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September 1, 2014

Getting It Right (Correct)!

Richard B. Weldon Jr.

So, this is my not-so-triumphant return. I've been in exile, the victim of a combination of poor judgment on my part and intolerant elected officials who take offense to opinions that differ with their own.


Exile has its ups and downs. After having contributed here for over a decade, a day didn't go by where someone would ask about the absence. Truth be told, I've really missed this writing and the post-publication discussions – but maybe not the deadlines.


So, deadlines be damned, it's time to fire up the iPad, the Writer application and the Bluetooth keyboard. Admittedly a long way from the typewriter, the good news is that this technology and these ideas can go anywhere the writer goes. It even works beside a mountain lake or under an umbrella by the ocean!


In 2012, American voters were provided with a stark choice, a clear differentiation between the Democrat incumbent, President Barack Obama, and his Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.


You recall the ads, right? Mitt Romney bought up struggling companies, divided up the assets and raided the pensions. He was caught on a hidden camera at a private fundraising event dismissing 47% of the electorate, claiming that those folks were dependent on government handouts and wouldn't vote for him anyway.


Setting aside the fact that he was probably right, there's no doubt that his inarticulate use of language cost him votes. Further, his personal style came across as clunky and stilted, while his mellow-voiced opponent reeked urbane cool and controlled empathy.


So, fast forward to today. Now, we see an unstable world, with the shadow of the Obama Doctrine cast wide across the globe.


During their final debate, President Obama tried to make a point about geopolitics, citing an earlier campaign reference from Mr. Romney. The president chided Romney, claiming that Romney's reference to Russia as our primary geopolitical foe ignored Iran, Syria or any of several Mideast hotspots. President Obama went so far as to joke about the Romney foreign policy, stating: "Hey, the 80's called. They want their foreign policy back."


Here's the problem with being cute on television. Somebody can always play back the tape.


Mitt Romney, it seems, was absolutely right. As evidenced by Russia's constant meddling in the sovereignty of Ukraine, as well as their toying with the veto power of the United Nations Security Council, and topped off with their state-sponsored computer hacking as a retaliatory move against sanctions, we see that Vladimir Putin has decided that no other world power poses much of a threat. His thirst for restoration of the Soviet empire fuels his ambitions, and he seems confident that the current U.S. Administration is not his equal, nor is it a serious threat.


That wasn't Mr. Romney's only Nostradamus moment, either. He predicted that President Obama, if re-elected, would:


·       Postpone the worst elements of Obamacare until after the 2016 election, and that the president was being willfully dishonest with his assurance that people would be able to keep their health plans (of course, many haven't).


Governor Romney also anticipated:


·       That the withdrawal of all U.S. combat troops from Iraq would leave a dangerous vacuum, one that might be filled by forces much worse than al Qaeda (ISIS, anyone?)


·       That a U.S. administration that vacillated on the question of U.S. support for Israel would encourage Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to feel emboldened, risking increased tensions and bloodshed in that tinderbox region.


Governor Romney predicted that the debt ceiling debate would continue to be revisited. He accurately predicted a damaging government shutdown, and a probable series of short term extensions designed to push the problem beyond the midterm elections.


There is no such thing as 100% accurate political predictions. In fact, most politicians who try to guess what their opponent will do if elected end up looking rather silly. In Mitt Romney's case, that doesn't seem to be the case. In fact, Mitt's predictions defy history. It seems he got a lot more right than he did wrong.


Maybe his business acumen and unusually high personal integrity should have told us more about him and his ability to assess the impacts of his opponent's policies. It seems as though some level of buyer’s remorse may be setting in.


Polling data from Iowa and New Hampshire show Mr. Romney the presumptive front-runner among Republicans being considered for 2016, far ahead of the Ted Cruz and Rand Paul campaigns.


Maybe now that voters have had six years of the current White House administration, they've decided that it's six years too many.


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