After reading the complaints about Romney, I asked friends who have seen the candidate speak locally. They say he does speak in specifics about what he would do about America’s problems, on some issues. On just some issues, I ask? Yes, but we know what he is going to do. He’s going to change everything Obama has done. He can’t, I say. That just isn’t practical. How will he unwind so much that is now law? Their description of the change in administration sounds like nothing we’ve seen in America since ending the spoils system with the Pendleton Act in the 1880s. I say, he really cannot throw all the bums out, my dear. And the mass of law, the mass of regulation, some is good and some is awful and some contradicts or is redundant — how will anyone sort through it all coherently? Oh, I thought, the website will give more specific policy suggestions. There are a few. Here’s what he says he can do:
If you go to the Romney website there are some specifics, but I was shocked that I had to dig around for the “issues” page. There it is. I am presenting it as a public service. There are some specifics, but much is vague promise or things like the above, “Give every family access to a great school and good teachers”. How is any president going to do that? He didn’t hire my daughter’s lousy history teacher from last year and apparently no one can get rid of the inept loon once he’s hired. Yet there are specifics, such as “Allow Low Income And Special Needs Students To Choose Which School To Attend By Making Title I and IDEA Funds Portable.” and “Expand The DC Opportunity Scholarship Program To Serve As A Model For The Nation.”
The worst part about the Issues sections is that each set of solutions is prefaced with a long whine about what Obama did wrong. We know all that. Randomly choosing another topic of peruse I see that in Afghanistan & Pakistan a key proposal is to “Ensure Buy-In from Afghan and Pakistani Governments”. How is he going to do that? Haven’t the last two administrations attempted to do just that without apparent success? We’ll use leverage. Fine. If that doesn’t work, as it hasn’t, what then? Romney’s essay today in the WSJ on “A New Course for the Middle East” doesn’t mention either Afghanistan or Pakistan. Iraq, either, what a mess and we are still entangled in it. Perhaps strength is enough, but how to build our “sinews”? If it is about money used like a protein drink with steroid supplements, then we’ve got a problem.
I am posting this also as a response to my friend John Lewis’s comment on my previous post and because of my friends mentioned above, as well as because of a student paper that insisted that Romney’s website answered all questions about his policy proposals, while the guys here say Romney never addresses policy specifics. I couldn’t reconcile the divergence between the praise of Romney as statesman and despair about Romney as obfuscating politician. I want to like Romney. I particularly do not want to have to dislike him. Giving up on Romney for whatever reason does not seem an option given the other option which is not four more years, but four years of what the president considers a mandate to go full throttle on what he has hesitantly begun. No thank you.