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Can Romney's loss help Republicans?
Just ten days after the election, it already looks like rough sledding ahead for whoever sits in the Oval Office. And the fact that it is not Mitt Romney may ultimately help Republicans.
Bret Stephens writes in the Wall Street Journal:
Stephens's point -- that the wreckage of the past four years now belongs to Obama -- resonates in light of current events:
The stock market has nose-dived since the election, and October's $120-billion deficit is the start of a fifth straight $1-trillion-plus annual deficit -- not to mention that the economy and jobs are growing at a snail's pace.
A back-loaded ObamaCare is beginning to bite, with new taxes starting in 2013, companies cutting back benefits, and all manner of unintended consequences emerging, not the least of which is businesses coming to grips with the law by further constricting hiring. As Forbes recently observed, the health care law has hatched a "healthcare cost monster."
The EPA and other agencies have built up a regulatory cliff that rivals the fiscal cliff in potential economic damage, with no desire in a Democratic Senate to apply the brakes. And Dodd-Frank has enshrined too-big-to-fail bailouts while tying up the financial industry in endless and costly bureaucratic rulemaking.
As the regulatory chokehold tightens on the economy, Obama and the Democrats will have no one but themselves to blame.
Europe has now entered a double-dip recession and has kicked the Greece bailout further down the road. The Federal Reserve, seeing no real growth ahead, continues bailing out Obamanomics, "just trying to stave off economic disaster."
Meanwhile the president's foreign policy prowess has led to a dangerous shooting war breaking out in the Middle East, with Israel surrounded by newly unstable Islamist countries -- a set of circumstances which even Thomas Friedman of the New York Times terms "Obama's nightmare." And the unimpeded Iranian march to a nuclear weapon remains Israel's nightmare.
Top it off with a foreign policy staff, from Hillary Clinton to Susan Rice, that has covered up the tragic events in Benghazi, not to mention a thin-skinned president who has prevaricated at best on same.
On the day after the election, the New York Times wrote of the "second-term curse," citing historical examples and explanations as to why second terms are typically "less successful than first terms."
This president will be further hindered by his propensity to dictate rather than negotiate, and to divide rather than unite, as well as by the consequences of his first-term policies.
So it would seem that the president has cooked himself up quite a stew that he can now neither escape nor blame on anyone else, try though he will.
Mr. Stephens concludes:
The Democrat experiment in liberal utopia didn't die last week, either, but it is careering rapidly downhill. And there is no President Romney to pull the emergency brake.
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