Search: Romney

The Romneys in Exile

December 2, 2012

Nope. I still can’t figure out why voters have never warmed to Mitt Romney. It’s a mystery!

By all accounts, the past month has been most difficult on Romney’s wife, Ann, who friends said believed up until the end that ascending to the White House was their destiny. They said she has been crying in private and trying to get back to riding her horses.

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Conservatives for Romney!

October 10, 2012

(1) “Romney says abortion legislation isn’t part of his agenda.”

 “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda,” the GOP presidential candidate told The Des Moines Register’s editorial board during a meeting today before his campaign rally at a Van Meter farm.

(2) “Romney’s overly optimistic tax plan.”

I asked a tax policy expert to crunch the numbers on a typical household with an individual filer and deduction amounts. Consider them an evangelical suburbanite at the $100,000 level who has a mortgage, tithes, and has some annual medical expenses. Here’s what comes back:

“If you make $100,000, have a new $300,000 mortgage @ 4 percent, tithe 15 percent, pay $5,000 in state/local taxes, and have $7,500 in qualified medical expenses, you would pay $12,100 in federal income taxes on AGI of $60,500 w/ deductions of $39,500 (assume 20 percent effective rate). Under the Romney plan, you’d pay $13,280 (new effective rate would be 16 percent on AGI of $83,000), an increase of nearly 10 percent.”

Click your heels together three times and say, “There’s always the SCOTUS.”

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People are pretty worked up over the moment yesterday when Andrea Saul responded to the latest Obama ad charging that Bain Capital killed a worker’s wife by saying that Romneycare would have saved the unfortunate woman. I understand why conservatives would be upset about this response, I suppose. But I have two genuine, not smart-alecky, questions:

(1) When is the last time you heard what someone on the Romney campaign was saying and thought, “Geez, that’s pretty sharp. Smart insight. He/She is a pro.”

I’ve followed the Romney operation pretty closely and only two people I’ve come across inside the campaign really impressed me. One of them was shunted out the door in reasonably short order. The other one wasn’t brought on until fairly recently.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t smart, impressive people toiling away for Romney. And it’s not to say that staffwork will win or lose the campaign. (My own belief is that once you cross a certain very low threshold for money and organization, the onus for winning a presidential campaign is really on the candidate. Either they have the vision, the magic, and the environment, or they don’t.)

All that said, it is pretty striking how a guy whose primary credential is his businessman’s ability to master an organization has surrounded himself with so many folks who seem to be more valued for something other than ability.

(2) If Romney wins, what do you think the odds really are that he’ll repeal Obamacare? Not waiver it, or starve it, or alter it–but actually go through the bloody fight of full and final repeal?

I don’t know the answer and I’m open to all sorts of arguments on this. But it strikes me that repealing Obamacare will take, under the best of circumstances, a singular focus and drive on the part of the executive. It will require both enormous rhetorical skill to build public support and political skill to cajole Congress. And, more than anything, the administration will have to be willing to endure a blood-letting from Democrats and the media.

Given all of that, and what we’ve seen from Romney and his campaign, do we really believe that, if elected, he’ll repeal Obamacare? Like I said, I don’t know. I’d like to believe it, as, I’m sure, most conservatives would. Because repealing that law is the single most important task for the next president. If he repeals it, he is a success, whatever else follows.

But if not? The great unmentionable in conservative circles right now is this simple question: Would it be better to have another term of Obama and a last-gasp, hail Mary shot at repeal in 2016 than to win the White House in 2012 only to have a Republican president who doesn’t repeal it?

Like I said, I’m not sure. Probably not, is my guess.

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As always, it’s hard to defend Romney. Here’s his response to the stupid Newsweek cover:

“They tried that in George Herbert Walker Bush. He was a pretty great President and anything but,” said Romney in an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation.

George H.W. Bush was “a pretty great president”? Really? I’d like to see Romney’s personal ranking of U.S. presidents because I can’t imagine any reading of U.S. history in which H.W. Bush clocks in as “pretty great.”

Of course, Romney might just be bar-setting for himself down the road I guess.

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Is Romney a “wimp”?

July 29, 2012

I’ve made a habit of arguing that Mitt Romney has plenty of problems as a political commodity, but the notion that he has a “wimp” problem is just ludicrous.

Leave aside the empirical matter of whether or not Romney is a wimp. None of his political liabilities have to do with perceptions of wimpiness. If you wanted to take the worst, darkest view of his record and his persona you might argue that he’s craven, ambitious, mercenary, and grasping. If you took the most sunny view of those same characteristics you could just as easily argue that he’s intelligent, measured, flexible, and focused.

But there is no conceivable reading of Romney where his problem is that he’s a “wimp.”

The only explanation I can think of for this story is that Tina Brown has been stewing over Time’s breastfeeding milf cover for months and was determined to one-up them on the traffic-bait scale.

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I mentioned earlier the weirdness of Romney defending his decision to not release more of his tax returns by retorting that Obama hasn’t released Fast and Furious documents–which is a strange argument since Romney clearly believes Obama should release more Fast and Furious documents.

Now the Romney campaign has sent out a press release saying, “If Bain is so bad, why did you take $120,000 in campaign cash [from them]?” The gist of Romney’s argument being that Bain gave $120K to Obama and he took the green, so how bad could Bain really be.

Which is fine; it’s a clever argument. Except for one thing–the Romney campaign has been attacking Obama for taking big money donations from fat-cat businesses who (the inference is) profit by gaming the system. Sample Romney press release:

“If you’re a political donor to Barack Obama, you’re going to do fine because you’re going to get a payoff. If you’re a middle class worker, you’re in jeopardy, you’re facing a layoff. ” (7/15)

Which puts Romney in the same place with Bain that he is with his tax returns. Instead of making a coherent argument on his own behalf, the Romney campaign pounds the table and says, Tu quoque. Which traps them, because either Bain is perfectly admirable and all Americans should be proud of the company, or Bain is just another business looking to buy influence so it can profit by gaming the system. (For instance, I don’t know how credible this story is, but here’s an allegation that Bain was taking taxpayer money in New Mexico for the kind of government program most conservatives probably find wasteful and distasteful.)

My suspicion is that over the course of a long campaign, eventually these sorts of rhetorical problems can catch up with a candidate–especially if he’s not a particularly deft and intuitive politician.

The Romney operation must have better answers than tu quoque. If they don’t, then they’re really rolling the dice on the November vote being a pure up-or-down referendum on Obama. Maybe that will work out for them. But that can’t be a high-percentage play.

 

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Romney’s Stoppage Time at Bain

July 16, 2012

Last Friday’s revelation that Mitt Romney was technically (or, “technically”) still CEO of Bain Capital from February 1999 to 2002 probably doesn’t mean much. In the grand scheme of things, the fact that Romney was still listed as being CEO and still signing corporate documents will probably fade in the face of the reality that […]

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George Lopez. Mitt Romney. Identity Politics.

July 15, 2012

George Lopez clearly doesn’t know much about politics in general, or Mitt Romney in particular. Last night he joked (?) that Mitt Romney “ain’t going to get” the Latino vote because he’s “a f–king Latino and he won’t admit it.” If Romney could credibly claim some significant portion of Mexican heritage for himself, he’d never […]

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In Praise of Mitt Romney

May 15, 2012

He really lends himself well to Auto-Tuning. Also, he likes lakes.

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Obama. Wilson. Romney.

March 23, 2012

Ben Domenech lays the wood in the Transom this morning: Barack Obama is a Wilsonian. Not in the progressive policy sense, though that argument can certainly be advanced. I mean in method: he is a lecturer. He is best before a crowd, prepped with soaring rhetoric and planned oratory, adopting the role of the inspirational […]

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Mitt Romney: In the general election, I’m not going to do all that negative stuff that I haven’t been doing for the last six months.

March 6, 2012

I’m not quite sure how to interpret this statement from our new insect overlord: I’m not going to say outrageous things about the president or about my opponents. It gets headlines and a lot of excitement, and it gets you, by the way, a number of days in the polls to get a nice little […]

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Romney. Superman. Batman.

February 10, 2012

I’ve never met James Pethokoukis. I only know him by his work, which I generally admire. But it would be nice if he would get out of my head. Seriously. It’s kind of creepy.

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