Posted tagged ‘mitt romney’

2016 – What Will The GOP Run Against?

December 3, 2014

A NBC poll released today showed former GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney leading all perspective 2016 nominees. Romney logged in with 20% preference by those polled. In second place was Ben Carson with 10%. All the other Sunday talk show guests lined up as little ducks with descending percentages. Hmmm.

Romney’s preference can certainly be assigned to the fact that there has been little money spent to date for the 2016 race. The boat load Romney spent in 2012 makes him the most recognizable GOP candidate even though Romney has consistently said he is not a candidate for a third try.

Here’s some ideas for the eventual GOP candidate.

  • The Economy. Candidate “A” can claim he/she will get the economy going again. Hmmm. Considering the mess President Bush left, and the steady climb back, the current US economy is second to none in the world. And, the return to a strong economy was accomplished without any tax give away programs for corporations or the very wealthy. What can the GOP claim? Maybe they might point to the many Americans who do not feel they are participating in the recovery because their jobs do not pay enough. Hold your breath and lets see what this daring GOP candidate offers as the path to fairer income distribution.
  • Good Jobs. This would be a worthy goal for either party. The difficulty both will have is where would “good jobs” come from and how would the government play a role in enabling? Chances are no GOP candidate will offer anything substantive in reference to type of jobs or how to enable their creation (conflicts with small government goals). Simply saying, Candidate “B” stands for more good jobs will probably be the extent. For example, being specific like wanting to complete the XL pipeline because it will create good paying jobs, while partially true will also help depress the price of oil and refined products (good for most consumers). The lower oil prices will simultaneously create unemployment as current oil producers find their sunk costs exceeding the new lower price of crude. Hmmm.
  • The Affordable Care Act. It will be practically irresistible for GOP candidates to not cry for repeal of ACA. Candidate “C” will pronounce it a “train wreck”. Unfortunately for Candidate “C”, the facts do not support the train wreck description. No longer are Americans denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition or have their coverage canceled due to catastrophic illness. Uninsured Americans can obtain affordable coverage when in the past only the healthiest could. And, while it is still early, estimates are being made that the ACA’s emphasis upon reducing hospital errors is actually reducing health care costs. Hmmm. The wise GOP candidate, however, will move from repeal to “repair” ACA and point out certain aspects which should be fixed based upon experience.
  • Foreign Affairs. Most GOP candidates will puff up and say they favor a strong national security posture. More spending by the Defense Department will be their call. These demagogues will point to Russia, the Ukraine, China, and the Middle East as proof that the Obama Administration has botched foreign affairs. Oh, really? The Russian ruble is in free fall due to non-military sanctions put in place to counter Russia’s Crimean and Eastern Ukrainian policies. The Middle East mess, which began with President Bush’s ill-advised invasion and occupation of Iraq and his Administrations frequent calls for “democratic elections” in middle east countries, can only be resolved by the Middle East countries themselves. Any GOP candidate who proposes another invasion will be in for a rude surprise.
  • Immigration. Potentially the hottest potato of all. What can an honest GOP candidate say? Studies by even the most GOP minded business groups all point out the economic advantages of immigration reform. Common sense compels one to see the foolishness of any attempt to deport over 11 million undocumented. Probably the best advice would be to try the “Dick Nixon Vietnam approach”. Candidate “D” could say he has a secret immigration reform plan but can’t reveal it during the campaign because if he did, some could game the system… and Candidate “D” would want the reform to be fair to all.

President Obama will not be running this time. The presumptive Democrat candidate, Hillary Clinton, can both defend and modify the Obama track record based upon the passage of time… things change.

Should the Democrats infact nominate Hillary, the GOP will have the real red meat they seek. Run against Hillary (and Bill).

So maybe the Affordable Care Act, and the Economy, or Jobs, or Foreign Affairs will not be the issues, just Hillary. Hmmm.

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Mitt Again?

February 18, 2014

President Obama is into his 6th year as President.  Most pundits (as well as most voters) have already pronounced his Presidency a success or failure even though two plus years remain in which game changing events could unfold.

To be clear, I am not referencing assessment put forth on an ideological basis, like, “he’s a socialist”, “he’s taking away our freedom”, or “he’s bankrupting America”.  Or am I referencing the opposite views like “he’s soft on the environment”, “he’s deported more than any other President”, or “he’s done nothing to help the poor”.

Rather, at this point in President Obama’s Administration, it seems clear that as a CEO, he has picked a mediocre team of top assistants.  His selections may be bright or may have the best of intentions.  What they all seem to lack is (1) ability to work as a team, and (2) ability to get control and run their Departments effectively and efficiently.

We must remember that most government employees are civil service, career workers.  Any President or Department head may make a few direct appointments but the overwhelming momentum in any Department is provided by those who have already been there.  In essence, the President can direct something to be done, but unless these legacy Government workers want to do it, there is little hope that snapping ones fingers will result in the requested action.

This condition awaits any President.  It was true for President Bush just as it is for President Obama.  President Bush, however, ignored the bureaucracy and seemed content with government “inaction”.  President Obama has wanted things to be different, but has lacked the executive ability to change the status quo.

Some defend President Obama by saying he has had an obstructionist “loyal opposition”.  The GOP, they say have blocked every policy the President has tried to put in place.  While this is true, so what?

President Obama, like most other Presidents whose Party did not control Congress, has turned to new policies and new programs rather than reforming what exists already.   Streamlining, improving efficiency and reducing costs are measures the President has left to others and they have not been done.  What business world CEO do you know who has become successful allowing corporate bureaucracies to remain as is?

So if this notion has a morsel of truth in it, than wouldn’t a corporate CEO, rather than a equally bright “professor type” be more effective as the Country’s chief executive?

Hmmm.

My guess is that were voters to get a clean choice (all else being equal) between a proven CEO or another professorial or ideologue candidate, they are likely to flock to the CEO.

Hence, the apparent interest in Mitt Romney again.

During 2014, GOP hopefuls will have free choices over putting forth their best image.  Following the Congressional elections in the fall, however, the many must begin the process to narrow down to the few, and finally the one.  Strangely being a great CEO is not necessarily an asset in the world of gutter politics.  I guess that is why Mitt is still playing it safe and remaining non-committal.

What Would Mitt Have Done?

September 10, 2013

The Syrian crisis continues to take unpredictable directions.  After President Obama had managed to work his way into a dead end position, a life line was thrown to him thanks to some diplomatic double speak.  President Bashar al Assad accepted a Russia offer to take control of Syria’s chemical weapons and in doing so eliminate the reason for any US attack.  While there are still plenty of questions, the necessity of a US strike has been dramatically reduced.

President Obama is surely breathing a huge sigh of relief.  He was looking at a Congressional rejection of a military strike, a public opinion tilting against any involvement, and most likely his own intuition counseling against a strike.  Counter to this, the President was mindful of the potential world reaction (especially in Iran, North Korea, and dozens of third world countries).  The US might be seen as a paper tiger.

Now the potential exists to claim diplomatic victory based upon superior military might.

An interesting question might be, what would a President Mitt Romney have done in this situation?

Of course this is an alternative we can never know for sure.  My guess is a President Romney would have been much more proactive.even prior to this latest chemical weapons crisis.  Neoconservatives have been championing the Assad regime change tune and Mitt would have likely sung along.  The wild card is whether the Republican Party’s Libertarian wing could have delayed the return of the neocons.

I also think Romney would be particularly sensitive to “executive powers” and sought to assert his authority when and where ever he could.  Romney would likely have conducted foreign policy without much Congressional consultation.  He might even have pushed for tax cuts coincident with his saber rattling.  (Hmmm. Sounds like a familiar tactic.)

President Obama appears to be a deep thinker.  He seems conflicted with a worrisome recognition.  There have been and there still are dozens and dozens of inhuman conditions around the world.  In North Korea government policy carries with it untold deaths due to starvation.  In Africa, thousands are dying in the name of Allah.  Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Bahrain, and Yemen all have experienced senseless violence.  If Syria now, why them and not the others?

A President Romney, I doubt would be troubled by such a question.  Life is much clearer, it is black or white.

The risk inherent in President Obama’s thinking is that al Qaeda, the North Koreans, Iran, or even the Chinese or Russians do not think about why one country should or should not intervene in another.  For these regimes, the question is “what is in our national best interest”.

The question for us then is whether President Obama’s or a mythical President Romney’s policies would be in our national best interest over time.

Mitt Romney At Treasury?

November 10, 2012

There has been speculation since Tuesday’s Presidential election results became known, who would President Obama select for his next cabinet.  Two big openings will be Treasury and State.  Will the team of rivals expand?

One of the intriguing possibilities would be for President Obama to tap Mitt Romney for Secretary of Treasury.  Reaching out to his opponent would underscore both Obama’s desire for bi-partisanship as well as a nod to Romney’s business savvy.  Is this just wistful thinking?  Is Mitt even qualified?  Why would the President consider it or why would Mitt accept?

My guess is this is wistful thinking.  This proposition suggests that politicians are both selfless and possess magical qualities that can fix anything.  If any thing, Washington DC is the home for egotists, the self involved, and the greedy.  DC means “what’s in it for me”.  Strangely, however, our Federal Government seems to function as well if not better than any other in the world.  Never the less, thinking that the President would offer the post and Romney would accept it, puts DC is a romantic light.  The image raises very pleasant wistful thinking.

Hmmm.   But what if?

Romney is a Mormon.  He is a church leader and lives his creed genuinely.  Giving back to the community and sharing widely your gifts is mainstream Mormonism.  At 65, what’s left for Romney?

He could become CEO of a wide range of firms.  He could pursue higher church offices.  He could head a major University.  And he could write a book and sit home counting his money.  Doesn’t sound like new frontiers.

On the other hand, after so many years of public life, a compelling offer to put his talents to work putting America back on fiscally sound path might be attractive.  History would be extremely kind to someone who put first his country.  Pragmatically, what a chance for Romney to contribute to policies which shaped the business environment while fixing the deficit mess.

A Romney appointment would send shivers down the backs of many Liberals.  The anti-Wall Street crowd would think the President had lost his marbles.  Even big banks might worry…  Romney has nothing to gain or lose in his Treasury role…  He would not be for sale under any conditions.

Normally, there is a chemistry associated with these high level appointments.  President Obama, however, picked both Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton who opposed his nomination.  The President found ways to work with both without the need for close friendship.

Mitt Romney is a complex character.  He made public statements during his run for office which were all over the map (far right to maybe center left).  Romney just might be able to accept a centrist White House direction and mold Treasury policies to match.  From this inside position, he could ensure his business views were heard.

Dreaming?  Maybe.  The biggest hurdle for Romney might be being a number two in the biggest tent, rather than a number one in some other tent?

Branding

November 8, 2012

In the aftermath of President Obama’s reelection, there is much discussion about the GOP’s need to “rebrand” itself.  Even though the vote was close, political sages say national demographic shifts are moving voters away from the GOP.  Next time could be even worse.

Rebranding is an interesting notion.  What do they mean?  Do they think the GOP should try a new color and replace the red State image?  Do they mean the GOP should adopt the naked Etch-A-Sketch approach Mitt Romney used?  (You know, just announce one day that you are for everything moderate and in the middle regardless of whether you have any intention of governing that way.)  Or do they mean change nothing and just spend more money to convince voters?

If rebranding means any of these, the GOP is in for more disappointment.  The country has and is continuing to change.  Social media coupled with the visual information age are distributing raw information more rapidly and broadly than ever before.  It is almost impossible for any politician to say something in public and not have those words spread on Facebook or Twitter, or repeated 1000’s of times on 7/24 cable news.  While the general public may not understand the many layers of any issue, they can recognize hypocrisy and they can detect policies that are not in their best interest.

The GOP brand needs, instead, to rethink what it stands for.  Is it the party of the rich?  Is it the party of fundamentalist religious groups?  Is it the “boot straps” party?

You can’t be successful calling for small government when to make it smaller means taking Medicare (health care) and Social Security away from the most vulnerable.  You can’t be successful calling for small government and then telling women what they can and cannot do with their bodies.  You can’t be successful calling for small government and demanding more defense spending.

There may very well be a place in politics for single issue parties, for example one that represents religious freedom issues.  A number of GOP candidates as well as Mitt Romney called for government to intervene in issues surrounding a woman’s right to choose.  Exit polls, however, indicate that 50% of catholic women voted for President Obama despite the Catholic Church hierarchy’s call for no birth control or abortions, full stop.  If that is the direction the GOP thinks is in its best interest, they may sleep better at night but they will continue to loose national political influence.

A new GOP brand might be possible if the Republican Party developed policies and programs to ensure the successful implementation of a few core issues.  Instead of trying to represent churches, the NRA, Wall Street, and the very wealthy, the GOP should begin to talk about balanced policies which were aimed at growing the economy, enhancing America’s global competitiveness, and enriching the everyday quality of life for ALL Americans.  Let the extreme factions of the current GOP go their own ways.  Cut back if necessary, but come back strong through focus on a few important issues.

That might produce a really interesting new brand.

 

Mandate Or Obstruction?

November 7, 2012

Yesterday America voted.  President Obama won reelection winning both the popular and electoral votes.  The election margin was narrow even though the electoral margin was convincing.  Does this represent a mandate for President Obama or will he face a largely unchanged House as obstructionists?

In 2004 when President George W Bush won reelection in a squeaker, he said with great bravado, “my victory has given me a lot of political capital and I’m going to use it” (or words to that effect).  Bush proceeded to try and privatize social security.  There had been no mandate and Bush’s efforts went down in flames.

In 2012, the country is facing a serious deficit quandary.  Tax revenues are insufficient to cover expenditures to the tune of $1 trillion.  This can be called nothing other than irresponsible government.

The problem is how to balance the budget.  How does the country reduce spending (like which programs) or increase tax revenues (who pays more)?  And once there is some agreement on how to reduce the deficit, at what speed is it sensible to accomplish (6 months, 6 years, for example).

All of this is set in the context of unemployment (jobs), growing the economy, launching Affordable Care Act, and social issues such as immigration and homosexual rights.  It is reasonable to conclude that voters, by a slight majority, preferred President Obama’s position on these issues.  Is that a mandate?

Voters seemed not to accept Mitt Romney’s “chicken in every pot” approach.  He offered jobs, tax reductions,  and the end of ACA, and those promises did not sell.  Were Republican Congressional leaders listening?

Both John Boehner and Mitch McConnell’s first statements following the election seemed combative and disconnected with the election results.  Does that mean the GOP will continue as obstructionists?

The President holds far more power than just having won reelection.  Timing is everything.  If he does nothing, the Bush tax cuts will expire by law.  If Congress can not offer acceptable budget cuts, the sequestration laws will put in place mandatory cuts.  Congress will be blamed for having raised taxes on the middle class and having allowed defense spending to be cut.  This should present a strong motivator to cut a deal behind closed doors.  But will it happen?

This election demonstrated that an awful lot of Americans consider themselves Republicans.  Regardless, the GOP needs to realize that this number represents a national second place party.  The GOP is out of touch with the center.

The mandate really applies to GOP leadership and over their obstructionist ultra right faction, they must seize control and steer a new, more centrist course.

Will that happen?  Stay tuned.

 

“O” Is The Center

November 6, 2012

Today the Country votes.  Unless there is a tie or legal high jinx keep the final decision up in the air for weeks or months to come, talk show hosts and their habitual guests will be out of mindless things to say.  Oh (pun), it will be wonderful to once again know there is more in the world than two campaigns.

For those who prefer centrist leadership, there is a clear choice.  Consider these points

Deficit/Debt.  There are two big considerations facing any President trying trying to restore fiscal soundness to the US.  (1) The appearance of fairness will enable whatever the plan may be to become broadly acceptable.  This means tax cuts favoring the already wealth, increases in defense spending, and singular focus on entitlements as the route to spending decreases are poor choices.  (2) The rate of change and consistency of purpose will make or break any deficit reduction plan.  A too rapid deficit reduction will surely stall the economy and too slow an implementation will result in backwards motion as new deficits pile onto the debt.  Which candidate has proposed tax cuts and ending social security and Medicare?

Health Care.  The Affordable Care Act is hardly a perfect piece of legislation.  It is noble in that it provides a path to insurance for millions previously denied coverage.  But its attack upon costs and reliance upon employers dooms the ACA to a marginal status.  Is the right path to return to the time that pre-existing conditions ruled the way?  Is it fair for some to game the system and enter the insurance pool only when they are likely to require costly medical care (and then have this cost past onto other Americans)?  The US may be years away from realizing just how foolish out current health care delivery system really is.  Regardless, the “you’re on your own” approach seems hardly in the center.

Economic growth.  The US economy was on steroids in the years leading up to the 2007 crash.  An unrestrained housing bubble fueled a vast number of jobs.  Overshadowing housing was the financial sector where every street corner had a commercial bank.  Stealthy behind these banks which were offering fantastic saving programs and easy to get loans (got a heart beat, here’s some money), were extremely questionable ethics.  The financial sector seemed oblivious to any ethical violations when they repackaged subprime mortgages into fancy mortgage back securities and derivatives.  But financial institutions were not content with that.  These blue suiters would even bet against the instruments they were selling to investors while knowing that they could not cover losses if something went wrong with those securities or derivatives.  Who wants less regulations?  Who wants to free businesses to operate as they think best?

Individual freedoms.  This is a catch all for immigration reform, women’s rights, full recognition of gays and lesbians, and religious freedom.  Who will appoint Supreme Court Justices who favor over turning past Supreme Court decisions?  Who has said he would repeal legislation on equal pay?  Who favors taking away the benefits of marriage from homosexuals?  And who would enable religions under the flag of “religious freedom” to impose their religious views on others?

There is no one deciding factor in this election.  For sure many will cast their vote for Mitt Romney because they believe his policies will create jobs and in turn help them.  Others may vote for Mitt because they stand on the right side of individual freedoms.  And for still others, the lessons of history are lost.

There is no way to know with certainty whether Barack Obama will be successful if granted a second term.  The same is true for a Mitt Romney Presidency.  Events unknown at this time usually make or break a presidency.

What is unmistakable is that “O” lies closer to the center “R”.