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Author Topic: Romney  (Read 18430 times)
Power User
Posts: 32546

« Reply #200 on: January 15, 2015, 07:31:59 PM »

Don’t Do It, Mr. Romney
He’d have been a better president than Obama. That’s not nearly enough.
By Peggy Noonan
Jan. 15, 2015 7:13 p.m. ET
Hershey, Pa.

A conversation with a Republican governor who is a possible presidential aspirant:

I told him I’d been thinking about something and wanted his response. You can argue that a governor is a better presidential nominee than a senator because governors, unlike lawmakers, have to do something and can be judged by their performance, which is measurable. You can look at their terms and say they raised or cut taxes, which helped or hurt the economy. They reformed the prison system, or they failed to. They balanced the budget or they didn’t. They improved education or not. They succeeded or failed in creating a favorable business climate. There are numbers and statistics that can to some degree test their claims. They know domestic issues and can be judged on domestic issues.

But they know nothing about the world. They haven’t been filling their brain-space with foreign policy and foreign affairs the past 20 years; they’ve been filling their minds with the facts of Indiana or Louisiana or New Jersey.

And so when they go national, they farm out these key areas to the party’s foreign-policy eggheads. And they unknowingly become captured by this worldview or that, this tendency and attitude or that. And they don’t even know they’ve been captured, they’re not that sophisticated. They just think they handed the foreign-policy portfolio over to someone respectable who’s called a thinker. (The first thing the thinker usually shares is not a thought but political advice: “You have to sound strong!”)

Senators, on the other hand, can’t be judged by clear domestic measures. They don’t have to do anything but talk on TV. Their communications offices send out press releases on their latest bill, which goes nowhere because the Senate doesn’t really do anything anymore, it’s just a big talking machine. You can’t judge them by what they did on unemployment or schools or taxes because they haven’t done anything.

But on foreign affairs they actually know a few things, because foreign affairs is in their portfolio. They’re on the Foreign Relations or Armed Services committee, they’re on subcommittees dealing with serious international issues, they go on fact-finding trips to Iraq and Africa and Asia. They visit and to some degree witness the results of American action or inaction. They get a more worldly view. (Once a senator told me his life is an intellectual feast. He gets to meet with scientists, prime ministers, visionaries, historians, great men—he has access to everyone, being a senator. I thought jeesh, glad you’re having a good time on our dime. But I also thought, OK, he’s going to know some things by the time he’s done.)

Anyway, to the governor I said, in a world in which foreign affairs continue to be more important than ever, in a dangerous world with which we have ever more dealings, shouldn’t we be thinking about senators for the presidency, and not governors?

He listened closely, nodded, then shook his head. No, he said, governors still have the advantage. Why? Because foreign policy still comes down, always, to your gut, your instincts. And your instincts are sharpened by the kind of experience you get as a chief executive in a statehouse, which is constant negotiation with antagonists who have built-in power bases. You learn what works from success and failure with entrenched powers that can undo you, from unions to local pressure groups to unreliable allies. Being a governor is about handling real and discernible power. A governor can learn what a senator knows more easily than a senator can learn what a governor knows.

This will be one of the subtexts of the 2016 GOP presidential race.

Regarding that race, the news this week was of Mitt Romney ’s seriousness in considering running again for the nomination. I just spent two days at the Republican joint congressional retreat in Hershey, Pa., and can tell you there was exactly no Mitt-momentum. The talk, when it turned to 2016, was of others. Those in attendance seemed to be trying to get the possibility of Mitt Part 3 through their heads, because while they understand it on a personal level—no one who’s been in the game ever wants to leave the game—they could see no compelling political rationale.

Everyone this week came down on Mr. Romney. In major newspapers and on political websites they listed their reasons he shouldn’t run. He is yesterday, we need tomorrow. He is an example of what didn’t work, we have to turn the page. He is and always has been philosophically murky—it’s almost part of his charm—but it’s not what’s needed now. He ran a poor campaign in 2012 and will run a poor one in 2016. He was a gaffe machine—“47%”; “I have some great friends that are Nascar team owners”—and those gaffes played into the party’s brand problems.

In defense of Mr. Romney’s idea, and what must be the impulse behind it, is this. If every voter in America were today given a secret toggle switch and told, “If you tug the toggle to the left, Barack Obama will stay president until January, 2017; if you tug it to the right, Mitt Romney will become president,” about 60% of the American people would tug right.

It must be hard for him to know that, and make him want to give it another try. But it’s also true that America would, right now, choose your Uncle Ralph who spends his time knitting over the current incumbent.

I add two reasons Mr. Romney should not run.

This is a moment in history that demands superior political gifts from one who would govern. Mitt Romney does not have them. He never did. He’s good at life and good at business and good at faith. He is politically clunky, always was and always will be. His clunkiness is seen in the way he leaked his interest in running: to multimillionaires and billionaires in New York. “Tell your friends.”

Second, Romney enthusiasts like to compare him with Ronald Reagan, who ran three times. This is technically true, though 1968 was sort of a half-run in which Reagan got in late and dropped out early, because he wasn’t ready for the presidency and knew it. But his 1976 run was serious, almost triumphant, and won for him the party’s heart.

The real Romney-Reagan difference is this: There was something known as Reaganism. It was a real movement within the party and then the nation. Reaganism had meaning. You knew what you were voting for. It was a philosophy that people understood. Philosophies are powerful. They carry you, and if they are right and pertinent to the moment they make you inevitable.

There is no such thing as Romneyism and there never will be. Mr. Romney has never encompassed a philosophical world. He has never become the symbol of an attitude toward government, or an approach to freedom or fairness. “Romneyism” is just “Mitt should be president.” That is not enough.

He is a smart, nice and accomplished man who thinks himself clever and politically insightful. He is not and will not become so. He should devote himself to supporting and not attempting to lead the party that has raised him so high.
Power User
Posts: 32546

« Reply #201 on: January 17, 2015, 11:50:38 AM »


SAN DIEGO, Ca.—Two-time Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Friday cast himself as a leader for the “post- Obama era,” attacking likely Democratic contender Hillary Clinton in remarks viewed as a stump speech for another White House quest.

A gathering of Republican Party leaders was the setting for Mr. Romney’s first public comments since signaling his interest in a 2016 candidacy and forcing many donors and activists to reassess their early allegiances.

Mr. Romney stopped short of announcing a 2016 campaign, but leaned heavily into the prospect, saying he was “giving serious consideration to the future.”

He quipped that his wife, Ann, “believes people get better with experience—and heaven knows I have experience running for president.”

Mr. Romney’s call to “end the scourge of poverty” was the most striking departure from his 2012 campaign, in which Democrats attacked him as a wealthy corporate raider who lacked concern for the poor. Mr. Romney contributed to the unflattering narrative during that campaign by scoffing in a private fundraiser at the “47 %” who receive government assistance and recommending “self-deportation” for illegal immigrants.

On Friday, Mr. Romney called for helping “all Americans regardless of the neighborhood they live in.” He also noted his work as a pastor helping the poor, a biographical detail largely overlooked in his 2012 bid.  Mr. Romney didn't offer any specific policy proposals, but by listing income inequality as one of three priorities, he suggested his next campaign would seek to reach voters from a wide range of income levels and racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Some of his Mr. Romney’s potential rivals, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, have signaled they will address economic anxiety in their campaigns.  Mr. Romney was joined by his wife, who thanked the party for its support and work electing Republicans in 2014.

Mr. Romney touted an interventionist foreign policy, as he has in previous campaigns, and sounded ready to direct his criticism at Mrs. Clinton, who is expected to announce another White House bid in the next few months.

“The results of the Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama foreign policy have been devastating,” Mr. Romney said at the reception held aboard the USS Midway aircraft carrier, which is now a military museum. He described their approach as “based in part on the premise that if we’re friendly enough to other people, and if we smile broadly enough and press the reset button, peace is going to break around the world.”

The 13-minute speech capped off a three-day gathering of Republican Party leaders in which Mr. Romney’s intentions were a constant topic of conversation in hallways and ballrooms.

Mr. Romney described the event as “like coming back to a high school reunion to see all my friends,” and he received warm applause. But interviews with party leaders over the course of the Republican National Committee conference found little enthusiasm for another campaign by Mr. Romney, outside of his most loyal allies.

This year’s deep bench of potential candidates is a point of pride for many Republicans after losing the White House two times in a row.

“No disrespect to Gov. Romney, but we need to move on,” said Kris Warner, the national committeeman from West Virginia. “I don’t want to go back and relive the presidential campaign of four years ago."

Gov. Romney is certainly a good man, but he has much convincing to do as a politician, because if the strategy is the same, the result will be the same,” said South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Matt Moore. “Most voters want to at least hear from the new, conservative leaders in our party and we owe that to them. It’s clear no one is going to hand Gov. Romney the nomination on a silver platter.”

Appearances by some of Mr. Romney’s potential rivals at the RNC’s annual winter meeting reinforced the growing breadth of the potential 2016 field. The speakers included Ben Carson, a firebrand speaker who has never run for office; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who cast himself as a refreshing Washington outsider; and outgoing Texas Gov. Rick Perry , who stressed his success at creating jobs.

Bruce Hough, Utah’s national committeeman and a personal friend of Romneys, said Mr. Romney’s warnings about the slow economic recovery and the national-security threat posed by Russia have been borne out since his 2012 campaign.

“He’s been vetted and vindicated,” Mr. Hough said. “If he doesn’t run and we lose in 2016, he will have a pit in his gut.”

Only two weeks ago, Mr. Romney wasn't considered to be in the mix for 2016, outside of sporadic murmurs. The former governor and his closest allies have made a spree of calls to former staff members, elected officials and fundraisers in an effort to hastily lay the groundwork for a potential campaign.

The past week has also seen other likely candidates rolling out names of top political advisers, courting voters in the states that hold the earliest nominating contests and heading out on book tours.

On the Democratic side, Mrs. Clinton is nearing a decision on another White House bid as the overwhelming favorite in the polls for her party’s nomination.

“There’s intrigue, there’s drama, it’s interesting,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said of the GOP field. “I think that it’s all great for our party.”

—Janet Hook contributed to this article.
Power User
Posts: 32546

« Reply #202 on: January 24, 2015, 11:47:44 AM »
Power User
Posts: 12338

« Reply #203 on: January 25, 2015, 08:11:18 AM »

It appears he is going to run on Obama's 2008platform, minus the enthusiasm.
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