Dumb And Dumber
June 27, 2012 by John Myers
“She gave me a bunch of crap about me not listening to her, or something. I don’t know, I wasn’t really paying attention.” — Jeff Daniels as Harry Dunne in the movie Dumb And Dumber
Americans have a right to be upset as we head toward November’s election. It is a two-man race for the Presidency, and both candidates embrace big government and big spending. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney favor military intervention abroad, and both the President and the challenger have interfered with the free market with Obamacare and Romneycare, respectively.
Obama has put on such a dismal one-term performance that he makes Jimmy Carter’s Presidency look Churchillian. Romney is, at best, a moderate candidate along the likes of George H.W. Bush — able to win because the field of Republican nominees was so weak.
If the Nation is looking for a transformative President along the likes of Ronald Reagan, Romney will disappoint.
In 2006, then-Governor Romney said of Massachusetts’ healthcare reform bill, a sweeping effort to provide healthcare coverage: “We’re spending a billion dollars giving health care to people who don’t have insurance, and my question was: Could we take that billion dollars and help the poor purchase insurance? Let them pay what they can afford. We’ll subsidize what they can’t.”
Liberals loved it — so much so that Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) stood beside the Republican Governor when he signed into law the bill mandating universal healthcare coverage.
Members Of The Same Establishment
If you get the chance, pick up the book The Presidents Club: Inside the World’s Exclusive Fraternity by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy. The authors explain how close the ties are between current and former Presidents and how their ideals never stray far from one another. Past and current Presidents compete against each other in the pages of history; but, foremost, past Presidents are loyal to the man in the Oval Office more than they are to the parties they represent or the ideals upon which the Nation was founded.
The book explains the enduring friendship between Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover after President Dwight Eisenhower was elected. It also tells of the close personal relationship between George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush with Bill Clinton. Even arch-Liberal and former President Lyndon Johnson conspired with Conservative GOP President Richard Nixon in selling the Vietnam War to an America that was tired of the blood and expense of that military intervention.
Gibbs and Duffy point to the 1960 book Kennedy or Nixon: Does It Make Any Difference? that was written by Arthur H Schlesinger Jr., an esteemed historian who became a top aide to President John F. Kennedy.
Last week, Daily Maverick also pointed to Schlesinger’s decades-old book:
For many years it has been something of an article of faith with both the hard left and the libertarian right in America that it really doesn’t make any difference – Democrat or Republican. They all come from the same political elite cloth, they are ultimately working in the interests of a ruling class or some super-secret elite cabal, and those interests are ultimately determined by the hard truths of the economic substrata. .. There is always that knowing, cynical French observation, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” – the more things change, the more they stay the same.
This truth was evident this month when Romney was interviewed by Time’s Mark Halperin.
You have a plan, as you said, over a number of years, to reduce spending dramatically. Why not in the first year, if you’re elected — why not in 2013, go all the way and propose the kind of budget with spending restraints, that you’d like to see after four years in office? Why not do it more quickly?
Well because, if you take a trillion dollars for instance, out of the first year of the federal budget, that would shrink GDP over 5%. That is by definition throwing us into recession or depression. So I’m not going to do that, of course.
If not the first year, then when? By President Romney’s fourth year? Probably not. Romney wants to cut taxes/revenues and increase military spending.
Meanwhile, Obama has proposed reducing the size of the military following the end of the U.S. combat role in Iraq and plans to remove troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
“We have two courses we can follow: One is to follow the pathway of Europe. To shrink our military smaller and smaller to pay for our social needs,” Romney said a month ago. “The other is to commit to preserve America as the strongest military in the world, second to none, with no comparable power anywhere in the world.”
The Obama Administration and Republicans in Congress have agreed to cut almost $500 billion dollars in military spending over the next decade. But even with that reduction, the United States would own the world’s most powerful military. The Pentagon’s budget this year exceeds $600 billion, or six times the amount of money that China is spending on its military.
Yet Romney will need more, especially since he has been painting Russia with the same stain as the “Evil Empire” that was the Soviet Union. But Romney needs to check recent history. The Soviets imploded because they could no longer finance their global aspirations. Neither can the United States.
A Warning, Not An Obama Endorsement
The truth is that, if elected, Romney will carry on most of Obama’s spending programs. That means a continuation of massive deficit spending by Washington and the near certainty that the United States will be thrown in the trash heap of history. This is not to say Romney won’t be better than Obama. It is hard to imagine he could be worse. But expect him to be only incrementally better at a time when the United States needs an exceptional President.
One final note: If Romney wins the Presidency, expect him and Obama to be friends once Romney’s tenure in the Oval Office is over. Historians may someday refer to them as dumb and dumber.
Yours in good times and bad,
Editor, Myers’ Energy & Gold Report