That’s what the narrator, who sounds a bit like the Republican nominee himself, asks viewers in the Romney campaign’s first video ad for the general election (entitled “Day One”) that went up on YouTube last night. The advertisement will be shown over and over again in the battleground states (i.e. Virginia, Michigan) to a people who presumably hate the word “swing.”
Most of us have no idea what the answer to that question is; predicting the future is a hard trait to come by for the non-clairvoyant demographic. Our fellow Voice writer Pete Kotz took a wack at it and, apparently, so did Mitt.
Interwoven with gleeful shots of Mitt shaking peoples’ hands and workers that exist somewhere Bain Capital hasn’t found yet, the video takes hypothetical politics to the White House, painting a first day on the job portrait for anyone who’s interested. And, if the video is any indication, he has a lot planned.
In the first 24 hours as leader of the free world, Romney will tackle three main objectives in one fell swoop. Take a deep breath:
1. Approve Keystone XL
2. Pass tax cuts and reform
3. Start the steamrolling of Obamacare
And exhale. Let’s think about this for a second.
Start with Obamacare; the bane of post-modern conservatism and the centerpiece of what will soon to be one of the most ground-breaking Supreme Court decisions in recent history. Notwithstanding the justices’ moods that day, the bill’s existence and future is solely under of the responsibility of Congress, not the President. Legislators passed the bill; therefore, they can kill it.
Political reality: to start measures to repeal Obamacare translates into Mitt twisting the arms of fellow Congressmen for months. And that’s not exciting at all.
The next part – the whole tax reform spiel – inherits a similar fate. Everyone who took civics class or watched Schoolhouse Rock as a kid learned at least one federalist factoid: Congress has power of the purse. That means that the middle class caricatures in this video are subject to the will of the polarized legislative branch, not the one-man team in the bully pulpit.
A President can sure as hell talk about changing the tax code (search: Obama, Buffett Rule, legislative fail) but it’s Congress that has omnipotence in this sector. So political reality: passing tax reform on Day One is laughable to anyone that knows a thing about how the United Stated government actually works, notwithstanding lobbyists, loopholes and everything else that keeps us up at night.
Actually, only one of things can actually be done by a President, regardless if it’s Day One of Day Fifty-Three. That is, of course, the Keystone XL – that metal snake that will run through the heart of America. To pass something of this magnitude, the company behind the project, TransCanada, needs the approval of the State Department and the President. Hence Obama’s sign-off of its southern half in February. The final political reality: eh, it could happen.
During the early days of the primary, the Republican contenders were obsessed with Day One revelations. Bachmann, Cain, Perry, Santorum and Romney would try to trump each others by seeing who could say ‘kill Obamacare’ more times in a single sentence. But that’s because a Day One scenario is malleable and easy to swallow. Those aforementioned political realities go out the window and, in the rules of the hypothetical, the response to “what if?” can be construed to fit anyone’s MO.
And that’s the basis of Romney’s first ad for the general election. Let the games begin.