The narcissistic fantasy of Mitt Romney 2016

21 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Marco Rubio not slowing down as 2016 decision nears.

“I believe in a smarter kind of American leadership,” Obama declared Tuesday night in his State of the Union Address. “We lead best when we combine military power with strong diplomacy; when we leverage our power with coalition building; when we don’t let our fears blind us to the opportunities that this new century presents.

Mitt Romney will charge Mississippi State University $50,000 to deliver a lecture on campus next week, most of which will go to charity — a dramatically lower fee than the $250,000 to $300,000 Hillary Rodham Clinton requires for her university lectures.In assessing that question, I think it might be useful to compare the world that Republicans warned us that Obama’s policies would create against the world as we now know it to be.With Jeb Bush (and now Mitt Romney) eating up the headlines, it’s easy to overlook how Marco Rubio has been pushing forward toward a possible presidential run. * His own “Team Marco” donor gathering on Friday and Saturday in Miami Beach. That’s exactly what we’re doing right now – and around the globe, it is making a difference.” On the very day President Obama was patting himself on the back for his deft handling of foreign policy, his State Department issued a new travel warning about Libya. “The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to Libya and recommends that U.S. citizens currently in Libya depart immediately,” the warning reads. Romney — the 2012 Republican presidential nominee who is weighing a third run for the White House — will speak as part of the university’s Global Lecture Series, a speaking series administered by the student government, a university official said.

Remember when massive Ebola outbreaks would overwhelm our public-health system and prove once and for all the incompetence of government? (Not one single person has died after contracting the disease in this country.) Remember when Mitt Romney was promising that thanks to his superior business acumen, the unemployment rate would be 6 percent by the end of his first term as president? (It is already down to 5.6 percent, two years before the Romney deadline. That’s the country Obama authorized military action against to remove its longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who while a vile man and brutal leader, no longer posed a threat to the United States. Rubio’s raised millions through his Reclaim America PAC and invested that in a fundraising machine and growing a political team that has now worked together for several years. For the better part of a year, I’ve been telling friends and family members that there’s no way Romney would run again. (Here I am saying as much last summer.) And now it looks like I might have been wrong. Romney’s fee stands in stark contrast to Clinton’s, the presumptive 2016 Democratic front-runner who has spoken to dozens of industry associations, Wall Street banks, universities and other groups.

Remember when Republicans were demanding that Obama take “forceful” yet unspecified actions to punish Vladimir Putin for meddling in Ukraine, warning that Obama’s efforts to organize economic sanctions would be useless? (Those sanctions have since helped to cripple the Russian economy, leaving the ruble devalued and Putin chastized). Since Gaddafi fell, the North African country has turned into a haven for Islamist terrorists, like those who killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and other American personnel in Benghazi in 2012. The former secretary of state’s speaking fees at universities have typically also gone to a family-connected charity — in her case, the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. I now realize it’s not so much that I didn’t think he would run as that I didn’t and still don’t want him to run — and not because I’m a Democrat and think he’d be such a formidable opponent.

However, her high fees have drawn campus protests and sharp criticisms from Republicans, who have said they demonstrate a likely presidential candidate who has grown out of touch. The reason I don’t want Romney to run is that I think he’s a decent and in some ways admirable man — and if he runs he’s likely to make an utter fool of himself. The GOP’s best prospect is probably with someone else heading a ticket that combines foreign policy, military, business acumen and governing experience. Or when it was going to sent insurance rates into a death spiral, doubling or even tripling the cost of health insurance (a 2 percent average rate increase for 2015)? The GOP would also be wise to pick candidates who wouldn’t be lightning rods for Democratic attack dogs: a governor, but not Chris Christie ; a woman, but not Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann ; a business person, but not a “Wall Street” capitalist.

That’s the Arab country Obama touted as a War on Terror success story just four months ago. “Tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over,” Obama proclaimed. “Six years ago, nearly 180,000 American troops served in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to a financial disclosure released during that campaign, he collected more than $360,000 in speaking fees in 2011 from appearances at Barclay’s Bank, Goldentree Asset Management and other companies.

I was teaching political science at Brigham Young University and living in Salt Lake City back in the late 1990s when Romney swooped into town to galvanize the foundering organizing committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics. Today, fewer than 15,000 remain.” Someone may want to inform the president that victory isn’t measured by the amount of troops one has in a country. Like many of my Mormon students at BYU, he was a little too earnest for my taste, but like the best of those students, he was impressive — exuding ambition, confidence, and competence. He said Romney’s fee is on the low end for the series, which is funded using a portion of sales taxes collected from on-campus sales. “Mitt Romney is not going to personally receive any compensation for the speech,” Romney spokesman Colin Reed said. “It’s all going to Charity Vision and travel costs.” The Chartwell Worldwide Speakers Bureau, which represents Romney, advertises on its Web site that he offers “a clear vision of the key challenges facing America and the world” and “will bring a huge draw to any event or conference.” According to the contract, Romney will spend about six hours on campus, including a reception for students, a VIP meeting and an hour-long lecture, including a question-and-answer session.

Missing from your editorial is what I would call the “stay at home coalition.” Many conservatives will not support a Republican nominee who fails to directly address President Obama’s ignoring his constitutional obligation to faithfully execute the laws. While Obama begs Congress not to anger Iran’s mullahs by passing sanctions that wouldn’t even go into effect unless a nuclear deal did not materialize, Iran continues to jail a Washington Post reporter and announces construction of two new nuclear reactors without any worry that it will upset the U.S. It outlines no requirements for luxury amenities, such as food or equipment in his green room, though it is possible those kinds of requests have been made by his representatives in private communications with the university. Third, demonstrate domestic-policy accomplishment by touting how he’d engineered and instituted a sweeping health care reform plan in Massachusetts that had made coverage nearly universal in the state.

The first two campaign planks didn’t appeal to me at all — indeed, I’d taken an early swipe at Romney on the religion question in a January 2007 cover story for The New Republic — but the last one sounded impressively pragmatic and reformist to me. This is a pretty bad record in-and-of itself — and that’s without even mentioning the administration’s handling of Syria, its alienation of American allies and its lackluster response to the persecution of Christians in the Arab world, among other foreign policy failures. Because if he believed global warming or climate change — or whatever the kids are calling it these days — posed the greatest threat to humanity of any challenge we face, he would have used his political capital in 2009 to fight it, instead of using it to increase the percentage of Americans with health insurance from 84 percent to 87 percent. His decision to change America’s relationship with Cuba, for instance, was bold and will likely turn out to be one of his few positive foreign policy legacies. (RELATED: Obama is right on Cuba)

It is a testament to Romney’s not-inconsiderable gifts as a politician that he was able to pull off this two-step in debate after debate during the interminable GOP primary season of 2011 and 2012, and on into the general election campaign, without once breaking out in laughter or breaking down in tears. Aside from its absurdity, the strategy left Romney with very little to talk about besides how much he loved America, and how his experience as a venture capitalist taught him how to create jobs.

What voters were left with was a unified portrait of a man seemingly fixated on wealth and his own personal, nearly miraculous powers of job-creation. His successor came up short — and the economy has since rebounded more quickly and more strongly than even he himself had predicted for his own presidency. Romney 2016 will be Proficiency Personified — the ultimate Manager-in-Chief — a consultant for hire, ready, willing, and eager to take charge of the country and do… I actually have no idea what he would do. Conservative columnist Ross Douthat touched on this core truth in a humorous tweet written a few days before writing a more polished (but less incisive) column on the once-and-future Romney. Romney 2028: Neo-reactionary.” One needn’t assume that Romney will drift ever-further rightward to recognize the reality captured here — namely, that the substance of the man is protean, fluid, in flux.

As The New York Times recently noted, relying on unnamed “advisers,” Ann “believes deeply that her husband owes it to the country to take a serious look at running a third time.” No, actually Ann, he doesn’t owe us anything at all.

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