Last night we endured another excruciating train wreck on through the Bloomberg debate. It was an additional republican presidential primary debate full of bad positions, poor debaters, vapid arguments and cheesy one-liners. Mitt Romney, the republican with a record to the left of Democrat Senators and Former Governors, Joe Manchin (WV), Bob Casey (PA) and Mark Warner (VA), continued to solidify his lead as frontrunner in these debates and the race over all.
But there is still hope of getting a true conservative into the White House, unfortunately, that hope does not lie with our party’s best debater, Mitt Romney.
Mitt Romney, a man who wears many different hats.
Last night, Mitt Romney won the debate. At times he seems to have an adult grasp on the problems we face, while being surrounded by a table of college freshmen who are each repeating one line they have latched onto from Econ 101. Romney is a great debater. Romney could probably out debate Barack Obama in a way that John McCain never could. But if Romney won, the real losers would be conservatives.
Romney the business man.
Romney does a great job of creating the narrative that he is the private sector love child of Bill Gates and Sam Walton, growing businesses and creating jobs with reckless abandon. The opposite is true. Romney never worked in creating goods or services in any industry. He never created a demand that increased the number of jobs in existence, in fact, ROMNEY CUT jobs in the private sector and that will be Barack Obama’s first line of attack against Romney. Romney is claiming he created jobs, when in fact, his job was to lay people off to get companies back into the black. This is not a bad thing. But it is not what Romney is telling us.
Romney the Governor.
Romney’s record as governor is worse than David Patterson and Charlie Crists’s combined. Again, he wants to point to some great record as governor. But the only lasting thing Romney did in Massachusetts is give the state Romneycare, gay marriage and a legacy of debt. That is the Romney legacy, he is the father of both universal healthcare and gay marriage in the United States. He may be running in the wrong party’s primary. At this rate, the general election could be a democrat primary where voters can decide who’s universal healthcare plan is better.
His record is abysmally inadequate. Romney has no accomplishments to tout from being governor except a healthcare system that is already unsustainable and as Huntsman keeps point out, a state that was a complete loser on job creation – the crux of this campaign.
Who is Romney? Is he pro-family or pro gay marriage? Is he pro-choice or pro-life? Is he for the 2nd Amendment or against it? Is he for big government or against it? Is he for universal healthcare or against it?
I don’t know the answer to those questions. No one does. But I do know that Romney is NO JOB CREATOR, and that is a problem in this economy.
Romney is lieing about Romneycare.
Every time Perry asks Romney why he signed Obamacare version 1.0 into law, Romney lies and tells us that in all actuality, Romneycare only covered 8% of people, while leaving 92% of Massachusetts’s citizen’s healthcare plans in place. He contrasts this with Obamacare, which he claims, takes over everything. Romney is flat-out lieing to our faces.
Obamacare is not a single payer system. All it did was create an “insurance exchange” where people who did not already have health insurance could buy into a private sector plan or the government’s plan. It is like a marketplace where all the plans are brought together and regulated exhaustively by the government. You as a citizen must either buy a private plan or buy the government’s plan. Obama famously said time and time again, “if you like your plan, you get to keep your plan.” And that is true. The problem was that if you have a government plan undercutting the prices of all of the private plans, it would eventually lead to a single payer system.
That is exactly what Romneycare is doing. Romneycare, like Obamacare allowed you to keep the plan that you already had if you like it. But it also provides a government subsidized plan that undercuts the market and puts smaller insurers out of business. Both plans cost a fortune. Both plans were supported by Ted Kennedy.
Romneycare and Obamacare are simply the creation of insurance exchanges with individual mandates and a government option. They are the same plan. Romney continues to rely on the complexity of both pieces of legislation to spread mistruths about his plan. But the truth is that without Romneycare, there would be no Obamacare.
Furthermore, there have been candidates that we have all overlooked because of a loss of credibility due to an inability to be re-elected in their home state, like Rick Santorum, but Romney ran for president because he never could have been re-elected in Massachusetts. Does ruining a state qualify you to run for president?
I fear that many good republicans are so desperate to stop Barack Obama in November 2012, that they will lose sight of the damage a Romney administration would wreak from January 2012-January 2016.
However, Romney’s support is stagnant at 20% without rising. Conservatives still have a window of opportunity to coalesce around a true conservative that will allow us to not only win in 2012, but win through our policy initiatives in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
What hope do we have?
There are many candidates on that debate stage that we could live with. There are people up there that we didn’t like in May because we were still waiting for the field to level out. We were waiting for the perfect candidate. But we now have the players and the game is already in the second half. Sadly, there is no perfect candidate. But the race will not wait for us. Iowa is LESS THAN 3 MONTHS AWAY. At this point, we aren’t going to get a Mike Pence jumping into the race. But we can make due with what we do have.
Rick Perry is on a downward spiral. Last night, we all hoped that he could pull himself together. He didn’t. But he has enough money to come back. All he has to do is put in some strong debate performances. He has a big opportunity next week. He needs to practice ten hours a day until then.
Conservatives should keep faith in Perry’s ability to govern. He isn’t the best debater and HE MUST IMPROVE. However, his record as a job creating, business growing governor is spectacular. Romney is a great debater but a terrible governor. Perry is a terrible debater but a great governor.
Perry still has enough good will and more importantly, money, to make a go of this. I truly hope he can, because he is the best hope that we have in this field of beating Obama.
The 9-9-9 plan is a stupid plan that will never pass. If it ever passed (and there is NO way in hell that it will), it would add a new tax on top of the income tax. It would increase sales taxes on regular people buying gas, groceries, cars, homes, computers, furniture, office supplies and every single other household good. It isn’t even as good as the “fairtax” because it doesn’t do away with embedded taxes.
Herman Cain is running to be Romney’s VP. Prior to the debate, Cain promised to attack Romney. He didn’t. Cain accused Romney’s plan of being, too complicated to be summed up in a sound bite? Seriously? That is not a policy attack. Cain needs to get a clue. A plan that can be summed up in a sentence is good politically for him because it gets his platform out in a single sound bite. That Cain wants his plan to be simple is a campaign secret not a campaign slogan. But after 20 years of bad American policy on borrowing, taxes, home ownership, securities and bank regulation — 9-9-9 can’t swoop in and save the day. Romney actually has the makings of a good economic plan to turn this thing around.
Cain demands “bold solutions,” then mocks Romney for releasing a solution. It is unfortunate but many issues surrounding free trade, Freddy and Fannie, Dodd-Frank, Sarbanes-Oxley, the individual mandate, etc., are very complicated and people with jobs and children are not able to pick these things apart and you can’t explain them in one minute. That is why every candidate should sit down with Erick Erickson and redstate for the opportunity to explain their plans. People can’t possibly keep up with everything in a 21st century global economy. That is why they elect someone who does understand the intricacies of the economy to turn things around.
Herman Cain needs to understand that.
Also, Herman Cain needs to tell us who he would put on the Federal Reserve Board. Cain assumes good will from voters that he has not earned. He has never held office. We don’t have a record to look at. He won’t sign any pledges and he expects us to believe that another Alan Greenspan would be a good thing for America? He won’t tell us what kind of fed chairman he would give us? I’m not so sure he has earned the right to say, “trust me.”
More distressing, during his discussion of the Fed, we finally saw a Cain that seemed more on the Bachmann/Perry level of economic understanding than the Mitt Romney level of understanding. We need a candidate that is both smart and conservative. These two values in a candidate seem to be mutually exclusive, but they shouldn’t be.
In any case, Cain is not the savior of the party. He doesn’t appeal to social conservatives; he has less foreign policy experience than Newt, Santorum, Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. He has never overseen a government and this job is just a little too big for him to jump into.
Michele Bachmann was one of the greatest candidates out of the gate. Since then she has fizzled and I don’t think he is capable of recovering in this election cycle. Bachmann is one of the greatest leaders of our party, but she has shown a complete inability to articulate an intelligent position. She is great with the buzzwords and soundbites, “death panels,” “obamacare,” “repeal,” but she cannot articulate how she would create jobs and that is important because she has never done it before.
We are all tired of hearing about her 28 children. Nobody cares. We want her to articulate WHY Sarbanes-Oxley is bad, WHY Dodd-Frank is bad, WHY Obamacare is bad. That is what wins. Unfortunately, I don’t think Bachmann knows. She knows generally that these things hurt the economy, but she hasn’t spent the time studying these laws and their statistics and effects to know why they are so toxic. If a conservative alternative to Romney can be decided upon, I would love to see Bachmann drop out and endorse that candidate. Right now, she doesn’t have the requisite experience or knowledge to take over a failing economy.
I am changing course on Rick Santorum. He is quickly becoming someone I could vote for although prior to tonight, I never considered him.
Santorum has a lot going against him. He has no donor base, he lost his Senate seat in the swing state of Pennsylvania, and in these debates he has a very un-presidential temperament. He can be found in any debate highlight whining and complaining. I wouldn’t want to see a whiner complaining to Obama in the general election debates while Obama ran a positive campaign selling hope.
Santorum needs to learn to come off as concerned without looking worried or combative. His temperament is bad. He needs to watch a Hollywood action flick to see how the American people expect their president to conduct himself. I recommend Will Smith’s Independence Day.
With that being said, there are some things to really like about Rick Santorum and if he works hard and overhauls his debate performances he may find himself rising as Cain falls.
Rick Santorum wasn’t a bad Senator, he voted for some things he shouldn’t have voted for. But with the exception of his war hawk votes, I think he would vote a different way if he could do it over again. However, Rick Santorum is the only conservative candidate onstage that is able to articulate an argument against Mitt Romney and that is important. It is important because Romney is terrible, but neither Bachmann, Perry or Cain have been able to tell us why.
Santorum can tell us why.
Everytime Perry asks Romney why he signed Obamacare version 1.0 into law, Romney lies and tells us that in all actuality, Romneycare only covered 8% of people, while leaving 92% of plans in place while Obama is trying to take over healthcare as we know it. It isn’t true. They are the same plans supported and created by the same party. Santorum is intelligent enough to understand this and feisty enough to say so.
Santorum is a 100% war hawk and can unite the neo-con wing of the base. Santorum is extremely pro-life and pro-family and can unite evangelicals as well. Finally, Santorum is intelligent enough, has common sense enough, and puts enough value into the free market to prove that he can deliver on the economy.
In next week’s debate I would like to see Santorum better articulate a jobs plan. Because we need a true conservative that can prove he can take on Obama and win, not just for republicans in 2012, but conservatives overall.
There were other candidates that performed admirably last night, but they cannot beat Romney or unite the base. Huntsman is growing on a lot of conservatives, but he needs to understand that the party is bigger than he is and just because social issues are not important to him, doesn’t mean they aren’t important to the rest of us. Secondly, Huntsman worked for Obama, he is just too close for comfort. Gingrich is very intelligent but his time has passed and his fundraising and poll numbers reflect that. Ron Paul is a great guy to have in these financial debates. He is changing the hearts and minds of young people long term toward smaller government and free markets. This is a good thing.
Romney can be defeated.
There is still a window of opportunity for conservatives to coalesce around a true conservative that will not only stop the Obama administration, but move forward conservatism long term.
Conservatives have to think ahead. If we believe that our principles and values will work, we must put forward a candidate that is able to articulate and implement those views long term. If we put someone in the White House who is not strong on free markets and conservatism and begins veering off course, as George W. Bush did, voters will repudiate that candidate and put democrats back into power.
But a sustainable republican majority in both houses of Congress and the White House is achievable IF AND ONLY IF, we have the right people in office, making the right decisions.
The tea party did not purge the Senate and House of RINO’s and Blue Dogs just so the GOP could turn to one of the most liberal Republican governors in our nation’s history.
Romney is sneaky and will be whatever you want him to be. Conservative? Moderate? Common sense? Moderate? Media darling? All of the above? He is a snake and if we elect him, we will get bitten.
We can do better. Give Perry another week to put in a good debate performance, give Santorum a second look, pressure Herman Cain to straighten himself out and not push stupid policy. If we do these things, we still may have a conservative winner yet.