Mitt Romney for President

by Koz

Reading some of the recent posts, some of Tod’s and one of Burt’s in particular, the disconnect between the League and the Romney campaign is frustrating.  I wasn’t happy about the 47% thing and sometimes I wish Romney would do this or that in the course of the campaign instead of what he did.  But whether he does or doesn’t, the energy behind this disconnect is completely misplaced.

About Romney and the Republicans in general, it ought to be clear by now that we need them more than they need us.  It’s comical to think about the circumstances here or there where the libs think they’ve scored a punch, to really imagine the consequences if their predictions and judgments really are correct.  Mitt goes back to his devoted wife and Christmas card family, his nine figure net worth and multiple warm-weather estates.  We go back to our double-digit unemployment, our economic and social stagnation, our foreboding sense of despair and intractability.  We really showed him didn’t we.

Rick Astley Redux

If you are an enthusiast of the musician Rick Astley, it is very likely that Mozart doesn’t make any sense for you.  But if that applies to you, the most important thing to understand is that turn of events is not Mozart’s fault, it’s yours.  For whatever reason, most mainstream commentary seems incapable of considering, even as a hypothetical, the proposition that Mitt Romney is well beyond a sufficiently acceptable candidate, but an astoundingly great one besides. No, for the health of American we must have hope in our political discourse and as it stands today the candidacy of Mitt Romney is that hope.

Mitt Romney saves families from drowning.

Mitt Romney gives millions to charity and, according to his latest tax returns, doesn’t even take the full tax deduction for it.

Mitt Romney made the Salt Lake Olympics a success in a situation where it was headed toward failure.

Mitt Romney moves house for his neighbors with one arm.

Mitt Romney made piles of money for himself, his clients and his investors at Bain Capital.

Mitt Romney is just plain good at stuff.  He succeeds.

The complete record of Mitt Romney is not merely that he is a Ken doll with a great family, but also that he has the particular combination of energy, determination, intelligence, managerial skills, willingness to get to the real bottom of problems and take them on.  That is, he is not just a great man but the particular kind of great man that we need given the state of American governance as it is today.

Culture War

There are probably many reasons why Mitt Romney isn’t doing better in the polls but the primary one is that our political discourse is marinating in a noise machine.  Said noise machine aggressively squelches any kind of substantive discussion of important topics in favor of relentless agitation over small matters and indulgence of misplaced misanthropy.  But it wasn’t until the Libya incidents that the stranglehold reached its peak.

The day after the Libya/Egypt embassy attacks, Governor Romney issued a statement harshly critical of the President for indulging the grievances of those who committed the attacks.  I for one found Romney’s statement to be blameless.  Nonetheless, over the next few days the media and the punditocracy obsessively criticized Governor Romney and to a lesser extent some completely obscure filmmaker in Florida or California (who has apparently been taken into custody with no justification) at the expense of any information of substance regarding the incident itself.

Maybe the Libya/Egypt attacks are pretty small beer compared to Pearl Harbor or the fall of the Berlin Wall, but they are important enough in their own right.  Who perpetrated the attacks and why?  What is the relationship between these attacks and President Obama’s invasion of Libya last year?  What is the involvement of the Muslim Brotherhood, if any?  What is the involvement of al-Qaeda, if any?  Is there anything we should have known before the fact that we didn’t?  Is there anything that we did know before the fact that we ignored in poor judgment?

But even if the Establishment’s tendency to steer the political discourse toward distractions reached its apex in Libya, it certainly not confined to that.  In spite of the fact that the American economy is not in a state to encourage complacency, and the fact that economic policy has been center stage of American politics for the entirety of President Obama’s term of office, there has been little or no debate on it during the campaign.  Why has this happened?  Because the Establishment and other Obama enablers need it that way, and for the moment at least they have been able to manipulate enough of our public discourse for that to happen. 

It’s Not Them, It’s Us

One of the more disappointing things I’ve seen at the League recently is Tod’s reaction to this quote from Mitt Romney:

“They’ll probably be looking at what the polls are saying. If it looks like I’m going to win, the markets will be happy. If it looks like the president’s going to win, the markets should not be terribly happy. It depends of course which markets you’re talking about, which types of commodities and so forth, but my own view is that if we win on November 6th, there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We’ll see capital come back and we’ll see—without actually doing anything—we’ll actually get a boost in the economy. If the president gets reelected, I don’t know what will happen. I can—I can never predict what the markets will do.”

I for one believe this and in fact it’s a substantial part of the reason why I am hopeful for the future of America if Romney wins.

First of all, we should appreciate that Romney is talking about the markets in the short term and the overall health of the economy in the longer term.

The Obama Administration has been willing subvert the basic norms of American governance and has done it in ways that discourage capital investment in America.

Either one or the other would be a substantial problem in its own right, but the combination of the two of them is devastating.  We should expect that the federal government will sometimes intervene in the private sector or the machinery of the economy as a whole.  However, it is crucial to our economy that the that these interventions be perceived as the exception, not the rule.

But under President Obama, we have seen a multitude of policies or scandals whose cumulative effect is to place in jeopardy the ability of elements in the private sector from organizing themselves in economically valuable ways for the benefit of all parties.  The Administration’s conduct regarding PPACA, Solyndra, the budget, the stimulus package, stimulus, the debt limit crisis, the pipeline, and so on have created the perception (and the reality) that the federal government will intervene in unpredictable ways in matters large and small to subvert the interest of property ownership.

For the most part, this occurs because the Left has a whole has a fundamental misunderstanding of capital and its role in economic production.  The Left likes to think that they can provide for human needs by compensating labor and disparaging capital.  But the reality is, labor and capital are complementary inputs to economic production.  And the main consequence of that is this: creating a world where a significant part of the capital is not in production gives great privilege and return to the remaining part of the capital base that is deployed.  And that’s the world we live in now.

The danger of this problem is more urgent in a time where public finance is unstable such as the present.   It’s not just a matter of paranoid speculation that the Obama Administration is going to put its grubby fingers all over the economy.  Unless we can restore public finance to a stable trajectory, it will have to.  Otherwise it will not be able to meet the basic demands of its political and governmental constituencies.

This is where the leadership of Mitt Romney and the Romney Administration can change things, independent of whatever policies he puts in place.  Because he can negotiate with the Republicans and Democrats in Congress to create a stable trajectory of American public finance, because he can streamline and dial back our contemporary Leviathan, we can hope to restore employment and growth to the American economy.  More than that, by voting for Romney we are in an important way not just voting for Romney but also voting for the other Americans who are voting for Romney.  And because those are the Americans who are committed to stable public finance and limited government we can place our hopes in them as well.

State of the Race

I might as well talk about this as well.  Some on the Right have consoled themselves that the polls are wrong, that Romney is either tied or leading.  But that’s not true.  Even if the conservative critiques of polling are true, they difference is not enough to help Governor Romney as things stand.  In the main the polls are correct, and Romney is losing.  In my view, there are two important below-the-surface considerations required to get a complete understanding of the race from the polls.  They are the state polls vs. the national polls, and the sample by party affiliation, and the key to interpreting these two factors is largely a matter of timing.

For party affiliation, as a general rule voters change the candidates they support in an election race sooner than they change their party affiliation.  But if this is true most of the time, it’s not true all the time.  From say, two months out until Election Day, voters care more about the candidates they intend to support more than the party they sympathize with.  Therefore, the oversampling of Democrats is bad news for Mitt Romney. It means, that the voters are shading toward affiliation with the Democratic Party in order to be consistent with their support for President Obama in the election.

And for that matter, the same dynamic applies to the Presidential approval rating and the right track/wrong track numbers.

The news is better for Mr. Romney in the states.  Some of the President’s enthusiasts have tried to argue that the race is essentially over, because even if the race is close in the national polls, Mr. Obama has a commanding lead in the states Romney would need to get to win 270 votes in the Electoral College.  That doesn’t really hold up.  The Electoral College really doesn’t come into play until two weeks before Election Day, and only then if the difference in the popular vote is less than 2%.  If Mr. Romney wins the popular vote, especially if he wins by a sufficient margin, the states will take care of themselves.

That’s why this particular moment in the race is so critical for Governor Romney.  We are in a national race for now, and we will be for two more weeks, three at a stretch.  He must use this time to generate movement in his favor in the national polls (and state polls as well, swing state or otherwise).  Because somewhere around the 20th or 25th of October, the focus of the race will shift to the states, and the importance of logistics will go up, and the importance of message will go down.

Advice to the Candidate

I’m sure this will have little if any effect but I couldn’t end this post without it.  That last part is the foundation of the guidance I would give to Governor Romney.  Romney is behind, not by much, but by enough so that he will definitively lose the election if the state of the race is the same on Election Day as it is today.  Therefore Romney must do things now, such that the state of the race is changed in his favor, even if only a little bit, by Election Day relative to today.

That might sound easier than it is.  The problem is that whatever the Romney campaign decides to do has to be credible with what’s happened in the past and also has to be flexible enough to be able to execute on through the distractions and contingincies that come up during the course of the campaign.  (Hat tip to Reihan for this excellent link, which isn’t exactly topical but illustrates the point well enough.)

If I could summarize my advice for the Romney campaign into one word it would be: brag.

Governor Romney has plenty of material available to brag about if he chooses, as I mentioned above.  Anybody can criticize the President, but even if it makes Mitt Romney uncomfortable, at this stage of the race it must be the candidate who praises himself.  I thought of what Governor Romney might say along these lines, and what I came up with is below.  It’s very unlikely that Mitt will use me as his unpaid speechwriter, but whether he does or not this is the sort of thing that is capable of changing the race in his favor.  This is what he really believes, and more importantly other people will believe him as he says it. 

“When I was a boy I met the prettiest girl in Michigan, and when I was a young man I persuaded her to be my wife.  We have five sons together, and they are all successful adults. 

After I graduated with two degrees from Harvard, I joined a consulting firm which later transitioned into venture capital.  I was a success there.  I made money for myself and my investors.

Around that time I was also made a Mormon bishop.  Now, in our church being a Mormon bishop comes with substantial repsonsibilities to provide for the less fortunate members of our congregations, and I fulfilled those responsibilities as best as I was able.

The Salt Lake Olympics were on a path to failure when I took over there. We changed what wasn’t working, we quit spending on things that weren’t important, and we turned the Salt Lake Olympics into a success.

When I was governor of Massachusetts, I worked with the other party in the legislature.  We had to make tough decisions of what was important and what we could get by without.  As a result we closed the largest deficit in state history without raising taxes. 

By contrast my opponent has never accomplished anything meaningful in his professional life.  He never accomplished anything in the law.  Before he went to law school, he was a community organizer.  Now, when he was running for President the last time my party made fun of him for that.  But all humor aside, he never accomplished anything there either.  He didn’t accomplishing anything as a State Senator, he didn’t accomplish anything as a US Senator.  We shouldn’t be surprised that he’s been a failure as President. 

We all know our nation is facing difficult issues.  Some of them we have talked about tonight, we will talk about others in later in the campaign.  But some issues we can’t talk about, because we don’t know what they are, and we won’t know until we have to adapt to them one way or another.

But for all these issues, we need a President with the capability for leadership in difficult circumstances, who has demonstrated that through the course of his life.  For that I ask for your vote and your trust. 

I succeed.  I win.  I am good at things.

 

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211 thoughts on “Mitt Romney for President

  1. About Romney and the Republicans in general, it ought to be clear by now that we need them more than they need us. It’s comical to think about the circumstances here or there where the libs think they’ve scored a punch, to really imagine the consequences if their predictions and judgments really are correct. Mitt goes back to his devoted wife and Christmas card family, his nine figure net worth and multiple warm-weather estates. We go back to our double-digit unemployment, our economic and social stagnation, our foreboding sense of despair and intractability. We really showed him didn’t we.

    This begs the question so hard… that the question had to go on welfare.

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                    • Well that has tactical value for the campaign perhaps (though I don’t excuse it). But more importantly, it has no value at all for his supporter-enablers.

                      They (and you and me) are the ones who are going to live under Obama’s second term if he gets one. Really, they don’t care what he does. We’ve already seen this wrt Libya, Afghanistan, and judicial assassination. But voting for Obama does indulge their animus toward Mitt Romney and the bourgeois America that he represents. And for now at least, that’s enough.

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                    • The point is more along the lines that I think both campaigns are full of it, Koz. Neither one of them has anything resembling a real plan.

                      And if they did, the American people wouldn’t vote for it. It’s not bad enough yet.

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                    • Well I don’t, as I mentioned before. More specifically, the problem isn’t the campaigns as much as the media, the punditocracy and the lib-leaning SWPLs, who are doing their best to sweep everything important under the rug.

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                  • More like 4 more years of meh. I guess a lot of people here are too young to remember it’s not always crappy like this. The Obama era has been truly lousy.

                    I do think whether or not BHO loses, things will get better. People just gotta stop waiting for the political-economic environment to improve and get on with it. [The following notwithstanding.]

                    http://washingtonexaminer.com/55-percent-of-small-business-owners-would-not-start-company-today-blame-obama/article/2509069

                    Fifty-five percent of small business owners and manufacturers would not have started their businesses in today’s economy, according to a new poll that also reports 69 percent say President Obama’s regulatory policies have hurt their businesses.

                    “There is far too much uncertainty, too many burdensome regulations and too few policymakers willing to put aside their egos and fulfill their responsibilities to the American people,” said Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, which commissioned the poll along with the National Federation of Independent Businesses. “To fix this problem, we need immediate action on pro-growth tax and regulatory policies that put manufacturers in the United States in a position to compete and succeed in an ever-more competitive global economy.”

                    The poll reports another ominous statistic for job creation: “67 percent say there is too much uncertainty in the market today to expand, grow or hire new workers.” Why? Because “President Obama’s Executive Branch and regulatory policies have hurt American small businesses and manufacturers,” according to 69 percent of the business owners surveyed.

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                    • I do think whether or not BHO loses, things will get better. People just gotta stop waiting for the political-economic environment to improve and get on with it. [The following notwithstanding.]

                      This. It’s happening, here and there.

                      Because “President Obama’s Executive Branch and regulatory policies have hurt American small businesses and manufacturers,” according to 69 percent of the business owners surveyed.

                      I wonder if anyone ever polls businesspersons for specific regulations they want to overturn, instead of the regulation boogeyman.

                      Because I’ve talked to enough businesspeople to know that at least some industries are unnecessarily regulated, but quite often the problem with undoing that is knowing which part to tug on first.

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                    • It’s more waiting for the other regulatory shoe to drop. Gasoline is now double what it was, and fortunately we stopped him in 2010, but God help us if he gets his way in a second term.

                      January 2008:

                      “Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad. Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it — whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, uh, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.’

                      And we elected him anyway. And industry and GDP have crawled ever since.

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                    • One amazing thing about this election cycle has shown is when it comes down to it, what coddled children a segment of business owners and corporate executives really are.

                      Uncertainty is part of business. I know this and I’m a commie dem. The business next to you could catch on fire or somebody could sue you for something silly, but is lawful. Also, I hate to break this to them, but there’s uncertainty about future rules and regulations about every four years. The only reason to get rid of uncertain is to stop having elections.

                      Also, actual successful people don’t give a damn about uncertainties. I don’t think Jobs, Carnegie, Walton, or Rockefeller stayed up nights worrying about “uncertainties” in their business.

                      Finally, actual polling instead of what I’m suspecting is push polling by a group like the NFIB, which by the way is led by the guy whose job before the NFIB was a lobbyist, not ya’ know, a small business owner (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=National_Federation_of_Independent_Business).

                      Most importantly, an actual poll of small business owners by an actual polling firm(http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-small-business/obama-tops-romney-in-new-poll-of-small-business-owners/2012/09/18/6d430d40-01db-11e2-9367-4e1bafb958db_story.html) shows Obama actually leading Romney among small business owners.

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                    • I am actually old enough to remember and there have been plenty of bad times. Most of the seventies come to mind. I’m old enough to remember Nixon’s price controls and other measures to defeat inflation.

                      Even before the 2008 crash, things were hardly hunky-dory. The housing bubble kept the economy afloat, but it obviously couldn’t last and, as Ron Paul (to his credit) realized, when it blew up, it would do so with craptacular force.

                      The economy is likely to suck for the foreseeable future, no matter who is president. I guess because I never expected a major rebound, I’m not surprised that it hasn’t come.

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                    • I wonder if anyone ever polls businesspersons for specific regulations they want to overturn, instead of the regulation boogeyman.

                      This is what I used to think about objections to regulation as well, but my experience working closely with CMS and health plans over the last decade has taught me that there is such a thing as “too much regulation” full stop. It can get to a point where it’s practically (or sometimes genuinely) impossible to stay compliant with all of the different rules. Every individual regulation can be perfectly sensible, but in the aggregate they can be unmanageable.

                      Ideally the lawmakers/bureaucrats would have some concept of a “budget” for regulations in a given area — acknowledge that they each have a cost and that there’s a cost ceiling, and then work to identify the best/most important set that will fit in the budget.

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                    • TVD,
                      Ain’t you the one for the pipeline?
                      That pegs gas at $3.00 a gallon, irrespective of China or India.

                      Peak oil or not, the price of gas ain’t going down past there. Ever Again. (barring minor short term blips)

                      Obama ain’t gonna change that, Romney ain’t gonna change that. Zombie Reagan on a pogostick ain’t gonna change that.

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                    • Michelle,
                      Nah, those weren’t bad times.
                      Argentina had bad times… (what with entire collapse of their government…)
                      We went through a bit of a bad patch during the depression.

                      Boomers are always so self-centered. In the 1970’s, deer were living in Pittsburgh proper. You think they’d have survived the 1930’s? I can tell you they didn’t. People was desperate back then.

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                    • Also, actual successful people don’t give a damn about uncertainties. I don’t think Jobs, Carnegie, Walton, or Rockefeller stayed up nights worrying about “uncertainties” in their business.

                      I think most of them built their empires largely because they worried about uncertainties and devised ways to manage the risk they posed. Sometimes with government help, sometimes without.

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  2. By his own statement Gov. Romney has disqualified himself for President.

    In an interview with in July when he told ABC News he would not pay more in taxes “than are legally due. And, frankly, if I had paid more than are legally due I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president. I’d think people would want me to follow the law and pay only what the tax code requires.”
    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/romney-paid-required-raising-tax-rate-141-percent/story?id=17291504#.UGuTbFFtkWE

    From his own site: “The Romneys’ generous charitable donations in 2011 would have significantly reduced their tax obligation for the year. The Romneys thus limited their deduction of charitable contributions to conform to the Governor’s statement in August, based upon the January estimate of income, that he paid at least 13% in income taxes in each of the last 10 years.”
    http://www.mittromney.com/blogs/mitts-view/2012/09/note-trustee-brad-malt

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  3. It is a well argued piece. (though I’ve alway hated digs at ‘community organizers’. I know why they’re there – because community organizers are commie symps – but really, a bedrock of conservative is (or at least used to be) strengthening civil society at the most local level so that government *wouldn’t* have to play a role,)

    And the other problem with it is that Romney has already put forth too many ‘red lines’ himself in order for it to be believed that he could ‘negotiate with the Republicans and Democrats in Congress to create a stable trajectory of American public finance’ and tame the Leviathan. Defense spending comes immediately to mind, and I’m sure there are others. (I remember him making noises about making sure to fund NASA and help the Space Coast during the primary debate in Florida).

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    • Thanks. I’m glad you noticed the community organizer business. It’s actually one of my pet peeves that both the Left and the Right have ignored the reality that Barack Obama was a _failed_ community organizer, ie, failed by terms of community organizers typically do.

      Imo, so much of the drama of Obama’s term as President is foreshadowed by that.

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        • It’s fairly well documented. There’s at least two in-depth pieces on the subject in leftist journals, I believe one is from The New Republic and the other is from The Nation, though I’m not completely certain of that. In any event, I don’t think it’s a matter of controversy.

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                • Being part of a couple of community organizations, I can say that success is often measured by an ability to keep the thing alive and moving.

                  Community organizations aren’t profit-centered. The results aren’t measurable that way.

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                    • Koz, I’m pretty sure by this comment and the last one that you don’t understand community organizing much.

                      There aren’t any terms like that. Keeping a PTA from dissolving can be a huge win, depending upon the school and the parents. On the other hand, running a local chapter of the Red Cross and losing 20% of your volunteer hours could be a crisis of mis-management, again depending upon your local community.

                      I don’t think Obama’s community organization experience was very useful for anything other than showing the guy has some experience dealing with wildly disparate motivations and crappy budgets. Whether or not he actually was good at it wasn’t really exposed by what we knew at the time (or what we know now, either).

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                    • Well yeah. You’re welcome to check if the Developing Communities Project is still around, I very much doubt if it is. If by some miracle it is around, it’s not because of anything Barack Obama did.

                      I don’t know how you can legitimately dispute that Barack Obama was a failure as a community organizer evaluated on its own terms. It doesn’t even matter if you say that the situation was beyond his control (if in fact it was). Even if it’s not his fault, it’s still a fact that he didn’t accomplish anything.

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                    • Koz: http://www.dcpchicago.org/

                      You’re welcome to check if the Developing Communities Project is still around, I very much doubt if it is. If by some miracle it is around, it’s not because of anything Barack Obama did.

                      Pat, see? A narrative, and he’s sticking to it. “It can’t be around, because Obama, but if it’s still around, it’s definitely not because Obama.”

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                    • Koz, I’m not saying it exists because of Obama. He was with them for 3 years, though as the article you cite suggest, he had success in attracting people to work with them and getting local churches involved. So he probably played a role in its sustainability, even if it wasn’t the role, because single individuals aren’t really the ones who drive these things.

                      My point is, you’ve set it up so that he couldn’t possibly have succeeded, because that would break the narrative you’ve constructed.

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                    • Koz, this is pretty incoherent.

                      He’s a failure! It doesn’t exist! And if it does, it’s not because of anything he did!

                      You’ve got the guy going and coming.

                      Note: lest I be misconstrued, I’m not saying there’s a record of successful community organizing here (at least, not on the limited about of stuff I’ve read about his organizing). There’s also not a record of failure. There’s no success metric here; if you’re looking for one, you can make one up and say he hit it or he didn’t, but it’s just making shit up.

                      Let me put it to you another way: I’ve seen Presidents of COs who have said before they started that they were going to do X, Y, and Z, because of Mission… and they’ve delivered X, Y, and Z, and everyone uniformly agreed at the end of the day they failed at the Mission.

                      I’ve also seen people say they’re going to deliver X, Y, and Z and fail all three goals and by any reasonable person involved in the organization that year, they were a huge success. Community organizations don’t live and die by anything as measurable as profit.

                      If you want to know if they were successful or not, you really had to be there. If you weren’t there, you need to know *a lot* about what happened while they were there to have anything reasonable to say as to if they were successful or not. I don’t think anybody’s done a real in-depth study of his community organization and when you think about why, it makes pretty intuitive sense.

                      These people are largely volunteers, and largely unpaid, and really, really busy.

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                    • “Note: lest I be misconstrued, I’m not saying there’s a record of successful community organizing here (at least, not on the limited about of stuff I’ve read about his organizing). There’s also not a record of failure.”

                      Well, what I’m saying is that for the purpose of this argument those two things are the same thing.

                      For me at least it’s ridiculous to think that getting asbestos out of the Altgeld Gardens is a legimate springboard to being the President of the United States. But it doesn’t matter because he didn’t get the asbestos out of the Altgeld Gardens anyway.

                      Maybe if this were somewhere buried on his resume it wouldn’t be that big a deal but all the other items on his resume are the same general pattern. Barack Obama gets some important status marker on his resume. But for some reason on another usually involving some political manipulations, he didn’t do the things you’re typically supposed to do to get the status marker. Or, after he gets the status marker he doesn’t accomplish anything with it.

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                    • Counterargument:
                      Romney’s negotiating strategy:
                      1) Hi, I’m Mitt Romney, Son of George Romney. Would you like to sell your company now?
                      2) You miserable piece of shit, you’d better figure out fast who you’re talking to.

                      This is not someone I want representing me on the global stage. (Bibi’s worse! My god is Bibi worse!) This is not someone I want talking to congress. He’d be worse than CARTER, and that’s bloody well saying something.

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            • Googling barack failed community organizer “new republic” turns up

              Creation Myth: What Barack Obama won’t tell you about his community organizing past

              and a little more digging turns up the article without TNR’s paywall. People can do these things on their own if they’re sincerely interested.

              Good job, Koz. Avoid getting dragged into the tall weeds. You made a good affirmative case for Romney and should stick with defending only that, and only if necessary.

              Like the time a colleague’s daughter went missing and Mitt shut down the entire company to look for her.

              http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/mittromney/a/Mitt-Romneys-Character.htm

              On the night of July 6, 1996, 14-year-old Melissa Gay, daughter of Bain Capital executive Robert Gay, went missing after attending a late-night rave in New York City. Gay recruited his business partners, including Mitt Romney, and the Boston-based firm’s 200 employees to help him conduct a city-wide search.

              “And so I said,” Romney recalled when asked about the incident during a town hall meeting in March 2012, “‘Let’s close the firm, let’s close the company. Let’s all of us fly down to New York and try to find her.’ And so we closed the business, we went home and packed our things, we got a hotel near the airport where we all went to, we set up a headquarters, we met with the detectives with the New York City Police Department, we hired a private investigative firm to help guide us through this process.”

              Gay, Romney, and team literally fanned out on the streets of Manhattan in suits and ties, distributing 300,000 fliers and asking passersby point-blank if they had seen the missing girl. Their efforts quickly paid off in the form of a phone call from a private residence in Montville, New Jersey, where it turned out Melissa was staying with acquaintances. She was retrieved by police and reunited with her parents in the early morning hours of July 12.

              “She’s OK,” Robert Gay said in a statement to the Associated Press. “How can you ask for anything more than that?”

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              • “People can do these things on their own if they’re sincerely interested.”

                They can, but if you’re making a case to sway opinion it can help to not chest your cards. Not that you have to show your work, mind, just that people take your argument more seriously if you do.

                Also, I had read about that story about the missing girl. Pretty awesome. Stuff like that makes me wonder why the Romney team doesn’t play the character card harder than they do.

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                • Because he doesn’t come off that way.

                  Look, he can be the nicest guy on God’s green Earth, the fact is he comes across as marginally more likeable than Kerry. If anything, choosing not to play the “nice guy” card is a smart use of bandwidth. Stick to the business, stay on message.

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                    • Tod, I could write “Cite please” all day here, but a) I’m familiar with a lot of stuff and b) I think there’s at least a suggestion that the other person is not being honest.

                      When I doubt someone’s key point, I hit the Google on my own and tend to present countervailing evidence if it exists. Otherwise, I let the whole thing pass. If I don’t care enough to look it up for myself, my interest isn’t sincere enough to expect the other guy to do my work for me.

                      Does that make sense, Tod? Because it really is a code for me. “Cite, please” is usually far more hostile than helpful, and I usually don’t like seeing it regardless of whose side I’m on in the discussion.

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                    • I get that.

                      I’m different. If someone has a post saying, for example, that it’s been proven that Obama was arrested for tax evasion in 2000 but doesn’t cite a source, I tend to assume “well, that’s what you get when you go on the internet.” But if they make the claim and cite the source, I go check it out. Maybe he did.

                      Extraordinary claims call for something something, and so forth.

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                    • Tom, I don’t think you believe that. If someone asserts X, they have an obligation to at least point you in the direction of evidence for X. This is particularly true if X is a difficult to verify claim (as it was in this case). I’m pretty sure you actually agree with this, given that you usually quote sources at length.

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                    • Of course there are good-faith requests for sources. If you want to drop the weapons and discuss this sincerely, Chris, my honest take is this:

                      If someone were to call Mitt Romney a “failed businessman” I wouldn’t ask for a cite. Far easier, more polite and less jnky to the thread would be a quick google and a link to something proving Romney’s success as a businessman. Done and done.

                      The “call-out” should be used sparingly, and frankly, my experience has been that my good-faith reply to a call-out is the other personing not acknowledging it or indeed disappearing until the next call-out.

                      On the whole, the gratification percentage of complying with callouts is low.

                      So too here, that Obama was a “failed” community organizer is a term of art, subjective, even polemic. The only efficient retort is to accept the contrary burden of proof, show BHO’s successes as a community organizer, and carpe the diem oneself.

                      To the particulars, on the whole, Koz claim is at least “arguable.”

                      In truth, however, if you examine carefully how Obama conducted himself as an organizer and how he has conducted himself as a politician, if you consider what he said about organizing to his fellow organizers, and if you look at the reasons he gave friends and colleagues for abandoning organizing, then a very different picture emerges: that of a disillusioned activist who fashioned his political identity not as an extension of community organizing but as a wholesale rejection of it. Indeed, the most important thing to know about Barack Obama’s time as a community organizer in Chicago may not be what he gained from the experience—but rather why, in late 1987, he decided to quit.”

                      http://www.volokh.com/posts/1220664290.shtml

                      One could counterargue [and someone did] that this is the fate of all community organizers. Perhaps: In 1966, Dr. King failed in Chicago as well, but had at least a few prior successes under his belt.

                      Barack Obama, not so much.

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                    • Well, Obama didn’t achieve the success of one of the greatest leaders of social and political movements of all time, it’s true. And he became disillusioned with the scope of community organizing. Neither seems surprising, nor does it support the claim that he was a failure at organizing.

                      As for cites, I don’t see how asking for data clogs a thread. Maybe this is where my training as a scientist comes into play. When someone makes a claim, my first response is almost always, “Where’s the data?” And if someone asks me for the data, I feel compelled to provide it. To be honest, I find it absurd to suggest that, if I make a claim, and someone wants data for it, I should tell them to find data that counters my claim first. Why would they do so when I haven’t even shown that I have made a claim that deserves to be taken seriously? And to show that it should be taken seriously, I have to at least argue for it, which means providing some data.

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                    • Chris, what I said was that one should Google first themselves, then ask for a cite. In this case, he gave you a hint,
                      “New Republic.”

                      I found it fine, and so wrote:

                      Googling barack failed community organizer “new republic” turns up

                      Creation Myth: What Barack Obama won’t tell you about his community organizing past

                      and a little more digging turns up the article without TNR’s paywall.

                      As for “failed,” I explained that it’s a term of art. The request for “data” is inapplicable. The only counterargument is to list Obama’s success at community organizing. As far as I know Barack had little or no success worth speaking of, and then quit. “Failed” fits fine.

                      And now I’m repeating myself, which I prefer not to do after expending the effort to reply to you in good faith the first time. I must admit I did think of you the other day when I read this, again from Jonathan Haidt’s research:

                      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444358804578016291138331904.html

                      Perhaps more intriguingly, when libertarians reacted to moral dilemmas and in other tests, they displayed less emotion, less empathy and less disgust than either conservatives or liberals. They appeared to use “cold” calculation to reach utilitarian conclusions about whether (for instance) to save lives by sacrificing fewer lives. They reached correct, rather than intuitive, answers to math and logic problems, and they enjoyed “effortful and thoughtful cognitive tasks” more than others do.

                      Then I understood. When I say “term of art,” or argue intuitively—non-linearly—we quickly reach an impasse because your demands for “data” cannot be met. The human experience cannot be digitized. If you say Romney is unlikable, someone can say, look, here’s the poll—44% like him fine.

                      YMMV covers a lot of ground, and is a perfectly satisfactory reply for many people, incl me. I don’t like Barack much. I think he was snide to Hillary, threw a number of people under his bus, and insulted Paul Ryan and several members of the Supreme Court to their faces when they couldn’t hit him back.

                      But the polls say he’s likable. And so he is, I suppose.

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                    • Tom, you and I are just going to have to disagree, then. If someone makes a claim, I think it’s their responsibility to back it up. Why would I spend even a couple minutes researching something when it could just be that Koz doesn’t like Obama? I mean, we know he doesn’t, and we know he’s biased (as we all are, I should note). It seems it’s his responsibility to back up his claims when asked to. You disagree. It’s probably just a difference in our communication and analytical styles.

                      As for Haidt, you have a habit of citing Haidt without having read Haidt. This is another thing I find disturbing, particularly given how bad science reporting (and science reporting about psychology in particular) tends to be. It’s why you’ve tended to misrepresent, though perhaps unintentionally, his findings on liberals’ and conservatives’ knowledge of each others’ views, for example.

                      Anytime you cite Haidt, it’s important to note that the vast majority of his work, particularly on political orientations, has yet to be replicated or confirmed by anyone else. If we were speaking as scientists, we’d say, “More data is needed.” If we were speaking as bad journalists or pundits, we’d use his data for gotcha moments, as I think you tend to do. I will admit, though, that I got the Wason selection task right the first time it was given to me, and I was never fooled by the Monty Hall problem or Linda the feminist bank teller. Maybe I should be a libertarian.

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                    • At this point, then, we’re talking manners, Chris. I think a “Cite, please” unless wrapped in a swaddling blanket of courteous language is most often intended as a weapon.

                      As for Haidt, his findings conform with my own experience— esp here LoOG! If you are not a libertarian, it’s they whom you run, fly and nest with. In the end, the birds of a feather, be they eagles or dodos.

                      ;-)

                      And I fully admit Haidt’s work is more intuitive than exacting, but he’s just getting this field started. Regardless of the details, you’ve already stipulated that perhaps your and my brains work differently. I’m not sure you even appreciate that I don’t really debate anymore, and find debate quite useless here LoOG of all places. All we can do is float a piece of info or an original thought and see if it grows into something new.

                      I have noticed you’re always spot-on in explaining this thinker or that whom you’ve studied. I’ll confess I don’t quite get Charles Sanders Peirce on abduction, but I did read some Vietnamese guys turned him into a logic circuit a few years back, 100 years after his death. Now THAT’s cool.

                      http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/peirce/#dia

                      Cheers.

                      http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/peirce/#dia

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                    • Tom, Pierce is notoriously difficult, particularly on signs (firstness, secondness, and thirdness, signs create signs, it’s signs all the way down). Abduction is relatively simple, though. The simplest way to conceive it is as a hypothetical reasoning, in the scientific sense: given X, Y is a possible antecedent (that is, a possible explanation for why X is the case). Unlike induction, where I’ve seen a bunch of white swans and no black swans, so I infer that all swans are white, abduction is more like arguments from analogy: like the planets revolving around the sun, electrons revolve around the nucleus, so like gravity is the force that causes the revolution of the planets, there must be some force that keeps the electrons revolving around the nucleus (this is loosely Rutherford’s analogy, and it’s wrong, but it’s an example of abduction). I know a bit about situations like Y, and they tend to have explanations like X, so maybe something X-like explains Y. It’s a guess, but not a blind one.

                      Sometimes abduction looks a lot like either induction or deduction, so it is a bit more complicated than I’ve made it out to be, but it’s simpler than the semiotics. If you really want to make your head spin, read Pierce on signs.

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                    • Thx heartily for the explanation, Chris. I’ll repuzzle over it. As a late-in-life autodidact, still over me head. That they turned CSPeirce into a logic circuit still amazes me.

                      As a poet and musician and fairly analytical at both [the rhythms and sounds of words, psychoacoustics], I do flatter myself that the semiotics [signs, symbols] part is fairly unpuzzling.

                      abduction is more like arguments from analogy

                      Don’t tell me we’re back at my pal Aquinas! Here I am back at something years ago but didn’t quite get!

                      http://www.unav.es/users/AbductionOfGod.html

                      Cheers, mate. Straighten me out, and thanks in advance. My poor puddin’ head hurts.

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              • “failed community organizer” is a pretty hilarious- and telling- criticism

                Its basically an admission that their criticisms of the past 4 years aren’t sticking, so they reach back 20 years to find something.

                What, you misplaced the Whitey tape again? Or maybe you forgot about that time in American Lit 101 when Barack came to class and made fart noises with his armpit?

                Or maybe this is part of the “He is no good because he has enacted his agenda”

                Or the “”He is no good because he failed to enact his agenda (which we blocked by filibustering and holding our breath)”

                Or maybe the ever-popular “He is a mystery candidate, and we know nothing about him or how he might govern.”

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              • Sounds a lot like telling miners that they HAVE to attend a pro-Mitt rally. Did they pay the workers to conduct the hunt? If not, sounds a bit like coersion to me.

                BTW, this is epic fail:
                “Gay, Romney, and team literally fanned out on the streets of Manhattan in suits and ties, distributing 300,000 fliers and asking passersby point-blank if they had seen the missing girl. Their efforts quickly paid off in the form of a phone call from a private residence in Montville, New Jersey, where it turned out Melissa was staying with acquaintances. ”

                Passing out fliers in Manhattan produced a phone call from New Jersey? Sounds to like the acquaintance just figured her dad might be worried.

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              • I’m not sure how “Pretty white girl goes missing, very very rich people devote significant resources to find her, including occupying significant public security resources, girl turns up at friend’s house” really serves as a good job Romney statement. I don’t mean to be obtuse; I get the “Mitt cares about his friends and demonstrates it” narrative, but it seems there is a meta story here, something much more important demonstrated by this little window into Mitt’s life.

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  4. I am trying to not be too critical. I do have a question. You say,

    “This is where the leadership of Mitt Romney and the Romney Administration can change things, independent of whatever policies he puts in place. Because he can negotiate with the Republicans and Democrats in Congress to create a stable trajectory of American public finance, because he can streamline and dial back our contemporary Leviathan, we can hope to restore employment and growth to the American economy. More than that, by voting for Romney we are in an important way not just voting for Romney but also voting for the other Americans who are voting for Romney. And because those are the Americans who are committed to stable public finance and limited government we can place our hopes in them as well.”

    Can you give me more detail on how Romney will do this?

    How does Mitt Romney use his “leadership” to succesfully “negotiate” with Dems. For example, how will he deal with a minority of D senators who will filibuster his budget plans? What will he do on SS that Bush wasn’t able to do to “lead” the crap out of Congress? (IMO, Congress isn’t lead at all, not in the sense you are thinking of anyway.)

    And if Romney can get deficit legislation passed, how will this juice the economy? This is what I need to be convinced of to think about voting for Romney. And what regulations will he cut? And how will cutting these regulations cause an economic boom that outweighs the costs (environmental and otherwise) that result from a lack of regulatory oversight? Again, if you can convince me that cutting specified regulations X, Y, and Z will have a positive impact that outweighs the costs of losing X, Y, an Z, I might vote for Romney. (Moral issues like abortion are still tricky, but You’d push me in the Romney direction.)

    As it is, all I see is “1. Cut taxes and EPA. 2. ??? 3. Profit.” That’s a horrible case, for Romney, no?

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    • “Can you give me more detail on how Romney will do this?

      How does Mitt Romney use his “leadership” to succesfully “negotiate” with Dems. For example, how will he deal with a minority of D senators who will filibuster his budget plans? What will he do on SS that Bush wasn’t able to do to “lead” the crap out of Congress? (IMO, Congress isn’t lead at all, not in the sense you are thinking of anyway.)”

      Well yeah. You take the Obama budgets and start cutting. You can take those “deals” that Obama and Boehner supposedly agreed to and strip out all the tax hikes, that’s as good a place to start as any, and so far at least there’s nothing to say that the whole Democratic party would be opposed.

      Most or all of the animosity in the budget wars during Obama’s term comes from the Demo’s insistence on entangling tax policy with fiscal policy. Once you don’t have to do that you take each item on its own terms.

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      • and strip out all the tax hikes

        And you’re done, Koz. You’re already toast.

        There is no way a Democratic filibuster is going to let that one through, and you’re not getting 61. So if that’s the first step in your plan, you’re screwed.

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        • Actually, I don’t think that subject to a filibuster anyway. And I’m not sure the D’s would necessarily want to filibuster. In any event we’d find out. So much of the Administration’s energy was a bunch of wink and nod games to moderates and green-eyeshade libs. North has assured me that those maneuvers were quite for real, but frankly I don’t think he knows.

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          • You can’t filibuster the actual budget because it’s a non-binding resolution that just sets general revenue levels. However, the actual appropriation bills? Oh, they can be filibustered and if you don’t think Harry Reid would be happy as hell to find 41 Democrats to make Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s life hell, then you haven’t been paying attention.

            But to get to 60, you’re going to need folks like Kay Hagan, Michael Bennett, and Mark Warner consistently voting with you. Not occasionally, not every so often, but consistently. Good luck with that.

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            • Jessie, if you’re such a budget expert could you kindly explain to me why NOT ONE DEMOCRAT voted yes on a single one of Obama’s budgets? I mean come on, here’s the most recent one. This would be a joke if there were a punchline.

              Yes this MUST be the Republican’s fault because they forced those crafty Democrats to vote at all. “This is the second year in a row that Obama’s budget couldn’t win a single Democratic vote in Congress. In parliamentary systems, that would be a vote of no confidence and the party would be looking for new leadership. ”

              I’m going back to drinking, maybe I can drink myself as stoopid as some folks appear to be. Unfortunately I think my liver will give out before my brain cells do.

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              • http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/apr/06/mitt-romney/romney-says-obama-failed-pass-budget/

                “Romney’s statement [and Wardsmith’s] contains a grain of truth, in that two of Obama’s budget requests failed to pass. But citing those votes leaves a wrong impression — namely that the votes were anything more than political theater.”

                Everything out of wardsmith’s mouth (keyboard?) is partisan nonsense.

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                  • Actually those budget votes (or lack of them) are important. Bascially they represent an attempt by the Demo’s in Congress to turn the funding processes of government into a sausage factory that no one wants to look at. Or more of one than it was already.

                    If it weren’t that way, we could have hope that here and there people could say, what about that program, what about those block grants, why can’t we just get rid of them? It’s very important for lib funding priorities that this process be shielded from public view. They believe in entanglement, we believe in engagement.

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                    • I could believe that this was important and it signified something particularly important about the Democrats except I have no confidence that anybody in Congress regardless of party is interested in tackling the budget entirely on its own merits without account for the political football aspect, and plenty of people on both the Right and the Left are also saying, “this is a meaningless talking point.”

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                    • Yeah but that’s a stupid perspective, assuming that we’re going to have simultaneous control over every nook and cranny once. We’re not going to have that very often or ever.

                      What we do have, are the nuts and bolts in the machine of governance, and some of them actually work. Like this one. It’s not like the failure of the Demo’s to pass a budget resolution is the only twig in the fire, but it’s just one more illustrative example that the their political priorities are not compatible with the machinery of limited government, therefore that machinery gets bulldozed away.

                      The cause of the problem is libs. Get rid of the libs get rid of the problem.

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              • As I and other have explained, the “Obama budgets” brought up by the GOP to be voted down weren’t the actual current Obama budgets (since they had been superceded by other plans), but also they were just resolutions with the top-line numbers for revenues and spending. They weren’t the actual budgets.

                Also, a budget was passed. It was called the Budget Control Act. It’s the reason why we have the cuts coming up on December 31st that the GOP are screaming about.

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              • It’s pretty clear that the budget thing is political theater, but aside from getting Wardsmith all worked up, I’m not sure what it’s supposed to accomplish.

                Clearly both sides of the aisle think they’re playing 11-dimensional chess here, but to me it looks a lot more like a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos with a couple of broken pieces.

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          • Well obviously neither of us knows for sure, but with our opinions having the same weight I don’t see any reason why a rational person would think the administrations offers weren’t genuine. Certainly Boehner seemed to think they were right up until his party revolted right out from under him over it and he began feeling Cantor’s breathe on the back of his neck. Obama was quite publicly desperate for a bipartisan deal on the subject, he was still in his change you can believe in mode back then (and the way that liberals melted down in despair at the sight of Obama’s offers also is strong evidence that the deals offered were genuine; the nicest thing the GOP has done for liberalism in the last generation was refusing those deals).

            As an aside I thought your piece was very you. I could have picked out your distinctive points as yours even were your name not on the byline so hearty congrats on maintaining your brand.

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      • If I wasn’t so lazy a liberal I would repost my budget breakdown which I have been doing every year since 2010, showing the 5 categories of the budget (Defense/ Homeland Security, Social Security, Medicare, Interest, and Everything Else) and the two categories of revenue (Social Security, Taxes) and suggest that the conservatives in here put up or shut up.
        Basicallysince the Bush era about a third of all federal spending is unsupported by taxes.

        So to balance the budget, you need to either cut govt spending by a full third (the dreaded “fiscal cliff” is a fraction of that) or you raise taxes or some combination of those.

        This is why no Republican has ever proposed a balanced budget since Dwight Eisenhower. They love spending, and have glommed onto the idea of being the Double Santa Claus- delivering both massive spending and minimal taxation, and pretending the deficit doesn’t exist when they are in power and is pure evil when they are out.

        Ryan and Romney have reached the end of this dance, and the chairs are all gone. So they have to keep dancing and stepping lightly over all those nagging questions of how they will right the ship without cutting Defense spending or raising taxes.

        In this case yes, arithmetic does have a decided liberal bias.

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      • “Most or all of the animosity in the budget wars during Obama’s term comes from the Demo’s insistence on entangling tax policy with fiscal policy.”

        What does this mean.

        “In economics and political science, fiscal policy is the use of government revenue collection (taxation) and expenditure (spending) to influence the economy.[1] The two main instruments of fiscal policy are government taxation and expenditure. Changes in the level and composition of taxation and government spending can impact the following variables in the economy.”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiscal_policy

        Tax policy is part of fiscal policy.

        You don’t even know that. Oy.

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  5. Yeah. Brag. That’ll make Mitt seem more human and likeable.

    Oh, and dis Obama with the transparent lie that he’s never accomplished anything – that’ll play well too.

    Yeesh.

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  6. Koz, I’m curious if you could be more specific about what you found wanting in my post. I see no comments from you on that post at all. I realize I must have said or argued something you didn’t like. So call me out, man. Tell me what I said that was wrong.

    What I find interesting in your post is that you spend so much time focusing on Romney as a person. There is very little about what policies he would pursue. As to Romney the man, there is little reason to doubt he possesses a strong executive skill set. But Obama has been President for four years now and Romney has never been President. It’s no longer about discerning aptitude and experience to see if he’s capable of doing the job, at least as to Obama. It’s about whether Obama has actually done the job well, and if not, why Romney would do it better. I see very little about that in your pitch.

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    • My main thought in response to your post was to push back against the idea that we can’t be for Romney instead of just saying that well, he’s not Obama so that’s good enough. I for one have no problem at all being for Romney.

      Part of the reason this is such disconnect has to do with our failure as voters to understand what has changed in our lifetimes, especially since 2008 and how that affects what our candidates are capable of. Because there are so many layers of bureaucracy and quasi-permanent Establishment who have made themselves cogs in the machine, the lines of cause and effect between political mandate, public policy, discourse, and policy effectiveness become very blurry indeed.

      It takes a man of extraordinary determination, analytic ability and managerial ability to be capable of slimming down Leviathan and loosening the sclerosis over our nation. And from everything we know about their careers to date, Mitt Romney is that man and Barack Obama isn’t. End of.

      “It’s no longer about discerning aptitude and experience to see if he’s capable of doing the job, at least as to Obama.”

      Oh I think it is. At least to the extent that there isn’t very much difference between the reasons why we shouldn’t expect him to succeed and the reasons why in actuality he hasn’t succeeded.

      It’s very valuable for the SWPL-libs to get over their cultural enthusiasms and antagonisms to see that our economic and occurs stagnation doesn’t just happen but is the result of particular choices in governance and their downstream knock-on effects.

      It’s not just Barack Obama can’t solve our problems. The situation would be better if he weren’t there.

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      • “extraordinary determination, analytic ability and managerial ability”
        Describing Romney as the New Carter is no way to win friends in this corner.

        Oh, i Quite Agree, SIR! If we blow up half the roads in the countrya nd kill rural electricity and telephone (like you’re asking us to do) and then kill veterans benefits AND sell off the national parks…. The rich will get a bit richer. Huzzah for Sociopaths!

        Of course the situation would be better for Republicans if he wasn’t there. If he wasn’t there, you wouldn’t ahve PAUL RYAN as vice presidential candidate.

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  7. I’m for skipping the next war in the Middle East, even if that means remembering that we have allies and interests beyond the borders of Israel. Outsourcing our foreign policy to Bibi Netanyahu is a terrible idea, but Romney talks of nothing else. Odd that this wasn’t mentioned at all in OP, since foreign policy is one thing a president can actually do.

    Full disclosure, though: I am self employed with a pre-exisitng condition, which means I really have no choice in this election, anyway. Mitt’s plan for folks like me amounts to “suck it.”

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  8. You know, over at Redstate they were having this discussion recently about how Romney can win this thing with some main ideas being he needs to rail against gay marriage more and that he should start criticizing Obama in his speeches, or criticize him more often, which some of them seem to think he’s not been allowed to do thus far. At some point though it’s like Okay, I get that you don’t like Obama- that’s why you’re running against him!

    So, I’ll say that if I had to choose between that and your strategy of bragging about Romney’s accomplishments more often, I would totally go with yours.

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    • Yeah, that was kinda my thought too. In terms of the best way to market Romney personally, I think you and I and Ramesh are on the same page.

      nationalreview.com/corner/329137/what-debates-can-and-cant-do-romney-ramesh-ponnuru

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  9. I will say this much for your post, with which I otherwise have some disagreements: I think the approach you’ve taken, of affirmatively defending Romney and making a case for him on his own terms, seems like a good one.

    To their dismay, the GOP believed that running against Obama was all they needed to do, and his enduring popularity has thoroughly routed them. As Tom points out, he (and presumably lots of other conservatives) just don’t like Obama, and they extrapolated that into a false assumption. (If you’ve ever seen the Jesusland maps from 2004, you understand that liberals did something very similar with GWB.)

    For what it’s worth, I believe Romney compounded this problem by picking Paul Ryan, a man who is constitutionally incapable of giving non-conservatives warm fuzzy feelings.

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    • I think the approach you’ve taken, of affirmatively defending Romney and making a case for him on his own terms, seems like a good one.

      But, this is the approach that Romney has taken and it doesn’t seem to be working.

      The heart and soul of the Romney campaign’s affirmative strategy is summed up in the last lines of Koz’s endorsement (which is essentially a double down on what Romney has been doing to date). “I succeed, I win, I’m good at things.” I ask you to trust me.

      You’ll note nowhere in the OP any mention of policy. None. In fact, the closest thing to a mention of policy is a dismissal of it’s importance.

      This is where the leadership of Mitt Romney and the Romney Administration can change things, independent of whatever policies he puts in place.

      I wouldn’t buy a car from a salesman who wasn’t prepared to discuss the pluses and minuses of his product, regardless of how energized, determined, intelligent, wildly successful and heroic he claimed (or even was proven) to be. I don’t think anyone would. But, I should pick a President this way?

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    • I think the approach you’ve taken, of affirmatively defending Romney and making a case for him on his own terms, seems like a good one.

      The whole thing about what a terrific executive he would make — which is what Koz’s case amounts to — is one thing when Romney is running for governor of Massachusetts, and the legislature is as good as guaranteed to remain in the hands of the Democrats (IIRC, more than 700 of Romney’s 800+ vetoes were overridden). But there’s no similar guarantee that Congress won’t be under Republican control, in which case Romney is an enabler for the Republican national policies. I myself have little doubt that if the Republicans hold the House and get a split or better in the Senate and Romney/Ryan wins, then current filibuster rules in the Senate will be toast, one way or the other, and Congress will send Romney a set of legislation with drastic national policy changes, and Romney will sign them. In this year’s situation, you can’t separate Romney the executive with terrific experience from the party’s policy proposals, and that’s what’s really holding him back.

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  10. Mitt goes back to his devoted wife and Christmas card family, his nine figure net worth and multiple warm-weather estates.

    Which made me think of this Ambrose Bierce fable:

    A Traveller arriving at the capitol of the nation saw a vast plain outside the wall, filled with struggling and shouting men. While he looked upon the alarming spectacle an Office broke away from the Throng and took shelter in a tomb close to where he stood, the crowd being too intent upon hammering one another to observe that the cause of their contention had departed.

    “Poor bruised and bleeding creature,” said the compassionate Traveller, “what misfortune caused you to be so far away from the source of power?”

    “I ‘sought the man,’” said the Office.

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  11. Of course, the real message of the speech Koz wrote for Romney is “I’m better than almost anyone! I’m the real 1%! Hurray for ME!” I don’t think that would go over too well with very many people, including a lot of Republicans. Not to mention it would make Romney sound very insecure, mean-spirited, cranky and uncomfortably obsessed with Obama.

    In fact, it makes him sound like…Koz. Hmmm. Projection much?

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  12. Koz, nice piece.

    Contrary to how some of the more-partisan readers and contributors have reacted above, the empirical argument is a sound one: Romney is a winner. That much is true and should be emphasized by the national party.

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    • The problem his campaign has always had, in the do-si-do it has to do with the Republican base, is figuring out how to cast Romney as a winner without simultaneously casting people who aren’t like him as losers. The candidate himself, with his little 47% thing, hasn’t exactly made that task easier.

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    • Or a longer, more tongue-in-cheek version of Koz’s argument a la Stephen Fry (I know I’ve posted this here countless times now, but it never ceases to impress me with its truth-mass):

      “With a great flurry of handshakes and smiles, Mitt is suddenly in the house, marching straight to the space in front of the fireplace where a mike on a stand awaits him, as for a stand-up comedian. He is wearing a smart suit, the purpose of which, it seems, is to allow him to whip off the jacket in a moment of wild unscripted anarchy, so as to demonstrate his informality and desire to get right down to business and to hell with the outrage and horror this will cause in his minders. British MPs and candidates of all stripes now do the same thing. The world over, male politicians have trousers that wear out three times more quickly than their coats. And who would vote for a man who kept his jacket on? Why, it is tantamount to broadcasting your contempt for the masses. Politicians who wear jackets might as well eat the common people’s children and have done with it.

      Romney is impressive in a rather ghastly kind of way, which is not really his fault. He has already gone over so many of his arguments and rehearsed so many of his cunningly wrought lines that, try as he might, the techniques he employs to inject a little life and freshness into them are identical to those used by game show hosts, the class of person Governor Romney most resembles; lots of little chuckled-in phrases like ‘am I right?’ and ‘gosh, I don’t know but it seems to me that’, ‘heck, maybe it’s time’ and so on. In fact he is so like an American version of Bob Monkhouse in his verbal and physical mannerisms that I become quite distracted. Rod and Patricia beam so hard and so shiningly they begin to look like the swollen pumpkins that surround them.

      ‘Hey, you know, I don’t live or die just for Republicans or just for whacking down Democrats, I wanna get America right,” says Mitt when invited to blame the opposition.

      A minder makes an almost indiscernible gesture from the back, which Mitt picks up on right away. Time to leave.

      ‘Holy cow, I have just loved talking to you folks,’ he says, pausing on his way out to be photographed. ‘this is what democracy means.’

      ‘I told you he was awesome,’ says Deirdra.

      In the afternoon we move on to Phillips Exeter Academy, one of the most famous, exclusive and prestigious private schools in the land, the “Eton of America’ that educated Daniel Webster, Gore Vidal, John Irving, and numerous other Americans all the way up to Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook as well as half the lineup of indie rockers Arcade Fire. The school has an endowment of one billion dollars.

      In this heady atmosphere of privilege, wealth, tradition and youthful glamour Mitt is given a harder time. The students question the honesty of his newly acquired anti-gay, anti-abortion ‘values’. It seems he was a liberal as Governor of Massachusetts and has now had to add a little red meat and iron to his politics in order to placate the more right-wing members of his party. The girls and boys of the school (whose Democratic Club is more than twice the size of its Republican, I am told) are unconvinced by the Governor’s wriggling and squirming on this issue and he only manages, in the opinion of this observer at least, to get away with not being jeered. I could quite understand his shouting out, ‘What the hell you rich kids think you know about families beats the crap out of me’, but he did not, which is good for his campaign but a pity for those of us who like a little theatre in our politics.

      By the time he appeared on the steps outside the school hall to answer some press questions I was tired, even if he was not. The scene could not have been more delightful, a late-afternoon sun setting the bright autumnal leaves on fire; smooth, noble, and well-maintained collegiate architecture and lawns and American politics alive and in fine health. I came away admiring Governor Romney’s stamina, calm and good humour. If every candidate has to go through such slog and grind day after day after day, merely to win the right finally to move forward and really campaign, then one can at least guarantee that the Leader of the Free World, whoever he or she may be, has energy, an even temper and great stores of endurance. I noticed that the Governor’s jacket had somehow magically been placed in the back of his SUV. Ready to be put on in order to be taken off again next time.”

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  13. Koz, I read this last night, and wasn’t going to comment; I think you are entitled to our pitch for your guy. But one thing has gnawed away, so I stepping to the plate to challenge it:

    But under President Obama, we have seen a multitude of policies or scandals whose cumulative effect is to place in jeopardy the ability of elements in the private sector from organizing themselves in economically valuable ways for the benefit of all parties.

    Policies or scandals. This is something we’re seeing too much of; conflating policy you don’t like to scandal. I’ll give you an example of this conflation: in many states with Republican leadership, there has been little or no activity to develop the Health Insurance Exchanges required by ACA. It’s the law, the policy of the land. But Republicans don’t like it; they view it as a scandal, not a policy. So they’re not preparing, which likely is a scandal. Yesterday on NPR’s Al Things Considered, there was a piece on States Dragging Their Feed on Health Exhchanges, with nuggets like this from Alan Weil from the National Academy of State Health Policy:
    I interact regularly with people who are working on the exchange who are not in a position to be very public about that work. [snip] Well, let’s just say that people are careful about what they say and where they present their information. It’s not a very pleasant way to go about your daily work. These are, after all, public servants who want to be working in the public interest and view their work as in the public interest. But they’re caught between the federal law that their bosses may not be very supportive, but is the law of the land. And the other is a political environment, where activities that implements that law are not well received.

    For me, this is a huge problem; conflating legal policy with scandal results in ineffective and inefficient government. Making public servants do their legally required work in a closet is about the poorest policy imaginable, rising to the level of actual scandal. It’s irresponsible.

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    • You don’t understand. “Fast and Furious” is a scandal, despite the fact that the Justice Department has charged everyone involved, including high-ranking officials. It’s a scandal because we say so, that’s why!

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    • “Policies or scandals. This is something we’re seeing too much of; conflating policy you don’t like to scandal.”

      This is actually a great point but it doesn’t mean what you think it means. Things like Solyndra and Fast and Furious started as policies and end as scandals because the Demos made it that way. We have things like Congressional oversight and public discourse to adjust and adapt things that have been put in place to see if they’re working. It’s the political brittleness of the Obama Administration and its enabling libs to subvert these things.

      The upshot being things like PPACA. And it’s not just the passage of PPACA but the states’ resistance to the exchanges as well. It’s a little rich calling PPACA “the law of the land”, but even if it were why should the governors care? It’s pretty clear that President Obama doesn’t. Or for that matter why shouldn’t the governors wait until Romney is elected President and we’ll waive whatever parts of PPACA we don’t like. Or get waivers from President Obama in his second term if it comes to that.

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  14. Here’s more on “We built this!” Romney:

    Both of his “successes”, Bain and the SLC Olympics were aided by mass infusions of federal dollars. Romney didn’t build either by himself.

    Even today, MONTHS after the Wall Street Journal (that bastion of liberal bias) called the $700 billion “cut” a lie, Romney is STILL using it. That alone should disqualify him.

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