STEVEN JONAS MD, MPH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The following is an imaginary scenario. Think of it as science fiction to provoke discussion:
It is becoming increasingly apparent that Mitt Romney will win the Presidency. He appears to be ahead in the popular vote. Whether he will actually also finish ahead of the President in the electoral vote count seems to be becoming immaterial. First, there seems to be on the GOP side a campaign getting underway to challenge any Obama electoral vote victory (given that Romney indeed would have a substantial lead in the popular vote). It would bring pressure, both public and private, on the electors to not vote as they were chosen to do, but rather to “recognize the popular will” (as if Republicans do that in any other circumstance).
Second, there is increasing evidence that a massive vote-count cheating operation has already been organized in some of the key “battleground” states (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) like Ohio, which Bush won in 2004 by cheating. (The Ohio Secretary of State, in charge of the ballot counting, just happened to be the Chair of the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign.) If this strategy was to be successful and could withstand the challenges that the Obama Campaign might or might not mount against it that would make the first plan superfluous.
And so, my advice is to begin to prepare ourselves for a Romney Presidency. Considering just those elements that pertain to Romney and the Executive Branch (since we do not know what the composition of the Congress would be and just what role the Congressional Democratic Party would choose to play in it), what it might look like? First of all, I think that we have to understand that Romney does have a set of core values. He may shift position on questions of policy and politics on a regular basis, but his core values don’t change, and he likely sees what others describe as “flip-flopping” simply as doing what is necessary in order to get to the Presidency so that he can use the office to set his true values in place in the US government. And what might those values be? I have discussed them at some length previously (6). See also an important brief history of the Mormon Church, written by a Mormon historian and contemporary of Romney’s (7), for those values are largely based in Mormonism. (One of the greatest achievements of his campaign has been to make any discussion of his religion taboo. If it weren’t, he would have had a lot of explaining to do.) They would set the pattern for his Presidency. In summary they are:
1. The United States is an “exceptional nation,” in the sense that it should be the unchallenged leader of the world and able to carry out international policy as it sees fit. Any military force to support that role that would be needed should be provided
2. Mormonism is the distinctly “American” religion, and it arose from “American exceptionalism.” (It must be remembered that Romney is a Mormon Bishop, a position that he has never given up, even when he was Governor of Massachusetts. He has certainly not said that he would give it up should he become President of the United States, either.)
3. The capitalist “market” is the only acceptable economic model. The only justifiable goal of the market is to produce profit for its owners/operators. As for specific policies related to his essential support for unfettered capitalist development (which interestingly enough goes against one earlier wing of Mormonism which adhered to what Gilmore, a Mormon himself, tells us has been described as “Christian Communism”), they are pretty straight-forward. Romney has made no effort to hide them. For example, in the wake of Frankenstorm Sandy, we have been reminded that he has advocated having the “private sector,” rather than government at any level, but certainly not the Federal one, provide disaster aid. (Just who would pay such profit-making companies for their efforts, he didn’t say.) He would use his executive power to the greatest extent possible to reduce Federal government regulation of: industrial and farm safety; the use of public lands; fossil fuels exploration and use; potential environmental degradation; and the financial markets.
4. Following the model laid down by his church’s first two leaders, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young for Romney there is no such thing as separation of church and state, regardless of what the Constitution has to say on the matter. In this regard, it is important to note that whenever Romney talks about the Constitution, in which the word “God” does not appear, he always starts off with quoting the one line in the Declaration of Independence in which that word does appear, in referring to “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God.” For his listeners, he conflates the Declaration and the Constitution so as to make it appear that the God concept (which for Jefferson almost certainly connotes the Deist conception of God, not a presently active one) is indeed part of the Constitution.
5. Homophobia is embedded in historical Mormon doctrine (7). Polygamy was originally encouraged as a way to grow the church flock as quickly as possible. Since homosexual couples don’t procreate, it became unacceptable.
6. Romney’s position on abortion is that life begins at the moment of conception (see his support for the so-called “human Life” amendment that was up for a vote last spring in Mississippi and most surprisingly went down to defeat there). Again, following the Mormon tradition, Gilmore (a Mormon himself, remember) tells us (7), you do what you have to do to gain a larger end. And so we have Romney’s short-lived pro-choice position when he was in Massachusetts. Romney sees no contradictions here.
7. As far as Romney’s attitude towards women and their place in society is concerned, once again one need only look to original Mormon doctrine. They are to be seen, not heard, and are really there to grow the Mormon population. Romney himself had at least one grandmother who was one of five wives of one of his grandfathers. Recall that the Utah Mormons gave up polygamy only because that was the only way that they could gain admission to the Union, and the benefits of rapidly expanding capitalism that would come to their state by doing so.
For anyone who truly cares about the future of this country and all of its people a Romney Presidency is going to provide a very bumpy ride.
1. Bello, G., Fitrakis, B., and Wasserman, H., “Does the Romney Family Now Own Your e-Vote?” Friday, 19 October 2012 The Free Press, http://truth-out.org/news/item/12204-does-the-romney-family-now-own-your-e-vote.
2. Campbell, D.G. and James, C., “NSA Analyst Proves GOP Is Stealing Elections,”
3. Charnin, R., “Updated Daily: Presidential True Vote/Election Fraud Forecast Model,
Oct. 31, 2012, http://richardcharnin.wordpress.com/2012/10/17/update-daily-presidential-true-voteelection-fraud-forecast-model/
4. itobin53, “Romney family buys voting machines through Bain Capital investment,” Oct 19, 2012, Select Media, http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/13221476-romney-family-buys-voting-machines-through-bain-capital-investment.
5. Daily Kos, “Anonymous gives warning to Karl Rove,” Oct. 28, 2012, http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/10/28/1151819/-Anonymous-gives-warning-to-Karl-Rove.
6. Jonas, S., “Mitt Romney’s Issues (that He Doesn’t Want Discussed),” BuzzFlash@Truthout>, 05/24/2012, http://blog.buzzflash.com/node/13515.
7. Gilmore, M., “Mitt Romney and the Ghosts of Mormon History,” Rolling Stone, October 25, 2012, p. 62.
Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 30 books. In addition to being a columnist for BuzzFlash/Truthout (http://www.buzzflash.com, http://www.truth-out.org/), he is the Managing Editor of and a Contributing Author to TPJmagazine.net.