If he is elected, Mitt Romney will disappoint you

It looks more and more like Mitt Romney will be the Republican candidate.  There is a still a chance that Herman Cain may surge, but he doesn’t have much money, so I would bet against him.   Don’t take my word for it:  Intrade has Romney at almost a 70 percent chance of winning.

I was a big Romney supporter in 2008.  If it is Romney vs. Obama, I will be voting for Romney.  But I will make a prediction:  the vast majority of people reading this will be disappointed in a Romney presidency four years from now.  They will feel like Romney was the best of a lot of bad choices.  Overall, not much hope and not much change.

I want to start with our liberal friends, many of whom talk nicely about Romney because he is “more sane” than the other Republicans.  He is certainly smarter and more articulate than either of the Bushes and McCain, so if by “more sane,” you mean, “less likely to sound like he just spent the last month dropping acid,” then, yes, you are correct.  But what about Romney’s policies?

How will he disappoint you liberals?  Let me count the ways.

1)China policy.  He promises that on the second day in office he will declare China guilty of manipulating its currency.  This is xenophobic clap-trap.  If anybody has manipulated its currency, it is the US under Greenspan/Bernanke.  We have declared zero interest rates for at least another 18 months, we have had trillions in money-printing.  The result has been a massive decrease in the value of the dollar intended to boost US exports.  The result has been massive inflation in China because dollars are the reserve currency.  Our policy has done much more damage to China than China’s policy has done to us.  Romney is a smart guy.  It is clear to me he knows this.  He is simply latching on to what he feels is a populist issue that will get him votes.  It is cynical, and the resulting trade war would be horrible for the world economy.

2)Immigration policy.  Romney supports building a border fence and the e-verify program.  The border fence is an incredibly stupid idea.  More than half the border is a river.  Cattle drink water from the river.  How are the ranchers along the border going to water their cattle with a fence in the way?  No matter how high the fence, people will get under it or over it.  A fence is against the American tradition of liberty, and sends exactly the wrong message to the world.   Let’s reform the immigration system and make it easier for people to legally come to the United States.  It would be good for the economy, injecting cash and willing workers into the system.  Instead, Romney favors the policy of endlessly putting off immigration reform until “the border is secure,” which it never will be.  I find Romney’s immigration policy ill-informed and nothing more than populist red meat for the right-wing masses.

3)He has no problem bailing out Wall Street.  He still supports TARP.  He opposes the bailouts of GM and Chrysler, but apparently has no problem giving money to rich fat cats who have been sucking off the public trough.

4)Romney has no problem with the war in Iraq, has no problem with Guantamo (he wanted to double it, remember?), has no problem with the Patriot Act.  He is against Defense spending cuts.  He wants the US to remain the policeman of the world.  I cannot overstate how wrong-headed he is on these issues.

5)We will continue our wasteful drug war with a Romney presidency.  More innocents will have their houses broken in to by SWAT teams, more people will go to jail for 20 years for victimless crimes.  If there ever was a time for a change on this issue it is now, but we won’t be getting any change with a Romney presidency.

For conservatives, there are other worries.

1)He still supports TARP but says it was not done correctly!  Romney shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how markets work.  Failing companies need to go into bankruptcy.  Their worthwhile assets need to be bought by another company, and their failing assets need to be liquidated.  The economy will never fully recovery while we maintain this zombie world of half-measures where failing companies are rewarded and protected and succeeding companies cannot thrive.

2)He supports ethanol payoffs.  Again, this is an issue for the right and left.  Ethanol subsidies are universally seen as a massive failure, bad for taxpayers, bad for the environment.  The only reason to favor ethanol is if you want votes in Iowa, site of the Iowa caucuses.  One word:  “pandering.”

3)Romney’s plan calls for a 5 percent cut in spending.  5 percent?  Give me a break.  We need to cut 40 percent to balance next year’s budget.  Five percent is the best he could come up with?

4)Romney is soft on gun control.  He is the type of person who will be pushed into a “bargain” to allow gun control.

5)Romney is the pragmatic technocrat.  His does not understand that certain issues having to do with liberty and the right to property are not negotiable.  So, we will get more “budget deals” involving real tax hikes and imaginary spending cuts during a Romney presidency.  You can count on it.

So, why will I be voting for Romney.  Three reasons:

A)He will repeal Obamacare or at the very least change it significantly.  He will help repeal Dodd-Frank and other regulatory monstrosities that are stifling the economy.

B)He will appoint decent federal judges (one of the most important actions of a president, it turns out).

C)There will be a temporary improvement in the economy during a Romney presidency.  Businesses have been so beaten down by the Bush/Obama nightmare of the last four years that they are begging for a chance to recover, and a Romney presidency will improve the economy, however slightly, for some time.

D)Obama is the worst U.S. president since the 19th century, and Romney will be slightly better.

But I think anybody expecting wonderful things from a Romney presidency is fooling himself.  Four years from now, you will be disappointed.

 

 

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

47 thoughts on “If he is elected, Mitt Romney will disappoint you

  1. Personally, I’m excited about the singular unprecedented possibility that there will be an LDS candidate for president. Doesn’t mean I would want just any fill-in-the-blank LDS person to be there. But I think if he attains it, Mitt Romney has earned it.

    I think people campaign on all sorts of issues and say all sorts of things and then they hit the presidency, get all kinds of intelligence reports and information they were not aware of previously, and have to make some new hard choices and decisions.

    I could be optimistic about a Mitt Romney presidency. But we’ll see. There’s still a long way to go and the GOP nomination itself certainly isn’t in the bag yet.

  2. The one consolation I have is that I don’t believe that Campaign Romney is the same person as Elected Romney. Thus, I can hope that some of his “promises” are just meat thrown to rabid dogs; e.g., that stupid border fence. He can’t really be serious about that! (Can he?)

    But I really don’t see a better option—except maybe Gov Johnson (who isn’t really an option because he can’t get recognized).

  3. I’m not sure if you are doing it here, but it seems like it. It is a mistake of the highest order to see one extreme as being wrong, and jump wildly to the other extreme. Specifically, I’m talking about the “drug war” and the (implied?) solution – legalization. We can have sensible policies that make heavily demanded (and dangerous and/or immoral) activities illegal without having a drug war with Swat teams smashing down doors left and right. I know this isn’t the point of your post, but this is definitely one of libertarianism flaws for me. If we see someone doing something wrong, it is entirely appropriate for a society to declare that type of activity out of bounds. That is very different than seeing someone commit a “sin of omission” and requiring them to act in a certain way.

    Just because there are bad guys out there, just because some people want to abuse drugs, is not a reason to legalize it. I’d add, it’s also not a reason to have Swat teams smashing down doors all over the place. What prudence would suggest is reduced scale of the drug war, and increased checks and balances to avoid excessive force/penalty.

  4. For me Romney’s stalwart immigration stance is a plus, though I expect to be disappointed by his actual actions in office.

    I wouldn’t sweat gun control, if I were you. Gun control is currently DOA. Romney can’t be pushed, because no one is pushing.

    Ultimately, however, you could rewrite this post to apply to any presidential candidate. “Put not your trust in princes,’ the scriptures say. Modern America has so many government functions and so many hopes and expectations from its government that every president would disappoint even if the president were an angel. And no president is or can be.

    I’ll not be voting for Romney in the primaries, most likely, but I expect him to be not much worse than the other poor options.

  5. I agree with SilverRain. I think congress has made the president impotent. The real elections people should be focusing on this time is sending a message to both parties by voting against the incumbent in every congressional race.

  6. Ding-ding-ding! Adam G gets it. “Don’t put your trust in princes,” even Mormon princes. When we expect everything from a president, we are inevitable disappointed. Moderate your expectations and perhaps you won’t be disappointed. :)

  7. Technically, it’s not disappointment if we’re expecting all those things.

    I’m happy to say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Pres. Obama’s administration. It’s been a disaster, but not the unmitigated disaster I had feared. I’ll still be voting for whoever the Republican nominee is, but unless he turns out to be worse than Pres. Obama, I can’t possibly be disappointed.

  8. I think the “too big to fail” status of the nations largest banks is a first class disgrace, but if we let them fail as a group the mostly likely outcome is they would be nationalized, and we would have to bail them out anyway.

    If that was used as a precursor for fundamental banking reform of the full reserves on deposits variety that would be a worthwhile exercise, but if not we would just have a socialist banking system for several years and nothing to show for it.

  9. What we really need to turn this country around is a charismatic populist with a large, well trained and equipped private army behind him and a vision. ;) Just kidding, but seriously, does our situation not remind one of late republican Rome? The corrupt patricians, the angry masses, the two party system…. It would be fun to watch at least…before the new guy went all tyrannical on us.

  10. Sean,
    yes, it does. If you take Spengler seriously (sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t), we’re about 80-100 years or so away from our Augustus. We’re still in the early late Republic. But, yeah, the parallels are uncanny.

  11. Geoff B., Gary Johnson is a cohabiter. Cohabiters are indifferent to marriage and are willing to cover their sins by degrading marriage. Any people, like New York, who choose to be led by a cohabiter have signaled their indifference and will get what they choose. I’d take Howard Dean over Gary Johnson.

  12. Gary Johnson scares me. He’s crazy. Ron Paul scares me on some issues, also. Why can’t we have a solid libertarian that doesn’t say crazy/do crazy things? I can only hope Rand Paul doesn’t go loopy like his Dad sometimes does.

    Yes, there are issues with Romney. He is big government on some issues, clearly. That said, I think he will make a gradual difference. Ronald Reagan wasn’t a libertarian, either. Yet several of his actions made a long lasting difference in the nation: restored our belief in ourselves after Carter and Nixon, created the longest lasting economic expansion in US history, overthrew the Soviet Empire without firing a shot, etc.

    I think that Romney could ostensibly do the same thing for us. No, he isn’t going to drastically downsize government, except to the point of balancing the budget (which will be quite drastic in and of itself). He will find ways to stimulate the economy and create jobs.

    Those are important things.

    As for China, I’m all for tariffs on China. I believe in free trade, but it must also be fair trade. We are partially in the financial/economic pickle we are in today because of how we’ve played footsie with China since Nixon. We’ve allowed them to take ever greater advantage of us, allowing the rembini to remain basically unchanged since way before this economic crash (yes, we’ve manipulated money in the last 18 months, but China’s done it for decades). That they are subsidizing their factories (many run by the military or prison labor) so as to undercut factories in America, is well documented. That they are building their companies without safe guards for environment and safety (both workers and consumers) is obvious after the many safety issues we’ve seen (tainted dog food, lead painted children’s toys, etc) that come from them. China’s cities are now the most polluted in the world, because they are growing without imposing environmental measures as we have here. That affects our globe, as pollutions spread globally and enter into water systems and food supplies.

    We should expect them to come up to our standards and compete, or impose tariffs to ensure we can handle environmental and safety issues caused by their products.

    And then don’t get me started on Civil Rights! Why should we give them favored nation status, when they have such major abuses? Trade? Yes. But not on the level we are doing. At least not until they can come up a magnitude over where they are now in each of these areas.

    I do not want a trade war, but I also don’t want to wave the white flag of surrender, either. And that’s what we’ve been doing towards China for decades. And they are taking advantage of it. They enrich their own military coffers, while impoverishing the USA. Just look at some of Pat Buchanan’s articles on the trade disparities and other issues involved.

    Our Founding Fathers used to pay for the nation’s needs via tariffs! When did such become such an anathema? Free trade only works among equals. It works among the States, because they are similar in nature. It isn’t working in Europe because of the giant disparities between Germany and Greece. And it isn’t working between the USA and China, because of the huge disparities. If we keep down this path, China will enrich itself, while we will only get poorer. Slowing the trade down, making it fair, will allow China to grow into a strong trade partner without impoverishing the United States.

  13. SilverRain,
    it can be balanced by reality. When the lenders won’t lend, the budget will balance immediately. Otherwise, no, I’m not sanguine.

  14. Romney tends to be a federalist, or states’ rights person. What he sees as valid for Massachusetts or another state to do, he does not see as good for the federal government to manage. He will work on defeating Obamacare, because it is not the same as Romneycare (there are only a couple similarities), and it is not done on a state level.

    That Obama asked for Romney’s advisers to speak on Mass. health care law does not mean he helped write it. That is completely bull hockey. Obama’s people spoke to many people regarding health care, and then turned it over to Nancy Pelosi to create her very own monstrosity. And she didn’t listen to any Republicans when she was in power.

    I’m a libertarian. Still, I realize we are not going to achieve a high level of liberty in one step. It took a century to get where we are today, and it may take decades to vastly reduce federal government, as well. That Mitt can help take some big steps in reducing the Obama/GWBush giant federal footprint will go a long ways in restoring America.

    If you haven’t read it yet, I recommend reading Mitt’s book. You may not agree with everything (I don’t), but it will give you a sense of what he will focus on and where he will make the biggest changes.

    But let’s not let sloppy journalism dictate how we see Romney or any other candidate. And claiming the Romney wrote Obamacare simply because some of his former aids talked with the WH on it is balderdash.

  15. I don’t agree with everything that has been written so far, but it has been an interesting discussion. One other reason that I will be voting for Romney over Obama: he will appoint better people to head up all of these federal agencies. In my opinion, 90 percent of the federal agencies need to be abolished, but if you are going to have them it helps to have administrators who have not spent all of their adult lives reading Marx, Erlich, Rawls and Keynes. A more well-rounded perspective would be helpful, and we *will* get that from Romney, so that is another small, tiny vote for him.

  16. “It doesn’t matter who gets voted in at this point, it will be disappointing.” – exactly right.

    Call me cynical, but I am immediately suspicious of anyone who runs for public office

  17. Dear Cynical,

    Do you think that you could agree with anyone on all subjects? Heck, do you agree with everything you believed just a couple years ago?

    I know Geoff and I used to support the Iraqi War, but have both concluded that we shouldn’t have gone in. Does that make us evil or terrible, because we once believed it was right? Does it make a person evil if that person has not yet gained the perspective that Geoff and I now have on it? Of course not. It just means their perspective hasn’t changed on something yet.

    I would severely worry about a candidate that does not modify some of his/her views on occasion. I also would worry about a person who would not/could not compromise on some issues.

  18. Rameumptom,

    Were your comments directed to me? If so, just because I said that I am suspicious of anyone who runs for office does not mean that I won’t support them or that no good will come of what they do. If I vote for Romney, which I plan to do, I just hope his actions don’t cause people to look unkindly at the Church. I just think that it requires a lot of ego for someone to want to be president and a lot of ego is usually not a good thing. As for Iraq, I served there and came home convinced that we should have not gone to war. I think that “Go to war with Iraq” was on President Bush’s to-do list the first day he took office and he was just waiting for an excuse.

    If your comments were not directed to me then…um..never mind.

  19. John M,

    Those of us in New York City enjoy cohabiters in both the Governor’s mansion and at city hall. But maybe we are moving forward as far as your calculations are concerned, since we had adulterers previously.

  20. “He still supports TARP but says it was not done correctly! Romney shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how markets work.”

    Of all the possible reasons why Romney might support TARP, a fundamental misunderstanding of how markets works seems just about the least likely.

  21. JeffT: Do you think there is a difference between crafting a law which the people in the stay by and large desire in large measure, compared to crafting a law most of the nation does not want? It’s pretty clear Romney did for MA, what MA wanted, and he looked for the best possible way to do it. Across the USA, most don’t want Obamacare, some do. Or at the bare minimum, the vast majority of Romney’s voters don’t want it nation wide. Why do you suspect he would give them what they don’t want?

    I take him at his word he would seek to repeal it.

  22. I think John M just signaled that he is endorsing Ron Paul, who after all has been married the longest of any candidate. Gary Johnson is a widower, his wife having died a few years back. He is engaged to be married to another woman. I have not heard they are living together, but in this day and age it would not surprise me. Is that a disqualifier for the presidency? I am honestly not sure.

  23. “Is that a disqualifier for the presidency?”

    Is it a responsibility of the president? No, it is not. Thus, I honestly don’t care.

  24. I think it is an issue to consider. However it would not be a deal breaker. That Gary Johnson seems to be a continuing pothead and very strange does alarm me.

    I agree with Chris on Obamacare. Huge difference between a state that demands it, and a nation that clearly hates it.

  25. Rame, just for the record, Johnson did give up smoking pot several years ago. So, it is not accurate to call him a “continuing pothead.” He is for drug legalization, however. I don’t get the “strange” part. Here in the Rockies, his behavior is exceedingly normal. Climbing Mt. Everest, bike rides, skiing, etc.

  26. If Romney is the nominee, I’m going to call my old girlfriend (of nearly 40 years ago) whose daughter married Mitt’s son and get a personal audience with his eminence and straighten him out on immigration. Then you and I will both breathe easier, Geoff. Besides, I can’t believe that Romney is as stupid as his position on immigration makes him sound–gutless, to be sure, but I hope not that dumb.

  27. Mark B, excellent point. I feel like if I could only get 30 minutes of his time I could help him understand how incredibly nonsensical his position is.

  28. “Mitt Romney will disappoint you.” Disappoint? How about appall and disgust?

    Keep in mind the two-party dictatorship only allows candidates that will toe the line. Mitt is the Mormon Dubya. But he has a nice haircut and an Adam chin, so I think I’ll vote for him.

  29. Guys,
    let me know when you go tell Romney how nonsensical his position is, so I can come along and laugh at y’all. If he gets bored arguing with you, I’ll take over.

  30. I want to start with our liberal friends, many of whom talk nicely about Romney because he is “more sane” than the other Republicans.

    I can’t think of a single liberal I know that talks nicely about Romney unless they’re talking about the pro-choice, Romneycare, pro gay rights Romney of a few years ago. Someone that caters to the Tea Party when it’s pretty obvious he doesn’t agree with them can hardly be called sane. Perhaps you’re thinking of the other Mormon candidate, who is quit obviously the adult of the candidates?

    The great thing for those of you that aren’t happy about many of Romney’s more extreme positions? They’ll change the minute he gets in office. The guy is just another George Bush, with a bit of Dick Cheney’s foreign policy positions thrown in.

  31. In the immortal words of Rush Limbaugh syncophants I would like to “ditto” jjohnson’s comment. As a life long leftist I could only vote for Romney if the Democrats nominated Lyndon LaRouche instead of Obama.

    One of the things we have not yet seen is the opposition research that the Democrats are preparing to use against Romney. The master of the LBO, cutting jobs, and reducing wages is not going to be very popular with people on the left at this time in our history.

  32. How true. How true. After all the tea party sturm and drang, to think the Republicans would choose a former liberal Republican from Massachusetts boggles the mind.

  33. Herman Cain’s star is rising for a number of reasons, one of which is that he appears to be the best conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. If Romney wasn’t quite so moderate he probably would have clinched the nomination by now.

  34. Jjohnsen and Stan, I am friends with a lot of liberals on Facebook. They do not like Romney, but they like him a LOT more than the rest of the Republican field, except for Huntsman. If I were a liberal, I wouldn’t like Romney very much at all for the reasons you mention and the reasons I give above. But if I had a dollar for every time I read a comment like, “well at least Romney is not as crazy as Perry or Cain or Bachmann,” I would….have many many more dollars. Just to cite one example, the New Republic had a chart where they placed “GOP enthusiasm” and “Sanity” on separate sides. The point was that the GOP base was only enthusiastic about the most insane candidates. Romney and Huntsman inspire the least enthusiasm but are the most sane, according to the New Republic. That was my point.

    I will also point out that all references to Romney being sane or moderate will completely disappear once he wins the nomination. Then he will become a fire-breathing, child-killing, right-wing wacko. This is standard liberal playbook, and we should all expect it. Btw, it is also standard conservative playbook to turn all Dem moderates into socialist nut-jobs. I guess it is all part of the game that is played in dysfunctional American politics.

  35. Thank you for this prophetic post. Yes, absolutely, Romney will disappoint. But less so if the economy recovers. Presidents take all the credit and get all the blame for anything bad or good that happens during their presidency, credit and blame that is almost entirely undeserved, as presidents have almost no power over the economy.

    Hopefully, Romney will be riding a wave of independent economic recovery and be able to accomplish positive things with the shared optimism that might result from this recovery. This will be great for the church as well, as a popular president will reflect positively on us.

    If the economy continues to sink, and Romney inherits the blame for it, then all of us as Mormons will also get blamed for having a president who sucks because he’s a Mormon, and an idiot, and can’t fix the economy.

  36. Actually, this post just made me like Romney more. I didn’t know what his various stances were, but they mostly sound pretty good to me. Or at least they sound pretty good if you consider the reality of what is possible.

  37. I’m in agreement with the early comments of both Adam G. and SilverRain. Don’t expect much and the problems are big enough that he won’t make much of a difference. Same applies to the current president.

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