Believe that, as President, Mitt Romney would revert to his days as a “Massachusetts Moderate?” Think again.
Every bit of evidence indicates that if he were President, the Far Right would lead Romney around by a ring in his nose.
Just last week, we saw it clearly on display. It didn’t take but two weeks for the Far Right to force the Romney campaign to sever its ties with openly gay Richard Grinnell, who it had hired as its foreign policy spokesman. The campaign itself argued that it had begged Grinnell to stay. But right wing talk show host Brian Fischer of the American Family Association, who had led the drive to force Grinnell’s resignation, declared it a major victory.
On his radio show, Fischer bragged that Romney had learned his lesson and would never again hire a gay or lesbian in a major campaign role. And you certainly didn’t see Romney contesting that assessment.
Instead we’ve seen Romney lined up shoulder to shoulder on TV with Tea Party icon Michele Bachmann, and Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell — a potential Romney VP pick and a champion of “trans-vaginal ultrasounds.”
The reason why there is not a chance that Romney will ever reinvent himself once again as a “moderate” is that he wasn’t really a “moderate” in the first place. He’s always practiced one version or the other of ultra right wing, “let Wall Street run wild” Romney economics. And he’s never given one thought to firing workers, cutting pensions, loading companies with debt and bleeding them dry of millions of dollars.
But you can’t really say that he is a committed believer in any economic principle or political value. Mitt Romney is committed to one thing and one thing alone — his own success. He has shown he has no core values whatsoever.
That’s why it wasn’t hard at all for Romney to shed his “moderate” past positions on issues like abortion rights, contraception, gay rights and immigration and to become what he himself calls a “severe conservative.”
Why will he remain a “severe conservative” if he is elected President? Because people who have no core values have no backbone. You won’t find Mitt Romney taking a stand against the dyed-in-the-wool ideologues that dominate the Republican caucus in Congress.
Those Republican ideologues may be way out of the mainstream, but they definitely have core values. Some of them were so committed to those values that they were willing to take our country to the brink of bankruptcy last year due to their unwillingness to give an inch of compromise.
The plain fact is that people with no core values never stand up to people who have core values. The fact is that Mitt Romney has the backbone of a jelly fish and that is precisely why the first time the ultra right wing pulls his chain and demands that he heel, he will fall right into line.
Even if he decided he wanted to challenge the right wing agenda propounded by the committed minions of the Tea Party, in a confrontation he would fold in an instant. When you have no core values, it’s always much easier to go along with the demands of passionate, committed true-believers than it is to stand your ground.
And the Far Right knows this is true. Last week, right wing icon Grover Norquist was very clear. He said he was not looking for presidential leadership from Romney. He believes that the leadership of the Republican Party will continue to come from right wing Republicans in Congress. All he asked of a president, he added, was enough digits on his hand to hold a pen to sign the bills embodying Congress’ right wing agenda.
Watch how Romney behaves when he delivers the commencement speech at far right Liberty University on May 12. Liberty University was founded by the late Moral Majority leader Jerry Falwell. Now it’s run by his son, Jerry Falwell Jr.
After the 9/11 attacks, Falwell Sr. said that “abortionists,” “feminists,” and “the gays and the lesbians” helped cause the 9/11 attacks. According to CNN:
On the broadcast of the Christian television program ‘The 700 Club,’ Falwell made the following statement: ‘I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen.’
Until recently, Liberty University banned inter-racial marriages between its students. Today it requires parental permission.
As recently as 2010, Liberty University Law School withdrew as a co-sponsor of the Conservative Political Action Conference in protest after the conference allowed the homosexual group GOProud to co-sponsor the event.
When Romney speaks at Liberty University will he speak out against that kind of intolerance? Or, true to form, will he instead worship at the altar of ultra-right wing ideology and say just what the leadership of Liberty University wants to hear? I might be wrong, but I’ll bet that not one critical word escapes his lips.
Romney’s unwillingness to challenge the far right does not pertain solely to the social conservative right. It also goes for economic right wingers like Grover Norquist, who want to return America to the bad old days of more Bush-like tax cuts for the wealthy, and the deregulation of Wall Street that did such damage to the middle class and led to the Great Recession that cost 8 million jobs.
And it also goes for the Neo-Con foreign policy right. Seventy percent of the 40 individuals identified by the Romney campaign as its foreign policy advisers served in the Bush administration and were responsible for the catastrophic Neo-Con foreign policy.
No, in exchange for the Republican nomination, Romney has sold his soul to the extreme right. He has willingly walked into the right wing inner sanctum, and even if he wanted to, he doesn’t have the backbone to escape.
By: Robert Creamer, The Huffington Post, May 6, 2012
If 90% of life is just showing up, Ron Paul supporters have discovered the secret of success at state Republican Party gatherings.
Last week, the Republican National Committee issued a stern warning to the state party in Nevada: if you allow Paul backers to take many slots for the national convention, the party might just refuse to seat the state’s entire delegation as punishment.
How’d that work out? Based on previous vote totals, Nevada Republicans were supposed to give Mitt Romney 20 of the state’s 28 delegates. That’s not what happened.
Despite former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s overwhelming victory in the Nevada caucuses, Texas Rep. Ron Paul has won a majority of the state’s delegates to the party’s national convention later this year in Tampa, Florida.
Thanks to organized Paul supporters, who have been working to increase their candidate’s support at state conventions around the country, 22 of the 25 Nevada delegates up for grabs will be Paul supporters. (Another three are automatic delegates.) [...]
“The Paul folks couldn’t get their people turned out for the caucus,” said veteran Nevada political columnist Jon Ralston. “But they outmaneuvered the Nevada Romney people ever since and dominated the county conventions and this is the inevitable result. The question remains: To what end?”
The answer to that question is far from clear. Paul supporters hoping for a brokered convention are fooling themselves, but their success at state party conventions will likely give the strange Texas congressman a stronger voice at the Tampa gathering.
Indeed, Nevada isn’t the only one. Paul backers “commandeered the Maine Republican Party convention” over the weekend, too, winning all 15 of the at-large delegates.
Adding insult to injury, in Massachusetts, less than half of Romney’s 27 chosen delegates won. One of the losers was Kerry Healey, Romney’s former lieutenant governor, who was thought to be a lock for the national convention.
When it came to day-to-day campaign logistics, Team Romney was infinitely better organized than Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, but when it comes to getting supporters to show up at state conventions, even in Massachusetts, Romney’s campaign looks awfully weak compared to Ron Paul.
By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, May 7, 2012
Economic austerity is a dangerous, self-defeating intellectual fad. Perhaps I should say that’s what it was, given Sunday’s election results in Europe. Perhaps I should also say good riddance.
Voters in France, Greece and even Germany — a hotbed of the austerity cult — told their political leaders, in no uncertain terms, that boosting economic growth is more important than cutting government spending. Here in the United States, I hope that Democrats, at least, were paying attention; I fear that the addled ideologues who control the Republican Party will never get the message.
On Sunday, French voters elected Socialist Party candidate Francois Hollande as president, ousting center-right incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in what amounted to a referendum on Sarkozy’s embrace of austerity.
Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed on a common policy of budget cuts and partial “reform” — a euphemism for “dismantling” — of the welfare state. This, they decided, was the way to return Europe to prosperity and save the European Union’s common currency, the euro, from collapse.
But on Sunday, even Merkel got a message from voters: Her party was punished in local elections in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, where it appeared that a center-left, anti-austerity coalition would end up in control.
Also on Sunday, voters in Greece tried their best to say no to austerity. For them, sadly, it’s probably too late. The fiscal and debt crises there were so acute that the Greeks, from the start, have had only painful choices.
One obviously bad option would have been to withdraw from the euro, default on a mountain of debt and slowly climb back from a deep economic depression. Officials in Athens decided to go with a worse option — stay with the euro, impose draconian austerity, muzzle anyone who utters the word “default” — that also sent the country into a deep economic depression with no apparent way out.
Yes, one lesson from the Greek experience is that there are limits. There is a point at which deficits become too large, debt too crushing and social spending too generous. The lifestyle a nation enjoys must bear some relationship to what that nation produces.
But another clear lesson is that austerity has to be seen as a means, not an end. The goal is to recover from the massive blow inflicted by the global financial meltdown and return to prosperity. This may involve a measure of austerity — but definitely requires considerable economic growth, which should be policymakers’ first priority.
The reason is simple: If you can get the economy growing again, all other aspects of the crisis become more manageable. Debt and deficits shrink as a percentage of national output. Unemployment declines, as does the need for social spending.
But putting a chokehold on government spending at a time when economies are just sputtering back to life — as the austerity fetishists have tried to do in Europe, and as Republicans solemnly pledge to do in the United States — is monumentally self-defeating. Governments end up magnifying the constituent parts of the economic crisis, not minimizing them.
In Britain, the economy was growing when Prime Minister David Cameron took office two years ago. Adhering to the platform of his Conservative Party, Cameron took the austerity route with a host of gloom-and-doom budget cuts. Now unemployment is rising and the economy has slipped back into recession. Nice job, Tories.
That loud chorus of “Duh!” you just heard came from the many leading economists who have been screaming at political leaders for years now that we’ll never cut our way out of this economic slump and instead must grow our way out. It is obvious that deficits, debt loads and entitlement spending have to be brought under control — but equally obvious that the necessary adjustments should be made when the economy is going great guns, not when it’s gasping for air.
It should be noted that there are some economists who disagree. They argue that draconian cuts in government spending will somehow awaken the animal spirits of private-sector executives, entrepreneurs and financiers. They further argue that austerity is needed to combat the scourge of inflation, although the best term to describe inflation in today’s economy is “imaginary.”
Mitt Romney and the GOP subscribe to the pro-austerity view. They are, of course, entitled to their opinion, even if it happens to be wrong. I sincerely wish them all the electoral success their ideological allies are having across the Atlantic.
By: Eugene Robinson, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, May 7, 2012
In the cliché of the season, Mitt Romney is supposed to be executing a graceful “pivot” away from the grating extremist stupidity of the Republican primaries, the better to persuade us that he really is a Massachusetts moderate, or a moderate conservative – or at least something less repellent to independent voters than a Tea Party yahoo. He stumbled in mid-pivot, however, when a woman posing a question to him at a Cleveland event on Monday said President Obama “should be tried for treason,” and Romney acted as if he didn’t hear her slur.
The presumptive nominee told reporters afterward that “of course” he didn’t agree with the woman’s remark — as if he had failed to check a box on a form — but his alibi was too late and much too little. When someone slanders the President of the United States as a traitor, the responsible reaction is to respond loudly and forthrightly. Shrinking from the duty to correct the extremism of your own supporters, as Senator John McCain did without hesitation four years ago, is yet another sign of weak character and poor judgment.
Romney’s instinct is to appease the same far right forces that his father George and other conscientious Mormons broke with many years ago, although such fringe ideological obsessions held sway at the highest levels of the Church of Latter-Day Saints. He is entirely familiar with the John Birch Society paranoia and white supremacist bigotry that notoriously defaced Mormonism in those times, both of which exert an unwholesome influence on Tea Party Republicans today. Somehow, he cannot bring himself to speak up when confronted with that old nightmare mentality.
Instead Romney consistently seeks to ingratiate himself with anyone who expresses a distaste for Obama, no matter how demented. The same scenario has recurred again and again, as it did in the town of Bexley, Ohio in early March, where a man who claimed to have a concealed-carry permit asked whether the former Massachusetts governor will “allow me to keep my gun and protect myself and my family and my home and not come and get my gun? Because I want to keep it to protect myself and my wife and my family — and against a tyrannical government, which I think we are approaching and we are in, very close.”
While blandly answering that he “believes in the Second Amendment,” Romney failed to reassure this poor character that we are not, in fact, on the brink of tyranny. Is that what he believes? Of course not, he would reply – but why should he be expected to forfeit some crank’s vote by standing up for decent discourse?
The problem is not that Romney is missing opportunities to reach the benighted yahoos in his party, who are mostly beyond reason. It is that he lacks the fortitude to do so when he thinks honor and honesty might cost him. And it means that if the cranks continue to dominate Congress, as they do now, no moderating voice will emanate from a scared and silent Romney White House.
By: Joe Canason, The National Memo, May 5, 2012
Sadly, as predicted, voters in North Carolina passed Amendment One, the law that bans already-banned same-sex marriage and tacks on a gratuitous “and no civil unions, either.” As Joan McCarter explained:
There would be no more legal unions between unmarried people, gay or straight. It could take health care benefits away from families, it could take away domestic violence protections, hospital visitation rights, and all the very basic protections of civil unions.
That’s why just about everyone—including North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue, former President Bill Clinton (and his daughter), Episcopal bishops, hundreds of business leaders, religious leaders, and members of both parties—opposed it. Because it’s hateful and wrong. But apparently, the state’s voters disagreed.
Way to go, North Carolina. You must be so proud.
By: Kaili Joy Gray, Daily Kos, May 8, 2012