By Dr. Harold Pease
In driving to and from Utah late July and spending a couple of weeks in what are known as “Mormon” communities, I expected to find Nevada and Utah littered with pro-Romney signs and didn’t. In fact, I was hard pressed to find any bumper stickers or yard signs favoring either major presidential candidate. There were Ron Paul signs, however. As a political scientist I have studied elections for many years so this omission was glaring. Why the lack of enthusiasm?
America, a right of center country, had no candidate right of center—hence no “real” choice. Except for the “handout” vote, that increased substantially during the Barack Obama Administration and of course went to him, the people were not that excited about either major candidate. They looked too much alike. The third and final debate, focused on foreign policy, clearly showed Mitt Romney as a white Barack Obama. For Romney the whole evening was, “I would have done the same thing, only better.” Both supported tougher sanctions against Iran. Both supported drone warfare in foreign lands without the permission of the invaded country and without even a hint of a trial to prove the quilt of the accused, even if American. Both believe that the President can start a war without a declaration of war by Congress as required in the Constitution and both believe that they can charge the expense of such to our children without approval of the House as is also constitutionally required. Finally, both drew their advisors from the same Wall Street special interest group, the Council on Foreign Relations.
On Civil Rights both supported the Patriot Reauthorization Act, Obama arguing that civil right violations were far more serious under President George W. Bush, because of his executive orders and Obama mentioned violations with respect to Guantanamo Bay, warrantless wire taping, and the suspension of habeas corpus. These candidate Obama promised to reverse “by a stroke of a pen,” when elected. Four years later he still has not done so.
But how much solace can we have from a President Romney on civil rights when he was asked if he was in favor of wiretapping mosques? His answer frightened civil libertarians and constitutionalists. He suggested not only wiretapping the mosques but also Islamic schools and play grounds if needed as well. “We (the government) need to know what is going on… Track them, follow them, and make sure that in every way we can we know what they are doing and where they are doing it. And if it means that we have to go into a mosque to wiretap, or a church, that’s exactly where we are going to go. And I hear from time to time people who say, now wait a second. We have civil liberties that we have to worry about.” Obviously, the violation of civil liberties was not a problem for the last two presidents, nor would it be for a President Romney. Romney, of course, would have no problem if his church or temple were wiretapped by the government.
On this same subject President Barack Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act just last New Years Eve. A Bill that the left and right both believed gutted major sections of the Bill of Rights. A U.S. citizen deemed to be a terrorist, without witnesses, testimony, or defense, could now find himself kidnapped by his own government and shipped out of the country to Guantanamo Bay and held indefinitely without any protection from the Bill of Rights; all this on the say so of the military and president alone. When asked, in one of the Presidential debates, whether he would have signed the Act, candidate Romney answered, “Yes, I would have. And I do believe that it is appropriate,” this to the loud accompaniment of boo’s from the audience which understood that in this country that is never to happen.
A close examination of virtually every issue reveals the Obama / Romney likeness in statements made by each the last five years. Both extolled the virtues of Timothy Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury; and both favored retaining Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Both favored extending the payroll tax cut, the line item veto, and each planned to create new government funded jobs rebuilding Americas roads and bridges, a power never delegated by the Constitution to the federal government. Energy independence was a major goal of both, each extolling the virtues of wind, solar, and coal at one time or another. Both listed Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup as major funders. Both favored TARP and stimulus programs. Even on national health care there were far more similarities than differences. The biggest common denominator was their love of big government.
The Tea Party Patriots did what they could to make Americas’ core values: fiscal responsibility, limited constitutional government, and the free market fit for a Mitt Romney, but it was like putting a square peg in a round hole and Barack Obama, who has demonstrated over and over again that these values are not shared by him, remains in office. They chose a Tory, bypassing their own Patriots Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, or even Ron Paul, and have undermined the movement by doing so.
Most pundits of the election argue that the Republican Party, to survive, needs to get on board and look more like the Democratic Party. I disagree. The Republican Party already looks too much like the opposing party and instead needs to distinguish itself more from it. It cost them the election by having done too much of that already.
Dr. Harold Pease is an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.