Monday, 17 February 2014
The Secret Life of Mitty Romney
The former Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Willard Mitt Romney was eagerly watching the election results on FOX News in his hotel room while munching on a honey and peanut butter sandwich. The news had been good: he had won the three key states of Ohio, Virginia, and Florida. Now the returns from Colorado were starting to come in...
"FOX News projects that Mitt Romney will carry the state of Colorado and with that the election..."
Before Romney could even fully realize what had happened, cheers erupted throughout the room and he felt his wife, Ann kissing him on the cheek while several of his staff members slapped him on the back.
"Congratulations Mr. President!" they shouted.
Once the initial euphoria had died down, Romney began awaiting for the concession call from President Obama. Finally the phone rang and the Governor delightedly picked it up. He barely listened to the admittance of defeat by his former opponent as he laughed politely and thanked the incumbent.
Putting down the receiver, Romney smiled and took out the copy of his victory speech: "I always knew I'd win, so I only prepared this one,". Then he and his enterouge marched down the hotel corridor to the ballroom where Romney could here the sounds of cheerful music blasting. Finally he had done what his father had failed to do and what he himself failed to do four years ago...
The former Governor felt his wife tapping him on the back as he realized he had dozed in front of the television. On screen was 16 and Pregnant, a show Romney watched religiously ever since he'd discovered it while flipping through channels a few weeks after losing the election.
"Must you really watch that?" asked Ann.
Mitt rolled his eyes and said "Its a very touching show, you know. You should stop dragging me off to all these equestrian competitions and join me on our comfy leather Armani couch while sipping champagne and munching on Belgian chocolate. You know, like what a normal middle-class family does every weekend."
She shook her head and said, "Anyways, Mitt, we need to go shopping for a couple of things in the city."
Mr. and Mrs. Romney walked out of their house and onto the driveway where their chauffeur was waiting, holding open the door. Ann went in first, followed by Mitt.
Mrs. Romney asked the chauffeur: "Bill, can you turn to the Classical station?"
Mitt protested "But we listened to that last time, I suggest we instead listen to the Rage Against the Machine Paul gave us a while back."
As the car wound its way towards downtown, Mitt closed his eyes...
It was Inauguration Day and Mitt Romney was sitting watching the handsome Paul Ryan take his oath of office (administered by Justine Scalia) as Vice President of the United States. Now it would be his turn. Romney arose and strode forward to face Chief Justice John Roberts to take the oath of office. He put his hand on the Bible (Mitt had considered using the Book of Mormon but political considerations regarding evangelicals and conservative Catholics convinced him otherwise) and began to repeat the words uttered by Chief Justice Roberts:
"I. Willard Mitt Romney, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. So help me God."
As soon as he'd finished, the band struck up "Hail to the Chief" while a twenty-one gun salute fired. The 45th President of the United States now strode forward to deliver his inaugural address.
The speech was fairly long and clearly stated the new chief magistrate's vision for his nation. He uttered stirring words about the unity of the Republic and virtue of its citizenry. He stated his desire for strength in foreign policy, especially against rogue nations such as Iran. On the domestic side, Romney urged for the free market to be released to its full potential. He concluded:
"My fellow Americans, I believe we are already a great nation-indeed the last best hope in this world. We are a shining city upon a hill. Yet I believe, we can become greater. The light upon the hillside can shine ever more brightly and be an ever-clearer beacon for all the peoples of the world. Now then, let us work together, to fulfill this destiny!"
"Did you say Destiny sir?' asked the store worker in the Nordstrom. "Its a very good perfume, sir. It'd be a most excellent gift for your wife."
The former governor shook his head, wondering how he had ended up here and responded: "Oh, no thank you. I was just looking for a new suitcase."
"In that case, sir, let me show you over here..."
It had been about a year and a half since Romney had taken that oath of office on a crisp and clear January morning and how much the country had changed since then! The President was presiding over a regular weekly meeting of the Cabinet and evaluating the fruits of his administration so far. Of course, his accomplishments would not have been possible without coattails allowing the GOP to retake the Senate (who had of course immediately proceeded to abolish procedural filibuster) and increase its majority in the House.
The bills that had sailed through Congress and onto the President's desk had been numerous. In the realm of taxation all the Bush tax cuts had been made permanent and this had been followed by the elimination of the estate and alternative minimum taxes. Of course, despite what certain pessimists had predicted, any gaps in the deficit caused by these tax cuts were made up for with vast amounts of cuts on discretionary spending. Spending on education, infrastructure, and scientific research (although obviously not the military since the nation needed to be secure) had all been greatly reduced. Despite this the deficit seemed to be increasing every year: no matter, more spending and tax cuts would come in next year's budget. Thanks to this the Dow was rising and corporate profits had seen unprecedented booms. Of course the employment numbers weren't so good but then rarely is everything perfect.
Now in the realm of healthcare President Romney had also passed great reforms. First of all, Obamacare had to be and was repealed (a bill which was not only different in degree but in kind from the bipartisan healthcare reform Romney had passed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts). There had been some inevitable grumbling when those with pre-existing conditions realized that once more they'd be denied health insurance, but the bill was a financially oppressive bill that would destroy the greatest healthcare system in the world. This reform had been followed by block-granting Medicaid to the states and voucherizing Medicare for those under 55. Now the final aspect of the great plan-Social Security reform was about to be passed through Congress.
Yet despite these great triumphs in the domestic area, foreign policy was a bit of a problem...
Secretary of State John Bolton spoke up, "So what shall we do with Iran, Mr. President? We've issued yet more sanctions, but the Iranians remain as stubborn as ever. Netanyahu of Israel is seriously contemplating an airstrike within the next six months. I hope you will give our most faithful allies, tacit backing in this endeavour, Mr. President. You've already shown your great support for Israel by approving further settlement construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank."
The handsome visage of Vice President Paul Ryan turned towards Bolton before facing the President: "Mr. President, while I am as much a friend of the state of Israel as anyone, we must consider that the CIA detects no sign of an active nuclear weapons program in Iran. In addition such an airstrike has the potential to destabilize the entire region, including the already tense situation in Iraq and get us involved in a war..."
Mitt Romney rose and looked around the room, staring hard into each member of the Cabinet, and boring the most into the cool, blue eyes of the Vice President: "You know I like you very much, Paul; and that I've always respected your opinion but John is absolutely right here. We cannot appease Iran at this critical hour, lest we see a new fascist regime attempt to destroy the Jewish people and take over the world. Tell the Prime Minister that the United States of America gives full support to her ally in this defensive assault and that she will always be behind her. The die is cast."
"Where do you want to eat, Mitt?" asked Ann.
Mitt wondered aloud, "Are we done shopping already?"
"Funny you should say that, considering you always complain how long I take to pick out my coats or shoes..."
They went to eat at a fine French restaurant called Le Mitterand for dinner. Ann ordered lamb with a curious sauce made of prunes while Mitt tried out some veal steak with mushrooms. The food was fantastic and Mitt decided to order some fine Bordeaux for Ann and himself. While this went against the precepts of his religion, he figured he'd just tithe a bit more next year for atonement.
As the former nominee for President downed a cup, then another, and another; he began to have a wondrous vision.
The Air Force One glided smoothly to a landing at the makeshift military airfield outside Tehran. It was the late spring of 2015, and American arms had triumphed in the war against Iran. After the airstrikes against Iranian facilities by Israel, the situation had escalated quickly. As it became clear that Israel would only have done it had the United States given tacit approval, there were clashes in the Persian Gulf. A US destroyer was attacked and a half-dozen seamen lost their lives. War then broke out.
After a swift series of punishing air and drone strikes that devestated the key nerve centres of the Iranian military, a land invasion had taken place via Turkey and Iraq (to which the US had "invited" itself back in after a Shia revolt). American tanks had smashed through any opposition and within a few months the Stars and Stripes were raised over Tehran.
Now was the moment of triumph. The liberator of seventy million human beings and the man who finally destroyed America's mortal enemy in the region was to give a speech in the former Iranian capital. Tens of thousands of troops had gathered to listen, all their eyes set upon their commander-in-chief.
"My fellow Americans and all who are listening around the world, I speak from a city where the bright sun of freedom shines once more after thirty-five years of darkness. Our brave men and women, marching in the spirit of their forefathers at Saratoga, Gettysburg, and Normandy have utterly destroyed a brutal tyranny that murdered its own citizens, planned to launch a treacherous nuclear attack against a fellow democracy, and establish a totalitarian theocracy over the entire region, if not the world..."
"It is over now. This abomination, this Frankenstein's creature is no more. It is blotted from history just like the Third Reich and the Soviet Union. Now with our freedom-loving allies such as Britain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia we shall bring a new dawn of hope and prosperity to the region of the Middle East. I tell you, never has the torch of liberty shined more brightly than at this hour. You soldiers have done your country proud."
Romney's mind was rather hazy, although he recognized that we sitting or rather slouching in the automobile. He seemed to be murmuring some things as Ann Romney looked at him concernedly.
He heard her say to Bill the Chauffeur, "Poor Mitt. He always goes on about what could have been if he had won the election in his sleep."
Bill nodded, "Indeed Mrs. Romney. Tho' I must wonder how Mr. Gore feels..."