It’s apparently not enough for Mitt Romney that he’s holding a Vegas fundraising event tonight featuring Newt Gingrich and Donald Trump, just as the latter political werewolf is reviving his birtherist act.
Next up, in California, Romney’s doing a high-dollar event with everyone’s favorite failed political robot and job destroyer: yes, Meg Whitman! In case you (like me) have tried very hard not to think about eMeg since the last of her mind-numbing, soul-deadening 2010 gubernatorial campaign ads faded from the air, she’s been back in the news as the CEO of HP, doing what she does best: laying off employees. Here’s an assessment of her brief but destructive tenure at HP by SiliconBeat’s Chris O’Brien:
Listening to the Hewlett Packard earnings call was an exercise in the surreal today. CEO Meg Whitman started the call with a cheerful anecdote about some really neat-o gizmo she saw at HP. Just the sorta whiz bang stuff that’s gonna get HP back on its feet in no time!
She’s never been more optimistic about HP’s future! Gonna invest more in that innovation stuff!
Then she proceeded with all sorts of other happy talk about the business stabilizing and yada, yada, yada. And oh, by the way, to realign costs with the business we’re going to throw 27,000 people out the window.
[T]his has to be a crushing blow to an employee base already intensely demoralized by non-stop job cuts over the past decade. HP is not so much a company as it is a patchwork of acquired pieces of technology and companies, a kind of Frankstein monster of the high-tech industry.
Meg Whitman is to the technology industry what Mitt Romney is to private equity: an American Beauty Rose of “best management practices” that add up to a lot of misery and dysfunction. Romney could do a lot for the clarity of his economic message by just putting Meg on the ticket with him. Aside from all the many things they have in common, together they could pretty much self-fund the whole campaign if they wished. (Oh, yeah, sorry, forgot that Whitman can’t be on a national ticket because she is not, last time I checked, anti-choice!).
Newt, Trump, Whitman, on back-to-back days, just as Romney is officially nailing down the GOP presidential nomination. It has to be a nightmare for Romney’s staff. Don’t be surprised if they throw a few random punches to distract attention from the company their candidate is keeping.
By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Washington Monthly Political Animal, May 29, 2012
Last Friday night’s Wisconsin recall election debatebegan a series of bizarre exchanges between Republican Governor Scott Walker and his Democratic challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, over Walker’s attitudes regarding direct democracy.
During this campaign, Walker and his supporters have been harshly critical of those who have sought to recall and remove the governor and his political allies. Though the Wisconsin Constitution is absolutely clear that the reasons for recall elections are to be defined by those who seek them—as opposed to the politicians who would like to restrict the scheduling of accountability votes—the Walker camp has claimed that the recall is an expensive and unnecessary political gambit.
Barrett challenged this spin with a suggestion that Walker is a recall hypocrite.
Referring to Walker during the debate, Barrett said: “He has signed recall petitions, it’s my understanding, against Senator Feingold, against Senator Kohl, not for criminal misbehavior, but because he disagreed with political decisions that were made.”
Walker did not respond immediately. But the next day the governor said, “I have no memory” of signing on for the recall of the Democratic senators when they were targeted in 1997 by anti-abortion groups.
Since organizers of the Feingold-Kohl recall effort say they’re unaware of whether Walker signed, and since the old petitions have been destroyed, this particular debate may remain unresolved.
But there is no question that Scott Walker has spoken enthusiastically about the use of the recall power. Indeed, he attained his previous position as Milwaukee County executive in large part because of a recall initiative. And that initiative clearly delighted him.
Back when he was a state legislator, Walker was an enthusiastic proponent of recall elections—especially in Milwaukee County.
Walker got even more enthusiastic about recalls in 2002, when he became the favored candidate of the group seeking to remove Milwaukee County Executive Tom Ament. After Ament resigned, Walker was elected to replace him.
When he ran for governor in 2010, Walker talked up the 2002 recall drive as an exercise in democracy.
Speaking of the Milwaukee County fight, Walker said: “You know the folks that were angry about this started a recall and they were told they needed to collect 73,000 signatures in sixty days. Well, not hundreds, not thousands, but tens of thousands of ordinary people did an extraordinary thing. They stood up and took their government back. In less than thirty days they collected more than 150,000 signatures. It was at that moment I realized the real emotion on display in my county wasn’t just about anger. You see, if it had been about anger, it would have been about people checking out and moving out or giving up. But instead what happened was really amazing. You saw people standing up shoulder to shoulder, neighbor to neighbor and saying ‘we want our government back’ And in doing so the real emotion on display was about hope.”
Well, not hundreds, not thousands, but tens of thousands of ordinary people did an extraordinary thing last winter. They have gathered more than 900,000 signatures seeking the recall of Scott Walker, more than 800,000 seeking the recall of Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and close to 100,000 more to recall four Republican state senators. Wisconsinites are again standing up, shoulder to shoulder, neighbor to neighbor, and they are saying “we want our government back.”
And, as the United Wisconsin activists who organized and advanced the recall drive will tell you, the real emotion on display across Wisconsin as the recall petitions were gathered last year, and as the recall fight has played out this year, has been about hope for Wisconsin’s future.
By: John Nichols, The Nation, May 29, 2012
Mitt Romney wants the presidential election to be all about Barack Obama. If the press doesn’t start asking Romney some difficult questions about the core arguments upon which his entire presidential candidacy is based, he may very well get his way.
Case in point: Check out Mike Allen’s preview this morning of the Romney campaign’s next attack on the President’s economic record…
A senior aide tells us Mitt Romney plans to begin hitting specific stimulus projects as he travels, arguing that President Obama has actually subtracted jobs:
“Were these investments the best return on tax dollars, or given for ideological reasons, to donors, for political reasons? He spent $800 billion of everybody’s money. How’d it work out? It was the mother of all earmarks, not a jobs plan. By wasting all of this money, you had the worst of all worlds: It destroyed confidence in the economy, and makes people less likely to borrow money. Dodd-Frank has been a disaster for the economy. Where are the steady hands? Who’s in charge of energy? Where’s the strong, confident voice on the economy?”
So Romney will now go back to claiming Obama subtracted jobs. But there’s a new twist: Romney will claim that the effect of the stimulus has been to destroy jobs. As it has in the past, the Romney camp will justify this by pointing to a bogus metric — the net jobs lost on Obama’ watch. That includes the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of jobs lost before the stimulus went into effect. Really: The Romney camp’s claim is that we can calculate that the stimulus destroyed jobs overall with a metric that factors in all the jobs destroyed before the stimulus took effect. That’s not an exaggeration. It really is the Romney campaign’s position. It’s time to ask Romney himself to justify it.
The Romney camp will also begin claiming that Obama has “never created a job.” Will anyone ask Romney about the two dozen straight months of private sector job creation we’ve seen?
And if Romney is now going to start hitting individual stimulus projects, it’s also time to ask him what he would have done if he had been president in January of 2009. He has previously said positive things about stimulus spending. Are those no longer operative? Would Romney really not have proposed any government spending to stimulate the economy when it was in free fall? What would he have done instead? This question is absolutely central. How about asking it?
Then there’s the claim that “Dodd-Frank has been a disaster for the economy.” Romney has pledged to roll back financial reform completely, but he hasn’t said with any meaningful specificity what he woud replace it with, beyond claiming (after the J.P. Morgan debacle forced him to do so) that he supports “common sense regulations.” How about asking Romney what, if anything, he would do instead to guard against future Wall Street recklessness after rolling back Obama’s regulatory response to the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression?
Many of the claims that form the foundation of Romney’s entire case for the presidency are going without any meaningful national press scrutiny to speak of. Why?
By: Greg Sargent, The Washington Post Plum Line, May 29, 2012
The only Sunday morning talk show Mitt Romney has appeared on this election season is Fox News Sunday, and the other networks are annoyed that the Republican presidential candidate is ignoring their invitations. “I know he does Fox,” Bob Schieffer said to senior Romney adviser Ed Gillespie on CBS’s Face the Nation this weekend, “but we’d love to have him some time, as would Meet the Press and the ABC folk, I would guess.” Gillespie replied: “We’re going to take our message to the American people. You saw him talking to schoolchildren last week.” And it’s not just the Sunday shows Romney is avoiding. Aside from two sit-downs alongside his wife, Ann — on CBS and ABC — and appearances on CNBC and CNN, Romney has only talked with Fox News since securing the GOP nod nearly two months ago. Why is Romney sticking with the “fair and balanced” network? Here, five theories:
1. He only wants softball questions
Romney is following the lead of other conservative Republicans, says Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice, “using Fox News as a way to avoid having to answer those pesky, non–public relations, non-softball questions and follow-up questions that he’d get on CBS, NBC, ABC.” Much like Sarah Palin, he has “had a hard time in other interviews beyond Fox,” says Ron Chusid at Liberal Values. Romney doesn’t like to get into specifics on his secret plan for the economy or why his Bain Capital record is an asset, and heaven forbid “clips of his past statements were brought up.”
2. Romney learned his lesson from the primaries
Sticking with Fox is a deliberate strategy by Team Romney “to limit national media exposure this time around,” says Michael Calderone at The Huffington Post. Romney did the Sunday shows and magazine profiles in 2008, and his GOP rivals “made the weekend rounds” this year, and how well did any of that work out? After the contentious primary, Romney has “benefited from learning the importance of hammering home a singular message on safe turf,” says Justin Sink at The Hill.
3. He’s still shoring up his right flank
Team Romney is working hard to strengthen its bridges to the Right, and Fox News is just part of that strategy, says Calderone at The Huffington Post. Along with his two appearances on Fox News Sunday, the former Massachusetts governor recently held an off-the-record meeting with “dozens of conservative columnists, reporters, and bloggers,” followed by interviews last week with two of the sites represented at the meeting, Hot Air and Townhall. One attendee at the private sit-down said Romney’s message to conservatives is “we want you on our side and working with the campaign.”
4. He has no reason not to stick with Fox
Appearing on Fox News gives Romney a lot of advantages, says The Moderate Voice‘s Gandelman. Like other Republican candidates, he is almost guaranteed as much air time as he wants, “where the candidate can regurgitate talking points” in front of huge amounts of right-leaning voters. Plus, if he makes a verbal misstep, “more likely than not his interviewer would gloss over the gaffe, try to discreetly explain it away, and re-ask the question.” It’s smart PR, and today, unlike a decade ago, “Romney can get away with it.”
5. He’s getting bad advice
Can you really “run for the presidency more or less exclusively through Fox News?” says Richard K. Barry at Lippmann’s Ghost. Maybe: After all, the only people who really pay attention to public affairs programs are political junkies and reporters. But “I think it is foolish to try.” Not only is it risky to alienate reporters who help shape the campaign narrative, but I doubt ignoring the press “plays well with the mainstream of the country, the kind of people you need to vote for you outside your conservative base if you hope to win the presidency.”
By: The Week, Best Opinion, May 29, 2012
“Lest Ye Be Judged”: Romney Silent On Trump, But Demanded Repudiation Of Pastor Who Called Mormonism A Cult
Mitt Romney refused to directly repudiate Donald Trump’s claims that President Obama was born in Kenya just hours before he is scheduled to appear with the reality T.V. star for a fund raiser in Las Vegas, NV. “A candidate can’t be responsiblefor everything that their supporters say,” Romney spokesperson Eric Fehrnstrom told CNN on Friday, before insisting that the former Massachusetts governor “accepts the fact that [Obama] was born in Hawaii.”
But Romney has previously demanded that his political opponents publicly rebuke supporters who make false accusations about Mormonism. In October, Romney aggressively confronted evangelical pastor and Rick Perry backer Robert Jeffress, who claimed that Romney is not Christian and is part of a Mormon cult. Romney called on Perry to denounce Jeffress:
“Gov. Perry selected an individual to introduce him who then used religion as a basis for which he said he would endorse Gov. Perry and a reason to not support me. Gov. Perry then said that introduction just hit it out of the park,” Romney said.
“I just don’t believe that that kind of divisiveness based upon religion has a place in this country. I believe in the spirit of the founders, when they suggested in crafting this country that we would be a nation that tolerated other people, different faiths — that we’d be a place of religious diversity,” Romney continued.
He concluded, “I would call upon Gov. Perry to repudiate the sentiment and the remarks made by that pastor.”
Ironically, Perry spokesman Mark Miner responded to Romney’s outrage with the same sentiment that Romney is now expressing towards those who have called on him to directly repudiate Trump. “The governor does not agree with every single issue of people that endorsed him or people that he meets,” Miner said. “This political rhetoric from Gov. Romney isn’t going to create one new job or help the economy. He’s playing a game of deflection and the people of this country know this.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) — a Romney surrogate and potential Vice Presidential nominee — also condemned Perry, saying, that any candidate that would associate with such comments “is beneath the office of president of the United States.”
By: Igor Volsky, Think Progress, May 29, 2012