Projecting moderation while professing extremism is quite a trick, and Romney may perhaps grasp the brass ring. But he makes everyone uneasy. Moderate Republican voters, of whom there may be more than meet the eye, may worry that President Romney will be captive to a GOP Congress beholden to the base. Tea Party types may worry that he’ll shake the Etch-A-Sketch again when dancing to a different piper, the general electorate and/or a divided Congress. No one, in any case, likes a liar, and people across the political spectrum know that Romney lies from sunup to sundown. Democrats know that nothing he says about Obama is true; conservatives know that nothing he says about his past positions and actions is true; and moderates know, or should know, that he’s betrayed them to the base.
Every politician plays the game, but Romney is just shameless.
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum speaks to supporters during a campaign appearance in Fallon, Nevada February 2, 2012. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)
You can practically hear the champagne corks popping in the White House as the Republicans in Congress and the presidential candidates start talking about social issues. Rick Santorum wants to go back to 1949, and suddenly the angry right is talking more about contraception that jobs.
If you’re a Republican in New York or another big city, you may be anxious or even terrified at the prospect that Rick Santorum, the supposedly unelectable social conservative, may win the GOP presidential nomination. Jeffrey Bell would like to set your mind at ease.
Social conservatism, Mr. Bell argues in his forthcoming book, “The Case for Polarized Politics,” has a winning track record for the GOP. “Social issues were nonexistent in the period 1932 to 1964,” he observes. “The Republican Party won two presidential elections out of nine, and they had the Congress for all of four years in that entire period. . . . When social issues came into the mix—I would date it from the 1968 election . . . the Republican Party won seven out of 11 presidential elections.”
Read the whole thing. It’s a staggering example of selectively picking facts to suit your argument. Listening to this argument, you would think that the Cold War, the economy and the Iranian hostage crisis had nothing to do with Reagan’s win in 1980 (let alone Ted Kennedy’s challenge to Carter in the primaries).
This simplistic view might placate some Republicans, and hopefully enough of them will jump on this bandwagon. Perhaps we’ll see a fall campaign with Rick Santorum railing against contraception and online gambling.
Not surprisingly, Mitt Romney’s Super PAC is now going after Rick Santorum. Romney’s team has no choice, as Romney’s support is plummeting, yet all the negativity surrounding Romney’s attack ads is taking its toll on Romney as well. He’s a lame candidate, and his only strategy seems to be tearing apart even lamer candidates. His support among independents is tanking, and his “severely conservative” speech is making him a laughing stock with conservatives.
As for Santorum, he’s vulnerable to attack for many reasons. In a general election he’ll have to answer for his extreme positions on social issues, but he’s also the poster child for Republican mistakes during the Bush years when they spent like crazy trying to keep their majority.
Yet even with all these vulnerabilities, the Romney ad comes across as a series of cheap shots. Sure, Santorum voted to increase the debt limit, but everyone was voting that way, including practically all Republicans when Bush was president.
I still have no idea how this is going to play out, but whoever emerges from this savage primary season will be very damaged heading into a general election.
Ann Romney introduces her husband, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, at a campaign rally in Las Vegas February 1, 2012. The Nevada caucuses take place on February 4. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)
It’s all perfectly legal, but now we have another reason why Mitt Romney fought like crazy to avoid disclosing his tax returns.
Read the article from Reuters for all the gory details. All of this is tied to the “carried interest” exemption that is basically a gift to private equity managers on Wall Street.
Romney will get hammered for this and his overall tax rate in the campaign, and it’s a legitimate issue as Romney is arguing that taxes for the wealthy should be even lower.
Oh, and this is the same guy who just said he’s “not concerned about the very poor.” And yes, his tax plan calls for increasing taxes on the working poor.
I was planning a post on how the GOP deserved Newt Gingrich, as his nomination would be the culmination of a generation of Republican politicians who practiced the worst form of divisive politics. An Obama landslide over Newt would be the perfect ending to that story.
But Romney might be even better. He’s the poster child for the ridiculous conservative argument that all our problems will be solved by lowering taxes on rich people. Romney, in his attempt to hide his liberal past, has embraced right-wing dogma on practically every issue, including taxes. Now, the public will see exactly what today’s conservatives stand for, and they’ll have a walking and talking embodiment of the type of people who benefit from these policies.
I don’t suspect they’ll like what they see. This election will likely be very difficult for Obama if Romney is the nominee, but the more I see of him, the more he looks like a Mike Dukakis in terms of political skills. Romney has real vulnerabilities in states like Ohio where he supported the anti-union law that got repealed by over 60% in a referendum. If Romney loses Ohio it’s likely he can’t win.
When considering education policy, we face a dilemma regarding affordability. Many of us believe that it’s important to make college accessible to all people who are qualified to be admitted to a university. This is critical for growing or even maintaining the middle class in this country. Thus we have programs like grants and student loans.
Yet the availability of these funds provides little incentive for colleges to control costs. Over the years, college costs have skyrocketed as has student debt.
Some conservatives might argue that we shouldn’t be subsidizing college at all, but few agree with this line of thinking. America became great in large part due to our massive investments in higher education. The GI Bill helped to fuel the massive growth of the middle class following WWII.
So we need to continue to promote college education and help poor and middle class kids with affordability, but we need to inject some common sense controls into the system as well.
The Obama Administration is trying to address the problem, using some of the same incentives that were used to spur reform and innovation with their Race to the Top program for K-12 school systems.
President Obama is proposing a financial aid overhaul that for the first time would tie colleges’ eligibility for campus-based aid programs — Perkins loans, work-study jobs and supplemental grants for low-income students — to the institutions’ success in improving affordability and value for students, administration officials said.
Under the plan, which the president is expected to outline on Friday morning in a speech at the University of Michigan, the amount available for Perkins loans would grow to $8 billion, from the current $1 billion. The president also wants to create a $1 billion grant competition, along the lines of the Race for the Top program for elementary and secondary education, to reward states that take action to keep college costs down, and a separate $55 million competition for individual colleges to increase their value and efficiency.
The administration also wants to give families clearer information about costs and quality, by requiring colleges and universities to offer a “shopping sheet” that makes it easier to compare financial aid packages and — for the first time — compiling post-graduate earning and employment information to give students a better sense of what awaits them.
Many universities won’t be happy about this, particularly at a time when states are cutting back on education budgets. Yet the slavish devotion to more buildings and other expenses needs to stop. Having incentives to provide real value to students will change the calculation for university presidents and trustees.
Also, the notion of a shopping sheet is very important, as many college kids and their parents are clueless about the notion of costs vs benefits. There’s nothing wrong with a liberal arts degree, particularly if you have thoughts of going to grad school, but leaving undergrad with $120,000 worth of debt for an English degree is economic suicide. If kids start seeing the real costs as they vary from school to school, they will be more inclined to consider cost as a part of their decision on where to go to school. This of course is part of a larger problem where most Americans have very poor financial literacy, so these types of comparisons will encourage them to consider costs by giving them tools to make easy comparisons. As a part of that, college students will then be more likely to at least consider the economic value of their college major as well.
Given the current political environment, I won’t hold my breath on seeing the Republicans work with President Obama on any topic, even something like this that should be supported by both parties. Conservatives and liberals can argue about the size of government, both both should be working tirelessly to make government and its programs work better.
You can’t really blame Ann Coulter and others on the right for their reactions to Newt’s victory in South Carolina. But the right deserves this. They’ve been built on hatred and contempt for the left and for Barack Obama, so this is what they get.
Mitt Romney has had a bad week, and his “maybe” answer regarding his willingness to release tax returns for prior years like his father did many years ago will likely go down as one of those iconic campaign moments that help define a candidate.
It was obvious to me for the past month that this would be a real issue. The tax code has been manipulated for years by lobbyists, and wealthy financiers like Romney get huge breaks, including the indefensible carried interest.
Romney is particularly vulnerable on this issue as he’s proposing to lower tax rates on the wealthy even more. Now he has compounded the problem with his muddled answers.
The ad above was created quickly after his disastrous debate performance. Right now the polls suggest he’ll lose the South Carolina primary to Newt Gingrich.
Basically, Newt Gingrich was having an affair during his second marriage with Callista, who later became his third wife. According to Marianne, Newt wanted an “open marriage” so that he could continue the affair.
I’m not a big fan of the private sexual life of a politician being an issue in campaigns. There are plenty of men who have had affairs who managed to be good presidents. The hysteria over Bill Clinton’s personal shortcomings was idiotic, as it led to impeachment hearings.
But we know that these things matters to some voters, particularly conservative and religious voters. Newt’s marital problems are well-known, but this salacious detail regarding his desire for an open marriage will certainly garner attention. Had Bill Clinton run again, his personal life and the Monica Lewinsky affair certainly would have been issues as well.
Also, there are few people as contemptuous as Newt Gingrich. He’s always willing to pass judgement on others, often in the harshest terms, so if anyone deserves this scrutiny it’s him. He doesn’t have a warm personality or a record of good will to fall back on.
It’s going to be fascinating to see how this plays out. Gingrich has a real shot at derailing Mitt Romney, but he needs to get past this story. If he can’t, then perhaps Rick Santorum can emerge as the last obstacle to a Mitt Romney nomination.
Rick Perry acknowledged that Newt isn’t perfect and he stressed the importance of forgiveness and redemption. Let’s see how the evangelical voters of South Carolina feel about it.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry participates in the ABC News, Yahoo! News, WMUR Republican Presidential Debate on the campus of Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire on January 7, 2011. New Hampshire will hold the first-in-the-nation primary on January 10. UPI/Kevin Dietsch
Rick Perry’s embarrassing foray into national politics will end today according to multiple press reports. In one of the worst fields of presidential candidates in modern political history, Rick Perry stood out as one of the chief yahoos in the confederacy of dunces.
This shouldn’t have been a surprise, as Perry’s main claim to fame leading up to 2012 was his suggestion that the State of Texas might secede from the union.
His debate “performances” have become legendary. He made George W. Bush sound like Lawrence Olivier. He consistently made outrageous statements, like this past week when he suggested that the leaders of NATO ally Turkey were “Islamic terrorists.”
Perry hoped that right wing hysteria might sweep him to the nomination, but Republican voters recoiled at his utter incompetence. You can’t rally voters if you can’t manage a coherent sentence. This week, Erick Erickson of RedState.com urged Perry to drop out. Understandably, conservatives do not want Mitt Romney as their nominee. Newt Gingrich is also a disaster for the GOP, but at least he has some credibility among conservatives and can handle himself in a debate.
Rick Perry finally realized that he had no chance in South Carolina and conservatives needed to stop splitting the anti-Romney vote. Perhaps he’s not quite as dumb as he sounds.
The “oops” candidate now leaves the national stage as one of the biggest laughing stocks in American politics.