Thursday, July 12, 2012

An Open Letter to Mitt Romney

Sorry I am a bit late, but congratulations on your achieving enough delegates to gain the Republican nomination for the presidential election in 2012.  After months of turning back one right wing darling after another, you have silenced most of the critics who say you are not conservative enough, and gained their tacit support in your drive to unseat Barrack Obama.

I say tacit support, not to sound derogatory, but to remind you that you do not have a mandate from your party.  As one of my least favorite political pundits recently said, and I paraphrase, "Mr. Romney, we will be voting for you because we want Obama out, not because we want you in". 

Unfortunately, these sentiments will dog you throughout your term, should you win.  You see, you will be forced to choose, time and time again, to placate your base on topics such as abortion, gay rights, the health care debate, the deficit, etc while still finding room for the majority of Americans, left, center left and center right, who disagree with many of the more extreme opinions that your base has embraced in recent years.

Of course, should you win in November, you will have at least partly allayed the fears of the center right and center left or you would not have won as it is as true for November 2012 as it has been for every presidential election in recent memory; without the votes of those with more moderate positions that either the far left or far right, no one can win the presidency. 

Assuming then, a victory in 2012, and assuming a Republican controlled House and Democratic controlled Senate, how will you address the main topics of the day, especially the most critical ones.

Here are some suggestions.

The deficit will continue to grow regardless of who is in the White House or who controls the Congress.  It is inevitable if we continue to believe that we can spend more money on defense than the next 20 countries combined, engage in foreign entanglements that do nothing to advance American interests, and maintain a tax code that grants so many exceptions, credits and loopholes that some of our most profitable corporations get refunds, and some of our richest individuals pay a lower tax percentage than those working for them.  Hopefully, those tea party reps who vow to vote against every raise in the debt ceiling will resist with a president of the same party or you will be taking the oath with your/our backs against the perverbial financial cliff in January 2013 when so many of the financial issues that have been kicked down the road will be up for debate again.  You will need to be a stronger leader than Obama was on this topic.  You will need to demand action and compromise from your side of the aisle so that we begin the process of deficit reduction. 

-Trade a slightly higher tax rate and some means testing for certain deductions for some common sense adjustments of future social security payouts. 

-Trade a vote to raise the debt ceiling for an actual 2013 federal budget that can pass both houses so that all those petty battles which have occurred in the last two years can be avoided.  Get some spending freezes on certain discretionary budget outlays from the Dems to make this happen.

The health care crisis will not go away with or without the repeal of "Obamacare".  You need to take control of this issue, again, by being a strong leader and convincing the far right wing of your party that providing access to health care insurance to a much larger percentage of Americans is good economics, as well as good citizenship.  Use good morality if you must.  My proposal which can be accessed at

uses the individual mandate in combination with private insurers offering plans sponsored by each individual state.  We remove the employer as the middle man, instead requiring each individual/family to enroll in the best plan for them.  Individual responsibility, state sponsored programs, private insurers, and the idea that all Americans are paying premiums based on all of us in one big USA pool, or pools based on each state's population. 

These are the two biggest issues.  Everything else pales in comparison, and while gay marriage, abortion, and other fractious social issues make for good sound bites and enhance the coffers of the campaign, you can't let the raucous minority force you to lose the trust and faith of the majority who will have elected you.   The center right and center left voter who pulled your lever does not want you to ban abortion or support a constitutional amendment defining marriage as one man, one woman.  They want you to reduce the partisan bickering, continue the good things that President Obama started, such as health care reform, ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and reigning in the ways of Wall Street that allow big profits in good times and risk avoidance/tax payer assistance in bad.  And they want you to address the real reasons why over the past 30 years, middle class incomes have stagnated, the poor are losing ground and the rich have seen their share of the pie grow significantly.   

I don't envy you.  Sure, a win in November will seem like a dream come true.  But it won't be long until that dream fades fast into the mist of election elation.  Your base will demand immediate action that you, frankly, will not have the power or political clout to accomplish.  You may not like Obama's policies, but you will be wise to spend some time with him to prepare yourself for the attacks that will come from both sides, sometimes at the same time, for your decisions.  Being President of the United States is most assuredly NOT like being CEO which is closer to rule by dictatorship than democracy.  You will be representing ALL of us, those who voted for you and those that did not.  And, you will never be able to please us all but it is your duty to enact policies and lead us in a direction that enables most of us to feel confident in our pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. 

Good luck in November.

Joe Pugnetti   

1 comment:

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