Second Thoughts: Newt Goes Over the Edge with “King of Bain”

Bookmark and Share   I endorsed Newt Gingrich.  This came about after Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour, Sarah Palin, and Paul Ryan, all refused to run for President.   Clearly, Newt was not my first choice but for reasons that I outlined in my endorsement, I preferred him to the other choices that were available.    I still stand by my reasoning but Newt’s newest strategy has me regretting my choice.

I am generally a little forgiving.  I understand that no candidate is perfect and that each candidate is only human.  So I excused Newt’s poor judgment back in 2009 when he endorsed liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava in a special election for Congress in New York State.  I forgave Newt for his mangling of language which seemed like he was opposing Paul Ryan’s budget proposals.  I instead chose to see the promise that existed in Newt’s reform minded, conservative based, solutions and ideas, and his record of anti-establishment thinking and significant accomplishments.  I felt that all that he could deliver was worth the extra effort it would take to try to elect a candidate with as much baggage as him.  A part of me still feels that way.

But since Newt lost Iowa, he has put his baggage in the front seat and his solutions in the trunk.  Meanwhile, the car he is driving has four tires that have been flattened by all the stones that he has been throwing on the rocky road he has taken his campaign down.

Understandably angered by several weeks and $8 million worth of attack ads against him that were sponsored mainly by Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, Newt has decided to take the low road that he once adamantly refused to take.  Now, instead of building himself up and focussing on the issues that could use his help, Newt is focussed more on revenge than revitalizing America.  That I cannot endorse.

Newt’s latest strategy is designed to use capitalism in the same ugly sense that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels used the term Kapitlaist in The Communist Manifesto.  He is trying to blur the lines between free market capitalism and human greed in a way that ignores the whole picture in an attempt to create a false impression.   In the case of Newt Gingrich, to create a false impression of Mitt Romney.

When Newt initially launched this line of attack, I was not offended.  I found his carefully chosen words explaining how he was not denying the natural dynamics of winners and losers in the free market, to be quite palatable.  Newt explained that he has long been a proponent of the type survival of the fittest competition in the free market that increases quality and cost effectiveness of goods and services. Newt made it clear that his problem was that he felt Mitt Romney abused the system and that he sought to take advantage of people through the system, not of the system with the people.

My willingness to listen to Newt’s unique conservative line of attack intrigued me.  So I was willing to listen.  I wondered if we were seeing a true genius at work as he gave birth to a new ideological spin based on compassionate capitalism or caring capitalists, the type of thinking and approach that could undermine President Obama’s attempts to demonize capitalism as a mean spirited, greed driven excuse for taking advantage of the down trodden.   So instead of jumping down Newt’s throat, I gave him 36 hours to prove to me that he was on to something.   I know that if anyone can properly articulate the virtues of capitalism and the opportunity for self help that it provides to those who value liberty, it was Newt.

Then quite sadly I watched the 28 minute film that a pro-Gingrich Super PAC, Winning Out Future, bought and has decided to market.  [see the movie below this post]

The film is all about how Mitt Romney destroyed the lives of thousands of people whose businesses were ultimately closed because of Romney’s venture capitalism company, Bain Capital.  As I watched the film, I could not help but feel as though I was watching an old Soviet style propaganda film aimed at grade school communists.  I expected Eugene Debs to make an appearance and for Upton Sinclair to pop up and deliver a PSA for EPIC.

Then I remembered how just two days ago, Newt ran around and in interview after interview, urged people to be sure to see this anti-Romney film that Gingrich supporters were going to soon make available to the public.  Recollection of that endorsement of the propaganda film before me triggered a true sense of anger in me over Newt and great  disappointment in him too.  These emotions were only intensified as I began to  see the extent to which this anti-Romney film was actually lying about the Romney record.

In one instance, Romney is caught saying, “for an economy to thrive, there are a lot of people who will suffer as a result of that.”   But the hit piece doesn’t include the rest of Romney’s  comment which went on to say; “It’s important for us as a society to find ways to help people be able to move through this process of losing a job in one industry that becomes outmoded, and finding a position in a new type of industry that is growing.”

The irony here is that just yesterday, Newt Gingrich rushed to Mitt Romney’s defense and chastised Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry, and the DNC for taking Romney out of context and running with a quote claiming that Romney likes to fire people.  Of course the complete phrase was an inference to his liking the ability to fire insurance companies who aren’t providing proper services, but when taken out of context, you would never know what Romney meant, except for what you are allowed to hear…..”I like to fire people”.   So here is Newt attacking others for taking Mitt out context one day, and then pinning his entire campaign on a film that does nothing but take Mitt Romney totally out of context the next day.  That to me is a sign of hypocrisy, desperation, and instability.  Such qualities are not what I want in a president. Besides, we already have a President who possesses such characteristics.  So who needs another one.

Other lies in the anti-Romney docu-drama are outlined quite well in a piece by Bloomberg News.

This entire Newt endorsed film is nothing more than a pitiful attempt to play on our inherent sensitivities through half truths, and outright lies.  In the end, this film could have easily been produced by Keith Olbermann  for Al Gore’s new cable station Current.  It is nothing but a Debbie Wasserman-Schultz authored, DNC talking point memo and for Newt Gingrich to associate himself with this shameless example of politics at at its worst, is demeaning and an unflaterring sign of a man who is desperate and who has lost sight of the greater mission which he set out to serve when he first began his campaign for President.

On several occasions, I aggressively denounced Ron Paul for what I called his scorched earth campaign strategy that seeks to destroy the candidacies of his Republicans opponents through a slew of highly negative ads, that will only come back to haunt us in November.  Now I am forced to ask myself,  how can I not denounce Newt Gingrich for doing the same that Ron Paul did.  If I still have any sincerity left in me after 23 years of political involvement, I must.

So here I go.

I am denouncing Newt Gingrich for his tactics and asking that he admit he has gone too far.  He needs to admit that he lost sight of the real reasons behind his presidential candidacy and became so consumed by his desire to exact revenge upon Mitt Romney that he betrayed his own initial desire to run a forward looking campaign based on solutions not slander.

As for myself, I am now in the uncomfortable position of having to defend my endorsement of Newt Gingrich.  That is not a position any supporter should be placed in.  I don’t mind defending the candidate I support, but when I have to find good reason to defend my own reasons for giving that support to a candidate, that candidate’s campaign is over.    I just hope that Newt realizes that sooner rather than later.

 

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Michigan Signals Real Trouble for Romney and the Possibility of a Long, Drawn Out Nomination Contest

Bookmark and Share    While polls do not reflect anything definitive, they do often provide a general sense of the people at the time they taken.  That being said, times change and in the next three weeks, much will.  But for now there are sure signs that Mitt Romney needs to finally begin campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination before he continues to pretend he is running for President in the general election.

The recent sustained rise to the front of the pack by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich seems to be more than just the previous flavors of the month syndrome that we have seen, and even if it is, if you were going to pick a month to be the favorite flavor in, this is it.  It is the month leading in to the first primaries and caucuses and if you have the wind at your back going in to them, there is a darn good chance you will have a stronger wind in your sails coming out of them.  So in that sense Newt Gingrich is well positioned and if he can win in Iowa, the Live Free or Die State of New Hampshire becomes a do or die proposition for Mitt Romney.

On the other hand, if Mitt Romney wins Iowa, particularly by a good 5 or more percent, there is a good chance that he will wrap up the nomination early.

But polls indicate that at this point in time, that scenario is quite unlikely.  

Mitt’s numbers are down compared to Newt Gingrich who is currently besting him in Iowa, South Carolina, and Florida, and catching up on him in New Hampshire.  This all spells deep trouble for Romney.  As outlined in a previous White House 2012 post, if Mitt fails to lock up the nomination early, he may be in for a long battle that could go in to April or beyond.  The best and most troubling evidence of that for Mitt exists in  recent poll numbers out of Michigan.

Several polls now show Newt Gingrich beating Romney in the Great Lakes State, a relatively delegate rich state that Romney is a native son of, and whose name is greatly respected because of George Romney, Michigan’s former, popular three term governor and Mitt’s father.  In 2008, Romney handily defeated John McCain in Michigan and by all accounts,  he should be handily beating all his 2012 opponents in Michigan.  But such is not the case.  A recent Strategic National poll produced the following results:

  • Newt Gingrich 30.75%
  • Mitt Romney 28.74%
  • Ron Paul 7.47%
  • Michele Bachmann 6.32%
  • Jon Huntsman 4.02%
  • Rick Santorum 3.16%
  • Rick Perry 2.59%
  • Undecided 16.95

Those numbers may be close but it is what is behind them that is most important.

Almost a year ago in January, of this year, Newt Gingrich polled 10.2% in the same poll, while Mitt Romney garnered 24.4% of the support.  In less than 11 months, Newt has seen his numbers go up by more almost 21 percent. Whereas Mitt Romney has seen a rise of only 4.34 percent.  That shows that Newt is the candidate with the greatest momentum in Michigan and to whom the undecided vote is breaking for.  And for Romney, the Michigan numbers simply confirm what we already know……he has a ceiling of support that levels off in the high 20’s. 

All of this is bad news for Mitt and it makes it more imperative for him to now to try to win in Iowa.

If Romney can pull off a victory in Iowa, it will go a long way in taking away any momentum that his challengers may have.  And if Romney can’t win in Iowa, he must do everything he can to make sure that Newt Gingrich doesn’t win it either.  The last thing Mitt can afford is to allow Newt to increase the force of his existing momentum and begin consolidating undecided voters behind him in numbers to great for Mitt to keep pace with.  If that happens, Newt can effectively derail Romney in either New Hampshire, South Carolina, or Florida .  So if Romney can’t win in Iowa, he better hope that either Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann or Rick Santorum do. 

For Mitt, short of winning Iowa for himself, the ideal winner would be Rick Santorum. 

A come from behind win in Iowa by Santorum, will help to insure that the social conservatives remains divided in the primaries immediately following Iowa.  That kind of continued division would dilute the social conservative vote just enough to make it possible for Romney’s upper 20 percent threshold to be a winning majority.

All of this makes this Thursday’s Fox News debate in Sioux City, Iowa all the more important.  In that debate Romney can ill afford another $10,000 bet and at the same time, he has to hope that Newt is off his game and that Rick Santorum pulls off his strongest performance yet.   

The next debate will be held at the Sioux City  Convention Center on Thursday, December 15thfrom 9:00-11:00 PM/ET.  It will be sponsored by Fox News in conjunction with the Iowa Republican Party.

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Mitt Romney : Which is More Important? His Midas Touch or His Flawed Candidacy?

Bookmark and Share   Having already left the starting gate, the Republican race for the White House continues to run down a long and bumpy track that is riddled with twists, turns, high hills, steep declines, and blind spots. The biggest blind spot of all exists among the voters.  With them it seems as though the perfect candidate in 2012 is always someone else.   Once it was Mike Pence, then it was John Thune. For the longest time it was Mike Huckabee and then for For awhile it was Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels and Paul Ryan.  For some it’s Sarah Palin, for others it’s Chris Christie.  The only problem is that none of these people have expressed a willingness to make the committment necessary to become President.

Then Texas Governor Rick Perry did make that committment.  He immediately vaulted to frontrunner status as the next near perfect and everyone finally had  the perfect candidate.  But after one month in the race, he fell out of favor and people quickly started to again ask Chris Christie to become the perfect candidate.  Now they are again turning to Mike Huckabee.

In Iowa Michele Bachmann was the perfect candidate for a while.  She even won their Straw Poll.  Now after her first place showing there, Mitt Romney is leading in Iowa and Herman Cain came in first in Florida.

So now, Herman Cain goes from bottom tier candidate to top tier candidate and some claim that he is now the perfect candidate.  But for how long will that be?

Through it all though, there has been one candidate who ever since he entered the race, has held steady among Republican voters.  He has never been seen as perfect.  But he has also never been viewed as a certain loser like Ron Paul and he has never been seen as a candidate who had no chance of beating President Obama if he were the Republican nominee.

That candidate is Mitt Romney.

While Romney has been denied be seen as a strong frontrunner, since the 2008 presidential election, he has consistently been a frontrunner nonetheless.   And for good reason.

While the creation of Romneycare will always make Mitt a flawed candidate, the success of Romney’s record in and out of politics, makes him without a doubt, one of the most impressive and promising candidates running.  The problem is, that he is not perfect and will not ever be seen as perfect.

The greatest knocks against Romney are that he has flip-flopped on several issues including abortion, and his creation of Romneycare.  But on these issues, Romney has indeed redeemed himself in many different senses.

Mitt has has remained true to his conversion from being a pro-choice Republican, to being a Right-to-Life Republican and as Governor he did the following;

  • Vetoed legislation that would have provided for the “Morning After Pill” without a prescription.
  • Fought to promote abstinence education in the classroom.
  • Vetoed legislation that would have redefined in Massachusetts the longstanding definition of the beginning of human life from fertilization to implantation.
  • Supports parental notification laws and opposed efforts to weaken parental involvement.
  • Supports adult stem cell research but has opposed efforts to advance embryo-destructive research in Massachusetts and he has not supported public funding for embryo-destructive research.

On the healthcare issue, while Romney admits that his healthcare plan had some things in it that he would change, he also turns it into a powerful example of state’s rights that can be used with great strength against President Obama.  But in addition to understanding that state’s should have the rights to legislate based on their own needs and desires and not a federal mandate force them in to  a one size fits all federal bureaucracy, it is important to realize the biggest difference between RomneyCare and ObamaCare.

Romney proposed universal insurance, not universal health care.

The difference is critical to not only the basic thrust behind the two healtchare approaches, it is essential to ideological purity.  What revolutionized the traditiona lstate health care sys­tem was that Romney’s plan attempted to empower individuals to buy and own their health insurance policies and keep these poli­cies with them regardless of job or job status.  ObamaCare goes beyond that, denying choices and creating a new humoungous federal bureaucracy that essentially allows bueraucrats to make healthcare decisions by determining what treatment Obamacare will allow one to get or deny them the opportunity to get it.  According to the leading conservative policy think tank, The Heritage Foundation, Romney’s plan “made significant strides in reforming their health insurance market, and other states can learn from the Massachusetts experience.”  Still it is clear that the plan leaves much to be desired.

Yet, many see the implementation of Romneycare in Massachusetts as a sign of Romney having a lack of limited government credentials and too much of a government-centric mindset.  This is where those within the TEA movement have the most difficulty with Mitt.

However, not only has Romney vowed to repeal Obamacare, he has promised to provide waivers that would allow all fifty states to be exempt from Obamacare.  This is a clear sign that Romney gets it.  Furthermore, given the strong doubts about Romney’s limited government credentials, one should easily be able to see that Romney will have to go out of his way to lead in a way that compensates for those doubts.  In other words, Romney’s hands are tied.  He will have little chance for political survival if he were to employ big government policies.

So it is safe to say that Romney not only gets it, he has no choice other than practicing limited government policies.

But beyond that, Romney’s overall record as a Governor, does support his being considered a worthy conservative.

Upon taking over Beacon Hill, Romney  issued an Executive Order reestablishing a Judicial Nominating Commission that reviewed resumes of applicants for state judicial positions and did so without any knowledge of the applicants  race, sex, or  political leanings.  The process, resulted in the selection of the judges based solely upon their qualifications as responsible interpretations of the law.  Furthermore; Romney appointed a chairman to the Judicial Nominating Commission that used the position to prevent the appointment of liberal activist judges who would legislate from the bench. That Romney appointee was Christopher Moore, a member of the Federalist Society, which fights against judicial activism. This helped move the courts of what is arguably one of the most liberal states in the nation, to the right.

Beyond his strict constitutionalist views, Romney has been a productive conservative on everything from illegal immigration, to economics.  He has fought for lower taxes,  practiced fiscal responsibility, been a longtime defender of Second Amendment rights, taken a hardline on border security, executing the War on Terror, and as Governor, he reformed government in ways that made it more efficient and effective as he cut wasteful programs, merged duplicate departments, and turned the state’s $3 billion deficit into a $700 million surplus without raising taxes.

But the most impressive example of Romney’s abilities still remain his turnaround of the 2002 Olympics in 2002.

Not only were the Olympic games a great example of his superior executive skills, as seen in the video below, it offered a great look at the character, determination, skills, positive attitude, and due diligence that is Mitt Romney. And in many ways, the Olympics of 2002 are incredibly analogous to the condition of the U.S. economy, the issue most critical to the election of a President in 2012.

In 1999 Romney took over what was a scandal-ridden Olympic organization committee that was in crisis, in debt, and in complete disarray, and turned it around by making it the most successful, well organized, and profitable Olympic games in history.

This was no easy accomplishment.  Romney’s massive operation, included the oversight, management and coordination of everything from the image of the Olympics, to the construction of the Olympic Village and top notch venues for Olympians to compete in, and even what was the most secure Olympics history.  After the events of 9/1/01, the Winter Olympics which took place only a few shorts month after that horror, suddenly became the place most vulnerable for terrorism in  the world.   With its worldwide audience, the high profile of the Salt Lake City Olympics made insuring it against acts of terror, the largest security operation of its kind .  And Mitt Romney coordinated it  all.

While Mitt points out that he did not do it alone, he is the person who hired the competent, committed people, that made it possible to turn the Games around and make them the most successful ever.  In the end, from both a sporting and business standpoint, the 2002 Salt Lake City set  broadcasting and marketing records with more than 2 billion viewers and 13 billion viewer hours.  Financially, Romney’s Olympic’s turnaround raised more money with fewer sponsors than any prior Olympic Games, and left Salt Lake Olympic Committee with a surplus of $40 million at the conclusion of the games.

Given Romney’s record, while he may be flawed, there is little to suggest that he is anything but conservative.  And beyond that, Mitt Romney is a by nature, a forward thinking, problem solver who does not seek quick, short term fixes.  He seeks to solve problems now and avoid them in the future.  He has done so be it in business or government.  Such leadership is lacking in the White House today, and not easily recognizable in the existing field of Republican presidential candidates.

This is why even though Mitt Romney has essentially been running for the presidential nomination since 2008, he is not trying to come on like gangbusters.  Romney’s campaign is one that is carefully pacing itself.  That is why while other candidates are bouncing back and forth in the polls, Romney has remained consistently towards or at the top.   All of this could ultimately mean success for Romney in  the Republican presidential race.  Romney’s steady position helps add to an impression of consistency, something which people like and trust.

Another thing to remember is this.  With a large field of Republican candidates that consists of a number of candidates who are splitting the hardcore religious right of the G.O.P., Romney can play safe and not move so far to the right, that he turns off Independent voters in the general election.  Instead he can remain, consistent and noncontroversial and benefit from a diluted concentration of a social conservative voting bloc that is divided among three or four candidates.   However, this does not mean that Romney will be a moderate Republican if elected President.

Case in point.  Back in 2009, I did not have a great deal of appreciation for Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie of New Jersey.  I was one of those New Jersey voters who has been fed up by moderate Republicans who try to be like Democrats for the sake of political expediency in a very blue state.  I had in fact favored an ardent conservative who challenged Chris Christie in a primary for Republican gubernatorial nomination.   During his campaign, Christie did little to prove to me that he would be a reliable conservative and that is what I wanted in a Governor. But not long after Chris Christie was elected Governor, I began to understand that if Chris Christie’s campaign sounded as conservative as his Administration actually proved to be, there would be no Christie Administration.

So it is reasonable to say that Romney is playing politics here.  Whether that is good or bad, elections are political and if you’re not willing to play politics, don’t  run for election.  That combined with the fact that Mitt Romney is no liberal and has a an incredible ability to lead, solve problems, and turn things around, allows me to keep the door open to him.   Be it Perry, Paul, Palin, or Ryan, Daniels, or Christie,  none of them are perfect and to keep waiting around for such a candidate will only get us a second term of a President who is as far from perfect as the sun is from the Earth.  And I for one am not going to wait light years to bring about the change we need.

This is not an endorsement of Mitt Romney, at least not yet.  But this is a reminder that Romney has given us no reason to believe that he won’t do as he says …………..

” I will press for full repeal of Obamacare, which will save hundreds  of billions of dollars. I will reduce the size of the federal workforce  and align the wages and benefits of federal workers with the private  sector. And I will set about the hard work of fundamentally  restructuring the federal government.”

If that is  not good enough for many Republicans, than they can throw their vote away on Lyndon LaRouche or Ron Paul.  As for myself, I believe there comes a time when one  has to start differentiate the rhetoric from the facts.  In doing so, I can see that Mitt Romney has a record that allows me to believe he will do what he says.  While he has not yet moved me enough to endorse him, I can tell you that I have closed no door on any Republican presidential candidate.  My door is open for all them to come right through and prove to me that they deserve my vote.  I just hope that many Republicans will leave the door open for Mitt Romney.  Not only is he the likely nominee, he is also the person who is most likely to be able to get this country back on track when 2013 rolls around.

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