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    Dazed and confused, except …

    Dazed and confused, except …

    A friend writes:

    I’m sure you’ve been following Romney’s latest flip-flop, in which he supported Kasich’s anti-union initiative in June but today traveled to Ohio and claimed he wasn’t familiar with the referendum.  It’s just too much.  The guy disgusts me, and frankly I just don’t know where to turn in this field.  Thinking of moving to Perry. Sure, he’s an idiot.  But he might actually believe in something.

    Actually, I was not aware of it because I was traveling, but I now see that Jim Geraghty has a good round-up.  I don’t react as negatively, perhaps because my expectations are so much lower.

    I could make a case for four of the candidates, but each has a downside.  Go with my heart (Cain, Newt) or with my head (Romney, Perry)?  (added)  I don’t share the view that Perry is an idiot, and Romney doesn’t “disgust” me, but neither gets me motivated the way the two less likely candidates do.

    I’m hesitant to jump on the downsides because while I’m dazed and confused as to the Republican field, I’m quite clear that Obama must be defeated.  I’m just not sure how.

    Update: Romney rushes to clarify his comments on union bargaining legislation.


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    This field seems disappointing, but a lot of that has to do with the way conservative politics has changed since the emergence of the Tea Party. Prior to the current economic crisis, things like Romneycare or GWB’s promoting of homeownership for everyone could, in fact, be conceived of as “conservative” reforms. Now, to take the HC issue as an example, anything short of complete laissez faire withdrawal of the government from the HC sector strikes me as a hopelessly liberal folly. Or take “stimulus” spending. “Conservatives” did, in fact, support the general Keynesian idea of using deficit spending as to jolt the economy. I could go with this, but you get the idea.

    Now, I’m not at all saying that Obama is what we used to call a “conservative.” What he’s done (nationalizing the auto industry, for example) is downright socialist as far as I’m concerned. That’s not the point I’m making. I’m simply pointing out that a lot of the things Romney, or Perry, or even Gingrich supported or did, even with the last few years, are only now being railed against as crimes against conservatism. At the time the did or supported those things, they were more-or-less mainstream “conservative” policies. If you further allow for the fact that these are politicians trying to maintain some degree of support from moderate and liberal voters, it’s not hard to see how things like insurance mandates or the Gardisil program happened.

    Elections are supposed about the future. The focus therefore should be focused on what these prez candidates would do over the next four years, not on what they did in the past.

    Seems to me the next president needs to do at least a handful of big things (this list may not be exhaustive): (1) repeal Obamacare; (2) undo the stifling regulatory environment that’s retarding private job growth; (3) make serious spending cuts, including . . . (4) entitlement reform; (5) restore some coherence to U.S. foreign policy (at least insofar as acknowledging that the despotic, secular tyrants we are toppling are being replaced by Islamist despots). Flawed as they appear as a group, I’m fairly confident that pretty much all of the GOP candidates would pursue this kind of agenda, and therefore would make a much better president than the incumbent.

      donb in reply to Conrad. | October 26, 2011 at 10:43 am

      Well, count Romney OUT on criteria #1. He’ll give wavers, to all 50 states no less, (and probably to a few unions, and select preferred businesses, but forget the rest of us poor schmucks) but hasn’t offered to scrap it.

      Why, with just a few tweaks, it would have a Republican (R) flavor [tastes kinda like RINO, or is that chicken], and would then become R-Omni-Care (kinder-gentler Republican care for “omni”/all).

        Conrad in reply to donb. | October 26, 2011 at 12:24 pm

        Romney says he’ll repeal Obamacare, not just issue waivers. It’s says so right on his campaign website. You may not BELIEVE him, but you shouldn’t misrepresent what his stated position is.

        RightKlik in reply to donb. | October 26, 2011 at 7:42 pm

        Forget about it. When the New York Times and Washington Post manufacture a few poll results that scare Romney away from repeal, he’ll run away from it with his tail between his legs.

      Owen J in reply to Conrad. | October 26, 2011 at 11:04 am

      Well said. The past does have diagnostic power though if used properly; not so much what they did, but why they did it — what were they thinking and what did they learn.

      I have to say that Romeny looks more and more not like the establishment candidate, but the Entitlement candidate.

      And for a guy who reputed to be slick, this last bit of weasel-wording dumbfounds me — I can’t imagine what he was thinking.

      retire05 in reply to Conrad. | October 26, 2011 at 12:17 pm

      Conrad, perhaps you can point out what laws that Perry lobbied for, and gained, that makes you think he was anything less than the conservative he claims to be?

    Perry looked good for a while, but he proved to be a terrible debater. Cain looked good for a while, but his proposed sales tax doesn’t look like a winner. Newt is smart and an outstanding debater, but he has lots of baggage, both personal and political. Romney has no principles as evidenced by his flips and flops.

    Still, the real question is, who has the best chance against Obama? Romney once had that nailed down, but he seems to be fading. Cain’s inexperience seems like a big downside in conducting and effective campaign. Perry looks inept and inarticulate. Maybe Newt will emerge as the best candidate despite his baggage. Time is marching along.

      (on Cain) The sales tax can be a winner if it’s properly described in simple terms that even the most anti-conservative reporter will be able to understand. Does it have some flaws? Sure. But those flaws are infinitely superior to the current tax system where the government chooses winners and losers through “tax expenditures.”

    MaggotAtBroadAndWall | October 26, 2011 at 10:38 am

    I moved into the “Anybody But Romney” camp a couple of weeks ago when I learned that during his term as governor Romney hired John Holdren, one of Obama’s environmental czars, to advise him on creating the most restrictive CO2 legislation in the country for MA. Now he refuses to endorse Kasich’s legislation to limit the power of public employee unions, which should be a no-brainer despite what Walter Russell Mead says. There’s not one Democrat policy I can find that Romney hasn’t either supported outright in the past or that he refuses to be against: Romney/Obamacare, abortion, gun control, excessive environmental regulation, and now unionized public employees.

    I had tried keeping an open mind about him after he released his economic plan. But I’ve developed an intense dislike for him as I’ve learned more over the past 2-3 weeks.

      spartan in reply to MaggotAtBroadAndWall. | October 26, 2011 at 10:49 am

      “There’s not one Democrat policy I can find that Romney hasn’t either supported outright in the past or that he refuses to be against: Romney/Obamacare, abortion, gun control, excessive environmental regulation, and now unionized public employees.”

      Very well said.

      Forget the comparisons to Mike Dukakis, Romney is fast becoming the better model of JFKerry. That may explain some of Jennifer Rubin’s venom towards Perry.

    How the H3ll can a man be an “idiot” and get elected 3 times to the governorship of one of the most populous and complex states of the union?

    It’s time to stop buying in to the propaganda of dishonest people.

    None of the Republican contenders are “characters” or “unqualified” — especially compared to the unvetted red-diaper baby of one of Nancy Pelosi’s dear friends, foisted on us by an irresponsible Democratic Party.

    No one person is perfect, nor do any have every desired trait and bit of knowledge that a President needs to make good decisions.

    I voted as a Democrat in every election, up to the second election of George W. Bush.

      donb in reply to Valerie. | October 26, 2011 at 12:11 pm

      “How the H3ll can a man be an “idiot” and get elected [multiple times in Massachusetts]?”

      Good question. Consider:
      (1) Mike Dukakis,
      (2) Ted Kennedy, and
      (3) Barney Frank.

        Owen J in reply to donb. | October 26, 2011 at 12:34 pm

        It’s Massachusetts — doesn’t that question answer itself?

        Look at who has Calif elected over the past decades — going back to Cranston. And Brown for guv twice?

        Then compare how things are going in CA and TX.

        Owen J in reply to donb. | October 26, 2011 at 12:38 pm

        You might also consider that voters tend to treat senators and reps differently than governors, as they do quite different things.

        Calif has elected a number of decent Republican governors, including Reagan and Wilson. But every senator I can recall in my lifetime has been a liberal idiot of the pernicious variety.

      tiger66 in reply to Valerie. | October 26, 2011 at 1:56 pm

      I couldn’t for a minute call Perry an idiot. He may not be the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but that’s not the point.

      What is indisputable is that he is a Texas politician. His act plays well in Lubbock and New Braunfels. I don’t think it will play very well in Albuquerque or Richmond.

      An Aggie Yell Leader does not an effective politician make … outside of Texas.

      Smaller, more contained population segments. When you can “crack & pack” a district, you can get away with just about anything. As for Kennedy and Dukakis, it’s Massachusetts. It’s such a tiny state with such a huge urban center that if you run on purely local issues, you can still win big, even if you ignore half of the state.

    WarEagle82 | October 26, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Once again, Mitt Romney reminds us he is Mitt Romney.

    I have about 50 reasons I wouldn’t vote for Mitt. And the most important reason is that he seems to lack any core convictions. Though his default position appears to be big-government, statist solutions to any question…

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