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.