I will execute this objective by way of my personal powers of persuasion. And I will ignore the critics of this policy, who will almost certainly accuse me of being naïve and overconfident.
My policy will be twofold. If the ingredient for success is to cajole conflicting parties with pledges of financial benefits in the form of new or additional foreign aid, I will buy alliances for the sake of a safer world. And if pressuring or threatening obstinate nations or entities – be they foes or friends – to make concessions via painful compromises builds a more secure world for future generations, I will bear the potential political consequences of an unpopular policy in the here and now.
Let’s take the Middle East, for example. While I will always defend American friends like Israel, I will be adamant in my resolve that Israel follow America’s lead in dealing with the threat posed by an Iran that seeks to become a nuclear power. I will simultaneously oblige Israel to come to terms with a contiguous Palestinian state even as I insist that Israel’s enemies end, once and for all, their belligerent policy of refusing to recognize the right of the Jews to a state of their own.
If the parties resist my efforts, I will seriously consider asking Congress to reduce or cut off economic and/or military aid. This “speak softly, and carry a big stick” method was a sound prescription for President Theodore Roosevelt’s foreign and military policies in the early 20th century. It remains so today.
In sum, if leading an ever-expansive government with policies dictated by compassion rather than the bottom line makes me a socialist, and if attempting to force good behavior on nations by any means necessary makes me a bully for peace, I will wear those labels as badges of honor.
* * * * *
Now, Governor Romney:
As the capitalist candidate in this presidential campaign, I will make three points clear to the American people.
First, I make no apology for living the American dream by having earned great wealth honestly in a free-market system.
And to the critics of my successful stewardship at Bain Capital, I say this: It is sometimes necessary to make unpopular administrative decisions that negatively impact the unfortunate few for the benefit of the more fortunate many. That is a credo – crude to the bleeding heart but smart and practical to the venture capitalist – that I plan to use as my economic guiding force if I become president.
Along these lines I will encourage young people to aspire to accomplish the same dream of attaining wealth that I’ve lived. I will not punish them for their success through higher taxes solely because they outdo many of their fellow Americans in the economic sphere.
Instead, I will utilize their newfound ability to give back to this great nation that provided them the opportunity to succeed by encouraging them to create jobs and participate in a host of charitable endeavors.
I will ensure that if you play by the capitalist rules of hard work, government will help you if you fall on hard times. However, if you’re able-bodied – physically, mentally and emotionally – but expect government to support you with entitlements simply for being an American citizen, the federal government will not provide for you. At the same time, government must always preserve a stable safety net for the disabled and others unable to care for themselves. That is a moral responsibility I will always practice. I have been accused by some as being cold and calculating in my seeming fixation with the bottom line. Well, if that obsession leads to an end to the current tragic reality of more than 23 million of our fellow Americans finding themselves unemployed or underemployed, millions more losing their homes, and seemingly countless number of parents remaining unable to save for their children’s college costs and their own retirement years, then I guess I’ll have to live with being tagged as heartless.
If I am classified as unfeeling because I plan to eliminate the unfathomable $16 trillion debt through the short-term pain of reforming the broken Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security programs to accomplish my goal of long-term fiscal solvency, so be it.
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