[Editor’s Note: This is a doozy, so take a seat]
I recognize that, mathematically, President Barack Obama still has a strong chance to be re-elected in November 2012.
Unfortunately, I also realize that the President now has a much higher chance than ever before of not being re-elected. As such, we need to deal with the issue at hand: What if Romney Wins?
This is a forecast, and any good forecast has to be made in advance and then the person putting it forth needs to stick by what they said. So, here goes… see you in 2016, Self.
We need to consider and recognize a few things at the outset. In the past three years the American economy has created more than 5 million jobs. President Obama was given a collapsing economy and he both arrested the decline and made up most of the losses (the extent to which you give him credit will vary based on party affiliation and closeness to the economics).
People are not overly wealthy versus where they were four years ago, but they are absolutely better off. That is not partisan – I’m not a Democrat. That is just the truth. In 2009 the auto industry was dying, the banks (except Chase, somehow) were in amazing distress, the economy was bleeding jobs. In addition, federal spending was accelerating through the roof.
In January 2013 hypothetical-President Romney (HPR) would inherit an economy that is creating jobs in the private sector. Additionally, he would inherit a Congress populated by Democrats and Republicans who will sign off on his plans – it is impossible to imagine that Democrats would be as obstructionist toward HPR as Republicans were toward Obama and I personally hope they would work together to make the best of a bad situation.
His honeymoon will likely see a boost in government employment. This is exactly what Bush did; government employment grew every single year from 2001-2009 until Obama took office. By the best estimates Republican budget obstruction has fired 700,000 public employees and prevented nearly 300,000 positions from being created since January 2009.
When George W. Bush was elected for his first term a divided electorate united around him. The government worked together. We should expect a similar fate with Romney – as stated before, this is almost entirely because Democrats have no recent track record of holding Congress hostage.
When Obama took office in January 2009 the Republican media did not even wait until February to attack him on job creation. The same will not happen to Romney. He will be given the credit for the jobs he oversees by Fox News, even though the recovery was built-in to his first year by his predecessor (again, see; Clinton-Bush 2000-2001). In the past the journalist profession would have reminded people of the facts around job creation, but that is not something one can expect from the mainstream corporate media today.
So that doesn’t actually sound so bad, right?
This is where things get tricky. Before George W. Bush was elected he already wanted war with Iraq. The Bush administration also completely ignored the warnings from its intelligence community about al Qaeda because it was so focused on the internationally toothless Hussein regime (TYT are progressives, but the book is what it is).
Why am I talking about Iraq for HPR’s presidency? Iran.
Mitt Romney has stated that Iran “will get a nuclear weapon” if Obama is re-elected. That of course goes against all of the reports from the American and Israeli intelligence communities as well as the non-governmental international agencies tasked with monitoring Iran’s nuclear program covertly and face-to-face.
As vice-President Biden said in the debate last night, the United States cannot afford another war in the Middle East. President Obama has overseen the complete withdrawal of troops from Iraq. During his debate remarks vice-President Biden set a clear red line on a guaranteed withdrawal from Afghanistan before the end of 2014. He prided his administration on getting more Americans out of the danger zones and bringing them home.
A lot of the media response after the VP Debate was that Biden and Ryan agreed on Afghanistan. That is not entirely true. The Obama administration is committed in full to leaving in 2014. Romney has said that he also will keep that timetable but he has left the condition open to remain. What reason could troops possibly need to stay in Afghanistan? War in neighboring Iran.
Mitt Romney would invade Iran if given the chance. This is how the neo-cons work. That is not conjecture; that is the clear policy conclusion of his campaign team. He has stood as a hawk on the Iran issue for years. Since securing the nomination he has tempered his rhetoric, as did Bush in 2000. That of course raises another question: if you agree with the Commander-in-Chief and would continue his policies, why replace him?
Obviously the United States could defeat Iran in a conventional war, but such a victory would not come easy. Iran in 2013 is not Iraq in 2003.
Iran is a nation that has heard for years, from nearly all Republicans and many Democrats, that it could be struck at a moment’s notice. Iran has spent a full decade digging in its defensive measures, and preparing and re-preparing itself for naval-based strikes from the Persian Gulf, for airstrikes out of Saudi Arabia, and for land invasions from both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Iran is ready for the fight, and when the blows start landing they are far more equipped to return fire than Iraq ever was.
It gets worse.
If Iran truly is the global sponsor of terror that Romney and the neo-conservatives say it is, the United States should expect hellfire to follow its citizens at home and abroad. And, god forbid, if Iran really is interested in getting a dirty bomb into an American/western urban center they would have no reason to hold back after they are invaded.
To be quite frank, I am terrified by the potential return of the Bush foreign policy team under hypothetical-President Romney.
The economy is in the midst of a very weak recovery. That recovery will be annihilated by war with Iran. HPR would then do as Bush did before him and blame the unforeseeable war for the rise in gas prices, the consumer recession, and the collapsing prestige of America abroad. The American people could find themselves hoodwinked again by this claim, as they were in 2004, and give HPR a full 8-years (Republicans usually get 8 years, unless they are former VPs).
Bush’s wars killed the budget surpluses he was handed. They killed the economic growth. They killed the spike in employment. They ruined America’s reputation and capacity to lead in the Middle East. They drove up the price of oil and, most importantly, they killed 7,000 American soldiers and perhaps 500,000 Afghan and Iraqi civilians.
You do not have to vote for President Barack Obama, but please be informed about for whom you are voting. Think of the consequences.
You don’t need to vote for Obama, but think of your children and grandchildren before casting a vote for Romney.