Monday, May 7, 2012

Who's pulling Romney's strings?

Today, David Frum in a column for CNN said the obvious, what most of us in the progressive movement have been saying -- that Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican challenger to incumbent US President and Democrat Barack Obama, has allowed himself to cave in to the extremist elements of the GOP (i.e. the self styled "Tea Party".)   Just a few days ago, notes Frum, Romney was pretty much forced to fire his foreign affairs advisor and replaced that advisor with a former aid to John Bolton.   (Remember him?)

It is worth pointing out that in any other democratic country, a movement or a party with these über kinds of views on such things as immigration, birth control and foreign policy would be coloured on the political maps on TV and in newspapers black -- as in Black Shirts or facists.   In some countries like Austria and Italy, some coalition governments have been built with support of the far right not out of choice but absolute necessity.  In others, like France and the UK, the mainstream parties want absolutely nothing to do with the neo-fascists at the national level, even though such do manage to control some local councils as well as getting seats in the European Parliament in Strasbourg (and presumably has a slight hand in selecting some nominees to the European High Courts in Luxembourg City).

Sadly, the GOP is no longer the party of Lincoln.   It's not the party of Hoover and Eisenhower, or even Nixon and Ford.   Even Reagan would be appalled at what the party has become, with the rightists demonizing the moderates (and thus disobeying The Gipper's Twelfth Commandment, "Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican.")

Even a couple of weeks back, I was of the sense that Obama would win re-election though by not nearly as much as he did four years ago.   The rate things are going, Romney may not even come close -- I wouldn't be surprised if Obama not only holds on to the battleground states he won last time, he may even peel off marginal states like Missouri and North Dakota and just possibly even gain some upsets such as Arizona which is no longer a truly solid GOP state.

The Tea Party will no doubt blame Romney for fucking things up, but it'll be the tea-baggers who will only have themselves to blame (and each other's short and curlies to lick).   Romney is no doubt more competent to handle the business side of things in government but that may not be enough.   On the other hand, I think it would do well for Obama if, presuming he does win, taps Romney to run a blue ribbon panel on government reorganization -- such as Truman did when he hired Herbert Hoover after World War II to do the same -- and which is certainly needed given the huge budget challenges America faces now.   The Hoover Commission made nearly 300 recommendations, roughly 200 of them were implemented and is still remembered today for actually doing something to solve a big problem.

2012 is not 1947 and the executive is in need of a shakeup.   In such an office like Hoover had, Romney would be free to make proposals without the interference of the TBs -- and then present it as an all or nothing proposition to Congress, just as trade agreements are.   Hoover had no problem getting his way last time.   Maybe that was because many people remembered how he handled things when the lower Mississippi basin had flooded in 1928 -- he got government agencies and NGOs to work together.   I think if given a chance, Romney would be able to use the same kind of rationality -- and put the TBs out of their self-inflicted foot in mouth misery once and for all.

But in the present state, Romney is being pushed further and further back.   He's no Le Pen, not by any means, but those who run the GOP at this time would like him to be.   And that's a shame.   He should have the chance to run as the real him, not the marionette that he's become.

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