Feb. 8, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Mitt Aims for the Mainstream

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is suggesting to tried-and-true GOP ideas in “Believe in America,” his 59-point plan for economic growth, John Bicknell writes.

Each section includes a vignette from a guest writer. McNealy offers the best of these, a spirited and well-reasoned defense of Romney’s Iowa comment about corporations being people.

“What’s shocking here,” McNealy writes in response to Democratic criticism of the remark, “is actually that Democratic politicians believe they are scoring a point. The attitudes they display toward corporations explain a good deal about the current status of our economy after three years of Barack Obama’s failed attempts to bring down the rate of unemployment.”

The vignettes, in fact, make for the most interesting reading because this is, for the most part, pretty tame stuff. Certainly, there’s nothing here as radical as Cain’s 9-9-9 proposal.

Take the five bills Romney says he’ll send to Congress on the first day of his administration.

One would reduce the corporate income tax rate to 25 percent — not exactly an exhortation to tear down this wall.

Another would implement free-trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. With last week’s passage in Congress of all three, it appears that will be done well before January 2013.

A third calls for a survey of energy reserves. That’s right, a survey.

And he wants a $20 billion cut in non-security discretionary spending. If you’re scoring at home, that’s considerably less than 1 percent of federal spending.

Which is to say that when Romney is at the height of his power at the beginning of his administration, he is aiming at some of the lowest hanging Republican fruit imaginable.

Romney’s proposed day one executive orders are somewhat less timid — he says he would label China a currency manipulator and offer health care overhaul waivers to all comers as a prelude to seeking repeal of the 2010 law.

Tea partyers looking for a conservative revolution are not likely to be overly impressed by “Believe in America,” although it could be argued that any version of truly conservative governance would be revolutionary in a city that hasn’t seen such a thing in living memory.

Most mainline conservatives looking for a workable proposal with a decent chance of being enacted will be reasonably satisfied with the plan.

If Romney can find a way to bridge the gap between those two groups even a little bit, he’ll be the nominee.

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