I think that we can be assured of massive changes in the Peace Corps Administration, the size and scope of the agency, and where PCVs will go next, given a Romney Administration.
Unlike some former presidents, Romney has no historical connections to the Peace Corps. Yes, he was a missionary for the Mormon Church as a young man, but not to a developing country. He was in France! He didn’t, therefore, see the world where Peace Corps Volunteers lived and served. He did not share the adventures of being a young person in another society, though some might say the Left Bank had a lot to teach Mitt.
Also, as a Republican, he had no ‘Kennedy Legacy’ blowing at his back. The Peace Corps was ‘their’ program, Romney might say, not ours.
During the Nixon Administration, Fat Pat Buchanan and others Right Wingers attempted to close the agency down, given their hatred of the Kennedys and liberal ideas. Loret Ruppe, as a Republican and the Peace Corps Director for almost a decade, kept the agency open and under the Republican radar, holding at bay those in the Reagan’s Administration who wanted the Peace Corps dead and buried. The bottom line is that there is no natural connection between the Peace Corps and what PCVs do and the Republicans and what they want to undo!
So, the Peace Corps Agency could be on the cutting block given a Romney win.
But I doubt very much that that will happen. Yes, Romney wants (needs) and will cut the federal budget, and the Peace Corps is on the ‘soft underbelly’ of the government. Tea Party Folks and other right-wingers see no advantage in helping a lot of foreigners better their lives.
But my guess is that Romney won’t close us down. The Peace Corps is, after all, mom’s apple pie, and there are ‘political’ reasons in some countries for Mitt to keep us alive-and-well. We are, after all, cheap AID. The number of PCVs overseas will, however, decline dramatically, that’s a given.
Our current levels is plus seven thousand, I’d say within two years, the Agency will return to those Golden Republican Years of YesterYear, with a total of less than four thousand. Romney is not going to diminish the military, that’s for sure. We need more troops, as he sees it, in Afghanistan.
There is only one way that this might not happen! If some bright young person in his new administration whispers to Romney that the way to ‘help’ lower unemployment in the U.S. would be to increase dramatically the number of Volunteers serving overseas. Why we might see example of an ‘American Surge!’. Give Kid Out of College a Job! Get them off City Street! Send them to Africa, Asia, and Latin America in the Peace Corps! Yes, it might raise the debt ceiling a notch, but it would lower unemployment here at home. You never know. Mitt could be the Peace Corps’ first real Sugar Daddy!
Something to think about when you’re in the Voting Booth.