Sunday, September 02, 2012

What if Barack Obama had been a Republican?

That's a question Kathleen Parker asks. Reading her question, I couldn't help but imagine a Republican convention at which President Obama was cheered for his many first term accomplishments - and that G.W. would have played a much larger role, rhetorically if not physically, than he did at the actual convention. Possible applause lines:
  • Graceful in defeat, my colleague Mitt Romney volunteered to serve as my healthcare czar, donating his entire salary to charity. Together we fought back against socialized medicine, built on his fine work in Massachusetts, and brought to the nation a market-based health insurance policy that will protect your right to keep the insurance and doctor you have right now, while helping millions of Americans get affordable health insurance from private insurance companies. And we did so with incredible bipartisan support, winning over most Democrats to our conservative, market-based model of reform.

  • We brought reforms to Medicare that will save billions by cutting waste and removing market-distorting subsidies, and will leave the quality of care unaffected.

  • We saved the American auto industry from collapse, and helped usher in efficiencies previously prevented by unions and lobbyists, creating a context in which our auto manufacturers are once again profitable and producing cutting-edge vehicles.

  • Due to the depth of the recession we bit the bullet and passed a bipartisan stimulus bill, but we quickly returned to restraint. That one-time stimulus helped get us through the worst of the recession, and we have since seen our trust in the markets rewarded with steady job growth and continuing recovery, and the markets have been slowly doing their job.

  • We have kept America safe for another four years. We have prevented Iran from gaining nuclear weapons. We have toppled a tyrant in Lebanon. We got Bin Laden! We ended the war in Iraq, and are preparing Afghanistan to stand on its own.

  • We implemented reforms that will prevent another financial industry collapse and protect consumers from the irresponsible lending practices that helped contribute to the housing bubble. George W. Bush put his reputation on the line when he decided that bailing out the banks was the best way to save our economy, but he was right. We saved the banks with minimal government intervention. And thanks to our reforms, achieved with broad bipartisan support, never again will we have to bail out banks with taxpayer money.

  • We have made our party inclusive and have worked hard to make sure that everybody in this country is treated equally. We have implemented sensible immigration reforms by executive order, and Senator Rubio has taken the lead in getting the Democrats to join us in long-overdue immigration reform in my next term. We are the Party of Lincoln, and are proud to be the Party of Lincoln. We have put to rest the false notion that our party is anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-women, anti-civil rights. We are the party of America!

  • I continue to believe that money can be a corrupting influence in political campaigns and Vice President McCain continues to work with Congress to try to fashion new campaign finance transparency laws that will restore the common sense of the McCain-Feingold Bill, so the poeple can clearly see when special interests are trying to buy votes and influence elections.

  • Private industry is the engine that drives America, and subsidies interfere with competition and innovation. Our nation will save hundreds of millions of dollars through the elimination of Medicare's subsidies to private insurance companies, and through the elimination of subsidies to banks that provide student loans. We have a lot more work to do, but our trust in free markets and competition will prevail over the culture of the handout.

  • With the help of rising star Paul Ryan we came within inches of a "grand bargain" on the deficit that would have preserved Medicare and Social Security for generations to come. We will continue to work, to build on the atmosphere of bipartisanship my administration has restored to Congress, to complete that process, to cut the flab from government and keep our nation strong, while maintaining tax rates that are fair for everyone.

Lot's of spin, of course. Conventions are multi-day one-sided informercials. But the fact is, had Obama been a Republican many of his accomplishments that the Republicans presently ridicule, diminish or ignore would be touted as enormous accomplishments that make him a giant among presidents, they would tout the Republican history of many of Obama's reforms and accomplishments, and as they were enumerated the throng of life-long partisan Republicans would cheer.

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