The following is a dispatch from Earth-2, in President Mitt Romney’s America.
It was 3 a.m. when phone rang. President Romney awoke immediately, and braced himself for bad news. But the news wasn’t bad. Yasin Salam, aka Abu Taha, the fifth successor to ISIS founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had been incinerated by a CIA Predator drone while taking a selfie at a training facility near Raqqa, Syria.
The commander in chief jumped out of bed — still fully dressed in an immaculate suit, majestic hair unsullied — and checked his calendar: October 31, 2016. Eight days to the election.
From a political perspective, the demise of Abu Taha was a positive development, but Romney’s reelection was never in doubt. ISIS had failed to materialize into anything more than JV squad of wanna-be jihadists thanks to Mitt’s commitment to securing victory in Iraq with U.S manpower.
Years after George W. Bush’s successful troop surge, the country was flourishing, rich with oil, a beacon of democracy in the Middle East. Mitt knew that without American leadership, Syria would likely have descended into chaos, possibly even triggering a migrant crisis in Europe.
But the Democrats had been relentless in their attacks. Romney’s Democratic opponent in the election, former vice president Joe Biden (Hillary Clinton had been forced to withdraw in July after FBI Director James Comey brought felony charges against her) had been firing up supporters on the campaign trail. President Romney would never bring the troops home, Biden said. Syria and Iraq would be fine on their own. It was time for some “nation building here at home.”
Biden continued to tout the Obama administration record of “dismantling al Qaeda and bring Osama bin Laden to justice.” It was inconceivable, he argued, that any new terror threat could arise in the absence of U.S. troops. He also mocked Romney for being stuck in a “Cold War state of mind,” saying Mitt’s harsh words and crippling sanctions on Vladimir Putin’s regime had unfairly isolated Russia at a time that America should be living up to it’s commitment, under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to “reset” relations with the former KGB strongman.
Democrats had pinned their hopes on a foreign policy focused campaign, given the president’s strength on domestic issues. Under Romney’s economic plan, the United States had hit 4% annual GDP growth, labor participation rates were at record highs, and unemployment had declined to a point most economists thought was impossible.
With the benefit of Republican majorities in the House and Senate, Mitt had passed a healthcare overhaul he had carefully engineered after bringing in an all-star team of Bain Capital executives, driving down premiums almost 60% since taking office in 2013.
Last week, as he attended the opening of the Barack Obama Presidential Library in Chicago, the former president had expressed his admiration for Mitt’s ingenious healthcare overhaul, and (in private) his relief that his legacy would not be tarnished by Obamacare’s inevitable collapse.
After breakfast, President Romney called Defense Secretary Lindsay Graham to congratulate him on the successful drone strike, and to request an update from coalition inspectors on the ground in Iran, where they were overseeing the final stages of the nuclear disarmament pact of 2014.
President Romney asked to be kept abreast of any further news as he headed to the European Union summit in London to sign a free trade agreement that even Democrats had praised as a “gold standard” of international diplomacy. The economic boom under Mitt’s leadership had not gone unnoticed by the rest of the world, and many nations had come to the bargaining table to get greater access to the American consumer’s massive spending power.
As Mitt settled into his seat aboard Air Force One and turned on his iPad, he perused his morning news feed. The latest polling numbers looked fantastic, he was up 11% against Biden nationally. Florida, North Carolina and especially Ohio were all but locked up after Mitt’s visit to the Cincinnati Zoo last week, which had produced a viral photo of Harambe the beloved gorilla giving the president a thumbs up.
In celebrity news, Melania Trump had filed for divorce after Donald’s latest bankruptcy filing, the result of an advance ruling in the Trump University lawsuit. Mitt put his iPad away and looked out he window. He was hopeful, having helped the Republican Party become a more inclusive and unified movement after taking the reins in 2012. He had guided the nation back on track in the past four years, and remained excited at what America could accomplish in the next four after his reelection.
Comfortably Smug is a government relations professional with a focus on the financial services industry. He can be found on twitter with his musings on all things finance and politics at @ComfortablySmug
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