If Willard Mitt Romney takes the oath of office next January with Republican control over both houses of Congress, where do we go from there?
With no more Obama to “kick around,” in Nixon’s immortal words, how does a GOP that has spent years trying to dismantle government pivot to a position of actually running it? Where does Romney go after his Day One promise to wipe out Obamacare, and how do John Boehner and Mitch McConnell pivot to passing legislation instead of just gutting it?
As Obama and Romney now go head to head, the President’s campaign is working hard to make voters think about these questions, not only by the disputing the former venture capitalist’s claims about job creation but his record as governor of Massachusetts.
Beyond that, although it may only play a small part in voters’ decisions this November, there is foreign policy, the role of a president in shaping America’s role in the world.
Even pillars of the GOP establishment, most notably Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft, are dragging their feet about endorsing Romney, citing views that are “too confrontational or too hawkish” and worries that his campaign statements “could hurt later diplomatic efforts and may signal a drift toward neoconservative passions.”
As the 2012 presidential race tightens, it will be crucial to expand the main issue beyond a referendum on Barack Obama’s four years, as the Tea Party would have it, but a realistic assessment of where Mitt Romney in the Oval Office and GOP control of Congress would take the nation.