If the polls are to be believed, there is an even money chance that Mitt Romney will become President of the United States around 20 January, 2013. Presuming that this becomes a reality, we need to consider what the world will be like under his presidency of the most powerful nation on the planet.
Because the world is in a state of severe financial chaos which is likely to continue for another decade, it would seem logical for America to elect an investment banker of Romney’s successful experience even though bankers of any type are not actually the flavour of the month at present. The case to support this becomes compelling when we know that economics is not Barrack Obama’s strongest asset, his life’s experience being in law and politics.
Set against this is Romney’s lack of experience in foreign policy and the fact that his wealth has never caused him to worry about paying the rent every Friday and he doesn’t have any firsthand knowledge of life on ‘struggle street’ whereas Obama had to fight his way to the top through both poverty and racial discrimination.
Out on the campaign trail, Romney does not have Obama’s charisma. In fact he is quite wooden and sounds shallow. Then again, voters may decide that they don’t want a spellbinding President, they want someone who will balance the books and keep the nation solvent.
Romney has a major problem with his Morman religion which does not go down well with right wing Christians who would normally vote Republican. But, I vividly remember the Presidential Election of 1960 when all the polls indicated that Americans would never put a Roman Catholic in the White House, yet John F Kennedy won narrowly. Romney has a further problem. He had to move far to the right to win the Republican nomination and he did this by convincing the Tea Party that he was their man. This has meant that to get back into the centre where a candidate has to be to win the presidency, he will have to alienate both the Tea Party and the Christian Right who then will regard him as a traitor to their trenchant beliefs. They will never vote for Obama, but they may not bother to vote at all.
In seeking to expand my knowledge of the issues facing American voters, I recently read Bill Clinton’s new book ‘Back To Work’, which gives a critique of the American economy and offers solutions. While he largely supports Obama’s efforts to manage the US response to the world’s major economic woes, he does give him some healthy criticism on a number of issues and makes the point that in five of his eight years as President, the budget was in surplus. He says little about Romney, but takes very major swipes at the Tea Party whom he regards as the loony right who want the government to do nothing but print the currency and let the marketplace work unimpeded. He regards their efforts as a foolish attempt to take Americans back to the grand old days of a prosperous yesteryear, a move that is dangerously naïve. So, he sets out a plan to get the US back into the forefront of the new age of technology, research and innovation and win back lost export markets by accepting globalisation, not fighting it. He cites Singapore as a nation that leads America in certain major aspects of technology because their government is in positive partnership with its industries. He says that the days of America leading the world militarily now makes little sense. It needs instead to be the world leader in visionary and innovative partnerships with other nations, particularly the underdeveloped ones.
Given that this philosophy may be embraced by many young Americans and it is not that which is currently espoused by Romney, provided that Obama moves into the space, it is unlikely that Romney will win. In fact, with the average American voter firmly believing that he or she is being grossly manipulated by the rich every day, if Obama sells himself as the candidate of the poor, painting Romney as representing the greedy rich, this by itself will probably get him over the line.
Can I venture the opinion that no matter who wins, Australia’s future does not lie with America. To place any hopes in Europe would be ridiculous. We are destined to be partners in an Asian century.