As we move into the general election campaign, with Mitt Romney facing Barack Obama in the presidential race, it’s important not to lose perspective on the very real differences between the two. That starts with the recognition that Obama has made some astonishingly ill-conceived decisions as president, and that Romney would never have done these things.
During a party’s nominating process for president – of which I was a part on the Republican side in this cycle – candidates do everything they can to differentiate themselves from each other. As the candidates focused on these differences and the media played up the resulting conflicts, you could almost get the impression that some of us would have preferred Obama to some of our fellow Republicans.
Not only do I prefer Romney over Obama, it’s not even close. This is not to say that every proposed policy of Romney’s is exactly what I would propose. But in stepping back and looking at the big picture, you have to recognize that the next president’s task will be to fix enormous problems. You would want the new president, above all else, to be someone who would never have been so foolish as to make the decisions that a) created the problems or b) made them worse.
Here are nine examples:
Mitt Romney would never have thrown $862 billion down a rat hole, claiming it to be “economic stimulus” that would keep unemployment from rising above 8 percent. Then, three years later when unemployment was still struggling to get back down below 8 percent, he would never be so brazen as to claim such a move had actually been successful.
Mitt Romney would never have signed Obamacare into law. I know some think otherwise because the plan he implemented as governor of Massachusetts had some similar elements. But Obamacare was sold to the public with blatantly dishonest numbers and hidden taxes, and rammed through Congress via a series of political giveaways that would embarrass the most shameless of con artists. Whatever your disagreements with the structure of Masscare, Romney would never have done any of that. And if an Obamacare repeal reaches Romney’s desk, he will sign it.
Mitt Romney would never have exploded the deficit to more than $1 trillion a year, then allowed his Treasury secretary to tell the chairman of the House Budget Committee, regarding plans to fix the problem, “We don’t have a definitive solution, but we know we don’t like yours.”
Mitt Romney would not be running around claiming that businesses need to pay more in taxes. He would not try to tell CEOs what to do with their cash reserves (although he could do so much more competently than Obama, since unlike the president he actually knows a lot about business), because he knows that is not the president’s job. He understands that businesses are the ones who create jobs, and the last thing we need when the economy is struggling to create jobs is to increase the tax burden on businesses.
Mitt Romney would not attack people for being successful. He would not encourage the middle class to resent successful people, but instead would encourage them to learn from those who have been successful and to seek opportunities from them.
Mitt Romney would never have promised the Russians he would give them what they want on missile defense as soon as he didn’t have to worry about those pesky voters anymore.
Mitt Romney would never have stonewalled efforts to make crucial energy supplies available to Americans, as Obama has done on everything from the Keystone XL pipeline to the opening of domestic oil supplies in offshore locations and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Mitt Romney would never have let Congress get away with not passing a budget at all for three years, while running up the nation’s credit card at unprecedented levels through a series of continuing resolutions that escape the light of public scrutiny.
Mitt Romney would never have blamed someone else for the continued impact of problems he was elected to fix – as Obama does endlessly.
This list could go on, but these nine are the some of the biggest things – and the big things matter most of all. Everyone involved with a primary campaign hopes their party will nominate the absolute perfect candidate, and when your guy doesn’t make it (or for some of us like me, when you don’t make it), you can fall into thinking that all is lost. There are actually people running around saying there is no difference between Romney and Obama.
People, get a grip! The differences are huge. And it starts with understanding how many truly horrendous decisions Barack Obama has made since he took office and recognizing that Mitt Romney is a man with solid experience and good judgment – and that he would never have made any of them.
That alone offers a compelling argument for sending President Obama an invitation – to the inauguration of Mitt Romney on Jan. 20, 2013. I trust he will attend.