Archive for the ‘Romney’ Category

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Would This Be Romney’s Last Flip-Flop?

February 7, 2008

2/5/08:

You know, Ann came to me and she said, “You know, the one thing that’s clear tonight is that nothing’s clear.” But I think she’s wrong. One thing that’s clear is this campaign is going on.

(APPLAUSE)

AUDIENCE: Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!

M. ROMNEY: I think — I think — I think there are some people who thought it was all going be done tonight, but it’s not all done tonight. We’re going to keep on battling. We’re going to go all the way to the convention, we’re going to win this thing, and we’re going to get in to the White House.

2/7/08:

This is not an easy decision for me. I hate to lose. My family, my friends and our supporters… many of you right here in this room… have given a great deal to get me where I have a shot at becoming President. If this were only about me, I would go on. But I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America, I feel I must now stand aside, for our party and for our country.

According to my math, that was less than 2 days.

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Why Obama, Part V: Ethics

February 6, 2008

For the fifth installment of the Chamber’s Why Obama series, I’ve picked the ethics in government issue.  The same format applies; this is right from the Obama website

Ethics (pdf)

The Problem

Lobbyists Write National Policies: For example, Vice President Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force of oil and gas lobbyists met secretly to develop national energy policy.

Secrecy Dominates Government Actions: The Bush administration has ignored public disclosure rules and has invoked a legal tool known as the “state secrets” privilege more than any other previous administration to get cases thrown out of civil court.

Wasteful Spending is Out of Control: The current administration has abused its power by handing out contracts without competition to its politically connected friends and supporters. These abuses cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year.

Barack Obama’s Plan

Shine the Light on Washington Lobbying

  • Centralize Ethics and Lobbying Information for Voters: Obama will create a centralized Internet database of lobbying reports, ethics records, and campaign finance filings in a searchable, sortable and downloadable format.
  • Require Independent Monitoring of Lobbying Laws and Ethics Rules: Obama will use the power of the presidency to fight for an independent watchdog agency to oversee the investigation of congressional ethics violations so that the public can be assured that ethics complaints will be investigated.
  • Support Campaign Finance Reform: Obama supports public financing of campaigns combined with free television and radio time as a way to reduce the influence of moneyed special interests. Obama introduced public financing legislation in the Illinois State Senate, and is the only 2008 candidate to have sponsored Senator Russ Feingold’s (D-WI) tough bill to reform the presidential public financing system.

Shine the Light on Federal Contracts, Tax Breaks and Earmarksobama08_thumblogo100.gif

  • Create a Public “Contracts and Influence” Database: As president, Obama will create a “contracts and influence” database that will disclose how much federal contractors spend on lobbying, and what contracts they are getting and how well they complete them.
  • Expose Special Interest Tax Breaks to Public Scrutiny: Barack Obama will ensure that any tax breaks for corporate recipients — or tax earmarks — are also publicly available on the Internet in an easily searchable format.
  • End Abuse of No-Bid Contracts: Barack Obama will end abuse of no-bid contracts by requiring that nearly all contract orders over $25,000 be competitively awarded.
  • Sunlight Before Signing: Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them. As president, Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.
  • Shine Light on Earmarks and Pork Barrel Spending: Obama’s Transparency and Integrity in Earmarks Act will shed light on all earmarks by disclosing the name of the legislator who asked for each earmark, along with a written justification, 72 hours before they can be approved by the full Senate.

Bring Americans Back into their Government

  • Hold 21st Century Fireside Chats: Obama will bring democracy and policy directly to the people by requiring his Cabinet officials to have periodic national broadband townhall meetings to discuss issues before their agencies.
  • Make White House Communications Public: Obama will amend executive orders to ensure that communications about regulatory policymaking between persons outside government and all White House staff are disclosed to the public.
  • Conduct Regulatory Agency Business in Public: Obama will require his appointees who lead the executive branch departments and rulemaking agencies to conduct the significant business of the agency in public, so that any citizen can see in person or watch on the Internet these debates.
  • Release Presidential Records: Obama will nullify the Bush attempts to make the timely release of presidential records more difficult.

Free the Executive Branch from Special Interest Influence

  • Close the Revolving Door on Former and Future Employers: No political appointees in an Obama administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years. And no political appointee will be able to lobby the executive branch after leaving government service during the remainder of the administration.
  • Free Career Officials from the Influence of Politics: Obama will issue an executive order asking all new hires at the agencies to sign a form affirming that no political appointee offered them the job solely on the basis of political affiliation or contribution.
  • Reform the Political Appointee Process: FEMA Director Michael Brown was not qualified to head the agency, and the result was a disaster for the people of the Gulf Coast. But in an Obama administration, every official will have to rise to the standard of proven excellence in the agency’s mission.

Barack Obama’s Record:

  • Federal Ethics Reform: Obama and Senator Feingold (D-WI) took on both parties and proposed ethics legislation that was described as the “gold standard” for reform. It was because of their leadership that ending subsidized corporate jet travel, mandating disclosure of lobbyists’ bundling of contributions, and enacting strong new restrictions of lobbyist-sponsored trips became part of the final ethics bill that was signed into law. The Washington Post wrote in an editorial, “The final package is the strongest ethics legislation to emerge from Congress yet.”
  • Google for Government: Americans have the right to know how their tax dollars are spent, but that information has been hidden from public view for too long. That’s why Barack Obama and Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) passed a law to create a Google-like search engine to allow regular people to approximately track federal grants, contracts, earmarks, and loans online. The Chicago Sun-Times wrote, “It would enable the public to see where federal money goes and how it is spent. It’s a brilliant idea.”
  • Illinois Reform: In 1998, Obama joined forces with former U.S. Sen. Paul Simon (D-IL) to pass the toughest campaign finance law in Illinois history. The legislation banned the personal use of campaign money by Illinois legislators and banned most gifts from lobbyists. Before the law was passed, one organization ranked Illinois worst among 50 states for its campaign finance regulations.
  • A High Standard: Unlike other candidates Obama’s campaign refuses to accept contributions from Washington lobbyists and political action committees.

To me, this is one of the more important issues, and in this race I was looking for someone who could clearly reverse the trend that the Bush administration came to embody.  This is an issue that effects the very core of our democracy.  Is our government “of the people and for the people”, or is it simply guided by the whims and wishes of powerful donors, lobbyists, special interest groups and cronies? 

Of the remaining candidates, Romney and Huckabee don’t even address this issue (at least, not on their websites), and McCain’s position is pretty light on specifics.  Clinton, to her credit, does address it, but with such an established Washington political machine and extensive network, it lacks believability and it’s hard to look at this as much more than lip service.  Clinton is running a campaign run by big donors, and where there are big donors there are usually expectations of big favors.  Obama, on the other hand, has a certain amount of purity being a relative newcomer to Washington and is running his bid on an extraordinary amount of much more numerous and smaller donations.   Where some see lack of experience, I see a man who hasn’t become corrupted by the system and is genuinely coming in to do the people’s business, which gives him a lot more credibility when it comes to what he has posted on his website for this issue.

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Goodbye Rudy, Tuesday

January 29, 2008

Well, the Florida results are in, and Rudy’s out

The question that is undoubtedly on many people’s minds:  What the heck happened to Giuliani?  I think we’ve just witnessed a campaign roll off a hill, and I’m not quite sure what caused it.  According to most polls, Rudy was the frontrunner for most of 2007, and as late as early December still had double-digit leads over most of the other candidates, including John McCain. 

1/15-17/08 12/3-5/07 11/5-7/07
% % %  
John McCain

22

13

13

 
Mike Huckabee

16

18

10

 
Mitt Romney

16

12

12

 
Rudy Giuliani

14

26

29

 
Fred Thompson

9

11

19

 
Ron Paul

4

3

n/a

 
Other (vol.)

1

1

2

 
None (vol.)

8

7

7

 
Unsure

10

9

8

 
Newt Gingrich

n/a

n/a

n/a

 
Sam Brownback

n/a

n/a

n/a

Was it “World Wavered, History Hesitated“, or did people simply forget about 9/11?  ‘Cause he was there on 9/11.

9/11.

He was there, and he didn’t waver, remember?

Oh  what the heck, one more time… for Rudy…

9/11.

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In ’08 Race, Boo Birds Are Not An Endangered Species

January 15, 2008

Seriously, what’s with all the booing?

McCain booed in Michigan…twice; Update: Video added

Clinton booed at MLK rally in New York 

Mitt Romney Gets Booed For Attacking Ron Paul

Obama Booed At NAACP Speech

Giuliani booed on gun control

Ron Paul gets booed at the Univision GOP debate

Edwards gets booed

Brownback Booed For Support Of Federal Amendment On Gay Marriage

It reminds me of the old Chexx bubble hockey game. It had a “boo” button, which was usually pressed after your opponent scored a goal. It got me thinking.  Maybe I should just keep a “boo” track on my site for watching the debates. It might be fun!

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Kos Urges Michigan To Vote For Romney

January 12, 2008

There are reactions across political web to this: Let’s have some fun in Michigan

For Michigan Democrats, the Democratic primary is meaningless since the DNC stripped the state of all its delegates (at least temporarily) for violating partyrebelleader.jpg rules. Hillary Clinton is alone on the ballot.

But on the GOP side, this primary will be fiercely contested. John McCain is currently enjoying the afterglow of media love since his New Hamsphire victory, while Iowa winner Mike Huckabee is poised to do well in South Carolina.  

Meanwhile, poor Mitt Romney, who’s suffered back-to-back losses in the last week, desperately needs to win Michigan in order to keep his campaign afloat.  Bottom line, if Romney loses Michigan, he’s out. If he wins, he stays in.

And we want Romney in, because the more Republican candidates we have fighting it out, trashing each other with negative ads and spending tons of money, the better it is for us. We want Mitt to stay in the race, and to do that, we need him to win in Michigan.

Forget the ethical implications, the effect on Kos’ reputation, and the fact that it reveals a certain lack of confidence in one’s own candidates,  I’m not convinced that this tactic will work quite the way he’s hoping.  I don’t know if he can pull together such a movement in only a few days.

If it works?  This has come-back-to-bite-you-on-the-ass written all over it.   Suppose Mitt goes on to win the general election?  Kos would be the laughing stock of the blogophere.  It just seems like a risk that isn’t worth the potential reward.

I don’t live in Michigan, but even as an Obama supporter, I can’t endorse this sort of subversion.  I’m not so blinded by partisanship to believe that its worth tainting our democratic process.  The tactic sounds childish, and the fact that he believes that he can influence such a thing seems arrogant and egotistical.  Luckily, after 900+ comments in that Kos thread, the reaction is mixed.  Many believe as I do.  Others wonder if another candidate should be the target.  Currently, I think this idea will flop, but Kos will probably wind up with some egg on his face either way. 

I would hope that if you’re an independent or Democrat and decided to vote for a GOP candidate, it would be for the person most in-line with your political views.  Period.

Update:  There’s actually an ad now. (h/t Katie for the email) 

Hilarious?

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Who Gives A Flying ___ If Romney’s Pop Marched With MLK?

December 22, 2007

Seriously.  I thought that I was beginning to understand the dynamics of this war that those of us in America call the electoral process, but my mind can’t avoid being ravaged by the effects of bewilderment when I see some of the crap that is dragged into the theater.  After all, the minor embellishment that forces the analyzation of the meaning of what “saw” means has little to do with 99.9% of the much more critical situations that our country faces at the moment.   No one really saw it coming, yet, here it is:

Mike Allen / The Politico:

Witnesses recall Romney-MLK march  —  Shirley Basore, 72, says she was sitting in the hairdresser’s chair in wealthy Grosse Pointe, Mich., back in 1963 when a rumpus started and she discovered that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and her governor, George Romney, were marching for civil rights — right past the window.

RELATED:

Michael Luo / New York Times:

Romney Learns That ‘Facts Are Stubborn Things’  —  FORT DODGE, Iowa — There was the period last spring when Mitt Romney claimed while campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire that he had been a hunter “pretty much all my life,” only to have to admit later he had seriously hunted on only two occasions.

 And I know that its probably poor form to just copy/paste all those links from memeorandum like that.  I don’t care.   If the media really wants to run with this crap, well, I guess I can’t stop them, but at least I can call out the bloggers for taking part.  

Of all the things to focus on from Romney’s big speech (aka “The Speech”), this seems like the most surreal of the bunch.  I mean, we’re talking about a claim that has absolutely nothing to do with anything beyond an attempt to shore up a vote that the guy probably wouldn’t have had anyway.  A footnote, really. 

 And…

Just remember that, somehow, Americans everywhere have let the disingenuousness of the current administration slide right by (on issues that were, literally, a matter of life and death), while this -in comparison- is something that anyone with a pulse and a brain might throw into #135th column on the list of things that are actually important when it comes to choosing the next president of the United States. 

Did Mitt actually “see” it?  Maybe not.  Was Romney Sr. pro-MLK?  Sure.  What the ___ difference does it really make then?

C’mon!

But, by all means, have at it.

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Somebody Grab A Mop

December 7, 2007

Well, today was the day for Mitt Romney’s much-anticipated (for those who care, anyway) “religion” speech (aka “The Speech”).  For the better part of a week, the media and the blogs were discussing this thing, referring to it as a make-or-break political maneuver for a Mormon desperately trying to hold his ground as we enter the home stretch of this race.  From the outset, I was thinking that Mr. Romney was banking more on the hype than the content of the speech itself, since this was, in fact, being hyped.  Tremendously.  I really couldn’t figure out why this was made out to be such a big deal.  I mean, what do presidential candidates do when they’re campaigning?  Why, they give speeches!   

 Needless to say, there was a lot of chatter about this today because The Speech finally happened and the various pundits out there had their liveblogging gear all ready to go for the big event.  It appeared that just about eveyone had an opinion on this, but the one that stood out above the rest in the category of “largest cyber wad blown” belongs to…Hugh Hewitt.

You see, Mr. Hewitt found it necessary to post not one but two gush sessions over this, the likes of which would make Peter North cower in the corner in intimidation:

Mitt Romney’s “Faith in America” speech was simply magnificent, and anyone who denies it is not to be trusted as an analyst.  On every level it was a masterpiece.  The staging and Romney’s delivery, the eclipse of all other candidates it caused, the domination of the news cycle just prior to the start of absentee voting in New Hampshire on Monday –for all these reasons and more it will be long discussed as a masterpiece of political maneuver.

I’d actually agree with some of that, albeit on a somewhat less enthusiastic level.  However the Romney camp did it; whatever calls had to be made, emails sent, or blog entries posted…it certainly did get hyped.  It was Mitt Romney day today.  Of course, whether that hype pays political dividends is something that remains to be seen. 

As for the content of the speech, I’ll say that it was well written but delivered in a manner that lacked passion.  It was a speech that, to your average conservative, probably looked good on paper, but watching it I couldn’t help but be reminded of that public speaking course I took in college.  You know, the one where half the class falls asleep while your fellow classmates regurgitate the performance they gave to the mirror the night before.  It can be summed up pretty quickly:  He’s a) a Mormon, b) hopes you’re OK with that, and c) wants you to trust him that he won’t be taking marching orders from some polygamists meeting in secret in barns on some compound somewhere.  The rest of it was material that could have been delivered by any of the candidates (including a few of the Dems).

Anyway, I thought I’d close this entry with another Hewitt howler (hey, maybe I could coin that?); after he gave examples of all the prominent conservative pundits that gave the thumbs up to the speech The Speech, he posted this:

Here are seven of the most influential conservative commentators in the U.S., and their opinions on the Romney success are all aligned with mine.  Thus, objectively, the speech cannot be judged as other than an extraordinary success for Romney.

I’m not exactly sure what brand of logic that is.  If Romney’s goal for the speech was simply to get glowing reviews from blowhard pundits, he probably could have opined about his love for Cap’n Crunch as long as he bought all seven of them a fully loaded Tahoe for Christmas.  Ultimately, positive reviews are never a bad thing, but people have to actually show up at the theater (so to speak) before phrases like “extraordinary success” get thrown around, right?  Objectively speaking, that is.

Update:  Even the folks at Hot Air are with me on this one, which is kinda rare, actually:

Exit question: Does Hugh need to “sit down”?

LOL.  It’s too bad that I can’t comment over there.  I was going to say “take a nap”.

Update:  Iowahawk parodies Hewitt;  definitely worth a link:   In My Objective Opinion.

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