President Mitt Romney
Posted 10 March 2012 - 10:48 AM
The Case for Mitt Romney
Learning to Like the Front-Runner
by Robert Tracinski
Yeah, I know.
I wasn't exactly looking forward to writing this piece, and you may not have been looking forward to reading it. But I did warn you that when it came down to it, I would support Romney over Obama, if he became the Republican nominee. And now it's looking like that's going to happen.
Super Tuesday definitely did not allow Romney to wrap up the nomination outright, but it did what Romney has been doing from the beginning: it blocked any of his rivals from breaking out into the lead. In particular, Romney's win in Ohio, a key swing state where Rick Santorum made a pitch to blue-collar workers, kept Santorum from gaining momentum. Right now, Romney has a big lead in convention delegates, and he has clearly pulled ahead in national polls. The RealClearPolitics average shows a clear progression. Romney started out bouncing around in the 15-25% range, then moved up into the 25-35% range, and is currently at about 40%, with Santorum falling down to about 25%. Who knows, maybe soon Romney will have the support of an actual majority of Republican voters.
Those numbers aren't spectacular, and part of the reason is that Romney has so far survived less by advertising his own merits than by making everyone else seem unacceptable. Which they are, for various reasons that I have already hashed out at length in previous editions of TIA Daily. That leaves Romney in the exalted status of "least unacceptable candidate," so you can see why Republicans are taking so long to come around to his side.
At this late point, I don't think any other candidate has a plausible route to the nomination, and I think the loose talk of a brokered convention that would bring in another candidate altogether a fantasy. (It's the fantasy of getting a "do-over" on the whole nomination process.) So if Romney is the likely nominee, we'd better start looking at the positives he has to offer. We won't fall in love with him, but maybe we can fall in like. So let's look at the case for Romney.
First, let me say a few words about some of the despair you're seeing among Republicans right now about and the gloating you're seeing from Democrats, who are starting to lull themselves into believing that Obama is a shoo-in for re-election.
I think they are more than a little over-optimistic about the speed and magnitude of our tiny little economic recovery. Let's put it this way: we had recovered much better from the 1990 recession when the elder George Bush lost his 1992 re-election because "it's the economy, stupid."
And remember that the general election hasn't begun yet, and a lot will still happen. The Wall Street Journal's Bill McGurn reminds us that at this point in 1980, Ronald Reagan was considered a sure loser. Or for a less happy example, recall that it was after this point in 2008 that Obama had to deal with "God damn America" and the bitter clingers, by which point I had written him off. If Obama could survive that—and he shouldn't have, really—then Mitt Romney can recover from the bruises of the primary battle. When he finally manages to open up a big enough lead, Republicans will begin to accept that he is the nominee and look for things to like about him. So let's start that process now.
The first point in Romney's favor is that the primary has made him a better candidate. By forcing him to appeal to the more-radical "Tea Party" vote, the primary process has moved Mitt to the right, particularly on the key issues that make a big difference. Larry Kudlow provides an overview of Romney's improved plan for income and corporate tax rate cuts, as well as his embrace of entitlement reform. And after his win in the New Hampshire primary, Mitt vowed to repeal Obamacare and to support a "cut, cap, and balance" proposal that would limit the size of the federal government as a percentage of the economy.
All of that is more than hot air. They are public pledges that voters and members of Congress can bring back to him after he is elected.
But of course, a political leader's ability to make good on such pledges, particularly when he is under pressure, depends in good measure on his own personal convictions and sense of life. It has to feel right to him on a deep level. While Romney has a history as an ideological flip-flopper who changes his positions based on political expediency, there is one big aspect of his personality that we have going for us: his history as a very successful economic producer. He would not be the richest and most successful man ever to be president; that honor goes to George Washington. But Romney knows, first-hand and in detail, what is involved in running a business and raising capital in the financial markets, and as a former high-level operator in that realm, he would not be tempted to demonize businessmen and investors.
That makes for a stark contrast with Barack Obama, who before becoming president had never run anything except his campaign. He knows nothing about business and doesn't care to find out. Here's a case in point. I linked some time ago to a Wall Street Journal interview with Harold Hamm, an entrepreneurial giant straight out of Atlas Shrugged who is the most important figure behind the shale oil and gas boom in North Dakota. Hamm relayed his frustrating experience meeting President Obama at a White House event for philanthropists.
When it was Mr. Hamm's turn to talk briefly with President Obama, "I told him of the revolution in the oil and gas industry and how we have the capacity to produce enough oil to enable America to replace OPEC. I wanted to make sure he knew about this."
The president's reaction? "He turned to me and said, 'Oil and gas will be important for the next few years. But we need to go on to green and alternative energy. [Energy] Secretary [Steven] Chu has assured me that within five years, we can have a battery developed that will make a car with the equivalent of 130 miles per gallon.'" Mr. Hamm holds his head in his hands and says, "Even if you believed that, why would you want to stop oil and gas development? It was pretty disappointing."
This story is especially relevant right now, because Mitt Romney recently named his campaign's new energy advisor: Harold Hamm.
There are a lot of complexities to the energy industry, but as a political issue it tends to be pretty straightforward. There is one easy criterion by which you can judge any politician's stand on energy: is he for it? By blocking the Keystone XL pipeline and turning a deaf ear to the shale boom, Obama has demonstrated that he is against energy. By bringing on Harold Hamm as his energy advisor, Romney is signaling that he's for it. Or as Hamm put it: "Mitt's goal of cheap, plentiful energy for the American economy offers the American people a stark alternative to President Obama's goal of driving prices higher."
Another point in Romney's favor is that he is likely to focus his energy on these core economic issues—taxes, entitlements, and energy—rather than the "social issues" like the recent distraction about contraception. This is another issue with deep roots in his personal history. As an adherent of a small minority sect, he has always had an interest in keeping his religious talk vague and ecumenical, which is exactly what presidents ought to do. In addition to making him a better president, I suspect this will make Romney a more successful candidate. In contrast to a strident holy roller like Santorum, Romney will have broader appeal to independent voters, and he will not mobilize the emergency defenses of the secular left.
The most clearly positive things I can say about Romney are on foreign policy, though that's partly because, as a former governor, he doesn't have much of a record on this issue. But Romney has backed a strong military, criticized Obama's appeasing foreign policy, and made "American exceptionalism" one of his campaign themes. That's a big contrast to the theme of President Obama's foreign policy, which can be summed up as American unexceptionalism. I'm sure that a President Romney would still be more cautious and pragmatic on foreign policy than I would like, but then again, that's been true of every recent president.
Finally, remember that the presidential election isn't just about the presidency. It's about the other offices that are affected by the presidency and by the presidential campaign.
The primary reason why we cannot allowing President Obama to be re-elected is the composition of the Supreme Court. Right now, the court has a nominal one-vote conservative majority. But that's a slim majority, and the one vote is a wobbly one: Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has an ideologically erratic record of occasionally going over to the big government side, as he did most notoriously in the 2007 ruling requiring the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide. Kennedy is also the oldest conservative on the Court and therefore the mostly likely to want to retire, or to be unable to continue serving.
So the next presidential term has the potential either to tilt the balance of the court decisively back to the left, which we have no doubt Obama would do. Or it could tilt the court more decisively toward economic freedom, on which the core group of Thomas, Scalia, Roberts, and Alito have been increasingly strong.
Now add to this the fact that the Supreme Court is likely to rule on Obamacare this summer, and there is a good chance they will strike it down, either entirely or in part. Some think that this would take the steam out of the election by eliminating one of the big issues that motivates the right. I think it would up the ante. Another term for Obama would give him the opportunity to wreak revenge for an Obamacare ruling by breaking the conservative majority on the court.
Romney is not a fire-breathing Tea Partier, so he might not nominate the best person to the court. Then again, neither was George Bush, and his two selections (Roberts and Alito) have turned out pretty well. And if Romney were to nominate a poor candidate, the conservative grassroots would rebel. Remember what happened when Bush nominated Harriet Myers, whose nomination was sunk by opposition from the right. She was stopped, not because she wasn't conservative, but because she was not considered an intellectually substantive conservative.
This leads us to the role of Congress, particularly the Senate, which still has a Democratic majority. One of the underappreciated stories of the past year is that we do have a quite radical Republican majority in the House, which would be willing to implement a Tea Party agenda. But it can be hard to notice this, because they can't really do much of anything against the united opposition of the Senate and the president. The House has passed a budget, for example, while the Senate still refuses to do so (and the president refuses to criticize them for it). And just in the past few weeks, the House passed legislation that would have overturned the Obamacare contraception mandate and lifted the roadblocks on the Keystone XL pipeline. Both were defeated in the Senate, where the president lobbied against them.
The presidential election battle tends to have an impact on all of the other races. A Romney victory in November would make it much more likely for Republicans to take back the Senate and keep a strong majority in the House. Obama's re-election would make it very likely that Democrats would keep their Senate majority and reduce Republican strength in the House. Consider that those two recent votes, on the contraception mandate and the pipeline, were defeated by a margin of about four votes. Romney's fate in November could easily flip that margin one way or the other, which is about as compelling a reason to support him as I could think of.
Of course, the most important impact Romney could have on lesser offices would be the one he has the most control over: the vice-presidency. I'm going to do my best to get enthusiastic about Romney by November, but we could really use some help from him, and the biggest thing he could do is to choose a running mate we would love to vote for. I've already indicated my favorite (Florida Senator Marco Rubio), but there is a strong bench of good candidates. Romney would be stupid not to choose one of them, and I really don't think he's stupid. But then again, nobody ever got rich betting on the good judgment of politicians, so we'll see what happens.
At any rate, this is another reason to get behind Romney now and hope he does well in the remaining primaries. I want him to seal up the nomination decisively, so he is free to pick the best vice-presidential candidate, rather than having to make a deal with one of his remaining presidential rivals—you know, the guys who are even more unacceptable than he is. I think that's what would really happen if we ended up with a brokered convention.
The fact is that we don't actually have to look that hard to find some positive reasons to like Romney as a presidential candidate, despite his other weaknesses, and I'm hoping he will give us more to like when we reach this summer's convention.
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Posted 15 March 2012 - 11:08 AM
236 + 141 + 67 = 444.
Romney has accumulated 496 delegates, 52 more than his competitors combined. Florida had 50 delegates which Mitt won, so he has the equivalent of a swing state more than all the others. 1144 delegates are needed to win the nomination, so if Mitt has 496 then he has 648 to go, and he is not quite half way.
Georgia bulldog, Newt Gingrich just lost two southern states to a northerner, Santorum. Newt blames the “Elite Media.” He is helping Romney by staying in the race but he has his own agenda. He may be waiting for that big blooper from Rick and Mitt. Losing one’s temper, crying or saying stupid things will sink a candidate.
What is coming up? Missouri with 52 delegates is Saturday March 17th. Puerto Rico with 23 delegates is Sunday March 18th. Illinois with 69 delegates is Tuesday March 20th. Louisiana with 46 delegates is Saturday March 24th.
Santorum is feeling the momentum. Dare I call name it after that Caribbean Island, Santo Momentum, with its national beverage 100 proof Santo Rum?
Posted 21 March 2012 - 10:10 AM
The organization that ignited the tea party as a national mass movement gave Mitt Romney perhaps his biggest victory yet, deciding to drop its opposition to his candidacy, a top executive in the group told The Washington Times.
FreedomWorks, which organized the Sept. 12, 2009, mass demonstration on the Mall, says that while it will not give an explicit endorsement, the time has come for Republicans to unite around the former Massachusetts governor and focus on defeating President Obama.
“It is a statistical fact that the numbers favor Mitt Romney,” FreedomWorks Vice President Russ Walker told The Times on Tuesday. “We are dedicated to defeating Obama and electing a conservative Senate that will help Romney repeal Obamacare and address the nation’s economic and spending challenges.”
“As long as a year ago Dick Armey privately and publicly encouraged [Indiana Rep.] Mike Pence, [South Carolina Sen.] Jim DeMint, [Wisconsin Rep.] Paul Ryan and [Indiana Gov.] Mitch Daniels to run for the presidential nomination,” Mr. Walker said. “We take direction from our members who early in the primary asked us to not to back any one candidate.”
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush endorsed Mitt Romney after Romney’s lopsided win in Illinois Tuesday night. The former Florida Governor – a Republican heavyweight – called on members of the party to coalesce behind Romney.
ALL ABOARD THE REPUBLICAN CRONY CAPITALIST EXPRESS HIGH SPEED GOVERNMENT FINANCED RAILROADING OF THE CITIZENS!
Posted 22 March 2012 - 06:50 AM
The tea party may never trust Mitt Romney’s conservative credentials, but tea party group FreedomWorks is hoping that if Romney does make it to the White House, his political leanings may not matter because all he’ll have to do is sign the agenda that the conservative House and Senate send to his desk.
In a sit down with The Daily Caller, FreedomWorks Chief Operating Office and Treasurer Ryan Hecker, and Executive Director Russ Walker, explained that they were focused on their “Senate strategy” — getting strong conservatives into the Senate who can work with the House conservatives to drive an agenda, regardless of who is in office. “The smaller-government movement has always looked for the man or the woman on the white horse to come in, take the presidency and move good policy. And the truth is, you can’t do it without a caucus within the Senate and the House that’s willing to move that same policy,” Walker said. “And our perspective is that if we build that caucus … that they will push good policy to the president regardless of who’s [in the White House].”
“My hope is that fifty years from now, someone is going to write a biography and it’s going to be known that Romney was one of the most conservative presidents in American history, and a conservative hero,” Hecker echoed. “And it’s going to be because a conservative Senate put bills in front of him that he signed.”
He joked that fifty years from now, Romney, who is currently being slammed for his political flip-flops, would have “a monument in D.C. or something because of his conservative bona fides.”
Nonetheless, tea partiers in general, and FreedomWorks in particular, remains largely unenthused by a Romney presidency. Spokesman Adam Brandon told TheDC on Wednesday that if the race looked like it was going to end in a brokered convention, they would look for an alternative candidate to Romney to get behind.
Posted 22 March 2012 - 08:16 AM
Of course you can trust Romney, listen to his key campaign aide...
“Everything changes,” Romney aide Eric Fehrnstrom said this morning, describing how Romney would appeal to
moderate voters during a general election. “It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and
restart all of over again.”
Like father...like son!
On August 31, 1967, in a taped interview with talk show host Lou Gordon of WKBD-TV in Detroit, Romney stated: "When I came back from Viet Nam [in November 1965], I'd just had the greatest brainwashing that anybody can get." He then shifted to opposing the war: "I no longer believe that it was necessary for us to get involved in South Vietnam to stop Communist aggression in Southeast Asia." Decrying the "tragic" conflict, he urged "a sound peace in South Vietnam at an early time." Thus Romney disavowed the war and reversed himself from his earlier stated belief that the war was "morally right and necessary".
The "brainwashing" reference had been an offhand, unplanned remark that came at the end of a long, behind-schedule day of campaigning. By September 7, it found its way into prominence at The New York Times. Eight other governors who had been on the same 1965 trip as Romney said no such activity had taken place, and one of them, Philip H. Hoff of Vermont, said Romney's remarks were "outrageous, kind of stinking ... Either he's a most naïve man or he lacks judgment." The connotations of brainwashing, following the experiences of American prisoners of war (highlighted by the 1962 film The Manchurian Candidate), made Romney's comments devastating, especially as it reinforced the negative image of Romney's abilities that had already developed. The topic of brainwashing quickly became newspaper editorial and television talk show fodder, and Romney bore the brunt of the topical humor.
Senator Eugene McCarthy, running against Johnson for the Democratic nomination, said that in Romney's case, "a light rinse would have been sufficient." Republican Congressman Robert T. Stafford of Vermont sounded a common concern: "If you're running for the presidency, you are supposed to have too much on the ball to be brainwashed." After the remark was aired, Romney's poll ratings nosedived, going from 11 percent behind Nixon to 26 percent behind.
Can you imagine what O'biwan's campaign will do with this!
Posted 30 March 2012 - 04:54 PM
Posted 30 March 2012 - 06:41 PM
Success highlights the differences between the relative differences in freedom, within the states. If California goes broke, Mitt Romney will not bail them out. It is against his most basic principles to reward failure. The immigration out of the “welfare states” will continue.
His individual mandate to force young people to buy insurance in Massachusetts shows his non libertarian streak but it also shows he is against letting anyone getting away with anything. His rhetoric is fine, flowery, and diplomatic, but his basic emotion is saying, “Eff those moochers.”
I got “polled” yesterday on the phone. And my beautiful wife and I “early voted” Romney for President, Bongino (a former Secret Service guy) for Senate, our former family lawyer, Brian Shockley for Judge, and delegates committed to Romney.
Senate candidate Bongino is “part black looking” or maybe “Pacific Islander looking” which will help him beat very white looking Democrat incumbent Cardin. Baltimore and PG (Prince Georges) County demographically are very black. I took my wife to PG County once to take a State Government course for Long Term Care Specialists, which she was at that time, and I went into a local grocery supermarket from our motel room. Inside the shoppers were ALL prosperous looking black people surprised to see me but very friendly. They smiled at me, but the toddlers were afraid of me. I felt like the green ogre Shrek. "Ugly man. Why is his skin white?" Youd've thought TV would have prepared them for an "Encounter of the first kind".
Posted 30 March 2012 - 07:40 PM
Posted 30 March 2012 - 10:54 PM
run for yer life!--the money is running out!
Rational Individualist, Rational self-interest, Individual Rights--Libertarian--objectivist Objectivist, not an Objectivist Objectivist
Posted 31 March 2012 - 08:43 AM
What if? What if Ron Paul kept his basic philosophy, minus his extreme isolationism, and spoke in a more acceptable manner?
"Bring the troops home!" is his message most desirable to democrats and many independents, though. Democrats call him nuts because of his economic policies!
Posted 31 March 2012 - 09:33 AM
Posted 31 March 2012 - 03:02 PM
"Bring the troops home!" is his message most desirable to democrats and many independents, though. Democrats call him nuts because of his economic policies!
Bringing the troops home and letting people keep their own money is eminently sane. The problem is the U.S. is surrounded by enemies and we do need a working military machine. If the world were a peaceful place Ron Paul would be the obvious choice.
Posted 31 March 2012 - 06:45 PM
Do you really think all the military spending going on in The States is in the interest of national defense?
But I was just bringing up the fact that from the liberals' perspective, it's the exact opposite view of Ron Paul. He's nuts because he doesn't want to spend the people's money, but he's sane because he wants to leave Iran alone.
Posted 31 March 2012 - 06:51 PM
Face it, America is the most hated country in the world, and it didn't get that way by minding its own business.
That is not true. We are respected, preyed upon, envied, and resented but we are not universally hated. Immigration proves that, and don’t claim people come here for the better life style but hate us none the less. I don’t buy it. Our freedom is the draw, and we will win it back to its most comfortable level.
Posted 31 March 2012 - 08:39 PM
I really hope you win your comfortable level of freedom back! For the sake of more than just your country.
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