Posts Tagged Mitt Romney
So, it turns out having a baby makes it a lot harder to blog regularly.
But fear not! For you have in front of you, just in time to share with your undecided voter friends, the 2012 Basic Conservative Election Overview!
The Current Situation
Shoddy journalism, political ads, debates, fact-checkers, fact-checker fact-checkers, and bloggers like me have all conspired to make the truth very slippery indeed this year. Many people believe many things that are simply not true. Some of those things are asserted as truth by the President and his challenger nonetheless, with the full, cynical knowledge that the majority of people listening won’t bother to check–and those that do are political nerds that have already made up their mind about who to vote for, and a few lies won’t change that.
So, depending on who you listen to, we’re currently experiencing an unending recession, or finally seeing the economy recover. If there’s been no recovery, it’s either because George W. Bush dug too deep a hole for us to climb out of in four years, or a huge expansion of government has put the brakes on the economy. The last four years (interestingly) have either seen massive government growth, or the most conservative, spendthrift administration since WWII.
The problem is, each of these statements generated responses saying “that’s not true, here’s the truth!” (That last one is one of my favorites.) And each of those responses generated responses. And each of those… you get the idea.
So let’s take a look at….
The Current Situation (Really)
President Obama inherited a mess. There is no question. The US economy entered a recession in Dec. 2007, kicked off by the bursting housing bubble. Each side has attempted to place 100% of the blame for that on the other side–but there is blame enough to go around, as everyone had their role to play.
The President also came in to office with a plan. The job losses could be stopped with an $800 billion dollar stimulus–in fact, his administration released an analysis that stated that, with the stimulus, unemployment would never reach 8%, and by 2012, would return to below 6% (chart at right).
So in February of 2009, one of the first orders of business of the new Congress and new administration was to pass and sign the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
By October of 2009, unemployment had sailed past 10%. Just last month, we finally, mercifully dipped below 8% for the first time since 2009. Various people have updated the now-infamous chart to reflect what really happened (second chart).
We may not have gained much in the way of jobs from the stimulus. President Obama himself, a couple of years after signing the bill, joked that the shovel-ready jobs he promised were “not as shovel-ready as we expected.” Hilarious.
Many have argued that the stimulus, though it didn’t create many new jobs as hoped, saved millions from being lost–millions! It’s just that nobody can seem to agree on how many. That’s because it’s all speculative. Especially considering that in their rush to present all the jobs saved, the White House started counting people multiple times. From the linked article (emphasis added):
“…contract administrators employed by the state may oversee more than one stimulus project, meaning that they can be double or triple counted in stimulus employee counts.
For example, Bill Cass, NHDOT’s director of development, explained that one administrator is overseeing four projects, and has staff supporting him. Both the administrator and his staff would have been counted four times each in the report’s employment numbers.“
All this to say, the stimulus gives new meaning to “overpromised and underdelivered.” Lots of people throw around lots of numbers, but there are a few things we can be certain of: 23 million people unemployed or underemployed. The left screams when you mention that number “because only 12 million or so are actually unemployed!” But this is a number that the government tracks–the two most useful BLS unemployment numbers are what’s known as the U3 (official rate), currently 7.9%, and the U6, which includes people who have given up looking for work, and people who are working part time only because they cannot find full time employment–currently 14.6%, which is where that 23 million number comes from. And I think those people are getting just as screwed by this economy as those in the 7.9%.
Another thing we can be sure of: the stimulus wasn’t the only thing that was supposed to improve the economy. Despite attempts to place the lack of recovery on the Tea Party and Republicans in Congress preventing the President from being able to get a single thing done, the President got pretty much everything he wanted in his first two years. The stimulus, the CARD act, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform act, an extension of current tax rates (2009 Obama: “You don’t raise taxes (on anyone) in a recession.”) and a boost to the stimulus, plus a few bills addressing housing and hiring incentives–all passed in 2009 and 2010, each one promising to turn the economy around. Obamacare is a series of posts all its own, but let’s at least mention it here, lest we forget that the President really did get everything he wanted.
And yet, as I said above, the official unemployment rate is still 7.9%, up from last month. The economy is still growing far too slowly to pull us out of our slump. And the anemic growth we have seen is itself slowing.
We were told that if we simply spent enough money, none of this would happen. We spent the money. We borrowed it from our children, spent it, and we will now hand them the bill. And yet there is no recovery.
The President has tried. He did exactly what he campaigned on, and it has failed to produce results. This year, he’s campaigning on doing more of the same. More “investment,” which in government-speak, simply means stimulus. But we tried that. All it did was explode the deficit. So his solution is to continue spending like we have, and simply take a little more from those millionaires and billionaires. They can afford it, then we’re in the clear!
But the math does not work. Even if, like the President, you consider anyone making over $250,000 a year a millionaire, letting the “Bush tax cuts” expire on those tax brackets will bring in at most, according to official numbers, $80 billion next year. Our deficits are well over $1000 billion and have been ever since 2009. The President is arguing to cut our deficit by a few percent in words that imply that if we simply raise these taxes on the rich, the debt will be covered. It’s a lie. He’s simply arguing for more of the same.
We have another option. Mitt Romney has spent his life finding ways to balance budgets and turn failures into successes. People attack Bain Capital because some of the companies they bought laid people off, or went out of business. Yes, that happened. Of course that happened. Romney and Bain specialized in buying failing companies and turning them around. Complaining about his record is like attacking an ER doctor for sometimes losing patients. Yes, by the numbers, maybe your pediatrician has never had someone die on the table–but I’d rather have a surgeon who’s dealt with messy situations before if I come in with a ruptured appendix. Romney’s record is phenomenal. Paul Ryan has passed budgets when the President could not–budgets that balance, and make the necessary changes to our bankrupt Social Security and Medicare systems to keep them afloat.
These are men with solid records and a serious plan to fix our mess. President Obama wants to keep doing what we’re doing–what has failed for four years so far–but he’ll get those evil millionaires.
There is only one serious option. This Tuesday, vote Republican.
For those of you that live in states where your vote for President “won’t matter,” or don’t think local races make a difference, please remember that spending bills originate in the House–and historically this has had more of an impact on the government’s spending and debt than the President. I made an embarrassingly low-quality chart to demonstrate:
This is the difference between voting Democrat and voting Republican. This is what you need to remember. The left and the media will yell that Mitt Romney doesn’t care about the poor, or the 47% that won’t vote for him (though they were okay with candidate Obama dismissing anyone that wouldn’t support him in 2008 as bitterly clinging to guns, or religion, or racism). The left and the media will try to convince you Republicans want to ban contraception (they don’t), that Republicans are racist (re-read your history), that Republicans are pro-rape (don’t get me started)–but this chart is the difference. If Senator Obama was right four years ago that borrowing trillions to finance irresponsible spending is unpatriotic (he was), then this chart is all you need to know.
One final note. There were a couple of lies in the recent weeks and during the debates that I didn’t get a chance to write up, but I can’t let pass. One is President Obama’s continued assertion that he’s cut taxes on small businesses and the middle class–18 times, lots of tax cuts, tax cuts for everyone! Unfortunately, the cuts he’s referring to are generally negligible and/or already expired. In fact, he’s put on the books a myriad of tax hikes on small businesses and the middle class–he just made sure they didn’t kick in until 2014, long after it would affect his re-election. And the left has long attempted to conflate “not raising taxes” with “cutting taxes”.
The second lie that I can’t help but comment on came from Vice President Biden during his debate. He looked America in the eye and told a flat-out lie on par with calling the sky yellow. I will quote directly from the USCCB response.
“…the following statement was made during the Vice Presidential debate regarding the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to force virtually all employers to include sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion, in the health insurance coverage they provide their employees:
“With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.”
This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain “religious employers.” That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to “Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital,” or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.”
I put this fully in the category I mentioned at the top of my article–a bald-faced lie told with the full understanding of the truth and the cynical knowledge that the only people that will bother to check won’t change their vote over it. Our Vice President represents everything that we all know is wrong with politics and politicians today and deserves the support and vote of absolutely no one this Tuesday.
Alright. Nothing left to do now but vote. I hope you will, too.
The last few days have seen the Republican nominees and all-stars enter full attack mode. And the Great American Pastime of arguing, fact-checking, and commentary has moved into its final stretch–with the conventions, we start our engines for the playoff season, and I’m excited to see the contenders enter the ring.
In addition to giving bloggers like me an opportunity to badly mix metaphors, this is also a good moment to comment on the left-wing responses to some of the RNC speeches.
What I’ve heard and read from the left in the last few days can be divided into two categories: arguments centered on Romney and Ryan, and arguments centered on President Obama. The arguments I’ve heard about Romney and Ryan have been predictable; their speeches were nothing but lies and distortions (and also racist!), they only want to help the rich, yadda yadda yadda. More on that in a further post. But it’s the arguments about Obama’s record that I want to talk about here.
Romney and Ryan have reasonably spent a fair amount of time highlighting the President’s failed record. Almost four years now–a full term–and unemployment has yet to come back below 8%, we still have 23 million people unemployed or underemployed, and his first term will have added nearly $6 trillion in debt.
I think it’s fair to point those things out. So what has been the response?
Republicans are mean.
Seriously! I still hear, after almost four years of failure, that it’s all the mean Republicans’ fault. Obama wanted to fix the economy, but Bush left him such a mess, and he’s NEVER been able to get any of his plans through those mean Republicans in Congress that block him at every turn! They even admit they want him to fail, and that’s just mean!
So I’d just like to remind us all of something.
Despite the way the left talks today, Obama had large majorities in both houses of Congress for the first two years of his Presidency. During that time he got everything he wanted passed. Stimulus, Dodd-Frank, Obamacare–multiple major, far-reaching works of legislative overhaul.
People talk as if the President has never been able to pass a bill. “Of course the economy hasn’t turned around,” they say, “Congress won’t let a single one of the President’s ideas through!” The facts contradict this. Americans have extraordinarily short memories. Every one of the President’s ideas got through.
Finally, after having two years of carte blanche to pass anything he wanted, the American people recoiled at what they saw the Democrats doing, and responded with their votes. Obama himself referred to it as an electoral “shellacking.” Since then, the fact that he’s had any opposition in Congress at all has been the central excuse of the left for our economic situation.
And still, the stimulus WAS passed, and we still sailed beyond 10% unemployment. Dodd-Frank was passed, and the housing market has yet to rebound. The President’s policies aren’t some vague “what-if” that may have fixed our problems. President Obama’s policies are in place and we are seeing their effects in our economy’s failure to grow.
The position of President of the United States used to be referred to as the “leader of the free world.” I haven’t heard that term used in years. I don’t think people see this President as a leader at all.
So instead of a President that blames every problem on someone else, I think we need a leader that can work with whatever difficult situation he’s dealt. Someone that has been able to work with a hostile legislature and still get things done. A leader that has been able to step into existing failures and turn them into successes. If we can find one, I want a leader that’s been so amazingly good at turning failures around, maybe he’s even sheepish about how much money he made doing it.
That’s not about being mean. That’s getting things done. Let’s get things done, America.
From my recent article at Kendall County YR:
The May 10th editorial by Tony Scott in the Kendall County Record claims that the GOP needs to stop alienating women with backwards social issues like abortion and birth control. Scott goes so far as to claim that “most Republican candidates support limits on… birth control.” This is made up. It’s false. Scott wants the uninformed to assume that these dangerous Republicans are coming to ban sex and make women wear burkas. In fact, the issue of birth control has only been brought up by Democrats recently, in attempts to force religious institutions to provide free contraception for their employees. Even the staunch social conservative Rick Santorum stated that, though he morally disagreed with contraception, he had no interest in restricting anyone’s access to it. If you remember all the way back to January of this year, when the issue was first artificially injected into the campaign by former Democratic advisor George Stephanopoulos at a debate, every single Republican on stage was variously bemused and/or annoyed at the waste of time. Stephanopoulos spent over four minutes repeatedly asking each candidate, in so many words, come on… you want to ban the pill, right? Tell me you want to ban the pill.
The Republican audience got so fed up with the absurdity of the line of questioning that they started to yell and boo. Romney summed up the general sentiment: “George, I — I don’t know whether a state has a right to ban contraception. No state wants to. I mean, the idea of you putting forward things that states might want to do that no — no state wants to do and asking me whether they could do it or not is kind of a silly thing, I think.”
Scott correctly reports that 77% of those recently polled thought birth control “should not be part of the national political debate.” Republicans agree. They’re not interested in it either, despite attempts to characterize the GOP as the party of “extremism and gender inequity.”
Also brought up is the issue of abortion. Republicans need to back off abortion, goes the claim, because 53% of Americans support it! Polls on abortion are tricky. They change. A lot. Constantly. Pew did report last month that 53% of those polled were in favor of keeping it mostly legal, but that number, in its pendulous swings over the past few decades, keeps slowly swinging in a pro-life direction. And swing it does. Between October 2008 and April 2009, support swung from 57% to 46%—eleven points in eight months. There was a three point change between two polls conducted in the same month in 2008. Even six months ago, only 51% of those polled supported abortion. This number moves a lot, but the big picture is a trend towards protecting the lives of our unborn children.
Here’s the bigger picture still. These social issues make for good press and loud arguments, but when asked what issues will determine their vote this November, people list abortion, contraception, and gay marriage low on the list (39%, 34%, and 28%, respectively, answer these issues are “very important”). The top of the list? The economy (86%) and jobs (84%). Our current President is running on a failed record on those issues, against a man who’s spent his life demonstrating a spectacular ability to turn financial failures into successes, in both the public and private spheres. Which of those two men do you think Americans should trust with our economy?
It’s Primary day in Illinois. You wouldn’t know it from the weather. We’re used to headlines along the lines of “Voter Turnout Low Due To Blizzard,” but I guess we’ve been using too many incandescent light bulbs around here.
However, this year the beautiful, sunny weather reflects my excitement about the election, and my hope for a bright, sunny future just over the horizon.
Get ready to cue the groans and complaints from my liberal friends, my “true conservative” friends, and my Paulbot friends, but gosh darnit, I’m excited to cast my vote for Mitt Romney today.
I understand that Rick Santorum has a more conservative record. I know you’re worried about Romney’s moderate past. I am too. But let’s look at a few facts. When Ronald Reagan ran for President, he was a former Democrat, former union boss, a governor that had signed the most radically permissive pro-abortion bill in US history.
People change. Reagan did. Mitt Romney has spoken about his changes of heart. And, he will have a very different climate in which to govern as President next year than he did as Governor of a very liberal state years ago. Not only will he be representing all Americans both red and blue, rather than only deep-blue Massachusetts, but after the budget explosion of the last three years and the Tea Party response, he will have very little room to break deficit-cutting promises. And after spending months campaigning on a platform of waiving and repealing Obamacare, he will have neither room to flip nor flop on that issue.
Now, a word about Santorum. Yes, his record is cleaner, and I agree with much of what he says. This morning I listened to WLS-AM in Chicago while host and commentator Dan Proft said that in a primary, we should support whomever we believe would be the best standard-bearer for the party; in his opinion, Santorum. But “best standard-bearer” does not necessarily mean, nor is it restricted to, “agrees with my opinions most closely.” In fact, despite my generally liking and agreeing with him, there is no doubt in my mind that Santorum would be a disastrous representative of the conservative movement. Santorum is far too easily painted as a crazy extremist, and it’s not all the media’s fault.
Sure, the contraception debate has been a made-up issue, but instead of refusing to engage, Santorum takes the bait and talks about how he feels about birth control. Appending a quick “but as a Republican, I don’t want a government program to deal with this” at the end doesn’t help with the public perception. The sound bites are already recorded, and now Republicans want to ban the pill in the minds of every voter that only reads headlines. Now he’s talking, all on his own, about wanting to outlaw pornography. He gets caught up talking about gays and women in the military. It doesn’t matter how you feel about these issues. They are not what we need to be talking about right now. With unbelievable deficits, massive unemployment, and a floundering recovery, we need someone who will focus completely on jobs and the economy. Someone with successful executive experience in both the private and public sector. Someone exactly like Mitt Romney.
Allowing the debate to shift to pornography and birth control will drive an entire generation away from the GOP, and we cannot let that happen. But by focusing on jobs and the economy, by supporting Mitt Romney, we will not only win in November, but we can win converts to the conservative cause.
And that’s why I’m excited to support him today, and I hope you will all do the same.
A few months ago, I wrote the following about candidate Romney in a debate analysis: “I’m just… not yet convinced that he’s anything more than a slick-talking empty suit. Governor Romney, prove to me that you’re more than that.”
Early in the primary race, with a huge field of candidates coming and going on a weekly basis, it was hard to look too closely at any of them. Attention was, by necessity, unfocused. Any day could bring someone new to the race, a candidacy-shattering “oops” in a debate, or some new headline about the antics of Donald Trump. Many were holding out hope and following popular conservatives that never ended up entering. And debates had so many people on stage, even frontrunners only got a scant few minutes of total speaking time.
At that time, I felt that Governor Romney came across as simply a politician, albeit one that tended to say things I agreed with. As he emerged as the leader, I hoped desperately to see him demonstrate that he was more than a presidential head of hair and well-rehearsed talking points. I wanted to see his knowledge and understanding of the economy put to the test. I wanted to see him respond to the kind of unfair attacks that would occur in a general election. I wanted to see passion and vision–because a President that can lead us out of our current mess will need a focused vision of where to go, and passion enough to sell it to the American public.
Over the past month, the smaller field has allowed greater focus and a deeper message to be communicated. As sound bites have become interviews and debates have become, well, actual debates, we’ve seen him demonstrate a deep, thorough, and immediate understanding of the American economy. We’ve seen that he doesn’t get riled up easily, even when pushed, unlike his main competition. Though some see Newt’s fire-and-brimstone attacks on, oh, everyone around him, as a huge selling point, it would only serve to turn off the huge numbers of voters that pay more attention to personality than policy. Whereas Romney’s cool, calculating approach to apparently every damn thing he does in his life is exactly what we need to keep from scaring away the independents that will–I’m sorry, it’s just math–WILL decide this election, because they decide every election.
So this is why I think he’ll make a great President. The one topic that gets Romney fired up is business itself. He has real passion when he starts talking about the free market and how business provides a path out of poverty for us all, and frankly, that should be a beautiful thing to all of us, after three years of a President who speaks with pride about keeping his boot on the neck of industries. We desperately need a President who can explain to the public why business is good for us, why wealth and profit are healthy and good. We need a President who demonstrates a passion for and history of promoting business. We need a President with a demonstrated ability to save what can be saved, eliminate what needs to be eliminated, and turn failures into successes. Our biggest problems today aren’t the debate over legalizing pot or gay marriage. We’re not going to get anywhere trying to reinstate the gold standard. Our priorities ought to be readily apparent. Our economy is a mess and our government is broke. We need a turnaround artist. This is exactly what Mitt Romney has specialized in.
The rest of the remaining field has impressed me in various ways. Up until the last few weeks, I was strongly favoring Newt. I’ve always been impressed by his intellect and historical perspective, and I can be swayed by intelligent debate. I’ll admit, I do still love the idea of a Newt/Obama debate. His conservative history is checkered, but so is everyone else’s, and I found it hard to argue with his list of accomplishments. But the last month has reminded me of why he quickly lost the support of his own party in the 90s, and shown that while he’s a heavy hitter, he’s so unfocused that he misses far more often than he connects. His attacks on Romney’s record with Bain Capital showed that he either completely misunderstands capitalism, or is willing to say things he knows are patently untrue as long as he thinks he can personally gain from doing so. His long history of conservative crusades and his more recent robo-calls falsely claiming that Romney forced elderly Holocaust survivors to eat non-Kosher food make the latter seem more likely, but either way, these attacks show that he would be a completely inappropriate choice to communicate a conservative, pro-business message to America.
Santorum has virtually reinvented himself in the last few weeks, and I like the new Rick. In the past, he’s been petulant and condescending. Now, he’s smiling, confident, and he’s almost completely lost his disdainful smirk. However, his message is still almost exclusively focused on social issues, and frankly, it’s the economy, stupid. When it comes to the social issues, I disagree with him as often as I agree. He’s uncompromising, and only other uncompromising people actually respect that–and few Americans are truly uncompromising. He cannot win in a general election, and I therefore cannot support him.
Paul has also impressed me recently, which is refreshing. I don’t believe for a minute that he’s backed off any of his foreign policy ideas (he’s never changed his mind on anything in his life, why start now?), but he’s stopped really talking about them, and focused on the small-government, economic liberty message that all conservatives can get behind. I’m thrilled that he’s successfully brought that message to the public–Republicans coast to coast are talking about the Austrian school and auditing the Fed. It’s a wonderful thing. I also think his idea that Iran is no threat is insane and would lead to disastrous policy decisions along the lines of Neville Chamberlain in the 30s, and I’m also quite uncomfortable with a President that winks and nudges 9/11 truthers to keep a lock on the pro-grassy knoll voters. That said, I hope he keeps fighting so strongly for what he believes in, because he has personally shifted the public discourse in amazing ways.
Romney’s record is not without blemish. Nobody’s is. Romneycare was a bad idea. Newt supported it, along with cap and trade. Santorum voted against right-to-work laws, and his social views scare a lot of people off. Paul, well, I’ve already gone there. But let’s not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Let’s remember that our nominee will be up against a candidate with a deeply flawed record as well: lawsuits preventing Boeing from hiring thousands, raids against Gibson guitar factories, blocking the Keystone pipeline, not to mention the regulatory messes of Obamacare and Dodd-Frank, and constant attacks on anyone that has managed to do too well for themselves and employ too many people. We have an anti-business, anti-success President, and we need a pro-business, pro-success candidate to show the country the deepest differences between conservatives and liberals.
For that, I will happily and enthusiastically support and vote for Mitt Romney.