If it isn't broken, don't fix it. West Virginians and Ohioans understand the wisdom of that advice and the peril of ignoring it.
President Barack Obama does not.
Obama has spent the past three and one-half years at once applying ineffective theories to what is wrong with the nation, while attempting to change what was working well.
During his speech accepting the Republican nomination for president Thursday night, Mitt Romney made it clear he understands Obama's mistakes and intends to rely on what is right with America to repair the nation.
Romney put it this way: "President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet ..."
"I promise to work for American families."
Precisely. Obama went into office determined to change the United States to fit his ideals, and in the process he threatens to destroy our prosperity and our ability to lead real, needed change in the world.
Obama's goals reflect his belief that Americans don't know what is good for us, that government should have the power to order our lives in every way - even if that means the real American dream, of our children having better lives than ours, must be abandoned.
Romney's speech contained specifics reassuring to those of us in West Virginia and Ohio.
Not once but twice, he emphasized the nation needs an energy policy that relies largely on coal.
By noting the company he helped found, Bain Capital, established a successful steel company, Romney made it clear he understands the needs of manufacturers. Then he emphasized that as president, he will insist that other nations using unfair trade tactics be punished.
That has not been a priority for the Obama administration, which often seems more concerned with winning plaudits abroad than about the welfare of American families.
Romney's speech indicated he understands Americans' strengths - among them the middle class, our vast energy reserves, our small businesses - need to be promoted, not altered to fit Obama's world view.
Our government has not worked for American families during the past three and one-half years. Romney offers not hope and change, then, but reliance on the traditional values that made our nation great and can restore it as a shining beacon to the rest of the world.