What would a Romney/Ryan win mean for the U.S. and for Canada? No one can tell for sure, of course, but we can probably get a rough idea of what might lie in store.
Romney-Ryan might see a power-sharing between POTUS and VPOTUS even more powerful than under Bush-Cheney. Today's radicalized Republican party insiders know an easy mark when they see one and they're going to be holding plenty of Romney's markers. With Ryan as VEEP they don't just have the camel's nose under the tent, they've got the whole camel inside.
Romney's patented fecklessness would be challenged to defy Ryan radicalism backed by an equally radicalized Republican Congress. Romney, by most accounts, is easy meat when faced with internal insurrection. He chose Ryan to quell the doubts of Republicans who viewed him as weak and unreliable. If he wins in November, Romney may reap the whirlwind of that decision.
Ryan is the unabashed agent of oligarchy. The lie-riddled speech he delivered to the Republican convention demonstrated conclusively the ease with which he flies false flags even before the home crowd. His purposes are effectively matched to those of the richest of the rich. He would gut Medicare and Medicaid, grant further tax cuts to the rich and increase the tax burden of blue and white collar workers, slash government programmes and, if he ever got the chance, exempt dividends and capital gains from taxation altogether. In effect he would create an America in which Romney and his kind would flourish, tax free.
Ryan and his Congressional allies would also accelerate global warming by blocking any and all initiatives to curb or tax carbon emissions or to promote alternative, clean energy. There will be no global treaty on climate change from a Ryan-Romney administration.
In other words, Romney-Ryan could be expected to shackle American democracy; gut the country's already flimsy social safety net; sharply increase the already massive gap between rich and poor; worsen inequality in wealth, income and opportunity; nurture and expand America's hyper-militarism; alienate what remains of America's allies and grievously set back any hope for action on climate change.
Some hope that Romney, once elected, would revert to the moderate Republican of the past. That would mean, however, standing up to the very interests that delivered him the White House and doing that with Paul Ryan at his back. That would be a Herculean challenge for a man of great integrity and courage, a man decidedly stronger than Willard Mitt Romney.
The sort of social engineering and nation dismantling we might expect from Romney-Ryan would likely wreck the already wobbly United States and inflict incalculable damage on the international community. None would find this more challenging - and dangerous - than Canada.
Harper would have to choose between following his heart and base ideological instincts, which would mean bringing Canada into compliance with an American lurch to the radical right as a dutiful branch plant operation or doing the right thing by Canada and the Canadian people and breaking from this madness, something Harper would probably find unimagineable. With Canada already tightly lashed to the United States, it's almost inconceivable that Harper would take an axe to those ropes and cut us free.
The forces of corporatism in Canada would secure a powerful boost from a Romney-Ryan victory in Washington. It would be much harder to resist the radical right's pull to conform with Harper holding power.