Romney talking the talk

There’s no question that many conservatives don’t trust former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to follow through on conservative ideas if he’s able to unseat Barack Obama from the Oval Office.

But if Romney is the eventual Republican presidential nominee — as many predict — one can hope that he would govern in a manner consistent with the ideas expressed in this excerpt from a new Fortune profile.

Romney has a simple message for Fortune readers: “I see businesspeople as friends, not as enemies.” He rails against President Obama for launching a “campaign of demonization of people who work in the private sector.” He swears that the business leaders he talks to “feel they’re being attacked by their own President,” and that Obama’s tax and regulatory policies have convinced them that “this is not a great place to invest.” He says he wants “to make America the most attractive place in the world for enterprise — for entrepreneurs, for inventors, for people managing big companies or small companies.”

When I ask Romney to name the single gravest threat to economic prosperity in America today, his response is immediate. Not foreign oil. Not the deficit. Not the rise of China. Not the collapse of the housing market. Not runaway entitlement programs or calamity in the eurozone, and certainly not, as McCain said four years ago, radical Islamic extremism. The real threat, Romney says, is “a government that is overbearing, intrusive, and demanding.”

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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