Friday, August 31, 2012

The Romney Alternative

Only a few more weeks and then we can get back to life without constant debates over who is the superior candidate, who will do 'more' for the American people and who will lead us back to the path to prosperity. No matter who you are choosing to support, you have to admit that the constant mudslinging is finally starting to wear a bit thin. Even if you aren't a supporter of seeing the Obama Administration carry on for another term, you have to admit that there has been little in the way of having hope for things improving if you vote, for 'the other guy'; in this case I'm referring to Mitt Romney. The Republican National Convention (RNC) came to a close this past week and it's "official" (as if it hadn't been until this very week) that Mitt Romney will be the Republican candidate for President.

He's definitely a different candidate than Obama and certainly different from John McCain, but one way in which I don't see any difference between him or any other candidate thus far is that they are so vague in terms of laying out their actual plans for helping our nation get better that I could honestly go up on a pulpit and do the same thing. Perhaps I'm not as photogenic or even as good a public speaker (but let's further be honest and admit that neither is Romney) but I know one thing from 'the real working world' that many candidates don't. Words are great, but facts and figures behind them can certainly make things more palatable. In my office (as I'm sure is the case in most offices around the world), you can draw a conclusion, but if you don't have evidence to back it up, it's a meaningless exercise.

Meaningless exercises are how I view much of the campaigning that has been going on thus far. Mitt Romney appears to be running on the hope that disenchanted Obama supporters (and of course Republicans) will vote for anyone (but hopefully him) as an alternative to having Obama in office for another four years. That's all well and good but having no other alternative isn't really a choice. To listen to plans and schemes being laid out during all the speeches at the RNC it would be apparent to even the most naive of persons that the Republicans have a plan to improve things; what we the people don't have are the details, and I fear that there really aren't any.

I understand that most candidates don't want to lay out their plans on the off chance that they get implemented by their opponent and thus end up helping the opposition win the election but I'm not looking for chapter and verse, I'm looking for supporting evidence. The plan to reduce fuel prices by drilling all over Alaska has been an option for years and while that's certainly going to make a difference, it wouldn't make a difference in the near term whatsoever. Do people, and even more so, the candidates themselves, honestly believe that just by mentioning drilling in Alaska that gas prices are going to come down? And what about the long term? Most candidates these days talk about looking to the future and preparing the world for our children; are they really going to make things better by continuing our reliance on fossil fuels? Do we really want to strip our planet to the bone just so that we don't have to worry about developing new means of generating power?

To me it's almost like the credit crisis. So many of us are in debt simply because we don't have readily available cash so we spend what we can on credit and we keep on doing it until such time as we are in a hole and we can't do anything else but blame the economy rather than ourselves. What about fostering development of these new technologies or capabilities? It's been attempted, but the reaction of most (especially those who have their pockets lined by oil companies here and abroad) is that it's a useless gesture. Drill here and dill now is their common refrain. And what about after it's finished here and abroad? Just wipe our hands clean of the situation?

That appears to be the attitude of a lot of people, especially the rich or those who claim to have a connection to 'the small businessman'. Let me say this; Mitt Romney definitely isn't the same as a small business man. Romney's company, Bain Capital, was not some mom and pop business that was his sole source of bread and butter. To hear Romney tell it during his acceptance speech at the RNC, he seemed to compare the ups and downs of his business to having an 'oopsy'. Never once did he say or even attempt to highlight that if his company had floundered (like so many do) that he would have been hard pressed to care for his family. He didn't say it because it obviously wasn't the case. For many of us who have struggled to keep a business afloat it really is a matter of whether you would be able to put food on the table or not. But Romney didn't put it that way. He made a joke about not wanting to 'go to Hell' if he had lost his church's pension fund. Really? That's your concern?

If you truly believe that your honest actions speak for you and not the reactions of your efforts, then what do you have to worry about? To me it was a selfish remark. Forget about losing other people's money, he seemed to care more about what would have happened to him after the fact. And this is the man people are considering for their President? Romney spoke at length about how his business experience positions him well to take over the leadership of our country and put us back on the path to prosperity. To me I feel he'd treat us just like he did the people who came to Bain Capital looking for help. That is to say, happily if it works out but a cold shoulder if it doesn't. I don't want to bet on the fact that maybe in his vague, ramblings he may actually have a viable plan and hopefully the American voter won't either.

Labels: ,