Favorite

Back to Bush with Romney 

Here is the most implausible scenario in presidential history: Nearly four years after voters vented their rage over fiscal, domestic and foreign policies that had wrecked the U.S. and world economies, the country is poised to elect a candidate who promises a return to all those policies.

Mitt Romney thinks his taxes, at 14 percent, are too high, and his remedy for the stagnant job market is to slash the taxes of rich investors like himself even more and make up for it by sharply cutting spending on programs for the poor and middle class. He vows to repeal the restraints that Congress and President Obama placed on financial houses whose recklessness and greed destroyed people's livelihoods and hopes. If you give financiers a free hand to make money like they did in the past decade, he says, this time the manna will rain upon all of us.

Abroad, Romney embraces Dick Cheney's policies of taking it to the Muslims, wherever they are, with tough threats and bold risks for new and more dangerous wars. Voters repudiated John McCain four years ago for exactly those threats and for standing firmly behind George W. Bush's foreign policies.

Romney is different from Bush, who fathered all those policies, in two glaring ways. Though they share a penchant for stunning gaffes, Romney has none of Bush's frat-boy likeability. And he doesn't share Bush's stubborn adherence to principles, honorable or misguided. No politician in memory has reversed himself like Romney on nearly every issue of consequence or been as willing to take any stand that might round up a few votes — like his praise this week for everything Israeli, including its tightly run government health service for all.

Still, he's an even bet to win the presidency and to take with him a congressional party equally committed to all the policies of the Bush-Cheney decade.

Why that will have happened will be the subject of intense historical analysis long after the country discovers the results of its third or fourth experiment with trickle-down economics and its second with showing the Arabs and Iranians who's boss. How did the Democrats and Barack Obama, who reaped the spoils of the public wrath in 2008, let it happen? Why wait for the analysis? We saw it coming. There will be a thousand explanations, but the three big ones have already been thoroughly analyzed, here among other places.

If Romney wins it will be because too many people still don't have jobs, which depresses the employed and the jobless alike. The economy was hemorrhaging 750,000 jobs a month and heading into a depression in January 2009 when Barack Obama decided that a quick stimulus of $750 billion, more than a third of it tax cuts, was all that Republicans and some in his own party would stand for.

All the highway and infrastructure work and the big infusion of Medicaid and local job assistance did prime the pump and stall the freefall in Arkansas, but nationally it needed to be far bigger to overcome the housing depression. The president seemed to know that, but he was persuaded that the public alarm over the $1.4 trillion addition to the debt that the Bush administration itself was forecasting for that year could not be assuaged. It was the biggest blunder of his administration, although who can surmise now that Congress would have approved a stimulus of the magnitude that was needed?

The second and third were Obama's failure to sell his works to the people — the historic health-insurance reform and then all the other achievements that were barely noticed, hardly proclaimed and now unremembered. An ABC-Washington Post poll in January showed that 52 percent of people, when asked what Barack Obama had accomplished responded nothing or little.

The magnitude of the achievements, in laws, executive decisions and foreign affairs, exceed those of the first term of every president in the past century except Roosevelt and Johnson. Besides the biggest economic stimulus since the Depression and the still reviled universal health insurance, itself a goal of 10 prior presidents, here are the notable ones: sweeping regulations of Wall Street to prevent another banking collapse and bailout, tough new consumer protections on the credit-card industry, bold reform of student aid, an end to Clinton's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, a new START treaty with Russia, a big expansion of national service, a big increase in protection of American wilderness, an end to the war in Iraq, a new terrorist strategy in Afghanistan that killed Osama bin Laden and most of the al Qaeda leadership, a drawdown of troops in Afghanistan, tightened sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, military and commercial alliances in the Pacific to curb China's growing power ...

His failure to sell them, especially the health reforms, constitutes a stunning failure of will and judgment for a man who had shown a magical gift for messaging in 2008.

His strange lapse on health reform, where he left the field to the propaganda machine of insurance and pharmaceutical industries, right-wing interests and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to tell the American people what Obamacare did, was the blueprint. He had asked Congress — both houses and parties — to undertake reforms of health reform, banking and credit-card regulation, student aid and the rest, and he seemed to expect Congress to sell them.

It doesn't work that way.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Speaking of Mitt Romney, Barack Obama

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Ernest Dumas

  • Coal is over

    The free market's natural search for cheaper and more efficient energy has taken over and even President Trump and a governing party heavily in denial about climate change cannot stop it.
    • Apr 13, 2017
  • Race to kill

    You wonder if Attorney General Leslie Rutledge would be so eager to execute if her grandpa, Leslie Rutledge, who was imprisoned for killing neighbor Joe Beel and mortally wounding his brother Frank, had been sentenced to death in 1952.
    • Apr 6, 2017
  • Repeal charade

    The debacle of the repeal-Obamacare movement left the president and the Republican Congress ruminating about the terrible lessons they had learned from the defeat — mainly that neither ever had a health plan or even a clue about how to frame one.
    • Mar 30, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Guns, God and gays

    Many more mass shootings like the one last week in Roseburg, Ore., will stain the future and no law will pass that might reduce the carnage. That is not a prediction but a fact of life that is immune even to Hillary Clinton.
    • Oct 8, 2015
  • AEC dumps ALEC

    No matter which side of the battle over global warming you're on, that was blockbuster news last week. No, not the signing of the climate-change treaty that commits all of Earth's 195 nations to lowering their greenhouse-gas emissions and slowing the heating of the planet, but American Electric Power's announcement that it would no longer underwrite efforts to block renewable energy or federal smokestack controls in the United States.
    • Dec 17, 2015
  • No tax help for Trump

    The big conundrum is supposed to be why Donald Trump does so well among white working-class people, particularly men, who do not have a college education.
    • Aug 11, 2016

Most Shared

  • Executionpalooza

    Appearances count. I was struck by a single sentence over the weekend in a full page of coverage in The New York Times devoted to the killing spree in Arkansas, beginning with a front-page account of the recent flurry of legal filings on pending executions and continuing inside with an interview with Damien Echols, the former death row inmate.
  • Art bull

    "God, I hate art," my late friend The Doctor used to say.
  • Not justice

    The strongest, most enduring calls for the death penalty come from those who feel deeply the moral righteousness of "eye-for-an-eye" justice, or retribution. From the depths of pain and the heights of moral offense comes the cry, "The suffering you cause is the suffering you shall receive!" From the true moral insight that punishment should fit the crime, cool logic concludes, "Killers should be killed." Yet I say: retribution yes; death penalty no.
  • Judge Griffen writes about morality, Christian values and executions

    Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, who blogs at Justice is a verb!, sends along a new post this morning.
  • The Ledell Lee execution thread

    Arkansas Times contributor Jacob Rosenberg is at the Cummins Unit in Grady filing dispatches tonight in advance of the expected execution of Ledell Lee, who was sentenced to death for the Feb. 9, 1993, murder of Debra Reese, 26, who was beaten to death in the bedroom of her home in Jacksonville.

Latest in Ernest Dumas

  • Coal is over

    The free market's natural search for cheaper and more efficient energy has taken over and even President Trump and a governing party heavily in denial about climate change cannot stop it.
    • Apr 13, 2017
  • Race to kill

    You wonder if Attorney General Leslie Rutledge would be so eager to execute if her grandpa, Leslie Rutledge, who was imprisoned for killing neighbor Joe Beel and mortally wounding his brother Frank, had been sentenced to death in 1952.
    • Apr 6, 2017
  • Repeal charade

    The debacle of the repeal-Obamacare movement left the president and the Republican Congress ruminating about the terrible lessons they had learned from the defeat — mainly that neither ever had a health plan or even a clue about how to frame one.
    • Mar 30, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Event Calendar

« »

April

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30  

Most Viewed

  • Art bull

    "God, I hate art," my late friend The Doctor used to say.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Art bull

    • the nice thing about art is that it is what it is, but what it…

    • on April 22, 2017
  • Re: Executionpalooza

    • Fantastic work-from-home opportunity for everyone... Work for three to five hrs a day and start…

    • on April 21, 2017
  • Re: Erasing humanity

    • Exactly how I feel only written much better than I could.

    • on April 21, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation