Mitt Romney’s new book, No Apology, makes a very striking contrast with the most recent book entry by a potential Republican presidential candidate, Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue. Palin’s subject is Palin: her wrongs and grievances. Unlike Palin, Romney cares about the external world. His book is an action plan, not a memoir.
Romney’s No Apology offers the reader a juicy hunk of foreign policy red meat, with attacks on President Obama as a denier of American greatness who anticipates and perhaps even welcomes American decline. But there are also interesting clues that Romney’s own policy preferences diverge somewhat from those of his red meat audience.
Like many conservatives, I have credited Romney with very sophisticated economic understanding, which makes the slapdash and often outright ignorant economic history propounded in Chapter 2 of No Apology surprising.
In No Apology, Romney discusses national defense with greater depth than other issues, sounding the alarm on China’s military buildup and threats from Russia and Iran.
In the foreign policy chapters of No Apology, Romney delivers remarkably few insights on America’s two shooting wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, suggesting that his own views on foreign and policy may be undeveloped.
When No Apology, turns to economic policy — for the first time in the book — the reader can hear Mitt Romney’s voice as he speaks out in favor of TARP, for government investment in basic research, and against those who’d penalize corporations that “send jobs overseas.”
In No Apology, Romney presents ultra-technocratic solutions for entitlement reform, arguing in favor of a phased in approach to personal retirement accounts and turning authority for Medicaid over to the states.
Reading Romney’s No Apology it’s hard to avoid the suspicion that Obama and Romney have more in common with each other on the issue of healthcare reform than either does with his party’s more fervent supporters.
Graphs. I cannot remember seeing any in any previous presidential campaign book.
I see from the Twitter traffic that these Romney readings are being picked up by people who dislike the former governor, from the right and from the left. Just to clarify: The middle chapters of No Apology are some of the most impressive ever to appear in a campaign book.
Like the rationalist he is, Romney prefers a revenue-neutral carbon tax to cap-and-trade. But even more interesting is the intelligent and frequently unconventional cast of mind revealed by Romney’s energy ideas.
In No Apology, Mitt Romney makes some comments you wouldn’t expect from him about labor unions and also delivers some pointed criticisms of poor corporate management.