The tragedy is that America and the Western world needed this year’s election to be a proper contest. Obama has been a deep disappointment as President and the country’s finances are in a mess. Britain and the world need a strong American recovery, but Obama seems to have no idea how to help create the climate in which it might happen. In contrast, Mr Romney does have an understanding of business growth and free-markets, although he was far from being the perfect candidate.
Now, with Romney having ruined himself, it becomes a no-choice election. This is quite extraordinary when one considers the tumultuous nature of events since the financial crisis and the need for solutions to be implemented which go beyond the centrist corporatism which dominates the landscape.
In part this echoes the cry of the American progressives from the tail-end of the 19th century and early 20th century, who took on giant monopoly interests such as the Standard Oil Trust (which was eventually broken up). Other targets included J.P. Morgan’s rail interests.
In the right hands, an updated agenda of this kind could have been immensely powerful in the current American election, making the case that business and government should serve the interests of the many rather than it being, as it so often is now, the other way round.
President Teddy Roosevelt, the great trust-busting opponent of monopoly and progressive hero of the opening years of the 20th century, would have been the ideal candidate to take such a platform forward. But unfortunately he died in 1919. Leaving the Republicans with Mitt Romney.
Amen to that. But honestly, could the Republican electorate and the Republican party have produced this kind of reforming conservative in 2012? I doubt it.