What if Mitt had won in 2012?Published 10:18am Friday, March 22, 2013
The oft repeated statement “elections have consequences” is filled with, as Stephen Colbert puts it, “truthiness.”
Truthiness means it sounds about right, carries with it certain elements of truth, and is easy to believe. In the new media age, where facts float freely, unattached often to events and evidence, truthiness is often enough.
But in the case of elections, even the discernible facts support the argument that elections do drive political outcomes.
Would Congress today be debating an Immigration policy that advances the solution to 11 million illegal immigrants on the basis of a new legal status or even a path to citizenship had Mitt Romney won the presidency? Undoubtedly not, since the Romney position on immigration was that uniquely dismissible idea of “self-deportation.”
And yet today it is reasonably possible that both political parties will find a compromise to address the decades old immigration issue with a workable, practical solution following the re-election of President Obama.
Would the nation be moving forward, however tenuously, with a national health care program to end the freeloading access to health care that has exemplified the recent past had Mitt won?
More likely we would be un-funding what will now likely always be known as Obamacare, while leaving behind no working model on how to solve the serious access and cost problems the health care industry has posed for over three decades.
If Mitt had won would we now be tightening down the sanctions against Iran, sanctions that are acknowledged to have seriously hurt the Iranian economy? Or would we instead be planning, with Israel, the next U.S. war in the Middle East?
The latter seems more likely than the former given the bellicose statements from Romney on the campaign trail.
Had Mr. Romney won the White House would the federal government be moving from a balanced approach to economic recovery and job opportunity, or would we have combined an austerity solution that has repeatedly failed where tried in Europe, combined with another wave of “freeing” business to trickle down its grace on ordinary Americans?
And if we indeed unshackled the mighty American capitalist machine would we even acknowledge, much less address, the annual $100 billion dollars in corporate welfare that the conservative Heritage Foundation estimates deprives the federal government of income to fund programs like Medicare?
Or would we instead today be attacking the hapless Americans with the misfortune to need our help in tough times through the social safety net?
Would a President Romney think the 47 percent of Americans who want the government to give them a free ride deserve help when out of work, food stamps when in hardship, or help for new mothers with children through the WIC program?
And would we be supporting the new federal consumer protection agency, or instead seeking to end all the onerous regulations that protect our food sources, monitor pollution that kills people, and regulates and prosecutes unfair business practices like those caught stealing from Medicare with false claims?
We can only guess how a Romney presidency might have addressed the issues of today, but based upon his public positions, the consequences of a Romney election would have been distinctly different than the outcome today with the re-election of Barack Obama.
Some argue the 47 percent statement doomed the Romney campaign, but maybe it was a statement so much, much smaller but even more symbolic; Would we really elect a president who wants to end Big Bird?
Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.