3 things Romney needs to get Right, and so far he only has 1 of them.

Romney Looks the Part, but does he have the ideas in place yet?

 

To win in November, Mitt Romney has to get three things right. First, he has to be a positive physical presence, showing Americans what an optimistic American face looks like. Second, he needs to show how the American Mind works to solve problems. Third, he must win over the undecideds and the Blue Dog Democrats.

He achieves the first with some ease. He does look like a president, and although a little stiff and awkward at times, he has a smile and positive outlook that is very American. Unlike his dour and aloof opponent, Governor Romney shows hope in his physical presence which America badly needs in its leader.

Why? Because the one thing that all nations need right now, not just America, is a positive and can-do Capitalist attitude to lift us out of this recession. Back in 2007, at this time, candidate Obama was painting the economy in apocalyptic terms, because he was going to arrive on wings, lifted by adulation, to solve the nation’s, and the world’s, woes. Don’t just take my word for it, even Hilary Clinton was saying as much.

Also back in 2007, the economy was in a punishing mood. We were living in a bubble that was only amazing in the sense that it took so long to burst. Living off too much debt and leverage, which are not bad things in themselves when used wisely, the spirit was a “can’t do” attitude. The basics of economic life were consigned to the trash, and individuals, companies and government contrived to live as if the economy can’t fail and we can’t be bothered to work to produce real wealth.

Hence, the misery that followed. Hence, the big disappointment that became President Barack Obama. Hence, the constant concern on the president’s face, disguising a man out of his depth. So, we need a can-do president, who believes there is enough of the American dream to fuel a new era of economic growth; which brings me to the second thing.

Rooted in the American dream, Romney needs ideas that get the people energized. At a time when Capitalism is under stress, the battle of ideas has to be won. Folks need to see what the future can look like under Capitalism, not holed up in OWS enclaves or rallying against the rich. No-one complained about the rich when the economy was going up; why pin all the blame on them when it goes down?

Unlike Europe, Capitalism has been the engine of America from the beginning. It is inseparable from the enlightenment and religious ideas which formed the nation. Capitalism is not just a theory. It is a realistic, though like humanity itself imperfect, instrument for managing the needs and wants of a people. Romney needs to go beyond trotting out the same ideas of small government and tax cuts, and all those things, because they are ideas that are not just familiar, they are falling on barren soil.

Romney needs to shape these old ideas – and bring in some new ones – to show a recession weary nation why there is reason to hope. This is not the hope that was on the way for John Edwards, nor the hollowed hope of the Obama presidency. It is not even a hope in a Romney administration. It has to be a hope in Capitalism and a hope in the nation itself, in other words a hope in America.

So, the third thing falls into place if the first two are achieved. If Romney can capture the imagination, rooted in a realistic vision about the nation’s economic needs and other policy options, then he will reach out to those he needs to win over to become Romney 45. He needs to show a picture of the future that is not about government filling gas tanks or paying mortgages, but hard working Americans taking care of their own business.

The Obama bubble burst a long time ago, even for many of his supporters, and especially for those independents, youth and Blue Dog Democrats who believed he offered a new hope. Romney has only a little time to raise up new thinking in his campaign, and show why the economic bubble burst under the Republicans and George W. Bush, and why the economic solution bubble burst under the Democrats and Barack Obama.

Romney has one of the things he needs, the physical presence, but he needs the second thing of right thinking if he is to get the third thing which will sweep him into the White House. It’s over to you Governor….

5 Reasons to Vote for President Obama

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Now, I didn’t say they are good reasons, did I? In case you’re wondering, I have been told I can be sarcastic from time to time.

Just think how refreshing a second term will be. President Obama can stop campaigning for re-election, so maybe he will focus on change without the pesky issue of being a one-term president. Maybe he will be able to pay the mortgage and fill the gas tank of the people who voted for change, and found they didn’t even get loose change.

You know those cash tills where they say “take a penny, leave a penny”? The Obama administration is more a “take everything, leave a debt” kind of cash till. But not to worry, there are five reasons why you might want to consider voting for President Obama to stay in the White House for a second term, and here they are:

1. You think America needs to change from a narrow-minded belief in exceptionalism to breaking open a six pack with your good ol’ buddies from Europe and the Middle East to toast a new era of Enlightenment.

2. You think Capitalism is inherently bad and needs government to grow in the public interest, while wealth needs to be redistributed and folks need to be told what they can buy and cannot buy; for instance, do not buy large volumes of soda.

3. You believe progressive causes should determine the future direction of America, because the Constitution does not suit the postmodern paradigm and ideally ought to be scrapped altogether.

4. You want the safety net to be for anyone who feels hard done by, so poverty is defined not by need but by entitlement to other people’s money.

5. You have ignored the evidence of the past three years and you want to see how badly everything can go in the two years Obama will get to do more of what he wants, because he won’t need to be campaigning from day one.

If Obama wins four more years in November, he will spend two years advancing as many of his ideas as possible in the hope of building his legacy, and then for two years will become the lamest of lame duck presidents.

So, go ahead, make your vote count in November!

(I did say I can be sarcastic….)

Romney needs to call Obama’s Bluffet….

 

We know that the Bluffet, sorry Buffet, rule is a motif for President’s class warfare, and more warning shots will be fired when Congress returns today from a two-week recess to a test vote on the rule, which would impose a minimum 30 percent tax rate on income over $1 million. The Bluffett tax targets wealthier Americans’ investments rather than salaries.

Today is the day when this issue of class warfare kicks off for November in earnest, now that we know it will be Romney for the GOP and Congress gets to have a say on the matter.

President Obama, who pays less tax than HIS secretary (he filed tax returns showing he paid an effective tax rate of 20.5 percent on income of about $800,000 in 2011) says the government needs the revenue from the Bluffett rule, estimated at $47 billion over 10 years, to cover “a broad range of goals.” He also says “This is not just about fairness.” Well, he got that right, it is very unfair, but not in the simplistic moralistic way he is peddling.

He says “This is also about growth. It’s about being able to make the investments we need to strengthen our economy and create jobs. And it’s about whether we as a country are willing to pay for those investments.” In other words, robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Fact is, do we really need government to do the investing, and where does the investment go? Into government black holes and deep pockets, rather than into businesses which create wealth. The Bluffet tax would not create wealth, it would merely enhance dependency. We would see a better rate of return on the $47 billion in business investment by the wealthy than we would from government. That is an awful lot of liquidity to take out of the markets, and I don’t see too many secretaries taking up the slack.

Of course, keeper of the Treasury keys Tim Geithner was out pushing the rule on Sunday, “Just because Republicans oppose this does not mean it’s not the right thing to do and not the right thing to push for,” he told NBC’s “Meet the Press” program. Double negatives aside, we can say that just because Democrats think it is the right thing to do doesn’t mean it even begins to make sense.

If we look at the paying side of this, we see the rich targeted for this end up paying more. Simple. But for what are they paying? Increased revenue means increased expenditure, and so the things for government to spend on expands to meet the expanded revenue. More programs, more dependency and less reward for effort. What does the payer get in return? They get little benefit, and the wealthier they are the less they need what they are paying for.

Which means the sole purpose of the Bluffet rule is twofold, increased state powers and redistribution of wealth. Conservatives who attack Romney or the rich for their wealth are playing with the same deck as Obama.

Obama says, “If you make more than $1 million every year, you should pay at least the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle-class families do… Most Americans support this idea. We just need some Republican politicians to get on board with where the country is.” Of course, Obama doesn’t have to worry too much about his investments, because after leaving office, which cannot come soon enough, he will make a ton of cash for the remainder of his days. He doesn’t have too much to worry about…The rest of us do.

The Republicans’ fading colours – The Spectator Magazine

Link to the original article:

http://www.spectator.co.uk/essays/all/7648068/web-exclusive-the-republicans-fading-colours.thtml

 

Web exclusive: The Republicans’ fading colours

11 February 2012

CPAC Review essay by White House 2012 writer David Cowan published on The Spectator magazine website

 

Growing up in the 1960s, my primary school in Cambridge had an outdoor roofless boy’s toilets, and we happily enjoyed urinating up the wall. It was a sign we were getting further up the school when one day we were able to urinate over the wall itself — much to the annoyance of people on the other side. This memory came to mind this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington DC over the weekend, the annual gathering of some ten thousand political activists. This year CPAC was a pissing contest to see who was the most conservative.

The three Republican frontrunners, Santorum, Romney and Gingrich, in that order, sought to reach the base and convince activists about their conservative qualities. The themes they all offered were: what’s wrong with the Obama administration; a shopping list of what conservative policies would work better; an appeal to American exceptionalism; and a return to the founding principles of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

The three candidates are looking for the right to fight an Obama administration seen as somewhat Carteresque, from failed election promises through to the ideological infighting. Obama, though personally liked (Ann Coulter joked he would make a nice neighbour, unless you’re Chinese, then he’d keep borrowing stuff), is seen as ineffective and evasive.

To reenergise America, the candidates laid claim to the mantle of Ronald Reagan, frequently invoking his name and sunny disposition. Yet herein lies the rub. Reagan defeated Carter with ideas for the economy and foreign policy, successfully combining a conservative vision and charm to appeal to swing voters. At CPAC 1974, Reagan gave his famous ‘bold colours, not pale pastels’ speech, asserting conservative principles. This weekend showed that some of the colours have long since faded.

Things were certainly off-colour last time I was here, back in 2009, as defeated activists sought to pick themselves up after Obama’s coronation. The biggest cheers then were for Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh, as they offered succour. Newt entered to his incongruous theme tune ‘Eye of the Tiger’, but instead of entering stage right he walked in through the crowd, parting them Moses-like, shaking hands and hugging supporters.

The danger three years on is, of course, an election that will see CPAC 2013 take place after a second Obama inauguration. Expect then a sinking sense of what might have been. For many American conservatives a Republican failure this year will exacerbate what they fear most: n irreversible dependency culture and Europeanisation. Daniel Hannan flew into DC to warn on just this point, expressing his amazement to rapt delegates that while Europe is driving off the cliff they can see America in their rear-view mirror, overtaking them.

Back in 2009 something else happened at CPAC. Sarah Palin was slated to speak, but failed to appear either in person or via a hastily announced satellite link. This was the signal that Sarah was taking the celebrity high road, rather than the political low road. This year, however, she did appear as closing speaker to offer the benediction — but not the one most people expected. She did not endorse Gingrich, as he himself alluded to in his own speech by quoting her husband Todd. She called for unity, but convoluted as ever, Palin said ‘whoever our nominee is we must work together to get him over the finishing line, and then next year we will have a true conservative in the Oval office’ — only to go on Fox news on Sunday afternoon to say she is still to be convinced Romney that is indeed a conservative.

Despite this, and despite the Santorum surge, Romney will see this conference as mission accomplished — reinforced by the CPAC Straw Poll narrowly backing his candidature. Out of the three candidates it looks seemed that Romney pissed the highest this weekend. And, while still divided, all the delegates would agree about who should be standing on the other side of the wall, on the receiving end.

CPAC and Sarah Palin mark a turn to unity

 

A vintage fiery performance: Palin told delegates we'll keep our guns, God and Constitution, and Obama can keep the change.

The most remarkable event of today’s CPAC was Sarah Palin endorsing unity. Instead of showing her support for any one candidate, she called for unity, saying that whoever the nominee is the GOP must defeat Obama. Whoever the nominee is conservatives must work together, she told an ecstatic audience, and the nation will have a true conservative in the White House.

The unity message, great!

It followed the announcement that Mitt Romney had narrowly won the CPAC Straw Poll, following his mission to the conference to prove his conservative credentials. It seems it may be mission accomplished. Certainly Romney will be feeling a lot better about his appeal to the conservative base after today.

The other remarkable performance came from the ever-popular Daniel Hannan, British Member for the European Parliament. Warning America not to go down the European road, he was amazed that while Europe is driving off the cliff they can see America in their rear-view mirror and overtaking them!

After his talk, I had a good conversation with him, as we walked through the hotel, including a detour through the kitchens! I asked him if he endorsed any candidates? He, just a little coyly, suggested it was difficult to choose, but stressed it was important for the party to unite behind a candidate and get Obama, who earlier in the day John Bolton called the “first post-American President”, out of the White House.

Daniel Hannan warns America not to follow Europe down a path and off a cliff

Hannan also urged me to write that the GOP must stop having so many debates, as it is only serving to divide the party. He also said Republicans need to focus on the budget, not all the side issues that divide conservatives. With that he headed for the airport, though many didn’t want him to leave and asked if he could be made an honorary American instead.

This has been an important few days for conservatives, and may finally signal the road to unity. Romney should start to pull firmly into the lead, and though Santorum and Gingrich will no doubt continue, they will see their numbers dwindle.

The New York Times carried a report ahead of Sarah Palin’s speech that she didn’t think a brokered RNC would be a problem. This is just a liberal wet dream. The reality is, Sarah Palin has signalled this important moment, and shown that there is less stomach for infighting.

I picked up my media credentials on Thursday at CPAC fearful of a divided party that would succeed only in rolling out the red carpet for President Obama. After three days, I happily left making my way through the handful of sorry-looking OWS protesters feeling that I can see November from here.

Newt Gingrich is Yesterday’s Man

 

Will the Dream Team be Benched?

Newt Gingrich was introduced at CPAC by Calista, who generously thanked the many kind Americans they have met on the campaign trail. When he came on stage to an excited crowd, it was clearly no 2009, when he had entered through the crowd to his signature “Eye of the Tiger.” Maybe it’s the effect of copyright denying him playing his tune, but it seemed to take Newt a while to get going.

His focus was on the economy, though if he’s going to present an economic plan to America he will have to find a better way than invoking the name of Reagan every two minutes. He recalled Reagan’s bold colors speech at CPAC, and recalled what he achieved, which liberals thought then was “unrealistic” but turned out so successful.

It was almost halfway through the 10 minute slot that he finally got the crowd going, when he sent Prime Minister Harper a message that Canada won’t need China in a Gingrich White House.

He joked that we can track Fedex parcels, but the government can’t track 11 million illegal immigrants. Newt offered his own innovative solution, to send 11 million parcels to immigrants and track them to find them.

Newt promised he intends to change Washington, not accommodate it, prompting this observer to ponder when he decided to stop accommodating DC, given his ultimate insider status. Really, his attacks on the Washington, Republican or political “establishment” rings hollow for this consummate DC schmoozer.

His schmoozing has led him to form his own “conservative dream team” to challenge his supposed bête noire establishment, and you can count how many failed presidential nominee candidates are in the line-up for yourself.

The speech in truth hit the two problems: the GOP will not win by trumpeting Reagan in favour of substance, and Gingrich will not convince many beyond his base that he is anything but an establishment man. In both cases, he simply comes across as yesterday’s man.

Who will bring us a bright tomorrow?

Mitt Flashes His Credentials with a Smile: See His CPAC Speech in its Entirety Here

Will Romney show his conservative rivals the door?

Bookmark and Share  A smiling Mitt Romney came to CPAC today with one thing on his mind, the need to prove his conservative credentials to the base of conservative activists. Telling the audience that he knew many of them came to conservatism via Hayek or Edmund Burke, Romney said his path to conservatism was paved by family, faith and his work.

Romney said he believes “we are poised for victory in November”, but beating Obama is only the first step to saving America, which has suffered from weak leadership and a bankrupt ideology. Obama has created so much unnecessary pain for Americans, he told the audience.

Romney reminded listeners that America is made exceptional by the people, before making the obligatory attack on Washington. He said Obama is the poster child for arrogant government.

It has always been clear that Romney’s kind of conservatism is fiscal, and he argued “if you are not fiscally conservative, you are bankrupt”. He told a cheering audience that he will finally get rid of the deficit, and “as the first step I will eliminate Obamacare.”

Referring to his competitors for the nomination, Romney said GOP nominees are not different in opposition to Obama or conservatism, but by experience and judgement. He also distinguished himself by saying “I have never worked a day in Washington.” He then joked “I served in government but didn’t inhale.” He said he wants to take his experience to Washington, ending his speech by declaring “I will come to Washington, I will change Washington, then I will go home to the family I love.”

After his speech, Romney joined the crowd, no doubt to judge just how much this crowd has embraced him as a conservative.

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