Enquirer Herald

Romney donors cite debt as reason for their donations

Kathy Godfrey’s first grandson is due any day now.

But along with the excitement she feels anticipating her newest family member, she feels anxiety about the economy and the national debt.

“I’m a conservative, fiscal conservative, and the way we’re spending money right now that we don’t have, I’m scared for his future,” said Godfrey, who lives on the Rock Hill side of Lake Wylie.

The Nov. 6 election, Godfrey says, hopefully will bring a change of direction. Toward that end, she wrote a check to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

As the two national parties gather to make official the top of their tickets – Republicans this week in Tampa, Fla., Democrats next week in Charlotte – local donors are making their choices emphatically by opening their wallets.

South Carolina Republicans have given more than $1.2 million to Romney’s White House effort, edging past the nearly $1.1 million S.C. Democrats have forked over to President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

Romney’s York County receipts – about $22,000 – amount to less than 2 percent of the $1,247,334 his campaign has raised in the state through July, according to federal records.

Like Godfrey, Robert Cermak of Fort Mill, a computer engineer in banking, gave to Romney, citing children in his life as a reason.

“I have a couple nieces and nephews,” he said. “What kind of country are they going to inherit?”

Cermak said he has “enjoyed the goodness of this country without any burden” being placed on him. “They’re going to own more of that debt than I am. I fear for them.

“I don’t believe in the entitlement society. We’re creating a nanny state, a bunch of people who are dependent on our country. It’s not sustainable.”

A retired Clover schoolteacher and administrator and the parent of an educator, Elaine Myrick said she believes some people lack a foundation in ethics.

She and her husband, a dentist, have been to many developing countries as medical missionaries.

“I don’t want to see anyone ever in our country as poor as we have seen in other countries,” she said. “The thing that bothers me more is that people are copping out on life because they know someone is going to take care of them.”

As a Christian, Myrick said, she wants “to take care of people, but I also know that God’s given us the ability to make choices – and good choices.”

Myrick also worries about the future of Social Security and Medicare and whether those paying into the programs now will reap the benefits.

A registered nurse who now works in medical sales, Godfrey spends a lot of time traveling to hospitals around the state. Hospital professionals, she said, are worried about how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will reduce reimbursements for hospital services.

The more government gets involved with health care, she said, the worse off health care will be. Competition in the insurance industry and more options for healthy young people to get coverage for catastrophic events at low premiums are ideas she endorses.

Roger Klaesius of River Hills, owner of a marketing and quality-control consulting firm for the defense industry, called the health care act a “monstrous tax increase” whose costs are yet unknown.

With so much of the law not yet in action, speculation on the campaign trail about its impact on health care providers and patients is rampant.

A recent analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on the health care law arguing that it will reduce deficits over time isn’t quite convincing to Klaesius.

“I have very little faith in analyses that come out of Washington,” he said, “because I frankly don’t trust it ... Give it six months and they’ll change their story.”

These narratives are all “manifestations of how Obama policies are conflicting with (voters’) core beliefs about the size of government,” said Scott Huffmon, Winthrop University professor of political science.

Overall, Romney’s supporters were energized by his pick for vice president, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

Ryan’s life story has been “absolutely amazing,” Klaesius said.

“He’s been honest and forthright in everything that he’s done,” he said. “If you take a Paul Ryan and compare him to (Vice President) Joe Biden, it’s not even a comparison.”

Not so consistent are GOP donors’ reactions to U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, the Missouri Republican running for the U.S. Senate who sparked a national firestorm when he said a woman’s body has ways of preventing pregnancy in instances of “legitimate rape.”

Cermak jumped to Akin’s defense, saying he apologized and shouldn’t drop out of the Senate race, which many national Republican leaders – including Romney and Ryan – have urged him to do.

Myrick and Klaesius said Akin should step down.

“I do believe in the sanctity of human life,” Myrick said, “but anybody that would make a statement like that is just not smart enough to be running for Congress.

“I know people make mistakes and gaffes, like the vice president ... but this was a profound mistake.”