The intended centerpiece of the Romney campaign — his 160-page economic plan — is really just a list of proposed measures with no discernible ideological framework holding them together. “Any American living through this economic crisis will immediately recognize the severity of the break that Mitt Romney proposes from our current course,” the candidate promises on his website. But much of what he pledges to do on “Day One” has already been accomplished, or is promised, by Obama.
Romney wants to cut the corporate tax rate; Obama has said he wants to lower rates while also closing loopholes. Romney wants to forge new trade agreements; Obama signed into law free-trade pacts with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. Romney wants to weed out burdensome regulations; Obama has such a project underway. Romney wants to survey and safely exploit U.S. energy reserves; Obama says essentially the same thing.
It’s true that there are some departures, but they are dumb. Romney says he would ask Congress to cut “non-security discretionary spending” by 5 percent, or $20 billion; this would fail to make a scratch, let alone a dent, in the deficit. He wants to end the federal role in job training, thus abdicating presidential responsibility for meeting one of the central challenges facing the U.S. economy. He wants to sanction China for manipulating its currency, rather than continue ongoing negotiations. He wants to discourage the use of union labor on government projects — which gets a rise out of GOP crowds.
And, of course, Romney wants to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, whose centerpiece, the individual insurance mandate, was pioneered in Massachusetts. By Romney. Who continues to defend the mandate as a good idea — too good, apparently, for the rest of the country.
On foreign policy, Romney offers a lot of blah blah blah about “restoring the sinews of American power” and the like, but nothing as distinctive as, say, Santorum’s extreme hawkishness on Iran or Ron Paul’s isolationist call to bring the troops home from just about everywhere. It’s hard to find any substantive differences between what Romney would do and what Obama is already doing.
Romney does accuse Obama of “appeasement,” and perhaps the charge would have some credibility if Obama hadn’t ordered the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, or used unmanned missile-firing drones to decimate the international jihadist leadership, or helped eliminate dictator Moammar Gaddafi, or demonstrated in countless other ways that whatever else he might be, no one can call him some kind of flower-power peacenik.
One distinction — and, really, this may be the most original position that Romney takes on anything — is that he has ruled out negotiations with the Taliban and apparently wants to extend the U.S. troop commitment in Afghanistan indefinitely.
Wish him luck with that on the campaign trail. He’ll need it.
We need to update you on where Truthout stands this month.
To be brutally honest, Truthout is behind on our fundraising goals for the year. There are a lot of reasons why. We’re dealing with broad trends in our industry, trends that have led publications like Vice, BuzzFeed, and National Geographic to make painful cuts. Everyone is feeling the squeeze of inflation. And despite its lasting importance, news readership is declining.
To ensure we stay out of the red by the end of the year, we have a long way to go. Our future is threatened.
We’ve stayed online over two decades thanks to the support of our readers. Because you believe in the power of our work, share our transformative stories, and give to keep us going strong, we know we can make it through this tough moment.
Our fundraising campaign ends in a few hours, and we still must raise $11,000. Please consider making a donation before time runs out.