone cover sums up 2012 – “We Built America.” When all was said and done and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, a leader many of us have been working to get to this point for five years, finished his remarks there was a sense of urgency among the delegates, attendees and conservative leaders inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum. What many thought would be impossible in 2008 is now very a real goal. President Obama can be a one-term president thanks to the Romney-Ryan ticket and the American people taking a stand against, as Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan said, the “central planners.”
While the main focus of the convention was clearly “jobs—lots of jobs,” the overarching theme was restoring America’s greatness.
As New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie put it, “We are taking our country back because we are the great grandchildren of men and women who broke their backs in the name of American ingenuity.”
The GOP made the case that this election is about a clear contrast. It is not about who will make you feel good, but who will get the job done. Romney, in what was probably the most memorable line from the entire convention said, “President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet — my promise is to help you and your family.”
The concept is simple. President Obama is a president of soaring rhetoric; his promises of hope and change exhilarated millions; but what really matters is results. And the president’s record is abysmal. As Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell put it, “This president’s policies simply haven’t worked. Washington today has a surplus of rhetoric and a deficit of leadership and results.” As a thread woven through the tapestry of the convention, the point was made that the American people need a leader – a president of action and results, not of words. Ann Romney made the point clear: “No one will work harder. No one will care more. No one will move heaven and earth like Mitt Romney to make this country a better place to live!”
The convention also touched on other key issues that cannot, although I believe have been, ignored by the leader of the free world. On foreign policy, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, asked: “[T]he promise of the Arab Spring is engulfed in uncertainty; internal strife and hostile neighbors are challenging the young fragile democracy in Iraq; dictators in Iran and Syria butcher their people and threaten regional security; Russia and China prevent a response; and everyone asks, ‘Where does America stand?’”
Romney chided President Obama over his policies toward Iran and Israel: “Every American is less secure today because he has failed to slow Iran’s nuclear threat. In his first TV interview as President he said we should ‘talk to Iran.’ We’re still talking and Iran’s centrifuges are still spinning . . . President Obama has thrown allies like Israel under the bus.” Evangelicals want a leader who stands with Israel and there is a complete lack of trust in President Obama in our current relations with the Jewish state. After declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel on a recent visit there and drawing the contrast with the current administration, there is no doubt that Romney is the only pro-Israel candidate in this race.
The GOP made clear that religious freedom must be protected. Ryan stated, “Sometimes even presidents need reminding that our rights come from nature and God and not from government.”
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio also made one of the most poignant arguments for why our religious heritage is not just some phrase on a coin, but a guiding principle that keeps us a free people. He said, “We are special because we have never made the mistake of believing we are so smart that we can rely solely on our leaders or on our government. Our national motto, ‘In God we trust,’ - reminding us that faith in our creator is the most important American value of them all.”
Ryan reiterated, “Our faiths come together in the same moral creed. We believe that in every life there is goodness; for every person there is hope. Each one of us was made for a reason, bearing the image and likeness of the lord of life.”
Romney himself made his positions clear: “As president, I’ll protect the sanctity of life; I’ll honor the institution of marriage; and I will guarantee America’s first liberty—the freedom of religion.” President Obama has done exactly the opposite by embracing pro-abortion organizations and imposing the HHS mandate on religious organizations.
The next two months will be a long battle between two very different views of what America should be at home and abroad. Romney summed up his vision for America as he closed the GOP convention, and his words bear repeating:
That America, that united America, will uphold the constellation of rights that were endowed by our Creator, and codified in our Constitution.
That united America will care for the poor and the sick, will honor and respect the elderly, and will give a helping hand to those in need.
That America is the best within each of us. That America we want for our children.
If I am elected President of these United States, I will work with all my energy and soul to restore that America, to lift our eyes to a better future. That future is our destiny. That future is out there. It is waiting for us. Our children deserve it, our nation depends upon it, the peace and freedom of the world require it. And with your help we will deliver it. Let us begin that future together tonight.
As a social conservative who understands that the economy is the number one issue all Americans are concerned about going into this election, who agrees with Romney-Ryan that debt, deficits and the solvency of programs like Medicare and Social Security are moral issues too, I am thrilled with the success of the Republican National Convention and excited about repeating this narrative as we work towards victory in November.
Jordan Sekulow is executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice. and he served as a consultant to Romney for President in 2008. Matthew Clark, an attorney for the ACLJ, contributed to this piece.