Mitt Romney’s Fundamental Problem

By: Inoljt,

Mitt Romney has a big problem.

It’s not “Romneycare.”

It’s not his Mormonism.

It’s not his shifting positions on social issues, such as abortion.

All the above are merely symptoms of Mr. Romney’s big problem.

Mr. Romney, simply put, is just not a very good politician. Americans take a look at him, and they just don’t like him on a personal, instinctual level. They then find a reasonable – or perhaps not so reasonable – rationalization to explain why they don’t like him. He’s fake. He doesn’t have much in common with the average American. He’s a flip-flopper. He’s Mormon. Romneycare. Etc.

This is the same problem John Edwards had running for president. There was nothing specifically which Mr. Edwards did wrong; he said all the right things, he had all the right credentials. But voters just didn’t like Mr. Edwards; on some level they felt uncomfortable with him. Eventually the media came up with stories tapping into this gut discomfort: Edwards was insincere, Edwards got incredibly expensive hair cuts, etc.

Back in the 2008 presidential primaries, Republican analyst Jay Cost wrote a revealing post:

[Mitt Romney's] candidacy has been the most transparently strategic this cycle. McCain is up? Go after McCain. McCain is down? Leave McCain alone. Thompson enters the race and seems a threat? Take a cheap shot about Law and Order. Thompson fades? Ignore him. Rudy is up? Go after Rudy. Huckabee is up? Go after Huck. You need to win a Republican primary? Make yourself the most socially conservative candidate in the race. And on and on and on.

If somebody asked me which candidate on the Republican side has won just a single election (in a year that his party did very well nationwide) — I would answer Mitt Romney, even knowing nothing about anybody’s biography. This kind of transparency is, to me, a sign of political inexperience. He’s only won one election, and it shows.

…Romney’s campaign is, I must say, the least authentic seeming of any on the GOP side…Unlike Kerry-Edwards, the Romney campaign knows how to stay on script. That is not its problem. Its problem is that the script changes are obviously induced by its standing in the polls. There is little subtlety to the Romney campaign. Too much of what it does is obviously strategic.

Mr. Romney’s 2008 campaign went on underperform expectations significantly. Mr. Romney promised to win Iowa and then lost to Mike Huckabee. He went on to New Hampshire and then lost again, this time to John McCain. Mr. Romney’s sole victory came in Michigan. After that, his campaign lost yet another contest to John McCain in Florida. On Super Tuesday, Mr. Romney’s campaign promised to sweep the South and win states from California to Illinois to New York. As it turned out, Mr. Romney came in third place in many southern states, and lost badly in states like California, Illinois, and New York.

Were Mr. Romney to be a better politician, none of his current weaknesses would matter. Good politicians can and have overcome significantly more daunting obstacles than Mr. Romney currently faces. John F. Kennedy was a Catholic at a time of heavy anti-Catholic sentiment. Ronald Reagan was exceptionally old. Bill Clinton cheated on his wife – and got caught doing so. Barack Obama was a black liberal from the inner-city. Yet all still were successfully elected president.

If Mr. Romney were a good politician, he too would be able to overcome anti-Mormon sentiment and “Romneycare.” The problem is that he is not.



RomneyCare Vs ObamaCare

2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was asked how the health care plan he put into place in Massachusetts differs from the one championed by President Obama.


Don't Know Much About . . .

well, anything.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Republican Presidential field for 2012, a bunch of regressive, know nothing ignoramuses.

The parody of Sam Cooke's Wonderful World is from Sad n Mad Productions.

Well, At Least, He's Not a Birther

In an interview with Larry Kudlow on CNBC Tuesday, former Massachusetts Governor and third place finisher in the 2008 GOP presidential primaries Mitt Romney said he thought there were legitimate reasons to want Mr. Obama out of the White House - but that "birther"-inspired claims were not credible. Romney emphasized "I think the citizenship test has been passed."

Kudos to Mitt Romney for being so forceful at the risk of alienating himself from the not insignificant in numbers birther wing of the GOP.

Romney, who announced earlier in the week that he had formed an exploratory committee, did take the President to task over the economy giving a foretaste of how he plans to frame his campaign strategy.

"Look, when it comes to the economy, the president has been incompetent," Romney told Kudlow. "He just hasn't done what is necessary to get Americans back to work. You've got roughly 20 million Americans who stopped looking for jobs or can't find work, and that's inexcusable in a nation that's as productive and innovative as this nation."

"Overwhelmingly, his people come from academics and from politics," Romney continued, of the president's staffing choices. "He doesn't...he doesn't have the confidence in the private sector people that you need to give him the help on the economy that he needs."

When asked about the health care reform bill he enacted while serving as governor of Massachusetts, Romney reiterated his standard line of defense on the issue.

"One thing I learned is this, which is that you don't take ideas from a state and try to impose them on a whole nation," he said.

Weekly Pulse: Paul Ryan’s Medicare Swindle


By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

Robert Parry in In These Times examines how Paul Ryan’s budget test would turn healthcare for the elderly into one big free-market death panel.

Ryan’s plan privatizes Medicare, replacing it with premium support for insurance companies. That means the government would kick in a fixed amount of money towards insurance premiums for Americans over age 65. Ryan also wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which requires insurers to cover people with preexisting conditions. Ryan’s plan doesn’t guarantee that Americans over 65 could get insurance in the first place. Even if they could find an insurer willing to take them, there is no reason to believe that premium support would cover more than part of the cost.

Maybe the plan is to save money by pricing most seniors out of health insurance entirely. If you can’t get insurance in the first place, you don’t qualify for premium support.

Mitt Romney and health care

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney kicked off the exploratory phase of his campaign this week, Lynda Waddington reports in the Iowa Independent. Ironically, this prospective frontrunner is best known for bringing Obama-style health care reform to Massachusetts.

Aswini Anburajan of TAPPED wonders whether Romney’s record on health care will hurt him in the primary. Repealing health care reform is one of the major themes for the Republican Party, and Romney is the architect of a similar system. However, Anburajan notes, campaigning to all but abolish Medicare hasn’t hurt GOP Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan’s political status, even though seniors are a big part of the GOP base..

Part of the reason why Ryan hasn’t felt a backlash from seniors is that his plan preserves Medicare for people who are currently over 55 and will only decimate the program for younger people.

Demonizing pregnant users

At RH Reality Check, Lynn Paltrow takes the New York Times to task for a sensationalized story about children born to women who are dependent upon prescription painkillers. Paltrow notes that the same alarmist language was used to hype a non-existent epidemic of crack babies in the 1980s. The evidence suggests that the impact of drug use during pregnancy on the developing fetus is relatively minor compared to the effects of other factors that are correlated with drug use, such as poverty, poor nutrition, and lack of prenatal care.

If we assume there’s a clear causal relationships between using drugs and hurting babies, it’s easier to lay all the blame on the mother. The truth, Paltrow argues, is much more complicated. Drug use is just part of a constellation of unhealthy factors that conspire to give the children of poor and marginalized women a worse start in life.

Positing a distinct syndrome caused by drug abuse is often a first step towards stigmatizing, and even criminalizing, poor women who give birth to sick children.

Hungry women and children

Speaking of threats to the health of poor women and their children, the new budget deal slashes $500 million from nutrition programs, with the Women Infants and Children (WIC) food support program at the USDA taking the hardest hit, Tom Laskawy reports for Grist.

If you get your meals through an umbilical cord, the Republicans want to protect you; but if you have to eat groceries, you’re on your own.

Big Pharma hikes HIV drug prices

Elizabeth Lombino at reports that more than 8,000 people nationwide are on the waiting list for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), a government program that helps poor people living with HIV/AIDS pay for medications. Lombino notes that even as the ranks of patients who can’t cover their drugs continues to swell, pharmaceutical companies continue to raise their prices. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is calling upon pharmaceutical companies to lower prices to help grapple with what has come to be known as the ADAP crisis. So far, it’s been to little effect.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Pulse for a complete list of articles on health care reform, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.



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