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Crafty_Dog
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« on: February 16, 2012, 01:07:18 PM »

Romney gets his own thread.

We kick it off with his piece from today's WSJ on China.  This could be a good issue for him (contrast Huntsman).  IMHO he is positioned well on it to tap into populist sentiment and on the whole I think he is right on the merits.

ROMNEY
Should the 21st century be an American century? To answer, it is only necessary to contemplate the alternatives.

One much bruited these days is that of a Chinese century. With China's billion-plus population, its 10% annual average growth rates, and its burgeoning military power, a China that comes to dominate Asia and much of the globe is increasingly becoming thinkable. The character of the Chinese government—one that marries aspects of the free market with suppression of political and personal freedom—would become a widespread and disquieting norm.

But the dawn of a Chinese century—and the end of an American one—is not inevitable. America possesses inherent strengths that grant us a competitive advantage over China and the rest of the world. We must, however, restore those strengths.

That means shoring up our fiscal and economic standing, rebuilding our military, and renewing faith in our values. We must apply these strengths in our policy toward China to make its path to regional hegemony far more costly than the alternative path of becoming a responsible partner in the international system.

Barack Obama is moving in precisely the wrong direction. The shining accomplishment of the meetings in Washington this week with Xi Jinping—China's vice president and likely future leader—was empty pomp and ceremony.

President Obama came into office as a near supplicant to Beijing, almost begging it to continue buying American debt so as to finance his profligate spending here at home. His administration demurred from raising issues of human rights for fear it would compromise agreement on the global economic crisis or even "the global climate-change crisis." Such weakness has only encouraged Chinese assertiveness and made our allies question our staying power in East Asia.

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CloseZuma Press
 
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, left, with President Obama at the White House on Tuesday.
.Now, three years into his term, the president has belatedly responded with a much-ballyhooed "pivot" to Asia, a phrase that may prove to be as gimmicky and vacuous as his "reset" with Russia. The supposed pivot has been oversold and carries with it an unintended consequence: It has left our allies with the worrying impression that we left the region and might do so again.

The pivot is also vastly under-resourced. Despite his big talk about bolstering our military position in Asia, President Obama's actions will inevitably weaken it. He plans to cut back on naval shipbuilding, shrink our Air Force, and slash our ground forces. Because of his policies and failed leadership, our military is facing nearly $1 trillion in cuts over the next decade.

We must change course.

In the economic arena, we must directly counter abusive Chinese practices in the areas of trade, intellectual property, and currency valuation. While I am prepared to work with Chinese leaders to ensure that our countries both benefit from trade, I will not continue an economic relationship that rewards China's cheating and penalizes American companies and workers.

Unless China changes its ways, on day one of my presidency I will designate it a currency manipulator and take appropriate counteraction. A trade war with China is the last thing I want, but I cannot tolerate our current trade surrender.

We must also maintain military forces commensurate to the long-term challenge posed by China's build-up. For more than a decade now we have witnessed double-digit increases in China's officially reported military spending. And even that does not capture the full extent of its spending on defense. Nor do the gross numbers tell us anything about the most troubling aspects of China's strategy, which is designed to exert pressure on China's neighbors and blunt the ability of the United States to project power into the Pacific and keep the peace from which China itself has benefited.

To preserve our military presence in Asia, I am determined to reverse the Obama administration's defense cuts and maintain a strong military presence in the Pacific. This is not an invitation to conflict. Instead, this policy is a guarantee that the region remains open for cooperative trade, and that economic opportunity and democratic freedom continue to flourish across East Asia.

We must also forthrightly confront the fact that the Chinese government continues to deny its people basic political freedoms and human rights. If the U.S. fails to support dissidents out of fear of offending the Chinese government, if we fail to speak out against the barbaric practices entailed by China's compulsory one-child policy, we will merely embolden China's leaders at the expense of greater liberty.

A nation that represses its own people cannot ultimately be a trusted partner in an international system based on economic and political freedom. While it is obvious that any lasting democratic reform in China cannot be imposed from the outside, it is equally obvious that the Chinese people currently do not yet enjoy the requisite civil and political rights to turn internal dissent into effective reform.

I will never flinch from ensuring that our country is secure. And security in the Pacific means a world in which our economic and military power is second to none. It also means a world in which American values—the values of liberty and opportunity—continue to prevail over those of oppression and authoritarianism.

The sum total of my approach will ensure that this is an American, not a Chinese century. We have much to gain from close relations with a China that is prosperous and free. But we should not fail to recognize that a China that is a prosperous tyranny will increasingly pose problems for us, for its neighbors, and for the entire world.

Mr. Romney is a Republican candidate for president.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2012, 12:29:39 PM »

Apparently one of the reasons Romney is doing badly in Michigan is because he opposed Baraq's bailout-- a position which most of us here support!

The footage of him defending this position that I have seen leaves me with the impression of him being mealy mouthed and defensive-- of a correct position!

IMHO he should be saying that he was right, he does not apologize, and that the auto companies in question would have come out the other side via the proper bankruptcy procedures specified by the law just like ____________ (list here many successful examples).
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G M
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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2012, 05:08:25 PM »

Romney still thinks that he can try to be all things to all people as a winning strategy.


It's not.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2012, 01:27:20 PM »


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=WsX2gXwlcfI
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DougMacG
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« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2012, 01:36:20 PM »

I just posted this on Pres-2012 thread, did not see the Romney thread.  13 minutes, take a look.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vijPDdWiyw

Also the Kudlow piece is a very good read: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/03/24/the_reagan_in_romney_113604.html
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DougMacG
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« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2012, 04:47:01 PM »

Politico today with a big link on the Huff Post, the rebuild of the beach house will have a car elevator.  That won't hurt Romney's perception of not exactly being the average guy?  http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0312/74518.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2012, 12:40:46 AM »

Some interesting insight here on the meaning of Romney's life experiences as a Mormon by a Mormon.  Posted here with permission:

Romney is capable of learning from his mistakes.

From what I have heard lately, I wouldn't expect Romney to do ANYTHING on gun control if elected to the Presidency. Why? Mormons are the original Disaster Preparedness people in this country, and most Mormon families in the west (UT, ID, NV, AZ, WY, CO) have at least 3 or 4 firearms in the house. Plenty of word from members of the church has already been whispered his way to STFU on gun control, and the answer back has been 'Wilco'. I'm not talking about Church leadership, I'm talking about rank and file members picking up a pen and writing to him. I did.

I think Romney is a lot more tolerant than Santorum; as a Mormon you learn quickly that outside certain parts of the American West you are a minority, and many people discriminate against you based on religion either overtly or covertly. Bashing Mormons is one of the few acceptable forms of religious bigotry still acceptable. I've experienced it myself, repeatedly...'Oh, you're a Mormon...?' Most Mormons are content to live and let live, so long as no one else tries to impose their views on us. Attacks on our religion will get many Mormons fired up. Mormons aren't generally into persecuting or talking shit about other religions, we've gone through too much of that ourselves to want to throw rocks at others.

Keep in mind, Mormons were actually prepared to fight a war against the United States in 1857 over religious freedom; they had faced significant persecution before in Missouri and Illinois, and they weren't going to accept it from the federal government in Utah. They were prepared to do what a lot of people on this and other forums talk about, and the federal government backed down.

Romney was a missionary, a Bishop, and a Stake President. As a missionary, he had to bust his ass in France amongst a population that was somewhat hostile to Americans in the 1960s, and even more hostile to his religion. He had to totally immerse in that society, live on the economy, learn and proselyte in that language. I've never gone on a mission, but I know many who have. It does a great deal to mature someone, and to broaden their horizons and world view. It teaches a great deal about human nature and psychology, and teaches you a great deal of patience. Getting rejected is a daily event for missionaries, with varying degrees of rudeness. I know guys who had guns pointed at them and their lives threatened by other Christians...generally people of other religions tend to be less hostile to mormon missionaries. The next day, they go out and do it again, and do it for two years, a great deal of it at your own expense. That builds character. You learn a great deal of humility as a missionary. It doesn't matter how rich or poor you are, the church has strict limits on what you can do/bring, and your missionary companinon might have come from very different circumstances and be from yet another country. You change missionary companions every 90-120 days on average during your mission, to help you learn how to work with others. When you get to the mission field, you are the junior companion, and expected to take direction from the senior companion. Toward the last 6-9 months, you become the senior companion, responsible for planning the week's activities. You might be tagged to be a missionary leader, where you are responsible for providing direction to up to a dozen or more missionaries in addition to your own duties as a missionary. That's a lot of responsibility on a 20 year old.

As a Bishop, he acted as a pastor and leader to a group of several hundred people, called a Ward. He gets to listen to people's problems, and acts as a marriage counselor, spiritual advisor, financial advisor (bishops can assist needy members with their finances- pay their bills, buy groceries, pay for car/house repairs, and other issues out of funds available to him). He is closely involved in the Scouting program, and usually accompanies the Scouts on annual trips. He goes out and attends Youth activities, whether it's charitable works for the elderly, refurbishing a neighborhood park, or a Youth dance on a Saturday night. A Bishop gets to do cool things, like counsel unwed teen mothers about their pregnancies and whether they can provide for the child. He gets to counsel the teen dad about his responsibilities to his child and the child's mother, and helps them come to a decision about what they are going to do. He counsels young men and women about their preparation to go on a mission, or their lack of worthiness to do so. Bishops give up a great deal of time with their families during their term of office which lasts 3-7 years. It's one of the most demanding jobs in the LDS Church, and you don't get paid for it at all. Romney did it for 5 years.

A Stake President watches over a regional group of Wards, usually 6-10. He is the next step up from the Bishop. Whatever hot potatos are too hard for a Bishop to handle or has a Bishop stumped, he either asks for advice/direction from the Stake President on how to handle it or he hands it off to the Stake President. Stake Presidents don't get paid either, and they invest a lot of time every month in it. Their term of office lasts 5-10 years. Romney was Stake President for the Boston, MA Stake for 5 years, and saw and dealt with people from wildly varying circumstances and social position.

A lot of people accuse Romney of being a political elitist benefactor of a political dynasty because his father was Governor of Michigan and he was Governor of Massachusetts. I don't see how Michigan and Massachusetts are tied together. The Kennedys...yes they are a political dynasty. Would a Kennedy get elected a great distance away from Massachusetts? I don't think so. That Romney was able to get elected in Massachusetts speaks to his abilities, not his fathers' or his family connections.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not fond of Romney, I'm not enthused by him. I do think that he is proud to be an American, which I don't think is true of Obama. I do think that Romney is proud of America, which I am certain that Obama is not. I do know that Romney has worked hard, faced adversity and rejection, and displayed character and endurance over the course of his life. I don't think that Obama really did. I do think that Romney, through his Church work, is a lot more in tune with 'the problems of the common people' than people generally give him credit for. Romney has proven as a Governor that he is capable of handling an Executive Office, rather than organizing communities or debating in a legislature. I think the fact that Romney's one term as Governor shows that he is NOT a political insider, like Santorum. The fact that he was a successful businessman and then was able to be a successful governor with no prior political experience says a lot about his capabilities. I think that Romney has shown that he is capable of learning from his mistakes. I think he has a better chance of beating Obama than Santorum does.

Those are the reasons I will vote for Romney.

Mike

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G M
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« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2012, 03:44:03 PM »

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2012, 06:08:52 PM »

Here in Munich I am less in touch with the day to day of American politics.  To what is this in reference?
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G M
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« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2012, 06:17:16 PM »

Decades ago, Mittens took the family dog on car trip with the kids. The dog traveled on top of the car in a crate (with a windshield Mitt made for it). The dems tried to make an issue of it so the response was to note from one of Buraq's autobiographies how he ate dog in Indonesia. The jokes haven't stopped since then!

"Mitt had a dog on his roof, Buraq had a dog on the roof of his mouth". And so on....
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Hello Kitty
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« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2012, 10:43:12 PM »

Decades ago, Mittens took the family dog on car trip with the kids. The dog traveled on top of the car in a crate (with a windshield Mitt made for it). The dems tried to make an issue of it so the response was to note from one of Buraq's autobiographies how he ate dog in Indonesia. The jokes haven't stopped since then!

"Mitt had a dog on his roof, Buraq had a dog on the roof of his mouth". And so on....
At least Buraq didn't eat pork. Poor little guy never would make it to heaven. Michelle isn't going to be happy sharing him with the rest of his harem. I'm sure that Buraq's Turkish mentor doesn't I.dulge in pork either. Normally I wouldn't joke, but he somehow made it into the Whitehouse and it isn't his skin colour that I take issue with, nor his religious choice. It's the fact that Muslim and American Constitutionalist values are not one and the same. Someone was describing Buraq as a Marxist. I think that it is much worse than that. It's just that the remnants of the Constitution haven't fully let that dog off his leash yet. Spending 20 years listening to anti-american rhetoric with a bedmate that talks about how ashamed she is of America just bolsters the point. I'll leave the fact that they and every other American being within the wealthiest group in the world, alone.

Buraq.... Turkey...raiding children. Makes me sick. This sure as hell idn't the farm and America I grew up on and in.
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Dog Robertlk808
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« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2012, 12:11:26 AM »

Quote
"From what I have heard lately, I wouldn't expect Romney to do ANYTHING on gun control if elected to the Presidency. Why? Mormons are the original Disaster Preparedness people in this country, and most Mormon families in the west (UT, ID, NV, AZ, WY, CO) have at least 3 or 4 firearms in the house. Plenty of word from members of the church has already been whispered his way to STFU on gun control, and the answer back has been 'Wilco'. I'm not talking about Church leadership, I'm talking about rank and file members picking up a pen and writing to him. I did."

Not trying to sidetrack the thread but as a Mormon I just learned this from a Non-Mormon last night, LOL

John M. Browning was Mormon too.  John M. Browning was responsible for the invention of many firearms too according to this Wikipedia reference:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Browning#John_M._Browning_and_Winchester_Repeating_Arms_Company

I just thought it was interesting.
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"You see, it's not the blood you spill that gets you what you want, it's the blood you share. Your family, your friendships, your community, these are the most valuable things a man can have." Before Dishonor - Hatebreed
G M
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« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2012, 12:16:37 AM »

Quote
"From what I have heard lately, I wouldn't expect Romney to do ANYTHING on gun control if elected to the Presidency. Why? Mormons are the original Disaster Preparedness people in this country, and most Mormon families in the west (UT, ID, NV, AZ, WY, CO) have at least 3 or 4 firearms in the house. Plenty of word from members of the church has already been whispered his way to STFU on gun control, and the answer back has been 'Wilco'. I'm not talking about Church leadership, I'm talking about rank and file members picking up a pen and writing to him. I did."

Not trying to sidetrack the thread but as a Mormon I just learned this from a Non-Mormon last night, LOL

John M. Browning was Mormon too.  John M. Browning was responsible for the invention of many firearms too according to this Wikipedia reference:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Browning#John_M._Browning_and_Winchester_Repeating_Arms_Company

I just thought it was interesting.

Browning was the Tesla of firearms. Didn't know he was LDS.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2012, 12:48:55 AM »

"I wouldn't expect Romney to do ANYTHING on gun control...Mormons are the original Disaster Preparedness people ... Mormon families in the west (UT, ID, NV, AZ, WY, CO) have at least 3 or 4 firearms in the house. Plenty of word from members of the church has already been whispered his way to STFU on gun control, and the answer back has been 'Wilco'. I'm not talking about Church leadership, I'm talking about rank and file members picking up a pen and writing to him. I did."

Very good point.  Nevada in particular is a swing state, also Colorado and Arizona.  He will have to make assurances to voters.

Governor Romney is smart enough (IMO) to know there is a difference between governing Massachusetts and governing America - on a host of issues.  He knows he won't be getting 270 electoral votes from the Northeast.  He needs at least 5 of those 6 states listed in order to win.  Colorado is tough - because they let Californians in.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2012, 09:18:05 AM »

"Here's a number you're going to hear a lot on this campaign: 23 million," Eric Fehrnstrom, senior adviser to Mitt Romney, said on "Face the Nation," referring to 12.7 million unemployed, 7.7 million underemployed and more than 3 million Americans who are discouraged from finding work or have dropped out of the job search, according to the latest numbers by the Department of Labor.

President Obama did not create this recession, but his policies are not working for these people..."

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/04/22/fehrnstrom_23_million_reasons_to_vote_for_romney.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2012, 09:19:28 AM »

Showing good instincts , , ,
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DougMacG
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« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2012, 01:45:55 PM »

[Romney]  "Showing good instincts , , ,"

... and good discipline.  They have not let themselves get led down the wrong road very far on distractions. 

Strong America and a robust private economy versus big government, unemployment and a stagnant economy.  No shiny objects.  No lunar colonies, no matter their merit.  No leading with issues that divide your own base. 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2012, 01:21:10 PM »

Dorothy Rabinowitz is old school WSJ. Here she lets MR have it:

By DOROTHY RABINOWITZ
From all corners of the commentariat, advisers friendly and unfriendly have declared it time for Mitt Romney to reveal himself—to let go at last and show the real Mitt he's allegedly been keeping secret. A fetching notion, but not the kind that wins elections. Forget the real Romney. Voters looking for a victory over Barack Obama would settle for the Romney on hand—the only real one, and unlikely to get any more so—as long as he's equipped for the requirements of the battle ahead.

It would help if he showed, first of all, a capacity to run a campaign not obviously dependent on the latest polls, or the fears of consultants. He could begin by ignoring the chorus of hysterics agonizing over the gender gap, then proceed to comport himself like a presidential candidate who grasps that women see themselves as citizens like any other—not as a separate group assigned victim status, to be favored with special tenderness.

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CloseAssociated Press
 
The presumptive Republican nominee and his wife, Ann
.He could see to it that the women of America aren't favored by any more shout-outs from Ann Romney during his campaign appearances. The Romney campaign has had some famous streaks of tone deafness but nothing quite as strange as Mrs. Romney's congratulations to women on Super Tuesday night, with arm-waving and huzzahs, cheerleader-style. Women were concerned with things like the economy, with jobs, Mrs. Romney joyfully announced. A testimonial that suggested, unmistakably, that this interest in jobs and the state of the economy was—in the view of the Romney campaign—a new and wondrous achievement for the gender that had had, until now, hardly a thought about such matters.

The congratulations-to-women-for-thinking theme continues apace. On April 23, Mrs. Romney told a Connecticut audience of her happy discovery that women she had encountered were interested in the economy. "Believe it or not," she marveled, "they were talking about budget deficits." We can believe it. What's hard to believe is that pronouncements like this are anyone's notion of outreach to female voters. Mr. Romney would do well to skip the obeisances to women, along with all other knee-jerk responses to the programmed war-against-women accusations mounted by Democrats.

He'd do well, too, to discard the established wisdom that his indisputably appealing wife is his most powerful weapon—and to cease regularly throwing her at audiences. There is only one campaign presence that counts for voters, and his name is at the top of the ticket.

If that ticket is to be a winning one, Mr. Romney had better begin doing what Republican primary candidates so assiduously avoided doing for so many months. Other than those pronouncements extracted by debate moderators, there has been no silence more deafening, more ridden with fear—fear of the isolationist wing of the tea party—than that shown by the Republican candidates this year on matters of foreign policy.

Mr. Romney had better spell out clear positions on that, and on our national security. Even now the ideologically deranged sector of the tea party—tormented believers whose every living hour is devoted to the discovery of newer and more terrible violations of the Constitution—is pushing a serious legal war on the government's right to detain terrorists.

Related Video
 Editorial board member Dorothy Rabinowitz says Mitt Romney needs to improve his game. Photo: Getty Images
.
.We should hear from Mr. Romney on a matter of this kind. And in full and bold detail, what the voice of America will be in a Romney presidency—what it will stand for in regard to Syria, Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan. It won't be enough to assert in passing that we intend to stand by America's allies, or that there will be no more apologizing for the United States, splendid vows though they are.


Mr. Romney will have to run against President Obama with roughly the firepower with which he dispatched his competitors for the Republican nomination—and he'll have to do it in his own voice, unflinchingly. He might take a lesson from the example of John McCain, today the most formidably cogent, spirited and relentless of Mr. Obama's critics.

Little of this was on display four years ago, during Sen. McCain's own presidential run, a picture of hesitancy and political caution. A campaign in which the candidate—fearing charges of racism—refused even to mention the reality of Mr. Obama's 20 years of happy obliviousness to the hate-consumed, anti-American tirades of his longtime pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Such cautions did not prevent the Obama campaign and its surrogates from hurling charges of racism at every opportunity, including in the primary race, when Bill Clinton himself—known to some as the first black president—stood accused.

Things won't be different this election season, Mr. Romney should know. The race card will be played even more energetically this time around, despite such proof of racism as white America's overwhelming support that put Mr. Obama into the presidency in the first place. Mr. Romney could do worse than a presidential run in the spirit of the Mr. McCain we see today—a man free of useless caution. Of course, the senator now has a fat target: the four years of the Obama presidency. But so has Mr. Romney.

The Republican nominee to be may not find it easy to drop the habits and training of his primary campaign—the most cautious, heavily managed, no-unplanned-moment-allowed quest for the nomination in memory. He'll have to do it, nevertheless—perhaps by recognizing that he won not because of that caution but in spite of it.

It would help, finally, if Mr. Romney proved himself the first candidate in years to grasp that aspirants to the presidency who appear on late-night comedy shows invariably end up looking like buffoons. That's in addition to denigrating their candidacy, the presidency itself, and looking unutterably pathetic in the effort to look like regular guys.

Most voters with any sense—this will perhaps exclude a fair number of the screamers in the late-night studio audiences—will understand that the candidate isn't one of them, not even close. That voters in their right minds don't choose a candidate for president because they've had the privilege of seeing him look unspeakably absurd while engaging in obsequious exchanges with late-night hosts.

Americans have good reason these days—count the behavior of the Secret Service as the latest—to value a candidate who not only knows but feels the meaning of the office of the presidency of the United States, its symbolism and of all that's connected to it. Standing up for that symbolism against the showbiz convention of political campaigns today wouldn't be a bad way to begin Mr. Romney's run for the White House—if his handlers allow it.

Someone should tell them it's not the gender gap, stupid—it's backbone. Mr. Romney will begin looking good to voters, women included, when he starts flashing some.

Ms. Rabinowitz is a member of the Journal's editorial board.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2012, 02:08:35 PM »

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/jon-stewart-slams-critics-of-mitt-romneys-mormon-faith-you-cant-cherry-pick-the-worst-aspects-of-a-religion/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #19 on: May 09, 2012, 08:38:44 PM »



http://www.economist.com/node/21554173?fsrc=nlw|mgt|5-9-2012|1694846|36902856|
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Dog Robertlk808
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« Reply #20 on: May 13, 2012, 08:50:55 PM »

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/05/12/hfr-with-or-without-romney-d-c-a-surprising-mormon-stronghold/?hpt=hp_c2

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Alexandria, Virginia (CNN) – A few hundred Mormons filed into a chapel just outside the Washington Beltway one recent Sunday to hear a somewhat unusual presentation: an Obama administration official recounting his conversion to Mormonism.

“I have never in my life had a more powerful experience than that spiritual moment when the spirit of Christ testified to me that the Book of Mormon is true,” Larry Echo Hawk told the audience, which stretched back through the spacious sanctuary and into a gymnasium in the rear.

Echo Hawk’s tear-stained testimonial stands out for a couple of reasons: The White House normally doesn’t dispatch senior staff to bare their souls, and Mormons hew heavily Republican. It’s not every day a top Democrat speaks from a pulpit owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

And yet the presentation by Echo Hawk, then head of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, is also a perfect symbol of a phenomenon that could culminate in Mitt Romney’s arrival at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue next year: The nation’s capital has become a Mormon stronghold, with Latter-day Saints playing a big and growing role in the Washington establishment.

The well-dressed crowd gathered for Echo Hawk’s speech was dotted with examples of inside-the-beltway Mormon power.

In one pew sits a Mormon stake president – a regional Mormon leader – who came to Washington to write speeches for Ronald Reagan and now runs a lobbying firm downtown.

Behind him in the elegant but plain sanctuary – Mormon chapels are designed with an eye toward functionality and economy – is a retired executive secretary of the U.S. Supreme Court.

A few pews further back, the special assistant to the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan sits next to a local Mormon bishop who came to Washington to work for Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and now leads a congressionally chartered foundation.


Mitt Romney, who would be the first Mormon president if elected, is the son of a cabinet secretary under Richard Nixon.
“In a Republican administration, there will be even more Mormons here,” whispers the bishop, Lewis Larsen, pointing out prominent Washingtonians around the chapel. “Every Republican administration just loads up with them.”

Regardless of which party controls the White House, Mormonism in Washington has been growing for decades.

When Larsen arrived in Washington in the early ’80s, there were a just handful of Mormon meetinghouses in northern Virginia, where he lives. Today, there are more than 25, each housing three separate congregations, or wards, as they’re known in the LDS Church.

“There’s been an absolute explosion in Mormon growth inside the beltway,” Larsen says before slipping out of the pew to crank the air conditioning for the swelling crowd.

The LDS Church says there are 13,000 active members within a 10-mile radius of Washington, though the area’s Mormon temple serves a much larger population – 148,000 Latter-day Saints, stretching from parts of South Carolina to New Jersey.

Signs of the local Mormon population boom transcend the walls of the temple and meetinghouses.

Crystal City, a Virginia neighborhood just across the Potomac River from Washington, has become so popular with young Mormons that it’s known as “Little Provo,” after the Utah city that’s home to church-owned Brigham Young University.

Congress now counts 15 Mormon members, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. That means the 2% of the country that’s Mormon is slightly overrepresented on Capitol Hill.


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, is the highest-placed elected Mormon in Washington.
Even many Latter-day Saints joke about Washington’s “Mormon mafia” – referring to the number of well-placed LDS Church members across town – though they cringe at the thought of being seen as part of some cabal. (Echo Hawk, for his part, left the Obama administration a few weeks after his chapel presentation for a job in the LDS Church hierarchy).

“No one talks about Washington being an Episcopalian stronghold or a Jewish stronghold,” says Richard Bushman, a Mormon scholar at Columbia University. Talk of “Mormon Washington,” he says, “represents a kind of surprise that people who were thought of as provincial have turned up in sophisticated power positions.”

Bushman and other experts note that, despite Mormons’ growing political power, the official church mostly steers clear of politics. It’s hard to point to federal legislation or a White House initiative that bears distinctly Mormon fingerprints, while it’s easy to do the same for other faiths.

For example, the White House’s recent “compromise” on a rule that would have required religious groups to fund contraception for employees was mostly a reaction to pressure from Roman Catholic bishops.

Nonetheless, Mormon success in Washington is a testament to distinctly Mormon values, shedding light into the heart of one of America’s fastest-growing religions.

And though the official church is mostly apolitical, most rank-and-file Mormons have linked arms with the GOP. Romney’s own political evolution mirrors that trend.

Such forces help explain why Mormons’ beltway power is poised to grow even stronger in coming years, whether or not Romney wins the White House.

‘A ton of Mormon contacts’

For many Washington Mormons, religion plays a key role in explaining why they’re here.

Larsen, who sports a brown comb-over and tortoise shell glasses, arrived in Washington in the early 1980s as an intern for Hatch, also a Mormon.

He landed the internship courtesy of Brigham Young University, his alma mater. The Mormon school owns a four-story dorm on Pennsylvania Avenue, not too far from the White House, which houses 120 student interns each year. It’s the school’s largest such program in the nation.

“Part of our church’s tradition is to be connected with civic life, to make our communities better,” says BYU’s Scott Dunaway, who helps place students on Capitol Hill, at the Smithsonian and other Washington institutions. “We don’t believe in being reclusive.”

It’s a perfect characterization of Larsen. He grew up in Provo, in the shadow of BYU, and wanted to prove he could make it outside of Utah.

“Kids growing up in the LDS Church have been told, ‘Go ye out in the world and preach the gospel of Christ - don’t be afraid to be an example,’ ” Larsen said, sitting in the glass-doored conference room of the foundation he runs on K Street.

“So we are on our missions, converting people to Christianity,” he continued. “And coming to Washington, for me and probably for a lot of people, came out of that interest. We see it as our career, but also we’re going out to preach the word of Christ.”

For Larsen, that usually means correcting misinformation about Mormonism or explaining Mormon beliefs and practices – you really don’t drink coffee, ever? – over lunch with co-workers or at business functions, rather than on-the-job proselytizing.

He learned about integrating work and faith from Hatch. He was initially shocked to discover that the senator prays in his office each morning. Larsen and Hatch developed what the bishop calls a “father-son” relationship, with the intern rising up through the ranks to become Hatch’s chief Washington fundraiser.

“We would go on trips, and I’d quiz him on the plane: Why did the church do this? Why didn’t the church do this?” Larsen said. “He was like a tutor to me.”

Now, as the head of a foundation that educates teachers about the U.S. Constitution, the bishop helps other young Mormons with job leads and introductions. Larsen was appointed to the role by Hatch and the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Much of Washington’s Mormon professional network is still anchored by BYU, which operates a handful of big, well-connected alumni groups with major Washington chapters. The most prominent is BYU’s Management Society, a global organization whose biggest chapter is in Washington.

At the chapter’s recent alumni dinner, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was the guest of honor. She has strong ties to the Mormon community and has hired Mormons as top aides. Says Larsen: “Condi’s got a ton of Mormon contacts.”

Patrice Pederson also knows how to work a Rolodex. A lifelong political activist, she moved from Utah to Washington last year and soon tapped into BYU’s local network.

Pederson served as the U.S.-based campaign manager for Yeah Samake, a Mormon running for president in the West African nation of Mali.

Samake traveled frequently to the U.S. to raise money and build political support, so Pederson enlisted the help of BYU’s Management Society and other groups to host events for the candidate.

Both in Washington and across the U.S., many Mormons are watching his candidacy.

“Members of the church on Capital Hill were anxious to introduce the candidate to other members of Congress,” says Pederson, sipping an herbal tea (Mormons eschew black leaf teas) in a strip mall Starbucks near her apartment in Alexandria, Virginia.

“It’s cool to have a member of the church running for president in Africa.”

Beyond making connections, many Washington Mormons say the LDS Church provides an ideal proving ground for careers here.

Unlike most churches, it has no professional clergy; from the bishop to the organist, each role is filled by everyday Mormons, most of whom have other day jobs. As a result, Mormons take church leadership roles at an early age, speaking publicly at Sunday services almost as soon they learn to talk.

“My kids grew up in the church, and we get together for three hours on Sundays, and each member needs to get up and speak,” says U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah. “By the time they graduate, they have all these speaking assignments that other teenagers just don’t have.


U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, says Mormonism provides ideal training for aspiring politicians.
“For those who grow up in the Mormon church, they are taught skills that allow them to be successful in a tough city like Washington,” says Chaffetz, who converted to Mormonism shortly after college.

Young Mormons also hone leadership skills by serving missions away from home. The missions last from one and half to two years and happen when Mormons are in their late teens and early 20s and often include intensive foreign language training.

“Young Mormons are more formidable in public settings and international settings than others,” says Terryl Givens, a Mormon scholar at the University of Richmond. “Normally you would have to acquire more age and work experience before you feel comfortable and useful at NGOs and think tanks.”

Chaffetz, whose son is serving a mission in Ghana, says the experience is the perfect preparation for political careers.

“They learn rejection early on,” he says. “If you’re going to be in politics, that’s a pretty good attribute.”

Christina Tomlinson served her mission in nonexotic Fresno, California. But working with the Laotian community there, she acquired the foreign language skills that landed her first internship at the U.S. State Department.

“I look back at that and it’s nothing but divine providence,” Tomlinson says one night at an office building-turned-chapel in Crystal City, after a weekly discussion about Mormon teachings. “I would have never made those choices.”

When she arrived at her foreign service orientation in the late 1990s, Tomlinson was surprised to find that a half-dozen of her State Department colleagues were also Mormon. The thriving LDS community at State even runs its own e-mail list server so Latter-day Saints can find each other wherever in the world they’re stationed.

Like former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, who used the Mandarin language skills acquired through a Mormon mission to Taiwan to help secure his job as President Barack Obama’s previous ambassador to China, Tomlinson leveraged her mission to get ahead at State, where she now serves as special assistant to the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“I’m basically the chief of staff for the president’s representative charged with implementing U.S. foreign policy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan,” she e-mailed on a recent plane ride back from the region.


Language skills acquired on a Mormon mission helped Christina Tomlinson get her start at the State Department.
At the point of a bayonet

Like many Mormons, Tomlinson says her professional life is driven by a faith-based patriotism that sounds old-fashioned to modern ears: “I just really wanted to serve my country.”

But that distinctly Mormon patriotism was hard-won. From their very beginning, Mormons had tried to forge a special relationship with Washington. And for decades, they failed.

Joseph Smith, who founded Mormonism in the 1830s, petitioned the U.S. government to protect his fledgling religious community from the violent persecution it was experiencing, even meeting repeatedly with President Martin Van Buren.

But Washington refused, provoking Smith – who Mormons consider their founding prophet – to run for president himself in 1844. He was assassinated by an anti-Mormon mob in Missouri well before Election Day.

In the face of such attacks, Mormons fled west, to the territory that’s now Utah. But they continued to seek ties with Washington, dispatching representatives to the capital to lobby for statehood.

Congress refused to grant it. Instead, Uncle Sam disincorporated the LDS Church and sent the U.S. Army to police Mormon territory.

In the eyes of Washington, Latter-day Saints were flouting federal law by practicing polygamy. The feds saw the LDS Church as an undemocratic rival government that threatened Washington’s power.


Joseph Smith, Mormonism’s founding prophet, ran for president in 1844 but was killed before Election Day.
Mormons would eventually ban polygamy, paving the way for Utah statehood in 1896. But Congress nonetheless refused to seat the new state’s Mormon senator, who also served as a top church official.

For four years, the U.S. Senate held hearings to grill U.S. Sen. Reed Smoot and other church leaders, alleging that Mormons continued to practice polygamy despite promises to the contrary.

“The political trial was as much a galvanizing cultural moment as was Watergate,” says Kathleen Flake, a scholar of Mormonism at Vanderbilt University in Tenneessee.

When Smoot was eventually seated – after the LDS Church took further steps to stamp out polygamy – he managed to become a Washington powerbroker. He would chair the Senate Finance Committee and act as a presidential adviser.

“He was Mr. Republican,” says Flake. “For a while there, he was the Republican Party.”

Smoot’s unflagging pursuit of legitimacy in Washington, despite the city’s bias against him and his faith, symbolizes what many call a uniquely Mormon appreciation for American civic life. It helps explain the Mormon fascination with Washington to this day.

It may seen counterintuitive, but Mormons’ early exposure to persecution at the hands of other Americans – aided, Mormons say, by the U.S. government – wound up strengthening their patriotic streak.

In the face of attacks, Mormons clung to the U.S. Constitution and its unprecedented guarantee of religious freedom. They distinguished between the document and those charged with implementing it.

Mormon scripture goes so far as to describe the U.S. Constitution as divinely inspired, establishing a unique environment in which Mormonism could emerge.

“Mormons are superpatriots,” says Columbia University’s Bushman. “Joseph Smith said that if the government was doing its job as laid out in the Constitution, it would protect Mormons from their enemies.”

Mormons began to shed their Utah-only siege mentality and fanned out in the early part of the 20th century. Their patriotic streak, which translated into military enlistments and applications for government jobs, led many to Washington.

That wave included J. Willard Marriott, the hotel chain founder, who launched his business career by opening an A&W root beer stand here. He would go on to forge the kind of deep political connections that would help make Willard “Mitt” Romney his namesake.

Washington’s Mormon community got another boost in the 1950s when President Dwight Eisenhower appointed a top church official, Ezra Taft Benson, as his agriculture secretary.

“Mormons took it as a sign of maybe, just maybe, we’re being accepted,” says Flake. “It signified a cultural acceptance of Mormonism. People thought Mormons believed weird things, but also that they were self-reliant, moral and good neighbors.”

As Mormons became more accepted, they became more upwardly mobile, landing in parts of the country that could sustain careers in commerce, academia and government - another reason Washington was a big draw.

By the time there were enough Mormons in the eastern U.S. to justify the construction of the first Mormon temple east of the Mississippi River, the church chose a site just outside Washington.

The temple opened in 1974, shortly after another high-profile Mormon – George Romney, Mitt’s father – left his post as Richard Nixon’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

“The Washington temple served as a symbol of the triumphant return of Mormonism to the east,” says Givens, the University of Richmond professor. “Mormons left from the point of a bayonet in the 1800s and the temple is this gigantic symbol that says ‘We’re back – and we’re back in the nation’s capital.’ ”


The Mormon temple outside Washington was the first such temple built east of the Mississippi River.
Unlike Mormon meetinghouses, where members meet for Sunday worship, temples are grander buildings reserved for certain rites, such as proxy baptisms for the dead.

To this day, the first monument many Washington visitors see isn’t a federal landmark. It’s the massive Mormon temple, its Georgian marble towers and gold-leafed spires looming above the trees on the Washington Beltway like an otherworldly castle.

The temple houses a J. Willard Marriott-financed mural of Jesus Christ’s second coming, which features a picture of the Washington temple itself in the background.

“Are you implying that the millennium will begin in Washington?” a temple visitor once asked Marriott, referring to Jesus’ return.

Replied Marriott: “What better place is there?”

Good at organizing

These days, the Mormon impulse toward Washington is often as much political as patriotic.

Patrice Pederson - the campaign manager for the Mormon running for president in Mali - made her first foray into politics at 15, hopping the bus from her home in the suburbs of Salt Lake City into town to intern with a Republican candidate for the U.S. House.

“I remember that when Bill Clinton was elected, I wore all black to school that day,” says Pederson, who was in junior high at the time. “I was mourning the death of liberty.”

When then-Vice President Al Gore visited Utah, Pederson protested his speech with a homemade poster that said “Blood, Guts & Gore – Healthcare’94.” (She can’t recall the poster’s exact meaning).

Pederson’s activism as a “total hardcore right-winger” continued into her 20s. She put off college at BYU to start a “pro-family” advocacy group aimed at lobbying foreign governments and the United Nations. The work brought her to Washington so frequently that she decided to relocate last year: “I had more friends here than in Utah.”

Pederson’s path to D.C. speaks to the growing Mormon/Republican alliance since the 1960s, driven largely by the emergence of social issues such as abortion and gay marriage and the rise of the Christian Right.

“In the 1950s and ’60s, Utah became Republican,” says Bushman. “It’s partly about being anti-communist, but it’s also a response to the 1960s and the decay of old-fashioned moral virtues. It’s an anti-1960s movement, and the Republicans seemed to be the party of old-fashioned virtues.”

Pederson’s roommate, Kodie Ruzicka, grew up squarely in that movement, with her mom heading the Utah chapter of Eagle Forum, a conservative Christian group founded by rightwing icon Phyllis Schlafly.

In the 1970s, when the Catholic Schlafly led a successful grassroots campaign against the Equal Rights Amendment, which would have made gender-based discrimination unconstitutional, she enlisted the help of Mormons.

To its opponents, including the LDS Church, the ERA was the work of radical feminists who wanted to upend traditional gender roles.

Much of Schlafly’s organizing was among evangelicals, and “given the sometimes hostile evangelical line on Mormons, [Schlafly’s] Mormon outreach was kind of revolutionary,” says Ruzicka, who now works at the Justice Department. “But we’re good at organizing, and we have a lot of useful structures for it, so that was useful to her.”

Today, Mormons head Eagle Forum chapters across the West, including California, Arizona and Nevada, as well as Utah.

Bridge-building between Mormons and the conservative movement helps explain the Reagan administration’s push to hire many Mormons into the White House - which further cemented the alliance. That bond continues to lure Mormons to D.C.

Ruzicka, for one, continued in the political footsteps of her mother, arriving in Washington in her mid-20s to lead a nonprofit that promotes safe haven laws, which allow young mothers to legally abandon young children at fire stations.

Beyond hot-button social issues, U.S. Rep. Chaffetz says the Mormon faith engenders support for limited government.

“The church is very adamant about personal responsibility, and for people to voluntarily participate in service,” the Utah Republican says. “There’s this feeling that service is not something that should be mandated by government.”

The LDS Church, for its part, insists it is politically neutral and that it avoids pressuring Mormon elected officials to tow a church line. “The church’s mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not to elect politicians,” the church’s website says.

Mormon experts say the church’s support for a relatively strict separation of church and state is born of the U.S. government’s refusal to help Mormons in the face of early persecution.

And after being accused of setting up a rival government around the turn of the last century, the church is loath to be seen giving marching orders to LDS politicians.

The church did, however, play a leading role in passing Prop 8, California’s gay marriage ban, in 2008. Church officials called it a moral cause, not a political one.

Plenty of critics disagree. But neither Mormon bishops nor church officials are known to lead the kind of church-based legislative lobbying efforts that Catholic bishops or evangelical leaders do.

Mitt Romney himself embodies the reluctance of Mormon politicians to connect their religion and their public policy positions, in contrast to politicians of other faiths.

That reluctance also appears to be born of anxiety over Americans’ lingering questions and doubts about Mormonism. When Pew asked Americans last year what word they associated with the Mormon faith, the most common response was “cult.”

In recent weeks, Romney’s newfound position as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has produced a mix of excitement and worry among Mormons. That’s especially true in Washington, where politically savvy Latter-day Saints send out frequent e-mail round-ups of Mormon media coverage to their LDS networks.

“A lot of us know it’s ultimately a good thing, but it’s hard to feel like it’s a good thing because so much of the publicity is about things you wouldn’t talk about in polite company, like my underwear,” says Pederson, referring to the enduring fascination with Mormon undergarments.

Like many conservatives, Pederson is suspicious of Romney.

“I don’t like his waffling, to put it gently, on life and family issues,” she says. “But if it comes down to Romney versus Obama, hand me the pom-poms. I’ll be president of the Romney-Is-the-Best-We-Can-Come-Up-With-for-President Club.”

For now, Pederson is working with the National Right to Life Committee’s political action committee to raise money for the Romney effort, even as she makes up her mind about how actively she wants to promote his candidacy.

Some of her calculus is about weighing political reality against her conservative idealism. And some of it is about her next professional move. It’s a very Washington place to be.

Dan Gilgoff - CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • DC • Jon Huntsman • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Politics
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"You see, it's not the blood you spill that gets you what you want, it's the blood you share. Your family, your friendships, your community, these are the most valuable things a man can have." Before Dishonor - Hatebreed
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« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2012, 08:22:11 AM »

The silver spoon argument of course had to do with how you grew up and how you lived your life, not the metal used in your utensils or the bonus checks your dad cashed after you grew up.  The bully story had traction for about a minute but didn't march the guy we know now.  Successful people who have their own act together it turns out are actually in a better position to help others than poor people generally are.  The WashPost could have uncovered a couple of stories like these that follow, except these don't advance the agenda.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/05/mitt-romney-community-organizer.php

Mitt Romney, community organizer

Was Mitt Romney a jerk in high school? Maybe. But what is the adult Romney like?

From The Real Romney, by Michael Kranish and Scott Helman (pages 120-121):

    One Saturday, Grant Bennett got up on a ladder outside his two-story [house] intent on dislodging a hornets’ nest, which had formed between an air-conditioning unit and a second floor window. . . .The hornets went right at him, and he fell off the ladder, breaking his foot. . . .Romney learned what had happened and went over that afternoon to see if there was anything he could do. He and Bennett chatted for a few minutes, and then Romney left.

    About nine thirty that Sunday night, Romney reappeared. Only this time, it was dark out. Romney was in jeans and a polo shirt instead of his suit, and he was carrying a bucket, a piece of hose, and a couple of screwdrivers. “He said, ‘I noticed you hadn’t gotten rid of the hornets,” Bennett recalled. “I said, ‘Mitt you don’t need to do that.’ He said, I’m here, and I’m going to do it. . .You demonstrated that doing it on a ladder is not a good idea.’” Romney went at it from inside the house, opening a window enough to dislodge it. Soon the hornets were gone.

    Everyone who knows Romney in the church community seems to have a story like this, about him and his family pitching in to help in ways big and small. They took chicken and asparagus soup to sick parishioners. They invited unsettled Mormon transplants in their home for lasagna.

    Helen Claire Stevens and her husband once loaned a friend from church a six-figure sum and weren’t getting paid back. Suddenly, they couldn’t to pay their daughter’s Harvard College tuition. Romney who was [a local Mormon] leader at the time, not only worked closely with the Stevens family and the loan recipient to try to resolve the problem, he offered to give Stevens and her husband money and tried to help her find a job. “He spent an infinite amount of time with, all the time we needed,” Stevens said. “It was way above and beyond what he had to do”. . . .

    On Super Bowl Sunday 1989, Douglas Anderson was at home in Belmont with his four children when a fire broke out. The blaze spread quickly, and all Anderson could think of was racing his family to safety. “There was no thought in my mind other than ‘Get my kids out,’” he said. “I was not thinking about saving anything.” He doesn’t remember when Romney, who lived nearby, showed up. But he got there quickly. Immediately, Romney organized the gathered neighbors, and they began dashing into the house to rescue what could: a desk, couches, books. . . . “They saved some important things for us, and Mitt was the general in charge of that.” This went on until firefighters ordered them to stop. “Literally,” Anderson said, “they were finally kicked out by the firemen as they were bringing hoses and stuff.”

    After the fire was finally out, Anderson, Romney, and other church members shared a spiritual moment on the front steps of the charred home. . . .Anderson recalled, “we talked about how even in a case like this, if we tried to be true to our faith, it could turn out to be a positive thing.” Over the many years since, Anderson said, the family has seen that come true.

    Romney’s acts of charity extended beyond just the church community. After his friend and neighbor Joseph O’Donnell lost a son, Joey, to cystic fibrosis. . .Romney helped lead a community effort to build Joey’s park, a playground. . .in Belmont. “There he was with a hammer in his belt, the Mitt nobody sees,” O’Donnell said.

    Romney didn’t stop there. About a year later, it became apparent that the park would need regular maintenance and repairs. “The next thing I know, my wife calls me up and says, ‘You’re not going to believe this, but Mitt Romney is down with a bunch of Boy Scouts and kids and they’re working on the park,’” said O’Donnell. . . .”He did it for like the next five years, without ever calling to say, ‘We’re doing this,’ without a reporter in tow, not looking for any credit.”

Perhaps these sorts of actions signify what it meant to be a community organizer before the left politicized the concept.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2012, 05:16:31 PM »


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/20/us/politics/how-the-mormon-church-shaped-mitt-romney.html?_r=3&pagewanted=1

Romney’s Faith, Silent but Deep
By JODI KANTOR
Published: May 19, 2012
•   
BELMONT, Mass. — When Mitt Romney embarked on his first political race in 1994, he also slipped into a humble new role in the Mormon congregation he once led. On Sunday mornings, he stood in the sunlit chapel here teaching Bible classes for adults.

Eric Thayer for The New York Times
Leading students through stories about Jesus and the Nephite and Lamanite tribes, who Mormons believe once populated the Americas, and tossing out peanut butter cups as rewards, Mr. Romney always returned to the same question: how could students apply the lessons of Mormon scripture in their daily lives?
Now, as the presumptive Republican nominee for president, Mr. Romney speaks so sparingly about his faith — he and his aides frequently stipulate that he does not impose his beliefs on others — that its influence on him can be difficult to detect.
But dozens of the candidate’s friends, fellow church members and relatives describe a man whose faith is his design for living. The church is by no means his only influence, and its impact cannot be fully untangled from that of his family, which is also steeped in Mormonism.
But being a Latter-day Saint is “at the center of who he really is, if you scrape everything else off,” said Randy Sorensen, who worshiped with Mr. Romney in church.
As a young consultant who arrived at the office before anyone else, Mr. Romney was being “deseret,” a term from the Book of Mormon meaning industrious as a honeybee, and he recruited colleagues and clients with the zeal of the missionary he once was. Mitt and Ann Romney’s marriage is strong because they believe they will live together in an eternal afterlife, relatives and friends say, which motivates them to iron out conflicts.
Mr. Romney’s penchant for rules mirrors that of his church, where he once excommunicated adulterers and sometimes discouraged mothers from working outside the home. He may have many reasons for abhorring debt, wanting to limit federal power, promoting self-reliance and stressing the unique destiny of the United States, but those are all traditionally Mormon traits as well.
Outside the spotlight, Mr. Romney can be demonstrative about his faith: belting out hymns (“What a Friend We Have in Jesus”) while horseback riding, fasting on designated days and finding a Mormon congregation to slip into on Sundays, no matter where he is.
He prays for divine guidance on business decisions and political races, say those who have joined him. Sometimes on the campaign trail, Mr. and Mrs. Romney retreat to a quiet corner, bow their heads, clasp hands and share a brief prayer, said Representative Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican who has traveled with them.
Clayton M. Christensen, a business professor at Harvard and a friend from church, said the question that drove the Sunday school classes — how to apply Mormon gospel in the wider world — also drives Mr. Romney’s life. “He just needs to know what God wants him to do and how he can get it done,” Mr. Christensen said.
Sacred Tenets, Secular Realm
When Mr. Romney’s former Sunday school students listen to him campaign, they sometimes hear echoes of messages he delivered to them years before: beliefs that stem at least in part from his faith, in a way that casual observers may miss. He is not proselytizing but translating, they say — taking powerful ideas and lessons from the church and applying them in another realm.
Just as Ronald Reagan deployed acting skills on the trail and Barack Obama relied on the language of community organizing, Mitt Romney bears the marks of the theology and culture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Mr. Romney declined to be interviewed.)
Mormons have a long tradition of achieving success by sharing secular versions of their tenets, said Matthew Bowman, author of “The Mormon People,” citing Stephen R. Covey’s “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” which he called Latter-day Saint theology repackaged as career advice.
While Mr. Romney has expressed some views at odds with his church’s teachings — in Massachusetts, he supported measures related to alcohol and gambling, both frowned upon by the church — other positions flow directly from his faith, including his objections to abortion and same-sex marriage and his notion of self-sufficiency tempered with generosity. The church, which often requests recipients of charity to perform some sort of labor in return, taught Mr. Romney to believe that “there’s a dignity in work and a dignity in helping those who are in need of help,” his eldest son, Tagg, said in an interview.
Or take Mr. Romney’s frequent tributes to American exceptionalism. “I refuse to believe that America is just another place on the map with a flag,” he said in announcing his bid for the presidency last June. Every presidential candidate highlights patriotism, but Mr. Romney’s is backed by the Mormon belief that the United States was chosen by God to play a special role in history, its Constitution divinely inspired.
(Page 2 of 4)
“He is an unabashed, unapologetic believer that America is the Promised Land,” said Douglas D. Anderson, dean of the business school at Utah State University and a friend, and that leading it is “an obligation and responsibility to God.”
In Mr. Romney’s upbeat promises that he can rouse the economy from its long slump, fellow Mormons hear their faith’s emphasis on resilience and can-do optimism. He believes that people “can learn to be happy and prosperous,” said Philip Barlow, a professor of Mormon history at Utah State who served with him in church. “There is some depth and long tradition behind what can come across in sound bites as thin cheerleading.”
Similarly, he said, Mr. Romney’s squeaky-clean persona — only recently did he stop using words like “golly” in public — can make him seem “too plastic, the Ken side of a Ken and Barbie doll,” Mr. Barlow said.
He and others say that wholesomeness is deeply authentic to Mr. Romney, whose spiritual life revolves around personal rectitude. In Mormonism, salvation depends in part on constantly making oneself purer and therefore more godlike.
In the temple Mr. Romney helped build in Belmont, as in every other, members change from street clothes into all-white garb when they arrive, to emphasize their elevated state. As a church leader, he enforced standards, evaluating members for a “temple recommend,” a gold-and-white pass permitting only the virtuous to enter.
A Man of Rules
Mr. Romney is quick to uphold rules great and small. During primary debates, when his rivals spoke out of turn or exceeded their allotted time, he would sometimes lecture them. When supporters ask Mr. Romney to sign dollar bills or American flags, he refuses and often gives them a little lesson about why doing so is against the law.
Doing things by the book has been a hallmark of his career in public life. When Mr. Romney took over the Salt Lake City Olympics, which were dogged by ethical problems, he cast himself as a heroic reformer. As governor of Massachusetts, he depicted himself as a voice of integrity amid what he called the back-scratchers and ethically dubious lifers of state government.
In church, Mr. Romney frequently spoke about obeying authority, the danger of rationalizing misbehavior and God’s fixed standards. “Most people, if they don’t want to do what God wants them to do, they move what God wants them to do about four feet over,” he once told his congregation, holding out his arms to indicate the distance, Mr. Christensen remembered.
He often urged adherence even to rules that could seem overly harsh. One fellow worshiper, Justin Brown, recalled in an interview that when he was a young man leaving for his mission abroad, Mr. Romney warned him that some parameters would make no sense, but to follow them anyway and trust that they had unseen value.
Church officials say Mr. Romney tried to be sensitive and merciful; when a college student faced serious penalties for having premarital sex, Mr. Romney put him on a kind of probation instead. But he carried out excommunications faithfully. “Mitt was very much by the rules,” said Tony Kimball, who later served as his executive secretary in the church.
Nearly two decades ago, Randy and Janna Sorensen approached Mr. Romney, then a church official, for help: unable to have a baby on their own, they wanted to adopt but could not do so through the church, which did not facilitate adoptions for mothers who worked outside the home.
Devastated, they told Mr. Romney that the rule was unjust and that they needed two incomes to live in Boston. Mr. Romney helped, but not by challenging church authorities. He took a calculator to the Sorensen household budget and showed how with a few sacrifices, Ms. Sorensen could quit her job. Their children are now grown, and Mr. Sorensen said they were so grateful that they had considered naming a child Mitt. (The church has since relaxed its prohibition on adoption for women who work outside the home.)
Among the Belmont Mormons, stories abound of Mr. Romney acting out the values he professed in church. The Romneys left their son Tagg’s wedding reception early to take some of the food to a neighbor being treated for breast cancer.

Page 3 of 4)
But many also see a gap between his religious ideals — in Sunday school, he urged his students to act with the highest standards of kindness and integrity — and his political tactics. The chasm has been hard to reconcile, even though people close to him say he is serious about trying to do so.
Mormonism teaches respect for secular authorities as well as religious ones, but “politics has required him to go against form,” said Richard Bushman, a leading historian of the church who knows Mr. Romney from church.
For example, Mr. Romney had ruled out running personal attack ads against political rivals, those close to him said. When Senator Edward M. Kennedy attacked him as an uncaring capitalist in 1994, using ads that exaggerated Mr. Romney’s role in Bain-related layoffs, Mr. Romney refused to punch back and exploit Mr. Kennedy’s history of womanizing. “Winning is not important enough to put aside my ideals and principles,” Mr. Romney told aides.
But when he ran for governor in 2002, his campaign targeted the husband of his general election opponent, Shannon O’Brien (he had formerly worked as a lobbyist for Enron; the ads linked him to problems at the company that he had nothing to do with.)
Last week, Mr. Romney repudiated efforts to attack President Obama based on his past relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. But earlier this year, he suggested that Mr. Obama wanted to make the United States “a less Christian nation.”
“I have absolutely no idea how he rationalizes it,” Mr. Kimball said of Mr. Romney’s harshest statements and attacks. “It almost seems to be the ends justifying the means.”
Relying on Prayer
Though Mr. Romney almost never discusses it or performs it in public, prayer is a regular and important part of his life, say friends who have joined him. They describe him closing his eyes and addressing God with thees and thous, composing his message to suit the occasion, whether at a church meeting, at a hospital bedside or in a solemn moment with family and friends.
“Prayer is not a rote thing with him,” said Ann N. Madsen, a Bible scholar and a friend. Rather than requesting a specific outcome, he more often asks for strength, wisdom and courage, according to several people who have prayed with him. “Help us see how to navigate this particular problem,” he often asks, according to Dr. Lewis Hassell, who served with Mr. Romney in church.
Former colleagues say they do not recall Mr. Romney praying in the workplace — some say they barely heard the word “God” come from his lips — but he did pray about work from his home.
“I remember literally kneeling down with Mitt at his home and praying about our firm,” Bob Gay, a former Bain colleague and current church official, told Jeff Benedict, author of “The Mormon Way of Doing Business.” “We did that in times of crisis, and we prayed that we’d do right by our people and our investors.”
Mr. Romney also prays before taking action on decisions he has already made, asking for divine reassurance, a feeling that he is “united with the powers above,” Dr. Hassell said. Sometimes Mr. Romney would report that even though he had made a decision on the merits, prayer had changed his mind. “Even though rationally this looks like the thing to do, I just have a feeling we shouldn’t do it,” he would say, according to Grant Bennett, another friend and church leader.
Mr. Romney has also asked for divine sustenance during his political runs. The night before he declared his candidacy for governor, he and his family prayed at home with Gloria White-Hammond and Ray Hammond, friends and pastors of a Boston-area African Methodist Episcopal church.
His earlier failed run for United States Senate had all been part of God’s plan, Mrs. Romney told Ms. White-Hammond around that time. Mr. Romney had lost, but “just because God says for you to do something doesn’t mean the outcome is going to be what you want it to be,” Ms. White-Hammond remembered Mrs. Romney saying.

(Page 4 of 4)
Having a higher purpose is part of what motivates Mr. Romney, many of those close to him say, and gives him the wherewithal to suffer the slings and arrows of political life. Mormons have a “history of persistence and tenacity, a sense of living out a destiny that is connected to earlier generations,” said Mr. Anderson, the business school dean. Mr. Romney is driven by “responsibility to his father and his father’s fathers to use his time and talent and energy and whatever gifts he’s been given by the Lord to try to make a contribution.”
And while voters tend to see Mr. Romney as immensely fortunate, those close to him say that he never forgets he is a member of an oft-derided religious minority. The chapel where Mr. Romney taught Sunday school burned in a case of suspected arson in the 1980s, a still-unsolved crime that church members attribute to prejudice.
As a candidate for governor, Mr. Romney endured crude jokes, made to his face, including about having more than one wife. After his failed 2008 presidential bid, Mr. Romney told Richard Eyre, a friend, that he wished the church could rebrand itself, replacing the name “Mormon” with “Latter-day Christian” to emphasize its belief in Jesus and the New Testament.
His response to prejudice, friends say, has always been to soldier on and to present the best possible example, knowing that others will draw conclusions about the faith based on his behavior. “In his generation, George Romney was the world’s most famous Mormon, and now Mitt is more famous than his dad,” Mr. Anderson said.
Mr. Romney told fellow Mormons at Bain & Company that they had to work harder and perform better because they had a reputation to defend. With a similar motive, Mr. Romney sent volunteer cleaning crews each week to the churches that lent space to the Belmont Mormons after the chapel fire. Confronted with the nasty joke about Mormons during the race for governor, Mr. Romney brushed it off even as his face tensed, recalled Jonathan Spampinato, his former political director.
“Romneys were made to swim upstream,” he has told friends many times.
About a year ago, Mrs. Romney told Ms. White-Hammond that her husband was probably going to run for president again, and that they were both already praying about the race.
Mr. Romney was still a bit reluctant to re-enter the fray, according to Ms. White-Hammond. But she recalled the soon-to-be candidate’s wife saying that the Romneys both “felt it was what God wanted them to do.”
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DougMacG
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« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2012, 07:23:43 PM »

That is a pretty good piece.

"Mr. Romney speaks so sparingly about his faith — he and his aides frequently stipulate that he does not impose his beliefs on others — that its influence on him can be difficult to detect."

Begs the question of whether there will be a companion piece on the opponent's religious upbringing, Muslim in Indonesian, or the 20 years of 'Christian' "God Damn America" themed inspiration he received in his adult life in Chicago.  It's 'influence on him' can also be 'difficult to detect'.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2012, 12:36:44 AM »

It's been a good week for Mitt Romney. The polls are up, he's just off a two-day swing through Connecticut and New York, where he hauled in big donors and hard money, and he swept the GOP primaries in Kentucky and Arkansas. On Tuesday Texas will put him over the top and make him, formally and officially, the Republican nominee for president.

Not everything worked—his big education speech Wednesday was wan and pallid—but he's having a moment. In a telephone interview, he reflected on the campaign, tracing his candidacy's upward momentum to an increased sense among voters that the country is on the wrong path and, perhaps, a growing sense that he's proved himself: "I can tell you that we went through those 37 or 38 contests and won the must-win states, and in some cases we started off 10 points behind. And we hustled, worked hard, and convinced the voters." This produced "the kind of track record that people say, 'You know, I think if Mitt can keep that up, in November we're going to see a new president.'"

Candidates on a campaign van look out the window and see America go by. They meet with people, talk. I asked Mr. Romney the difference between the America he saw in 2008 and the one he sees now. "A much higher degree of anxiety today. People much less confident in the security of their job, less confident in the prospects for their children." Four years ago, the economic downturn hadn't occurred. "In my primary, the central issue was Iraq." Now it is the economy.

Enlarge Image

CloseRandy Jones
 .Before rallies and town meetings, he always tries to have private, off-the-record meetings with voters. "I sit down with five or six couples or individuals and just go around the table, and I ask them to tell me about their life. And the stories I hear suggest a degree of anxiety which is not reflected in the statistics." He is struck, he said, by the number of people who are employed but in legitimate fear of being let go. He is struck by the number of people who've made investments for their retirement—real estate, 401(k)s—and seen them go down.

He keeps a campaign journal on his iPad: "Now this is going to make my iPad a subject of potential theft!" He used to speak his entries, but now he types them on an attached keyboard. "I've kept up pretty well, actually." He writes every two or three days, so that 10 years from now he can "remember what it was like," but also to capture "the feelings—the ups the downs, the people I meet and the sense I have about what's going to happen. It's kind of fun to go back and read, as Ann and I do from time to time."

Does he love politics—the joy of it, the fight of it? "What I love are the political rallies and town meetings. I love the interchange with individuals that are probing and pushing."

But the game of politics? "I like competition, and I think the game is like a sport for old guys. I mean, you know, I can't compete in competitive sports very well, but I can compete in politics, and there's the—what was the old ABC 'Wide World of Sports' slogan? 'The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.' The only difference is victory is still a thrill, but I don't feel agony in loss."

Do you wake up in a good mood, or do you have to work your way into it? "Depends on the day." He laughs. "Depends on the issue. The only time I'm unhappy is if I've done something that hurt the prospects for the success of our effort."

When was the last time you woke up unhappy? He says he doesn't recall. Then: "Sometimes you're disappointed, but it's mostly disappointment with myself that causes me to be most concerned. This for me is not my life, meaning I don't have to win an election to feel good about myself." He's achieved success in business "beyond my wildest dreams." He's "hoping to make a contribution and go to Washington and go home when it's over. . . . Who I am has long ago been determined by my relationship with the people I love, and with my success in my professional career."

More Peggy Noonan
Read Peggy Noonan's previous columns

click here to order her book, Patriotic Grace
.All great political families have myths, stories they tell themselves about how history happened. The great story about Mr. Romney's father, George, is that one word—"brainwashed"—did in his presidential candidacy in 1968. People have hypothesized that Mitt is careful with words and statements, that he edits his thoughts too severely, because of the power of that myth.

"I don't think my father's comment figures into my thinking at all," he says. It's his own mistakes "that make me want to kick myself in the seat of my pants," that "cause me to try and be a little more careful in what I say. . . . I've had a couple of those during the campaign, which have haunted me a little bit, but I'm sure before this is over will haunt me a lot."

Asked for an example, he mentions "I like to be able to fire people." He meant, he says, those, such as health-insurance companies, that provide inadequate services. "I have to think not only about what I say in a full sentence but what I say in a phrase." In the current media environment, "you will be taken out of context, you'll be clipped, and you'll be battered with things you said." He says it is interesting that "the media always says, 'Gosh, we just want you to be spontaneous,' but at the same time if you say anything in the wrong order, you're gonna be sorry!"

What about historic parallelism—the people who say, "This election is 1980 all over again," or, "No, it's 1996"? What year is it?

"It's 2012." He laughs. History sometimes repeats "its lessons," but "history does not repeat itself identically. This is a different time than any other time before it."

"I think there have been inflection points in American history where the course of the nation has changed, where culture, industry, even military strategy have changed." The Civil War was one such time, the turn of the last century another.

He believes we are in one now: "I think America is going to decide whether we will put ourself on a path toward Europe—whether we will become another nation dominated by government, where citizens are dependent on government for the things they want in life, where opportunity is sacrificed, where military strength is depleted to pay for government promises, where unemployment is chronically high and wage growth chronically low. That, in my view, is the course the president has put us upon." If Barack Obama is re-elected, "it will be very difficult to get off that path. If I'm elected, I will usher in a period of economic vitality," that will leave the world "surprised."

Not only the world: "America is going to see a vitality we had not expected."

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bigdog
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« Reply #25 on: May 28, 2012, 01:34:00 PM »

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/08/us/politics/mitt-romney-and-benjamin-netanyahu-are-old-friends.html?pagewanted=all

The relationship between Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Romney — nurtured over meals in Boston, New York and Jerusalem, strengthened by a network of mutual friends and heightened by their conservative ideologies — has resulted in an unusually frank exchange of advice and insights on topics like politics, economics and the Middle East.

When Mr. Romney was the governor of Massachusetts, Mr. Netanyahu offered him firsthand pointers on how to shrink the size of government. When Mr. Netanyahu wanted to encourage pension funds to divest from businesses tied to Iran, Mr. Romney counseled him on which American officials to meet with. And when Mr. Romney first ran for president, Mr. Netanyahu presciently asked him whether he thought Newt Gingrich would ever jump into the race.

Only a few weeks ago, on Super Tuesday, Mr. Netanyahu delivered a personal briefing by telephone to Mr. Romney about the situation in Iran.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #26 on: May 31, 2012, 12:33:56 PM »



Romney’s Historic Opportunity: Low-Cost Energy Fuels Economic Recovery
Posted on May 30, 2012 by Anthony Watts
Editorial by Dr. Fred Singer
Romney can clinch the election by detailing an energy policy that restores jobs, prosperity, and American economic leadership. “To be credible, a reform agenda must have some reform substance.”
——————————————————————————————-
Energy, the life-blood of the economy, is the Achilles heel of President Barack Obama. Mitt Romney can win the November election if he concentrates his campaign on a sensible energy policy.

“Mr. Romney will have to make a case not merely against Mr. Obama’s failings but also for why he has the better plan to restore prosperity.” [WSJ 4-26-12] “…optimistic conservative vision that can inspire the party faithful, appeal to swing voters and set out a governing agenda should he win in November …”  source NYT

As a presumed candidate for the US presidency, Romney should spell out now a coherent policy of low-cost and secure energy that would boost the US economy, ensure jobs and prosperity, and raise people up from poverty. Fundamentally, he and his surrogates must educate and inspire the public.

He should pledge specific goals: Lower gasoline prices; cheaper household electricity; cheaper fertilizer for farmers and lower food prices for everybody; cheaper transport fuels for aviation and for the trucking industry; lower raw material costs for the chemical industry. He should also indicate the kind of people who would be part of his team, who would fill the crucial posts and carry out these policies. His running-mate should have a record of endorsing these goals.
Obama has made it easy for Romney

It’s a winning situation for Romney; Obama has already provided him most of the ammunition:

**Under Obama, the price of gasoline has more than doubled, from $1.80 (US average), and is approaching $5 a gallon. His Secretary of Energy, Dr. Chu, wanted the price to rise to “European levels of $8 to $10.” It is really hurting the middle class, particularly the two-car couples who must commute to work. Yet everything Obama has done or is doing is making the situation worse.

**He has vetoed the Keystone pipeline, which would have brought increasing amounts of oil from Canada to Gulf-Coast refineries, created ‘shovel-ready’ jobs, and improved energy security.

** He has kept much federal land off limits for oil and gas production — particularly in Alaska and offshore. The Alaska pipeline is in danger of running dry. Even where exploration is permitted, drilling permits are hard to obtain because of bureaucratic opposition.

** To Obama, oil is a “fuel of the past;” not so to millions of drivers. He’s looking to put algae in their gas tanks – the latest bio-fuel scheme! In his 2008 campaign, Obama promised that under his regime electricity prices would “skyrocket.” He seems to have kept his promise — with help from the misguided ‘Renewable Electricity Standard,’ which mandates utilities to buy costly ‘Green’ energy from solar/wind projects and effectively become tax-collectors.

**He also promised that potential builders of coal-fired power plants would go “bankrupt.” That too would happen, thanks to extreme, onerous EPA regulation. The latest EPA plan would stop the construction of new coal-fired power plants by setting impossible-to-obtain emission limits for carbon dioxide. True, EPA has made exceptions if the power plant can capture and sequester the emitted CO2; but the technology to do this is not available and its cost would be prohibitive.

**It seems likely that, if Obama is re-elected, his EPA will use the CO2 excuse to also close down existing coal-fired plants — and may not permit the construction of any fossil-fueled power plants, including even those fired by natural gas, which emits only about half as much CO2 as coal. The Calif PUC has already banned gas plants (on April 19, 2012) in order to reach their unrealistic goal of 33% Green electricity.

**One can see the signs of impending EPA efforts to stop the exploitation of shale gas by horizontal drilling, using the claim that ‘fracking’ causes water pollution.

The only explanation for this irrational behavior: The Obama administration, from top to bottom, seems possessed by pathological fear of catastrophic global warming and obsessed with the idea that no matter what happens to the economy or jobs, it must stop the emission of CO2.

The starkest illustration of this came in his [Obama’s] answers to questions about climate change in which he promised to make this article of faith for the left a central issue in the coming campaign. This may play well for the readers of Rolling Stone. But given the growing skepticism among ordinary Americans about the ideological cant on the issue that has spewed forth from the mainstream media and the White House, it may not help Obama with independents and the working class voters he needs as badly in November as the educated elites who bludgeoned him into halting the building of the Keystone XL pipeline. This conflict illustrates the contradiction at the core of the president’s campaign

Source Commentary Magazine

The situation is tailor-made for Romney to launch an aggressive campaign to counter current energy policy — and the even worse one that is likely to be put in place if Obama is re-elected.

What Romney must do to win the November election

Romney has to make it quite clear to potential voters why low-cost energy is absolutely essential for economic recovery, for producing jobs, and for increasing average income– especially for the middle-class family, which is now spending too much of its budget on energy essentials. Romney should hold out the entirely realistic prospect of US energy independence – often promised but never before achieved – or even of the US becoming an energy exporter.

**Romney can confidently promise to reduce the price of gasoline to $2.50 a gallon or less, with a gracious tip of the hat to Newt Gingrich, who had proposed such a goal in one of his campaign speeches. To accomplish this, the world price of oil would have to fall below $60 a barrel from its present price of $110.

**But this bright energy promise is entirely possible due to the low price of natural gas, which has fallen to $2 from its 2008 peak of $13 per mcf (1000 cubic feet) — and is still trending downward. All that Romney has to do is to remove to the largest extent possible existing regulatory roadblocks.

It is essential to recognize three important economic facts:

**Since many of the newly drilled wells also produce high-value oil and NGL (natural gas liquids), natural gas becomes a by-product that can be profitably sold at even lower prices.

**Natural gas currently sells for less than 15% of the average price of crude oil, on an energy/BTU basis. This means that it pays to replace oil-based fuels, such as diesel and gasoline, with either liquefied natural gas (LNG) or compressed natural gas (CNG). This may be the most economical and quickest replacement for heavy road-vehicles, earth movers. diesel-electric trains, buses, and fleet vehicles.

**It also becomes profitable to convert natural gas directly to gasoline or diesel by chemical processing in plants that are very similar to refineries. Forget about methanol, hydrogen, and other exotics. Such direct conversion would use the existing infrastructure; it is commercially feasible, the technology is proven, and the profit potential is evident — even if the conversion efficiency is only modest, say 50%.

Thanks to cheap natural gas, Romney’s promise for lower gasoline prices is easily fulfilled: With reduced demand and increased supply globally, the world price of oil will decline and so will the price of transportation fuel. So by satisfying transportation needs for fuel, it should be possible to reduce, rather quickly, oil imports from overseas; at present, 60% of all imports (in $) are for oil. At the same time, oil production can be increased domestically and throughout North America. The US is on its way to become not only energy-independent but also an exporter of motor fuels – with a huge improvement in its balance of payments.

Billionaire oilman Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources and discoverer of the prolific Bakken fields of the northern Great Plains, complains about current energy policy that’s holding back development. “President Obama is riding the wrong horse on energy,” he adds in an interview with Stephen Moore. We can’t come anywhere near the scale of energy production to achieve energy independence by pouring tax dollars into “green energy” sources like wind and solar. It has to come from oil and gas. Hamm is an energy advisor to Romney. Similarly, Governor Bob McDonnell, intent on making Virginia the energy capital of the East Coast by developing offshore oil and gas, complains, in a WSJ op-ed, that Obama’s words are “worlds apart from his actions.”

Another promise Romney can confidently make is that he will cut the price of electricity in half — or even lower. This promise can be fulfilled not only by the low price of natural gas but also by the much higher efficiency of gas-fired power plants that can easily reach 60% or more, compared to the present 35-40% for nuclear or coal-fired plants. Higher efficiencies reduce not only the cost of fuel (per kilowatt-hour) but effectively lower the capital cost (per kilowatt).
Efficiencies can be raised even higher with ‘distributed’ electric generation, if such gas-fired power plants are located in urban centers where co-generation becomes an attractive possibility. This would use the low-temperature heat that is normally discharged into the environment (and wasted) to provide hot water for space heating and many other applications of an urban area: snow and ice removal, laundry, and even cooling and water desalination. Again, this is proven technology and the economics may be very favorable. Distributed generation also improves security (against terrorism) and simplifies the disposal of waste heat.

Low-cost natural gas can also provide the basic raw material for cheap fertilizer for farmers, thus lowering food prices, and feedstock for chemical plants for cheaper plastics and other basic materials. Industries can now return to the United States and provide jobs locally — instead of operating offshore where natural gas has been cheap.

With the exploitation of the enormous gas-hydrate resource in the offing, once the technology is developed, the future never looked brighter. Somehow, Romney must convey this optimistic outlook to the voting public.

“Natural gas is a feedstock in basically every industrial process,” and the price of gas in the U.S. is a fraction of what it is in Europe or Asia. “This country has an incredible advantage headed its way as Asian labor costs rise, as the cost to transport goods from Asia to the U.S. rises, as oil prices rise, as American labor costs have stagnated or gone down in the last 10 years. We have a really wonderful opportunity to kick off an industrial renaissance in the U.S.” [Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy, WSJ 4-26-12]

Slaying the ‘Green Dragon’

Romney should speak out on the “hoax” (to use Senator Inhofe’s term) of climate catastrophes from rising CO2 levels. He should also make it clear that there is no need for large-scale wind energy or solar electricity — and even the construction of nuclear plants can be postponed. Many environmentalists will be relieved to avoid covering the landscape with solar mirrors, windmills and – yes — hundreds of miles of electric transmission lines and towers.

In his book Throw Them All Out Peter Schweizer reports that 80% of the Department of Energy’s multi-billion Green loans, loan guarantees, and grants went to Obama backers. Romney should proclaim that there will be no more Solyndras or other boondoggles, and no need for government subsidies for ‘Green energy’ or for crony capitalism. The marketplace would decide the future of novel technologies, such as electric cars, solar devices, etc. Many Washington lobbyists will lose their cushy jobs.

There’s absolutely no need for bio-fuels either. Yes, that includes algae as well as ethanol, which is now consuming some 40% of the US corn crop. The world price of corn has tripled in the past five years – even as EPA plans to increase the ethanol percentage of motor fuels from 10 to 15%! True environmentalists are well aware of the many drawbacks of bio-fuels, the damage they do to crop lands and forests in the US and overseas, and to the vast areas they require that could be devoted to natural habitats.

Finally, Romney should make it clear that if elected he would appoint a secretary of energy, secretary of interior, administrator of NOAA and administrator of EPA who share his convictions about energy. Above all, he should recruit a White House staff, including a Science Advisor, who will bring the promise of low-cost, secure energy to the American economy.

Perhaps the WSJ (April 27) said it all: “Did you like the past four years? Good, you can get four more”

S. Fred Singer is professor emeritus at the University of Virginia and director of the Science & Environmental Policy Project.  His specialty is atmospheric and space physics.   An expert in remote sensing and satellites, he served as the founding director of the US Weather Satellite Service and, more recently, as vice chair of the US National Advisory Committee on Oceans & Atmosphere. He is a Senior Fellow of the Heartland Institute and the Independent Institute. Though a physicist, he has taught economics to engineers and written a monograph on the world price of oil. He has also held several government positions and served as an adviser to Treasury Secretary Wm. Simon. He co-authored NY Times best-seller “Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 years.” In 2007, he founded and has chaired the NIPCC (Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change), which has released several scientific reports [See www.NIPCC.org]. For recent writings see http://www.americanthinker.com/s_fred_singer/ and also Google Scholar.
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« Reply #27 on: June 05, 2012, 12:05:23 PM »

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 Romney's Transition Leader Favors Implementing Obamacare
Ben Domenech · Jun 3 at 3:25pm
One of the few Republicans in the country who's been tirelessly pushing for the implementation of Obamacare at the state level has been tapped to head Mitt Romney's transition team, should he become president.

Former HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt, and his consulting group Leavitt Partners, are the primary advocates within Republican circles for implementation of Obamacare's exchanges. It just so happens that his consultancy is one of the major beneficiaries of the taxpayer funded gold mine of hundreds of millions of dollars in exchange implementation grants. But that's a coincidence, of course.

Leavitt has said some relatively positive things about certain elements of Obama’s health reform law, suggesting earlier this year that “Obamacare” empowers the HHS secretary “to do certain things that are clearly aimed at trying to move us in the right direction.”

McKeown, who still works with Leavitt at his Utah-based health care consultancy, acknowledged that the former governor does not want to undo one key part of the controversial legislation.

“We believe that the exchanges are the solution to small business insurance market and that’s gotten us sideways with some conservatives,” he said.

The exchanges are not only a matter of principle for Leavitt — they’re also a cash cow.

The size of his firm, Leavitt Partners, doubled in the year after the bill was signed as they won contracts to help states set up the exchanges funded by the legislation.

Over the past year, Leavitt and his staff have repeatedly tangled with conservative and libertarian think-tanks and advocates who oppose him on this point, understanding that there is no such thing as a state run exchange under Obamacare, and that this represents the primary front for states in the battle against Obamacare's implementation. This hasn't stopped him from lobbying all over the country for it. Here's Leavitt speaking last year to the National Governors Association, urging them to implement while failing to disclose his financial stake in doing so.

Speaking to a bipartisan group of governors at the National Governors Association,  the former Republican governor who served as secretary of health and human services in the Bush administration, called the exchanges where individuals and small businesses can purchase health plans “a very practical solution to a problem that needs to be solved.” He warned governors who are reluctant to move forward with their state-level exchanges that their intransigence will only empower federal regulators.

And he said the health care law that passed is a compromise that gives the states the flexibility they need.

“This is a profoundly important time for the states,” said Mr. Leavitt. “States need to lead.” ...

The federal law gives the states until January 2014 to set up their own exchanges, with federal oversight. If they fail to do so, their citizens will get access to a federal exchange.

But some Republican governors have been reluctant. They oppose the federal law and say they hope it will be repealed by a Republican president in 2013.

Mr. Leavitt urged them to get moving anyway... He urged the governors not defend their “partisan flags” over the interests of their states.

Thankfully, this has been a push that Leavitt has been losing. A host of Republican governors have turned back his appeal to implement (you can read my own case against exchange implementation here). In fact, their obstinate refusal to implement has become an item of support in the courts for overturning Obamacare. And now most Republican-led states are holding back to see what happens at the Supreme Court, as they should've done in the first place.

One can argue about the merits of an exchange absent Obamacare's rules, regulations, authority shifts, price controls, and taxpayer funded subsidies. But the overwhelming majority of conservative policymakers understand that Obamacare's exchanges are nothing more than delivery mechanisms for massive taxpayer-funded subsidies and bureaucratic regulations from Washington. What's more, states which avoid implementing exchanges may be able to avoid the implementation of Obamacare almost in its entirety.

Those who favor implementation have been rebuffed, and they don't like it. As Michael Cannon notes:

USA Today reports that groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Cato Institute have had much success in discouraging states from creating Obamacare’s health insurance “exchanges.” Even the Heritage Foundation, which once counseled states to establish “defensive” Obamacare exchanges, now counsels states to refuse to create them and to send all exchange-related grants back to Washington.

In response, Obamacare contractor and self-described conservative Republican Cheryl Smith sniffs: "When you work at a think-tank, it’s really easy to come up with these really high-risk plans."

Except, there is no risk to states. The only risks to this strategy are that health insurance companies won’t get half a trillion dollars in taxpayer subsidies, and that certain Obamacare contractors won’t get any more of those lucrative exchange contracts.

Smith works for Leavitt Partners. So does David Merritt, who as recently as two months ago, was making the case that Republicans should ignore the positions of governors like Bobby Jindal and Rick Scott and implement exchanges. Neither, of course, notes their financial stake in doing so (but hey, it's a living).

What's most concerning about all of this is not that Romney selected one of the few Republicans in the country who backs implementation of Obamacare's exchanges. It's what the selection of Leavitt means as an indication of how Romney would potentially "fix" Obamacare if repeal proves impossible. According to Politico, "already, plugged-in Republicans from Washington to Salt Lake City are buzzing that Leavitt could make his own transition next January into the job of White House chief of staff or as a Valerie Jarrett-like personal counselor to a President Romney."

Should the Supreme Court strike down only a portion of Obamacare, it seems clear Leavitt would be a major voice in deciding how to replace it. And he is convinced that "exchanges are part of the future, no matter what."

UPDATE: Matt Lewis reached out to Team Romney for response, and they say not to worry.

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Joined
Jul '10Re: Romney's Transition Leader Favors Implementing Obamacare
Sisyphus
I told you so.

(Not you personally, of course, Ben.)

Edited on Jun 3 at 3:46pm
#1 ·Jun 3 at 3:44pm ·LikeUnlike (Cool Like (Cool ·  Quote
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May '11Re: Romney's Transition Leader Favors Implementing Obamacare
Macsen
I'm not going to panic. It's too nice a day. I'm going to hold my nose, vote for Romney, then reassess in January, or whenever the cabinet appointments are made, whether panic is necessary.

#2 ·Jun 3 at 3:48pm ·LikeUnlike (1) Like (1) ·  Quote
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May '11Re: Romney's Transition Leader Favors Implementing Obamacare
Ningrim
This is the kind of thing conservatives have to push back hard and early on.

The GOP has to understand that business as usual is not acceptable.

A crony capitalist leading the transition team. Good grief.

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May '12Re: Romney's Transition Leader Favors Implementing Obamacare
libpastor
Ok, I've been encouraged about Romney lately, but this... not so much. The needle ticks down. Nevertheless, Romney's got my vote. This shows the need for conservative wins in the House and Senate. Here's hoping for a Supreme Court smack-down as well.

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 Re: Romney's Transition Leader Favors Implementing Obamacare
Ben Domenech
libpastor: Ok, I've been encouraged about Romney lately, but this... not so much. The needle ticks down. Nevertheless, Romney's got my vote. This shows the need for conservative wins in the House and Senate. Here's hoping for a Supreme Court smack-down as well. · 1 minute ago 

I think it's just a reminder that Phil Klein is right.

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Joined
May '11Re: Romney's Transition Leader Favors Implementing Obamacare
Ningrim
I love the new media. Ben only has a few thousand twitter followers, but many of them have a microphone and influential connections in DC.

Matt Lewis of The Daily Caller got a response from the Romney campaign about these concerns.

It's just words, but at least there is a response with firm commitments to repeal.

#6 ·Jun 3 at 3:57pm ·LikeUnlike (2) Like (2) ·  Quote
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Joined
May '10Re: Romney's Transition Leader Favors Implementing Obamacare
Bryan G. Stephens
He gets elected and tells the rest of real conservatives to go suck lemons. Just watch.

Still have to vote for him over the other guy, though. Lessor or two evils.

Vote Team Romney: Driving America into Tyranny slower than the other Guy!

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Jan '12Re: Romney's Transition Leader Favors Implementing Obamacare
Noesis Noeseos
John Derbyshire may not be the best liked person among some at Ricochet, but when he wrote We Are Doomed, he wasn't just frothing with uncivilized blather.

He came from a more rural part of  England that in some ways resembled small-town America.  Neighbors felt they shared a common culture, and they would look out for each other, help each other when they could.  British socialism had not expanded so obscenely when he was a child.  The insidious conspiracy between the mammary state and the nanny state had only begun to metastasize.  But the cancer has only grown to maleficent proportions, fed by the two-stage virus.

So, we push aside Obama's stage-4 only to grasp Romney's virulence-lite.  Marvelous!  Awesome, even, considering that these seem to be the only two public choices available.

Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.

Edited on Jun 3 at 7:20pm
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May '10Re: Romney's Transition Leader Favors Implementing Obamacare
Scott Reusser
Take it up with Paul Ryan then, because state-based exchanges have been part of his Roadmap since the get-go. I haven't a clue whether such schemes are workable, but let's not suggest that since one element of a gazillion-page bill overlaps with some policy proposal of a Romney advisor, it means, QED, Romney is a stealth Obamacare supporter.

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Mar '11Re: Romney's Transition Leader Favors Implementing Obamacare
Percival
And here I was feeling bad because I couldn't join in the thrill-up-the-leg fest on Friday.

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Jul '10Re: Romney's Transition Leader Favors Implementing Obamacare
Sisyphus
If we make it to 2016 without some form of ObomneyCare imposed on the republic, it will be because we sat on this squirming toad of a likely nominee the whole way and whacked him every time he moved in that direction. Of course, if he achieves reelection, we know what 2017 will bring.

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May '12Re: Romney's Transition Leader Favors Implementing Obamacare
BrentB67
Gov. Romney is a great business leader with outstanding character, but things like this make me think he and/or his staff do not get it.

Admittedly I may be in the minority around here, but I don't think this election is going to be won with a rallying cry of pragmatic evolution. 2010 wasn't a marginal adjustment (although I concede it is hard to tell from what little the house of reps stands for) it was a statement about making a big course change.

Hiring a guy with a vested interest to implement a bastardized portion of Obamacare isn't a big course change, it is more of the same with a different guy behind the wheel.

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Dec '10Re: Romney's Transition Leader Favors Implementing Obamacare
Funeral Guy
Good.  Now I can stop pretending that I'm a "Go Romney" guy and return to my original thinking that he's a spineless tool who will sell out conservatives the day after his first nasty New York Times editorial.

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May '12Re: Romney's Transition Leader Favors Implementing Obamacare
BrentB67
Bryan G. Stephens: He gets elected and tells the rest of real conservatives to go suck lemons. Just watch.

Still have to vote for him over the other guy, though. Lessor or two evils.

Vote Team Romney: Driving America into Tyranny slower than the other Guy! · 42 minutes ago
 

Nailed it.

Nobody is going to stay home over something like this, but just showing up and holding our nose isn't going to win this election. It is going to take 'willing to die for what Romney stands for' type enthusiasm.

There are more people on food stamps than live in Spain, as many people receive something from the fed gov't. as there are paying into it via income taxes and all of them are going to be fighting to keep what they have and keep Obama in office.

If Romney doesn't have equal passion supporting him and what he stands for as those that will turn out for the entitlement state then I think we are toast.

#14 ·Jun 3 at 4:51pm ·LikeUnlike (3) Like (3) ·  Quote
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Dec '10Re: Romney's Transition Leader Favors Implementing Obamacare
James Gawron
Gentlemen,

Let's get clear about postulate no. 1. Obamacare is 100% complete toast. The mandate will be struck down by the Court. President Romney and the Republican House and the Republican Senate will repeal anything that's left.

We live in a society that still teaches Strict Darwinism (Krypto-Fascism) and Man Made Global Warming (Krypto-Bolshevism) as Science. Such a world can not be trusted with even more Statist control.

Regards,

Jim

#15 ·Jun 3 at 4:54pm ·LikeUnlike (2) Like (2) ·  Quote
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Apr '11Re: Romney's Transition Leader Favors Implementing Obamacare
wmartin
I guess this is what we're going to be all hysterical about for the next week or so.

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Joined
Nov '11Re: Romney's Transition Leader Favors Implementing Obamacare
Fred Cole
This is why the two parties craft the myth that you MUST MUST MUST hold your nose and vote for their candidate or else the sky will fall.

So it doesn't matter how odious Romney is, you have no choice.

#17 ·Jun 3 at 5:48pm ·LikeUnlike (1) Like (1) ·  Quote
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Joined
Apr '11Re: Romney's Transition Leader Favors Implementing Obamacare
wmartin
Fred Cole: This is why the two parties craft the myth that you MUST MUST MUST hold your nose and vote for their candidate or else the sky will fall.

So it doesn't matter how odious Romney is, you have no choice. · 5 minutes ago
 

I can't believe this group is going into such hysterics over some guy who will be performing the purely administrative task of overseeing the transition.

"Odious?!?" Geez...

#18 ·Jun 3 at 5:57pm ·LikeUnlike (0) Like (0) ·  Quote
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Joined
May '12Re: Romney's Transition Leader Favors Implementing Obamacare
BrentB67
wmartin

Fred Cole: This is why the two parties craft the myth that you MUST MUST MUST hold your nose and vote for their candidate or else the sky will fall.

So it doesn't matter how odious Romney is, you have no choice. · 5 minutes ago
 

I can't believe this group is going into such hysterics over some guy who will be performing the purely administrative task of overseeing the transition.

"Odious?!?" Geez... · 1 minute ago
 

Because the man who is asking for our support to be the next President of the United States put this gentleman in the position for 'purely administrative task...'.

It isn't about Mr. Leavitt - it is about the person that thinks this is a good idea.

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Joined
Nov '11Re: Romney's Transition Leader Favors Implementing Obamacare
Mothership_Greg
Hey Ben, I'll just ignore this sentence:

One can argue about the merits of an exchange absent Obamacare's rules, regulations, authority shifts, price controls, and taxpayer funded subsidies.

and go ahead and pretend that you're arguing against the concept of exchanges.  Also, I'll go ahead and ignore the conflict of interest aspect of this story wrt Leavitt.  Thanks for trying, though!

#20 ·Jun 3 at 6:08pm ·LikeUnlike (0) Like (0) ·  Quote
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→ show Rob Long's comment (#)
Re: Fighting Mad in Colombia
Rob Long
Whoops. Corrected now. But for the record: I misspelled Colombia. But had it automagically fixed.
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Rob Long
Fighting Mad in Colombia
24 minutes ago
I have a friend who is doing interesting and dangerous work in Colombia, working with women who have become involved -- and are trying to get away from -- the terrorist organization FARC.

She's written a gripping piece for Foreign Affairs, under a pseudonym:

In the summer of 2009, during a lunch with a retired colonel of the Colombian army, I asked about his experiences fighting female members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), an insurgency that has plagued the country since the mid-1960s. Although the colonel did not say it was official policy to shoot women first during a firefight, he hinted that any sensible soldier would do so. Women, with their "Kamikaze-like" mentality, he said, were the most deadly combatants.

Talk about a powerful lede!  She goes on:

Twenty-eight years old today, Athena is barely over five feet tall, compact, and attractive. Her body is never fully relaxed. Even when she sits down, her light eyes scan her surroundings. She always appears at the ready. She grew up with her mother, an older brother, and two younger sisters in an impoverished rural town. She does not describe her home life before she became a militant as abusive, although her brother regularly beat her whenever she "misbehaved." (Misbehavior included her refusal to obey commands to perform random demeaning tasks.) After one such beating, Athena ran away, and within a few weeks of her arrival in a neighboring village, a "kind, old man" named Paco approached her, offering "protection and fun" if she would come with him to la finca (the farm). Had he been making his pitch to a boy, he probably would not have played up physical security. Generally speaking, FARC recruits boys with the promise of a motorcycle, a cell phone, and cool clothes, all of which will help them get girls.

It's a powerful and deep look at what happens inside a terrorist organization -- how young people are recruited and how they're kept, often against their will.

She's a brave person, doing very dangerous stuff, and the article is really worth your time.
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Re: Taylor Morris, American Hero
Diane Ellis, Ed.
The Great Adventure!: Diane - lest you think the limited number of posts on this indicates disinterest, let me say that this touched me deeply.  And I promptly had to have everyone else in the house read it as well. · 25 minutes ago 

Thank you.  When Member bourbonsoaked sent me the link to the story yesterday morning, I read it and was very moved.  I thought about it for 7 hours and told two friends about Taylor Morris before I could sit down and write a word about him.  So I understand firsthand how a story like this can render people without words.
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Re: Re: Portrait of a President
Bill McGurn
Here's one of the photos I like:

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Re: Romney Personally Advocated For Individual Mandate
Mollie Hemingway, Ed.
Tommy De Seno: Wall Street Journal scoop?  You're being a bit generous there Mollie.  Some of us have been talking about Romney's refusal to renounce individual mandates since the day he threw his hat in the ring.

I would rather have a Democrat in office promoting liberal policies than a Republican in office promoting liberal policies.  You get the same government, but only one of them makes the rest of us look bad. · 4 minutes ago
 

Well, I think the personal involvement is important, since some suggested Romney was just following advisors. I also think the discussions about publicly shaming companies is worrisome.

As for the rest, that is part of something I wonder about -- with the memory of Bush's presidency still fresh. He advocated big government solutions but capitalists and free marketers got blamed for them.
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Re: Romney Personally Advocated For Individual Mandate
Tommy De Seno
Wall Street Journal scoop?  You're being a bit generous there Mollie.  Some of us have been talking about Romney's refusal to renounce individual mandates since the day he threw his hat in the ring.

I would rather have a Democrat in office promoting liberal policies than a Republican in office promoting liberal policies.  You get the same government, but only one of them makes the rest of us look bad.
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Nancy Gibbs, Guest Contributor
The Presidents Club, Back Center Stage
3 hours ago
Hello Ricocheters! Nancy Gibbs here, also posting for the first time, along with my co-author Michael Duffy.

We’ve watched with particular interest how The Presidents Club has come out of the shadows these last few days.  First came the White House reunion: 41, 43 and 44 all together for the unveiling of George W. Bush’s portrait last week, a moment of bipartisan camaraderie even as the two campaigns were hurling mudballs at each other. Meanwhile Bill Clinton, Obama’s unmatched but unbridled surrogate, was causing the White House all kinds of heartburn by calling Mitt Romney’s Bain record “sterling.” He was back on message last night, when he joined Obama for three New York fundraisers and faithfully declared the prospect of a Romney presidency “calamitous” for the country.

 We’ll discuss the Clinton Challenge later: for the moment, it is President Bush I am more curious about. At the Club reunion last week, the protocols were generally honored: “It’s been said that no one can ever truly understand what it’s like being President until they sit behind that desk and feel the weight and responsibility for the first time,” President Obama said. “And that’s why, from time to time, those of us who have had the privilege to hold this office find ourselves turning to the only people on Earth who know the feeling. We may have our differences politically, but the presidency transcends those differences.  We all love this country.  We all want America to succeed.  We all believe that when it comes to moving this country forward, we have an obligation to pull together.”

This was all but an echo of what Bush himself had said when he turned over the keys to Obama in January, 2009, with all the Club members standing by:  “We want you to succeed,” Bush said. “Whether we're Democrat or Republican we care deeply about this country. All of us who have served in this office understand that the office itself transcends the individual.”

 Which just makes me wonder: how will the Romney campaign handle the most recent Republican president—particularly this summer, as the conventions approach and the veepstakes loom and President Bush breaks silence with a new book about strategies for economic growth.

 On May 15, the day Bush endorsed Romney, the campaign issued a press release touting the support of Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison; Bush’s endorsement did not merit a mention.  The first President Bush and son Jeb have been embraced; is W. radioactive? Or due for a revival? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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James Pethokoukis
Why Paul Krugman and Larry Summers Are Wrong About America Needing Another Mega-Stimulus
3 hours ago
Here we spend again, I mean, “go” again.

Two of America’s leading liberal economists, Paul Krugman and Larry Summers, want Washington to start spending more—probably much, much more—to boost the sputtering U.S. economy. Extremely low interest rates, they argue, both allow government to borrow cheaply and signal a deep hibernation by bond market vigilantes unconcerned by federal debt levels.

Lots of potential reward with little potential risk—or so Krugman and Summers argue.

Their proposal raises many questions and issues:

1. How much? The 2009 stimulus cost $831 billion, not counting borrowing costs. Without it, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the unemployment rate today would be 0.1 to 0.8 percentage point lower. Using, charitably, the most favorable CBO estimate, we are talking about $100 billion per tenth of a percentage point. So how much is enough for Krugman and Summers, $800 billion? $900 billion? $1 trillion? Or is the sky the limit?

2. What would the money be used for? Summers says in his op-ed that it would be “amazing if there were not many public investment projects” that would pay for themselves by “expanding the economy’s capacity or its ability to innovate.”

First, I would like to vet that short list. Second, is a check from Washington the best way to make these supposed projects happen? Third, what happened to Summers’s famous admonition that stimulus should be “timely, targeted, temporary?” These projects would likely take some time to get going. And if you believe the economic forecasts from the Obama White House, the economy is—yet again—approaching a mini-boom: 3% GDP grow this year, 3.0% in 2013, 4.0% in 2014, 4.2 in 2015, 3.9% in 2016, 3.8% in 2017. Now, I don’t place much stock in those predictions from Summers’s old pals on Team Obama, but he just might.

3. Would the bond vigilantes really stay asleep? Krugman and Summers are preternaturally confident that another big step-up in U.S. indebtedness would have no effect on our ability to borrow. That’s a big assumption, argues AEI’s Desmond Lachman: “An important lesson that the U.S. should be drawing from the Greek experience is how mistaken it is to be guided by low market interest rates. Since it might be recalled that as late as 2009, when it should have been obvious to all that Greece’s public finances were on an unsustainable path, the Greek government was able to raise as much long-term money as it liked at a mere 0.2 percentage points above the rate at which Germany could borrow such money. It might also be recalled how quickly markets turned on Greece and how soon a country that had no difficulty in borrowing from the international capital market at unusually favorable terms found itself totally shut out from that very same market.”

And let’s also keep in mind that the last time Summers tried to outsmart financial markets he lost $2 billion for Harvard’s endowment fund.

4. Might not more debt actually hurt long-term U.S. growth? A new paper from Kenneth Rogoff, Carmen Reinhart, and Vincent Reinhart finds that very high debt levels of 90% of GDP are a long-term burden on economic growth that often lasts for two decades or more: “The average high-debt episodes since 1800 last 23 years and are associated with a growth rate more than one percentage point below the rate typical for periods of lower debt levels. That is, after a quarter-century of high debt, income can be 25% lower than it would have been at normal growth rates.”

5. What about taxes? One huge mistake the high-tax EU has made is making nearly half its austerity program come in the form of even higher taxes. Not only should the U.S. not be raising taxes, we should be cutting them. Our corporate tax is so high that cutting it to 25% from 35% might well pay for itself—not to mention boosting business and investor confidence.

The U.S. economy has been malfunctioning since 2006. Shouldn’t it finally be time to address the deep problems of an anti-growth tax code, economy-stifling regulations, and out-of-control spending?
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→ show Paul A. Rahe's comment (#)
Re: Romney Personally Advocated For Individual Mandate
Paul A. Rahe
Thanks, Mollie. Alas, this comes as no real surprise. If he is elected President, Romney may govern as a conservative. If, however, we are to judge by his record in the past, he will turn out to be just another managerial progressive. In the past, he has been a fervent supporter of the administrative entitlements state and no friend to individual liberty. Let's hope that he has learned a few things along the way or that he is enough of a chameleon to take his direction from us.
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Mollie Hemingway, Ed.
Romney Personally Advocated For Individual Mandate
4 hours ago
This Wall Street Journal scoop is not going to make many folks feel particularly enthusiastic about Mitt Romney Presidency. It's about the discovery of a few emails from the time Mitt Romney worked so hard to pass his controversial health-care law:

When Mitt Romney left office as Massachusetts governor, his aides removed all emails from a server computer in the governor's office, and purchased and carted off hard drives from 17 state-owned personal computers, according to a current state official.

But a small cache of emails survived, including some that have never publicly surfaced surrounding Mr. Romney's efforts to pass his now-controversial health-care law. The emails show the Republican governor was closely engaged in negotiating details of the bill, working with top Democratic state leaders and drafting early copies of opinion articles backing it.

Mr. Romney and his aides, meanwhile, strongly defended the so-called individual mandate, a requirement that everyone in Massachusetts have or buy heath insurance. And they privately discussed ideas that might be anathema to today's GOP—including publicly shaming companies that didn't provide enough health insurance to employees.

Mr. Romney signed the bill April 12, 2006, and that night sent an email thanking a top aide, saying the law would help "hundreds of thousands of people…have healthier and happier lives."

A few days ago, Ben Domenech wrote about how Romney had picked someone who has been tirelessly pushing Obamacare implementation at the state level to lead his transition team.

Here we see the type of ideas that are encouraged in the Romney inner circle, including some tactics that even Barack Obama might find heavy handed.

I know that Team Romney is telling advocates of increased liberty to not worry about what he'll do surrounding Obamacare, but this slow drip of scary information is not helping.
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Re: Don't Look Up, Buckaroos
C.J. Box
tabula rasa C.J.:  If Obama stays in power you're not going to have to think up any central plot points again.  The government will simply provide them to you (though they'll probably want to charge you a fee).

Honestly, if I used this kind of thing in a novel no one would believe it.  They'd consider it too over-the-top.  That's one of the painful realities about writing novels set in contemporary (Western) settings.  It's necessary in plotting to dial things back or they'll be perceived as too reactionary.
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→ show Dave Carter's comment (#)
Re: "Sending Me Angels" A Medical Journey
Dave Carter
Doug Kimball: Dave:

Nothing like Delbert to keep you company on the road!  Remember, no more pretending to be a camel and avoiding fluids while on the road.  Get a "Trucker's Helper" (like the character Bert Reynold's used in "Semi Tough" when he cheated whuile trying to get "It".)  Keep a water bottle at your side at all times.  As a man who lives in the desert knows, the only way to keep kidney stones away is to drink and drink some more. · 26 minutes ago
 

As luck would have it, I have the movie Semi Tough in the truck.   Not a bad idea, that.  Thanks for that song too.  That's hilarious! 
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Rob Long
Weird Japan
17 hours ago
Japan, I think we can all admit, is often a weird place.  Robots, giant lizards, odd comic books, that sort of thing.

But every now and then, they're both weird and cool:


A Segway, essentially, steered by the muscles in the posterior.  You just kind of squirm your way along, if you get my meaning. From Yahoo! Autos:

No automaker keeps quite as many strange side projects afloat as Honda, which has everything from jet planes to walking robots underway in its engineering studios. On Tuesday, Honda revealed its plans for another company invention, a rolling stool it now calls the Uni-Cub which users steer by the seat of their pants. One can only hope for a racing version.

Designed to mimic the speed and height of walking, the Uni-Cub's lithium batteries power a trick wheel that can move any direction. Using sensors on the seats, riders simply shift their weight in the direction they wish to travel -- there's also a smartphone control app --  and the unit rides high so that the riders have eye contact with people not cool enough to glide around the office up to 3.7 miles on a charge.

Sign me up.
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Re: Don't Look Up, Buckaroos
C.J. Box
Wait a minute - are those Hellfire missiles under the wings?

I believe the are.  But not to worry -- they're only fired when cowboys spit tobacco juice in areas not approved for that designated use.
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Diane Ellis, Ed.
Taylor Morris, American Hero
17 hours ago
One month ago yesterday, 23-year old Taylor Morris lost all of his limbs in the line of duty.  A Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) tech from Cedar Falls, Iowa, Taylor was serving out his first tour in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan.  His job—surely one of the highest stress, highest risk jobs in the military—was to defuse bombs, disable mines, and to secure hazardous areas in advance of fellow troops so that they could do their job without being blown up.

But on May 3, 2012, Taylor stepped on an IED and nearly lost his life.  Speaking to a reporter at The Chive, Taylor recounts his memory of the explosion:

As soon as I stepped on it, I knew. There was a moment, then I heard the blast. I felt the heat. I knew I had lost my legs. As I summersaulted through the air, I watched my legs fly off.

Taylor remained conscious through the blast, and though he could see that he was bleeding out fast, he called out to his team requesting that no one come to his aid until the area was completely cleared of mines.  After the area was secured, the medic was able to administer battlefield trauma care and save Taylor's life.

A few days later, Taylor was transported to Walter Reed hospital in D.C., where he underwent and survived a four limb amputation.

His willingness to pay the ultimate sacrifice for his country and for his brothers-in-arms is more than enough to qualify Taylor Morris as one of America's great heroes.  But that's not the part of his story that I find so inspirational and remarkable.  Faced with a brutal situation in which most people would despair–and couldn't be blamed for doing so—Taylor has met his suffering with an incredible hope, humility, and courage.

His recovery in the few short weeks that have followed has been nothing short of miraculous.  Over the weekend, Taylor's stitches were removed and he was fitted for prosthetics.  He's already able to sit up and has begun the long, painful process of rehabilitation and physical therapy.

The other part of Taylor Morris's story that I find particularly moving has less to do with Taylor and more to do with his network of support that has rushed in to care for him.  Family, girlfriend, friends have all been there to pray for and with him, encourage him, be with him.  But beyond his immediate relations, a vast network of complete strangers has stepped up to do right by this American patriot.  A few days ago, on May 31, the aforementioned website called The Chive told Taylor's story and called out for donations to provide for Taylor's dream lakeside cabin.  The website set a goal of $30,000 which was met and exceeded within a matter of minutes.  In a beautiful outpouring of generosity in response to an even greater generosity, complete strangers donated more than $230,000 over the span of a few hours to provide for a young patriot.

My thanks to Member "bourbonsoaked" for alerting me to the story.  The Chive's story of Taylor Morris can be found here (but be forewarned that other stories on the site are definitely not Ricochet CoC compliant).
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C.J. Box
Don't Look Up, Buckaroos
18 hours ago
The entire congressional delegation from my neighboring state of Nebraska has written a letter to EPA Commissar Lisa Jackson to ask why it is -- and under whose authority -- the rogue agency has been using unmanned drones to spy on...cattle ranchers.  That's right.

Under some mind-numbing interpretation of the Clean Water Act, the EPA has been sending up spy drones to count cows in feedlots in Nebraska and Iowa.  And who knows what else they've been checking out?  It's outrageous.  I'll leave it up to the many sharp legal minds on Ricochet to explain -- or rail against -- this kind of encroachment.

Out here in the fly-over states, we are sometimes accused of being the embodiment of the "black helicopter crowd."  Maybe there's something to that, since there are so many federal agencies running our land and lives.   But when you find out the EPA has hundreds of armed federal agents and now they're using spy drones to  intimidate ranchers... what is one to think?
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Re: Wisconsin Is Not In The Bag!
Mollie Hemingway, Ed.
James Of England: 

More is better. Winning, beating the recount threshold, 6% (the poll-based expectations), and 10% seem like landmark numbers, but the numbers really aren't transferable from one race to another in a firm way, so "not close" seems subjective. · 19 minutes ago
 

I covered a losing campaign in 2010 where some of its staff and volunteers were so convinced of victory that they shut down their GOTV operation in order to travel to the big city for the victory party. Their candidate lost.

What's most important in campaigns is to push hard, hard, hard until that last poll closes. Even if you think you're winning, you need to work to win by more.
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Re: Useful Readings on Progressivism and Contemporary Politics
John Grant
The early Progressives would reject some aspects of later Liberalism (e.g. gay marriage,sexual liberation, no-fault divorce, much of contemporary feminism). But their view of government's power to regulate was quite expansive.  See the Progressive Party Platform of 1912 (linked in the original) for some examples.

Ross Conatser: A quote from TR's speech at the end of the Heritage piece caught my eye.

“if we do not have the right kind of law and the right kind of administration of the law, we cannot go forward as a nation.”

. . . .  IMHO, they could not envision the world of NGO's, protected classes, and one-size-fits-all legal activism that exists today.  Remember in the world of 1910, 20,000 workers per year died in the workplace (mostly coal miners).  The Hatfield and McCoy feud was just cooling down.  They were going after low hanging fruit.

I suspect that if you explained Title 9, or the Americans with Disablities Act, or Gay Marriage Curriculum for grade schools they would have laughed in your face because those things were so impossibly foolish as to not need consideration.

Consider it now. · 5 hours ago
 
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Re: The Devil Votes Obama
James Lileks
I'll take political advice from a botoxed albino mantis when I take fashion advice from a politician.
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Re: The Devil Votes Obama
Mollie Hemingway, Ed.
My husband kept playing the original video invite to this dinner over and over and over and guffawing. It's hilarious.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #28 on: June 05, 2012, 02:12:26 PM »

a) May I ask you to delete the portions of that post not relevant to why you posted it?

b)  Would someone please summarize the issue(s) with regard to exchanges?

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DougMacG
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« Reply #29 on: June 05, 2012, 06:32:21 PM »

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/romney-targets-hispanics-latest-web-ad_646664.htmlhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VC8McJTdTs&feature=player_embedded

"The Obama campaign recently released a Spanish-language web ad asserting that 'we're on the right path,'" the Romney campaign says with the release of this ad. "Mitt Romney disagrees and believes that rising unemployment and more Hispanics in poverty is not the 'right path' for our country. America can do better and, with Mitt Romney as president, we will."
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DDF
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« Reply #30 on: June 08, 2012, 06:51:00 PM »

Seemingly going against his father, Rand Paul endorsed Romney's presidential bid last night. It remains to be seen as to speculation that Rand will be offered a VP slot from Romney or what the reasoning is.
http://www.dailypaul.com/238449/rand-paul-endorses-mitt-romney
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We all die. The second one accepts that, only then are they capable of living.
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #31 on: June 17, 2012, 02:03:03 PM »



By JONATHAN MARTIN
The shorthand to describe Marco Rubio since his arrival two years ago on the national political scene is usually "tea-party senator" or "tea-party favorite" or some variation on those phrases.
The implication that he is a political outsider has puzzled many Floridians, who have known the freshman Republican senator as a member in good standing of the state's GOP establishment since the mid-1990s, when he was a young campaign operative and lawyer in Miami's Cuban-American community.

Now, thanks to two new books, the wider political community will see why such labels are so ill-suited for the Florida phenom.

One of the volumes is the senator's own memoir, "An American Son," the other a biography, "The Rise of Marco Rubio," by Manuel Roig-Franzia, a writer for the Washington Post's Style section. The books chronicle Mr. Rubio's rise within the political system, from serving as a congressional intern and local director of Bob Dole's 1996 presidential campaign to becoming, at age 36 in 2007, Florida's first Cuban-American speaker of the Florida House. By the time Mr. Rubio turned 40, he was a U.S. senator.

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Marco Rubio, running for the Senate in 2010.
.An American Son
By Marco Rubio

Sentinel, 307 pages, $26.95
.Mr. Rubio's own account and especially Mr. Roig-Franzia's effort show us an ambitious young man with an LBJ-like appreciation for the importance of cultivating political patrons. The pattern was on display when Mr. Rubio took his first law job working at the firm of a Miami-area Republican politico who would go on to become state GOP chairman (Al Cardenas); when Mr. Rubio ran for and won a seat on the West Miami city commission, thanks to the support of the popular mayor (Rebeca Sosa), who dubbed him "Marcito"; and when he got to Tallahassee as a state representative and ingratiated himself with two of the state capital's most powerful Republicans (House Speaker Johnnie Byrd and Gov. Jeb Bush).

"His rise has actually been as conventional as they come," writes Mr. Roig-Franzia. "He'd climbed the staircase methodically, touching each step along the way rather than leaping from the landing to the top floor."

If the two books offer an important corrective to the perception of Rubio-as-political-outsider, what they don't do is drop any political bombshells or even offer much in the way of news about a man regularly included on lists of Mitt Romney's potential running mates.

The preferred euphemism among GOP insiders when it comes to Mr. Rubio's vice-presidential prospects is that his stock lately has been diminished by unspecified "baggage." But neither volume reveals any such freight.

Part of the challenge for Mr. Rubio and his image-obsessed cadre of advisers as they attempt to frame his story—and for an author writing about him—is that he is an object of such fascination that any new material is unlikely to hold until a book comes out.
So much information in these two accounts that might raise eyebrows has already been aired.

For instance, each book addresses allegations that Mr. Rubio improperly used a state party-issued credit card during his two-year tenure as Florida House speaker—a topic that Florida newspaper investigations combed through at great length during the 2010 campaign.

The Rise of Marco Rubio
By Manuel Roig-Franzia

Simon & Schuster, 291 pages, $25
.Would-be newsworthy items about Mr. Rubio's personal biography have been reported more recently. In the past, Mr. Rubio has misstated when his parents emigrated from Cuba—he had portrayed them as fleeing Fidel Castro rather than leaving the island, as they did, for economic reasons before the revolution. The confirmed and practicing Catholic was a Mormon for a time during his youth. Last year, Univision, the Spanish-language television network, aired a story on the drug-trafficking conviction of the senator's brother-in-law in the 1980s (when Mr. Rubio was a teenager). A twist to the story was that, according to Mr. Rubio's advisers, Univision dangled an offer to soften the report in exchange for an appearance by Mr. Rubio on the network's Sunday-morning political talk show. But reports about his parents' immigration history and the Univision spat have been plentiful, with various players fully airing their sides of the story.

The books are themselves testimony to how fierce the competition is in the Rubio marketplace. The two authors raced one another to get into print, with their publishers changing schedules to be first out of the box. Their arrival in a virtual dead heat is a boon for the political junkie, because the books make valuable companions. Mr. Roig-Franzia lays out, in the detached-if-skeptical manner of a journalist, the questions surrounding Mr. Rubio's past (see above) and Mr. Rubio offers his version of events. But beyond the material's lack of freshness, each book is hampered by another challenge: There is only so much to say about the life so far of a 41-year-old.

"An American Son" is of a piece with other quickie books written by still-climbing politicians: cautious, on-message and heavily tilted toward the most recent big campaign. But the book is more valuable than many other such insta-memoirs, partly for the same reason that the senator is a more compelling figure than many of his contemporaries: His story as the son of poor Cuban immigrants makes for good copy. Assisted by the talented former John McCain co-author Mark Salter, who is credited in the acknowledgments for helping to "organize and revise the manuscript," Mr. Rubio is at his best when he depicts his forebears' struggles in pre-Castro Cuba and his close relationship with his father and maternal grandfather, who lived with the Rubios when the senator was a boy.

A chapter on the death of his father, Mario, in 2010 is the book's most affecting section. Mr. Rubio describes in detail his father's last moments, with three generations of family gathered in a hospital room, as lung cancer and mphysema claim him. "At one point, my mother sat next to his bed and stroked his hand and cried. She kept asking him to wake up. They had been married for sixty-one years. It was more than her heart could bear."

Mr. Rubio confesses to doubts familiar to many who have cared for an ailing parent. He made "the terrible mistake," he says, of urging his father to undergo chemotherapy even though the treatment had no effect other than adding to the misery of the man's final months.

It would be unthinkable for a family-values politician writing a book not to honor those who molded him and still shape him, but one can't read the Rubio book without being struck by how consumed he is by the urge to do right by his family. Whenever he has moments of self-pity, he dons the hair shirt of his parents' sacrifices and his politics-averse wife's willingness to be in public life.

But if Mr. Rubio is open about how much he is driven by his family's example, he is less so when it comes to stickier topics. For instance, in recounting how his parents, in search of better jobs, moved the family to Las Vegas for almost six years (beginning in 1979, when he was 8 years old), Mr. Rubio describes a strike by workers at a hotel where his father was a bartender. Marco, then 12 years old, joined his father on the picket line. "I became a union activist," he writes, calling the labor movement his youthful "new obsession." But then he drops the subject, never explaining how his political views were informed—or not—by the experience.

The senator is somewhat more forthcoming about his Mormon boyhood—he had been baptized Catholic, but his mother, impressed by the wholesome influence of Mormons in the Rubios' Las Vegas neighborhood, steered the family to Mormonism. Mr. Rubio, however, handles the matter with the delicacy of one hoping to avoid offending any constituency. He doesn't really explain why, just shy of his 12th birthday, it was he who urged the family to return to its Catholic roots. He simply became curious about his former faith, he says, and began researching it in the World Book encyclopedias that his parents had given him the previous Christmas.

Instead of treating such topics at some length, Mr. Rubio pads his life story with a glut of information about his adolescence and young-adult years. What is an editor for if not to strike discussions like the one about how much football playing time he got as a high-school junior?

A little over the third of "An American Son" is devoted to Mr. Rubio's 2010 Senate campaign. The most dedicated students of politics will appreciate the details of how close he came to dropping out of the Republican primary in the face of an initially tough challenge, but here again there is room for an editor: The references to polls, quarterly fundraising reports and debates begin to blur.

If "An American Son" overfloweth with insidery details, however carefully selected, Mr. Roig-Franzia's "The Rise of Marco Rubio" suffers from the author's lack of access to his subject and those close to the man in question.

The Rubio operation wanted the senator's book to speak for him, and his advisers plainly declined to provide Mr. Roig-Franzia with the cooperation he needed to paint an intimate picture. "The Rise of Marco Rubio" instead relies heavily on press accounts and whatever the author could glean from seeing Mr. Rubio at his public appearances.

During the 2011 mini-controversy over the immigrant story of Mr. Rubio's parents, Mr. Roig-Franzia uncovered fresh information (as did the Tampa Bay Times) and published it in the Washington Post. His book fleshes out that reporting with new material. For instance, he has unearthed a 1962 Edison Voicewriter audio recording of a hearing regarding Mr. Rubio's maternal grandfather. Pedro Víctor García wanted to stay in the U.S. but amid the country's deteriorating relations with Cuba was "caught in an immigration no-man's land," as the author puts it. Yet the discovery of the recording, though interesting, doesn't change the story—eventually the application was approved.

Mr. Roig-Franiza, a former Miami- and Latin America-based correspondent, is most engaging when evoking the Cuba of Mr. Rubio's forebears and the South Florida of his youth and early career. The author notes, for instance, that when Mr. Rubio's parents lived in Havana, their apartment (No. C9) was "on a street called Maloja. A short walk away, through a quilt of angled streets, is one of Havana's most curious sights"—a neoclassical structure called El Capitolio that was the home of the Cuban legislature in the 1950s and today is a museum. "It bears a double-take-inducing resemblance to the U.S. Capitol in Washington," Mr. Roig-Franiza writes, "the unlikely future destination of the Rubios' son Marco."

If Mr. Roig-Franzia deploys shoe leather tracking Mr. Rubio's beginnings, the biographer doesn't answer questions about the politician's public record and finances beyond what has been previously reported. What exactly did Mr. Rubio do for the $300,000 he was paid by the law firm that employed him during his speakership? Mr. Roig-Franzia makes a pregnant reference to a Florida newspaper's analysis that the firm did $4.5 million of work for the state in the three years before Mr. Rubio ran the Florida House but goes no further.

Constrained by lack of access to sources and perhaps by deadline pressure, "The Rise of Marco Rubio" loses steam as it moves from Cuba and Miami to the campaign trail and Washington. The author resorts to quoting his subject's Twitter feed ("There is great wisdom in resting on the Sabbath") and citing cable-news analyses of the politician.

One sympathizes with Mr. Roig-Franzia. It's tough to get an entire book out of a senator entering his second year in Washington, especially one who freezes you out. But that's the peril of writing about an image-conscious and thoroughly establishment-oriented politician.

—Mr. Martin is a senior political reporter at Politico.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #32 on: June 23, 2012, 02:33:53 PM »



http://www.aei-ideas.org/channel/pethokoukis/
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ccp
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« Reply #33 on: June 25, 2012, 09:28:28 AM »

But Romney had lower taxes.   I thought this amusing.  Romney sounded good here with a Reagan type quote:

http://lybio.net/mitt-romney-wawa-and-competition-in-the-private-sector/people/
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bigdog
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« Reply #34 on: June 27, 2012, 09:14:03 AM »

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/27/for-romney-superfan-a-new-truck-courtesy-of-the-candidate/?smid=fb-share

Mighty nice of the Romney campaign.
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JDN
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« Reply #35 on: June 30, 2012, 09:26:44 AM »

In a 2009 op-ed published in USA Today, Romney urged Obama to work with Republicans on healthcare reform, and he held up the Massachusetts system and its use of “incentives” as a model.

“We established incentives for those who were uninsured to buy insurance. Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages 'free riders' to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others,” Romney wrote in the article.

http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-romney-in-sticky-spot-on-health-reform-20120629,0,471209.story

http://www.thedailybeast.com/videos/2012/06/28/romney-praises-his-own-individual-mandate.html
« Last Edit: June 30, 2012, 10:13:52 AM by JDN » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #36 on: June 30, 2012, 10:14:20 AM »

And this sort of thing is exactly one of the key points of the Santorum candidacy and one of the reasons that most of us here sought alternatives to MR-- that MR simply would not be able to represent well on this issue.
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JDN
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« Reply #37 on: July 03, 2012, 11:30:24 AM »

While some criticize Obama's golf games or vacations at friends homes, compared to Romney he's a piker.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/07/03/vacation-primary-why-republican-candidates-win-the-summer.html
http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2012/08/investigating-mitt-romney-offshore-accounts
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DougMacG
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« Reply #38 on: July 03, 2012, 02:10:07 PM »

JDN, Nothing too shocking in the story.  You must have been gone from Wisc too long to remember that going up to the lake with family over the 4th is rather routine in the north country.  Looks like they have a boat, a deck, a beach and went to town for ice cream.  Sounds nice.  You should try it!

For the record, my beef with Obama's golf is not that he plays, but that he is so bad at it and obsessed with it.  Strangely he puts it above things like family while raising two small children, not just national security. 

A sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZjc7q2h5dA  It might go back to 1960s ski lessons since anyone taught the up-down method, lol.

Did Romney take more vacations than Obama as President?  Hopefully we will learn the answer to that soon. 
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JDN
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« Reply #39 on: July 03, 2012, 04:04:54 PM »

No, WI up north is rather nice; although I didn't stay with anyone that had a "13 acre compound" not to mention New Hampshire real estate costs a lot more than N. Wisconsin.
I'm not begrudging his vacation; it was just a reaction to the criticism that Obama has gotten.  Bush took twice as many vacation days.  Reagan too took a lot more.
Reagan held the total vacation day record of 436 until the younger Bush left office with a grand total of 977 days away from Washington, representing 1/3 of his presidency.

http://open.salon.com/blog/mpbulletin/2012/04/13/jetting_around_obamas_vacation_record

As for his golf, again, I say so what?  But I will concede that is one ugly swing.   smiley
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DougMacG
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« Reply #40 on: July 03, 2012, 05:28:59 PM »

First, must celebrate that we agree on that golf swing. No big deal. I cant play violin, bt O dont go out and play it in frpmt of pepple every weekend before I learn. There is something delusional exposed there.

Not 13 acres but the 100 year old MacG compound has all the lakelife features. Y'all should come sometime. None of it revolves around money except the EXORBITANT property taxes. It is the government that wants only
 rich people at these places.

Pres Reagan was out of Washington a third of his Presidency?  GOOD!!
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JDN
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« Reply #41 on: July 03, 2012, 05:56:42 PM »

Actually it was Bush gone for more than 1/3, not Reagan, but I agree, given modern communication, so what.  My parents lived a few doors down from Nixon's "White House" in San Clemente.  No one begrudged his "vacations" except maybe the locals since the Coast Guard took over the beach.  On that level, if you want to see someone, they come to you.  You don't have to be "in the office".  Not to mention modern communications allow you to be almost anywhere.  For example, as a "break", I'm doing work at a coffee shop at the moment.

I don't begrudge Romney his money.  But wrong or right, I do bet it will become an election issue.

I've read that Obama plays to a 16/17.  Although I wonder with that swing,   smiley  so my 10 handicap isn't much better.  I'ld like to think my swing looks better anyway, but maybe not.....  I do play strict rules; I've got a feeling Mulligans abound when the President plays.  You'ld think a few lessons would be in order...  smiley
To be fair, I've read that, "The president is private about a lot of things he does during the day; he is fiercely private about his golf game, and rarely allows reporters anywhere near him when he’s on a course."  Maybe with that swing, that's good?   smiley

The MacG compound sounds fabulous.  If I"m in MN or even nearby I might take you up on that kind offer.  As for "exorbitant property taxes" I think we had a discussion once before on property taxes so I remember I looked up MN.  You do pay a lot!  A lot more than Californian's pay as a percentage.  I figure taxes like much of life are like a balloon.  You push (tax) one place, you try to make it up elsewhere.  If I recollect your income taxes are lower in MN.  
« Last Edit: July 03, 2012, 05:59:43 PM by JDN » Logged
JDN
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« Reply #42 on: July 05, 2012, 10:08:54 AM »

And this sort of thing is exactly one of the key points of the Santorum candidacy and one of the reasons that most of us here sought alternatives to MR-- that MR simply would not be able to represent well on this issue.

"Did Rick Santorum have a point when he said that Romney is “the worst possible person in this field to put up [as nominee] on this most fundamental issue of this campaign?” Uh, yes."    grin 
Good call Crafty!

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/07/05/romney-s-big-tax-bluff-why-it-will-haunt-him.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #43 on: July 05, 2012, 10:27:09 AM »

And it continues to get worse.

I know the chattering class had been advising Romney to correct his advisor and call the penalty a tax, but IMHO that is a mistake, his advisor had the analysis right.

By all means list all the various taxes in Obamacare!  But the penalty is a penalty, an unconsitutional one but for Rabbit Ears Roberts' cowardice.  Any momentary advantage for MR will be undone as soon as BO turns around and points at Romneycare. 

Better to stand on principle:  It was an unconstitutional penalty, the court got it wrong.
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bigdog
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« Reply #44 on: July 05, 2012, 11:39:22 AM »

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/05/wall-street-journal-strongly-criticizes-romney-campaign/?smid=tw-share

The Wall Street Journal opinion page on Thursday gave voice to conservative hand-wringing that Mitt Romney’s campaign against President Obama is not living up to expectations.

In a sharply-worded editorial posted online Wednesday evening, The Journal wrote that Mr. Romney’s Boston-based campaign staff is “slowly squandering an historic opportunity” to defeat an incumbent president weakened by a slumping economy.

“Mr. Obama is being hurt by an economic recovery that is weakening for the third time in three years,” the paper wrote. “But Mr. Romney hasn’t been able to take advantage, and if anything he is losing ground.”


Original WSJ editorial is here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304141204577506652734793044.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

Uh oh.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #45 on: July 05, 2012, 06:39:57 PM »

Outsourcer in Chief and intellectual author of Obamacare-- what could go wrong with Romney's campaign?  tongue rolleyes

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/07/05/oops-romney-caught-on-video-praising-obamacare-not-romneycare-video/
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DougMacG
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« Reply #46 on: July 06, 2012, 10:26:01 PM »

What Romney Needs to Say About Romneycare

By Mona Charen - July 6, 2012
   
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Romney aide Eric Fehrnstrom's blunder -- telling an interviewer that Romney believes the individual mandate is not a tax -- was politically dumb, if revealing. It suggests that the Romney camp continues to struggle with the ghost of Romneycare. Romney's subsequent attempt at clarification, saying that it's a tax because the Supreme Court said it is, though, "I agreed with the dissent," succeeded only in further confusing matters.

The campaign desperately needs clarity on this issue. It needs also to shake that worrying tentativeness on Romneycare -- a timidity that suggests to voters that Romney has something to hide.

The answer to the question: "Wasn't Romneycare exactly the same thing as Obamacare?" is, to quote Nancy Pelosi, "Are you serious?" The Massachusetts law contained an individual mandate, which states -- unlike the federal government -- are allowed to impose. But it did not consist of 2,700 pages of new regulations; 159 new boards and commissions; and more than $500 billion in new taxes (and counting); the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a rationing board whose decisions are unreviewable by the courts and practically untouchable by Congress itself; restrictions on religious liberty; Medicare cuts; affirmative action mandates for medical and dental schools; huge new authority over one-seventh of the U.S. economy for the Secretary of Health and Human Services; and open-ended regulations of the way doctors and others perform their jobs.

Beyond that, a glance at the history of Romneycare in Massachusetts shows that Romney's instincts and initiatives were for free-market reforms. An 85 percent Democratic legislature thwarted his best efforts, and a Democratic successor as governor twisted the law's trajectory dramatically.

Before Romney's time, Massachusetts had enacted a number of laws that made its health care system needlessly expensive. All policies offered in the state were required to cover expensive treatments such as substance abuse counseling and infertility. In 1996, the state passed a law requiring "guaranteed issue" and "community rating" -- meaning people could wait until they got sick to purchase health insurance. Naturally, rates skyrocketed. In addition, a 1986 federal law required hospital emergency rooms to treat all patients, regardless of ability to pay.

Romney's idea was to permit Massachusetts insurers to sell catastrophic plans. As Avik Roy explained in Forbes, "Shorn of the costly mandates and restrictions originating in earlier state laws, these plans, called 'Commonwealth Care Basic,' could cost much less. Romney also proposed merging the non-group and small-group markets, so as to give individuals access to the more cost-effective plans available to small businesses." Romney's plan would also have involved a degree of cost sharing so that those receiving subsidies would have an incentive to minimize their consumption.

Romney agreed to the mandate, believing that Massachusetts citizens would get the opportunity to purchase inexpensive, catastrophic plans. But the legislature, together with Romney's successor as governor, Deval Patrick, changed the law to require insurers to offer three tiers of coverage -- all of them far beyond catastrophic care. Perhaps Romney ought to have foreseen what future legislatures and governors would do -- but that's a far cry from the accusation that Romneycare was indistinguishable from Obamacare.

Romney's proposed reforms included fraud prevention measures for Medicaid, requiring the income of both parents to be considered in children's Medicaid eligibility, medical malpractice tort reform, and giving individuals the same treatment as small businesses in the purchase of health plans. He envisioned a system of increased competition and choice.

The bill that passed the legislature contained a number of features Romney couldn't countenance. He opposed the mandate, preferring to permit individuals to post a $10,000 bond in lieu of insurance. The legislature overrode him. He vetoed the employer mandate, coverage for illegal aliens, the creation of a new bureaucracy to be called The Public Health Council, a provision limiting improvements to Medicaid, and one expanding Medicaid coverage to include dental care. His vetoes were overridden.

The health reform law Romney introduced -- as opposed to the one that was implemented by his successor -- stressed competition, reduced regulation and expanded choice for the consumer.

It was a mistake for Romney to sign the bill. As Avik Roy put it, "The individual mandate was a loaded gun that Romney handed to his opponents, who used it to force individuals to buy comprehensive insurance they didn't need." But Romney's bona fides as a free-market advocate and critic of Obamacare are not undermined by Romneycare. He can rightly claim that he foresaw, and attempted to prevent, the consequences of heavy-handed government control of the health care market.

www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/07/06/what_romney_needs_to_say_about_romneycare_114707.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #47 on: July 07, 2012, 12:28:02 AM »

Good find.

Yet again we see this sort of weakness with MR.  In what universe should Baraq be getting away with claiming he saved the auto industry?!?  Yet he goes unchallenged as he blathers on about this.

I suspect it is as I have voiced my fear here on various occasions.  MR suffers from the same "patrician's guilt complex" as President GWB.

 tongue
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #48 on: July 09, 2012, 06:10:05 PM »



http://www.glennbeck.com/2012/07/09/obama-advisor-continues-to-spread-romney-lies-in-front-of-impotent-media/
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JDN
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« Reply #49 on: July 11, 2012, 11:02:04 AM »

I don't care about his high school or college grades, but I do care about his tax returns.  His father, George Romney offered 12 years of tax returns when he ran.  What's wrong with Mitts?

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/07/10/mitt-romney-s-flat-footed-tax-dodge.html
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