“Pointless … like giving caviar to an elephant.”
~ William Faulkner
Leave it to Faulkner to create a simile so apt that it reaches across decades to apply, very neatly, to the futility of foisting Mitt Romney upon the Republican Party as its presidential nominee. The image of the elephant is self-evidently appropriate. As for caviar, despite its association with money and privilege, one wonders who actually enjoys its taste. Truth be told, it is over-rated, as most delicacies are. Caviar is a lot like Marmite, only more expensive and lacking its nutritional value. So it is with Romney, moneyed and privileged, yet without much to recommend him.
Of course, the late Nobel Laureate knew nothing of the former Massachusetts governor, but ’twas always thus with a masterful turn of phrase — it can be wheeled out again and again, pertinent to any number of circumstances.
In this case, nominating Romney to lead the GOP in November, and even electing him president, would be pointless. While a President Romney may slow the country’s deterioration, and may even make good on his pledge to repeal Obamacare (that is, if the Supreme Court doesn’t drive a stake through that vampire-law first), his toothless policy proposals will do no more than delay the inevitable — that is, the end of America as we know it.
Getting the nation back to where it was in, say, 2007, is not a realistic option. The unfunded liabilities of the country, including Social Security and Medicare, total in the tens, and perhaps hundreds of trillions of dollars. As for debt and deficits, these have taken on a life of their own, rocketing to unheard-of peacetime levels. Finally, as pertains to personal freedom, the United States continues to increase constraints on its citizens, while closing itself off from the rest of the globe. To wit, America will cease to be a force for good in the world — let alone the indispensable nation — if it does not undertake immediate and drastic changes to the way it operates.
Romney, for all his Hugh Beaumont good-looks, solves none of these problems. This column maintains that Newt Gingrich, warts and all, is the strongest of the GOP candidates who have made themselves available (Jeb Bush, please call your office), and this is largely because the former speaker has advanced, and can articulate, a platform of bold reform. Without one, America is just whistling Dixie.
The United States spends, taxes and borrows too much, has rules and laws for every facet of human existence (with more than 3,000 new federal regulations created this past year alone), countenances a Congress whose members enjoy a median net worth 35 times that of the citizens they govern, and continues to layer police-state security onto all aspects of daily life.
A word on that last — the Land of the Free loves to lock people up. America has an incarceration rate 13 times the rate of population growth, and has more individuals in prison than any other nation in the world — not per capita, but straight up. Long before he was running for president, Gingrich led the way in denouncing the American penchant for putting people behind bars. One might imagine this issue is the province of hippie-freak heroin-legalizers, or a simple matter of law-and-order politics. But prison is the default option in America, for everything from minor drug offenses to bouncing a check, and prosecutors are given overwhelming power to abuse the system, bully witnesses, and strip citizens of their right to a proper defense.
Freedom-minded conservatives should care very much about America’s lock-and-key mentality, as should bleeding-heart leftists — and let that latter group recall that Barack Obama not only failed to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, he signed legislation allowing Americans to be sent there.