Day: May 22, 2011

The Twists, Turns, And Contortions Of Mitt Romney On Health Care!

If one looks at the background of Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, it is clear that he is a moderate Republican, both in his statements from years past and his actions as Governor from 2003-2007.

He brought about the first mandated health care, and Massachusetts has benefited greatly from it, but yet Romney desperately wants the Republican nomination for President, which escaped his father’s grasp in 1968, so has decided to “sell his soul” to become President.

So as early as 2007, out of office, he was claiming he was a conservative, but it was clear he was a chameleon, willing to change his views to fit the audience, so he came across to many people in the past Presidential race as phony and self serving.

Now he has, in a speech at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in the state in which his father was Governor in the 1960s, repudiated his own Massachusetts “RomneyCare” as a plan unacceptable beyond the Bay state, without explaining why except to invoke states rights, a weird thing for a Northern Republican to use as an excuse.

He was basically apologizing for his own health care plan, and his body language showed how awkward the situation was, and it indicates that he senses that it is an albatross around his neck, which he is trying to overcome. But meanwhile, the conservative Wall Street Journal made it clear that any kind of health care plan along the lines of the Romney Massachusetts plan is totally unacceptable for the Republican Party nominee in 2012.

So Romney is between “the devil and the deep blue sea”, in the sense that by repudiating his own health care plan he looks inconsistent and self indulging, but even by doing this does not make his quest for the nomination any the easier in a race where his opponents can use that plan as a weapon against him!

The Torment Of John Boehner: Tea Party House Caucus Vs. His Catholic Faith

Speaker of the House John Boehner is playing “hardball” in regards to budget cuts, trying to please the Tea Party Caucus in the House of Representatives.

At the same time, the Catholic practicing Boehner is facing severe, vehement opposition from Catholic scholars and activists, including clergy, who accuse him of working against the poor, the sick, the elderly, and therefore defying Church teachings.

So Boehner is between the proverbial “devil and the deep blue sea”!

No matter what he says or does, he engenders strong, insistent opposition that undermines his leadership. He does not seem to be a “happy camper”, as he attempts to negotiate the minefield of keeping the Republican Party on message, and yet not coming across as mean, nasty, hard hearted, uncaring, as that not only affects his relationship with fellow Catholics, but with the general public, which clearly does not want massive budget cuts in the trillions of dollars, as Boehner is advocating and demanding for a budget deal to avoid a debt limit crisis this summer.

The Irony Of Oil Industry Subsidies And Jay Rockefeller

About a week ago, the five major oil company executives appeared before a Senate committee to defend their right to retain government tax breaks, despite all time profits in the industry, as oil and gasoline prices continue to rise.

There was outrage that the executives, or at least the Conoco Phillips CEO, said it was “UnAmerican” to take away the billions of dollars of subsidies, at a time of budget deficits and the nation on the brink of a showdown on raising the debt limit.

Particularly notable was the condemnation of the industry leaders by Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, whose great grandfather was the original oil baron, John D. Rockefeller, the so called “Robber Baron” of the late 19th and early 20th century!

It was a wonder to behold Senator Rockefeller being outraged at the abuses of the industry! It brought back memories of the Gilded Age of the late 19th century, which so much resembles what has been going on in America since the Age of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s!

The Internal Struggle In The Republican Party: Minnesota Vs. Mormonism!

With the announcement today that Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels will not run for the Republican Presidential nomination, the race seems more than ever to be one of FOUR who are likely to dominate vote getting in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, the early primary and caucus states next winter!

As one looks at the field, it seems clear that Newt Gingrich has self destructed in his first week as an official candidate. Rick Santorum seems unlikely to take off as a candidate, based on his own past crazy statements and walloping defeat for re-election in Pennsylvania in 2006. Herman Cain, Gary Johnson, and even Ron Paul, will make noise, but are unlikely to poll many actual votes.

So unless someone such as Chris Christie or Jeb Bush suddenly enters the race belatedly, there seem to be four major contenders for actual popular vote support in the primaries and the caucuses early on–Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Jon Huntsman, and surprisingly, Michele Bachmann!

Bachmann is the favorite of the Tea Party people, more even than Ron Paul, who is seen as too old and flaky to be much of a vote getter. Even though she is outrageous in her statements and actions, Bachmann is likely to have a serious following in Iowa at the least, and could affect who of the other candidates benefits by her candidacy.

Bachmann, being from Minnesota, and therefore from the Midwest, poses a real challenge to former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who has been very careful to avoid outrageous statements and actions, and yet is competing for the Tea Party support and for the backing of Midwesterners. Iowa is a crucial state to both, so they are therefore at loggerheads as Bachmann could ruin Pawlenty’s chances. So expect the beginning soon of sustained attacks by each on the other, and increasingly so, as the campaign gets closer to the first vote test in Iowa, which has many evangelical Christians and Tea Party people, and will likely kill off either Bachmann or Pawlenty. So it is the battle of Minnesotan vs. Minnesotan!

But the 2012 race is also of Mormon vs. Mormon, as Jon Huntsman, former Governor of Utah, and seen as a moderate to some extent, is challenging Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, who is also often seen as a moderate. Both are working very hard to wipe such ideas out of voters’ minds, as both oppose health care and support Medicare reform along the lines of the Paul Ryan Budget plan. Both are much more electible on paper, but being Mormons and having the old image of moderation could harm both, and certainly, one will be hurt by the success of the other.

What is likely is that the nomination will come down to Pawlenty vs. one of the two Mormon politicians, with Huntsman being newer and fresher and more interesting a candidate.

So the final struggle is likely to be Pawlenty vs. Huntsman, and it would seem likely that Pawlenty would have the edge, but only if he can overcome the influence of Bachmann with Tea Party faithful.

For the election, Huntsman or even Romney would be a better bet to win than Pawlenty, but the Tea Party influence is such that the bet would be that Pawlenty will be the sacrificial lamb, with the likelihood that Barack Obama would win a major victory, possibly on the level of George H. W. Bush over Michael Dukakis in 1988!