The 53rd post on the Journal of American Greatness originally published in April, 2016.
When you write an pseudonymous blog backed by no money and little promotion, any attention is welcome. We are therefore delighted to have been attacked by “A Real Character” at Wheat & Weeds. While we freely admit to a taste for Socratic irony, we mean this in earnest.
He asserts that we are “making waves among political theorists sorting through our weird presidential cycle.” Are we? The pond still looks pretty glassy to us. But we are vain and like praise. So thanks!
Beyond this, he scores some good points.
But before getting to that, he writes: “Jag … exaggerates the positions of its opponents (especially the folks at National Review).” No citations, quotes or evidence for this claim is offered. He does assert that “National Review come[s] in for withering mockery” by us, which we will not dispute. Does he disagree that they deserve it? He doesn’t say and we don’t know.
His deeper point is that we “make claims [he] can’t take seriously.” Our specific assertion to which he objects is that we can’t remember quite why we still prefer Romney to Obama, even though we would still vote for Mitt again if we had to relive 2012. Note that he seems to think we said there is no difference, which we didn’t say. We said that the differences seem to us, in the cold light of 2016, a lot less significant than they did in the klieg lights of 2012.
The core of our pro-Romney claim was that we think he would have at least gone slower than Obama in pushing the far-left multi-culti agenda. The core of our “who-cares” argument was that we think Romney probably would have gone faster than Obama in implementing the Slave Power agenda. Romney is after all a private equity baron. This is a tribe that is only slightly behind hedge fund viscounts in evangelizing for open borders, open trade and endless war. Opposition to that agenda has long been stronger in the Democratic than in the Republican Party. Recall that NAFTA was passed with Republican votes, over Democratic opposition in a Democratic administration. One of the founding principles of the Democratic Party was opposition to radical wealth and income inequality. The Democrats have been the party of peaceniks since at least 1972, and really since 1968. The only aspect of the Davos agenda to which the Democrats are more committed than the Republicans is mass immigration, and then only slightly.
RC2 then gives a list of specifics. Let’s go through them (some cuts for space; ours in bold):
- [D]oes he imagine that it was in the interests of the United States, in the face of a terrorist enemy that only understands force, to precipitously draw down troops in Iraq such that a war (whatever you think of its having been started) that was won was deliberately lost — at the forfeit not only of American and allied lives, but of the meaning of those sacrifices? Would Romney have done that?
Maybe not. The right position, in hindsight, on the Iraq War was to have been against the initial invasion but pro-Surge once the die was cast. Obama unquestionably threw away a significant victory over our Islamist enemies. But it’s not clear what Romney would have done. He might have stayed too long and tried for too much.
- Would Romney have given us Justices Sotomayor and Kagan?
No. But who would he have appointed? Would they have necessarily been any better than Burger, Blackmun, Powell, Stevens, O’Conner, Kennedy, Souter, or Roberts? In the last two generations, the Democrats have always gotten the Justices they want. In this period the Republicans have had 12 tries, of which 8 have been dismal failures. Why pin such unrealistic hopes on Romney?
- Would Romney have used the IRS for political purposes?
- Would Romney have turned the Department of Justice into an office of political vendetta?
- Would Romney have imposed the HHS mandate? Would he have used the might of the American justice system against the Little Sisters of the Poor?
Very likely not.
- Would Romney have behaved so fecklessly in Egypt and Libya?
Highly likely. Romney was surrounded by neocon advisors who believe that more war is always the answer. Many of the very same people who egged Obama and Hillary into their foolish actions in Egypt and Libya advised Romney and still advise Republicans such as Ted Cruz.Would Romney have abandoned his own ambassador to torture and murder?
Perhaps not as blithely. But when presented with the national security bureaucracy’s deliberately constrained menu of options, would he have had the wisdom to realize that he was being played, or the depth of knowledge to know what his true options were? Would he have made a difference? That said, we doubt he would have been nearly as shameless in trying to cover up the ensuing disaster.
- Would Romney have been so feckless and incompetent as to call ISIS the junior varsity and be surprised by its strength?
No, in our view, his rhetoric would have been much tougher, but his actions more or less equally ineffective.
- Would Romney have turned the State Department into an LGBT rights organization, actively seeking out gay and trans diplomats — no matter how much they offend our allies?
Probably not. But he would also have been too afraid to really oppose that agenda. He would, instead of pushing it from conviction, have allowed himself to be bullied into allowing it from fear.
- Would Romney have hired as CIA director a man who doesn’t believe in spying?
Maybe. Just not Brennan. But the Intelligence Community is so corrupt that all top candidates are functionally the same.
- Would he have allowed the humiliation of the U.S. being driven from a NATO country?
What could he have done about it? Two decades of US policy plus 75 years of history have made this inevitable.
- You seriously going to suggest Romney would have given us the Iran deal — or the national humiliation of our sailors on their knees, apologizing to the Mullahs?
No. But the deal, while bad, has little meaning. Demonstrating this requires a long exegesis on nuclear matters, which I am prepared to write, but not in this post and not tonight.
- Would he have treated Ft. Hood and Boston and San Bernardino as matters for the police?
No. But he also wouldn’t have done the one thing most needful, which Trump has promised: HALT MUSLIM IMMIGRATION!
- Would he have heightened racial tensions by jumping into “beer-gate” and the Trayvon Martin case?
- Would Romney refuse to call Islamic extremism what it is?
No. But Obama, for all his considerable faults, eagerly drones Islamic terrorists to death even if he refuses to call them what they are.
- Would he be threatening North Carolina over its sensible protection of women and girls in bathrooms?
- If he had been President, would we still have Obamacare, or would a Republican congress have been able to act?
Ah. Tough one. First, you know that Obamacare passed before the 2012 election, right? Second, you must know that Romney’s own Massachusetts health law was the model for Obamacare? You know that. Right? This is one big reason why Romney was held by many to be a less than ideal opposition candidate in 2012. Now, to be sure, in 2012, he campaigned on repealing Obamacare, but how believable was that? Beyond all this, the core issue right now—in 2016—driving the votes of disaffected Republicans is market-driven uncertainty. Universal health care at least seems to alleviate this basal concern. However flawed it may be in concept and implantation, all Republican alternatives sound to vulnerable voters like throwing them back to the insurance company wolves.
- What changes might Paul Ryan and a GOP Congress have been able to make to the budget and spending if there had been a President Romney to support them and sign their bill?
We have a hard time taking any reference to Paul Ryan seriously. Have you noticed what he’s been up to lately? And what if that budget were implemented? See above what we said about “market-driven uncertainty.” That’s exactly what the Slave Power pushes and what the (still, for now) free population resists—at least as long as their economic prospects, thanks to the Slave Power, remain so precarious. So what good would that have done?
Bottom line, when we peruse this list, we’re not all that impressed with the concessions we had to make. Yeah, you left some welts. But to quote JAG’s motto, what difference,at this point, does it make? President Romney would have respected the girly x-chromosomes of the Ladies Room. We support that! So what? Will that save the republic?
Probably nothing will. We admit to being gloomy. But the surest path to a brighter future is a clear understanding of the present. “If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.”