Some of you may be confused by the title of this post, given that last week I wrote a piece titled Why I Want Romney to Win the Republican Nomination. Perhaps I’m letting my former lawyer self get the best of me, but I’m actually being consistent here. Last week I argued that Ron Paul effectively has no chance to win the GOP nomination (most agree), but I hope that he hangs in to the bitter end, and that Romney and the Republicrat establishment turn on Dr. Paul in vicious fashion. This will (hopefully) push Dr. Paul’s loyal cadre of followers into the Gary Johnson camp. While it may be a long shot for Johnson to reach the White House, these conditions are probably necessary for it to happen.
(For full disclosure, I will be an Ohio delegate at the Libertarian Party Convention, and am the Johnson campaign’s Director for Ohio’s 7th Congressional District. I don’t just talk the talk.)
So, I see Gary Johnson as the only chance we have of getting a president who is serious about reducing the size and scope of government. The establishment will destroy Dr. Paul if he poses a threat to Romney; they would sooner have Obama in the White House than Ron Paul. Loyalty, after all, is a one-way street with the Republican Party (just ask the Tea Party).
Kimberley Strassel is correct in her editorial today that Dr. Paul has failed to unite the anti-Romney vote, which has divided into a number of camps; the free market economic vote, the evangelical vote, and the interventionist foreign policy vote. None of the other candidates have united them, either.
Newt Gingrich is unhinged, and revealed his inner progressive liberal with his attacks on Romney’s Bain Capital years. Rick Perry is unfocused, and has shown signs of his former Democratic self with his own attacks on Bain. Rick Santorum is focusing almost exclusively on the evangelical vote, and avoiding his big spending past (he’s practically a George W. Bush clone). If these going-nowhere candidates had dropped out after the New Hampshire primary as Ron Paul suggested (and Huntsman did), perhaps the anti-Romney vote would follow Paul as their standard-bearer. That didn’t happen.
With the anti-Romney vote divided, Mitt Romney will effectively wrap up the GOP nomination this weekend in South Carolina—much to the relief of the media, the rest of the Republicrat establishment, and their supporters. Now comes the fun part. It is the job of Gary Johnson and his supporters, such as me, to explain why Romney is bad for America, and why Johnson deserves your vote. Johnson needs not only Ron Paul’s supporters, but others in the anti-Romney Republican crowd, and disaffected Democrats as well. Regardless of the odds, it’s our best last hope to save the sinking ship.
So why is Romney bad for America? Let me count the ways…
First, Romney is the establishment candidate. There is far more to that than meets the eye.
Matt Welch of Reason magazine recently had the opportunity to attend an Aspen Institute conference on government and the economy. Aspen’s purpose is to bring together left, right, and center to discuss critical policy issues. Welch was astonished at the unanimity of opinion of Democratic and Republican establishmentarians, both in facts (they deny that disputed facts are actually disputed), and in policies. The political establishment in Washington is virtually monolithic.
Being the establishment candidate, Romney will step into the same apparatus that guided George W. Bush. Many of the same Keynesians who advised George W. Bush will be (or are) Romney’s advisors. And they are almost indistinguishable from Democratic establishment advisors to Barack Obama.
The best guess is that economically Romney will govern somewhere between the economically liberal George W. Bush and even more liberal Obama. We can expect dollar-printers to be nominated to the Fed. We can expect more dollar devaluation to “help exports.” We can expect continued high deficits. We can expect any spending cuts to be on the margins. We can expect the regulatory state to remain intact, as-is. This is what the establishment wants, and they are paying handsomely to elect Romney. They will expect him to comply.
So you can ignore anything Romney is saying on the campaign trail; after all, in his career he’s taken nearly every possible position on nearly every issue. He will be in the establishment’s claws if he gets to Washington. It will take a genuine outsider (e.g., Gary Johnson) to break from the old Republicrat ways—and breaking from the Republicrat ways is the medicine this country needs.
Second, Romney has no express political or economic philosophy. Unprincipled candidates like Romney are political creatures of the most dangerous kind, because they have no underlying beliefs to guide them in policy decisions. We face some of the greatest challenges of our lifetimes (and perhaps the history of the nation), and we can’t afford a president who flaps in the political winds.
For example, consider RomneyCare. It was truly his baby; the Democrats who controlled the legislature were looking for much more modest health care reforms. Romney had to use his political capital to sell a new entitlement program to liberal Democrats!
On the campaign trail Romney is pledging to repeal ObamaCare (I don’t know anyone falling for that line of nonsense). He defends RomneyCare, however, saying it was “right for Massachusetts.” What political philosophy makes it right for a government—any government—to take over the health care system and force citizens to buy health insurance? Whatever that political philosophy might be, it’s Romney’s, because he’s not backing down from RomneyCare.
This also brings up another question. Romney claims that ObamaCare is unconstitutional because it’s done at the federal level, but RomneyCare is constitutional because it’s done at the state level. I haven’t heard him explain the constitutional doctrines by which he draws this conclusion. Presumably, then, Romney thinks Medicare and Medicaid are unconstitutional as well, and should be divested to the states. Yet, I haven’t heard him running on this plan. So, either he’s willing to continue implementing unconstitutional entitlements, or he’s just throwing out “unconstitutional” as cover for his inexplicable bifurcated position on the two programs. Either way he’s playing fast and loose with the constitution—something he does with ease.
Now I could continue on for a long time, but those are some of the fundamental problems with Romney.
In conclusion, I’ve compared Mitt Romney to John Kerry in the past. I’m sticking by that comparison, and want to note that I’m not the only one making it (see here). So while I agree that Romney would be a better president than Obama, that’s not saying much. John Kerry would also be better than Obama.
But there’s a lot more at stake in this election than just beating Obama. There’s the not-so-minor issue of preventing a fiscal and economic train wreck. Unfortunately, an establishment hand-maiden isn’t the man for the job. Don’t let your anger toward Obama blind you.
This article is also published at The Country Thinker.
Some complain that no one knows who Gary Johnson is. At this point that’s irrelevant. It only took a few weeks for Herman Cain to go from unknown to the GOP frontrunner. Once Gary Johnson gains critical mass the coverage will come.