Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Romney Reelection Campaign


In the midst of the California redwoods I walked though the hollow of a grand old sequioa and entered a parallel universe

I emerged on the other side to find myself  in Sept 2016, with the next presidential campaign well underway. President Romney was hard at work after the Republican convention, where he gained the nomination despite a bruising primary fight with Senator Santorum. Once again he was taking a few days to prepare for the upcoming debates, a tactic, that had proven so effective against Barack Obama in his down-to-the-wire electoral college victory(Ohio had sealed his triumph by 85 votes after a mysterious fire in Cleveland's 2nd ward had destroyed  15,000 ballots the night of the election).   

Still the current polls found the President's chances mixed at best. It had been a bruising four years, with more than a few surprises and some difficult moments. Romney's economic record appeared to most observers to be mixed at best. The 25% across-the-board tax cut had not been matched by significant reform in any of the major deductions that Vice President Ryan had promised, since the housing lobby had successfully opposed elimination of the mortgage interest deduction, and the health care lobby had blocked elimination of the deduction for health insurance. As a result, the deficit had soared to 2.5 trillion a year, despite impressive cuts in social programs (Medicaid reduced by 60%, the NIH budget cut by 40% and so on). Despite record corporate earnings, the unemployment rate remained stubbornly high at 7.8%, and the number of Americans living in poverty had doubled. Civil disturbances such as the Detroit food riots in 2015 had increased the national sense of unease, and the 9% average tax rate for the President's tax returns in that same year had added to the growing sense that he was out of touch with the concerns of ordinary Americans.

The long expected American-Israel  assault on the Iranian nuclear facilities in February 2013 certainly did not help matters, as oil markets reacted by raising the price of crude to $210 a barrel, and the promise of American aid to rebuild the port of Haifa destroyed by the Hezbollah rocket barrage proved a tough sell, even to a Republican Congress. And of course, the Democratic takeover of both the House and Senate in the 2014 mid terms had stifled any further momentum for the Republicans' agenda.

Still, despite historically low approval ratings, the President and his campaign staff remained guardedly optimistic. "We've always had to make our own reality. We did it in 2012 and we can do it now" insisted chief of staff Donald Trump. "We know the American people are with us on the issues that matter most, like same sex marriage and guin control. We look forward to meeting Governor Cuomo to debate whether Americans want to return to failed policies of the Obama admininstation or move forward to complete to President's agenda of low taxes and increased personal liberty." 

Unfortunately, a sudden unexopected gust of wind catupulted me back through the opening in the big Sequoia once again into the present day.  So while I now have a pretty good idea of what a Romney administration will mean for us, we both have to wait till Novemeber 2016 to know what the country thinks of his performance.    


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