Mitt Romney - the hope and change candidate

My hope that Mitt Romney wins stems from different, almost aesthetic factors. As a former diplomat I am revolted by the ducking and weaving displayed by the Obama administration over the debacle in Benghazi when the American ambassador was killed.

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Charles Crawford
On 5 November 2012 10:12

As any fule kno, the Economist has made a laboured on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand balancing of the pros and cons of the rival candidates in the US presidential elections and come out in favour of the re-election of Barack Obama.

That leaves us mere mortals here in the UK with a problem. The Oracle has pronounced! What else is there to say on the subject?

The one big issue now in the United States (and one that has the potential to crash the international financial system once and for all) is how to tackle soaring crisis of runaway public expenditure. In practice that means a combination of tax reform, tax increases and also tough-love cuts in bureaucracy and big-ticket spending programmes.

A vital task for the new president is to help achieve a more or less sane compromise between those who want more public expenditure and higher taxes (i.e. Democrats) and those who want to cut public expenditure and ideally taxes too (i.e. Republicans).

President Obama's record here has been beyond calamitous. The Economist curiously fails to dwell on the spectacular failure of President Obama to secure one single vote in the Senate for his May 2012 budget proposals. Not one!

Hard though it is to believe, this year President Obama made progress on the appalling 97-0 Senate vote result against his proposals in 2011. In 2012 he pushed the score to 99-0 against him, with not a single Democrat venturing to take his side.

These successive results suggest that if there is one person in the USA unable to work credibly to achieve some sort of give-and-take way forward in the central problem facing the USA if not the world, it is the current occupant of the White House. President Obama came to office selling himself as the Great Unite-er.

The brutal tactics deployed by the Democrats to ram through Congress the clumsy top-heavy Obamacare healthcare 'reforms' used up most of Obama’s potential goodwill with Republicans and with millions of American voters.

Common sense suggests that a new president who deeply understands money and business and budgets and long-term v short-term might well be a far more credible figure to lead this process than a self-obsessed Harvard lawyer who has never worked in the real economy.

All of which said, maybe the problems created by the corruption and incompetence of the American public sector (with both Republicans and Democrats playing generous roles in making things worse) are now in fact beyond the capacity of any meaningful reform process.

Or maybe even if a meaningful reform process can be identified, the crude ideological stand-off in Congress between Republicans and Democrats will block it.

So perhaps it does not matter much whether Romney or Obama win this week. Neither of them will be able to make a difference that counts. If so, then what? How to choose between them?

My hope that Mitt Romney wins stems from different, almost aesthetic factors. As a former diplomat I am revolted by the ducking and weaving displayed by the Obama administration over the debacle in Benghazi when the American ambassador was killed.

Above all, President Obama lied to the UN General Assembly when he linked the murder of the ambassador and the other Americansto supposed Arab rage at that stupid anti-Islamic video. It was already clear beyond any possible doubt that these attacks were well planned and terrorist-led.

This Obama UN speech was one of the most dishonourable and craven statements ever made by a Western leader: it alone demolishes any claim he might have to run an effective foreign policy. But what of his other speeches and all that magnificent oratory?

Yes, President Obama is an outstanding public speaker. That makes it all the more extraordinary that in the past four years he has not managed to come up with a single memorable phrase or interesting/important new idea.

Faced with the tumultuous changes of the 'Arab Spring' and before that the turmoil in Iran, he evinced a novel form of furtive condescending anti-leadership. The only serious result of that has been the emboldening of anti-Western, anti-democratic voices around the planet.

Indeed, this election campaign has at last smoked out the real Barack Obama. Without his teleprompter and having not done his homework, in the first debate he was inarticulate to the point of embarrassment. Even with his teleprompter, his sly, collectivist impromptu asides have shown where his true instincts lie.

His swipe against business people and the energy provided by free markets ("you didn't build that"). Now his bizarre exhortation to Democrats that "voting is the best revenge". As Jonah Goldberg put it over at National Review Online:

I understand Obama is bitter. That’s been obvious for a while. But it’s just a weird and narcissistic assumption that his supporters want “revenge” too. Doesn’t mean its wrong, though. This makes the whole thing even creepier. 

The real problem with Barak Obama is that many of his intellectual and family roots lie in undiluted Communist radicalism, a phenomenon which useful idiots in the American mainstream media have deliberately covered up. This explains both the style and substance of his campaign this time round.

Unable to campaign seriously on his record, he hopes to achieve permanent victory for a collectivist coalition of the “demographically ascendant Left”. This means mobilising enough African Americans, Hispanics, women and young people around contempt for everyone else and, where possible, dependency on state hand-outs. It is the most divisive and destructive tactic ever seen in American politics.

It is a recipe for disaster. And, who knows, Obama might pull it off.

But look how low he has had to stoop to get this close to victory. Imagine! The sitting Vice-President Joe Biden actually decided to be deliberately unpleasant and disruptive as a desperate ploy to rattle his younger, smarter debate opponent Paul Ryan.

When the Left cannot win by force of argument, they resort to befouling the nest then pointing out that as everyone is covered in excrement the Right is hypocritical to try to claim any moral or intellectual high ground.

Mitt Romney? You don't have to read much about Mormonism to think that anyone coming from that tradition must be pretty strange. Yet as devout believers go, Mormons seem a fairly straightforward lot in their dealings with everyone else. They don't blow people up, or rampage round the planet in protest at satirical cartoons aimed in their direction. They don't murder people who have decided to join another faith.

On the contrary, if Mitt Romney and his family and this campaign are anything to go by, Mormons are steady, hard-working, invariably courteous and reassuringly old-fashioned. I’d expect him to fairly cautious and judicious before he blows up other countries. What’s not to like?

In short, at the risk of being shunned by the all-wise British urban chattering classes, I disagree with the Economist's conclusion. President Obama as a leader has been a dismal and odious failure in every major policy area.

He has abandoned leadership in favour of explicit socialistic sneering and jeering. In this election it is Mitt Romney who offers Hope and Change.

Charles Crawford is a Contributing Editor to The Commentator. A former British Ambassador in Sarajevo, Belgrade and Warsaw, he is now a private consultant and writer. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter: @charlescrawford

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