Archive for the ‘MItt Romney’ category

Three Strikes and …

October 20, 2016

The third and final 2016 Presidential debate mercifully concluded last evening in Las Vegas. With a sigh of relief the curtain fell on a modern political tradition with the public little more informed about what policies each candidates would follow if elected. What did come to the surface again was the gulf in temperament that separates the two candidates.

Hillary Clinton, dressed in calming white, baited Donald Trump with carefully constructed dialog. Clinton displayed the difference between the big leagues and a back yard sandlot. Clinton used a saber while Trump rambled around using his elbows. For Trump supporters, this was and is their man. For Clinton supporters, it was “see I told you so”. But what about everyone in between?

The polls will once again provide an indication but that will take days. IMO, the turkey was already in the oven with Trump steadily sinking in voters’ opinions, last nights debate did nothing to arrest this decline and arguably may have accelerated it.

On taxes and the economy, Trump promised better days were around the corner, saying with massive tax cuts, jobs would be created (as well as returned from overseas), the economy would grow in excess of 5%, and America would be great again. I would not worry about a long line of economists vouching for this whopper.

Trump relied on “non-Presidential” demeanor in attempts to belittle and denigrate Hillary Clinton while denying any counter charges regardless of whether Hillary’s claims had already been fact checked.

And strike three (for the undecided, wavering, and uncommitted) came at the very end when Trump refused to acknowledge that he would accept the election results. In essence, Trump said no to the “American Way”.

There were other important differences mentioned on immigration, women’s right to choose, and the Supreme Court. With a more mainstream Republican candidate (remember Mitt Romney), one would have expected a fuller discussion and an appeal to voters on why their position was best. Last evenings these topics were like throw away issues taking away from each candidates real interest, showing their opponent as unfit to serve.

This quadrennial political contest is not over. There is of course still time for some unknown disclosure which could rock Clinton’s candidacy, but chance are small and getting smaller. At this point, Hillary Clinton looks destine to become the 45th President.

The Quadrennial Republican Lemming March?

February 19, 2016

The 2016 GOP Presidential primary appears strangely similar to mythical death march of the lemmings. In 2012, the GOP staged a lengthy circular shooting contest until Mitt Romney emerged, seriously wounded, yet still with a general election ahead of him. Each of the GOP candidates had picked one more extreme position than the other to prove that they were the unquestionable conservative.

Romney, despite his flawed strategy (bearing hard to the right for primary voters before attempting to slip to the middle for the general election), was at his core a serious and competent candidate. In the 2016, it is hard to pick the Mitt Romney from the field likely to be left standing.

One would probably pick Jeb Bush and John Kasich as Romneyesque. Both were/are governors and speak in measured ways. Both are broadly experienced and in comparison to the rest of the GOP field, are moderate Republicans (despite their protestation other wise). And, both are at best long shot candidates, currently garnering less than 20% of the vote combined. Hmmm.
One must wonder whether this apparent GOP dysfunction comes from the candidates who choose to run, or from the nature of the voters who make up the deciding faction of the GOP primaries. In short, are the candidates crazies or are the GOP voters the crazies who attract crazy candidates?

The handle “crazy” is probably not apt. The GOP candidates are quite sane and calculating politicians. They are dead set on gaining the nomination and going on to become President. The unknown is whether each of the candidates really subscribes to the “crazy” (extreme) policies they propose, or are their statements simply bait to appease and attract certain voters who claim to be Republican, Tea Party, or Libertarian? Each candidate’s goal is the GOP nomination, and it appears each is each willing to say whatever it takes to obtain it?

For example, the candidates have each echoed the following ideas:

  • No new taxes and a reduction in marginal rates (gift to the already wealthy)
  • Balance the budget and begin reducing the national debt (no plan, lots of assumptions)
  • Repeal of the Affordable Care Act (with no plan to replace and no commitment to basic healthcare for everyone)
  • Larger military through an increased Defense budget (no new taxes so where does funding come from)
  • Foreign policy where when America speaks, others listen and do what the US says (This anachronistic notion may have never existed but in any case is totally detached from reality in today’s world)
  • Stronger economy with more job creation (with no supporting comprehensive plan or funding proposal)
  • Defense of traditional religious values (providing those values are christian, ignoring the Constitution is acceptable)
  • Sealing the Mexican boarder (while ignoring the 11 million undocumented aliens already in the US)
  • Denying the resettlement of refugees if the State Governor decides to not accept them (even though the issues of immigrants and refugees are a clearly defined Federal responsibility)

If one of the leading candidates (Trump, Cruz, or Rubio) proposes to take drastic steps versus one of these issues, the others in quick succession promise to do the same or even much more. The lemmings are nearing the cliff edge.

Many congressional GOP members are speaking out on these same issues and demanding that Americans’ voices be heard. The Antonin Scalia replacement controversy is a telling example where GOP congressional members say the appointment of a new Supreme Court Justice should wait until the “American people” have spoken at the next election. What American people are they talking about? Did Americans not speak in 2012 and elect a President for a four year term?

The GOP primary behavior (not to mention many in Congress) is very worrisome. They are preaching a brand of politics much like a quack medicine man. Their proposals promise a better life but fail the tests of logic and history. Whether its “take back America” or “make America great again”, these salesmen have a bag with nothing inside. Watch out, don’t get to close to the cliff’s edge when these lemmings (or better yet, charlatans) go over the edge.

The Evolution Of Political Sanity

January 17, 2016

The Republican Presidential Primary process has once again tested the limits of commonsense. In 2012, Republicans fielded a group of candidates which resembled more a Vaudeville act than a serious contest to pick the most qualified. Never the less, the GOP did select Mitt Romney who was certainly both qualified and heads and shoulders a better choice than the likes of Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, or Herman Cain. The elephant in the room in 2016 is who or will anyone emerge who can be viewed as a serious candidate?

Supporters of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio see their preferences as the inevitable nominee, while Chris Christie and John Kasich’s fans are sure their pick will be the last person stranding and gain the nomination. Ben Carson and Jeb Bush’s clubs are gently sleeping, while Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and Rand Paul are secretly hoping a natural catastrophe sweeps all the others aside. And as if nothing each of these candidates have promised is relevant, House Speaker Paul Ryan has now announced the Republican controlled House of Representatives will construct the GOP Presidential platform. Hmmm.

I wonder who is taking who seriously?

Mainstream media is gradually changing its tone on Donald Trump. After a succession of polls have steadily boosted Trumps standing versus the rest of the pack, the media is now beginning to suggest Trump might win the nomination outright and save the party from a brokered convention. This recognition must be tough for the legitimate press given the widely unconventional campaign tactics and outrageous statements Trump has used so far. Can you think of one sensible and well articulated domestic or foreign policy position that Donald Trump has articulated? But I bet you can recall any number of inflammatory and relatively meaningless charges and counter charges he has made to gain personal attention.

Up to this point, the GOP candidates have been eating Donald Trump’s dust. As a candidate gained traction and rose to challenge Trump’s leadership position, the glare of the public spotlight revealed critical weaknesses in each.

Jeb Bush (with an exclamation mark) was the first to rise and fade. He was followed quickly by Ben Carson. While Carson is finished, Bush still could become the nominee in a brokered and exasperated convention. Both Cruz and Rubio are now receiving the blow back from the Donald. IMO while both Cruz and Rubio are mortally wounded by their own position statements when it comes to the general election, they are also looking weaker when compared to Trump.

Christie and Kasich are still low enough in the polls that they are not drawing Trump’s daily attention and are neither being helped or hurt by any comparisons. Both are trying to find some niche where their political and executive experience can be shown superior to Trump’s “smartest guy in the room” approach. Both of these men must be hoping for a brokered convention.

Florina is another issue. On paper she is intelligent, someone with proven executive experience, and of course is a women at a time when one of Hillary Clinton strongest appeals is her gender. Fiorina, lacks political experience and her work experience showed an arrogant leader, with a sort of rock star persona, a more “go it alone” person. So far in the primary process, Carly has not shown a warm, be my friend side. She is not likely to overcome this and attract a larger following.

Huckabee, Santorum, and Paul offer nothing that will attract a majority either in the primaries or in a brokered convention. They are just spending money and taking up space.
So what will the GOP do?

“Deer in the headlights” comes to mind. After 8 disastrous years with George W Bush and another 8 years with candidates running on anti-woman, anti-immigrant, anti-gay, balanced with pro-wealthy, pro-evangelicals, and pro-extreme conservative platforms, it is no wonder the GOP has drifted into a party of extreme views representing small segments of the electorate which individually cannot get along with each other.

The GOP top guns have dug themselves into a huge hole and don’t know what to do.
Consequently each candidate is trying to call out the other candidates for the silliest of contradictions while they smugly look in the camera and say “I’m more qualified than that bozo”. Hmmm.

The shenanigans the American public is witnessing reflects personality, not genuine policy differences. Trump is Trump, Cruz is Cruz, Rubio is Rubio, etc. If one steps back and thinks about the GOP of Regan, or George H W Bush’s day, there would be no confusing them with Democrats or Democrat Party policies.  These past GOP Presidents would have stood upon a rational, far more moderate, and inclusive Republican Party platform.

It is hard to see how the GOP can stop digging and get itself out of this dysfunctional evolution of political sanity.

Vetting A Presidential Nominee

November 24, 2015

Watching the Republican Presidential nominating process unfold has been a lesson in fund raising, possessing the “right stuff”, and standing up to public vetting.  The GOP hopefuls list which began at nearly two dozen is slowly dwindling but the serious list (those with a chance) still remains close to 10.

Who will prevail and how long will it take?

Most everyone has been amazed at the success to date of non-politicians Donald Trump and Ben Carson. For a few weeks these two “outsiders” garnered over 50% of the polls. Trump still is hanging in at around 30% while Carson has fallen back to the high teens.

Carson’s recent drop in the polls highlights the amazing aspect of his prior success. Carson has no idea about foreign policy or current events. The Paris attack, ISIS and Syrian refugee issue, when vetted in the public forum, has shown he is not ready for prime time.  He would be a dangerous choice for Vice President since he appears to lack even the remotest background in diplomacy and world events.

Donald Trump is a quite different story. He has offered some of the most outlandish proposals on immigration, 9/11, taxes, and refugees and still is standing tall in the polls.  Trump seems to have offered a segment of voters someone who “says it as it is”, at least in their minds.

Anti-immigration, xenophobia, and gigantic tax cut promises have boosted Trump’s support even though his specific claims or proposals are patently unfounded. But 30% of the maybe 30% card carrying GOP base in a national election is not enough to win. Hmmm.

While Trump and Carson occupy the top positions, gradually Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasick are rising. This trio still are not a numeric challenge to Trump but are making life pretty rough on Jeb Bush and Carli Fiorina. The rest, Chris Christy, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, George Pataki, and Lindsay Graham have absolutely no chance and must be staying in hoping to get a VP nod.

The Primary race has been marked by pledges and promises which cannot reasonably be believed. No candidate is immune to the urge to say things which in hours are shown unfounded or unattainable. With the exception of Donald Trump, each candidate who has put forward some policy position crafted to appeal to the right, has lost a point or two in the polling standings. If things continue on the same path, by February or March, it should be clear that none of the current candidates has enough support to win in the general election even if they can secure the GOP nomination.

There is one unannounced candidate, however, who does poll well and would make a formidable candidate. That person is Mitt Romney.

Recent national polls show Mitt as by far and away the choice of Republican voters and a solid candidate against Hillary Clinton. If Mitt can stay patient, he could get the nomination without having to announce he is “severely conservative” again.

As time passes, the GOP should recognize in an election where less than a third of voters are true GOP believers (same percent holds for Democrats),  that unless the GOP offers a sane, responsible alternative, the mass of independent voters will side with Democrats and again keep the GOP out of the White House.

For my money, Mitt is by far the best choice if there must be a GOP President.

Mitt Romney’s New Vision

January 30, 2015

The Mitt Romney remake (I’m interested in the poor) did not go as far as he might have wished. Today, Mitt declared he would not seek the GOP nomination. Mitt said this would open a path for those less well known and just as inexperienced to seek the nomination. Hmmm.

I suspect Mitt’s new vision involves a stalemated convention and that the GOP would turn to the elder statesman for their tie breaking choice. Maybe… a stalemate is certainly Mitts best option at this time. Jeb Bush appears to be the moderate’s choice (as measured where the money is going) and Mitt can only hope for a tie later on.

Jeb Bush will certainly be a formidable nominee in any general election. He’s articulate, serious, and an experienced executive. A far better choice than his brother. The question remains will Jeb get tied up in a pretzel, like Romney did, just to get the nomination and then lose the general?

There is enough latent distrust for Hillary that cobbling together a majority in the general election may be easier for a GOP candidate than gaining the nomination.   The Republican “base” will demand positions not compatible with a majority of American voters.  End of story.

Hillary is wisely keeping her powder dry and will wait until she has a better idea of who exactly is running and what positions have this candidate been saddled with.

Mitt’s decision to wait until there is a stalemated convention runs another risk. Candidates like Hucklebee, Cruz, Paul, Santorum, or Graham pose no challenge for Hillary. She would welcome the nomination of any of them.

Hillary’s nightmare might be someone like Ohio Governor Kasich who appears to have common sense and executive experience. Kasich, however, would have to get by Bush and big money would not like that. Hmmm.

I wonder whether Mitt’s new vision foresees all that?

Jeb and Mitt

January 24, 2015

Former Governors and potential GOP Presidential candidates, Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney met two days ago in a private meeting. Pundits speculated that the meeting’s purpose was discuss how both could run for the GOP nomination and not destroy the moderate Republican wing and giving more help to of the far more conservative Republican base. Hmmm.

The conservative GOP base seems to have something for everyone. Less government regulations draws big money’s support. Lower taxes is everyone’s favorite even though most Republicans don’t realize who gains the most in across the board tax cuts. For some crazy reason, “REPEALING and replacing” the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) gets the GOP crowd to the edge of their chairs. But best of all are the “gifts” for the anti-immigration faction or the bible thumpers who seek deportation and anti-abortion (or any other infringement on women’s comprehensive healthcare) measures.

The Jeb and Mitt talks might ordinarily seems pointless since “moderate” and “GOP” seem incompatible. The wisdom of not fighting within the GOP seems obvious since there is a path to the White House for a sane GOP.  The GOP House, has not seen this wisdom yet.  The House introduced a draconian anti-abortion bill (instead of other governance bill) which would have prevented women from using their own money to buy comprehensive health care insurance, if that insurance included abortion coverage. Luckily House Republican women stepped forward and said no way with out votes.

The cold political calculation suggests that a moderate, divisive issue free campaign is the best if not the only path to the White House for the GOP.  Clearly Mitt and Jeb recognize that.  I just wonder whether American voters are looking and listening.

The question they should be asking is “what would this Party try to pass if they also occupy the White House”?

GOP Intrigue

January 10, 2015

While the GOP lead Congress rumbles forward set on passing meaningless bills which the leadership contends will appeal to “its base”, a quiet intrigue is developing on the 2016 GOP Presidential hopeful stage. What is going on?

GOP 2016 prospects bounce between “no way Jose” to “it just might be possible to win” depending upon the likely nominee. The going assumption is that Hillary Clinton will become the Democrat standard bearer and the presumptive Presidential winner, “if”…

If the GOP runs a 2012-like nominating process and builds a platform with 2012 features, Hillary will win easily. Cooler GOP heads are determined to not let this happen.  Witness the 2014 midterms where GOP leaders committed to constraint over divisive issues leading up to the 2014 midterms. And the GOP was rewarded with sweeping wins.

But who does this suggest will get the 2016 GOP nod?

Rick Santorum would love the chance. Marco Rubio sees Pennsylvania Avenue in his future. Rand Paul thinks his chances are more than even. Mike Huckabee sees no downside, if he gets the nomination great, if he doesn’t he will have increased the value of his TV image. Ted Cruz… hmmm… lets get real. Paul Ryan who could be a serious challenger will have to run away from his infamous budget and his numerous incorrect negative predictions on the nation’s economic future… Ryan may be doable but he is not in the best position for a GOP candidate.

Behind the sense intrigue may be why Jeb Bush has gotten so much national attention since he began to act like a candidate. Jeb has a very conservative track record and would appeal to the conservative side of the GOP.   He also has a number of thoughtful moderate (read logical) positions. Immigration and education policy are most often mentioned as Bush’s appeal to America’s middle. More recently Jeb Bush has also broken from the past with his public statements on gays. Just another step that makes him appear seasoned and capable of governing all Americans.

Hillary, on the other hand, is a centrist who should appeal to women, immigrants, gays, and center/center left voters. (Extreme progressives are unlikely to have a candidate this year they like, and will be put in the position of needing to select the lesser of two evils.)

So if one was a GOP strategist, the 2016 election game is destined to be played in the political middle. The GOP will need to paint Hillary as far more liberal than she is and as such a threat to a rational middle ground. If the GOP can keep its dysfunctional, bible thumping, pro-life, and anti-science right wing quiet, the GOP will have a solid basis to elect the next President. Hence, it will be Bush and not the other six.

Hmmm.

But wait, what about there last standard bearer, Mitt Romney, who rightly saw the largest international threat as Russia, not the Middle East, and who came close to winning in 2012 after having run one of the most hypocritical primary campaigns?

Romney, however, has on many occasions said he would not run a third time. And he may not run in 2016 either. The reality is for all the candidates that the financial train wants to leave the station and “big money” is looking for a candidate who is dependable and can win.  It may no longer be feasible for Romney to demure.

There still will be a primary process and anyone could still emerge form this process. Odds, however, are tilted towards “big money’s” choice.  The GOP has seen what happens when its “grass roots” has it chance to shine.

GOP leadership will do their utmost to keep primary debate around national security and economic growth with moderate social issues as bookends. A Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, or Marco Rubio just do not bring much to that type of platform. Jeb Bush or Mitt Romney do.

Accordingly, Mitt has found it necessary to abandon the strategy of waiting for a divided GOP to come and ask him to run. He has instead met with a host of big money donors and expressed interest in a third nomination.

There is no intrigue that Romney’s timing is deliberate and selected to keep big money from jumping on Jeb Bush’s wagon. The intrigue is why now is Romney considering a run after having repeatedly rejected the notion?  Are back room sources encouraging him, or are they trying to block Jeb Bush?

In 2012, a lot of Republicans reluctantly supported Romney and feared he was a moderate masquerading as a conservative. Romney’s 2012 positions just may feel a little more comfortable than some of Jeb Bush’s. And Jeb’s brother former President George W Bush is not the party’s favorite.

Romney has running for President experience under his belt.  This could be seen as a big plus. So maybe big money is just looking for other options than Bush.

My guess is that in the cold light of reason, there is not much difference between Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney. There are a lot of differences between them and the other six. The GOP leaders recognize that defeating Hillary will require a disciplined campaign, vigorously conducted where fear is likely to determine how the publics votes.

If the GOP can create enough fear over “who Hillary really is” and comfort around the GOP selection, they see an elephant in the White House come 2017. Hmmm.