Could Romney really upset Obama? US election gets interesting

A few months ago it seemed like a done deal.

The US economy was showing signs of recovery at just the right time for November. The Republican primaries – viewed from very far away – seemed to be self-destructive. The Tea Party kept shooting themselves in the foot and in other parts of their strange anatomies. Mitt Romney seemed to be a personally successful but a wooden candidate lacking the ability to catch the electorate’s imagination. The election was losing interest for me.

And now one Presidential debate seems to have changed all that. I thought Romney was good – engaged and articulate and focused. I did not think that Obama was all that bad but he seemed listless and lacking in the fire he showed 4 years ago. It showed up sometimes as a sort of frustration and he failed to enthuse. Clearly battling with Congress has taken its toll.

Perhaps the key point was that he did not himself seem especially fired up about continuing for another 4 years. He seems tired. From so far away my perceptions are just perceptions but the subject of the US Presidential election has become compulsive again. I am a little sceptical that just one Presidential debate can determine the outcome and suspect that it was the culmination of the many months of disillusionment with Obama and his own apparent loss of enthusiasm. In any event the prospect of a Romney win has become real again.

Who would I prefer to see win? US domestic issues do not affect me except in that they do provide direction for many others outside the US. Instead of looking at whose views I support I prefer to see which candidate better supports my views.

  • In that sense Health Care models are universal and Obama has a healthier view than Romney’s dithering.
  • In Foreign Policy I do not see that there would be much difference in their approach to the Middle East – and the Middle East is what has set the entire world scene over the last decade. Perhaps there is a higher chance of a strike on Iran with Romney (with its risk of World war 3). But neither is likely to reevaluate the relationship with Israel and Israel’s nuclear weapons. And without that the Middle East will remain a flash-point.
  • The possibility of profligate support of subsidy regimes to push politically correct agendas is much greater with Obama. Many of these politically correct agendas are based on alarmism and bad science. Jobs come from wealth creation not from subsidising nonsense. Healthy job creation (sustainable jobs and not just increasing the public sector or throwing money at silly environmental projects) is more likely with Romney.
  • Obama is likely to continue with a taxation view that is fundamentally flawed. Taxation has to shift away from penalising wealth creation and focus on being a disincentive to wealth destruction (by irreversible consumption). Romney will be constrained by taxation orthodoxy but is more likely to move closer to my view.

Not very easy to choose. My preference would be the Obama of 4 years ago against today’s Romney. But the Romney of today could be more interesting than the tired, frustrated and listless Obama on display. The world financial recovery is more likely with Romney than with Obama. I suspect Obama will still win — but the process has become interesting again.

If Ryan wins or draws the VP debate against Biden and if Romney wins the second debate he would – I think – become favorite.

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