Election 2014  
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Why a Romney Presidency May Be Worse Than You Think

War with Iran. An ultra-conservative Supreme Court. Death to Social Security. Romney could be an epic disaster.
 
 
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A few moderates and liberals have lately taken to arguing that, you know, maybe a Romney presidency wouldn’t be too bad. He might turn out to be more moderate, or at least pragmatic, than he’s acted in the campaign so far. He might make a point of reaching out to Democrats in Congress. Republicans might regain their trust of Keynesian economics and actually do things to boost the economy out of naked political self-interest, instead of sabotaging the economy out of same.

I am not really convinced! Mitt Romney will be working with a Congress full of Republicans and his Cabinet and administration will be full of Republican political appointees, and that adds up to disaster, especially with the current, insane Republican Party.

As it’s the spooookiest time of the year, it seems appropriate to ask: What’s the Romney presidency worst-case scenario? If Mitt Romney turns out to be exactly the severe conservative he says he is, what can we expect?

War

Obviously we’re bombing Iran. They might be spinning some uranium around in a mountain, and we can’t let that continue. As Wired recently reported, bombing Iran isn’t actually as easy as it sounds. If we want to do it right, it’ll take a massive strike against Iran’s ability to launch a counterattack on Israel or Kuwait, followed by the much more massive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

And of course war with Iran leads to a worldwide oil shock, probably.

But why stop with a preemptive airstrike? The actual worst-case scenario, in terms of loss of life and possibly world-destroying consequences, would be a nuclear strike on Iran. I’d hope that would be off the table even in the event of “Defense Secretary John Bolton.” But you never know, regime change might become popular again. A ground force in Iran might suddenly become urgently necessary! The idiot Bush-era foreign policy experts might suddenly decide that it wouldn’t be that hard to invade and occupy. The Iranian people would probably greet us as liberators! That same weird bloodthirsty hysteria that gripped the political elite in 2002-2003 might return, especially if Iran successfully sinks an American ship or blows up a plane or a helicopter during our totally righteous strike on their nuclear facilities — or, god forbid, if there’s a terrorist attack in the U.S. that can be credibly blamed on Hezbollah. Under the standard proposed for an invasion by Gen. Shinseki prior to the Iraq war, we’d need a good 1.4 million troops to properly invade Iran. Of course, Romney’s Pentagon and White House will be stocked with exactly the sort of people who ignored Gen. Shinseki prior to Iraq, so it’d probably only be a couple hundred thousand. But basically mass, widespread death and terror would result, just like Iraq only much, much more so.

Remember: John Bolton isn’t just being kept around for show. Romney actually listens to the guy. Romney’s selection of moderate Robert Zoellick for his transition team led to so much howling from the hawks that his mouthpiece is basically promising Zoellick won’t have an important role in a Romney administration. But we can expect a big job for Dan Senor, the man who instantly went from unqualified idiot political hack appointee to Respected Foreign Policy Expert the day Bush sent him to lie on behalf of the disastrously incompetent provisional government in post-invasion Iraq.

Let’s also not forget that former longtime CIA spook Cofer Black — who was vice chairman of Blackwater for three years — is Romney’s “envoy to the dark side.” Black was at the CIA while plans for extraordinary rendition were drawn up and the fact that he was at Blackwater at all should tell you what sort of principles the guy has.