Flying_PigThe Des Moines Register tonight released their presidential endorsement, and they endorsed Mitt Romney.  This is the first time they have endorsed a Republican for President in 40 years, and he is the only 2nd Republican they have endorsed this year (they also endorsed Congressman Tom Latham).  The last time they endorsed a Republican candidate for President was President Richard Nixon’s re-election in 1972.  They endorsed his opponent, Hubert Humphrey in 1968.  Looking back I’m sure they wish they went for the Democrat challenger in 1972 as well.

This was an odd endorsement as they endorsed President Obama’s initial stimulus plan saying “it was the right call at the time.”  They say the time for stimulus is over.  They basically said – “it’s the economy stupid” and that Mitt Romney has the better plan.  I also have to wonder if President Obama’s off-the-record and back on interview shaped their opinion.

Consumers must feel more confident about their own economic futures to begin spending on the products and services that power the economy. A renewed sense of confidence will spark renewed investment by American companies. Industry will return to full production and hiring will begin again.

That should come with Mitt Romney in the White House.

There is not a lot of difference between the two candidates’ short-term economic plans, as both are heavy on a promise of tax cuts for the middle class but short on details. Romney’s plan, however, goes beyond helping the middle class with tax breaks.

Throughout the campaign, he has expressed faith in the private sector to fuel a more robust economic recovery if it has more confidence that the federal government will not be an obstacle. Romney has a strategy for job growth through tax and regulatory relief for small businesses, encouraging all forms of domestic energy production, education that prepares graduates with job skills, expanding foreign trade and reducing the burden of federal deficits.

That formula, coupled with his business acumen, should unlock this nation’s economic potential.

They also rebuked Republicans saying President Obama tried to reach out and that he was rebuffed by Republicans so he gave up.  Perhaps President Obama needed to moderate his positions that would have helped when he tried to reach out and would have shown that he was serious.  He didn’t have to do that when he had a Democratic-controlled House and Senate.

They believe that Romney has the ability, based on his past history, to work in a bipartisan manner, but some of the advice given to him could earn him a primary challenge should he completely follow their advice.

Romney could be assured that Democrats would work to defeat him as hard as Republicans worked against Obama is if he were to adopt the reactionary agenda of the most extreme elements of the Republican Party. Romney had to tack to the right during the primary season. Since then, he has recalibrated his campaign to focus on his concern for the middle class, and that is believable if the real Mitt Romney is the one on display as governor of Massachusetts who passed a health care reform plan that became the model for the one passed by Congress.

Romney should not squander an opportunity to build consensus in Washington by wasting time on issues that animate many in his party. We cannot rewind the clock on progress for minorities, women, gays and lesbians. We must make it easier for immigrants to come here to live and work legally and stop making criminals of those who are living here lawfully, paying taxes and raising families. The federal government must continue to insist on clean air and water and encourage clean and renewable energy.

While a President Mitt Romney will likely upset conservatives from time to time; it is unlikely that he will advance many of the Obama polices and positions they state.  So they have to be aware they’ll be writing negative editorials against him on some of these issues.  A President Romney will not advance the Obama green energy plan.  He’s likely to take a harder line on illegal immigration than President Obama did.  How much of the agenda outside of fiscal issues he’ll embrace is uncertain.  No conservative is counting on him to be our cheerleader on certain issues.

While ordinarily I would say that The Des Moines Register’s endorsement isn’t worth the paper it is printed on this year may be different.  This is a tight race in a state that is a toss-up.  This endorsement could potentially sway the rare undecided voter in a year that every vote will matter.

Update: Romney was also endorsed by The Quad City Times, The Cedar Rapids Gazette and Sioux City Journal in their Sunday editions.

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