When it comes to politics I consider myself a mainstream conservative Republican. I was appalled at the personal attacks from liberals directed at former President George W. Bush. I thought politics could never get any dirtier. I was wrong. The day President Barack Obama took office, Sen. Mitch McConell and other leaders of my party publicly announced their intentions to destroy him.

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When Mitt Romney announced his candidacy I was optimistic. Would Romney run a positive, upbeat campaign without resorting to personal attacks against the president? Unfortunately, Romney has proved he is not above the politics of fear, extreme partisanship and character assassination that has become the norm in today's political climate.

The difference between myself and others in my party is I feel no need to question Obama's citizenship or patriotism. Why can't we just stick with his disastrous economic policies that are the real issue? I am disappointed that Romney can't get past criticizing Obama. Anybody can criticize. Leadership is a different issue. It's time for Romney to step up and demonstrate that he has the courage, vision and leadership this country is desperately in need of.

Neil Thomas