September 21, 2011

This Aging Knee-Jerk Liberal Has Decided That Romney Is The Best Choice for President in 2012

"Aging and demented," many of my good liberal friends will understandably respond.

I've tried to steer clear of politics in the blog. But when I surprised myself by coming to this conclusion after once again depressing myself by reading the Sunday Washington Post and New York Times, I decided that since this was a somewhat bi-partisan decision, I'd use the blog to explain why.

I found out later on Sunday that the Post's liberal op-ed columnist had a "Democrats for Romney?" piece.
His argument was that democrats should stop beating up on Romney because there's an increasingly good chance that the Republican nominee will be elected in 2012, and  Romney would be a hell of a lot better than Perry. For more see:

My rationale is a bit different.

I'd just done a blog post (September 19, below) on the dire outlook for today's working adults and their children. Frankly, the research I did on this piece re-enforced my belief that no matter who is president, the future will be shaped more by the negative demographic and economic trends.

To some extent, that's been true in the past. Two examples:

  • FDR was my teenage political hero, and I used to give him credit for ending the Great Depression. I now realize that it was World War II that ended it.
  • Similarly, I used to give Bill Clinton most of the credit for the successful economy of the 1990s, when this was primarily because the baby boomers were in their prime earning and spending years, and defense spending was being cut back for the first time in years.
Still, sticking with those two examples, presidents formerly could make a big contribution to our economic future. As I said in the earlier post, the GI Bill that passed at the end of FDR's presidency did more than anything else to transform our middle class. It permitted millions of young people to be the first in their families to get a college education and to buy a house.

And Clinton gave added impetus to the 1990's positive trends with his tax increases and reforms of 1993 aimed at helping the middle class, and the welfare reforms of 1996 (which, I'll admit, I resented so much at that time that for the first time in my life I didn't vote in the 1996 presidential election -- one can indulge in things like this when you vote in DC since you know it will go for the Democrat no matter what).

Today, who is president is less consequential than ever, since political stalemate on any major issue is almost guaranteed given the dysfunctional state of politics now.

So Why Romney?
Getting back to Romney, I actually have concluded that he would be the best choice for our country, since he's the only one of the current contenders who has a shot at actually getting anything worthwhile done. Here's why:
  • Unless a miracle happens, the Republicans are sure to win a majority in the Senate and the House. The Democrats have ten more Senate seats up for re-election than the Republicans. The voters are in an angry toss-them-all-out mood that will surely work to defeat many of those Democratic candidates. The Republicans will have a buffer against this anti-incumbent mood because, fairly or not, the voters tend to hold the President's party more responsible for their woes.
  • Therefore, if Obama is elected, nothing of significance will get done. The Republicans will be more convinced  than ever that their policy of saying "No!" to anything Obama proposes is a winning strategy, since it won them the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2011. So it's a good bet that the same strategy will pay off with a Republican presidential win in 2012. 
But if a moderate Republican wins the presidency and works with a Republican Congress, there's a chance, albeit a slim one, that something worthwhile might get passed. (I was surprised in my look back at the progressive legislation and executive actions during the Nixon Administration. But of course he was dealing   with a Democratic Congress and a very different Republican Party).

Of course, I don't like Romney. Nor do I like the policy positions he's taken thus far in the campaign. But I suspect those positions are designed to appeal to the ultra-conservative Republican base that will vote in the primaries. Once elected, one can hope that the reasonably moderate Romney we knew as Governor of Massachusetts will resurface.

In any event, it's unlikely that anything of significance will get done, no matter which party captures the presidency.

As always, the one thing that might keep me voting for the Democrat is my desire to have a Democrat fill the next Supreme Court vacancy. I've got over a year to wrestle with this dilemma.

ALERT: Family and close friends who know me well will be saying: "There he goes again. Over-reacting and making an impulsive decision!

So What Do You Think?
Hit the Comment button below.


Kathleenxxx said...

Like so many, I have sadly concluded that, much as I admire Obama, there is no way he can accomplish anything of importance.  Why?  Because the Republicans continue to succeed in their despicable determination to oppose him, NO MATTER WHAT.  They persist in putting their own political and social agenda ahead of the desperate needs of a hurting nation, even when Obama's proposals are what we need. Politics is trumping all - patriotism, leadership, common sense.  So it does seem likely that Romney will be our next president - if, as my husband says, we are lucky enough not to elect any of the other GOP candidates.  But at this point, I do not see myself voting for him.

Terrymunyard said...

I think you do indeed need that year to think about this; and I look forward to reading those thoughts and seeing how they develop over the next 14 months

Dave Dingee said...

Hey John.  Dave Dingee here.  I agree with you and will not vote for Obama.  Romney is looking good.   

Deepak Paudyal said...

If House and Senate are control  by Republican, they will at least feel some responsibility to do something for American People. Obama will still be good president for them because he give's in easily to much for NO!!!---or for that matter- Jon Huntsman for president ?.

John, I pretty agree with arguments why you support Romney given the chemistry of  House and Senate.