Is Romney the Next FDR? Wait, Stop Laughing


Franklin Delano…Romney?

By Cody Ray Shafer

Mitt Romney says he wants to fight poverty because he really wants to be president. I’m not suggesting he’ll do or say anything to be president—I would go that far—but rather, that the message is less important to him than is the opportunity to just do it. Romney has a major messaging problem. He’s never good at actualizing his ideas, because he doesn’t think sharing them on the campaign trail really matters. He believes that once he’s in the oval office, he’ll just get it done.

When I watched Mitt (here’s a review from my blog), one positive thing that struck me from the otherwise saccharine documentary was Romney’s propensity for good ideas, and the disconnect over his campaign’s aversion to sharing them. Romney wants to fix poverty, but he also wants to fix everything as president. He wants to do it all. He’s picking poverty now because he’s running against a yet undefined future foe, and he may have a point about poverty getting worse during the Obama era rather than better. Whether or not Obama had anything to do with that isn’t really the point, because Romney can run against Obama without threat of Obama running back.

The damage Romney has to undo goes deeper than “47%.” He’s also famously doubled down on “corporations are people,” not to mention the $10,000 bet, car elevators, and the fact that he’s really incredibly wealthy and is a member of a party that is generally seen promoting policies that favor the poor.

But what if Romney is, in fact, the next Franklin Roosevelt? After all, FDR also came from a background of comfortable wealth, yet still managed to promote an agenda that largely served the poor and middle class, and his presidency actually realigned the polarity of American politics. Does a Romney presidency have that much potential for sea change? What if populists and liberals threw caution to the wind and actually backed Romney in 2016 based on his record as reformer governor who pioneered an overhaul in health care policy and ran for president on a platform that promised economic equality and big handouts for the poor?

Of course, voters would have to pretend the 2008 and 2012 elections never happened, we’d have to assume modern Republican voters would ever support such policies, and that the troubling partisan divide that shapes our national debates doesn’t exist either. And then we have to consider who the Democrats tap to run in 2016 which already assumes Romney gets the nomination in the first place. Could you imagine Romney’s newfound populism standing up against Elizabeth Warren’s record?

And herein lies the problem with Romney as a politician—he’s simply terrible at it. The distance between the message and the man is a deep, muddling void. Romney is a man full of good ideas and he knows how to govern, but he doesn’t know or care for the process that gets someone there in the first place. Worse yet, he doesn’t bother to connect the dots between his good ideas and ideas that will get him votes, which kind of suggest a deep resentment of voters in the first place. Which begs the question—why does he want to be president so badly? Surely there are other ways to help the common good outside of executive office? Am I that naïve? What does he get out of this? What’s in it for him?

For all the good ideas Romney has, there’s one that mysteriously eludes him; the sense to stand back and let somebody else do it.

Categories: Feature, Politics, Religion

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3 replies »

  1. If Mitt Romney wants to fight poverty he will have to get with Senator Orrin Hatch and Senator Ron Wyden of The Committee on taxes for Congress and amend the code to where the wealthy who own many of the 18,600,000 vacant homes in America can donate these homes to verifiable poor American families and individuals directly and receive a tax deduction instead of a penalty. And for these poor American citizens to not have to pay any tax penalties for receiving this gift.

    It is equity that being established can eliminate poverty.

    He will need to change government housing policy of rentals to the poor to ownership of the poor of these buildings.

    He will need to do as was commanded of God to Joshua 1:6 and see that all have inheritances in the land.

    That this nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all finally adds to its slogan “with liberty and justice and inheritances for all”.

    God has said there is more than enough and to spare in this land of promise from Alaska to Florida and God does not lie.

    If Mitt Romney sets it as a goal to see all Americans have a safe place to call home that they own outright and he should understand perfectly equity markets as he worked with equity partners, just need to have all Americans get a slice of the pie.

    That way the words of Micah chapter 3 will not be against him for the perversion of equity but that he will seek to establish equity and justice for all. ♡ 🙂 ♡

  2. Romney’s poor communication skills and thus associated lack of public charisma (I’m sure he’s different in small groups) makes his being President difficult to see. I can’t even see him winning the nomination. I’m not saying he’d be a bad President. Lots of poor communicators have been President. However it does seem helpful to be a good one. (Not that I’m saying I think Clinton was a great President, but he had in spades what Romney lacks in the communication front) Romney’s bigger problem is that he now has competition with the establishment crowd (Jeb and to a lesser extent Christie) and the Tea Party & Populist crowd really doesn’t like Romney much. I think any of the current crowd that appears to be running will have a hard time beating Clinton Part II. However a big part of me wants Cruz or Paul to win the nomination just so we can stop hearing how the Republican’s problem is nominating moderates.

    All that said, I actually think Romney’s sincere on wanting to fight poverty. I’m not sure he’ll have good solutions. But I do think he’s sincere. Romney’s problem is that most of the activist base at the moment don’t see that as a major thing they want to focus in on. The base really constrained Romney last time. What the GOP needs is someone the base likes who can then act in ways the base doesn’t mind because they already like him. The populist base is much more worried about appearing tough regardless of actually accomplishing anything anyway.

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