Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hertzberg on Romney and GOP

Stripping away the Obama-bashing, what are the Republican candidates promising to do if they win the White House? Hendrik Hertzberg answers in The New Yorker.

All this is kind of fun to watch—or would be, if it weren’t for what it says about the deeply alarming degeneracy of one of our country’s two great political parties, a party that already controls half of Congress, paralyzes the other half, and has a nontrivial chance of inhabiting the White House a year from now. By lineage and temperament, Romney, the likely nominee, is the pragmatic moderate he quite convincingly played on the Massachusetts stage. His problem now, and possibly his (and the nation’s) salvation later, is the suspicion that he changes his opinions to suit the political (and, one would hope, substantive) circumstances. No one, maybe not even Romney, knows if Romney means what he says. But as President, especially if the Republicans complete their takeover of Congress, he would be under irresistible pressure to do what he says.

And what does he say? That he would let states recriminalize abortion; that he would seek constitutional amendments outlawing new same-sex marriages and requiring two-thirds congressional majorities for tax increases; that he would sabotage “Obamacare” (never mind that “Romneycare” was its prototype) and seek its repeal, destroying its cost savings and consigning tens of millions to the ranks of the uninsured and untreated; that he would replace unemployment benefits with unemployment “savings accounts”; that he would supercharge income inequality with further huge tax cuts for the wealthy; that he would gut financial regulation; that he would “double Guantánamo,” reauthorize torture, and deport undocumented aliens en masse (including President Obama’s Kenyan uncle); and more.

--Ballard Burgher

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