In business, contrarianism works. Buying when others are selling, and selling when others are buying is a good way to make money, if you have enough money to back your bets.
It's a terrible way to run a country.
The problem with being a contrarian is that, as a contrarian, you aren't for anything: you're against everything.
Mitt Romney is a contrarian. Everything in his childhood, as a member of a contrarian religious sect, and family background, as the son of a maverick Republican governor and presidential candidate, predisposes him to believe in the contrarian theory of business.
In his practice as a investment manager, Romney embraced and followed the contrarian philosophy by buying companies and breaking them up into their constituent profit centers, going against the common practice at a time when others were building conglomerates by buying up disparate companies that really didn't belong together. When those companies failed, Bain Capital bought them up and broke them back down into their parts, selling the profitable ones, and closing the losers.
It was a very successful business strategy, but that doesn't mean it can be applied to government.
As Governor of Massachusetts, he went against the grain by espousing and enacting a radical public health plan program that was the most progressive public health concept ever adopted by any state.
In his presidential campaign, Romney has continued to pursue his contrarian philosophy without ever understanding that contrarianism doesn't work in politics.
In this, he is not alone. The entire conservative wing of the Republican party has embraced contrarianism as an operating system for their campaign.
Simply stated, their philosophy is that whatever Barack Obama does is wrong, so it must be right to oppose everything the President says or does on the theory that, since Obama is wrong, then the opposite of what he says and does must be right.
What they think of as strength is actually weakness.
On the strategic level, it's a weakness because, in order to follow their contrarian philosophy, the Republicans must wait to see what Obama is going to do before they can decide what to do instead because they can't pick their strategy until Obama picks his.
On the tactical level, this approach to campaigning means that the Romney campaign can never espouse any positive philosophy because they don't have a concrete philosophical platform.
All they have is that they aren't Obama.
That Romney was wrong on the facts was bad enough, but refusing to retract his ill-considered accusations against the Obama administration has revealed Romney's basic meanness, the childish, schoolyard bully who believes that he can intimidate the American people into accepting his benevolent dictatorship.
Today, after a groundswell of adverse reactions - from Republicans as well as Democrats - to his accusations against the Obama administration, the Romney camp has refused to admit the blunder and has 'doubled down' by claiming that Obama has a spotty foreign affairs record, trying to shift the focus of attention away from his ill-considered statement when the facts are that Obama has been the most successful president in terms of international affairs since Ronald Reagan.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that the Republican Party has no plan for fixing the economy, no well thought out social policy. When it comes to international affairs, one has to stop and ask exactly what would Romney have wanted Obama to do: Attack Libya? Fire on the Egyptians at the American embassy in Cairo?
We live in very dangerous times. This planet is a tinderbox waiting to be ignited.
The last thing we need in the White House is a firebrand. We need a fireman....someone who can put fires out....not one who wants to start one.
Sure, we're still the most powerful nation on earth. We have the biggest army, the most powerful navy and an awesome air force.
Now, tell me, please, exactly whom do you think we can attack when, with all our might, we couldn't subdue two third-rate Middle Eastern countries?
The Republicans better wise up fast, in the less and less likely event that they might end up in the White House: The world doesn't give a shit about our military might....because they know we can't afford another war.
The fact is that Romney can't afford to carry a big stick...all he has is a big mouth.