Posts Tagged ‘rage’

“For some time, Rudy Giuliani has justifably been considered the Republican frontrunner, though not a terribly convincing one,” writes Paul of the Power Line blog in a despairing missive titled A New Republican Frontrunner?

As Giuliani continues to slip slowly in the polls, I’m beginning to think that Mitt Romney can now claim this (perhaps dubious) distinction.

That’s because Romney is looking more and more like the choice of mainstream conservatives. The best evidence is the National Review endorsement. As John noted, while endorsements generally aren’t worth much, this one has value. More importantly, National Review’s analysis may well exemplify (rather than influence) the thinking of a critical mass of conservatives. In the past month or two, a number of my most conservative friends have come around to supporting Romney for basically the same reasons National Review cited. Today, we learn that the estimable Michael Novak has, as well.

Romney would have sealed the deal with mainstream conservatives much earlier, but for the moderate to liberal positions he took on key social issues as a Massachusetts politician. When those positions came to light, many conservatives backed off, waiting for an alternative. Some evangelicals eventually found that alternative in Mike Huckabee. I’m thinking that a majority of conservatives as a whole are going to bite the bullet and go with Romney (personally, I’m still undecided) … etc.

Note Paul’s tenor of dark despair. Yet even shrieking-Romney-partisans like Jimmy Bopp issue the same ambivalent, compromising, hold-your-nose-and-vote-Romney line of argument:

Bopp’s argument according to Cillizza: “You might like Huckabee best but he can’t win. So, vote for the guy—Romney—you like second best”

We concur with Paul. There is movement—halting, half-stepping, grudging and reluctant movement—toward the equivocal figure of Romney. But this movement registers mostly among party elites and the center-right commentariat, many of whom have been bought and paid for, and many of whom will soon be bought and paid for.

Here is the critical question: Will Republicans—real Republicans, Republicans with lives, families, and jobs—surrender the dignity of principle and drink the kool-aid offered by the GOP elites? There is precedent for hope. Those on the ground have broken with their elites and bolted before when confronted by Romney:

out-of-touch Evangelical “leaders” stunned by Huckabee upset at the value voters summit—prepared to sigh, shrug, and coronate Romney as their Lord, G_d, and King—oh, the irony!

So: We shall see.

Whatever comes, we do not expect that Romney will accept the will of the party as expressed in its primary contests with grace and equanimity—and neither does Glen Johnson of the Associated Press who issues his warning in the form of a story titled Analysis: Romney Won’t Go Quietly

BOSTON (AP) – Mitt Romney has worked relentlessly to win the Republican presidential nomination for the past three years, and if he’s going down, it won’t be without a fight.

Branded by some as an elite Northeasterner, he plunged deep into the heart of Texas – with handshakes and hugs from the first President Bush and wife Barbara – to address questions about his Mormon faith.

After rival Mike Huckabee suggested Romney’s religion says Jesus and the devil are brothers, Romney went on national television to try a rhetorical haymaker: “Attacking someone’s religion is really going too far.”

And the candidate whose matinee looks and ramrod posture exude a civilized charm showed he isn’t afraid to get down and dirty: He said if the former Arkansas governor wants to carry the front-runner mantle Romney bore for so long in Iowa and New Hampshire, he’d better be ready for the scrutiny that comes with it.

Romney was happy to help that scrutiny along by airing the first negative ad of the GOP campaign in Iowa, a spot this week highlighting Huckabee’s record on illegal immigration. The former Massachusetts governor would not rule out focusing on prison commutations Huckabee issued while in office.

“I frankly think that the more people come to know about Mike Huckabee, the more they realize they don’t know about Mike Huckabee,” Romney said Thursday in Muscatine, Iowa. “I’m going to make it very clear in every way I can to contrast my views on key issues with those of Governor Huckabee. He’s the front-runner and so I want to describe how we’re different on those issues that people care about.”

All this looks very familiar to Shannon O’Brien, the last person to go one-on-one with Romney in an election.

O’Brien was the 2002 Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Massachusetts. Romney faced her after elbowing aside the acting governor of his own party, Republican Jane Swift, to grab the GOP nomination.

“I think that he learned his lesson running against Ted Kennedy,” O’Brien said. “He ran negative ads against me before I was even the nominee.”

She recalled the 1994 battle in which Romney, then a political upstart, posed the strongest re-election challenge of Kennedy’s career before the senator unloaded with TV ads and surrogates who questioned Romney’s business record and fitness to serve.

O’Brien says now, “Mitt Romney has demonstrated, given the radical flip-flops he has taken from the time he ran for governor to this presidential race now, he will do what it takes to win” … etc.

Whatever it takes.

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dr. g.d.


“DES MOINES, Iowa — Romney got aggressive with reporters after a military-focused event early this afternoon,” writes NBC/NJ’s Erin McPike in a FirstRead post titled Testy Romney Press Conference

Several times Romney tried to move on from reporters trying to ask follow-ups or not take certain questions in one of the largest and testiest gaggles he’s had on the trail. He was deluged with questions about his speech, and specifically about the line, “freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom.”

“It was a speech on faith in America, first of all,” Romney said. He said he was paraphrasing what John Adams and George Washington have said and added that “For a nation like ours to be great and to thrive, that our constitution was written for people of faith, and religion is a very extraordinary element and very necessary foundation for our nation. I believe that’s the case.”
Near the end of press conference here after an Ask Mitt Anything town hall, he was asked if he thought a non-spiritual person could be a free person, and he returned with: “Of course not, that’s not what I said.” Pressed again about the freedom requiring religion line, he said, “I was talking about the nation.”
He was also pressed about the politics of his speech and reiterated, “You know, that’s not what the speech was about,” and then again said it was about the role of faith in America …

Marc Ambinder describes Romney’s meltdown a little differently:

DES MOINES — Maybe it was a way of saying, “Welcome to the Big Time.” Mitt Romney held his first media avail — we like to shorten words like “availability,” which itself is a fancy word for “press conference” shortly after a stop at Ft. Des Moines, where Ronald Reagan became a 2nd lieutenant. The questions came fast and none were softballs.

Matt Stuart of ABC News wanted to know why Romney excluded people of no faith from his “freedom requires religion” formulation. Romney was a little testy, explaining that he meant that religion seeded the value of freedom for the country.

Jonathan Martin asked Romney whether he thought his speech would help calm evangelical concerns in Iowa. Romney wouldn’t bite …

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“With rival Rudy Giuliani also spending the weekend in the Granite State, Mitt Romney called the former New York mayor a ‘friend,’ but said he said he ‘left a bit of a problem’ in New York City by leaving a three billion dollar deficit,” writes the cerebral and remote Sareena Dalla, the New Hampshire Producer for CNN, in an article for the CNN Political Ticker titled Romney attacks Giuliani’s fiscal record

“Mayor Giuliani is a friend of mine, I think he is a good man, the former Massachusetts governor said. “And I know he did a good job as mayor of New York City, but on spending and fiscal matters, they left a bit of a problem there, because when he came in, there was a budget gap, but when he left, he left a budget gap twice as big as the one he inherited – over three billion dollars” … etc.

Note the sniveling language: “Mayor Giuliani is a friend of mine, I think he is a good man.” Recent events have taught Team Romney the painful lesson that their their candidate’s ultra-high negatives and cold, remote demeanor will not support a negative message. Their solution—strangely, unbelievably—is to couch their bitter attacks in expressions of friendship and affection, a gesture redolent of a mafiosi kiss of death.

But what about Romney’s record?

“Anti-tax advocates are scrutinizing Mitt Romney’s (R) record as governor of Massachusetts and focusing on the fact that he increased fees in the state by $500 million and proposed nearly $400 million in business tax increases,” writes Alexander Bolton in a release titled Romney’s tax record gets a closer look

This could erode whatever advantage on tax policy he hopes to have over 2008 presidential rivals such as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani (R).

The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, published a fiscal-policy report card for 2006 that gave Romney a C grade, ranking him behind 11 other governors, including Democratic White House hopeful Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico.

Cato found that Romney increased annual state fees by $500 million as governor and proposed two corporate tax increases totaling close to $400 million a year.

When he took office, Romney faced a budget deficit of $3.2 billion, which he eliminated. He did not hike personal income or sales taxes. He is now highlighting his efforts to cut Massachusetts’s income tax rate from 5.3 percent to 5 percent and his successful shepherding of a $250 million capital gains tax refund through the Democrat-dominated state legislature.

But he increased fees for getting married, buying a house, bringing a case to court, and using a public golf course, to name a few reported examples. However, in a move that could prove controversial with social conservatives, Romney decided not to raise fees for convicted sex offenders. He vetoed a $75 fee for offenders required by law to register with the state.

“Romney’s people are trying to spin this by saying he kept his ‘No new taxes’ pledge,” said Stephen Slivinski, director of budget studies at Cato. “I guess if you consider only personal income taxes and sales taxes, he’s within bounds. If you take a broader view, he is not.

“The spirit of [anti-tax pledges] is to force governors to find more innovative ways of funding government,” he added. “If the spirit is to save money before you increase revenues, I don’t think Romney has held to the spirit of the no-new-tax pledge.”

Slivinski said he based his report on publications by Tax Analysts, a non-partisan group that tracks state and federal tax activity, and by the National Conference of State Legislatures … etc.

Also see:

yours &c.
dr. g.d.