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President Romney

okanogen's picture

Apart from the snark about how much we will relish the rejection of Obama Corporatist Democrats, I think it is time to have an honest, open discussion of what the reality of a President Romney really will be.

Don't kid yourself, it won't be the same as four more years of Obama, and we are definitely staring it in the face.

Open thread. We don't do that much.

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okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

A President Romney is nearly certain to gin up war with Iran. The people Romney has surrounded himself with are dead set on it. Meanwhile, there is sufficient evidence to show the Obama administration is actually working to diffuse this.

Romney may not be able to scuttle any deal on renewable energy, that is now bipartisan, but he will boost oil subsidies and tax incentives as a "trade off".

I'm also fairly certain the NSF will be gutted. Science is anathema to Republicans, while Democrats are either pro (as a political cludgel) or ambivalent.

A flurry of Supreme court resignations from the old, usual righties. Ultimately, Roe vs. Wade is probably going to be reversed, but that might happen anyway. That will create a nearly perpetual culture war battle at the state level, where some states may actually outlaw abortion outright (for a while) and others will not. The long term outcome (like on gay marriage) is not trending for Republicans.

The Supreme Court is realistically no reason to vote for either side.

Submitted by YesMaybe on

I think the link you meant to post about Obama and Iran didn't show up. I'm curious, because Obama has directed cyberwarfare against Iran, supported the MEK and its assassinations of Iranian scientists, banged the drums, and imposed 'crippling' sanctions.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

Here is a link you may find interesting, it is a former Israeli Intelligence Service chief and his view of the dynamics at work, including his view on Obama and Romney's approaches.

I think based on this and other reading I have done, that war with Iran is almost certain under Romney.

Since the point has been raised here, I don't think (and neither does the individual in the article) that war with Iran is Obama's aim, and I believe (same as this person) that the current admin (evilcocksuckingnightmaresfromhell that they are) is pretty far along in negotiating a peaceful settlement.

That may, or may not depending on your viewpoint, "make them identical on the empire". I'm not expecting, or presenting it in order to change minds here.

Submitted by YesMaybe on

AFAIK, the main points are here:

Obama has placed emphasis on negotiations. In this current election for the US presidency, his hands are tied. He cannot proceed, because he cannot appear soft on Israel’s security.

Negotiating with Iran is perceived as a sign of beginning to forsake Israel. That is where I think the basic difference is between Romney and Obama. What Romney is doing is mortally destroying any chance of a resolution without war. Therefore when [he recently] said, he doesn’t think there should be a war with Iran, this does not ring true. It is not consistent with other things he has said. […]

Obama does think there is still room for negotiations. It’s a very courageous thing to say in this atmosphere.

In the end, this is what I think: Making foreign policy on Iran a serious issue in the US elections — what Romney has done, in itself — is a heavy blow to the ultimate interests of the United States and Israel.

It is not as if, if he wins the election, and gets into the White House, he can back up. The Iranians are listening attentively to what he says. When he says, he would arm the opposition in Iran. They understand.

It could just as well have been written by anyone on staff at The Nation (actually, I'm sure they've written similar things many times in as much as they discuss Iran at all). There's nothing there that would be news to anyone who's followed the subject. And we can weigh it against everything Obama has actually done and said.

For the record, I think either of them starting a war with Iran would be unlikely (a conventional war at least--let's not forget that Obama's cyber-attacks would already count as a war by the pentagon's own standards).

P.S. I think it's a little odd for you to get upset about others bringing up Obama for comparison in a discussion of what Romney would be like, considering the fact that you did so yourself in your first comment in the thread.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

I didn't know then, what I know now: that it was going to be impossible to have a conversation describing a Romney-verse; basically not allowed. That the concept implied a difference and no conversation which speculates on any important or even marginal difference would be tolerated. None. No difference at all.

If that is really the case, then ultimately why would anybody at all, any of us here, any of the people that I know in real life, give a single flying fuck about any of it? Even about third party politics? If indeed, there was no difference, then the logical conclusion is that barring revolution and a new system entirely, demolition of the state, nothing will change. That means fuck the Greens, fuck "third parties" and drop out of society entirely. That is actually the logically consistent approach that Arthur Silber has taken to his enormous credit and sacrifice, but has anybody else here taken it? No. It is also the anarchist approach, so then we should have a discussion on "work in the system, or out". If you really believe there is absolutely no difference, because the two major parties are basically THE party that runs THE government, then the only logical conclusion is to work toward smashing the state and anything else is just tiddly winks around the margins.

Who are the shallow-enders now?

I've read a lot on this topic (although why would I fucking bother with The Nation?), and I think you are wrong. I think that we are nearly assured of war with Iran under Romney, either through design or accident. Now since by current Correntewire law I must contrast that with Obama, I think it is a very low probability that "we"* would have a war with Iran.

This difference though is marginal and immaterial to most folks here, so I understand that. Just don't pretend otherwise.

*I use the term "we", since although "we" have no choice in the matter, and have no benefit from this horror, "we" will still suffer the consequences, and "we" will still be held accountable by "our" victims, and "we" will still pay for it with "our" taxes.

Submitted by YesMaybe on

I don't. But I've enough of it in the past to realize it's the democrats' equivalent of National Review. What I meant was that what that official was saying can't be considered evidence. It's no different in content or style than what ordinarily would be called 'spin,' except that it's coming from a former israeli official.

Anyway, if you've read a lot about it and concluded Romney would result in war with Iran and Obama won't, that's fine. I was just curious what the 'sufficient evidence' you referred to was.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

I think the source is an important exception.

Prosecutor: "That sounds like something the defendant would say".
Defense: "Yes, but it is an innocent, unrelated bystander who happened to be at the crime scene."

There is no indication this source is somehow an Obama operative, and instead is someone who doesn't want to go to war with Iran, so while he may have a vested interest, it is unrelated to the two parties. Just like an innocent bystander has a vested interest in not seeing an innocent person go to prison.

Submitted by YesMaybe on

And what I said is we can weigh what he said against Obama's track record. We can also look at the reality of what attacking Iran would entail (which is the real reason I think it's unlikely--not that Obama or Romney aren't hawkish enough, but that they know it'd be incredibly stupid).

Since we're on the topic of former israeli officials, I'm sure you're familiar with this:

Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan referred to the possibility a future Israeli Air Force attack on Iranian nuclear facilities as "the stupidest thing I have ever heard" during a conference held at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem on Friday.

And maybe you also saw this:

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2012/10/us-...

Still, YMMV.

coyotecreek's picture
Submitted by coyotecreek on

The use of drones and military incursions into all sorts of Middle Eastern countries will continue - just as they have with Obamney.

Oil-based/fracking growth in and through the United States will continue without opposition - just as it would under Obamney.

Social issues will be shoved down to the state level "to decide" - just as they are being done under Obamney. Roe v Wade will not be overturned - but it will be "left to the states to modify into non-existence" - just as with Obamney.

Charter/corporate schools will grow at a faster rate - just as they are currently growing under Obamney. Home schooling may increase as the religious right touts that route for Christian parents.

Austerity will be the order of the day with Obamney's Simpson-Bowles recommendations being approved by a non-partisian majority in Congress - just as is being currently planned by Obamney and his Blue Dog Democrats during the upcoming lame-duck Congressional session. As part of that plan and to stimulate "job creators" the top tax rate will drop to 20% and banksters will make out like the bandits they are.

Obamacare will be overturned and a new healthy insurance plan (not health CARE plan) that looks suspiciously like Obamney/Robama care will take its place.

A Robama Justice Department will prosecute whistleblowers but not banksters and defend Citizen's United, just as Eric Holder, Obamney's puppet, is already doing.

Drones will be the new growth market for U.S. production with the Military Industrial Complex enjoying the benefits of this incredible technology. The next Bin Laden will be a graduate of Drone U and will come of age based on his (it will be a him) hatred of the US because of the drones that Obamney has been dropping on his country these past four years.

The Occupy Movement will gain new recruits in the streets (although they may not call themselves "Occupiers") as Democrats begin protesting all of the Robama policies that Obamney implemented in these past 4 years.

And (it's not my original idea) the next market bubble will burst plunging We the People into the next stage of this Depression.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and always come back to the same thing: It really depends on how Congressional elections turn out, doesn't it?

With all Romney's position changes, who knows what he thinks or cares about? But the other day there was a discussion at one of the conservative sites about how the Rs could take the Senate. It seemed like a long shot, but if that happened, yikes!

otoh, if Mittster has to deal with the Ds, it looks like four more years of gridlock. And won't that be fun!

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

the poor. Food stamps, things like that will be cut back. Hunger and poverty will get worse. Grocery stores will close in poor neighborhoods, food stamps is keeping them alive. Even Walmart will suffer.

The police state pervasive surveillance that Bush and Obama has put in place will get much worse. Moreover, work place coercion will get much worse and right wing employers will get much more aggressive about pressuring their workers. It will be difficult for liberals to get and keep jobs.

net neutality will probably not survive.

crony capitalism will be the order of the day. it will be an open raid on the public square.

Submitted by lambert on

All these tendencies are in evidence now. I agree it matters whether they happen in 5 years or 10 years.

* * *

But every yang has a yin, and we shouldn't forget all the bright spots, like Occupy in all its various forms, the Walmart workers, a great wave of civic engagement around resource extraction, and sustainability work like permaculture.

These will accelerate too.

zot23's picture
Submitted by zot23 on

I think sooner or later we're going to end up in a crisis due to the path we're on. Think of WWII, did it matter if the actual war had started in 1939, 1941, or even 1943? If anything, let's the Nazis spend more time preparing before engagement might have spelled disaster (they were working on an A bomb too.)

Waiting to fight these fights in 2020 rather than say 2016 could spell disaster. It's coming, DC is not looking to change in the meantime, the longer we wait, the more the elites solidify their gains as the new norm. Why not get to it earlier? Imagine had we been willing to go to the mat as a people in 2008 when the bank bailouts were looming. There would have been recession and pain, but how would things stand today?

The yin is always buried in the yang and vice-versa.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

We enlightened beings at Corrente are for the most part actually incapable of just plainly describing our view of a "President Romney" without a comparison to what Obama would do, or what Obama has done. That it helps rationalize being whitewashing the difference (i.e. not giving a shit it), is a feature, not a bug.

On the rest of planet earth, the rubes weigh their view of what one would be like, then compare it with their view of what the other would be like and make their choice or non-choice accordingly. We don't need to speak to that because it's dumb and they don't know their own best interests.

That said, I think it is really refreshing to hear the "bring it on" argument in regards to "Maybe it's best they make our lives as horrible as possible as soon as possible so people will rise up and "do something"". Accelerate the horrors! The only logical flaw in that line of thinking is that things have been getting just more and more awful and horrible for an awfully long and horrible time, decades even. Do we know where lies the bottom of the pit of awful? How deep is the ocean of horror? I think that is a hypothesis that lacks historical perspective. Just because something starts early, doesn't mean it ends early, or even ends at all. But at least it doesn't avoid the question regarding what the "President Romney" era will look like, so while flawed, it is honest.

This isn't even a "vote for Obama" argument. I don't think I will, though there is a possibility. However, that may or may not have something to do with whether I have a clear understanding what "President Romney" means. I'll make up my own mind on Obama, is it too much to ask to just focus on Romney? I made my decision last time based on what I thought a President McCain would be, based on what President Obama would be, because at that time, both were unknowns, so it was far to compare the two. At this point I don't believe that is fair, I think it is pretty weak actually, because in our desire to keep burning the flame of Obama (and some cases Clinton) hate, we have completely ignored Romney except as a foil. Don't insult my intelligence by explaining to me, for the millionth time, how exactly the same they are (Robama/Obamney).

Submitted by lambert on

... to loose your hold to snatch at safety.

That is, what if I'm hanging off a cliff holding onto the branch of a little tree with both hands -- and the tree is gradually pulling out of the cliff because of my weight. What I have to do is let go of the tree with one hand to grab for the top of the cliff, then get the other hand on top of the cliff, and then I can pull myself up.... Or I can keep holding onto the tree and tell myself it won't come loose. So that's what a vote for an emergent party is: Letting go of the failing branch and grabbing for the top of the cliff.

I am not persuaded that Romney will be a net loss over Obama, and certainly not for anybody I know; look at the Grand Bargain and perpetual war on terror stuff today.

I'm also not persuaded that Obama's progressive supporters will do one single thing to protect me or those like me if Obama is re-elected. There's nothing wrong with voting one's interests, but I'd feel much more confident that they were well-disposed to the rest of us if they weren't quite so willing to throw poor and brown people under the bus. As a by-product of attacking the Republicans, they might benefit me if they went to battle with a Romeny Presidency.

I don't really want to play 11-dimensional chess; it's a mugs game. But I have enough t be fearful of in reality without Obama fans making it all worse.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

Or maybe not so fun.

One of these assholes is going to be president for the next four years. I think it is worth discussing reality.

This isn't meant to be a "you have to vote for one of these evil fuckers" post. It is perfectly fine to make a moral choice to not vote for either one and dissuading people is not the point of what I'm asking. It is merely meant to cogitate on what the next four years will hold if Romney wins. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

I think those who for some reason can't bear to say anything specifically bad about a President Romney can instead slap a big old happy face and talk only of the specific good that will happen. For example, the further demolition of the corporate Dem party. But girl, please no more of this "they're exactly the same!"nonsense. It insults the intelligence.

Submitted by lambert on

In general, my position is this:

I did not, in fact, claim (and do not claim) that “both sides are as bad as each other” or "the same"; I’m sure there will always be differences, even if vanishingly small, between the two. What I do claim is that both legacy parties form a single system, and that their duopoly needs to be broken up if there’s to be any hope of policy created with the public good in mind. Parties that cannot display adaptability and are unequal to the demands of their time will die, as is right, much as the Whig Party did before the Civil War.

In the foreign policy debate, so far as I could tell, they really did raise the "identity of indiscernibles".

Did I somewhere say they were "exactly the same"? Did I say it on this thread?

Fact is, I worry very little about either administration in the future. I try to worry more about concrete things we can do, and systems that contain both parties.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

I'm not singling you out, actually that comment was not directed at you really but given your point it was an observation about the response I'm getting on this thread. Very little discussion of what will happen under President Romney, do you not agree? It's all about Obama really and it's weirdly pathological. Although I still can't seem to find your own description of what President Romney's term will usher. Which is interesting, or not.

Here is one more I have to offer. I think that the next Republican effort will be a full out assault on unionism, starting with major efforts to deunionize federal government and other public employees unions as not being "in the people's best interest". If I was a Republican, that is what I would do. Try to break the back of the last stronghold of Democratic power and money while they are weak and scattered. This would, I think, be a very successful plan on their part, and (now I'm going to break my own rule) not an effort that would happen without a Republican president.

Bottom line though, I guess this is just really rude on my part to actually tend to a little reflection on Republicans, since the focus must always be on how terrible Obama, "neoliberals" (whatever those are), "progressives", and Democrats are. They are the evil, while Republicans are "those who shall not be named on Correntewire" except as a mirror held up to describe Democrats. Alternately they are "1% maybemoreorless evil".

It's like you ask one simple fucking question and the electroshock therapy comes out zzzt zzzt zzzttt DemocratsandRepublicansarepartofthesamecorruptsystem zzztt zzzzztttt zzzztt Notalicksworthofdifference zzztttt zzzztttt zzttt MOTUdecideourfate zzzttt zzztt neoliberalsandconservitivesarejust2sidesofthesamecoinownedbyourcorruptoverlordoligarchy zzzttt zztttt programmingcompletenow zzzzttttt.....

Submitted by lambert on

In this case, there's a comment below on the "real" differences or not.

I write on questions that interest me. Laying out "What will happen under Romney" doesn't strike me as an interesting question, so I've never invested time in it. I also think -- which I have thought for a long time -- that the election is in the bag for Obama, and has been for a long while. He's never trailed in the electoral college, he's leading in the swing states, and he has yet to pull a real October surprise.

1. The great macro trends, which I would put under the heading of "the market state," will continue regardless of which candidate is elected.

2. The destruction of the public commons will continue, ditto.

Summing up, as the other comment does, your demand amounts to a demand to predict which programs get passed under a Romney administration that wouldn't get passed under an Obama administration. That's like a demand to predict the weather. Who can tell? Suppose the Democrats in the Senate suddenly decide to oppose everything Romney does, including Supreme Court nominations? Suppose they abolish the filibuster and start passing progressive leglslation (which the House will then kill, making it all kabuki, but more and better Democrats in 2014!!). Or suppose they keep on as they are? It's not knowable. I'm not going to waste time on it.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

FYI, your facts are wrong.

Let me get this straight: the future is an uninteresting question not worth your investment, and is homework I'm assigning you.

Wow.

That's just snark, right? You seriously have no knowledge or interest in what a Republican congress and President Romney will do? That is asking you and others to predict the weather?

It's your blog, but.... Really?

Submitted by lambert on

.... are going unaddressed by major parties (prominent among them climate change).

Or that the major issues that are addressed -- cutting social insurance, war, torture, drones, charters and privatization -- the major parties are in agreement.

Or that everything else is chaff thrown out to attract the smallest constituencies possible.

I'm a lot more interested in what people like me are doing out on the ground. That is the "future" I am interested in. That's why I invest a tremendous amount of time in Occupy, fracking, and civic engagement generally at the state and local level, because I think the drivers of any change will come from there, and not the major parties, no matter which candidate is elected.

Those are the things/actions that matter to me (politically). I don't see that a change in administration is going to make a great deal of difference to any of those things. And if it does, we'll deal with it. (For example, when the Obama administration coordinated the eviction of Occupiers from physical space, it did so through local mayors. Democrats, most of them, except for Bloomberg. Suppose Romney wins. Will the Democratic mayors "see the light" and not suck up to DHS? Who knows? Is it predictable? Does it matter?

You are expressing, in my reading, a tremendous amount of anger and frustration that I and others are not performing the task of predicting what the Romney administration will do. I do not understand (a) why you think this task would do anything other than take time away from more useful efforts, (b) why you even think this task can be done, or (c) the emotional weight this (in my mind, non-)issue carries for you.

Sign me, Genuinely Baffled.

UPDATE Adding, I wrote, and was careful to write:

He's never trailed in the electoral college, he's leading in the swing states, and he has yet to pull a real October surprise

It's the electoral college that matters, not national polls. I'm not "wrong in my facts" (assuming polling data to be facts). I'm surprised I have to explain this.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

the anti-war movement picked up steam. I expect the same thing as people like Booman suddenly discover that drones kill civilians. Demonstrations will get bigger and police suppression of the same will get worse.

Submitted by lambert on

... income inequality will decrease. "Only Nixon can go to China."

Speculating wildly: The Democrats split.

1. Hippie punching approaches unheard of levels.

2. After The Grand Bargain, the unions leave.

3. For the midterms, Romney does AUMF II for Libya/Syria/Bahrain/Lebanon/Whatever. Democratic leadership whips for it. More leave.

What "the place" is that "they go" I don't know, but if there's a demand, it will be created.

Meanwhile, the same thing happens on the right over executive power issues.

Submitted by Hugh on

We keep saying that there is no difference between the two parties, but old habits die hard and so we keep acting as if there are. We're screwed if Romney gets elected and we're screwed if Obama gets re-elected. The only "difference" between the two parties is in the atmospherics, whose purpose is to provide kabuki political theater sufficient to distract the rubes.

I have used the analogy before, but the Democrats and Republicans are like football teams wearing blue and red jerseys. There's lots of trash talking and hard hitting, but it's not like one team is anti-football the other pro-football. In the end, it's all football.

And that's what we have to understand now. Romney is Obama, and Obama is Romney. The Democrats are the Republicans, and the Republicans are the Democrats. No matter which of these is in power, it is still the same game. This is the choice they give you: whether you want kleptocracy this year by Democrat or Republican, do you prefer to be looted listening to Democratic or Republican rhetoric? That's it.

I think it is very hard to unlearn the lessons of decades, but we need to come finally and fully to the realization that the Democrats and the Republicans are our enemies, the enemies of all ordinary Americans, and more than that, they are the same enemy.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

Mind-numbingly wrong.

Equally bad overall is not the same as identical in nature. Some will be screwed more, and some will be screwed less depending on which of these two assholes is elected. It is intellectual laziness to imperiously declare them the same. Condescending nonsense of the same sort that has been thrown out for over a decade that, for example, Al Gore and George W. Bush were exactly the same. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi dead would disagree, if they were alive. And no, Al Gore wouldn't have invaded Iraq, he tried to persuade people against the AUMF before the vote took place.

I'm not saying there is as big a difference between these current two clowns as in 2000, but there is a difference. If you aren't interested in describing a President Romney future (because it might hurt your other arguments in some way?), feel free to not post anything rather than this tired, old, inaccurate saw.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

believe will suffer the most, under both these guys?"

(I can address that in regards to a couple of domestic issues and programs. But I honestly don't have the knowledge to address the differences in say, foreign policy.)

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

I think it is a fairly simple, straightforward question. We already know basically what the next four years of President Obama will be. What will a President Romney life be? It is actually possible to describe that without saying "Exactly the same as Obama", because that isn't true.

Again, regardless (AGAIN REGARDLESS) of what will happen if Obama is in office, what will happen the next four years if Romney is elected?

I made a partial list above of what I think will happen. I would add that I think there will be added momentum to the statewide constitutional amendment push outlawing gay marriage, Romney is a huge fan of the right's positions on the culture wars which I think stands in contrast to Obama and even to McCain. There might even be national legislation on marriage passed which Romney will sign. I also think a national voter ID law will get passed and signed. I think we will have a war with Iran and I'm concerned about his rhetoric regarding Russia and North Korea.

Also yes, the drone strikes will continue on at least the same pace as currently, and also also yes, Gitmo will stay open. That link was a riff on this post.

I think my Obama-hating credentials have been pretty thoroughly earned and I don't really need to be schooled (at this hour) on how he is bad. I (like Uncle Andre Trochard) "know already".

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

declared his intention to strike a 'Grand Bargain' (which is based on Bowles-Simpson's The Moment of Truth proposal), I'll speculate that seniors (those age 55 and older) will make out better in regard to their Socia Security benefits (the winners vs losers which you referred to earlier) under a Romney Administration.

I base this upon my knowledge of the proposals put forth by Bowles-Simpson and the Gang of Six (Eight?).

The Republicans in general endorse the pre-Bowles-Simpson plan that allows those near retirement (age 55 and older) to keep the Social Security benefits already promised them, and have citizens age 54 and younger participate in a "reformed" Social Security system, that will have "personal savings accounts" in addition to a basic, monthly Social Security benefit.

In reality, the issue of "privatization" is pretty much a "wash." Republicans (who aren't fearful of their base on this issue) are addressing privatization, openly.

And Democrats are using the "Mexican Model," which is "incremental privatization" almost identical to Bowles-Simpson, adding the personal savings accounts AFTER reducing benefits drastically.

[Simply put, Democrats are simply marketing the product--personal retirement accounts--differently, hoping that their base, and most citizens, won't associate Senator Tom Harkin's proposed retirement accounts with the slashing of Social Security benefits.]

I must expound a bit on the Democrats' plan below, since its existence is not known to many folks. (If I didn't listen to C-Span almost around the clock, I wouldn't have known about it.) I will provide a link to it, so that you'll know that I'm not making it up.

Senator Harkin has been holding hearings (you can Google them on C-Span for years) on "USA Retirement Accounts."

Here's the link to the PDF version of Harkin's plan.

Here's a brief excerpt from Harkin's new proposal: USA Retirement Funds are innovative, privately-run, hybrid pension plans that incorporate many of the benefits of traditional pensions while substantially reducing the burden on employers. Under this proposal, there would be universal access to USA Retirement Funds through the existing payroll withholding systems for those that do not already have access to a retirement plan, and anyone participating would have the opportunity to earn a cost-effective and portable source of retirement income.

USA Retirement Funds would have professional asset management and give people an easy way to pool their risk with other active employees and retirees. Importantly, USA Retirement Funds would also allow employers to offer a secure retirement benefit without taking on management responsibility or financial risk. That is especially important for small businesses, which often do not have the resources to manage a retirement plan.

(The emphasis with italics, is mine.)

I'm in a push for time, so can't search for link to Harkin's C-Span HELP Committee meetings. But here's a link to the Committee website. It may have a link to the hearings (or not).

I'll leave it to the rest of you guys to "hash out" the other potential Romney Administration policies.

[BTW, I have no idea why the indentation is so sc***ed up!] I apologize.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

Again. A flaming tower of fail.

Can't get through even the fucking title without reference to Obama. And now "the seniors" will "win" under Romney. Well that's a happy joy joy. Plus, your entire evidence is what Tom Harkin (a Dem) is selling on personal retirement accounts. So again, it's all about the Dems.

Unbelievable.

I give up.

In the spirit of the season, "I see dead people, they don't even know they're dead."

I think I may have to join CD, VL, and quite a few others and take a break from Corrente for a while. It's like a giant Obama-hate echo chamber here, a barren, dark place where no seed of other kind may find purchase.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

I usually deal in fact, not speculation. Therefore, I am accustomed to providing links to back up my assertions. I intentionally did not put up the White Papers, newspaper or magazine pieces that backup the detail of the two parties' Social Security proposals/plans, so as to not aggravate. IOW, I purposely didn't provide more links because of your insistence that we not 'talk about the Democrats.' That, coupled with the fact that the major factoid regarding the Republican proposal--that the R's plan excludes seniors age 55 and older, I thought was fairly well-known and understood.

My exact words were: "I'll speculate that seniors (those age 55 and older)will make out better in regard to their Social Security benefits (the winners vs losers which you referred to earlier) under a Romney Administration."

Emphasis on "in regard to their Social Security benefits." Period. It was not intended as a blanket statement that "everything would be better for seniors" under a Romney/Ryan administration. Let me clarify that, now.

I apologize if I failed to make this plain.

Here's the link to the Bowles-Simpson "Chairmen's Mark" Deficit Reduction Plan, entitled "The Moment of Truth (PDF)." I hope that anyone who's not read this proposal, will take a few minutes to do so. It's in plain English, and is only 66 pages in length. (Don't expect anyone to take my word for anything.)

You will see that the Bowles-Simpson plan does not make exclusions for seniors ages 55 and older. Indeed, most of their proposals either start immediately, or within several years. (I hope to post a blog on the details of Social Security reform by next week.)

You say, "Plus, your entire evidence is what Tom Harkin (a Dem) is selling on personal retirement accounts."

I provided the link to Senator Harkin's July 2012 USA Retirement Accounts Plan because Democrats never say that they won't cut Social Security benefits, they say that they won't privatize it. These accounts are virtually the same as President Bush's (and Clinton's) proposed "personal savings accounts."

What points did you want me to clarify, for you and other bloggers? I will gladly provide to you (and/or any other readers) links to white papers, proposals, summaries, newspaper and or magazine articles regarding these topics, if anyone needs them. I do literally have thousands of bookmarks.

With all due respect, I agree with YesMaybe that, "I think it's a little odd for you to get upset about others bringing up Obama for comparison in a discussion of what Romney would be like, considering the fact that you did so yourself in your first comment in the thread."

The truth is, it is simply more difficult to explain or comment on policy, if one cannot give (or quote) additional information "for context."

I do thank you for blogging on this topic. We all need to understand the issues, in order to make an informed decision when we cast our votes.

Speaking for myself, I'm not hate-driven, I'm fact-driven. Due to my and Mr. Alexa's professions, we have studied this Administration's social (me) and economic (him) policies for almost four years. That's the reason that I discuss them. Which is not the same as saying that my opinion, or interpretation, is the only or correct one. Some policies are not "cut and dried," and therefore are open to interpretation, to some extent. And I'd be among the first to acknowledge that.

I personally have absolutely no interest in trivia regarding the candidates' personalities, their families, and to some extent, their personal beliefs. I am totally policy-driven. The rest is a distraction, IMO.

I have yet to study Romney's policy proposals, in depth. (But I have read Ryan's "Roadmap.") Romney claims to endorse the same Social Security reform plan that Ryan spells out in the "Roadmap." If Romney is elected, you can bet that I will "cut him no slack" on policy discussions, either.

Submitted by lambert on

That's true and well put.

I agree more will be shoved down to the state level. For (the people of) some states, that might be good.

Perhaps the ways in which people will be screwed will be more various, instead of more homogenous?

NOTE Adding, I think the war and police state stuff is wash.

Submitted by Hugh on

You are wedded to the notion that there are real differences between Democrats and Republicans and between Romney and Obama. Your mind is closed to any other view. I look at this from the 40 year perspective of the ongoing construction of kleptocracy. I also look at this, not in great man (Obama vs. Romney) but in class terms. My choice of these perspectives does not reflect any ideological axe I have to grind. I have had no previous history with either. I have adopted them because they provide the clearest and most consistent explanation for the events of the last 40 years and why real workable solutions to current problems and crises are not even allowed on the table.

You think that Gore would have been better than Bush. You use Iraq as your metric. But we don't know how Gore would have reacted to 9/11. Remember he did choose the unctiously repellent neocon Joseph Lieberman as his VP. On the other hand, income and wealth inequality accelerated faster under Clinton than under Bush. That runs counter to your idea Gore would have been better than Bush.

Apparently, it really matters to you which road to hell is taken. Me, I think you are missing the point. Romney will be even more pro-business than Obama, especially in terms of deregulation. He will push for bigger tax cuts for the rich. Social issues, like abortion, will generate more heat, but then remember Obama's restrictions on it in the ACA. And the middle class will continue to be impoverished. If the crash occurs under Romney, he will handle it mostly by not handling it. Romney is a bigger suck up to Israel than even Obama, but the Pentagon and Wall Street probably will push against war with Iran because they see its downsides. Romney will support the war on terror and the surveillance state but not as hard or as personally as Obama. He's a businessman, a delegator, not a commander wannabe.

But as was said above, while there are some differences in emphasis between Obama and Romney. There are few or no areas where they actually disagree. And if you look at this as a class process, it comes down to who will be the public face for the next 4 years of the kleptocrats and their servant elites. We will still be looted, forced deeper into debt, and see our rights further trashed.

Until you can see that for us in the 99% that there is no real difference between Romney and Obama, you will continue to chase chimeras. Seriously, why should any of us care who the new captain of the Titanic is?

Submitted by lambert on

Necessarily so, since the two parties are supported by different factions, and therefore there will necessarily be different policy outcomes.

But these are marginal differences. I no longer believe that the margin is significant enough to affect my vote.

It's a difference in scale and perspective.

From the historians perspective (making assumptions) 100 years on? No difference. Nobody reminds why the Guelphs and the Ghibellines were killing each other, or the Hatfields and the McCoys, for that matter.

From the analyst's perspective, vanishingly ("Democrats use lube").

From a policy/program perspective, very little. It is Obama's peculiar genius to buy the electorate with the most minimally targeted programs possible, while simultaneously degrading the public good. I mean, winning the electoral college by bailing out the auto industry in MI and OH while simultaneously winning a mandate to cut Social Security and Medicare really is genius.

So I see the difference in who gets elected is whatever bones get thrown to the factions that support each legacy party. I really don't like the R views on the culture wars. But both parties hate me and those like me, want me and those like me to die earlier, would prefer I left the country. And I plan to live a good long time if only to spite them. So from where I stand, the marginal differences are not great enough to worry about.

So that's my answer to "What the country will look like after Romney." From my perspective, it will llook much the same.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

"It is Obama's peculiar genius to buy the electorate with the most minimally targeted programs possible, while simultaneously degrading the public good. I mean, winning the electoral college by bailing out the auto industry in MI and OH while simultaneously winning a mandate to cut Social Security and Medicare really is genius," is absolutely spot on.

And this would not be possible if "the American People" had any idea that this was the case.

Speaking for myself, I came very late to realizing that it is my responsibility to get all the information that I am privy to, "out." The only way that we can rid this country of the prevailing pernicious policies (one of which is stated above) is to get the word out everyday--over and over and over again.

Do any of us really believe that more than a handful of folks would vote for any politician who has implemented (or is going to, in the case of austerity measures) the policies of this Administration (or the likely Romney Administration's policies). Somehow I doubt it. The propaganda machine in this country is formidable, but there's got to be a way to break through it.

[I realize as I say this, that my words are probably "laughable" to many of you longtime bloggers. And rightfully, I guess you can say to me, "where the h*ll have you been?" LOL!]

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

Even extremely small differences or events are not always insignificant (see Bush vs. Gore, see WWI, start of, read Ubiquity, Why Catastrophes Happen).

People are under the deeply mistaken impression that small differences have no effect. However, in complex, critical systems, small differences are actually what have enormous, unpredictable effect, and this is true for every system from potato harvests to piles of sand to political systems.

Submitted by lambert on

In fact, weather systems are a classic example of exactly what I'm talk about.

But you seem to be demanding that I or others predict, in advance, exactly which small differences between Obama's factions and Romney's factions are going to have massive outcomes. And that is not possible.

I mean, a butterfly's wings flap, and Romney turns into Benjamin Disraeli and puts through genuine reforms as only a conservative can.

Or a different butterfly's wings flap, and Obama decides that technology transfer from Afghan drone strikes to domestic police operations is a really bad idea, and disbands the unit.

Or the butterfly's wings flap and nothing happens.

If we were talking Lincoln 1860, I wouldn't be making this point. In that election, the differences were more than marginal, even from the historical perspective. But we aren't.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

Your analogy below was appropriate, and I addressed it by saying that a prudent person would note the differences between a cold, dry winter, and a warm, snowy one. They wouldn't say, well, don't talk to me about warm, wet winters, because winter is winter and what about the cold, dry winters we been having, they're bad!

Basically you and for the most part everyone else has been giving that last analagous statement when asked to ruminate on a Romney presidency. Don't talk about that because it's just as bad as an Obama one!

You could call it the "Winter is winter" argument, short and pithy, like "I got mine".

Submitted by lambert on

... for this election is as significant as the difference between cold and dry and warm and wet.

It's more like "Will the blizzard hit upstate New York in December," or "Will there be a big rainstorm in Maine in February instead of snow"?

At my level, all I can do is hunker down, hope that I've got enough money for fuel no matter what happens, and hope for the best.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

Well, I didn't start out frustrated, but reading the responses, where all anybody wanted to talk about was how bad Obama was, and how they are "exactly the same" got me there. In fact, if this was somehow meant to "open my eyes" to some great revelation, it really had the opposite effect. Where the further along we went in this process, the more it was lost on me. And that is very frustrating to me, because I hate Obama with a white hot passion, and you all are not making it very easy for me with this weak-ass shit.

If the standpoint that both are equally bad is strong, it should be able to withstand describing the differences or characteristics of each side independently. That isn't only intuitive, it's rhetoric 101 as you may put it. If your strongest argument is that you don't know the difference, and since you can't do anything about it anyway, you don't want to know the difference, and therefore, they are the same to you with the overall difference described as "negligible", I would say that is a remarkable and disturbing admission.

What you are giving here is more "Winter is winter".

So being a person who lives in the real world, and where real world events have real repercussions on myself, my family, my friends and neighbors and employees, I have a vested interest (I know, "I got mine" :roll-eyes:), so I would like to have some information on the lay of the land as it were and how it will pertain to me, my family, etc., etc.. Unlike the many here who are apparently blissfully (or not, but basically) unaffected by these events, I would like to get a feeling for what they may be, so I may react accordingly. How gauche of me!

There is in fact (as I grant you've pointed out) direct evidence to contradict your assertion that there is no difference, it's called "the election".

Now as it happens, and this is just my opinion mind you, but based on new information I have, the bargain on renewable energy might just be off after all if Romney is elected. No big deal to you and others apparently, a big deal to me, since I believe it is vital to putting off global climate change*. Would that also affect my business, the people I employ? Maybe, maybe not, hard saying not knowing, but I would like to plan for it, and that is what I'm doing.

I also am separately of the opinion, based on who Romney is surrounded with, and based on what I read, and based on what Obama has been saying and doing and who is surrounding him, that there is a very high likelihood that Romney will attack Iran militarily, while Obama doesn't appear so inclined. Now, that may be offset by some other Obama horror, true, but it is something that I believe, though I may be alone on this (but actually not). If this doesn't matter to you, or you don't think it will happen, or that Obama "woulda done it anyway" or whatever else the Naderites said in 2002, then that's fine, hold up your hands and shake your head, not your problem, couldn'ta done nothin' no how.

*Note I say, "put off". This is another thing that you may not be able to stop, but will be a reality anyway, might want to do homework investigating and making a plan. I am.

Submitted by lambert on

On Iran, check out the recent Guardian story. I honestly think the wars are a wash.

Two:

The closest I can come on wind -- and please don't bet on it, I haven't done due diligence -- my precedent would be the snippet I posted today on Iowa farm programs for sustainable agriculture in campaign countdown: It's exactly the kind of minimalist sliver-buying-off the Obama does (though of course it's not minimal to the farmers).

So if you're not hearing that talking point from Obama advocates in your area (not the web site, but actual individuals) I would question whether it's on. Because if you were going to hear it, you would already have heard it (assuming swing states are affected by it). They would have micro-targeted you and found you.

Counter-argument would be "all of the above," but given the push on fracking and oil I'd have to question whether that's genuine.

So as a reasonably seasoned observer, that's what I would look at, if I were you. Reason backward from what their behavior would be if they wanted your vote.

* * *

And god damn the fucking Democrats for putting us all in this "crabs in a bucket" position.

And we will know in a week.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

Since I and my clients are in the industry, I don't have to do kremlinology through snippets in the papers. If Romney is elected, the production tax credit deal and the push against oil tax subsidies in the energy bill is dead for this year at a minimum. The bill may still get passed, but it will be the Republican version. The opposite is true if Obama is elected. The deal had been made back when Obama looked like a sure thing. The brakes were put back on in the last 10 days.

Marginal differences.

Submitted by lambert on

and I spaced on it. I will be happy when the site launch is done and I am only pulled three or four ways instead of ten. Now I understand your distress. My glasses are not the only thing I can't find.

Things shouldn't happen that way. But when we are all at the margin, they do.

What is so reprehensible is that they shove us all to the margin and then try to kick some of us over. And then they pull some people back.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

Just like we did this year, when due to the lack of the production tax credits being extended after 2012 (so work on new projects abruptly ended) wind went from 90% of what we do to about 5%.

Thing is, I'm actually a scientist, and I keep up on the global climate change topic and I'm extremely concerned about it not only on a financial basis. I've been an environmentalist since I was a child.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

Not mine, yours. I can look at them and see two different roads to two different hells. You, apparently, have an ideological fixation on reductio ad absurdum, they are both hellish, therefore they are both the same. Although you then go on to state some differences, so intellectual consistency much?

In your closed mind view, anyone who seeks to describe one, without describing the other, is somehow an advocate for one side or the other. Differentiation somehow showing there is a choice, and maybe that is what rubs you most raw, that someone may find some difference to then cause a binary choice.

I don't have to "prove" my street cred to you (although here I am doing it again), I didn't vote for Obama in 2008, and long have we documented his atrocities here. Heaven fucking forbid we even discuss Romney's atrocities.

Submitted by Hugh on

You are tied to a two party paradigm that died 20 years ago and still trying to find sense in what is kabuki. That is a wall many of us have batted our heads against. But it isn't intellectually productive. The key is not in how Romney and Obama differ but in how they are the same.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

Or maybe I'm "sheeple"?*

I always loved that one. What is really double-down wonderful is you are basically using that formula now, not only on "low information" voters on the right which the Obots used, but everybody, everybody on all or any end of the political spectrum that doesn't believe as you do that there is absolutely no difference whatsoever here. So I should "unchain my belief system from an illusury binary political straightjacket"? Because it is my (and indeed so many of our) lack of ability to grasp that nettle which is holding me, and all of the rest of the planet back. Like the minutemen said: the roar of the masses could be farts.

How very fucking condescending.

It must be a frustratingly small world to live in though, where 95% of the drooling throng just don't understand what you, through sheer force of intellectual prowess and years of beard-twisting, are able to understand. Not even just "understand" really, it sounds more spiritual than that. Revealed knowledge? That like there is no ball, there is no difference there. It's a zen koan, complete with head-banging, and you have achieved enlightenment.

Meanwhile, I imagine it must grate, all of us unascended sheeple mewling about, unaware that differences we think we see, be they ever so small, are really not differences at all when looked at from that extra-dimension. The refracted x-rays through our political crystal are no mystery to you. You understand its true nature.

I'm happy for you, but also sad, it must be lonely to always be the smartest one in the room. Clowns to the left of you, jokers to the right, stuck in the middle with Hugh.

You should explain it to them. Get up there somewhere and really explain how blind and stupid they are. I'm sure they will agree, the 99% you say you care about. As dumb as they are, they shouldn't suffer like the rest of the dumb animals. They have opposable thumbs after all.

* Oh, don't forget "running dog lackey of the capitalist establishment paradigm".

Submitted by Hugh on

why did you write this post? Was it just an excuse to go ballistic on us all? It rather seems that way. You have come against the limitations of a failed analysis, that differences between the two parties are real. But rather than casting it aside and looking for something that works, you seem intent on blaming us for not re-inforcing your beliefs in it. You have erected a whole army of strawmen as if that was supposed to prove something. But if the last 4 years have shown us anything, it is again that there is no real difference between Democrats and Republicans. It is like being captured by a tribe of cannibals. Am I supposed to have an opinion if some of them, the Republicans say, want to roast us over a fire while others, the Democrats, want to boil us in a stew? Let us see where we are in a few years and perhaps we can revisit this discussion then.

Submitted by lambert on

IMNSHO it's exactly what I said over and over in the primary wars:

Marginal is not insignificant.

In particular, the marginal difference is significant if it bites you in the ass!

So, what's "real"? What bites me in the ass. Of course, from another perspective, the "net ass biting" could be zero or even more probably a negative number.

What Obama is doing is giving "concrete material benefits" to crabs in a bucket...

Adding, with a net negative ass-biting with a few positives: Just enough to carry the electoral college.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

And thank you.

Obama vs. Romney 2012
Obama vs Romney 2012, DonkeyHotey's
Photostream, Flickr

If these two characters are the only two "viable" candidates, I contend that we don't really have a choice.

Submitted by lambert on

And therefore I would really, really like to know what the weather is going to be, over six months or so.

So I consult the Farmer's Almanac, ask farmers what they think, ask my friends about wooly caterpillars, and so on.

And of course, nobody can really predict the weather. (At least nobody accessible to me; for all I know, there is a very pricey weather predictor somewhere available to "speculators").

Now, we see what's happening to the climate, and that is reasonably predictable, as far as broad trends go.

So, in the analogy: The on-going creation of the market state is the climate. (On the topic, both parties believe in it and are making it happen.)

And in the analogy: Program and policy outcomes are like something between predicting the weather six months out and predicting the weather a week out. Not a useful exercise, and certainly not worth wasting time on.

So, to "zzzz!" and "pscyhopathic" and all the other adjectives: Why the yelling for not, like, making my own spreadsheet to predict the weather? It would certainly be in my interest to do so, because I'd save on fuel. But it makes sense to invest time in things that I can do, instead of things that I can't. It also makes sense to invest time in things that will be useful no matter what the weather is.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

So my analogy in response is that you would plan accordingly if you knew it was going to be a wet, snowy winter (invest in snowblower, or lock in a flat monthly rate for snow removal), or a bitter cold, snowless winter (invest in insulation, don't spend money on monthly flat snow removal), and that you would be wise to investigate so you have options open with a plan for each.

NOAA has long range weather forecasts on their site for this purpose and they are improving dramatically every year.

Submitted by lambert on

Just a metaphor!

If there's a prediction model for political outcomes -- not just "campaign science" but actual policy outcomes -- that works like NOAA, I'd be very interested to find out where it is and who wrote it and how. And what the paramaters and the governing assumptions are. But I'm not a Second Foundationer, eh?

Personally, I think the thing to do is to overturn the existing models entirely, which, again, is why I invest time in Occupy, fracking, civic engagement, etc.

Steve Jobs was an asshole, but on "the best way to predict the future is to invent it," I think he got it right.

At some point in the near future, when site relaunch is under control, I'll take a serious look at the ongoing change in the Constitutional order to "the market state" because I think that in fact the two parties advocate different flavors of it (Romney's more backward-looking, as befits his asset-stripping history, Obama's more "forward" looking, as befits his data-driven, "nudge theory" style of campaigning and governance. Both will be equally vicious and reprehensible, although in different ways. But this isn't prediction, unless "know your enemy" be prediction. And it won't help with policy outcomes or programs at all.)