There are plenty of posts out there today -- and many more to be published before the election is over -- that spell out what life under a President Romney would be like. Juan Cole has such a post up now and it's worth a read. But Romney's been so inconsistent in his pitch that it really is impossible to predict exactly how he'll govern. I think he will be a plutocrat who believes that 47% of America is beneath his notice, mostly because his history -- both in the private and public sector -- is one of exactly that. But he's such a flip-flopper and a liar that you can't say with any certainty how he'll govern. And it may be that how he governs would be less consequential than how he got elected.
See, if we really want to know what the consequence is of electing Mitt Romney, we can look at his closing argument. In it, he reveals not so much about himself as of his party -- and it's damningly familiar. In his closing argument last Friday, Mitt Romney took the American people hostage.
[Talking Points Memo:]
In what his campaign billed as his “closing argument,” Mitt Romney warned Americans that a second term for President Obama would have apocalyptic consequences for the economy in part because his own party would force a debt ceiling disaster.
“Unless we change course, we may well be looking at another recession,” Romney told a crowd in West Allis, Wisconsin.
Romney said that Obama “promised to be a post-partisan president, but he became the most partisan” and that his bitter relations with the House GOP could threaten the economy. As his chief example, he pointed to a crisis created entirely by his own party’s choice — Republican lawmakers’ ongoing threat to reject a debt ceiling increase. Economists warn that a failure to pass such a measure would have immediate and catastrophic consequences for the recovery.
“You know that if the President is re-elected, he will still be unable to work with the people in Congress,” Romney said. “He has ignored them, attacked them, blamed them. The debt ceiling will come up again, and shutdown and default will be threatened, chilling the economy.”
The message is simple: elect Mitt Romney or his party will bring down the United States. What a freakin' patriot, huh?
And this is exactly why we shouldn't elect Romney. Imagine what politics will be like in the future if this sort of hostage-taking is considered a successful strategy. And it gets worse.
During Barack Obama's first term, Republicans have engaged in an unprecedented campaign of obstructionism. The filibuster has been abused to the point that absolutely nothing gets done in Washington. The strategy here is as cynical as it is un-American; bring progress to a halt, let the problems America should be solving fester and get worse, then blame Democrats and the president for the mess Republicans have created.
Imagine what happens if we reward that. Republicans will do this every time. They've made it eminently clear that they don't care about the nation -- if they did, they wouldn't filibuster things like the National Bombing Prevention Act or the Veterans Jobs Corps Act. If their strategy is successful, then every time there's a Democratic president or a Democratic majority, Republicans will shut down Washington until election day.
Finally, Mitt Romney has been the most dishonest candidate since Richard Nixon. Positively eager to tell you exactly what polling says you want to hear, Romney changes his own positions as often as his socks -- while engaging in the worst smears this side of Rick Santorum. And the GOP base is even worse. Imagine what happens when birtherism is seen as a political success story, when smearing the president as a communist and a terrorist sympathizer becomes the norm. Don't like politics now? I can guarantee that electing Mitt Romney will make it worse. If we reward all this, we normalize it.
Mitt Romney's closing argument should damn him. It's not even an argument, it's a threat. Seriously, do you really want to vote for the guy who just took you hostage?