Mitt Romney’s Quest for a Strong Political Identity

romney, foreign policy, china, africa, globalization

Romney now rejects Cap and Trade, renewable energy, green jobs and the healthcare reforms he championed as Governor of Massachusetts. His conservative makeover will likely inform strategies for America’s position in our global economy.

Romney’s attempts to attract a Conservative base may drive the future of America’s domestic and foreign policies.

Republican presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney, now dismisses the very reforms he brought into law as Governor of Massachusetts. His campaign has placed all bets on a platform that seeks approval from a very conservative audience.

He who controls the past, controls the future.”

Taking a page from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Romney began crafting his new image with the publication of his book, No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, in 2008. The print reveals a man eager to remove positive mention for reforms that once served as career accomplishments.

In 2011, the paperback version of  No Apology hit the shelves, featuring several negative revisions of President Obama’s initiatives, including the 2009 stimulus package, and The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

On June 5th, The Wall Street Journal reported the following:

When Mitt Romney left office as Massachusetts governor, his aides removed all emails from a server computer in the governor’s office, and purchased and carted off hard drives from 17 state-owned personal computers, according to a current state official.

Despite efforts to eliminate these records, a small cache of emails survived, proving Candidate Romney a staunch defender of individual health care for Massachusetts residents. Electronic exchanges include early drafts of the op-ed article,  Health Care for Everyone? We Found a Way, which Romney submitted to the Wall Street Journal for publication. On April 11, 2006, the governor’s editorial closed with a triumphant tone suggesting this achievement would bolster a political legacy:

Will it work? I’m optimistic, but time will tell. A great deal will depend on the people who implement the program. Legislative adjustments will surely be needed along the way. One great thing about federalism is that states can innovate, demonstrate and incorporate ideas from one another. Other states will learn from our experience and improve on what we’ve done. That’s the way we’ll make health care work for everyone.

Good old fashioned foreign policy may not play well in a global economy.

Romney has worked tirelessly to trade in a political legacy empowered by moderate ideals for a genuinely traditional perspective. In a fragile global  economy founded on mutual cooperation and dependence, Mitt does not encourage a collaborative sensibility. His outlook draws ideas from an America when regular gas cost $0.32 a gallon, and a quality fallout shelter guaranteed life after the bomb. To date, the ex-governor’s campaign seems to emphasize uncertainty with regard to complex issues such as global warming, “illusory” green jobs, and renewable energy. Similar orthodox ideas appear to inform his approach to foreign policy.

Romney’s overall theme is American exceptionalism and greatness, slogans that win public applause but offer no guidance for a bankrupt superpower that has squandered its international credibility. “This century must be an American century,” Romney proclaimed. “In an American century, America leads the free world and the free world leads the entire world.”

Only last month, Colin Powell, former secretary of state to George W. Bush, criticized Romney’s foreign policy advisers for a hawkish influence that prompted their candidate to opine, ” the Russian Federation is our number-one geostrategic threat.” Powell couldn’t hide his exasperation: “How could you … look at the world? There is no pure competitor to the United States of America.”

So far Romney’s campaign has focused on our staggering economy, while continually jabbing at President Obama’s handling of Iran and Syria. Apart from these verbal attacks, political analysts struggle to clarify Romney’s stance on key international issues, let alone define how his administration might differ from President Obama’s foreign policy methods.

 Out of Africa: A letter to candidate Romney

BBC Business Daily Podcast – Letter to Romney

The June 21st podcast of BBC’s Business Daily includes a brief proposal from African correspondent, Bright Simons, who  discusses how Romney might make his mark on our economic world stage.

Romney’s regularly declares a firm grasp on business and economics. Consequently,  Simons took a look at the candidate’s speeches, anticipating an in depth analysis of foreign policy clarifying America’s current and evolving economic relationship with the rest of the planet. “After all, globalization means that you cannot fix America’s economic problems in isolation.”

Simons links America’s economic survival to finding solutions for the following issues in a collaborative world community:

1. Dependence on foreign oil
2. China – Romney regularly criticizes the People’s Republic for manipulating their currency to secure trade advantages, but the practice serves as a red herring, fostering more distraction than strategy.
3. Blueprint For The American Century – Romney’s policy plank fails to mention Africa even once, despite the fact that China serves as the continent’s biggest trading partner.
4. China’s economic vigor rises from the pursuit of economic opportunities in new regions and sectors, making some American exports uncompetitive throughout the rest of the world.
5. China consistently builds broad alliances with countries that don’t register on Romney’s foreign policy radar.
6. America must address its growing loss of global competitiveness.
7. The China / Africa success story demonstrates that global competitiveness comes from active collaboration across all global markets.

Times are tough, prompting voters to consider casting their ballot for a Republican president. However, Romney’s success or failure will depend on how well he and his advisers can articulate positive, real world solutions in a global society. Moderate Republicans object to his dismissal of earlier reforms. Meanwhile, conservative Republicans fear Romney’s political record remains far too liberal. Somewhere in the middle must take a stand.

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