Bronze-level articleMitt Romney

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Guide to:

U.S. Politics

Icon politics USA.svg
Hail to the Chief?
Persons of interest


“His religion isn’t the issue--he’s the issue...At some point you need to be honest about who you are. He has an authenticity problem. People don’t get him. They don’t feel that they know the guy.”
[1]

Willard Mitt "Romney" Romney (born March 12, 1947) was a candidate for the God, Guns, and Gays Party nomination in the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election, and is running again, this time as the near-certain nominee, in 2012. He served as Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007.

One of Romney's claims to fame was saving the Salt Lake City Olympics from rampant corruption. However, he is probably most notable for his perfect[2] hair.

Many Republicans consider him to be a RINO. Romney is a man of deep conviction who holds fast to his principles unless it is convenient to abandon them, leading The Economist to characterize him as "several vertebrae short of a backbone".[3]

What is certain is that Romney is consumed with a lust for power.

Contents

Religion

Romney's membership in the Mormon Church has been an element of controversy in the run-up to both the 2008 and 2012 primaries,. and his faith could be a substantial handicap to his candidacy, as 22% of Americans say they would not vote for a Mormon as president (though JFK was elected despite similar opposition to Catholicism at the time).[4] The critical question for Romney and the Republican Party may boil down to that of what proportion of Republicans would prefer a comfortable chair in front of a television rather than go out and vote for a Mormon? [5]

He avoided the Vietnam draft for several years through studying and Mormon missionary work.[6]

As a political grandstander, he has been firm in pointing out that in the West, "marriage" has meant "one man and one woman" for over two thousand years, not just since 1890 when the Mormon church leaders caved before the U.S. government seizure of all their property experienced a divine revelation and gave up polygamy.

Despite being a Mormon, he has had fewer wives than Newt Gingrich, Ronald Reagan, or Rudolph Giuliani, being married to one woman, who is the only woman he has ever married.[7]

Governor Romney. That hair!

2008 campaign

In 2008, Romney attempted to woo social conservatives by running as a right-winger, a significant departure from the moderate positions which he held during his days in Massachusetts. He flip-flopped on abortion, gun control and a whole lot of other hot-button issues.[8][9] His claim that he'd seen his father march with Martin Luther King, when it could be proved that both of them had been in different places at the time, earned him the coveted "Pinocchio Award" for truthfulness lying from the Washington Post. [10] [11] [12] He also wanted to show everyone how tough he is by doubling the size of the Guantanamo Bay prison.

Romney's 2008 campaign was surprisingly free of personal scandals and embarassing revelations. The only notable mini-scandal it yielded involved one of Romney's senior aides, Director of Communications Jay Garrity, who took a peculiar approach to handling the press: he and a few other campaign workers dressed up as policemen and used fake badges to order reporters away from events and avoid highway tolls.[13] [14]

Mitt Romney eventually ended suspended his campaign on February 7, 2008 after seeing his results in the Super Tuesday primaries, saying that him staying in the race "would make it easier for Senator Clinton or Senator Barack Obama to win" and that his campaign would "be a part of aiding surrender to terror". Whatever helps you sleep at night, Mitt. After that he endorsed John McCain on February 14 (mmm... Valentine's Day) and supported him ever since. This must have impressed him as Romney was said to be one of McCain's choices for a Vice-President, though God knows why.

In a feeble attempt to compensate after a failed try for both the presidency and vice-presidency, Romney (and another also-ran for the 2008 Republican Presidential candidacy) decided to make trouble at the 2008 Democratic National Convention by creating an on-site "war room" to try and get media coverage by spewing his skewed nonsense about the Obama campaign. Like his bid for the Presidency and Vice-Presidency, this was not a success.

2012 campaign

Romney is taking another shot at the Presidential election in 2012, but his record for truthfulness makes it hard to ascertain what he stands for or what he would do in office.

Romney has a few hurdles to overcome; he's not very popular among his own party's base, and tends not to come across as the type of guy people like. [15] That said, he is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, most likely because many of the other candidates are/were batshit crazy right-wingers who wouldn't stand a chance in the general election.

Romney's drive to secure the nomination has not come cheap. He spent four times as much money per vote (and three times as much per delegate won) as Rick Santorum.[16] He will need a lot more money if he is to defeat Barack Obama, who raises money well, both in smaller increments from a broad donor base and in large donations to so-called "super PACs".

Primary and caucus highlights

Romney's campaign for the Republican nomination revealed the deep ideological fault lines in the party:

Iowa Republicans were pretty much evenly split between Romney and Rick Santorum, [17] although Santorum won a narrow victory after a recount. [18]

Despite the calibre of the opposition, the South Carolina's Bible Belt had little confidence in him, throwing their weight behind Newt Gingrich. [19]

Romney did well in Florida, a state whose panhandle is in the Bible Belt.[20]

However, a few hiccups aside, once Santorum pulled out, it became clear that Romney will secure the nomination. In effect, his faction - finance capital - will once again subordinate the other factions: Christian Right and various other globules of bigotry.

Obama

On May 31 2011 Romney called Barack Obama "one of the most ineffective Presidents" he's ever seen, and argued that he could beat him in the general election. [21] That sufficed at the time to set him apart from the rest of the field, making him the closest thing to a frontrunner. For the 2012 campaign, Romney has apparently given up on trying to sell himself as a social conservative, and bases his candidacy mostly on criticizing Obama's handling of the economy:

Obama did not cause this recession, but he made it worse...[Is Romney admitting that Bush caused the recession?] it will be essential to have a person who understands how the economy works, understands what it takes to create and grow jobs, in the White House.”[22]

This particular claim — which is now central to Romney's sales pitch — has been repeatedly knocked down. After Romney made the assertion in his announcement speech, fact checkers demolished it.[23] According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the recession ended in June of 2009.[24] The Associated Press, meanwhile, pointed out that the gross domestic product, the prime measure of economic strength, picked up modestly after Obama took office, adding that while unemployment is still very high, "the recession officially ended six months into his presidency”, which is obviously an improvement. Yet Romney was cheerfully repeating the bogus claim again. What we’re seeing here are the limits of fact-checking — something we rediscover every cycle.

  1. Candidates, party committees and outside groups make false claims.
  2. Media fact-checkers go to work and debunk the claims.
  3. The candidates and groups go right on making them anyway.
  4. Reporters stop pointing out that they’re false.

Romney seems to hope that a lie repeated often enough will eventually be believed, and he might be right on that account. When challenged he tried to deny he had ever said it [25] which was yet another flip flop. [26] We are waiting to see if he repeats that lie yet again. [27]

Unemployment

Apart from bashing Obama, Romney also frequently promises voters that the unemployment situation will dramatically improve once he's in office and as late as February 1st he was promising an era of prosperity. How exactly does he plan to get people working? Mitt just says he’ll "focus, focus, focus." That certainly sounds impressive, but what will Romney focus on? Mitt has not said anything clear about that. He’ll just "focus, focus, focus" on something or other and somehow that will create jobs. [28] Since he already made the same promise during his tenure in Massachusetts, it's worth checking out his record:

During his full term in office, Massachusetts ranked 47th in the nation in terms of job creation according to the U.S. Labor Department. The only states that created fewer jobs were Ohio, Michigan and Louisiana. Also, when you examine Romney’s job creation ranking during the first two years of his administration (the period that Obama has now been in office), you will discover that Massachusetts ranked 50th. [29]

Despite this less-than-stellar achievement, his supporters still hope that the whole country would fare better under his leadership than Massachusetts did [30], his oponents argue that if Mitt Romney’s an economic heavyweight, we’re in trouble. [31]

Romney-care problem

Mitt Romney has been facing harsh criticism for stating that nothing is "more misguided and egregious" than the Obama administration's federal health care overhaul. He then went on to state "Obamacare is bad law constitutionally, bad policy, and it is bad for America’s families,” Romney said. “The federal government isn’t the answer for running health care any more than it’s the answer for running Amtrak or the Post Office."[32]

This is because the Massachusetts' health care overhaul he signed into law in 2006 served as a model for the federal law. [33][34] And even the Democratic Party have thanked Romney on their website for the model he gave them. [35] Romney proudly touts the law in his list of achievements, while refusing to acknowledge large similarities between the two laws.[36] When pushed about how he stated it was unconstitutional at a federal level, he pleaded it was different because it's a state plan.[37]

Trying to help uninsured sick people get better is a serious weakness in the eyes of some Republicans as The Onion notes.[38]

Cutting spending

Romney is campaigning on a promise to cut public spending, eliminate some government departments and merge others. Romney has been cagey about exactly how he would enact budget cuts.[39] [40] He told private sponsors a bit about his plans when he had no idea reporters were listening in; what the reporters overheard heard led to speculation that education and public housing may be targeted for cuts should Romney win the election.

Political positions

Romney apparently is a politician, and as such, presents a strong principled position from time to time. The trouble is his principles change so much it becomes hard to tell what he stands for or will stand for in the future.

Issue Flip Flop
Abortion "I respect and will protect a woman’s right to choose. This choice is a deeply personal one. Women should be free to choose based on their own beliefs, not mine and not the government’s." (2002)[41] "I am pro-life. I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother." (2005)[41]
Gun control "That's not going to make me the hero of the NRA. I don't line up with the NRA." (1994)
"We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts; I support them. I won't chip away at them; I believe they protect us and provide for our safety." (2002)[42]
"I have a gun of my own. I go hunting myself. I'm a member of the NRA and believe firmly in the right to bear arms." (2008)[42] - The part about owning a gun was a lie, by the way.
Don't Ask, Don't Tell "Clinton’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy on gays in the military is a fine first step, but must ultimately lead to gays and lesbians being able to serve openly and honestly in our nation’s military." (1994) [43] "As for military policy and the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, I trust the counsel of those in uniform who have set these policies over a dozen years ago. I agree with President Bush’s decision to maintain this policy and I would do the same." (2006) [43]
Stem cell research "He supports stem cell research on new and existing lines, in both private and federally funded settings.” - Romney's spokesman in 2004[44] "The governor has never been a proponent of expanded federal funding or state funding for embryonic stem cell research.” - Romney's spokesman in 2007[44]

Etch-a-Sketch

In an interview on CNN, a campaign staffer for Romney responded to questions regarding Romney's far-right positions hurting him in the general election (should he be nominated) by stating that Romney can "reset" for the general election [45]:

It's almost like an Etch-a-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.
[46]

The obvious redundancy of "restart all over again" aside, opponents Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich jumped on this gaffe to show further how Romney's political views change with the wind.[47] Romney later backtracked from his staffer's statement, saying his political positions would remain the same during the general election.[48] The statement and its backlash, however, did cause a temporary spike in the stock price of Ohio Arts, the creator of the Etch-a-Sketch[49] as well as a 15-fold increase in sales on Amazon.com[50] The comparison also drew fire from pundit Rachel Maddow who not only criticized Romney for his ever-changing positions but also remarked that Ohio Arts was now producing the Etch-a-Sketch in China at substandard wages—even by Chinese standards—a move that had been previously decried by major purchaser Toys R Us, a company owned by Bain Capital which Romney co-founded.[51][52]

Miscellaneous

Mitt the Ripper
Romney argues that "corporations are people." How did he treat those people? As one analysis put it, as head of Bain Capital, he "... bought companies, carved them up and got rid of what he couldn’t use." [53]

One law for the rich and another for the poor

  1. If a mother is poor and on welfare she should be forced to go out and work, because Mitt thinks work is more dignified.
  2. If a mother is rich like his own wife staying at home to raise children is hard work. [54] [55] [56]

Mitt the dog lover
Is it kind to keep a dog in a carrier, strap it to the roof of a station wagon, and carry on even when the animal defecates in terror? Romney's critics don't think so. [57]

See also

Footnotes

  1. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0412/75163.html
  2. Werewolves of London
  3. http://www.economist.com/node/21542180
  4. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/05/mormons-mitt-romney-jon-huntsman-presidential
  5. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/jan/17/mitt-romney-problem-with-evangelicals
  6. http://www.boston.com/news/politics/2008/specials/romney/articles/part1_side_2/http://www.boston.com/news/politics/2008/
  7. http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2011/12/07/mitt_romney_is_married_to_one_woman_to_the_only_woman_he_s_ever_married_hint_hint_.html
  8. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/04/AR2008020402805.html
  9. http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/160351/20110609/mitt-romney-flip-flop.htm
  10. Romney Wins WaPo Pinocchio Award
  11. http://thephoenix.com/Boston/news/53200-was-it-all-a-dream/
  12. Mitt Romney, a man of falsehoods
  13. http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2007/06/fortune_reporte_1.html
  14. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/22/us/politics/22romney.html
  15. ‘Likability’ scores are hurdle for Romney
  16. [1]
  17. Iowa caucuses: Romney pips Santorum
  18. Mitt Romney stripped of Iowa win after recount
  19. South Carolina poll: Gingrich triumphs over Romney
  20. Mitt Romney scores big Florida primary win
  21. Huffington Post - Mitt Romney Blasts Obama: 'One Of The Most Ineffective Presidents,' He's 'Failed' (VIDEO) (HuffPo is a shit reference)
  22. Washington Post: Mitt Romney again repeats debunked claim that Obama made recession “worse”
  23. Mitt Romney again repeats debunked claim that Obama made recession “worse”
  24. NBER: US Business Cycle Expansions and Contractions
  25. http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_07/romney_makes_it_worse_with_obv030618.php
  26. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20076136-503544.html
  27. See Argumentum ad nauseam
  28. Mitt Romney will say anything to become President
  29. http://lynnrockets.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/mittwit-romney-makes-it-official-the-flip-flop-campaign-begins/
  30. http://lynnrockets.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/mittwit-romney-makes-it-official-the-flip-flop-campaign-begins/
  31. If Mitt Romney’s an economic heavyweight, we’re in trouble
  32. Politico - Mitt Romney's prescription for 'Obamacare': Repeal it
  33. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/06/06/110606fa_fact_lizza
  34. http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2011-06-22-obama-romney-health-care-Massachusetts_n.htm
  35. Say "Thanks" to Mitt Romney
  36. Mitt Romney vs. ObamaCare
  37. Transcript: Mitt Romney on 'FNS'
  38. Mitt Romney Haunted By Past Of Trying To Help Uninsured Sick People
  39. Romney offers policy details at closed-door fundraiser
  40. What would Romney cut? Overheard conversation holds clues
  41. 41.0 41.1 http://www.bestnewspolitics.com/republican-beliefs/mitt-romney-shifts-on-abortion/
  42. 42.0 42.1 Boston Herald: Romney, appealing to core GOP voters, toughens pro-gun rhetoric
  43. 43.0 43.1 Democrats.org: Mitt Romney’s Top 5 Flip-Flops
  44. 44.0 44.1 New York Times: Romney Faces Another ‘Flip-Flop’ Question: Has He Changed on Stem Cells?
  45. Sexism, plutocracy, bigotry? What does the Republican nominee stand for?
  46. [2]
  47. [3]
  48. [4]
  49. [5]: Stock price went from USD$4.00 to USD$12.50, representing a more than 200% increase in value to shareholders, should they have dumped at the peak
  50. [6]
  51. [7]
  52. Is your head spinning yet?
  53. "Colbert’s ‘Super PAC’ Runs Attack Ad."
  54. Mitt Romney's flip-flop on stay-at-home moms: Will it matter?
  55. The Mommy Wars: Mitt Romney says poor women with kids should work to get dignity
  56. Feud Alert! Roseanne Barr vs. Mitt Romney's Wife, Ann
  57. Mitt Romney’s dog-on-the-car-roof story still proves to be his critics’ best friend
United States 2008 Presidential election articles on RationalWiki
Topics: 2008 U.S. Presidential Election - Democratic Party - Debate:Religious beliefs and public office - Republican Party - Same-sex marriage - United States Electoral College
Candidates: Hillary Rodham Clinton - Rudolph Giuliani - Mike Huckabee - John McCain - Alan Keyes - Dennis Kucinich - Ron Paul - Mitt Romney
Running mates: Joe Biden - Sarah Palin
Winner: Barack Obama
Personal tools
Namespaces

Variants
Actions
Navigation
Community
Tools
support