<p>On his first presidential visit to address the European nations, President Obama felt it necessary to apologize for America's international power. He repeated that apology when visiting Latin America, and again to Muslims worldwide in an interview broadcast on Al-Arabiya television.</p><p> </p><p> In <i>No Apology</i>, Mitt Romney asserts that American strength is essential—not just for our own well-being, but for the world's. Governments such as China and a newly-robust Russia threaten to overtake us on many fronts, and Islam continues its dangerous rise. Drawing on history for lessons on how great powers collapse, Romney shows how and why our national advantages have eroded. From the long-term decline of our manufacturing base, our laggard educational system that has left us without enough engineers, scientists, and other skilled professionals, our corrupted financial practices that led to the current crisis, and the crushing impact of entitlements on our future obligations, America is in debt, overtaxed, and unprepared for the challenges it must face.</p><p> </p><p> We need renewal: fresh ideas to cut through complicated problems and restore our strength. Creative and bold, Romney proposes simple solutions to rebuild industry, create good jobs, reduce out of control spending on entitlements and healthcare, dramatically improve education, and restore a military battered by eight years of war. Most important, he calls for a new commitment to citizenship, a common cause we all share, rather than a laundry list of individual demands. Many of his solutions oppose President Obama's policies, many also run counter to Republican thinking, but all have one strategic aim: to move America back to political and economic strength. </p><p> </p><p> Personal and dynamically-argued, <i>No Apology</i> is a call to action by a man who cares deeply about America's history, its promise, and its future. </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p>
"Here is an accomplished executive in the private and public sectors who has done his homework. If he runs again for president in 2012, most of his agenda is on the record from the start."--The Washington Times
About the Author
Mitt Romney is an American businessman and former governor of Massachusetts. Romney was a candidate for the Republican nomination in the 2008 United States presidential election. He first gained national recognition in 2002 as President and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games. He received his B.A., with Highest Honors, from Brigham Young University in 1971. In 1975, he was awarded an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was named a Baker Scholar, and a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School.
During the endless presidential debates of 2007-2008, Mitt Romney stood out from the Republican crowd. Here was the former governor of the Liberal state of Massachusetts, the man who, when campaigning in 1994 said he had been "An Independent during Reagan-Bush". A former pro-choice candidate, he now ran as a hyper conservative Republican. Romney seemed an opportunist in the best sense of the word - a moderate, pragmatic Republican dressing up as an ultra conservative. Among the Republicans who have a realistic chance of winning the 2012 nomination, Romney seems like the most appealing option. So, although I rarely read books by politicians, I ordered Romney's, curious to know what he's got to say.
Romney writes well, and manages to communicate complicated ideas intelligently. He has to walk a fine line between policy discussions and public appeals, and hits a good balance. The book is however frequently overly sentimental , especially when Romney goes into one of his periodic paeans to American brilliance, goodness, and beauty.
The best aspect of "No Apology" is Romney's discussion of the US economy and related issues such as health care and the environment. He skillfully makes the case for "creative destruction" (i.e. market competition) and free trade. I particularly liked his acknowledgement of the costs of free trade to workers who lose their jobs -Romney's descriptions of his encounters with laid-off people, recognizing the ill effects of unemployment on people's self worth and dignity, is genuinely moving. Romney actually makes his case not by ignoring the downside, but by weighing benefits against cost. He also makes a very sensible point about America's need to liberalize its immigration policy in order to ensure that well educated foreigners who study in the US stay and contribute locally, rather than leave after having studied in America.
His points about regulation, taxation and the 2008-2009 bailouts are more open to question and less detailed, but exhibit the same awareness of the pros and cons of various positions. His criticism of the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats is exaggerated, but not overall implausible. He offers interesting approaches to the government's debt problems. The chapter on health care reform, while interesting, fails to discuss in detail the various healthcare bills promoted by the Obama administration and its allies. One suspects close scrutiny would show that they are more similar to the plan Romney instituted in Massachusetts than he'd care to admit. Perhaps most surprisingly, and despite his best efforts to disguise the fact, Romney is in favor of taxes on carbon emissions! Overall, while I don't agree with everything Romney says about these issues, he comes across as a thoughtful, pragmatic and non-doctrinaire Republican.
Unfortunately, the other parts of the book are far less impressive. The chapter on morality and culture is merely fluff; Romney briefly notes his opposition to same-sex marriage, abortion, and activist judges, and then goes on endlessly about the importance of work, the family and the American way.
More troubling are the earlier chapters, the ones about foreign policy. They showcase a politician prone to cliché, to vilification of the current administration coupled with the white washing of the previous one, and perhaps most important, a politician without any ideas of how to deal with the world's complex problems.
Have you ever read a sentence more cliché than "No nation has shed more blood for more noble causes than the United States" (p.33)? How do you prove or disprove this bizarre assertion? The Soviet Union lost many more men fighting Nazi Germany than the US has. Was its cause weaker because it has been invaded by Nazi Germany first? But America was attacked by Japan, and Hitler had first declared war on the United States, not vice versa. In general I find the arithmetic of blood shedding gruesome. Do you count in absolute numbers or in percentages? If the former, does it amounts to the fact of America being a big country? And how do you account for blood spilled for ignoble causes? Do you deduct it from blood spilled for good causes (thus reaching "net blood")? What do you do with wars fought for a combination of noble and ignoble causes? Etc, etc...
Romney's main argument regarding foreign policy is that the Obama administration strengthens America's enemies and weakens its allies. If the book's title means anything, it is an attack on Obama's "apology tour", apologizing for American crimes, real and imagined. Romney strangely paints Obama as breaking with 50 years of strategic planning. That's absurd and over the top criticism of a stylistic device, which has helped shore up support for the United States in such mostly friendly countries as France, the UK, and Germany, while having little or no effect on the likes of Venezuela, Iran or Turkey. Romney is upset that Hugo Chavez and Muamar Qaddafi have praised Obama. But Chavez has revoked all of the praise he has dashed out early on, while Muamar Qaddafi is now a Western ally, albeit a capricious and eccentric one. Indeed, normalizing relationship with Libya is the one Middle Eastern accomplishment of the George W. Bush administration, and it is strange to see Romney disparaging it in order to score a cheap debating point.
All the criticism of Obama's foreign policy strikes me as remarkably unbalanced, given the lack of almost any criticism of the policies of George W. Bush. Whatever ill effects Obama's policies had on America's relationship with its allies, those are nowhere near the scale of the rift caused by the Bush Administration (remember "Freedom Fries", "Old Europe" and "Cheese-Eating-Surrender-Monkeys"?), and Obama has not plunged America into two unwinnable wars. Criticizing Obama's foreign policies is like berating your daughter for scratching your car while ignoring your son's scorching down the house.
Romney's ideas about how to reform America's foreign policy are nothing to write home about. He wants to emulate the regional division of the world which President Truman instituted in the US Army, and make sure that there's one official responsible for American diplomacy in any region of the world. This is unlikely to work: the system has hardly been a panacea for America's military: consider the military failures in Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia and (arguably) Iraq. Furthermore, US diplomacy is far more complicated than America's military operations, involving a host of issues (trade, economic issues, political issues, peace keeping, etc), as well as cross-nation effects (America needs Chinese and Russian cooperation in imposing sanctions on Iran, for example), so that policy towards any country would necessarily be beyond the responsibility of any one official.
Romney wants to increase US Military spending (p.32). But what for? None of the conflicts in the world today are likely to be resolvable mostly by force. A military attack on Iran is probably not a great idea, but even if it was, it's politically undoable and Romney doesn't suggest it. So, beyond the existing battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq where exactly will this massive army be deployed? Romney argues that the expenditures should be 4% of GDP, rather than 3.8% as it is today. But he never tells us how he got this number. Why not go back to the 6% it was during the Cold War? More generally, Romney argues that "America's greatness" and "America's power" requires that the US will keep its military superiority over the Chinese. This is folly; The Chinese economy is growing much faster than America's economy, and this is unlikely to change, because China is a lot poorer than America: it's catching up. China's economy will exceed America's GDP long before it'll approach its GDP per capita. Why would America want to engage in an Arms Race it is bound to lose?
In the book's final chapter, Romney wonders, in effect, how any reasonable American could be a Democrat. His discussion of this question mysteriously fails to mention the war in Iraq or the mess the Bush administration has made of America's economy. Romney's willful amnesia to one side, much of what Romney says about America's economic issues makes sense, and very little of it is utterly loony. If he would rethink his foreign policy views and tone down his culturally conservative agenda, he would be a Republican candidate moderates can seriously consider.Read more ›
The answer to that question is why most readers will bother buying, borrowing or reading this book by the former Massachusetts Governor and 2008 Presidential primary candidate. In this time of national and international recession the voters and affected non-voters around the world are looking for a leader who can actually solve the major emergencies facing America, Freedom and Capitalism itself. As the grandson of American Immigrants whose family was run out of Mexico by Mexican revolutionaries angry with American Expatriates, Mitt grew up as part of a family that worked themselves up from desperate poverty to live the American Dream. His father worked as a wall plasterer while he supported his family and worked his way through college. He eventually earned his way into the presidency of American Motor Corporation (AMC) and bet his house (or at least the money he'd made from selling his home) on the successful development of the Rambler compact car. He later became three-time governor of Michigan. Mitt grew up in a family that had strong core values and he discusses those core values throughout this book. This reviewer actually met most of Mitt's family including Gov. George Romney when Mitt ran an unsuccessful campaign for Senate in Massachusetts. The whole family was part of that campaign and the lessons they learned with that loss served Mitt well a few years when he successfully won election for the Governorship of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Romney managed to do a good job managing that state even though he didn't have enough Republican legislative votes to uphold a veto and therefore had to reach across the aisle to the Democrats controlling the State House in order to accomplish his agenda. Romney believes that if America becomes a victim of socialism that freedom throughout the world will be lost. If the nation is not careful, it will become a second rate world country--still strong enough to survive, but not strong enough to defend freedom anywhere else in the world. "There are three pillars that sustain a free and strong America: l. A Strong Economy 2. A Strong Military 3. A free and Strong People." Romney then provides an agenda for a free and strong America. His list of goals includes 64 separate items and even Romney admits that his is not a complete list of changes needed. Studying that agenda will provide the reader with a decent idea of how Romney would tackle the nation's problems. The book's second chapter "Why Nations Decline" is also instructive. Mitt briefly examines the reasons the Ottomans, the Spanish, the Portuguese, the Chinese, the British, the Soviets--these were all super-powers of their respective eras "and they were all surpassed." The reasons for these nation's failures were eerily similar to much of what is occurring in the USA and Western Europe. The book examines many of the reasons for today's problems and provides some pretty decent ideas about how to solve them. Romney also describes why many people prefer to live in denial of the facts and why in past civilizations that failure to face undeniable facts led to the destruction of those great civilizations. In the book's eleventh and last chapter this reader was surprised by some personal stories that brought tears to my eyes. Since I was reading while seated at the Prudential Center Food Court Terrace, it was a little embarrassing to suddenly finding my eyes tearing up and salty streams trickling down my cheeks. That anything in this volume might require having tissues available was a total shock. Surprise, surprise, because the previous 99% of the book had been straight-forward logic and business-like explanations of Romney's beliefs and ideas on how to solve the nation's rapidly expanding and very dangerous problems, this ability to bring forth tears in an audience was enlightening. The text was not boring and there was a little humor such as Mitt's description of the fall his wife Ann experienced when the stage they were speaking from in Dubuque, Iowa, collapsed. When she got up, "dusted herself off, and later ad-libbed, `Well, I fell on de butt in Dubuque.'" The man obvious isn't just a cool headed, unflappable, maybe sometimes seemingly unfeeling man; he is an experienced leader and well schooled in the workings of Capitalism, industrial production and job producing economics He is also amazingly well spoken and as Bostonians know, he used to sometimes substitute as a host on a popular conservative talk show in order to keep in touch with the Massachusetts public. He wasn't afraid to talk to the general public, but he relished the opportunity that only talk radio provides for contact with typical voters. He loved that form of give and take communication. This is a good read for this political genre. It will provide the information that many people will need to decide if years of leadership experience should triumph over hope. (Please take a moment to see and enjoy the customer photographs I've uploaded to this listing site.)Read more ›
I have read the book because a friend of mine bought it for me. I was open minded and searched out a lot of what Romney talked about. He presented the issues of our day honestly and with true facts. His solutions and ideas make sense. His point is that America has never prospered from trying to fit in with the world and we will only diminish in our ability and superior skills and strengths if the current course of downsizing is continued. Its a good read.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney begins his book with a review of the role played by the United States in world affairs. Of the four current contenders for superpower status--America, Russia, China and extreme fundamentalist Islam--only America takes a respectful stance toward other nations and peoples. The American approach is based on harmonious principles of political and economic freedom. Considering the aid we have given, the wars we have fought, and the territory we have returned to our former enemies, Romney urges pride instead of apology. He believes that a strong American is not only good for Americans; it is good for the world.
In the rest of the book, Romney discusses foreign policy, the economy, entitlement programs, health care, education, energy policy and the unique strengths of American culture. Often citing examples from his experience in Massachusetts, he recommends changes in policies and laws that he believes will build America's strength. The book's Epilogue is a helpful summary, briefly restating 64 action items for a stronger America. Among them:
- Stop the trillion-dollar deficits, and spend only what we have. - Reform entitlements to make them sustainable and to honor all of the promises that have been made to our seniors. - Increase our investment in science and basic research. - Reform immigration to attract and retain talent, simplify the legal processes and end illegal immigration. - Let states craft their own programs to insure the uninsured. - Establish a comprehensive energy security plan--a "no regrets" plan"--that frees us from dependence on oil oligopolists and that reduces our emissions of greenhouse gases. - Stand by our allies and friends. - Promote and defend democracy and Western values around the world. - Maintain a defense budget of at least 4 percent of our GDP, and at least twice the actual and comparable military spending of either Russia or China. - Push our allies to carry their fair share of the military requirements. - Attract top students to become teachers with higher starting salaries. - Do not allow teachers' unions to prevent the few ineffective teachers from being removed from the classroom. - Encourage states to develop programs that prepare parents of at-risk children for education. - Appoint judges that follow the Constitution rather than invent a new one.
Romney's book is not a complete campaign platform--the author acknowledges leaving out important policy areas. "These include Homeland Security, conservation, intelligence policies, agriculture, national infrastructure, and communications policy." It is well-written and makes Romney's position clear on the issues he does address. As with similar books by Barack Obama and John McCain I read during the last presidential campaign, it has helped me become well-informed about Romney's position on key issues. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to become similarly well-informed, whether they agree with Mitt Romney's politics or not.Read more ›