Romney got so much right
Steve Huntley August 8, 2014 4:18PM
Updated: August 9, 2014 5:19PM
Almost every day, it seems, brings a headline demonstrating how right 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was, and how wrong President Barack Obama was, on the critical issues facing America.
In 2012, Romney warned that Obama’s failure to secure an agreement to keep a residual military force in Iraq would threaten the U.S. gains made at such a high cost in American lives and treasure. “America’s ability to influence events for the better in Iraq has been undermined by the abrupt withdrawal of our entire troop presence,” Romney asserted.
The chaos in Iraq today supports Romney’s view. With no U.S. military presence to constrain Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Shiite politician persecuted Sunni leaders and gutted Sunni participation in government and the military. Worse, it set the stage for Sunni sympathies to turn to the fanatical Islamic State in Syria and Iraq that has conquered a significant part of the country and waged genocide against religious minorities. Obama has had to order U.S. air strikes to protect U.S. personnel in the Kurdish region and to support Kurdish militia to keep ISIS from capturing all of northern Iraq.
In the 2012 debates, Obama mocked Romney for calling Russia America’s top geopolitical foe. Today, Russia has stolen Crimea from Ukraine, funds and provides weapons and men to Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and even threatens an invasion of the country. President Vladimir Putin meddles in the Mideast, seeks to expand Moscow’s clout in Latin America, and harbors renegade Edward Snowden.
On domestic issues, Romney in 2011 advanced the idea of giving veterans a voucher to obtain medical care they could not get at a Veterans Administration hospital. This year saw the VA scandal reveal that long waiting lists for hospital treatment were hidden. Legislation Obama signed this week allows vets to seek help outside the VA system.
Romney understood that the nation’s outdated, complex tax code encourages U.S. corporations to park assets overseas and invest in other countries. He recommended tax reform to keep that money and business in America and boost the economy. Obama does nothing about reform but demagogues as “unpatriotic” corporations pressured by the tax code to seek profits and better returns for shareholders overseas.
As governor in Massachusetts, Romney demonstrated an ability to work across party lines, and, as a business executive called upon to save the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics from scandal and financial ruin, he proved to be a problem solver.
Obama has never demonstrated a commitment to bipartisan leadership. In the opening days of his presidency in 2009 with the nation in financial crisis, Obama rejected GOP ideas for economic stimulus by telling Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, that “I won.” Obama’s re-election meant only further gridlock in Washington.
All this hasn’t been lost on the public. Polls last month showed Romney would handily win a rematch and that he would be a 2016 front-runner in New Hampshire, which hosts the first presidential primary. Even some GOP donors warmed to the idea of a 2016 Romney bid.
Romney ruled it out. Probably with good reason. Another run would require his confronting the ghosts of 2012 — his “self-deportation” immigration rhetoric, his writing off of the “47 percent,” and his failure to defend his own business record.
While Romney might have been the president the country needs today, it’s not so clear he’s the candidate of tomorrow.