Second Versus First

Another way to view the 2012 Presidential election is which candidate will be more successful, a man finishing his second term or a man entering his first term (and almost certainly thirsting for a second term).  Who will work harder, who will produce the best results?

What will drive a President Obama?  Where in the spectrum of center to far right will a President Romney feel he needs to govern in order to win a second term?

There are two paths forward for both men.  “Kick the can” and “Take real action”.

“Kick the can” is a sure bet if Romney elects to follow the safest route for a second term.  He can claim the economy was much worse than he thought and so he needed to focus first on fixing that before fixing the deficit.  In that case, 2016 will look much like 2012, only with much larger debt.

“Take real action” for President Romney will be a direct assault upon entitlements.  There is no other way the math works.  Additionally, if a 20% marginal rate tax reduction is pursued, Romney will need significant entitlement changes which will increase the burden on the Middle Class.  There is also no other way with a tax reduction.

For a second term President Obama, “kicking the can” is also the safest approach.  This may be the best option to hold open the chance for another Democratic successor. The GOP will be labeled obstructionists and that will not be a hard case to sell.

To “take real action”, however, is the route for President Obama, if he wants to be remembered as a great and transformative President.  To do this, President Obama must ask all Americans to sacrifice for their country.  He must propose a balanced approach of new revenue (taxes and co-pays) along with some modifications to benefits.

There are other considerations beyond the deficit.  The economy, jobs, and social issues could be different too.  A Romney first term will rise and fall on whether the economy becomes sounder and whether jobs (especially good jobs) flourish.

Social issues are unlikely to be a Romney initiative but his problem will be the evangelical and ultra conservative wings of his party.  We have heard that the body naturally wards off conception during rape and most recently that it is part of god’s plan to create life even during rape.  Romney’s term will be difficult enough trying to deliver on his promises for him to turn his back on these peculiar thinkers.

President Obama will certainly not let women’s rights, homosexual recognition, and immigration reform fall backwards.  It is, however, problematic whether he will champion battles he can’t win in Congress, especially if he is fighting for some deficit reduction plan.

A second term for President Obama or a first term for Mitt Romney?  My vote is that President Obama will keep America closer to the center than a President Romney.

In a few days, we shall see.

 

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