Voters have heard a lot from Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on the campaign trail as to why they should vote for him. But what would a Romney presidency actually look like?
"I think what happens on the campaign trail is the guys lay out their vision for what they would do if they could wave a magic wand," said Jonathan Allen, senior Washington correspondent for Politico, on The Daily Circuit Wednesday. "I think voters understand they can't wave a magic wand and make it all happen, but I think a lot of voters are surprised to find out just how difficult it is to implement some of those things."
Jeremi Suri, professor for global leadership, history and public policy at the University of Texas - Austin, also joined the discussion. He said we will likely see a couple different versions of Romney in the Oval Office.
"I think we're likely to see someone who looks like Gov. Romney of Massachusetts on domestic issues, but I think we're also likely to see someone who sounds like more of a Republican hawk on foreign policy issues," he said. "That's the one place where the president has a lot more independence and decision making."
So what are some realistic expectations for a Romney White House?
We won't see sweeping legislation fly through Congress.
"If Mitt Romney is president of the United States, he will come in with, we believe, likely a Republican House and possibly a Democratic Senate, maybe a Republican Senate," Allen said. "Either way, he's not going to have the margin you would need to jam things through the Senate because you only need 41 to filibuster and stop a lot of legislation."
The Mexico City Policy on abortion would be reinstated.
"He would reinstate the Mexico City Policy on abortion, which is basically preventing federal funding from going to non-government organizations in other countries that perform or promote abortion," Allen said. "Under President Obama, that was suspended. Romney would be expected, maybe even as early as the first 24 hours, to reinstate that policy."
Obamacare won't go away anytime soon.
"On the Republican side, people are going to be upset that it's not as easy as snapping your fingers to undo Obamacare," Allen said. "Ultimately, it's extremely difficult to do that legislatively. There are some things that can be done at the presidential level, perhaps waivers for states that don't want to participate in the exchanges, things like that."
Suri said the waivers would allow states to reject the federal money, similar to the stimulus money situation under Obama.
Less federal government? Unlikely.
A caller from Pittsburgh brought up the way Romney talks about state's rights.
"If you listen to what Mr. Romney says, he refers to 'these United States' quite often instead of 'the United States,'" he said. "This is a real movement in the tea party and in the conservative movement across America. We really want to decentralize the power. We want to take it away from Washington, D.C., move it back to the governors, back to the state and governor level... That's going to come with the budget cuts."
Suri said the historian in him doubts this will actually happen. He said it's a similar argument made by Presidents Nixon and Reagan.
"I think Nixon and Reagan believed it, but then if you look at what they did as president, they actually increased the power of the presidency," he said. "The trend line is for the president to assert more power, because it's progressively more difficult to get things through Congress and to get 50 governors to agree on things."
A more comprehensive immigration reform
"The Republican establishment believes that it's essential to have a policy that works for the business community, for the immigrant community, for every community," Allen said. "The problem is they've got a base that simply doesn't agree with the idea that they should be finding ways to make use of the immigrant populations that are here rather than sending them home. That's been a conflict in the Republican Party."
President George W. Bush pushed a comprehensive immigration reform bill and Romney will likely follow that path, Allen said.
"I think you will continue to see Republican presidents try to find a solution that is considerate of the immigrants who are already here who are unlikely to actually be sent back," he said. "However, that doesn't play on the campaign trail in Republican primaries and certainly is a difficult lift... I think you would see Mitt Romney more than likely move away from where he was in the primary and more toward where his rhetoric has been lately."
MPR News' Madelyn Mahon contributed to this report.
Kerri is joined by Jonathan Allen of Politico and Professor Jeremy Suri from University of Texas at Austin this morning. They'll discuss who would be appointed to a Romney cabinet, who would run his staff, and what policy changes could happen under his leadership.
If you're a Republican or an Independent voter, what would you want a President Romney to prioritize in his administration?
And even if you're supporting President Obama, is there anything you've heard Romney talk about that you hope he actually does if elected?
Here's what Jonathan Allen and Mike Allen wrote in Politico:
"The difference would be felt most immediately and acutely on health reform. Romney’s repeated promise to “repeal Obamacare” is sure to be curtailed, even with a Republican Senate, his advisers admit. One official said that under a Democratic Senate, “we would just have to try to grind out changes by starving Obamacare through regulations.”
“In the campaign, there’s a lot of bravado about jamming things down people’s throats,” a Romney official said. “But that’s not really Romney. That’s not his style. He’s a pragmatist.”
Video from Politico.
Jonathan Allen: I think what happens on the campaign trail is that candidates paint a vision of what they would do if they could wave a magic wand.
You'll see a much slower approach to accomplishing these goals when a candidate actually takes office.
@KerriMPR The last 4 years have shown us what determined opposition can do. What can the new Pres. do without filibuster reform? Gridlock?
I support Obama. However, if Romney is elected, I’d like to see him add the 12-millionn jobs he’s said he will add. I’d like him to realize that with the close vote, there will surely be, he does not have a mandate, so how will he compromise with the 47 or 49% of the people who didn’t vote for him?
From an op-ed from Fox News by
Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association:
"Voters know that whoever is president next year, he will have to do something about the economy and spending. Those issues will be covered during the debates. But what else would top a Romney administration to-do list? For Obama, it was health care reform. This is an opportunity for Romney to really step outside the box and present a bold agenda to voters: is it immigration reform; Social Security/Medicare reform; or a foreign policy initiative?"
Jonathan Allen says that within 24 hours, a Romney administration would reverse the "Mexico City position."
From ABC's The Note:
"Shortly after taking office in 2009, President Obama signed an executive order reversing the “Mexico City policy,” which prohibited funding to international family planning groups that provided abortions. It essentially barred recipients of U.S. foreign aid from promoting abortion as a method of family planning."
I support President Obama.
My realistic hope for a Romney administration that he claimed he would achieve? That he works with the Democrats. It's the most realistic hope based on his term as governor, but he will not be able to because he will be owned by the extremists. If we are lucky, he won't achieve anything that he has promised.
This is the first of two conversations. Tomorrow, we discuss what an Obama second term would look like.
Jonathan Allen of Politico.
Romney is working on a 200 day plan rather than a 100 day plan.
Jonathan Allen says that the GOP base might be disappointed at how hard it will be to alter the Affordable Care Act.
If Romney is elected I would like to see him follow up on a bi-partisan presidency however considering that he vetoed over 800 bills as governor and over 700 of them were over riden it seems that his bipartisan record is pretty awful.
Kerri Miller, if you're going to moderate a debate you need to be unbiased and impartial, not in your personal life but your online persona. You are definitely biased in your opinions and you make no bones about making them known.
Two issues: how would Romney deal with the fiscal cliff if the lame duck Congress/President doesnt do it, and will the Senate Democrats come around to some big tax reform bill?
Our guest Jeremy Suri.
"Romney has branded himself as someone who would overturn Obamacare."
Suri says that he will use executive orders to make some changes.
I'd like to see Mr. Romney to use the skills he's touted from his MA governorship, and get the Senate Democrats and House Republicans to actually do the jobs they have been elected to do. Both of these groups are obstructing progress on responsible fiscal management of our country.
I think Kerri did an awsome job moderating the debates. She actually tried to make them answer the questions. I found it interesting that Kline still refused to answer them. I had thought about him as a candidate, but not any more.
I would like to know if Romney thinks he can run the Presidency like a CEO? @KerriMPR
I'd like to see how Romney, who voted against the elimination of tax breaks to companies off-shoring jobs would create 12 million jobs?
I would also like to know how any president could created 12 million jobs? Without the purchase power of the middle class, no jobs will be created.
The first 200 days of a Romney administration, if it occurs, could be greatly affected by whatever occurs during the lame duck session.
What thoughts do your guests have on that?
Read that Condoleezza Rice speech that both our guests praised.
I thought the discussion this morning was supposed to be about what people would be looking for in a Romney administration? Not railing against him as a candidate.
Here’s what I’m hoping he’ll follow through with as President: simplifying tax code. Although I believe Congress will be resistant to this (amongst Dems & Repubs) since both parties love to use tax credits and deductions as the carrot on a stick to manipulate corporate campaign donors.
Or watch it:
Both our guests seem to think your dream of simplification is not going to happen. And would take years if it did happen.
I have heard numerous economists state that there will be 12 million jobs created in the next 4 years no matter who the president is because the economy is improving and will continue to improve.
From The Daily Beast:
"A Romney victory would likely mean the country’s looming budget problems would be put off until after the new president took office in January. It would also mean an explosion of expectations among the Republican faithful. “A lot of people are going to want to go full bore,” says the aide. That includes everything from an overhaul of the tax code to a social agenda that many Americans find extreme, and that Romney has tried to distance himself from. “Our members think if we win, well that’s it—now we’ll be able to really enact our agenda, and we want to temper that, inject some reality.”
Kerri, I feel as though you have been campaigning for Romney for some reason. Please be somewhat more fair to President Obama & give him some credit for the work he's done.
I want to know what role Zoellick would have in a Romney presidency. The domestic stuff is arguing over gravy flavor and constrained by other branches. Romney's having surrounded himself with neocons (other than Zoellick) to me, speaks volumes about how he chooses to see the world.
Although I'm a progressive, I hope that if Romney wins that he puts in place all the policies that he said he would during the primaries.
Although I think those policies would take us back to the gilded age and the robber barons, I think that the America people would finally see how extreme the Republican party is. They would lose massively in the mid-term election and an entire generation of Americans and US minorities would be turned off by their backward policies. It would end the current Republican party as we know it, and maybe it would force them to embrace the more liberal ideas of the old Nixon Republican party.
@Mary You're kidding, right?
@KerriMPR my husband & I consider social security to be a donation as we'll never see the money
@KerriMPR at this point Obama has more blood on his hands than Gbush. If Romney is elected I hope to see an anti war movement again.
@KerriMPR Want t see Mitt take right agenda to logical conclusion, destroying econ.& social fabric of USA-we deserve no less for electng him
I think there will be a backlash against African Americans for supporting Obama. I expect to see a lot of programs and tax breaks that benefit Blacks eliminated and social pressure to 'get us in line'.
@Stephanie Curtis, MPR News @Stephanie Curtis, MPR News – I think it's unfortunate they wouldn't even discuss it.
I was surprised too. It wasn't an unheard of or pie-in-the-sky dream.
No one knows what Romney will prioritize because Romney is whatever his audience at any given moment is. The base for the primaries, everyone for the general. He's not trustworthy and he scares the crap out of me.
Eric, what do you think tea party philosophy is all about?
@KerriMPR teaparty wants smaller gov. Red states get more fed dollars -- net tax winners. will romney really cut money to red states?
And the non-existent voter fraud spouting voter ID.
I think it unfair to lump all Tea Party members into this category. I think protest movements are what keep out democracy strong. What concerns me is how our elected reps are in essence using policy to get even.
Like two steps backward.
If someone crosses the border, gets a job, works, pays into taxes and doesn't take refunds, and actually tries to vote, he has done more to deserve that vote than most native Americans.
I'd like to see the deficit reduced in a Romney administration...$1 trillion+ per year is just not acceptable.
The Tea Party wants to get rid of Obama at all costs. Look at all the initiatives Tea Party candidates have put through their government. None of them would create smaller Government, but expand them. Voter ID, Gay marriage Ban...
Being "Pro-Life" garners many votes for republicans from the religious right. As a pro-life democrat, this is the one issue on which I agree with Gov. Romney. Yet, while republicans get many votes because of this issue, I do not see them making it a priority once in office. I know many people that decide their vote solely on the issue of abortion (a decision I understand and struggle with), yet I wonder if the issue just gets lip service and is a convenient way to get votes. If elected, I hope Romney will take this issue seriously - but given his wavering on the topic, I'm not optimistic.
Voter ID will result in a smaller government...once the illegal votes are eliminated then the shrinking of government can begin.