Romney to Replace Hope and Change With Change and Hope

As Peter Suderman just wrote, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney just delivered a hi-howarya speech breathtakingly free of policy substance, after a four-day pre-amble of chanting small businesses and tough choices. Even though, as David Harsanyi pointed out here today, details can equal political death, it is equally true that a lack of detail, accompanied by sloganeering and vague uplift, can foreshadow policy disasters to come.

For evidence of which, see: Obama, Barack. Or more topically, just refer to the only real policy section of any speech during the Republican National Convention. It came tonight, from the top of the ticket, and it ain't pretty:

I have a plan to create 12 million new jobs.

Presidents don't create jobs. And that number was pulled from the same source as the "five million green jobs" the Democrats were serially promising in the fall of 2008.

First, by 2020, North America will be energy independent by taking full advantage of our oil and coal and gas and nuclear and renewables.

Repeat after me: There is no such thing as energy independence. And many policies in the name of achieving this political fantasy have actually made the underlying problem worse.

Second, we will give our fellow citizens the skills they need for the jobs of today and the careers of tomorrow. When it comes to the school your child will attend, every parent should have a choice, and every child should have a chance.

Hoo-ray for school choice! Also, education is mostly (though not enoughly!) handled outside the purview of the Department of Education, which by the way Romney likes (as he also likes No Child Left Behind). The president should not, cannot, and will not be the prime mover behind bringing overdue choice to K-12 education, though I sincerely appreciate the moral support.

Third, we will make trade work for America by forging new trade agreements. And when nations cheat in trade, there will be unmistakable consequences.

Actually, there were many such shout-outs to free trade throughout the convention, which I appreciated. Though it should be pointed out that it was the last five words of that promise that got the convention crowd hooting on its feet. Still: good, economically significant policy proposal. That's one.

Fourth, to assure every entrepreneur and every job creator that their investments in America will not vanish as have those in Greece, we will cut the deficit and put America on track to a balanced budget.

You know who else promised to cut the deficit? Barack Obama. Also George W. Bush. Without specific action on the prime movers in the federal budget–Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the military -- there is no deficit cut, and the balanced budget is a transparently hollow process.

Do you know what Mitt Romney said about military spending in his speech tonight? He said this:

[Obama's] trillion dollar cuts to our military will eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs, and also put our security at greater risk

So not only will Romney not be cutting the military, he apparently thinks that government spending *does* build job creation. Good to know!

OK, what about Medicare?

His $716 billion cut to Medicare to finance Obamacare will both hurt today’s seniors, and depress innovation— and jobs—in medicine.

So scratch off Medicare. How about Social Security?

I am running for president to help create a better future. A future where everyone who wants a job can find one. Where no senior fears for the security of their retirement.

Social Security stays, too. Look, people: There's very little of significance left to cut.

And fifth, we will champion small businesses, America’s engine of job growth. That means reducing taxes on business, not raising them. It means simplifying and modernizing the regulations that hurt small business the most. And it means that we must rein in the skyrocketing cost of healthcare by repealing and replacing Obamacare.

I remain convinced that "repealing Obamacare" is the Republican version of "closing Guantanamo"–a nice bone for the base on your way toward regaining power, to be discarded upon reaching office. Even if I'm wrong, scrapping the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act still leaves health care as an increasingly expensive burden on many small businesses, since no politician has the guts to break the link between employment and insurance in the first place. Simplifying regulations sounds good, until you realize that our current and previous presidents promised the exact same thing, while regulating their asses off (yes, including George W. Bush).

And–this is important, so listen up!–generic phrases like "champion small businesses" get converted through the sausage-making of government to something Romney should be campaigning against, not for: crony capitalism. Once you politically over-valorize a class within the economy, then that class starts getting special favors, wasteful loan guarantees, and all sorts of government goodies.

Hope you enjoyed that brief detour through policy!

Romney is vowing to replace a tall, handsome president who sold us on vague change with a tall, handsome president who is selling us on vague change. You want action items? He's got your action items right here!

What is needed in our country today is not complicated or profound. It doesn’t take a special government commission to tell us what America needs.

What America needs is jobs.

Lots of jobs.

Top. Men.

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  • Cenotaph||

    Another cookie cutter Romney = Obama post. Ho hum.

    I'm sure if he were here that Mitt would apologize for not delivering the speech that Matt Welch and Peter Suderman and a bunch of other people too cool to vote for him would have preferred.

  • SIV||

    Mr(s)Suderman seems to want some concrete conservative fiscal and regulatory policies spelled out so clearly that the swing voters would get spooked and re-elect Obama.

  • Cenotaph||

    I don't think he's pro-Obama at heart, he just wants to look cool and nonpartisan. Image is important to a journalist/policy wonk.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The thing that everyone needs to remember is that the writers at Reason are first and foremost "journalists" not libertarians.

    And as such the need to retain career viability if they don't want to be exiled from the emerald city when their gig here ends.

  • Cenotaph||

    but you are correct in what the effect of Romney reading a policy paper for his convention speech would be.

  • acidovorax||

    Mr(s)Suderman seems to want some concrete conservative fiscal and regulatory policies spelled out so clearly that the swing voters would get spooked and re-elect Obama.

    And how else are we to properly assess people who are asking to be elected to arguably the most powerful position in the world?

  • Calidissident||

    Who is this guy? I've only started posting recently, but I've been lurking for a while, and this guy has come out of nowhere, and almost everyone of his posts is a "We must elect Romney to save liberty from the evil Obama" type of post. Tulpa?

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    All sides of life should be represented.

  • SugarFree||

    Every barrel needs a bottom.

  • ||

    Mitt is going to get what his father gave to to Barry Goldwater.

    The Nelson Rockefeller wing of of the Repub party is going to get what it gave.

    Suck it up SIV, Cenotaph.

  • ||

    people too cool to vote for him would have preferred.

    I am exceptionally uncool.

    Still not voting for Mitt.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Another cookie cutter Romney = Obama post. Ho hum.

    You know how the socialists took control of America?

    By voting for the greater of two evils year after year and getting 1-2% of what they wanted at a time decade after decade. In less than a century they changed the land of free and home of the brave a police state of scaredie cats.

    Following their example is the only realistic way to restore liberty and undue what they've done.

    But some people prefer fantasizing about a libertarian rapture and apocalypse that preserves their precious purity to actually accomplishing anything.

  • acidovorax||

    By voting for the greater of two evils year after year and getting 1-2% of what they wanted at a time decade after decade. In less than a century they changed the land of free and home of the brave a police state of scaredie cats.

    Following their example is the only realistic way to restore liberty and undue what they've done.

    But some people prefer fantasizing about a libertarian rapture and apocalypse that preserves their precious purity to actually accomplishing anything.

    This isn't a serious argument. No one is asking for "purity", but ACTUAL demonstrable actions that lead to incremental reductions in the size and spending of government. Romney and Ryan have weak records of such actions, yet their sycophants lie and paint them as "small government" types. During those decades and decades, the Republicans have been guilty of being the "greater of two evils".

  • ||

    Not to mention you are incorrect. The largest "socialist" moves in America were undertaken in a relatively short period from the election of FDR through the end of WWII.

    Since then it has been incremental shifts in the direction we were largely taken when the Supreme Court folded under Administration pressure during FDR's Presidency.

    It is going to take a large shift in the other direction to truly start scaling back the size and scope of Government and that will not come from a party who is wedded to increasing spending on the core Middle-Class entitlements and an ever-expanding Military Empire.

    Until either major party shows some actual actions and proposals to shrink the size and scope of Government (like proposing and supporting budgets that actually cut spending) then neither deserves my vote and the only way to change things is to vote for the small number of politicians who actually support those positions (be it D,R, or Other).

  • SIV||

    Presidents don't create jobs.

    No, but they can kill them.
    primum non nocere is the best job creation plan for a politician.
    I don't expect Mittens to follow it but I bet he understands it, unlike the incumbent.

  • ||

    I think that the incumbent understands this.

    That's what he wants.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    primum non nocere

    Silly you. That's for doctors, not lawyers. Jeesh, where'd you learn Latin?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    I thought that was the motto of the Chicago Bears Offensive line?

  • Rich||

    And the New Orleans Saints.

  • ||

    Funny, judging by how the refs call the game, I would have thought it should be the motto of D-lines playing against Aaron Rodgers.

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    I have to ask what part of the Chicago land area are you in. I'm in the northern suburbs.

  • IceTrey||

    Actually, we could have energy independence if we used Thorium.

  • Rich||

    Or if we didn't use Thorazine.

  • Killazontherun||

    Cenotaph, you have a fundamental misunderstanding of the two party system. Democrats and Republicans are not enemies, they are a married couple. Every four years, little miss Republican whore tramp starts meeting Mr. Libertarian for a secret rendezvous, making promises that she'll break up with her weeny of a husband Mr. Democrat if Mr. Hot Stud Libertarian will only show her some support. But, she always goes back to her true love, Mr. Weeny Democrat, and makes him some fugass babies in the form of legislation, wars, and court appointees in the process. Each time, they blame their little lovers querrel on, you guessed it, Mr. Hot Stud Libertarian.

    Fuck that dysfunction right in her whore mouth.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Very well put!

    I saw a blog post elsewhere that likewise makes the point, particularly to the advocates of "the long game":

    Time after time, the GOP Hot-Tubbers have lied to traditional conservatives, gotten their votes, and then betrayed them.

    I don’t blame Ron Paul for demurring when asked to endorse Romney. Old-time Goldwater conservatives like me who support the good doctor have been betrayed all too many times by the GOP establishment’s lip service. The "Cloud” doesn’t have enough storage space to hold all the lies, and I admire the Ron Paul delegates for not believing them.

    Romney has hired virtually all of George W. Bush’s disaster-ridden foreign policy cadre. They hate Ron Paul, and they hate us, for exposing their failures, for drawing back the curtain on their murderous plunder, and for puncturing their pious patriotic palaver to reveal its mordant mendacity. With them in charge, are we to believe that a President Romney would be a man of peace and freedom? Remember, they always lie, and they never, ever apologize.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Every four years, little miss Republican whore tramp starts meeting Mr. Libertarian for a secret rendezvous, promising that she'll put out and break up with her weeny of a husband Mr. Democrat if Mr. Hot Stud Libertarian will only show her some support. But, Mr. Hot Stud Libertarian wants it all, right here, right now and all for him. Plus he wants her to be a virgin when he's done. So she always goes back to Mr. Weeny Democrat, and makes him some fugass babies in the form of legislation, wars, and court appointees in the process. Each time, Mr. Hot Stud Libertarian is left mumbling in the corner of the bar over a flat beer that she musta been gay.

    And only Mr. Weeny Democrat gets what he wants.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Based on his crap handle, I would surmise he is some neo-con shill, sent by the GOP to try to persuade the "crucial 5% of the vote" that is undecided on Obama v. Romney. Apparently (and surprisingly!) the 5% undecided are all libertarians who lurk on HR. Put on your mask and snorkle, 'cause we're gonna' be swimmin' through this shit 'till election day.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    OK. I'm drinking Jim Beam and listening to OutKast: Stankonia. I'm tired of being angry. I'm gonna' listen to music. Night all!

  • ||

    sent by the GOP

    Believe it or not Republicans do think and act for themselves.

    I am sure he came here all on his own...no need for a nefarious GOP conspiracy of men in black trying to sway the opinion of a bunch of libertarians.

    Hell he might even be a libertarian thinking Romney is the least of two evils.

    Why is it when conservatives come here their identity is in question? We don't think Tony or Shrike or Joe are DNC operatives do we? No we think they are idiot leftists acting on their own.

    Can't we have idiot conservatives acting on their own as well?

  • ||

    "We don't think Tony or Shrike or Joe are DNC operatives do we? No we think they are idiot leftists acting on their own."

    I am not so sure about that. Ok, the idiot part I am certain of, but the other not so much.

  • WTF||

    I don't even think they're real people, they're sockpuppets.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    I've thought that sometimes, but wondered, sockpuppets for whom? Sometimes their speech patterns so closely mirror villains from Atlas Shrugged that I think they may be Rand fans pretending to be leftists.

    On the other hand, I do personally know leftists who think that way. So in the end I'm not really sure if these guys are real or not.

  • wareagle||

    I do personally know leftists who think that way.

    I am convinced those leftists you speak of are so convinced of the rightness of their thoughts that they believe everyone else is either in lockstep or beyond redemption. In other words, those folks would not come here seeking to change minds.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    I don't figure it's actually sent (paid by, sponsored by) by the GOP. Instead, it's just some Team Red cheerleader, all hopped up on the stirring rhetoric of the Party from this week. It wants to go spread the message to those who may not have decided this election.

    As far as Tony and Shrike, I do think they are paid shills. How else could they be so obtuse, and consistently wrong on every issue? I would have to get paid to post like that big of a schmuck.

  • ||

    "Third, we will make trade work for America by forging new trade agreements. And when nations cheat in trade, there will be unmistakable consequences."

    Actually, there were many such shout-outs to free trade throughout the convention, which I appreciated.

    Really?

    I read Mitt's remarks differently then you did. I took it to mean we need to start a trade war with China "cuz they are cheatin doncha know".

  • anon||

    Same here. Every time I hear that protectionist bullshit I think to myself "Well, looks like I'm not buying any (x) for a while."

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Nah. He wants free trade, but he knows he needs to throw some red meat to the protectionists.

    That's what the "energy independence" thing is all about. What he really wants is to expand domestic energy production, but he needs support from people who would otherwise cry about how the oil companies make too much money.

    And really, those two things alone get us halfway there towards reviving the economy.

  • acidovorax||

    Nah. He wants free trade, but he knows he needs to throw some red meat to the protectionists.

    That's what the "energy independence" thing is all about. What he really wants is to expand domestic energy production, but he needs support from people who would otherwise cry about how the oil companies make too much money

    I don't see why he can't believe in both concepts simultaneously. Republicans tend not to be well versed in economic theory, just superficial concepts, often contradictory concepts. Reagan passed numerous tariffs during his time, all while spouting "free markets" Most Republicans view "free markets" as meaning less regulated than Democrat markets, but not really "free" (cause that's like anarchy, ya know).

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Because campaign speeches are sales pitches aimed at the not so bright, not an economics seminar

  • ||

    Good grief there were alot of posts in the middle of the night. Usually if I cant sleep HandR is dead and I get bored out of my skull. I hunkered down and got drunk for Isaac, who turned out to be an exceptional dud by the way, and slept the night away. This of course would be the night where HandR was up all night. Oh well, it was all posts about the RNC which would have put me to sleep anyway.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Mornin', Suthenboy! hope you don't have a hangover

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Reason #1,223,724.871 why I'm voting for myself this year. Fuck the parties - they both lead to more gummint telling me what I can and can't do. I just want government to STOP doing more.

    So I refuse to support the system any more. Almanian - 2012.

  • JeremyR||

    It's simple. There's a party of big government and a party of even bigger government.

  • ||

    Corning, I keep trying to reply to you but the squirrels logged me out 3x when I posted. Fucking squirrels. Where is my Kimber .22?

    "...there will be unmistakable consequences."

    Huh? As opposed to mistakable ones? I have no idea what that means. Be cautious about deciding what pols mean when sounds come out of their mouths.

  • ||

    @Almanian's Evil Twin

    Good morning. No hangover, but I did wake up still slightly drunk. I get logged out every time I reply so I have to reply like this.

    "...government to STOP doing more." If that is your entire platform I will vote for you. Send me a yard sign and some bumper stickers.

  • WTF||

    Yeah, fucking hell - I get logged out every time I hit refresh. What the fuck, squirrels?

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Morning jerkwads.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Also where the hell is my brickbat. It's way past time.

  • db||

    Could we have a president who offers "Terror and Lust?" How about "Despair and Paranoia?"

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Fear and Loathing!

  • fried wylie||

    It is such a tragedy that Hunter S. Thompson didn't make it till head-in-a-jar technology.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Fear and Loathing!

    Worked for Bush in 2004.

  • anon||

    I'd just like to point out that Paul Ryan (for whatever it's worth) does actually want to get a debate started on capping medicare benefits. I know, it's not nearly enough, but it's more than any other politician is willing to say out loud.

    And yeah, I know it's a discussion on Mitt and not Ryan; however, I would assume that Mitt agrees with Ryan on such a large issue.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    Actually, there were many such shout-outs to free trade throughout the convention, which I appreciated. Though it should be pointed out that it was the last five words of that promise that got the convention crowd hooting on its feet. Still: good, economically significant policy proposal. That's one.

    What comes at the end of a phrase is what matters, and the five words came at the end. The menace of Chinese Helical Spring Lock Washers has kept the ITC occupied for two decades [pdf], through both Demican and Republocrat administrations and congresses. When these guys talk about free trade they're talking about treaties that blend favors to incorporated interests with paperwork changes that bring U.S. government market intervention into compliance with international norms.

    That could change if D.C. learns how dire this stagnation really is, but Mitt Romney is, right after Obama, the second-least-likely person in America to figure that out.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Romney is the Barak Obama for white people that want their country back from that Mulatto Socialist Muslim Christian anti-military pro-Osama tax raising on the middle class anti-business by raising the corp income tax causing the credit crisis causing unemployment closing down GM President.

  • wareagle||

    thank you Chris Matthews.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    what's wrong with that?

  • Alice Bowie||

    With the exception of Barak being a Mulatto and a Christian, everything else is a bunch of bullshit.

    An Anti-military guy that wins the nobel PEACE price for fighting two wars at the same time.

    A Muslim Al-Khada sympathizer that killed Osama.

    He raised taxes on the middle class ?

    Obama actually lowered the Corporate Income Tax Rate.

    He closed the GM Plant?

    A Socialist that mandates that every citizen buy a product from private corporations?

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