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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Why Romney Must Lose

Some Romney-supporting, talking disembodied-voice on the radio, tonight in my cab, was claiming that Obama was proposing "devastating" cuts to the military budget that would "cripple" the U.S. military. Yes, sure, if our military only spends 39% of the total military expenditure of the world instead of 41%, it will be a "crippled" organization, barely able to defeat, say, Grenada in a war!

I like Obama better than Romney on some issues, and less on others. But we simply can't let the worst, most war-mongering crackpots win this year. I don't love Obama on foreign policy, but Romney is clearly so much worse that he must, must go down.

6 comments:

  1. In terms of their rhetoric, you're right, Romney is a bigger hawk than Obama. But what about the Glenn Greenwaldian type point, that Obama gets no pushback from the Left?

    I am not sure, but it is arguable that economic freedoms would actually be safer with Repubs in Congress and Obama in White House, and foreign civilians would be safer from drone strikes with Dems in Congress and Romney in White House.

    I mean, I can remember being really worried in Nov 2000 that Al Gore would become president, because he would "ruin the economy." That's pretty funny, now that I look back on it.

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  2. I wouldn't say that Obama isn't a warmonger, but he certainly is less of one than Romney. I've said this before, but the only redeeming quality that I see in Obama in terms of foreign policy is that he isn't so willing to go to war with Iran. In fact, he might be "crazy" enough to actually talk to the Iranians.

    The one thing that makes me think that Romney might have a chance is that he donned the 'ol yarmulke and kissed the wailing wall. He's certainly got the Israeli lobby and the Zionist Christians in his corner, and they are a feisty bunch.

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  3. Two things:

    1) It's even worse than the "as a percentage of world spending" or "as a percentage of GDP" dodges tend to indicate. The simple fact is that the argument is between 10% growth (Obama) and 18% growth (the GOP plan) over the next five years. Not only are the Obama "cuts" not crippling, they are not cuts, period.

    2) I think there's a distinction to be made between actual hawkishness and advocacy for growth of the "defense" budget. While there's a correlation between the two (if for no other reason than that the bigger the army you maintain, the stronger the incentive to actually use it for something), there's no reason that a relatively more "dovish" foreign policy platform can't come with advocacy for more spending than the "hawks" want, for both ideological ("the stronger we are, the less likely we are to be attacked") reasons and pragmatic ("defense spending means jobs on weapons assembly lines") reasons.

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  4. Is it so clear either way? Gene and I disagree over the selling of the Iraq War. Gene sees a pack of lies. Well the Iraq War salesman in chief just endorsed Obama. I would not have supported the invasion *at the point in time it happened* had CP not convinced me of the wisdom of immediate action. (I would have supported more pressure, maybe assassination, and wait and see on escalation.)

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    Replies
    1. Politics is always murky. I just place my chips where it looks like my best bet lies!

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  5. I am sympathetic to your argument, and I've tried to talk people I love into not voting for the guy myself, but I think reality will intrude upon Romney's flights of hegemonic fantasy (assuming he really is the hawk he claims to be) enough that he will be basically indistinguishable from Obama on foreign policy (practically, though maybe not in tone, which I admit isn't nothing).

    Also, it may be a good thing to disregard all campaign propaganda and evaluate this question based on whether you can live with the incumbent's record or not. Re-electing Obama is a signal that will not be ignored by history or party leaders, and will further cement the lunacy that is our bipartisan consensus (assume here that campaign rhetoric fits into the memory hole much easier than governing record, which may be untrue or even backwards). Larison is obviously quite correct that it would be insane to assume that Romney doesn't mean it, but we know Obama means it (though again, his tone is preferable).

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