Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney easily won the primary in Illinois, adding to his delegates and getting him closer to what may still be the elusive 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination.  It was a victory not to be discounted, but was it the biggest victory he had in “The Land of Lincoln?”

I don’t think so. Rather, his biggest victory came in Peoria, Illinois when he was speaking to an audience of college students at Bradley University on March 19th. Video footage shows Governor Romney as he points to a member of the audience who had a question for him.  A young woman’s voice is heard, even better after she gets a microphone, and she begins to speak.

Questions from the audience are always a dangerous proposition.  They can catch politicians off guard, be specific to one aspect of a specific policy, seriously testing a candidates knowledge, and they could have a deeply personal orientation, for either the candidate or the questioner.  What hard hitting pertinent question were we going to hear?  At the home of the Bradley Braves you would expect to hear nothing less than an inquiry fitting of Bradley’s “comprehensive programs offer[ing] an effective integration of liberal education, professional preparation, and personal and social development.”

That’s not what Governor Romney got.

The young lady begins: “You’re all like ‘yay, freedom and all this stuff and yay pursuit of happiness…'” Interesting approach, maybe she’s going to ask the candidate about his record as Massachusetts Governor, maybe about his perceived flip-flops, or maybe about his thoughts on post-structural influence on international relations theory.  Let’s see.

Her crescendo: “You know what would make me happy?  Free birth control.”

Lets just look at the delivery; we will briefly touch on the young woman’s misguided political philosophy later.

First, if you are going to ask the candidate a question, you do not answer your own question. Secondly, lets talk like mature adults.  It may have been cute if a preteen or even teen started off with the ‘like, you know like, totally’ way of speaking, but this is an important issue, especially right now. This approach just eliminates any logical thought process behind her argument (there isn’t one anyway) because of the initial presentation of the question.

Now for a brief word from those of us who do not expect to be taken care of from the time of our birth to the time of our death; both of which are of course determined by the government in the statist mind of this young woman.  Simple stated, freedom is the ability of the individual to do as they desire, not being void of responsibility and receiving basics from the government.  Just because “free” is the root of the word does not mean that freedom applies to entitlement to goods without compensation.

So how does this amount to the Romney win I think it to be?  His response, though after a bit too long of a pause, was conservatively eloquent in it’s simplicity and drew the contrast between himself and President Obama.

“If you’re looking for free stuff you don’t have to pay for, vote for the other guy. That’s what he’s all about, okay? That’s not, that’s not what I’m about. Politicians get up and promise you all kinds of free stuff, more and more stuff that you won’t have to pay for… the idea of borrowing a trillion dollars more than we bring in is not just bad economics, its immoral.”

It was akin to the mauling in Charleston when Jon King tried a frontal assault on Newt Gingrich and was decisively defeated in a few sentences.  Speaker Gingrich’s feistiness is not a bad attribute to have.He brought the argument back to economics and business, which is not just his greatest strength, but the most important issue. The economic state of the nation will deliver a lot of the votes needed for someone with sanity to retake 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.Governor Romney also took a small step in gaining the confidence of those of us who think he isn’t enough of a contrast to the current President, which I examined in an earlier article.  His response was lip service to those with a political ideology similar to my own.  In doing so, he started to bend his knee in genuflection to those of us who are yet to be won over by what we perceive as his soft, and to some, non-existent conservative principles.  If his knee touches the ground, he may be able to stave off the rising wave of the prolonged Santorum surge since the number of candidates has been cut in half following South Carolina; however, it’s too soon to tell.This is a multi-step process, admitting denial is not the end.  In fact, his recent exploit was actually pretty easy; it would have seemed staged if the young woman would have set him up any more than she did.  Can he replicate the feat on a larger stage?  Can he land a snarky response against a professional, or even an amateur? Time will tell.Kenneth Depew :: University of St. Thomas :: Houston, TX :: @depewK