What Mitt Should Say

By Beinart, Peter | Newsweek, September 3, 2012 | Go to article overview

What Mitt Should Say


Beinart, Peter, Newsweek


Byline: Peter Beinart

The four things you won't hear in Tampa.

Here's what Mitt Romney will almost certainly talk about in his acceptance speech this week in Tampa: his experience in business, his experience running the Olympics, the number of Americans out of work, Obamacare, his beautiful wife, his beautiful family, his faith in America, his faith in faith, the national debt.

Here are some of the things Romney likely won't talk about, but should, because they'll help define his presidency whether he likes it or not:

1 Climate change. Why he should talk about it: Because although it will be cool in the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the summer of 2012 has been terrifyingly hot--so hot that America is suffering its worst drought in 50 years, sending food prices soaring. What Romney should say: "We Republicans have long warned that heavy-handed environmental regulation stifles economic growth. But it's time to acknowledge that environmental disaster can wreak economic havoc too. Instead of denying that global warming is a problem, we should tell Americans why we're the party best equipped to solve it." Why he won't say it: Because according to a fall 2011 National Survey of American Public Opinion on Climate Change, a majority of Republicans either don't believe global warming is real, or aren't sure. And according to a January 2012 Pew Research Center survey, global warming ranked 22nd on Americans' list of priorities.

2 The lessons of Afghanistan and Iraq. Why he should talk about it: Because America is slowly, painfully emerging from two of the most disastrous wars in its history, and many of Romney's foreign-policy advisers helped bring them about. What Romney should say: "As Republicans, we understand the necessity of military force. But as a party with a healthy skepticism of government competence, we should extend that skepticism to government's competence to remake societies other than our own. And as Americans who jealously guard our nation's independence, we should understand why people in other lands resent being occupied by soldiers who salute a foreign flag." Why he won't say it: Because to question the assumptions behind the Iraq and Afghan wars would put Romney in conflict with a Republican foreign-policy elite that has engaged in barely any serious introspection about the disasters of the Bush years. …

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