Ezra Klein makes the somewhat disturbing argument that even if you disagree with every one of Mitt Romney’s policies, there’s a chance he’s still the best candidate to lift the economy in 2013.
The essential thesis is that what Romney will do in the short term isn’t much different than what Obama has already proposed. However, Obama is being stonewalled by the GOP controlled House, and it is unlikely the Democrats will retake the House even if Obama is reelected. Meanwhile, it’s very likely that a Romney win will be accompanied by Republicans retaining the House and very possibly getting a Senate majority to boot. The reasonable bet is that the GOP would rally around policies offered by a Republican President, while they would continue the blockade against substantively those same policies when offered by Obama.
What Klein seems to be trying hard not to say is that the GOP is holding the economy hostage right now. Elect Romney and they’ll let it live. Reelect Obama, and they’ll let it fall off the looming fiscal cliff.
What’s disturbing is, I don’t think Klein is wrong. Still the notion of rewarding the GOP for this sort of behavior remains unthinkable. As much as I want the economy to recover, I cannot and will not support the sort of politics that says either I’m winning or I will exist to destroy you. The Republicans need to be taught a lesson here. They need to know that there are times they will be in the majority and times they will not be. But in all those cases, we the people expect them to do their goddamned jobs and work in our best interests.
The only way that lesson is learned is if the GOP gets severely spanked in 2012 at the state and federal levels. Yes, the time may come some years down the road when the Dems need to be similarly spanked, but that is not the case now. All things are not equal. Yes, there is still too much special interest money in politics. Yes, there are problems with the Fed, the banking industry, the filibuster, and other intractable issues. But none of that changes the elemental reality that one of the parties is currently holding the system hostage until it is put back in power. This is something we can fix. Now. And easily.
And just maybe, should we succeed in giving the Democrats control of the government, they can enact the same economy saving short term policies without rewarding the GOP for putting a gun to our heads. Wouldn’t that be just a little satisfying?