WASHINGTON, January 12, 2015 — Last July in this column, Mitt Romney was discussed as the Republican Party’s presidential nominee in 2016. At that time, Romney said he was not interested in running. Last week he changed his mind and is now considering a run for President. Can he win?
In July, Romney made the most sense not just for the Republican Party, but also for the country. By 2016, the problems that the U.S. faces will be more solvable with Romney as President. Here’s why.
The most pressing issue for voters in 2016 will still be the economy. The recession ended in mid-2009, but the recovery has been weak. It took until late 2014 for the economy to recover to the point that the number of people employed equaled the number employed before the recession began in 2008. That is, it took almost seven years for the lost jobs to return, the slowest recovery since the great depression in the 1930’s.
Although economic growth was strong in the second and third quarters of 2014, the fourth quarter will show much slower growth. Growth may pick up through 2015, but by 2016 Americans may be fed up with Obama’s economic policies. These have favored the lowest 15 and top 1 percent of income earners while causing hardship for the rest of us.
Romney would propose policies that reduce the tax burden for all Americans, reduce growth-stifling government regulations, and create opportunities. Romney would encourage Americans to find opportunities and follow through where they exist.
The federal government’s annual budget deficit and the total public debt may also be an issue in 2016. In 2014, the annual deficit fell from $1 trillion to about half of that. But in 2015 the deficit will increase, and in 2016, the deficit will grow even larger; public debt will approach $20 trillion by election time. Romney will propose a budget that reduces government spending while increasing tax revenue by re-writing tax laws to encourage growth so that revenue increases even though rates will fall.
Obamacare will be a major issue, especially if the Supreme Court rules that the subsidies being paid to enrollees on the federal exchanges are illegal. That would bankrupt the Affordable Care Act so that an alternative must be offered. Although many conservatives dislike what Romney did with healthcare while governor of Massachusetts, he may be able to offer a compromise that will satisfy the majority of Republicans while being acceptable to Democrats. That’s what he did in Massachusetts.
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Foreign policy may be the most important issue in 2016. The Obama Administration will not stand up to terrorists, instead enabling them to grow stronger and add more recruits. Obama promised to degrade and destroy ISIS, but so far his very limited air strikes have had mostly a containment impact.
It is possible that by 2016, Islamist terrorists have acted and caused loss of life around the world. If that is the case, the American people will demand stronger action from our President.
Romney has indicated he will respond forcibly when necessary. He also had the foresight in 2012 to know that Russia could be a serious problem. By 2016 Americans may be ready for a President who will be able to restore America to its position as a superpower with the ability and the will to use force when necessary to avoid potentially disastrous problems.
Many Republicans argue that Romney is not conservative enough. They say that moderate conservatives like John McCain and Mitt Romney have lost in the past. Stronger conservatives like Ronald Reagan can win in 2016. But it appears that many voters who identify with conservatives on economic issues are more socially tolerant and perhaps even moderate. This is the group that will find Romney most appealing.
Since Mitt Romney is generally conservative, favors low tax rates, a small role for government, a health care system that covers almost everyone without destroying the system for the majority, a peace through strength philosophy and an atmosphere of transparency, honesty and an adherence to values, he may be the perfect President in 2016.