Posts Tagged ‘lies’

[...] “Last week, immediately after Mitt Romney pulled out of the Republican presidential race, we noted that his CPAC address sounded less like a concession speech and more like a bid to become the voice of the culture wing of the GOP,” writes The Political Insider for the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a blog burst titled Reed, Sekulow in on Romney-as-face-of-conservatism meeting

Darn, we’re good.

Turns out that after the applause died, Romney huddled with “some 50 stalwarts of the political right” to discuss making the former Massachussetts governor “the face of conservatism, as Ronald Reagan became en route to his 1980 election win,” the Washington Times reported this weekend.

Participants at the meeting included Georgia’s Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition, and Jay Sekulow of Alpharetta, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, who served as a kind of liaison to evangelicals for the Romney campaign.

“The movement needs someone of Ronald Reagan’s stature and Romney could fill that role,” the Times quoted Sekulow as saying [...]

The Romney watch continues.

From the Washington Times article titled Right wants Romney as standard-bearer, by the estimable Ralph Z. Hallow:

[...] Participants said the group was not organizing against the presidential bid of Sen. John McCain, the party”s presumptive nominee, but only seeking to revive core values such as lower taxes, limited government and free speech.

“The purpose of the meeting was for him to announce his willingness to fight shoulder to shoulder with true conservatives from here on out,” said political strategist Paul Erickson, who worked for Mr. Romney”s campaign. “He did just that” [...]

Um, yeahright. Is this a case of cash starved conservative activists who want to further bilk a super-stupid rich guy to fund their own projects? Or is this a move to divide the right and guarantee that Sen. McCain gets defeated in November? Whatever is the case, watch your back, Senator McCain.

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dr. g.d.

“I predict we’re going to hear a growing conversation on the right about whether it’s better for America, conservatism, etc to have a president who feels he has to placate the conservative base versus having a president who claims to be a member of it,” writes Jonah Goldberg in a National Review TheCorner Blogburst titled One of Us Vs. One Who Owes Us

Goldberg issues a safe prediction.

Every candidate proposes a theory of representation whether explicitly or otherwise, i.e. an account of not just how the candidate as an elected official will advance the issues of his or her constituencies, but an explanation of why he or she would want to do so consonant with the candidate’s values, biography etc.—e.g. I am one of you, I believe as you believe etc.

Romney’s theory of representation is a unique one in our experience. Romney proposes to represent you by becoming you. See:

WSJ: “Plenty of politicians attune their positions to new constituencies—The larger danger is that Mr. Romney’s conversions are not motivated by expediency or mere pandering but may represent his real governing philosophy”

Back to Goldberg

President Bush won enormous good faith — no pun intended — from evangelicals and other social conservatives by saying, in effect, “I’m one of you.” A case could be made that some of Bush’s problems stem from the fact that the White House was internally confused about whether conservatives were simply another constituency or if they were more like a loyal army. I don’t think the distinctions are clean and neat, since there isn’t a monolithic conservative base and the Bush White House has been itself divided between Nixonians (i.e. the Poppa Bush crowd) and Reaganites. But I think we’ll see the conversation emerge as candidates like Giuliani and McCain make “transactional” overtures to the conservative base, saying something like “Support me and I’ll support what you care about” rather than “support me because I am one of you.”

National Review had a similar conversation over Richard Nixon. That didn’t turn out great.

The National Review also endorsed Willard Milton Romney. That hasn’t turned out so great either. See:

NRO organizes conference call to defend questionable decision to endorse Romney—eyeon08.com reports that they received not one supportive question, and no one spoke in favor of the endorsement

In other news from the frantic flunkies of the GOP establishment, Hugh Hewitt announces a talk-radio counter-strike against Sen John McCain as he attempts to consolidate his gains.

[...] Expect the talkers, led by Rush but seconded by Ingraham, Bennett, Prager, Beck, Hannity, Levin and me to spend the next few days putting down a marker: McCain is a very weak general election candidate, and if he was to win, would not govern as a conservative in any significant way. Our audiences are not, as MSMers like to imply, not only shrinking but mindless. They are growing, but they are incredibly independent of thought. They also take in and respond to good information, and now the information will be focused on John McCain and the choice before them.

MSM will of course be sending a very different set of talking points into the general population, one that obscures McCain’s record and which refuses to remind voters of the immigration fiasco etc. MSM will focus on Rudy and Arnold and leave the impression of a coalescing around McCain. Romney will battle to keep the issues out front, McCain the process.

But the new media is at work. We’ll see how it plays out [...]

So far this hasn’t played out well either. See:

Our question: What possible theory of representation justifies Limbaugh, Ingraham, Bennett, Prager, Beck, Hannity, Levin, and Hewitt himself, denouncing Sen. John McCain and advocating for Willard Milton Romney? Also: what is Hewitt’s object? It is this: To persuade Gov. Mike Huckabee voters to vote for Romney.

[...] If the Huckabee supporters are conservatives, they will recognize the peril to their party’s core beliefs and abandon their favorite who has no chance of winning in favor of Mitt Romney who does [...]

Based on analysis by Patrick Ruffini, we discuss why this will not be a simple proposition here:

Romney’s viciously negative attacks on Gov. Huckabee in Iowa still returning rich dividends for the hapless candidate from Bain Capital

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dr. g.d.

“Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney began making a multimillion-dollar purchase of television ads Thursday in a late push to best the GOP presidential front-runner John McCain in the Feb. 5 Super Tuesday contests,” writes someone—we know not who—for the http://www.chron.com Campaign Notebook in a blog burst titled Romney shells out millions for TV ads

From an earlier post we review Romney’s earlier metamorphoses:

(1) As Romney-apologists tell the story, Romney wanted to run as a competent technocrat, an outsider with the business experience and native genius necessary to “fix Washington.” Only Romney could never stay on message. So what the campaign emitted was unintelligible noise.

In the opinion of observers Romney had tried early on to position himself as a social conservative, only this ridiculously revisionist line never withstood any encounter with the facts of Romney’s record. Romney responded by tacking ever further to the right.

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

(2) After Iowa returned its decision for Gov. Mike Huckabee, Romney suddenly transformed into the “change” candidate.

(3) After New Hampshire returned its decision for Sen. John McCain, Romney transforms himself yet again. Romney abandons his social and economic conservative line altogether. Suddenly Romney wants to nationalize an ailing industry, only in the post-industrial, post-progressive era this assumes the form of a Washington-Detroit “partnership” combined with massive subsidies.

For more on this sad theme, also see:

That didn’t take long!—Romney drops all pretense of any commitment to conservative values or principles—now argues that “it‘s time for Washington — Republican and Democrat — to have a leader who will fight to make sure we resolve the issues rather than continuously look for partisan opportunity for score-settling” etc.

Now, back to the Campaign Notebook:

[...] Sources familiar with Romney’s plans said the ad buy would exceed $1 million in California alone, enough to give Romney a presence in much of the state. Romney also was expected to spread some money around to some of the other 21 states holding primaries or caucuses Tuesday.

“I don’t think it’s possible to flood the airwaves in 22 states,” Romney said, but he nevertheless authorized “a seven-figure — I won’t give you the exact number — but a seven-figure advertising buy for our campaign.”

After a series of single-state contests in which voters could shake candidates’ hands, the Republican presidential nomination could be decided when millions of voters cast their ballots after having seen the candidates only in advertisements or news reports.

Romney’s 11th-hour advertising blitz contrasts sharply with the air war already under way between the top Democratic candidates, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama. They had been advertising in most of the 22 states holding Democratic nominating contests Tuesday.

Yet neither has sufficient funds to blanket California, let alone all Feb. 5 states, with advertising. They are putting up ads head to head in only eight states: California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Missouri, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey [...]

Romney’s message? By reinventing himself yet again, this time as the “authentic conservative.” This is consonant with the Gage “death by internal memo analysis” we discussed here.

“WASHINGTON, Jan 31, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ — Last night’s debate was yet another reminder of why smooth talking Mitt Romney keeps wracking up the silver and bronze medals, but just can’t seem to make it across the finish line,” writes, well, writes someone in an article titled DNC: Romney Hangs His Hat on Credibility… No, Really!

The DNC analysis is not only apt in itself—please remember our slogan, audi alteram partem, or consider every source—but it also aptly previews how a Romney nomination would get bracketed the a general election.

After losses in almost every critical state heading up to next Tuesday, Romney’s campaign has apparently decided that his last hope is to try to re-brand himself yet again — this time as an “authentic conservative.”

After all the damage Romney’s flip-flops have done to his credibility, hanging his hat on authenticity might not be the best plan. Exit polls in every early state have shown that voters who want a candidate who believes what he says are rejecting Romney: He was the top choice of just 7 percent of those voters in South Carolina, 14 percent in Iowa, 15 percent in New Hampshire, and 19 percent in Florida. Even in Michigan, a state where his home field advantage helped him win, Romney was the top choice of fewer than one in four voters who wanted a candidate who says what he believes. [CNN Exit Polls, 1/29/08]

“The more smooth talking Mitt Romney flips and flops from message to message, the more the voters see him for the blatant opportunist and shameless panderer he is,” said Democratic National Committee spokesman Damien LaVera. “Even if Romney could convince voters to ignore the secret timetable he supported for Iraq or his dismal economic performance in Massachusetts, Mitt can’t hide the fact that a vote for Romney is a vote for a third Bush term” [...]

Yes. Well, the “I am more conservative than you are” message worked so well in Iowa. Isn’t that why Romney abandoned it in the first place?

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dr. g.d.

“A memo from a senior strategist for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney says that the media are ready to give the Republican nomination to Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), but if Romney can attract more conservatives, he will win the nomination,” writes Sam Youngman in a TheHill.com analytical fantasia titled Romney memo says media ‘ready to anoint McCain’

“We still have an uphill battle in front of us,” Romney strategist Alex Gage wrote in the memo. “The mainstream media is (sic) ready to anoint John McCain and he will have advantages in many states running for president for the past eight years – but Gov. Romney has a clear path to victory on February 5th and beyond.”

The memo, obtained by The Hill, outlines how McCain has failed to win over conservative voters in the states that have voted so far, and it details how Romney could have won if only a few more percentage points of that bloc had come over.

“The coalitions that John McCain assembled in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida have been strikingly similar – and are strikingly tenuous,” Gage wrote [...]

[...] The memo goes on to say that Romney and McCain “are now in a two-man race and a few points’ movement among conservatives is all that’s needed to tip the scales in favor of Gov. Romney.”

Gage writes that in the early three states McCain won, his margin of victory was the result of the support of moderates, independents and voters that disapprove of the Bush administration.

“None of these groups is a majority of the Republican electorate,” Gage wrote, adding that this is the reason “McCain has failed to win more than 36 percent of the vote in any of them” [...]

Gage’s conclusions are based on an emerging fixed point in the discussion. Sen. McCain can reach across party lines to build issues coalitions; Romney can win the base. Chris Suellentrop develops the data coming out of Florida’s contest to arrive at a similar conclusion:

[...] In short, Mitt Romney won the Republican Party’s idea of itself ­ and that, too, is a big deal. If you’re white, Protestant, anti-abortion, go to church on Sundays, think well of the President, want lower taxes, hate terrorists, make a good living, want to do something about immigration, and live in Florida, chances are you voted Romney. The question before Florida was whether McCain could win a closed Republican race, and now we know he can. The question now is whether he can win conservatives ­ and in Florida, he did not [...]

Here, for Romney, begins what we earlier called the race to the base.

Hence Romney’s sudden volte face on whether to mount a last ditch advertising salvo. On January 30 David Espo of the AP reported that “Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney signaled Wednesday he’s not ready to finance a costly campaign in the states holding primaries and caucuses next week.

By February 1 Dan Morain and Scott Martelle of the LA Times issued the headline: Romney launches Super Tuesday ad barrage; The multimillion-dollar campaign in far-flung states, he hopes, will help him regain the edge he’s losing to McCain. Experts question whether ads will help at this point

[...] Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney launched a multimillion-dollar purchase of television ads Thursday, in a last-ditch effort to remain competitive with GOP presidential front-runner John McCain in the Super Tuesday contests.

Sources familiar with Romney’s plans said the ad buy would exceed $1 million in California alone, enough to give the former Massachusetts governor a presence in much of the state. Romney also was expected to spread some money around to some of the other 20 states holding GOP primaries or caucuses Tuesday, though experts question whether the late advertising would have any impact.

“I don’t think it’s possible to flood the airwaves in 22 states,” Romney said, but he nevertheless authorized “a seven-figure — I won’t give you the exact number — but a seven-figure advertising buy for our campaign.”

After a series of single-state contests in which voters could shake candidates’ hands, the Republican presidential nomination could be decided by millions of voters casting their ballots after having seen the candidates only in advertisements or news reports.

Those political ads depend on candidates’ ability to pay for them, and with the fields in both parties dwindling this week, the surviving candidates looked to pick up the support of former candidates’ fundraisers and bundlers [...]

Can Romney pull off this last chance, high-stakes, 11th hour, and super-expensive gambit? Can Romney secure his nomination and destroy the GOP? Keep watching the skies. Or the airwaves.

Whateverz.

Haven’t we all been here before?

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dr. g.d.

[...] “McCain isn’t a prohibitive favorite, but he’s a strong one,” writes William Kirstol in a weeklystandard blog burst titled Kristol: The Next 12 Hours

What could change the situation? It’s hard to believe paid advertising across 22 states (even if Romney’s willing to splurge) could fundamentally change the dynamic. There could always be some sort of scandal, revelation, or gaffe, or course – though that would be far more likely if there were a new, suddenly-emerged frontrunner, than with the most veteran and best-known candidate in the field. So the most likely game-changer, if there were to be one, would be tonight’s debate. It’s likely to be Romney’s last direct shot at McCain. If Romney were to land a really telling blow, it could shape the narrative for the rest of this week. If not, if this debate follows the course of almost all its predecessors and has no decisive moment, then all attention turns to Clinton-Obama, and McCain should have a pretty clear path.

The Romney camp has twelve hours to come up with a startling factoid, formulation, or revelation. The McCain camp has twelve hours to prepare for any such eventuality. If McCain does well tonight, he should be the GOP nominee [...]

Sen. McCain can win. But Romney cannot be defeated, at least not decisively, and at least not yet. Romney’s vast personal fortune, Sen. McCain’s ceiling of 36% in the earlier primaries according to Kristol, alleged conservative disaffection—all these things suggest that Romney could stick it out. However:

“Two questions come to mind” for Matt Lewis in a townhall.com blog burst titled Romney after Tsunami Tuesday?

  1. Would this shrewd business man, who has already spent well-over 20 million dollars of his own money, continue spending money on what could be a losing cause? Smart businessmen don’t throw away money.
  2. Would Mitt Romney want to be blamed for a Republican loss in the General Election. Fair or not, if he prolongs the race too long, that’s what some people would say …

Ronald Reagan went all the way to the Convention in ’76, and was rewarded with the nomination in ’80. That could happen for Mitt, too. Or, he could be more like Ted Kennedy — who was blamed for costing Jimmy Carter the election that same year [...]

Our comments and reflections: Romney’s shrewdness does not extend to the management of his political operations. Evidence: his appallingly low ROI for his every campaign dollar.

And whether or for what Romney gets blamed will affect Romney’s decision not in the least—recent history alone predicts this. Romney had it within his power to attempt to repair the damage that his negative advertising wrought in Iowa and New Hampshire; he has had the chance to reach out to Gov. Huckabee and Sen. McCain supporters. But he never has, and he probably never will. Conclusion: the man simply does not care what people think of him, he does not care how much his arrogant behavior costs him in polling numbers or at the ballot box, and he has no loyalty to either party or principle to moderate his behavior.

Our prediction: Romney will stick it out to the end. When the GOP collapses into a smoking wreck, Romney will turn and blame conservatives for failing to support him in sufficient strength, intensity, or depth.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

Jason Bonham quotes Romney in a race42008.com blog burst titled Romney on Good Morning America

[Romney] “I think there will be a movement within the Republican party to coalesce around a conservative candidate. Mike Huckabee, of course, might stay in, and that might be one of the reasons he does so – is to try and split that conservative vote.”

Is this a wish? Is this a prayer? Media pressure will soon begin to mount against the hapless candidate, so is this the rationale—the reasoning, the alibi—for sticking it out after Florida decided for the now “presumptive GOP nominee, the honorable Sen. John McCain?

Note that this new talking point represents no fresh thinking, no new analysis, no current assessment of the situation or its many factors. Precisely the opposite is the case: this is the same argument for Romney’s fitness as a candidate that Romney has retailed for months and months, the so-called two-man-race theme that dates back at least to Iowa. See:

Romney’s 2-man race theme; an alibi for collapsing poll numbers?—this is from way back in October

Michael Scherer elaborates on the 2-man-race theme from Petersburg FL in a http://www.time.com article titled Is Romney Fighting the Last War?

[...] The Romney campaign, humbled by recent defeats, now hopes to rebrand his insider strategy as an outsider one. As the candidate soldiers on to the 21 states that will vote on February 5, the campaign holds out hope that the old coalition can be reborn anew. “We feel as though the conservatives are beginning to rally around Mitt,” said Ann Romney, after her husband delivered an upbeat concession speech Tuesday night, in a downtown St. Petersburg theater.

A few minutes earlier, and a couple dozen feet away, Jay Sekulow, a senior advisor to the campaign, put it this way. “Conservatives have a choice now, and it’s a clear choice,” he said. “You have got a conservative and you have got John McCain, who does not take conservative positions on a lot of issues.”

Downstairs, in the theater’s press filing room, Al Cardenas, a Washington lobbyist who chaired Romney’s Florida campaign, continued in the same frame of reference. “We think that the conservative movement activists are now beginning to panic about losing their grip on the Republican Party,” Cardenas said. “They better start working hard, and they have told us they are going to have to start working hard.”

The new Romney strategy has two clear components.

  1. First, the campaign is determined to marginalize Huckabee, who continues to poll well in many southern states, bleeding off votes from the vital socially conservative leg of the Romney’s stool. “Huckabee has proven he can’t win in the south,” said Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney’s spokesman. “People are going to realize that this is a two person race right now,” said Sekulow.
  2. Second, Romney will spend much of the next week trying to drum up old conservative distrust of McCain, who leaves Florida with considerable momentum and already-high poll numbers in many of the states that vote on February 5. Though McCain has been hammered by some conservative voices, such as the radio host Rush Limbaugh, he has so far escaped the full ideological revolt that greeted him in 2000, when he lost the nomination to George W. Bush.

[Emphases and formatting are ours]

This final Romney gambit is likely to determine more than just the fate of one, well-heeled candidate. It could set the course for the Republican Party. In the old days, those who supported tax cuts for the wealthy worked closely with those who wanted to amend the constitution to ban gay marriage. Those who wanted to grow the size of the military made common cause with those who saw global warming as an environmentalist scare-tactic meant to interfere with free markets. Those who wanted to overturn Roe v. Wade also wanted to overturn campaign finance reform [...]

On its face the claim that conservatives will suddenly awaken to the grim reality of a Sen. McCain candidacy and turn to Romney is plausible but requires argument. The most urgent question this suggests is simply why haven’t conservatives turned to Romney before now? Is it not also plausible—in fact, demonstrable—in fact, part of Romney’s own argument—that the so-called Reagan coalition is dead? And if Romney were the one who could truly pull the sword from the stone, or breathe life into the dead coalition, why hasn’t he done it yet?—we’re all waiting, Romney; don’t tell us what conservatives should do or shouldn’t do, instead: show us what you can do.

Our analysis: Here begins the race to the base, friends and well wishers. Sen. McCain will, we predict, begin to reach out to conservative personalities (right wing shock jocks, talking heads, celebrities, talking heads), professional conservatives (writers, analysts, columnists, editors, think tank researchers), conservative activists, issues coalitions, pressure groups etc. But now he can reach out to them from a position of power, having developed reliable evidence of

(a) his fitness as a candidate,
(b) his fitness as a developer of issues and a builder of coalitions.

Now Sen. McCain has something to offer the base: the influence that flows freely from proximity to power. This is how the primary process as political ritual is supposed to work. It reduces to a barter economy, a patron-client system of tribute where the coin is power and the exchange rate can be murderous.

Romney for his part will reach out to the base too, frantically, desperately, if only to counter Sen. John McCain. But Romney’s position is more tenuous, more perilous. Romney can only issue threats and dire assessments of a Sen. McCain presidency—in simpler terms, Romney’s task, as Romney himself describes it, is “to drum up old conservative distrust of McCain”—i.e. Romney’s task is to slime Sen. McCain so badly that he cannot win.

In other words, Romney is perfectly willing to take the party down with him. So, let Romney unleash if he can the “full ideological revolt that greeted [Sen. McCain] in 2000.” Recent history—Iowa, New Hampshire—would predict that the gotterdammerung that Romney plans for Gov. Huckabee and Sen. McCain will rebound upon himself. See:

Rasmussen Reports: Romney has the least core support, and the most core opposition of all the leading candidates, Republican or Democrat—these findings predict the sudden and fierce backlash against Romney’s negative attacks on other candidates

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dr. g.d.

[...] “Neither Hillary nor McCain can claim the economy as an especial preserve,” argues Dick Morris in a http://www.dickmorris.com blog titled McCain may win, Romney can’t

Can Romney? Inexplicably, the McCain campaign has not spoken of the layoffs that must have accompanied Romney’s efforts to “turn around” failing companies. Hedge funds are notorious for cutting jobs and the Clintons will make Mitt eat every single one. McCain has no such vulnerability and, hopefully, will make Romney’s layoffs an issue before Super Tuesday.So McCain can win and Romney won’t. That’s the long and the short of it [...]

More on this issue:

“On the stump in economically struggling Michigan and South Carolina recently, Mitt Romney has been making the case that ‘it always makes sense to fight for every single good job,’” writes Lisa Lerer for the Politico in an article titled Romney changes tune on layoffs

But this position seems to be at odds with the Republican contender’s one-time role as chief executive officer of Bain Capital, a large private equity firm.

In 1992, the firm acquired American Pad & Paper. By 1999, the year Romney left Bain, two American plants were closed, 385 jobs had been cut and the company was $392 million in debt.

The next year, Ampad was forced into bankruptcy.

Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs bought Dade International for about $450 million in 1994.

The firm quickly fired or relocated at least 900 workers. Over the next several years, it sunk increasingly into debt and laid off 1,000 workers.

In 2002 — after Romney had left Bain — it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

A 1997 buyout of LIVE Entertainment for $150 million resulted in 40 layoffs, roughly one in four of the company’s 166 workers.

The job cuts affected all aspects of the company, from production and acquisition to legal and public relations.

In 1997, Bain bought a stake in DDI Corp., a maker of electronic circuit boards.

Three years later, Bain took the company public and collected a $36 million payout.

But by August 2003, the company filed for bankruptcy protection, laying off more than 2,100 workers.

Four months after the bankruptcy, unhappy shareholders sued company executives, the initial public offering underwriters and Bain for mismanaging the IPO and failing to disclose company financial information. (Romney was not named in the suit.)

In March, all the defendants settled for $4.4 million.

Some job losses can be a natural part of the private equity business.

Firms like Bain Capital buy controlling stakes in troubled companies, then revamp them and sell them for a profit — a process that can include management changes and “cost-cutting,” often code for job cuts [...]

Yuh-huh. See:

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dr. d.g.

“Mark Larsen of The Morning Magazine – heard weekday mornings from 6 to 9 am on NewsTalk AM 1040 in Tampa Bay, Flordia—interviewed Mitt Romney this morning,” writes Jason of the CanYouSpeakThis blog in a post titled Interview With Romney Pushes Mark Larsen To Support Ron Paul

The sneers and chuckles from Romney pushed him over the edge and drove him to support the only real candidate: Ron Paul.

Listen to an audio clip at YouTube.com.

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dr. g.d.

P.S. We have no brief for the honourable Dr. Ron Paul. We are for whoever is opposed to Willard Milton Romney.

[...] “It’s the perfect opportunity for a Wall Street Republican to make the case that what the country needs now is good business mind, not a former war hero,” writes Rex Nutting, Washington bureau chief of MarketWatch, in a MarketWatch article titled Romney running for tycoon in chief; Commentary: Will business background be a plus?

Unfortunately for Romney, that appeal isn’t working in the Republican primaries.

Polls show that national security concerns continue to rank much higher among Republican voters, even if worries about the economy are growing. According to the Rasmussen Poll, Republican voters in Florida would rather pick a commander in chief than a chief executive for the U.S. economy.

Romney’s support has soared over the past two weeks, especially in Florida. He’s tied with Sen. John McCain in the latest polls ahead of Tuesday’s vote. But the Romney surge isn’t related to the bad news about the economy; rather, he’s picking up conservative voters stranded by Fred Thompson’s withdrawal from the race and Huckabee’s partial pullback from Florida.

Romney leads McCain among conservative voters, and he’s hoping that his message of economic competence could gain him support among voters who see themselves as moderates, where McCain holds a sizable lead.

Romney has been going directly after McCain, his chief rival for the nomination, accusing him of being out of touch on the economy. He has mocked McCain for saying “economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should.”

McCain has fired back, saying that while Romney was making millions and working for “profit,” he was serving “patriotism.”

So far, the economic themes haven’t been registering for Romney.

According to pollster Scott Rasmussen, “McCain actually holds a slight lead over Romney among voters who name the economy as the top issue.” Seven of 10 Republicans say the best thing the government can do to help the economy is get out of the way, which is more McCain’s view than Romney’s.

Maybe Romney understands the economy, but it looks as if it’s McCain who understands Republicans.

If Romney can get past McCain and win the nomination, he’ll try to persuade independents and hesitant Democrats that his business background qualifies him to be president.

But if he does make it past the convention, it’ll be an uphill struggle to run as a tycoon after the mess Wall Street has made of the economy, with its overhyped dotcoms, its phony accounting, its bloated bonuses, and its toxic mortgages [...]

The emphases are ours, all ours.

We heartily concur. See:

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dr. g.d.

“In early 1995, as the Ampad paper plant in Marion, Ind., neared its shutdown following a bitter strike, Randy Johnson, a worker and union official, scrawled a personal letter to Mitt Romney, pouring out his disappointment that Romney, then chief executive of the investment firm that controlled Ampad, had not done enough to settle the strike and save some 200 jobs,” writes Robert Gavin of the Boston Globe in an article titled As Bain slashed jobs, Romney stayed to side

“We really thought you might help,” Johnson said in the handwritten note, “but instead we heard excuses that were unacceptable from a man of your prominent position.”

Romney, who had recently lost a Senate race in which the strike became a flashpoint, responded that he had “privately” urged a settlement, but was advised by lawyers not to intervene directly. His political interests, he explained, conflicted with his business responsibilities.

Now, Romney’s decision to stay on the sidelines as his firm, Bain Capital, slashed jobs at the office supply manufacturer stands in marked contrast to his recent pledges to beleaguered auto workers in Michigan and textile workers in South Carolina to “fight to save every job.”

Throughout his 15-year career at Bain Capital, which bought, sold, and merged dozens of companies, Romney had other chances to fight to save jobs, but didn’t. His ultimate responsibility was to make money for Bain’s investors, former partners said.

Much as he did when running for Massachusetts governor, Romney is now touting his business credentials as he campaigns for president, asserting that he helped create thousands of jobs as CEO of Bain. But a review of Bain’s investments during Romney’s tenure indicates that job growth was not a particular priority.

Romney’s approach at Bain Capital was more reflective of the economic philosophy articulated by his opponent, John McCain: to acknowledge that some less efficient jobs will be lost and concentrate on creating new jobs with potential for higher growth.

In many cases, such as Staples Inc., the Framingham retailer, and Steel Dynamics Inc., an Indiana steelmaker, the companies expanded and added thousands of jobs. In other cases, such as Ampad and GS Industries, another steelmaker, Bain-controlled companies shuttered plants, slashed hundreds of jobs, and landed in bankruptcy.

But in almost all cases Bain Capital made money. In fact, the firm earned substantially more from Ampad than Staples. Staples returned about $13 million on a $2 million investment; Ampad yielded more than $100 million on $5 million, according to reports to investors.

“It’s not that employment grows, it’s that their investment grows,” said Howard Anderson, a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. “Sometimes its expansion, and sometimes it’s shutting things down” [...]

[...] Bain acquired GS Industries in 1993. The steelmaker borrowed heavily to modernize plants in Kansas City and North Carolina, as well as pay dividends to Bain investors. But as foreign competition increased and steel prices fell in the late 1990s, the company struggled to support the debt, according to Mark Essig, the former CEO. GS filed for bankruptcy in 2001, and shut down its money-losing Kansas City plant, throwing some 750 employees out of work.

Ampad, too, became squeezed between onerous debt that had financed acquisitions and falling prices for its office-supply products. Its biggest customers – including Staples – used their buying power and access to Asian suppliers to demand lower prices from Ampad.

Romney sat on Staples’s board of directors at this time.

Creditors forced Ampad into bankruptcy in early 2000, and hundreds of workers lost jobs during Ampad’s decline. Bain Capital and its investors, however, had already taken more than $100 million out of the company, in debt-financed dividends, management fees, and proceeds from selling shares on public stock exchanges.

By the time Ampad failed, Randy Johnson, the former union official in Marion, Ind., had moved on with his life. After the Indiana plant shut down, he worked nearly six months to help the workers find new jobs. He later took a job at the United Paperworkers union.

“What I remember the most,” said Johnson, “were the guys in their 50s, breaking down and crying.”

In his reply to Johnson’s letter, Romney said the Ampad strike had hurt his 1994 bid to unseat Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and no one had a greater interest in seeing the strike settled than he.

“I was advised by counsel that I could not play a role in the dispute,” Romney explained, adding, “I hope you understand I could not direct or order Ampad to settle the strike or keep the plant open or otherwise do what might be in my personal interest” [...]

Yuh-huh. See:

yours &c.
dr. g.d.





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