War Pig in a Poke

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Recently by Charles Goyette: ‘Mitt the Mighty Job Creator’


With a win in the Texas Republican primary election Tuesday, Mitt Romney has clinched a spot in the November championship round. Or, so his corner tells us. Although there are some valid questions about the real delegate count, with Ron Paul having effectively conceded, it may be academic. But confidence in Romney’s victory can be seen in the repugnant spectacle of many of his recent opponents now gathering around to tell us how wonderful a leader Romney will be.

What short memories the electorate must have. Has Gingrich’s dubbing Romney “Obama light” been forgotten so soon? At the beginning of the year, Gingrich insisted that Romney was a “liar,” and a “fundamentally dishonest” tool of Wall Street. Is January so distant that it his warning has disappeared down a memory hole? Now Gingrich reports that Romney is “a lot like Eisenhower,” and “a solid conservative.” (He cannot, by the way, be both.)

A quick Google search for “Santorum criticizes Romney” spits out 2.7 million hits. But now, “Governor Romney is the candidate who will stand up for the conservative principles that we hold dear,” says Santorum.

It seems never to be asked, if his opponents were so wrong when they told us he was a candidate most foul only weeks ago, why we should rely on their fawning enthusiasm for Romney today?

It does no good to tell me “that’s just politics.” It’s all intellectually fraudulent and morally loathsome. I once had a leader of one of country’s most well-known and strict religious institutions on the air proudly explain, as though he had just discovered what every high school follower of politics knows, that his favorite candidate would run to the right in the primary, only to run to the center in the general election. “But isn’t it dishonest to represent yourself as one thing to one constituency and something else to another?” I asked this man of the cloth. “Shouldn’t we be looking for integrity and principals?”

“That’s how it’s done,” he explained indignantly. “That’s just politics.”

And so it is. They are all just Etch-A-Sketch men. Give them a good shake after the nomination.

Americans should know that Romney’s nomination means that in both the Republican and Democrat candidates we have Keynesian, spend-our-way-to- prosperity presidents. Even Paul Krugman believes Romney “is actually more of a Keynesian than he would ever let on.” We will have the choice between Obama deficits and Romney deficits, just as we will have the choice between Romney-care and Obama-care.

If there is any hope to save America from certain debt destruction, it has to start with the $1.2 trillion a year in national security state spending. It is an opportunity that will be missed under President Romney.

As often as John Kerry told us he served in Vietnam, Gingrich reminds us he was a history professor. (“I am the most seriously professorial politician since Woodrow Wilson,” he once modestly announced.) But it would be a mistake to rely on Professor Gingrich’s new slavering description of Romney as “a lot like Eisenhower.”

Seven months into his presidency, Eisenhower had ended the Korean War, just as he promised to do during the campaign. He even made an effort to moderate the Cold War and the nuclear arms race. Although he provided some support to the French early on, he avoided the substantial morass of Vietnam – unlike his successors in office. He quickly rolled back the 1956 Suez crisis. And he refused to a launch a nuclear attack on China as urged by his senior advisors.

Eisenhower was certainly not an ideal president. He approved the CIA’s United Fruit Company coup in Honduras and authorized another CIA coup to install the Shah in Iran, an act that continues to have blowback today. Eisenhower is no more deserving of a peace prize than Barack Obama, but the man who warned us about the undue influence of the military industrial complex was no Mitt Romney either.

Romney has revealed himself to be the complete captive of the military industrial complex. Despite our present economic straits, Romney is eager to “apply the full spectrum of hard and soft power to influence events,” and to that end intends to add 100,000 more people in uniform. While the U.S. spends almost as much as the rest of the world combined on warfare, Romney, who claims “this is America’s moment,” proposes to spend more.

Romney’s foreign policy posture is a continuum with that of George W. Bush. And while Romney avoids speaking Bush’s name, referring to him with the verbally clumsy term “predecessor” five times in one speech, Romney may actually exceed Bush in his unmitigated bellicosity.

He has surrounded himself with the most unhinged of the Bush neocon advisors, those who marched this country into the decade-long morass of Mideast warfare. Romney’s repeated call for a new “American century” is especially chilling since his war cabinet includes eight signatories of the Project for the New American Century, the manifesto calling for the invasion of Iraq long before 9/11/2001.

Romney joined John McCain for some saber-rattling on Memorial Day and urged the arming of Syrians. Pushing for “more assertive steps” in Syria, it may not be long before he joins McCain in urging U.S. bombing of Syria as well. He proposes to increase military training and assistance with Central Asian states. And Romney will, he tells us, “station multiple carriers and warships at Iran’s door,” apparently without regard for what our own intelligence community reports about Iran’s nuclear viability.

Romney ceaselessly rearranges his taxonomy of threats, bouncing quickly from one to another. He has identified Russia as “without question our number-one geopolitical foe”; jihadists are this century’s nightmare; North Korea is a clear and growing threat to the United States; the Iranian leadership is the biggest immediate threat; China threatens Romney’s “American century.”

So this is what Republicans offer the nation: the warfare part of Washington’s warfare/welfare state. Oh, but there will be plenty of welfare to go along with it (mostly for the crony classes), just as Obama has included plenty of warfare even as he tilted to the welfare state.

Americans are perfectly capable of buying a pig in a poke. They have done so over and over again. Even before announcing his run for the presidency, Bush was quite explicit with a biographer about the joyous prospects of invading a country like Iraq to pump up his approval numbers and build political capital. But he told the electorate just weeks before the vote that he wanted a more humble foreign policy, one without nation building.

The nomination secure, Romney may try to moderate his chest-thumping during the general election campaign, too.

But there’s a war pig in that bag.

Charles Goyette [send him mail] is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Dollar Meltdown. His new book is Red and Blue and Broke All Over: Restoring America's Free Economy. He is also editor of Freedom & Prosperity Letter, a monthly political and financial newsletter dedicated to revealing the truth about the U.S.’s political scene and economic climate. To learn more, go here.

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