Romney’s Silence Speaks Volumes

Now that the Democratic National Convention has ended the next big thing to look forward to in the run up to the election is October’s presidential election debates. President Obama and Mitt Romney will go face to face three times in October. The first debate is set for October 3rd where domestic policy will be on the agenda in Denver. Vice President Joe Biden and GOP VEEP Paul Ryan square off in Danville, Kentucky on October 11 where drama will likely be on the agenda despite the fact that the chosen topic is ‘foreign and domestic policy’. President Obama and Mitt Romney then meet again in New York on Oct 16th for a town hall style debate before their final debate on foreign policy on October 22nd in Boca Raton, Florida.

Since we’re heard very little from Romney regarding policy the debates will hopefully show him for what he really is, a GOP puppet who’s ridiculously out of his depth. We all know President Obama’s greatest attribute is his oratory skills. I’m looking forward to him showing the electorate how far detached from reality Romney is on issues like the economy, foreign policy and job creation. Romney has said very little about what he actually thinks he’ll be able to do if he gets elected. All he’s done so far is tell us what he thinks President Obama hasn’t been doing right with thinly veiled threats to slim down the EPA and repeal the Dodd-Frank act.

His vow to repeal the Dodd-Frank financial reform regulation has in recent weeks been somewhat overshadowed by his apparent vow of silence regarding his potential proposals to replace them. Ever since making his vow to repeal the Wall Street reforms during the GOP primary debates in early 2012 Romney has so far appeared reluctant to expand on the topic or offer a viable alternative.

That was 9 months ago and nothing has changed since. Back in May an article in the Boston Globe by Matt Viser and Tracy Jan pointed out that Romney is “nearly silent on how – without the regulation – he would prevent Wall Street from once again engaging in the risky practices that helped cause the 2008 financial crisis.” Viser and Jan went on to add that Romney’s partisan criticism of President Obama’s ‘handling of the post-meltdown economy’ has confused some respected economists.

The Boston Globe article carried a quote from Cornelius Hurley, the director of the Morin Center for Banking and Financial Law at Boston University who was quoted as saying (about Romney) “I’m no fan of Dodd-Frank, but I am a fan of the notion that we have to do something. He ought to be throwing out some replacements, some proposals of what he would do different.”

It’s certainly not difficult to find left leaning economists who are lining up to criticize Romney but by stating he’s not a fan of Dodd-Frank Hurley appears to be making a valid economic point while still conveying the notion the a free market economy could still be a good thing – but obviously with some kind of regulation. There are three plausible reasons why Romney may be deciding that keeping quiet regarding the repeal. The first is that he’s making the most of campaign funding originating from Wall Street and doesn’t want to rock the boat.

The second is that he realizes pushing a repeal through Congress (assuming he gets elected as President) is easier said than done. The third and final possible reason for the silence is a simple matter of him not wanting to alienate potential voters. The fact that the Dodd-Frank reforms are more popular on Main Street than they are on Wall Street likely means that after weighing all of this up the Romney camp have simply decided that silence is golden – or more likely they just don’t know what to say… One thing is certain though, if those undecided voters are ignorant enough to vote for someone who hasn’t got any policies we’re in for big trouble.