Posts Tagged ‘Massachusetts’

“With a commanding lead in most super Tuesday states GOP frontrunner John MCCain is looking for a put away punch in Mitt Romney’s homestate of Massachusetts,” writes Carl Cameron in a Cameron’s Corner blog burst titled McCain tries to put Mitt away in Massachusetts; McCAIN PLAYS TO DEFEAT MITT ONCE AND FOR ALL IN MASSACHUSETTS

McCain hopes to win a big majority of the 1,023 nomination delegates that are up for grabs in the 21 states that have contests 2/5 (there are 15 primaries, 5 caucuses and 1 state convention, Ten of the races are winner take all) But Romney has signaled that may not push him out of the race.The McCain campaign believes beating Romney “in the state where people know him best” would be a decisive blow that would force Romney to reconsider and ultimately withdraw.

As FOX was first to report Wednesday, McCain plans to watch the Super Bowl and campaign in Boston!! Sunday night and Monday morning […]

On the other hand, the MA GOP are “rallying for Romney!”

“BOSTON—Former Gov. Weld and former Lieutenant Gov. Kerry Healey are among the prominent Massachusetts Republicans supporting Mitt Romney’s presidential bid,” writes some anonymous somebody in a release titled Massachusetts Republican leaders stick by Romney

The former governor also has the support of two state senators and 18 of the state’s 19 GOP representatives.

Other notables supporting Romney include district attorneys Tim Cruz, Michael O’Keefe and Elizabeth Scheibel […]

Romney for his part has vowed to fight on past super-duper apocalypse Tuesday:

“MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. — Though he once expected to have the Republican nomination nearly locked up by now, Mitt Romney said that he’s now ready to hunker down for the long haul,” writes Scott Conroy for in a From the Road blog burst titled Romney: GOP Race Won’t Be Decided On Tuesday

“Looking at the numbers of delegates and the numbers of states, I don’t think somebody’s going to walk away with the needed numbers, so I think this thing goes on well beyond Tuesday,” Romney said at an impromptu press conference aboard his campaign plane. “I don’t look early at the calendar beyond Tuesday, but I know there is one, and I intend to keep on battling.”

Although he lags behind John McCain in many of the delegate-rich states that vote on Tuesday, Romney said he was heartened by the recent coalescing of support he’s received from influential conservative talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham […]

Yes, well, about Limbaugh, Coulter, and Ingraham, Ruffini writes:

[…] There is a message in these returns to conservatives busy soldering together the coalition below decks: do not assume that just because they’re all pro-life, that Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham speak for the social conservatives Romney needs next Tuesday. They don’t. Being pro-life and pro-marriage is not enough […]

[…] It’s instructive to study how George W. Bush united the conservative coalition eight years ago. He did so not as a Mitt Romney Republican but as a Mike Huckabee Republican. The only thing Bush offered fiscal conservatives was tax cuts. The rest was Catholic social thought. Say what you will about him, but Bush has never gone squishy on a single social issue in eight years. But has gone wobbly on fiscal issues, leading to a revolt in the conservative establishment. As Bush knew, and as we are re-learning with the rise of John McCain and the intransigence of Mike Huckabee’s base, fiscal conservatism is where the opinion leaders are, and social conservatism is where the votes are […]

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“On the stump Gov. Mitt Romney has touted the Massachusetts health care reforms he signed into law in 2006,” writes Jonathan Adler in an NRO The Corner post titled How Well is RomneyCare Doing?

Answer: not well.

Now I am no health care policy expert, but from what I’ve seen the reforms do not look so great as they start to take effect. Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute argues the program is neither controlling costs nor achieving its goal of universal coverage. Just yesterday, AP reported “spiraling costs . . . threaten the landmark law.” (Link via BizzyBlog.) In short, it seems like Mitt’s medical reforms are no Massachusetts Miracle, and hardly a model for the country […]

Also see:

Pipes: RomneyCare a spiraling fiscal disaster; does not deliver universal coverage or meaningful structure of cost controls

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“With the days dwindling until the leadoff primaries and caucuses in New Hampshire and Iowa, Mitt Romney found himself fending off flip-flopping charges Saturday on both political fronts,” writes Shushannah Walshe in a FoxNews You Decide 08! report titled Rough Day for Romney — Flip-Flopper Charges Come From All Sides

The Concord Monitor in New Hampshire, which doesn’t formally endorse candidates until after Christmas, posted an editorial Saturday on its Web site urging voters to reject Romney, saying he’s like a “Republican presidential candidate from a kit,” and “surely must be stopped.”

Meanwhile, American Right to Life Action — a political committee known as a 527 – launched a TV ad in Iowa ridiculing the former Massachusetts governor for changing his position on abortion.

In response to the editorial, Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said in a statement Saturday that “The Concord Monitor has a very liberal editorial board. (Republican New Hampshire Sen.) Judd Gregg speaks for a lot of conservative Republicans in New Hampshire, and he thinks Mitt Romney is the best person to cut taxes, control spending and strengthen the American economy.”

Click here to read the Concord Monitor editorial.

The editorial attempted to paint a portrait of two Romneys: Romney, the governor, and Romney, the presidential candidate.

“If you followed only his tenure as governor of Massachusetts, you might imagine Romney as a pragmatic moderate with liberal positions on numerous social issues and an ability to work well with Democrats,” the article said. “If you followed only his campaign for president, you’d swear he was a red-meat conservative, pandering to the religious right, whatever the cost. Pay attention to both, and you’re left to wonder if there’s anything at all at his core.”

The 527 ad latched on to similar themes, saying he “magically became pro-life” after previously pledging to protect a woman’s right to choose.

Click here to see the American Right to Life Action ad.

Asked at a stop in New Hampshire about the ad, Romney said he didn’t know much about the group behind it.

“My record in being pro-life is very clear as the governor of Massachusetts, and my guess is that there is some group that is pulling for another candidate and is trying to find someway to go after me, and that is just the nature of politics,” he said … etc., etc.

Here is the problem for Romney: The attacks against him are developing from different directions, on different issues, and they address different constituencies. AND YET these separate attacks play upon one and only one theme: Romney’s centerlessness, his ideological cross-dressing; hence: the attacks are consistent, coherent, and, most damaging for Romney, cumulative—in the study of strategy this is what is called a swarm—conclusion: Romney is getting swarmed. The drowning out of Romney’s already garbled message and the campaign’s complete inability to formulate an effective—or even coherent—counter narrative testify to the effectiveness of these particular swarming tactics.

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P.S. Here is an update on the pro-life, anti-Romney advertisement.

A scathing attack on Mitt Romney today from Jim Rappaport, the former head of the Massachusetts Republican party who just held a conference call with reporters to announce his endorsement of Rudy Giuliani,” writes Byron York in a post for NRO’s The Corner titled A GOP Attack on Romney

Rappaport praised Giuliani’s record in New York and said Romney “has a strong record of showmanship as opposed to actual performance.” Discussing Romney’s relationship with the Massachusetts state legislature, Rappaport said of the former governor, “His word is no good…Mitt Romney would say one thing in a meeting and literally go out of the meeting to the press and tell the opposite story. There was no desire in the legislature to be accommodating to him because they couldn’t trust him.” Romney, Rappaport continued, “will be clear today on what he believes today, and he’ll be clear tomorrow on what he believes tomorrow, but they may be different things” …

Yuh-huh. See:

Lizza: Romney is a passionate advocate of each new stance he takes

Yet York’s own National Review Online—another proud Blog for Mitt and apparently a subsidiary of Bain Capital, who also recently acquired Clear Channel Communications, carriers of Rush Limbaugh et alendorsed this troubled man to be our president.

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P.S. What was it Neil Stevens wrote at—Trust the man, trust the plan?—i.e. character should matter?

“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”

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“As governor, Mitt Romney’s efforts raised the tax bill on Bay State businesses by $300 million as he worked to eliminate a state budget deficit estimated from $2.5 billion to $3 billion,” or so reads an AP release carried by the Boston Herald titled Biz leaders say Mitt hiked taxes as gov

Now running for president, Romney says he never raised taxes, only closed loopholes. Brian Gilmore, executive vice president of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the state’s largest business lobbying group, disagrees.

“These certainly were tax increases and a new source of revenue,” Gilmore said.

“His indicating that he balanced a budget without raising taxes is misleading at best,” Gilmore said. “We respectfully disagree” …

Also see:

The Brody File: “Romney campaign won’t beat Giuliani on who cut taxes more as a public official.”

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“CHARLESTON, S.C. – Like every great sales pitch, Mitt Romney’s case for Mitt Romney is low on the hard sell,” writes David Segal in a Wapo transmission titled Romney’s gyrations mystify observers.

At the Sheraton Hotel one recent morning, the boasting is handled by a former governor of South Carolina, who opens this “Ask Mitt Anything” session with a precis of the candidate’s career. This includes academic achievements (Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School “in four years!”) and election as governor of Massachusetts in 2002, which is described in a tone befitting a miracle …

… It’s smooth, folksy and winningly sincere. But it doesn’t sound much like the man who won that vote in Massachusetts. That Romney positioned himself as a moderate: in favor of abortion rights, courting gay voters and crusading on environmental matters.

He now says his pro-choice leanings were a mistake. He has become one of the country’s highest-profile opponents of gay marriage, and he warns against taking Al Gore’s side regarding action on global warming.

Which has prompted more than a few people to ask: Who is this guy?

The search for an Overarching Theory of Mitt has been a preoccupation in Massachusetts. Fans say he simply evolved; detractors call him a flip-flopper. But talk to those who’ve watched him longest, and some who were personally wooed during his run for governor, and you’ll hear something else. The man is a born salesman, they say, and he has taken the modus operandi of selling to a whole different level in the world of politics.

What earned him the job in Massachusetts is an idea that he doesn’t mention much any longer. Back in 2002, he emphasized one promise, time and again: He would be the state’s No. 1 salesman.

At that time, Romney deflected many of the social-conservative issues that he now embraces, and he charmed a handful of left-leaning interest groups who might otherwise have been enemies. A few of them say they wound up with the political version of buyer’s remorse. Romney made enemies with abortion-rights advocates, gay Republicans and environmentalists after gaining their trust during his campaign.

“We felt completely played,” recalled Melissa Kogut, former executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts. “We just couldn’t believe it, given what he’d said to our faces”more

We wonder if it is any consolation to Romney’s former friends and associates—those who got played in Romney’s former incarnation—that he’s now busily playing us, i.e. those who stand to the right of center.

Willard Milton Romney has but one loyalty: Willard Milton Romney.

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“As he travels the country, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney often boasts of his presidential campaign’s healthy finances. “I think our numbers have shown that we are able to raise the money,” he said at a recent press conference in Michigan. ‘And that’s essential to run a 50-state campaign,'” writes the estimable Michael Scherer for in an article titled Mitt Romney’s money machine; The identity of his biggest multimillion-dollar donor, and how Romney could blow away his GOP competitors on campaign spending

It’s a story line the Romney campaign wants to promote. He is the popular front-runner who has been able to energize donors in the party’s base, raising more money than any other Republican candidate. Through the first two quarters, he hauled in more than $44 million, about $10 million more than his nearest rival in the money race, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The money has allowed Romney to spend lavishly on television advertising in early voting states, open the only fully staffed Republican campaign office in Michigan and even hire a full-time organizer in a state as obscure as West Virginia.

But Romney’s boasts do not tell the whole story. As much as he likes to talk about his campaign’s brimming coffers, he avoids speaking about his campaign’s biggest single donor — a man worth between $190 million and $250 million, who has single-handedly allowed Romney to break away from the pack by giving the campaign one out of every five of its dollars. That donor’s name: Mitt Romney.

Through June, Romney has already given himself nearly $9 million in loans to fund his campaign, a number that is sure to grow in the coming weeks when he announces his third-quarter fundraising. Under current campaign finance law, there are no limits to how much a candidate can donate to his own campaign, giving Romney a huge advantage over other candidates who are forced to collect donations with a maximum value of $2,300 per donor. If Romney so chooses, he will be able to blow his rivals out of the water in January campaign spendingmore

For more on this theme see:

Romney’s self-financing an artifact of Romney’s self-deception—we call it the Madden Doctrine

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“Rudy Giuliani plans to unveil another one of his commitments tomorrow in Manchester New Hampshire,” writes the estimable and always up-to-the-moment David Brody for CBN’s The Brody File in a web log post titled Giuliani vs. Romney on Fiscal Conservatism.

It’s his plan to cut taxes and reform the tax code. One of the officials on hand will be former Massachusetts Gov. Paul Cellucci’s who cut taxes quite a bit during his time as Governor. He’s supporting Giuliani, not his fellow Republican Governor Romney. Here’s what he told me:

“The Mayor is not just talking about taxes… He has a record of doing it in New York City. I certainly respect Mitt Romney. But I supported Rudy Giuliani because he’s an extraordinary leader…The difference is that Rudy Giuliani has done it (cut taxes) and Mitt Romney has not. He was Governor for four years…Mitt has not cut any taxes as Governor of Massachusetts. He proposed raises corporate taxes.”

It makes sense that Cellucci wouldn’t back Romney on taxes. The Cato Institute, which focuses in on issues of limited government and free markets gave Celluci an “A” grade during his time as Governor. Romney received a “C”. Clearly, they have some differences and Cellucci thinks Romney could have done more in the tax cutting business …

… The Giuliani campaign is going to make tax cuts their domestic bread and butter, not just in the primary but in the general election. (If they make it that far) As Maria Comella, Giuliani’s spokeswoman told me:

“The difference between Rudy Giuliani and the other candidates – Rudy doesn’t just talk about cutting taxes, he actually did it. 23 times. Today every single one of the Democratic presidential candidates is promising a massive tax hike on the American people. The most important thing to understand about this issue that the Democrats just don’t understand – ‘YOUR MONEY. YOUR CHOICE’”

The reality is, if Giuliani becomes President, tax cuts will be a major portion of his domestic agenda. The question really is can Giuliani bundle the tax cuts, strict-constructionist judges and his commitment to increase adoption and reduce abortions into a family values package suitable for social conservatives. That’s the hope. He better pray it’s the reality too … more

Comment: We would argue that Giuliani has more of a prayer than Romney—see why Romney gets no pass [from the social conservatives of the GOP base], none at all [and Giuliani does]. Also: Giuliani’s analysis is apt and appropriate. The one issue that unites the entire Republican base—moderates, center-right third-wayers, social conservatives, cultural conservatives, Evangelicals, libertarians, pro-lifers, security firsters, neo-con Straussians or former-Trotskyites, paleo-con neo-nationalists, free traders, fair traders, Wall Street Republicans, unreconstructed nativists, second amendment supporters, southerners, SUV driving suburbanites, flag-wavers, pro-heterosexual marriage voters, first amendment absolutists, South-Park pants-down haters-of-political-correctness Republicans, post 9-11 Clash-of-Civilizations or Camp-of-the-Saints save-the-Westerners, believers in open borders etc,. etc.—is low, or at least lower, taxes, and a general sense that the scope and growth of government at all levels is out of control and unsustainable.

Romney, OTOH, in both speech and press release hews slavishly to the post-progressive, counter-conservative Bush family line, father and son, even as he simultaneously—in typical Romney equivocal fashion—attempts to distance himself from the Bush family (see here)! By Bush family line we mean enlarging and extending the federal government to pursue putatively conservative policies, policies that get articulated in the idiom of social progress, e.g. no child left behind, compassionate conservatism, the prescription drug benefit, the ill-fated immigration reform bill etc., etc. (Hence the term “post-progressive.” Does anyone remember “kinder and gentler” and a “thousand points of light?” Neither do we.) For more on these themes see:

About Romney’s alleged “competence,” please see:

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P.S. Recall: Under Romney taxes increased 10.8 percent; under Giuliani taxes were slashed 17 percent.—17%! We would vote for nearly anyone that could deliver a 17% tax cut!—anyone except Romney.

P.P.S. “With flat-tax advocate Steve Forbes sitting behind him, Republican Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani yesterday said he will propose in greater detail a “simplified tax code” this fall,” writes the estimable Garry Rayno in a story for the Union Leader titled Giuliani proposes flat tax plan in Manchester.

[Update: has released its take on RomneyCare titled: “‘RomneyCare’ Finds Broad Support, Nationwide Attention.”]

It’s one thing for politicians to promise that their mandates [Romney’s RomneyCare] will decrease costs, it’s quite another when it comes to implementing the plan, writes the estimable Sally Pipes in a article titled Lessons from Massachusetts, and painful lessons they are.

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More from the estimable Pipes:

… In Massachusetts, the initial costs came in higher than expected. Faced with this reality, the bureaucrats in charge of the implementation at the Commonwealth Connector Board decided that universal coverage didn’t need to be universal after all, and it promptly exempted 20 percent or one in five uninsured from having to comply with the mandate.

The Connector Board also bowed to political pressure and agreed to reduce the premiums, a move that boosted program costs by $13 million. Some plans are totally free–and have therefore been popular. Other subsidized plans for people earning between 150 and 300 percent of the poverty line will cost people as much as 9 percent of income for just the premium. Not surprisingly, these plans have proven less popular. Of the 79,800 people who’ve enrolled in the health plans as of June 1 of this year, 59,816 signed up for the totally free plans.

This structure will produce a fiscal disaster. Considering the high premiums for those who have to pay, many will opt to remain uninsured. The fine of $216 will be more attractive than the premium. Politicians will face strong pressure not to enforce the mandate if the fines increase. Indeed, before the program started they exempted 20 percent of the target population.

At the same time, the premium subsidy makes the plans a bargain for individuals who expect to consume large quantities of health care. The insured will be older and less healthy than the average citizen. Spending will skyrocket. The taxpayer will be forced to pay or services will be rationed.

So far, this downward spiral appears to be well underway. The average age for those enrolled in the free plans is far younger than that of the plans for which a contribution is required. Not surprisingly, usage is higher for the paid plans as well.

And the doctors, they may like the plan in the short run as they will receive higher reimbursement rates for seeing Medicaid patients but in the long run, the picture is not as bright. As costs rise, they will be faced with payments being limited, rationed care, more bureaucracy, and less freedom on how they want to practice medicine.

Massachusetts may be able to limp its plan along for a few years with a combination of tax increases on employers, restrictions on enrollees, and price cuts to providers. It will not, however, achieve universal health insurance or a meaningful structure for cost control. Its most likely legacy will be to have created another government health bureaucracy, ratcheted up taxpayer health spending, and bolstered calls for a complete government takeover of health caremore

Full disclosure: Pipes is a Giuliani adviser. We have no brief for the former mayor of NYC. But we do admire his adviser on healthcare issues.

Also see:

Romney’s disastrous stewardship of the Massachusetts economy draws scorn, condemnation

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P.S. Update:, in a post titled Romney’s Healthcare Plan: The Politics, addresses the sleight-of-hand of the Romney plan and reasons that—if we read eye’s analysis correctly—that Romney’s larger intention is to compete head-to-head on the healthcare issue with Obama or Hillary in the general election. The problem for Romney: surviving the primaries when the conservative base gets to have its say in the matter. Hence: all the deception.

So what does this say about Romney’s attitude toward conservatives?

We are a problem that Romney needs to solve in the short term.

In the longer term, we are disposable. Romney’s primary loyalties lie elsewhere.

See, e.g.: