Paul Ryan is a hack. Mitt Romney is a weather vane. Together they lack both experience and substance at a very important time for our country. Certainly I won’t raise the specter that this is “the most important election of our lifetime”, because frankly, I don’t think it is. Even with Romney being a boring, take-no-stance candidate, and Paul Ryan being a fake budget hawk, there is probably not a huge difference (in the short term) in how a Romney presidency would run the country versus how the Obama administration has run the country.
Now, that is not to say that there would be no difference. And when it comes to fiscal and foreign policy, nuance is very important. The lack of foreign policy experience for both Romney and Ryan is troubling, especially considering their hawkish views with little to back it up. In fact, part of Ryan’s “budget plan” is to continue increasing the military budget, while slashing funding for the State Department and diplomacy. While the State Department might be somewhat more low profile than the DOD or War Department, it’s role in foreign policy is paramount to walking the delicate line in international diplomacy. We’ve already seen how effective “gunboat diplomacy” is, as displayed during the Bush administration. Two unsuccessful wars with no diplomatic efforts, lead to continued fighting and strife with virtually no end in sight. And Republicans are still talking about making a move against Iran (or at least supporting Israel in doing so); reminiscent of the definition of insanity…
Anyway, back to Romney and Ryan. While I actually do think that Romney as a person is a moderate, his political winds (or constituent winds) strategy of politicking scares me. Romney will say and do whatever he has to to get elected (which actually makes the Ryan choice a bit odd), and therefore while he himself may be a moderate, he would kowtow to the hard core Republican base as president, nominating far right ideologues to cabinet positions, and pushing ultra conservative legislation, much of which he himself personally does not espouse.
That is the difference in this election. While certainly most Democrats and liberals will allow that President Obama has been hit or miss, the fact is he’s trying to do right. He’s a pragmatist, and as a pragmatist he’s not going to make everyone happy; and occasionally is going to piss people off – even his own supporters. But also as a pragmatist, that means that he’s principled enough to realize the realities of a situation and look for rational, well thought decisions. He doesn’t bend the wills of his party’s extreme every time a tough question comes up. He instead will make the decision he believes to be right (and by right here I mean what he believes to be best for the country), and then pays the political price for it afterward.
This president has been very good (or bad, depending on how you look at it) at using his political capital. He doesn’t keep a lot in reserve. He’s constantly make concessions that will make one group happy, just to turn around and piss them off with his next decision. But what is great about this is that it shows his ultimate goal is to get things done, even if he’s not leading all of the polls. A great gauge of this is that even while poll numbers might show that a particular policy of the president, or how he’s dealing with a particular issue, may be low, overall his approval ratings remain very high (relative to the myriad of problems that our country currently faces).
I guess the point of my post is that while President Obama has not done exactly what I would do as president, his overall goal has been to improve the economy and make our country great again. Mitt Romney cares nothing for the country, and instead would govern by the mantra that he’s lived by of “everyone for themselves”; which he’s blindly followed despite being assisted throughout his life by other people. "We've always encouraged young people: Take a shot, go for it, take a risk, get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business.” Because we all have parents that can just hand us $25,000 to start a business. Mitt Romney is a shell, nothing more. And once he’s attained the office that he feels he’s always deserved, he’ll move on to something else. The presidency is not Mitt Romney’s way of improving the country or the lives of the people in it, but another trophy to show everyone what an important person he is.