Peggy Noonan on two key reasons why Romney shouldn’t run:
He’s a poor campaigner
He doesn’t have an overarching philosophy
I think both of these are spot on, and the first flows from the second. Romney would be the perfect COO of the government – he’d be ridiculously good at cutting waste and streamlining, well, everything. That being said, he’s always let his opponents define him (e.g. he was caricatured as the guy who hated the rich, even though he gave millions away to charity), and that’s because he never had any philosophy to define himself.
I always got the impression he was a really bright guy who looked at the government and said, “I can do what they do better.” That’s great, but it’s not enough to be elected president. He’s an operations guy, not a strategy guy.
Almost every day, it seems, brings a headline demonstrating how right 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was, and how wrong President Barack Obama was, on the critical issues facing America.
Last night, President Obama accused Mitt Romney of saying Russia is the “biggest geopolitical threat facing America”? According to Politifact, this charge was true. According to FactCheck.org it was false. So each campaign can cite a “neutral” fact-checking organization in defense of their candidate. Who’s right? Decide for yourself. Here’s the transcript of the CNN interview in which the initial comment was made.
You can argue that Obama clearly won (he did). You can argue that Romney didn’t bring his A-game (he didn’t). But you also can’t say that Candy Crowley’s jab was what a wholly unbiased moderator would have done.
You could say that Obama was calling this attack an “act of terror.” Or you could say that Obama was using the phrase “act of terror” in the vicinity of discussing the “attack” to come close to labeling it an act of terror without actually, logically doing so, preserving his freedom to not do so in the future. He only used the phrase after talking about the original 2001 9/11 attacks, after all. Maybe those were the “acts of terror” that wouldn’t shake our resolve, etc. that Obama was talking about. The antecedent is ambigious, presumably intentionally so.
The main reason Romney’s effective rate is so low is that the American tax code contains a lot of preferences for investment income over labor income. That’s something that strikes many people as unfair on its face, and particularly unfair since it often means very low rates for extremely rich people like Rommey. And Rommey himself as a rich guy who’s also a member of the political party seen as favoring the rich, and who’s been recorded as whining that the working poor are undertaxed is perhaps not an ideal messenger for a defense of this policy.
But this is definitely an issue where the conservative position is in line with what most experts think is the right course, and Democrats are outside the mainstream.
No doubt there are many Democrats rubbing their hands in glee in contemplation of reviving some version of the ad that featured an actor playing Paul Ryan pushing a grandmother in a wheelchair off a cliff. But the smarter ones are worried.
When a prudent candidate like Mitt Romney picks someone like Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate, it suggests that he felt he held a losing position against President Obama. The theme that Mr. Romney’s campaign has emphasized for months and months — that the president has failed as an economic leader — may have persuaded 47 or 48 or 49 percent of voters to back him, he seems to have concluded. But not 50.1 percent of them, and not enough for Mr. Romney to secure 270 electoral votes.
Nothing excuses Michele Bachmann’s comments. But while perhaps not quite as xenophobic, Harry Reid is just as guilty of slander and unfounded allegation.
Conservatives often complain of two sets of standards in politics: one for Democrats and another for Republicans. Sometime that double standard is imaginary. Often, it’s quite real. Consider the events of the last three weeks:
Kevin Drum of Mother Jones (yes, Mother Jones) tells off liberals for supporting Reid’s anti-Romney attack.
Can I prove this? Of course not. Given the epistemological limits of proof, I can’t prove Barack Obama was born in the United States either. Nevertheless, I feel safe saying that anyone who claims to have an “extremely credible source” that Obama was born elsewhere is either crazy or lying. The same is true for Reid, and Reid isn’t crazy. It’s simply vanishingly unlikely that he’s telling the truth, and no one — not liberal or conservative — would spend even ten seconds on a story so patently far-fetched if it were anybody but Reid and the background were anything but the frenzy of a presidential campaign.
Take a deep breath, folks. This is contemptible stuff and it’s not just business as usual. We’ve spent too many years berating the tea partiers for getting on bandwagons like this to get sucked into it ourselves the first time it’s convenient. It’s time to quit cheering on Reid and get off this particular bus.