Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Wednesday, September 28, 2016

WASHINGTON — Could it be that Mitt Romney is correct from a strategic point of view to tell us little about what he’d do as president?

There are, of course, excellent civic reasons for a candidate to say where he or she would lead the country. But the debate raging right now in Republican circles is about politics, not civics. A slew of conservatives, including the editors of The Wall Street Journal’s canonical editorial page, are telling Romney that his “insular staff and strategy … are slowly squandering an historic opportunity.” In The Weekly Standard, William Kristol fumed: “Is it too much to ask Mitt Romney to get off autopilot and actually think about the race he’s running?”

There are grounds for such skepticism. This week’s Washington Post/ABC News poll found the race dead even, but gave President Obama a 12-point advantage among registered voters on the matter of which candidate has a clearer plan for dealing with the economy. After several months of disappointing jobs numbers, Romney is behind Obama in other national surveys, and tends to lag in the swing states.

Far be it from me to get in the way of internecine Republican bickering, but Romney’s GOP critics are wrong in seeing his specifics-lite approach as his core problem. His difficulties lie elsewhere.

A defense of Romney’s minimalism starts with the matter of timing. The best rationale I’ve heard for the current Romney strategy came from former Rep. Vin Weber, a Romney adviser who noted in an interview that the very first question voters have to answer in a re-election race is whether there is “a compelling reason to remove the incumbent from office.”

  • Hopefully he will be forthcoming and add to his “Repeal and Replace Obamacare, with something like “replace it with Romneycare. He should expand on his job creation plans by elaborating on his record at Bain, I am sure we would all be thrilled. Perhaps he should tell us how he is going to reduce spending with special focus on the main Federal government outlays (Defense, Social Security, MEDICARE, MEDICAID, and interest on the debt. Does he still support privatizing SS and Rep. Ryan’s plan to dismantle MEDICARE? A little more specificity on his tough foreign policy positions, particularly those that pertain to Iran, would be welcome. Is he proposing a war with Iran? Are any of his kids going to volunteer? How is he going to pay for it? Is he going to use Executive Orders and charge the cost of warfare to unfunded liabilities instead of doing it within budget? Talking tough, criticizing others, and being vague is easy, what is not so easy is governing and telling people the truth.

    • ExPAVIC

      BIG SHOCKER

      What an American Taliban Republican Plutocrats kids enlist in the military service? Yeah, I bet you believe in Santa Claus too.

      As Romney said back in 1967, “Fighting in wars is for suckers. If you join the Mormon Church we will send you out on missionary service.”

      He loved the time he spent in Le Havre, France, where he converted nine street hookers into Mormons, and threw in a gross of condoms as a premium.

    • timholloran

      LOL Dominick. You just explained in a nutshell why Romney is not beating Obama in the polls with the economy where it is… I agree with EJ’s analysis. The jobs report is a prime example. Every month it comes out and Romney on cue bashes Obama over it. Offers nothing positive and goes back into his cubicle. IF you look around the world and compare the US economy you see Europe in recession and still doing bailouts and China cutting interest rates for a 2nd straight month to try and boost it’s slowing economy. If people were honest while we need to do better. The US economy is doing as well as it can under the world circumstances. Color me in the camp the economy is getting better but needs to improve at a faster pace.

      From a personal stand point. I saw an article last month Americans still digging out of debt. They are paying it off but the prediction was another 2 years before a majority of Americans have paid off there debt. Back in 09 banks tightened credit and I took a maxed out 401K loan to pay my debt off. This loan will coincedentally be paid off in 2 years. After that I will have alot of monthly cash on hand. So I am treading water for another 2 years.

      Romney’s campaign seems to be in the dark from a PR point. What’s the headline today? Cheney hosting a Romney fundraiser… Oh joy! Yesterday the PR was a majority of Romney’s fund raisers are Wall Street banks and hedge funds. I challenge anyone out there to find me a Romney passionate voter outside of the 1%ers that isn’t being paid to campaign for Romney. There are anti-Obama voters voting for Romney. But I see no passion for this guy whatsoever. It’s obvious Romney is a stuffed shirt. I can’t wait for Obama to directly debate Romney. Not because I think Obama is a better debater. But because I want to see Obama sit across from Romney and ask him questions like Why is RomneyCare good for Massachusetts but it’s copy Obamacare is bad for America? All the teabagger anger from 2010 and Romney is the candidate the GOP offers for 2012. The amusing fact is Jon Huntsman was the best GOP candidate to take on Obama in 2012. Huntsman barely got a look by the GOP base.

      • You Got That Right I Too Think Jon Huntsman Was The Only One That Should Be The Best One To Get The American Taliban Nod!! But Due To The Fact That We Are Now Just Dealing With Another Terrorists Cell, Since The GOP Has Their Lips Firmly Planted On The TeaTards And The Koch Brothers Asses, His Bid Got Thrown Under The Bus!!

        • Don

          Democrats need to form their own COFFEE party

      • Don

        We need to get out of Afganistan and stop supporting the world and concentrate on our own people who are suffering because of what Bush began. We got out of Iraq and got rid of Osoma Bin whoever.

    • bcarreiro

      ALL HE DID IN HIS POSITIONS WAS TO DELEGATE ….WE THE PEOPLE DONT NEED ANOTHER BUSH

    • highpckts

      romney won’t commit to any policy because if he should get into office and things don’t pan out, he can say he didn’t promise that! It’s not his fault!! He’s evasive and the “kettle calling the pot black”!

    • Don

      My goodness, other countries have a national health care program and they are not communists. I have the NJ Healthcare program with Medicare and Blue Cross and every thing is paid for except for a co-pay and $5.00 for a three months supply of generic medicine. Most drug store can’t do that.

    • Don

      Did our President get all that money on his own, or was it given to him by most of the Republicans in Congress? I need an answer, because if Obama needed the money to get us back to where Clinton was, then it was worth the effort even though we are deep in debt and millions are out of work all because, possibly of Bain Capital who fired all those people and sent our workforse overseas. I feel sad for our President, who really has fond feelings for the people of this country.

  • jarheadgene

    RE: his sons…doubt it. The ROMoNEY’s are a non-military family….unless you’re talking about someone elses kids….then it’s….hell yes…Dick(head) Cheney can get even richer. While everyone elsess kids can go and die in foreign lands.

  • 2hheels2

    What good is it to stay Vague, If we know what kind of tax cheat he is no one will vote for him. Besides he hasn’t been told by his million dollar donors what he is supposed to do. He has no backbone. Look he even rides bitch on a sea doo

  • bcarreiro

    Mitt romney’s resume ….skills: Delegate, Delegate and Delegate!!!

  • howa4x

    The problem with only runing a negitive campagin is one day you will have to say what you would do. Take health care which is his signature program. Obama and the democratic pacs are tying him to it like a hostage so he looks foolish saying he will repeal his own idea unless he can present an alternative. Or out sourcing. What is your plan to get jobs back here when you made millions sending them to china? He needs to get specific. Just saying he will cut taxes to the rich leaves him open to the issue that 2.9 million jobs left under the Bush Cuts and he was part of making that happen. Or the argument that if we cut the 1%s taxes will they just hide the money off shore as you did? What s his plan to rebuild the national infastructure? There are 60,000 bridges in need of repair, so if you are going to increse military spending where is the money going to come from to do both?
    What about Iran? Other than the neo cons, most americans are tired of war, so what is the plan?
    I could go on but you get the point. There are so many issues eventually some stakeholder groups are going to demand: what are you going to do about my issue? That is where he won’t get away with slogans about Obama

  • William Deutschlander

    ROMNEY should stay vague just like the REPUBLICANS DID IN 2010, then when they take control they can finish the DESYTRUCTION of the U S ECONOMY and DEMOCRACY, this will then allow the REPUBLICANS to FIRMLY ESTABLISH THEIR DESIRED AUTOCRACY!

    AUTOCRACY is the little brother of DICTATORSHIP!

  • Mitt Romney Will Not Become President So We Can Avoid All That Racist Mess He Is Saying. President Obama Will Remain President And No One But Not Hurt Or Kill Him. If So We Are Going To Have A War In America. A Race War. Good People Against Racist Trash.

  • Thank you. Finally someone who came close to the old Regan line “Where’s the beef?”

  • Republican actually do better when they say less. When they honesly explain their policies and ideas they always end up in trouble. Besides, catchy phrases and simple explanations are what their base really likes.

  • jcurtis595

    Romney silent on what he would do as President? NOT SO ! Actually, the Obama campaign should put forth exactly what Romney would do as President in its ads. He has said in the primary debates what his position is on just about everything, including self deportation for immigration & vetoing the Dream Act, adopting the draconian Ryan budget, privatizing social security( which pretty much wipes it out), eliminating federal funding of medicare, wiping out health, safety and financial regulations by the hundreds giving the banks, insurers, drug manufacturers, food producers, free reign to speculate and lose depositor’s money, put out untested new drugs, sell un-inspected meats, giving free reign to oil companies to drill everywhere with few if any environmental considerations, slash every federal program except defense spending, build no infrastructure, no bridges, schools, highways, get rid of so many teachers, firefighters, police (he said we need fewer of these), repeal Obama care (thereby eliminating all the benefits it contains and leaving millions uninsured, “to let them die” as was stated in one of the Republican debates, to cut taxes on the super wealthy while ignoring the poor, middle class workers, letting American auto makers and other manufacturers “go bankrupt,” taking away student loans and educational grants, and in the wonderful response to the Republican lie of “Support Our Troops” underfunding the VA letting our returning veterans wait six or more months to see a doctor and then closing down VA hospitals by the hundreds.

    Yes, Romney doesn’t say what he would do now, but he has said it clearly and repeated already. All the Democrats need do is tag together his video clips together in its ads.

    Jay Curtis (author of THE CODE and soon to be released TREASURE)

  • Jack Wormer

    Could it be that Mitt Romney is correct from a strategic point of view to tell us little about what he’d do as president?…

    HOGWASH – he probably doesn’t know himself, he JUST WANNA BE PRES!

  • Don

    NOW ROMNEY WANTS TO GET RID OF THE ACA, THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT which is really the Obama-Romney Health Care Bill or ORHC. There are 50 million American unisured. Now who be they voting for? Our NJ Governor Christ, the BIG guy does not want this one size fits all bill to take place. This bill will bring more than a million families to be able to afford somer kind of health care rather than sitting in a hospital waiting for some one to call your name. My nephew is one of the ones who will have to pay as he is nearing 60 and has not seen a doctor since he was a child when my sister took him. He says he doesn’t need it. O well

  • dtgraham

    Besides the money, Romney has another big advantage that I don’t think is being talked about enough. Republican controlled states have been aggressively purging Democratic leaning groups off their voter rolls and also bringing in tough ID laws designed to discourage Democratic leaning voting groups from voting. In a tight race, that may easily be enough to win it for him when combined with his large advantage in super pac ad money. I don’t see the DOJ doing very much about this.

    Given what he’s selling, and his awkwardness as a candidate, keeping vague and staying off the non Fox channels may be the best strategy for him.

    • rmarqua2921

      Do most Americans really want a president like that? That is not the America I grew up in! For years I voted Republican, I even voted for Nixon! I wouldn’t even think twice about voting for any republican now running for office. This is not the Republican party I grew up with!

      • dtgraham

        Don’t get me wrong rmarqua2921. I can’t stand the guy and would never vote for him. That’s just what I think.

  • The reason he won’t is because he knows where we’ll tell him he can shove his answers. Romney has no ambition except to do to the U.S. as a whole what he did to Massachusetts: Bleed it dry and cut and run with all the money after one term. So until he can figure out what type of B.S. he thinks we all want to hear instead, he’s going to dodge every question that comes at him.

    • DurdyDawg

      Please, tell us more about this ‘one term’ floozy.. I don’t think that’s leaked yet. Just another etch-a-sketch from the gob of this master (de) bater.

  • nomaster

    Romney don’t like to elaborate on anything because the next time he speaks he will always say the opposit of what he said the first time. Willard the Rat Man is a natural born flip flopper. Romney care, what that can’t really be Obamacare, or, oh no its only partly like it, maybe. Oh and its not a tax or is it a tax.

    • rmarqua2921

      Even more scary would be that he doesn’t really have a plan that isn’t so obvious! Cut taxes for the rich and sock it to the poor and middle class!

  • Don

    Most Americans seem to be in a tether as to witch way to go. Some like Romney, but wait and see, if he gets in those who voted for him will get a big surprise. He is a very weathy man who wants to take his money with him when he dies. Our God will not let him in to the pearly gates as his beliefs are all in the wrong direction. I would rather look to Ron Paul or Rick [can’t spell his name] from Pennsylvania.

  • It would be nice for Romney to actually stand for something and to have an actual view point. When asked about the uniforms for the Olympians being made in China. He states something about the Olympic Committee being their own entity and let’s focus on the sports.Well that’s all fine and dandy; but have some sense as to what it would have meant in pride and dollars for those uniforms to have been made here. At the NAACP he was booed and his response was I don’t change my speech for the audience I’m addressing. Well, Mr. Romney the first lesson in speech is know your audience.If you’re out giving the same speech to different groups it’s as if you don’t have much going on in that brain

  • imabrummie

    For Mr. Bendyboots Romney to avoid telling the American voters what he would do as President is very easy for him . . . he cannot remember what he did an hour prior, let alone recall what he originally thought he would do as President!

  • sigrid28

    When I hear about Mitt Romney disparaging “people who want free stuff” at his soiree at Dick Cheney’s estate on July 12th, or pick up the tone of entitlement with which he dismissed (on all news channels the next day) the obligation to be honest about his financial status and business dealings with the American public, I recognize a person who thinks he can be elected president and still identify exclusively with his cronies among the 1%.

    Note that Romney never, ever claims that he is or has been honest. Given his social status, he may not think basic honesty is a requirement. He is so much a part of the 1%, who feel that they can act with impunity, that he may not recognize the many ways in which he exposes his partisanship with the wealthiest Americans, with all of their private conventions (like Swiss bank accounts and bigotry) and secret peccadillos (like garage elevators and $10,000 bets).

    In “Moby-Dick,” Herman Melville identified this type among the ship captains of his day and even more widely, though figuratively, among those he calls “the Captains of this earth.” In a sermon about Jonah and the whale, Father Mapple echoes Melville’s comdemnation of these types: “Now Jonah’s Captain, shipmates, was one whose discernment detects crime in any, but whose cupidity exposes it only in the penniless. In this world, shipmates, sin that pays its way can travel freely, and without a passport; whereas Virtue, if a pauper, is stopped at all frontiers.” Melville would have seen through the Citizen’s United ruling in an instant. It allows lying “that pays its way” free travel.

    While I’m accessing this Sunday mood, I am reminded of how Melville, again speaking through the sermon of Father Mapple, defined Jonah’s calling: “To preach the Truth to the face of Falsehood!” Perhaps this is the task before us, as Democrats, in this election cycle. While the Republican Party proudly aligns itself behind Mitt Romney and his disrespectful cronies, committing itself shamelessly to the amplification and repetition of the Big Lie, the Obama campaign is obligated to do no less than “preach Truth to the face of Falsehood.”

  • Romney can not show his income tax returns or anything more about “How He Made” his money. The more people know about him and his finances the less chances he has at winning any election. He has no moral standards or feelings for others, only making more money no matter how it effects other people. If he does not show his tax returns he can not be elected, if he shows the tax returns and how he made his money he will not be elected. Poor Mit Romney! Poor little rich boy!It seems that “What goes around comes around”!!! Now the vulture capitalist is having his bones picked clean. I really doubt that many americans will understand what is happening and will vote against their own self interests, vote for Romney.