Tag: Mitt Romney
By John Stark
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has had some time to reconsider his sharp critique of his own party, which we blogged here . He seems to have decided to keep those critiques coming.
Jindal was quick to respond to Mitt Romney’s remark that Obama bought victory at the polls by “gifts” to minorities and young voters.
“I think that’s absolutely wrong,” Jindal said. “We have got to stop dividing the American voters. We need to go after 100 percent of the votes, not 53 percent.“
Jindal may not be alone in those sentiments. He was speaking on a public panel alongside Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, whose battles with public employee unions made him the target of much animosity. Walker seconded at least some of what Jindal was saying.
The Republican Party is not “just for people who are currently not dependent on the government,” Walker told CNN. “It’s for all Americans.”
Let’s see if this “big tent strategy” gains any traction in the party and the nation. Has Jindal come up with a winning strategy for his speculative 2015 run for the presidency? Or has he said things that other Republican hopefuls will be able to use against him?
By John Stark
It was a long, long ballot bristling with people and issues that mattered, from the White House to the Port of Bellingham offices on Roeder Avenue. The local races are in some ways the most suspenseful, because there is seldom any polling data to warn us what the voters are going to do.
What election result was most surprising to you? Was it Obama’s win? Rob McKenna’s seemingly weak showing? (People are saying that one is too close to call, but McKenna’s weak showing in King County makes it hard to visualize a comeback for him in late rounds of vote counting.)
How about Democrat Suzan DelBene’s rather healthy margin over hardy perennial John Koster in the redrawn 1st District, which includes most of Whatcom County outside Bellingham?
Or was it the big margin of victory for the Bellingham Home Fund, with city residents once again enthusiastically embracing a tax increase?
How about the port commission expansion, which seemed to have broad-spectrum support in Bellingham but looks headed to a narrow defeat in countywide voting?
Please share your thoughts once or twice.
By John Stark
As I write this, (9:43 p.m.) everyone agrees that Obama has the electoral votes to win–even though Florida and Ohio are still too close to call. Were’t we being assured that it would all come down to Ohio and Florida?
By John Stark
This afternoon I expect to interview Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate, before her appearance at Western Washington University.
Stein’s public address is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19 in Academic Instructional Center West, Room 219. It is sponsored by the campus group Socialist Alternative.
The campaign website has extensive information about Stein and the Green Party platform.
In 2008, Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney got 210 votes in Whatcom County. Stein’s showing in November might be an interesting gauge of how many local environmental activists and liberals have become disenchanted with Barack Obama.
Here is the press release announcing Stein’s Bellingham appearance:
“Jill Stein will outline the Green New Deal for America, which would expand on the most successful aspects of the New Deal crafted by FDR that pulled our country out of the last great depression, in order to create sustainable green jobs and stronger communities in America instead of costly overseas military entanglements. She will also talk about why she thinks voting for either of the corporate-sponsored parties is a wasted vote and her proposals for reducing medical costs by her version of Health Care instead of Sick Care from the aspect of a trained physician who has worked extensively on public health issues.
Also speaking will be Green Party candidate Howard Pellet, running for Representative of the 40th district. Jill Stein’s and Howard Pellett’s opponents have been invited to this forum, but have either declined or not responded to invitations.”
(End press release)
By John Stark
The Rev. Billy Graham’s website has deleted an article that referred to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons) as a cult.
This may be further evidence that evangelical Protestants are smoothing over their theological differences with the Mormons, whose members include not just Mitt Romney but (lest we forget) Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Theology aside, the Mormons would be relieved of any taint of cultishness based on author Tom Wolfe’s definition: “A cult is a religion without political power.”
By John Stark
Mitt Romney’s recent statements on abortion have brought that divisive issue back into the spotlight in the last 48 hours.
In an interview with the Des Moines Register, Romney said there was “no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.”
It’s worth a listen. In this interview, Romney himself introduces the subject and takes pains to refute what he says is the false charge that he opposes all abortions, including in cases of rape, incest and risk to the life of the mother. Romney says he does NOT oppose abortion in those circumstances.
When that remark was interpreted as a shift, on Romney’s part, toward a more moderate position on the pro-life/pro-choice spectrum, he and his campaign people moved quickly to reaffirm the GOP Presidential candidate’s pro-life credentials.
“Soon after his remarks were posted online Tuesday, a Romney spokeswoman told the Associated Press, “Mitt Romney is proudly pro-life, and he will be a pro-life president,” the Los Angeles Times reported. “Gov. Romney would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life,” spokeswoman Andrea Saul said.
Kaiser Health News offers a good list of links to several different news reports about this issue.
By John Stark
Did the Wednesday night faceoff between President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, change your view of either man?
If you are a devout follower of either one, that’s fine. But spare us the partisan cheerleading, if you can. Tell us if the debate shifted your thinking, your leanings, your attitude in any way.
I’ll confess to tuning in a bit late, but from what I saw, Obama’s vaunted debate and speaking abilities were not much in evidence. To me he seemed tired–the Presidency seems to do that to people– and his delivery was often halting.
It was clear that Romney was working hard to convince us he’s a sensible moderate alternative–not a wild-eyed right-wing radical. He spoke earnestly about the need for government regulations.
In the discussion of Medicare, it seemed as though the world was turned upside down. Romney–standard-bearer for the party of fiscal conservatism–repeatedly bashed Obama for cutting billions from Medicare by reducing the reimbursement rates the government pays to health care providers.
But both Romney and Obama agreed on the obvious need to bring down the cost of health care. The fact is that private insurers are also trying to control costs by holding down reimbursement rates. Here is a local example.
Cutting back on reimbursements is a simple way to force health care providers to cut their own costs. Maybe too simple. But if health care costs are really going to be cut, then we need to spend less on health care. Am I missing something?
By John Stark
When President Barack Obama announced he would “defer” the deportation of some illegal immigrants and allow them to apply for temporary work permits, he was denounced for enacting “amnesty” without action from Congress. Now, Mitt Romney says he has no immediate plans to undo Obama’s action, if elected.
In an interview with the Denver Post, Romney said he plans to take no action against those who have already taken Obama up on his offer of a two-year work permit. To qualify, “those eligible must have arrived in America before they turned 16, be under the age of 30, have been living in the country for five or more years, and be either in the military, in school or graduated,” acording to The Post.
The Post story also quotes an Obama spokeswoman saying that Romney’s recent remarks to the Post have not clarified his position on immigration issues, and on whether he would enact the hard-line measures that some Republican factions would prefer.
UPDATE: Immigration attorney Margaret Stock notes that Romney misused the term “visa” in his remarks. The temporary work permits authorized by the Obama administration are not visas, Stock said.
UPDATE 2: Here’s the New York Times take on this episode, with expanded remarks from Margaret Stock.
UPDATE 3: Stock also suggested this link to a page on the State Department website, explaining exactly what a visa is.
By John Stark
Political analysts of every stripe are weighing in on the significance of the upcoming presidential debate on Wednesday, and the conventional wisdom is that this is Mitt Romney’s best hope to reverse Obama’s recent gains and pick up some momentum in the final weeks before the election.
In the Wall Street Journal, Gerald Seib offers a thoughtful and refreshingly non-partisan overview of the debate. Key excerpt:
“… the difficulty Mr. Romney faces is that the kinds of attacks most likely to change the dynamic of the race or produce a memorable moment also happen to undermine a parallel Romney need, which is to make more voters warm up to him. Even candidates who successfully attack in a debate often make themselves less likable in the process. And Mr. Romney doesn’t have much likability to spare. On the other hand, he has less to lose at this point, which can be a liberating condition.”
In the Boston Globe, Callum Borchers notes recent poll data that shows Obama widening his lead over Romney in key swing states, even as the two men appear to be neck-and-neck in the overall popular vote.
Borchers offers this quote from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, predicting that the debate will shift many voters back to Romney.
“You saw the change in those polls happen very quickly, and I’m here to tell you this morning it can happen very quickly back the other way,” Christie said. “And I think the beginning of that is Wednesday night, when Governor Romney, for the first time, gets on the same stage as the president of the United States, and people can make a direct comparison about them and their visions for the future.’’
BTW– if you or your organization is planning any kind of public-invited debate-watching event in Bellingham and Whatcom County, feel free to post that info here as a comment.
By John Stark
Many Democrats seem to be icing down the champagne for an Election Night celebration, but Mitt Romney could still overcome Barack Obama’s apparent lead in opinion polls, says John Cassidy, writing in the New Yorker.
While Obama’s lead in the polls is significant, Cassidy notes that late-September margins typically get a lot tighter by Election Day, and the presidential debates are still to come.
Also still to come: economic and international headlines known only to Nostradamus. Will the October surprises benefit the President, or the challenger?
Also on the New Yorker website, the always-helpful Andy Borowitz offers still more comfort to the Romney camp under this headline: “Romney ahead in presidential race, say replacement refs.”
In one of the least-surprising developments of the week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s economic stimulus actions, announced Thursday, Sept. 13, have triggered a lot of political commentary.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Stephen Moore suggests that Bernanke is injecting new financial stimulus to help Barack Obama’s reelection prospects and thereby save his own job. Republican challenger Mitt Romney has said he will replace Bernanke if he is elected.
If Romney is, in fact, elected and Bernanke is shown the door, I’m guessing Bernanke won’t be unemployed any longer than he wants to be.
Romney himself had this reaction to the Fed’s moves: He called the stimulus a “sugar high” for the U.S. economy, according to this AFP report.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney wasted no time Monday in linking President Barack Obama to the teachers’ union, as striking teachers disrupted the school year for 400,000 Chicago students.
This AP report outline’s Romney’s statements about the strike, but also notes that Obama has already advocated some education policies that have put him at odds with the National Education Association — the big teachers’ union.
And Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former chief-of-staff, is the guy in the showdown with Windy City teachers. In this report from the Wall Street Journal, Emanuel criticizes the union and calls the strike “unnecessary.”
Obama’s earlier actions, and Romney’s comments today, make it pretty clear that politicians in both parties are aware that public employee unions are less than popular among the electorate at large. Conservative commentator Michael Barone cites some poll data in this column published online in June 2012.
Deep in the Republican Party’s 2012 platform is a reference to China’s allegedly unfair trade practices and a promise to “impose countervailing duties” on Chinese goods entering this country, if the Chinese do not shape up.
Maybe this is a secret plan for balancing the federal budget. Even a small federal tariff on Chinese goods entering this country could probably raise a lot of money — although this would be a tax that U.S. consumers would pay.
I don’t want to encourage anyone to take party platforms too seriously, but this item hasn’t gotten much attention that I’m aware of.
I’m indebted to an old crony, Nick Hayes, for pointing it out here.
My Facebook friends come from all points on the political compass, and it’s always amusing to watch them posting their reactions to major speeches and news events.
Last night, my Democratic-leaning friends posted their glowing reactions to Barack Obama’s acceptance speech, while the Republicans and conservatives scoffed at what they saw as empty rhetoric attempting to distract people from the dismal swamp that is our economy.
What do you think?
From the beginning of this campaign season, Mitt Romney has battled the idea that he is too moderate to appeal to the Republican Party’s right-wing base. To win the nomination, he had to fend off that charge repeatedly from rivals who contended that they were more in touch with the issues that mattered to social and cultural conservatives.
President Barack Obama has confronted dissatisfaction in liberal/progressive ranks. The current issue of Harper’s contains a savage essay from Thomas Frank that ridicules Obama’s efforts at compromise and suggests he may be little more than a tool for the same powerful financial interests that Frank believes dominated the Bush administration.
(Harper’s is subscription only.)
We would like to hear the views of Bellingham and Whatcom County partisans on these issues.
Are you a conservative Republican who will decline to vote for Romney? Will you vote for him, but with regret? Or do you think he is a worthy standard-bearer for your beliefs? Post your views in the comments section.
Democrats, feel free to do the same. If you are a left-liberal-progressive voter, will you decline to vote for a second term for Obama? Will you do so reluctantly? Or are you still enthusiastic about the audacity of hope?