I don’t know if he really planned to do this, but Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has found a concise way to delineate the differences between his view of the future and that of President Obama.
"President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family,” Romney said in his convention speech.
I assume Romney meant his words to be derisive, to paint the president as either an irrelevant dreamer or as a modern-day King Canute.
And, aside from the fact that it may well be the most immoral statement of the current campaign, it might even be effective.
You see, Romney delivered that message in Florida, a state that will be largely submerged should the sea rise much higher.
And every prediction associated with global warming – those predictions are proving to be too conservative – suggests that the sea levels will continue to rise as the average temperatures increase.
Romney knows that and, yet, he scorns efforts to limit global warming. In fact, he has promised to increase production of the fossil fuels that lead to increased greenhouse gases and to end federal support for alternative energy sources that don’t doom the climate.
My argument is, then, that Romney’s position is immoral not because he is wrong but because he knows the truth – he has previously acknowledged the problem – and denies that truth in favor of a lie.
God knows, President Obama is open to criticism when it comes to climate change. He hasn’t made it a priority in his administration.
But Romney’s criticism isn’t that Obama hasn’t done enough. Romney’s criticism is that Obama had the gall to take climate change seriously.
And here is the difference between the two men: For all his failings, Obama takes his obligation to the future seriously and Romney takes winning the day seriously.
It is the difference between a statesman and a businessman whose entire career has been focused on closing the deal and meeting the next quarterly report.
The jury is still out on whether Obama’s policies will work. He has told us from his first day in office that his goal is to create an economy that can be sustained through the future.
The jury is still out. Unemployment is still high. The national debt is still rising. One clue that Obama might be right, however, is the fact that General Motors didn’t go out of business.
Romney’s promise is to "help you and your family." The one thing he hasn’t yet done is to tell us how he plans to do that.
Personally, I’d like to see him spell that out a bit before we enact policies that will take us back to the days before Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.