Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

Romney the Boomerang

Adelina Marini, September 2, 2012

Now officially Mitt Romney is Barack Obama's opponent for the presidential race. Mr Romney, for whom this is a second march toward the White House, has officially accepted the presidential nomination at the convention of the Republicans in Tampa, Florida. A convention that can be remembered as a well organised TV reality show which, however, conveyed a number of messages in various directions with a main focus - love in the family. Now the presidential elections enter their decisive phase against the background of the Isaac storm, stagnating global economy, burning Middle East, unstable Europe and vehemently developing Southeastern Asia. Alas, from its very beginning the battle seems pathetic, the weapons are old and worn out, the goals are unclear, the allies are uncertain. Mitt Romney bets on certain, if status quo can be called certain.

Present times require present solutions, not solutions from the past. And the 2008 crisis showed it more than clearly - applying solutions that proved successful 100 years ago today are irrelevant. America, and not only, needs innovation in politics, politicians innovators and new ideas. Something which the Republicans cannot offer and Mitt Romney embodies this incapability. In his campaign prevail slogans that are a remake of Obama's slogans in 2008, obviously the aim of which is to emphasise that he did not do well. In 2008 Barack Obama's slogans were "Change" and "Yes, we can". This year's slogans of Mitt Romney are "We can change it".

Romney - the candidate of the Tea Party, the conservatives, the libertarians or the republicans?

In fact, Mitt Romney could have been a very good candidate were the circumstances different. In 2008 he lost the primaries in the Republican party to John McCain, supported by the Republicans mainly because of the colourful Sarah Palin. Even then he lacked colour, he lacked identity and an aura of his own. Like then, now too he is trying to place himself before his sympathisers as the perfect candidate - a remarkable father, a wonderful husband, a successful businessman, a person responsible for his community (helping in the church, friends). But the main question from the beginning of the primaries in the Republican party remaines without answer - who are in fact Romney's sympathisers? If Romney loses the elections on November 6th, a large share of the responsibility should be born by the Republican party which is in a severe state of its crisis of identity.

With the aim to win the hearts of the Republicans, in the beginning of the race within the party stood a family conservative, a loving flat tax rates Afro-American, a libertarian, a woman representing the Tea Party (a movement within the Republican Party with significant differences from the mainstream on a number of issues), a former chief of Congress who is a fan of multiple marriages. This diversity of candidates contributed even more to the division among the Republicans. But nonetheless, most of them had a common denominator and that is having a lot of children. Almost all of them had five or more children which is probably why Mitt Romney and his wife Ann focused so strongly on family and children, almost entirely ignoring talking on specific issues.

The race for the presidential nomination in the Republican party was very intense in the beginning of the year but in the spring two main opponents emerged - Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. The latter is a very charismatic family conservative who easily reaches the hearts of the Republicans, which is why in many states he won more support than Romney. Alas, the health of one of his seven children forced him in April to give up the race and ensure more time for his family. A little after him the battle left the other two remaining runners - Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul.

Mitt Romney remained the only candidate but he did not receive full support from his former rivals. And some (Ron Paul) even refused to back him. This is the reason why he did not receive an invitation to speak at the convention in Tampa. In an interview for an American TV station in the margins of the convention, Ron Paul said: "I'm not intending to endorse anybody. We need a revolutionary change in our ideas. We just can't go on with the status quo". Paul found it hard to answer the question whom would he vote for on November 6th. Although he answered evasively at first, after all he stated that it was almost impossible to vote for Obama. To the persisting question whether he would after all vote for Romney, Ron Paul finally said: "Count me undecided" and underscored that he endorsed peace, prosperity, individual liberty, the constitution.

Rick Santorum received an invitation to address the convention but in his 15 minutes long speech he mentioned the Romney-Ryan duo a minute before the end. His statement must have deepened even further the disappointment that was hanging in the air at the convention in Tampa that the Republicans were going to a battle not with the strongest candidate. Santorum practically spoke of his own visions about Obama's presidency and how America's problems can be solved, not failing to mention of course that family was the key. In his words, America's problem is that the government is trying to interfere where it should not. He proposed the following solution:

"Graduate from high school, work hard and get married before you get children and the chance you will ever be in poverty is just 2%. Yet, if you don't do these 3 things you are 38 times more likely to end up in poverty", he said and added: "Marriage is disappearing in places where government dependency is the highest". He concluded calling that in November "we have the chance to vote for life and liberty not dependency". Somewhere there he mentioned the team Mitt Romney - Paul Ryan without elaborating whether he supported them and why the others should do that.

Literally days before the beginning of the convention Mitt Romney announced his choice for vice president - this is the 42-year old Paul Ryan, who was presented as the budgetary monster who would handle the difficult task of limiting public spending and to reduce the huge public debt, amounting to almost $16 trillion and because of which, for the first time in the rating history, the US ended up with a downgraded credit rating in 2011. During the convention, however, Paul Ryan not only did not reaffirm the desired image of a budgetary hawk but showed himself in a light worthy for the entertainment genres in the Hollywood. His speech was long and superficial. Ryan explained, often inserting jokes about Obama, that his presidency started with the financial crisis but it ended with a jobs crisis. "It began with a perfect triple rating for the US. It ends with a downgraded America". This remark caused booing in the hall.

According to the young congressman, solving the economic problems of the country is very simple. He announced that together with Mitt Romney they have a plan for creating a strong middle class and for the creation of 12 million jobs in 4 years, as well as for limiting federal spending to 20% of gross domestic product or "even less". After that, in his speech, long almost 40 minutes, he focused on Mitt Romney's personality explaining that the difference between the two was a whole generation which proved a problem in terms of music because Ryan was forced during cross country trips to listen to Romney's musical likes.

Before the hundreds of people who had gathered in a Tampa hall on August 29 he explained that his playlist started with AC/DC and ended with Led Zeppelin but was quick to reassure that in many aspects he and Romney were different but not on those that mattered. A day later, in his speech Mitt Romney found the proper time to insert that his playlist was better than Ryan's. According to the young candidate for vice president, the main reason why the Americans had to choose Romney was that he was a Republican governor of a state where almost 9 of 10 legislators were Democrats and that he also managed to reduce unemployment. This is a direct attack against the democratic excuses that their work was hampered because of the divided Congress and Senate. In Congress the Republicans have a majority while in Senate - it is the Democrats who prevail. This has indeed seriously impeded the work of the White House, prolonging significantly the time for passing new legislation. In the end, Paul Ryan presented his family - three kids, his wife and mother - fully in line with the family discourse.

The star of the convention, however, was supposed to be Romney's wife - Ann - who was difficult to single out in the course of the campaign as providing convincing support for her husband nor to be remembered with vivid presence. Instead, on the evening of August 29th the blond haired Ann appeared in a bright red dress, remarkably red nails and lipstick in the same colour. Was it because of embarrassment because of the huge audience or because she was not convinced in what she was saying to the public, Ann Romney made a lot of mistakes during her speech, focus of which was love. Mrs Romney's purpose - a housewife, mother of five sons, wife of a rich businessman - was to reach out to those Americans who in fact do not acknowledge Mitt Romney precisely because of his high class origin - he grew up in a rich family, he had access to high quality education and opportunities for development. As Mitt Romney, his wife too invested a lot of efforts to convince the public that they were part of them, that they encountered the same problems and that they understood them well, which was why they could solve them.

Ann Romney managed to touch many women in the hall calling the audience to think that night "about the love we share for those Americans, our brothers and our sisters, who are going through difficult times - whose days are never easy, whose nights always long and whose work never seems done. They're here among us in this hall. They're here in neighbourhoods across Tampa and all across America, the parents who lie awake at night, side by side, wondering how they'll be able to pay the mortgage or make for the rent; the single dad who's working extra hours tonight so that his kids can buy some new clothes to go back to school, can take a school trip or play a sport, so his kids can feel, you know, just like other kids. And the working mums who love their jobs but would like to work a little less to spend more time with the kids but that's just out of the question with this economy".

In conclusion, Ann Romney announced that her husband was the man whom all these people could rely on. No one would work harder than Mitt Romney, the woman in red underlined.

In the context of statements in the style "thank you for the Oscar", the appearance of the former secretary of state in the second term of George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, was grounding. By the way, the choice of Rice to address the Republican convention is very telling about the absolute lack of new ideas. Condoleezza Rice is a representative of the wing of the hawks, if you remember that division in Bush's cabinet - those who like the smell of gunpowder. Her statement was short and with a clear message - peace can only be achieved by force. "Where does America stand?", she asked and announced that at the moment neither the US's friends nor its foes knew the answer. America is destined to lead because if America retreats the choice would be "either no one will lead and there will be chaos or someone will fill the vacuum who does not share our values", Condoleezza Rice explained. In conclusion she said: "My fellow Americans, we do not have a choice. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan understand this reality. They know what to do". Do they?

What does Mitt Romney promise?

Romney's speech on August 30th is not what you have dreamed to hear or what you expected to hear in times desperately requiring something new. Fully in line with the family rhetoric, Mitt Romney announced that the world could be healed with love. "All the laws and legislation in the world will never heal this world like the loving hearts and arms of mothers and fathers. If every child could drift to sleep feeling wrapped in the love of their family – and God’s love -- this world would be a far more gentle and better place". But it is not love Mitt Romney intends to heal the world with:

- "President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. MY promise ... is to help you and your family".

- "In his first TV interview as president, he said we should talk to Iran. We’re still talking, and Iran’s centrifuges are still spinning".

- "I will begin my presidency with a jobs tour. President Obama began with an apology tour. America, he said, had dictated to other nations. No Mr. President, America has freed other nations from dictators".

- "President Obama has thrown allies like Israel under the bus, even as he has relaxed sanctions on Castro’s Cuba. He abandoned our friends in Poland by walking away from our missile defence commitments, but is eager to give Russia’s President Putin the flexibility he desires, after the election. Under my administration, our friends will see more loyalty, and Mr. Putin will see a little less flexibility and more backbone".

Mitt Romney described his presidency in five points:

"First, by 2020, North America will be energy independent by taking full advantage of our oil and coal and gas and nuclear and renewables. Second, we will give our fellow citizens the skills they need for the jobs of today and the careers of tomorrow. When it comes to the school your child will attend, every parent should have a choice, and every child should have a chance.Third, we will make trade work for America by forging new trade agreements. And when nations cheat in trade, there will be unmistakable consequences.Fourth, to assure every entrepreneur and every job creator that their investments in America will not vanish as have those in Greece, we will cut the deficit and put America on track to a balanced budget.And fifth, we will champion SMALL businesses, America’s engine of job growth. That means reducing taxes on business, not raising them. It means simplifying and modernising the regulations that hurt small business the most. And it means that we must rein in the skyrocketing cost of healthcare by repealing and replacing Obamacare".

In 2008 Barack Obama was a novelty - the first possibility for an Afro-American president; the first candidate who used the possibilities Internet offered to the most. In 2012 America and the world need more novelties but Mitt Romney is definitely not the man whom we can expect this from. The question is then what will Obama offer.