, Salem, MA


October 24, 2012

Ambrose: The pettiness refuge


Romney pointed to other ways the world was out of whack these days, such as the seeming rise of jihadist activity, turmoil throughout the Middle East and Iran venturing ever nearer to attainment of nuclear weaponry. He suggested policies that could have worked better, but he did not propose anything more warlike than anything Obama himself stands for, despite leftist jitters that he’s anxious to start something somewhere.

Obama was able to say some things are better now than they were when he took office. We are out of Iraq, for instance. He did not say that he pretty much followed the plan of George W. Bush in getting us out, and he seemed to have forgotten that he did want to leave some forces there to help the Iraqis, even though the Iraqis wouldn’t go along. Our presence could have made it less likely we would lose everything we fought for someday.

Both candidates were right that a strong economy is an important part of our national security, and Obama’s problem is a simple one: His policies have been tested and failed. He thought, however, that he had Romney in a tough spot when he said the challenger did not want any government guarantees for the auto industry when it was suffering badly. In fact, Romney had written a New York Times opinion piece in November 2008 saying at the end that the “federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk.”

Maybe, some researchers have said, that approach would not have worked, but it is not absolutely clear yet that the Obama-engineered bankruptcy and bailout will work, either. In an online Forbes magazine article, Louis Woodhill writes that General Motors is losing market share and could face bankruptcy again. It may well be that a leaner, meaner GM envisioned by Romney would be doing a lot better right now.


Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, is a columnist living in Colorado. Email

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