Posts Tagged ‘club for growth’

“This is what people like to call ‘industrial policy,’ and what Jonah Goldberg [of the National Review, which endorsed Romney for president] likes to call liberal fascism – big business and big government working hand-in-glove for the purposes of economic nationalism,” writes Ross Douthat in a theatlantic.com blog burst titled Where’s the Outrage

Douthat’s claim is a rejoinder to this quote from Romney’s infamous address to some insignificant group of nobodies whose name we refuse to recall:

[…] “If I’m president of this country, I will roll up my sleeves in the first 100 days I’m in office, and I will personally bring together industry, labor, Congressional and state leaders and together we will develop a plan to rebuild America’s automotive leadership” […]

Back to Douthat:

It’s “sustained and detailed,” all right, just as Frum says – a sustained and detailed infringement on free-market principle, and one that appeals to voters in places like Michigan precisely because it goes much further to the left than Mike Huckabee’s substance-free talk about how the current period of economic growth isn’t doing all that well by the working class, or John McCain’s straight talk about how Michiganders can’t expect the federal government to bring back the glory days of Chrysler and GM. But because conservatives spend way, way more time worrying about the spectre of “class warfare” than they do about than the nexus between big business and the Republican Party, Romney gets off with a mild slap on the wrist, while McCain and Huckabee get tarred as liberals.

I’m overstating the case a bit, obviously; there a variety of good reasons, besides their response to Michigan’s economic pain, why McCain and Huckabee have come by their crypto-liberal reputations. But the extent to which Romney is getting a free pass for his back-to-the-’70s, “D.C. will save the auto industry” promises , while conservatives are still obsessing over how John McCain’s 2000-2001 preference for a more progressive tax code makes him a “class warrior,” seems more than a little ridiculous […]

Yuh-huh. We concur. See:

equity sector multi-millionaire Romney now champions the dignity of human labor, completely abandons arch-conservative line for latest version of Romney, Romney the progressive-populist

Meanwhile, Romney attacks Gov. Huckabee through the Club for Growth on grounds of Gov. Huckabee’s allegedly non-free market policies. See:

“The Club for Growth has an affiliated 527 group, Club for Growth.net, running anti-Mike Huckabee ads in early primary states,” writes Team Huckabee in a Mike Huckabee for President post titled What Does $585,000 buy you

– At least $585,000 in contributions from Mitt Romney financial backers.

– Club for Growth has spent $750,000 against Governor Huckabee in Iowa, South Carolina and Michigan […]

Operating under cover of 527s is part of Romney’s overall strategy—the following is from a left-of-center blog titled Think Progress:

[…] To hit McCain, Romney has relied on an anti-environment front group, the American Environmental Coalition (AEC) to do the work for him. Last week, George Landrith, the co-Chairman of the group, likened McCain to Al Gore and compared the senator to a wolf in sheep’s clothing […]

Romney attacks his opponents on the right through surrogates and 527s even as he veers hard to the left. Where is the real Romney in all this angry noise? What does the man really believe?

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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“WASHINGTON — Republican presidential hopefuls Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney are tussling for the title of “strongest fiscal conservative” as they seek to portray themselves as tax-cutting, bureaucracy-slaying champions of small government,” writes Erin Kelly in a Garnett News Service release titled Romney, Giuliani tussel on taxes

…. “I think both Romney and Giuliani are singing off the same song sheet by advocating less federal spending, lower taxes and less regulation of the economy,” said Patrick Toomey, president of The Club for Growth, which endorses fiscally conservative GOP candidates. “But if you look just at the bottom line and say who accomplished more, I think you have to give the edge to Mayor Giuliani” …

On Giuliani:

As New York’s mayor for eight years, Giuliani eliminated more than a dozen taxes, held spending to less than the rate of inflation and population growth, and cut the workforce of most city departments while adding uniformed police officers and teachers.

“He was dealing with a lot deeper problems and a lot less power (than Romney),” Pitney said. “That makes his accomplishments all the more impressive.”

On Romney:

Romney, who served one four-year term as governor, tried to reduce the Massachusetts state income tax rate from 5.3% to 5% but was thwarted by the Democrat-controlled state Legislature. He vetoed more than 800 spending measures he considered excessive, but lawmakers overturned more than 700 of them. Like Giuliani, he held spending to less than the rate of inflation and eliminated many government jobs … etc.

Various responsa, reflections:

(1) Note the contrasting political behaviors born of contrasting political cultures. Giuliani governed a weary-twilight, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, post-western, world-historic megalopolis—a fabulously wealthy and desperately poor plural-municipal-entity—composed of multiple and overlapping administrative districts, and riddled with accumulated capital, vested interests, polyglot ethnic diasporas, social and class boundaries—also a major harbor-city entrepot and the northern pivot-point of the US east coast megalopolitan corridor, a global  logistical epi-center of trade, finance, and commerce. Romney governed a major north-eastern state, also plural and diverse, but he ruled it at a far more abstract level.

(2) Romney’s attempts to reduce taxes were thwarted by the MA state legislature; Giuliani, by way of contrast, reduced taxes by 17% and reduced government and regulatory burdens. Pitney claims that Romney and Giulinai opearted within different social and organizational environments: “[Giuliani] was dealing with a lot deeper problems and a lot less power.” So what may we infer from this?

(a) Lacking formal power as a mayor, Giuliani developed as a balance of power player, a political bloc builder, i.e. he tends to play existing interests off of one another to pursue his own goals. He is a master of the subtler instruments of social influence. He thrives in a crowded field. He depicts himself as a stern and capable administrator, but his habits of mind are those of an arguer, persuader, compromiser, and coalition builder. He adapts to his terrain—even a hostile terrain—and he tries to use whatever he discovers to his advantage. He is comfortable working quietly behind the scenes.

(b) Romney is comfortable with authority, the instruments of authority, and has developed himself as a binary thinker; you are either for him or against him. His positions and rhetorical lines allowed e.g. the MA legislature to unite against him, something Giuliani’s mayoral administration could never allow and continue to function. Romney famously depicts himself as (i) a data-driven empiricist, an applier of business principles to political problems, or (ii) as a principled defender of true or right positions. These are not social roles that invite or even allow compromise or middle-ground positions. How can you oppose data? (Consider any simple datum; is it (x) or is it not (x)?) Or: how can you stand against a true or a right position?

Hence: Romney’s strangely solitary ways.

Hence: Romney’s comfort with staking out extreme positions, see:

Romney outflanks himself yet again!–poll indicates Romney’s pull to the right alienates independents, centrists, and moderates

Question: which political player, Romney or Giuliani, is better adapted to operate successfully with a hostile congress or a federal-level government apparatus—the so-called permanent government—that has its own interests, constituencies, and agendas? Which figure is better adapted to guide the United States in the world-arena post-Bush?

Also see:

AP: “As governor, Mitt Romney’s efforts raised the tax bill on Bay State businesses by $300 million”

yours &c.
dr. g.d.