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Opinion: If Romney's Economic Plan Weren't Crazy, He'd Win

Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 11:59 AM

Mitt Romney Mitt Romney (Getty)

This election was supposed to be all about the economy. People put out all of these historic charts showing how incumbents with unemployment rates around where our country is now usually lost, and Mitt Romney was supposed to be the guy that would highlight that and sell himself as the economic turnaround artist our country needs to come roaring back. But it hasn't come to be. People are scratching their heads as to why, and Newsweek's Niall Ferguson penned a decent example of how I think many of them are grasping at artificial straws.

The fourth straw he grasps at in the piece is that the economy might not be as primary of an issue as polls make it out to be. What he doesn't want to see, perhaps because he's not a fan of Obama, is people don't see Romney as a whole lot better of an alternative in trying to pull the economy out of the dregs.

He touches on this a bit in his third point, that people might be voting prospectively rather than retrospectively. I don't really see how this is even worth mentioning though. Obama has a record now, so of course people are going to look at that to determine what sort of president he'd be the next few years. But he's also running against someone who's platform is radically different, so of course they'd also try to project which they'd think would be better.

I think the polls are spot on. If Obama and the Democrats hadn't done such a poor job with their stimulus, Romney would be several points back, rather than within potential striking distance.

But they didn't. Obama, Reid, Pelosi and company ignored the will of the American people to such a degree that they made sure that they couldn't keep getting almost all they wanted and ushered in the lesser evil of split government in the midterm. Swing voters would love to see a decent alternative to Obama, and if Romney were a decent alternative, he'd be the one leading in the polls right now.

Obama is winning by a handful because more of the centrists and moderates that make up the swing vote in the handful of swing states that will decide this election see him as, and they're telling pollsters that they're still willing to vote for, the lesser evil.

If Romney loses, which is where the smart money would be right now, the reason will be because he did a horrible job of listening to what the wider voting public wanted, and thought he could rise a wave of economic discontent and Republican base support into the Oval Office.

Obama is not Jimmy Carter, Mitt Romney is a far far cry from Ronald Reagan and no amount of spin will convince the American people of either. This election ​is about "the economy, stupid", and Romney and company passed up a ticket into the White House by playing right into the hands of the Democrats' talking points on offering an alternative to liberal excesses with even more out of touch ideas on the right side of the spectrum.

Unless they've got an October surprise of historic proportions up their sleeves, or Obama makes a mistake of similar scale, I don't see how we're headed toward anything but a second term of mediocrity from Obama and company.

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Comments [5]

Jack

@marcello,

You're exactly right about Kleinsmith, he's trying to carve out a political niche which doesn't actually exist. What he does is called centrist fetishism. To maintain the fetish, he has to ignore the wider political realities -- your aforementioned psychiatric subjects in the Republican party and the profoundly moderate mainstreaming of the Democratic party. A related and key aspect of his fetishized centrism is self-victimization -- believing that he and his high-minded centrism have been abandoned by the parties, the media, and government.

Thomas Friedman lucratively works this same bullshit shtick, which is why it's no surprise that Kleinsmith is a fan. They both fawned over Americans Elect, both dismiss the truly centrist positions Obama takes, and both are self-congratulatory hacks, as witnessed by Kleinsmith's laughable pride at having 'survived' attending the party conventions as a centrist pariah.

It's all very narcissistic yet dull. No actual insights or original thinking, just artificial victimhood and contrived grievances.

And yes, he is repeating the rightwing lie about the stimulus -- he has to have *something* to attack Obama and Democrats with, even if it's not true.

Sep. 18 2012 10:53 AM
Marcello from Brooklyn

@Jack,
although I agree 100% with everything you wrote in your comment, I think that Mr. Kleinsmith's major problem with president Obama is that, after three years and a half in office it is clear that the current administration has occupied the ideological centrist space that Mr. Kleinsmith's would love to claim for himself and his brand of centrists. It looks to me (and we have often touched on this subject) that Mr. Kleinsmith's seems to be convinced that one strategy to establish his "centrism" is to create a perfectly symmetrical political equivalency between the Dems and the GOP. Unfortunately this view goes against the grain of reality since Obama has showed so far (especially in his handling of foreign policy or the banks in the aftermath of the financial crisis) that his policies are well within the boundaries of a moderate, incremental, slightly technocratic approach.
Another problem with Mr. Kleinsmith's "equivalency" is that it completely ignores the fact that in the last decade the Republican Party has gone off the deep end and is now becoming more the subject of a psychiatric study.
Moreover, its unprecedented and destructive obstructionism has clearly showed that our "unwavering patriots" are more than willing to send the country and its people to hell in order to scorch the ground around the president.
It is a little disheartening though to notice that Mr. Kleinsmith is willing to parrot the conservative lie about the "failed stimulus". Maybe he meant the bad job that Democrats did in highlighting the positive aspects of the stimulus. For this, I would suggest to read the new and very instructive book by Michael Grunwald "The New New Deal". And/or, to read this article published in the Sunday edition of the NY Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/16/opinion/sunday/dont-tell-anyone-but-the-stimulus-worked.html?ref=davidfirestone

Sep. 17 2012 10:05 AM
Jack

"If Obama and the Democrats hadn't done such a poor job with their stimulus, Romney would be several points back, rather than within potential striking distance."

You realize, of course that the GOP almost entirely OPPOSED the Stimulus, which ultimately effected its final form, right? Most Americans do, and they include this fact into their assessment of Barack Obama, yet it totally escapes you.

ZERO House Republicans voted for it (yet they've taken the money), and its chief problem -- being too small -- was engineered by your own centrist Republican darlings Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe -- the ONLY TWO Republicans besides Arlan Specter to vote for it's passage to allow it to surpass the GOP filibuster.

Obama and Democrats had to compromise to get *ANYTHING PASSED AT ALL*, and yet here you are, bitching from on high that they screwed it up.

You're BEYOND ridiculous. You just DON'T get it. You don't understand how our political process and governance works, you just like your precious centrist perch from which to decry it all, even thought it's your very same centrist wankers champions who dilute and often prevent effective legislation from being enacted.

The Stimulus DID work, it saved the country from falling into a depression, but its faults are not being laid at the feet of Obama or Democrats, as you're crassly trying to do.

Unsurprisingly, you don't understand electoral politics either. Mitt Romney is losing because he is Mitt Romney. It's the candidate, stupid.

Bill Clinton could run on "it's the economy, stupid" because he's a dynamic speaker, from a humble background, with human relatable human flaws.

Mitt Romney, by contrast, is trying to run a campaign appealing to the middle class while touting a business career that was at best totally indifferent to, and at worst, openly hostile to the middle class. Oh yeah, and he was born into great wealth and was completely unaffected by the 2008 economic crisis.

This wouldn't be such a problem if he could resonate with people rhetorically. But he's not the magnetic, engaging persona the Clinton or Obama are. He's just an entitled dick, and everybody knows it.

It's appropriate that you're linking to Niall Ferguson, a guy who is also trying to make a new career out of lying about Barack Obama. Just take a look at the fact-checking critiques of his infamous Newsweek cover story.

His motivation is understandable: he has become a successful hack and has shopped around his act on the lucrative corporate speaker's circuit.

Your hackery, on the other hand, is third rate.

Sep. 12 2012 04:16 PM
Marcus from ME

I agree all the way. Except that we need new answers, not the same old responses, to our economic troubles. I actually think that people like Steve Forbes have the best plan. If Romney had guts, he'd follow this sort of approach. One thing I recommend everyone to read is either Forbes' book "Freedom Manifesto" or at least a review of the book. This one describes it well: http://www.forbes.com/sites/johntamny/2012/09/09/book-review-freedom-manifesto-by-steve-forbes-and-elizabeth-ames/3/

We need new approaches that stress businesses over government. Spending more government money isn't the answer. This doesn't mean obstructionism for the sake of it. I feel like the GOP has no ideals these days. But it definitely means realizing that government isn't always (in fact, is rarely) the answer.

Sep. 11 2012 03:50 PM
mike

Plus there is the fact the Republicans have depended on a down economy as an election strategy. If they were to win they might actually try to be useful instead blocking everything in their power. Unfortunately for them they don't seem to understand that most Americans are hip to what they have been doing and are in no mood to be manipulated into rewarding them for bad behavior. I don't think the Dems were ignoring anyone in the less then two years they had partial, almost complete control and more was accomplished in that period of time then ever was even begun in the preceding 2010 period. Unless you count as the ignored the Beckian big money faked grassroots Teaparty, but despite what they might think of themselves they are hardly the majority of Americans. Low voter turnout in 2010 won them their disastrous majority in the house, a feat they can only dream of replicating in 2012.

Sep. 11 2012 01:07 PM

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