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Friday, September 30, 2016

Florida Senator Marco Rubio appeared this morning for coffee at Bloomberg View in New York and made a good impression, if you don’t count his failure to identify even one tax loophole or deduction he would eliminate to help pay for a 20-percent reduction in tax rates. But he didn’t make any news until he was on the way out and a bunch of reporters from other news organizations were out of earshot.

I asked Rubio if he thought it was a good idea for Mitt Romney to declare China a currency manipulator on day one of his presidency, as the former governor of Massachusetts has repeatedly promised to do.

“No, not really,” Rubio said. “It could kick off a trade war that would be bad for the economy.” As he walked away from the table, he added, “I agree with Obama on that one.”

Rubio is right, of course, as anyone in the business community — including Romney — understands. The only reason Romney hasn’t been pilloried for this bit of shameless pandering is that nobody expects him to keep his promise.

This view that he will back off immediately after taking the oath is simultaneously cynical and politically ignorant. Romney’s promise is so specific — and so lacking in escape hatches — that it’s a sure bet he would feel obliged to keep it.

Otherwise, within 24 hours of his swearing in he would be pilloried by the press for breaking a major promise. If he immediately confirmed all of the Democrats’ attacks about his lack of constancy, his honeymoon would be over before it even started.

Presidents break campaign promises all the time, of course, but there is no history of a president backing off a day-one promise.

President Bill Clinton had to retreat from a campaign promise to crack down on China in the wake of Tiananmen Square, vaguely suggesting he might not let China obtain most-favored-nation status. But the promise was so open-ended and unspecific that it was easily skirted.

Similarly, candidate Barack Obama promised in 2008 to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, but not on day one, and, after a lopsided vote in Congress in the late winter of 2009, it was not something he could do unilaterally.

By contrast, each of the executive orders Obama promised to sign on day one, including banning torture and loosening secrecy standards, he signed. Had he not done so, he would have been accused of breaking pledges even before the inaugural scaffolding was down. The same would happen to Romney should he renege.

We all know that the Chinese do indeed manipulate their currency, and calling them out on various trade abuses — as Obama did on tires — is important. The U.S. government must push back on a variety of fronts to keep the pressure on for fair trade.

But officially designating China as a currency manipulator — a formal finding — would be seen as a declaration of trade war, which is in no one’s interest. If you don’t believe me, check with Mayor Michael Bell and the business community of Toledo, Ohio, where thousands of new jobs have been created through joint ventures between U.S. firms and the Chinese. Those jobs — and thousands of others — would immediately be at risk.

Romney knows this perfectly well, as do all of his friends and business associates. But unlike Rubio, he will say anything to try to gain a political advantage. Why this doesn’t seem to bother his supporters is beyond me.

(Jonathan Alter is a columnist for Bloomberg View. Follow him on Twitter.)

Photo credit: AP/Jae C. Hong, File

  • bcarreiro

    Romney is a currency manipulator just like bush.

    • Republicans talk from both sides of their mouth on this and every other issue. When President Obama confronted the Chinese on currency manipulation and theft of intellectual property Pul Ryan said that “doing that was not good for America”. Now, a few months later when the focus is on demonizing everything the President has done they are all in favor of kicking butt. What a duplicitous bunch of demagogues!

      • daniel bostdorf

        This “playbook” by Rove and others is nothing new. Fascists need to create imaginary enemies. They play off the 6th grade education and racism of their fanatic followers who are conveniently in a depression era economy created by Bush and Wall Street/big bank greed.

        Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels (like Foxnews, Limbaugh, beck and Rove believe) said it best:

        “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

        or as Adolph Hitler stated:

        “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”

        
The 1930’s had the Brown Shirts.
The 1950’s had Joseph McCarthy
The 1980’s had Ronald Reagan…
The late 1990’s had George Bush JR…


        Today we have The Teaparty and the “red shirts.”
The American Right invented it’s imaginary Obama to try and get us to by into their fascism.


        It didn’t work.
Obama is going to win.

        Electoral College alone will assure that.

  • wesley rasmussen

    It doesn’t bother them because they are Koch preferred Republicans – ignorant, uneducated, and just plain idiotic.

    • JulieZ77

      To Wesley Rasmussen. Exactly, the Koch brothers are the best example of fascism.

  • Jim Lou

    Mitt Romney is no Bill Clinton.

  • JulieZ77

    Rubio likes the idea of outsourcing jobs to China, makes lots of money for his puppet masters while screwing over the middle class.

  • Fairplay4

    Romney needs a personality make over. He talks down to people and is not versed in listening to the ideas of others. In any case he doesn’t possess the attributes necessary for being in charge of this Country. He would like to harvest its resources for the benefit of the wealthy. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen.

  • Soon we will say Heil Romney. You can’t call China currency manipulator, if EVERY COUNTRY in the world will switch to trade in their own currency (it’s possible) US MIGHTY DOLLAR IS FRIED CHICKEN. You can take it to the bank. China just ordered 5 – 747 for Air CHina Gov. owned airlines). Cost to them 1.6B minus some discounts. Boeing have a lots of openings because they have to crank it up more planes to deliver that they are behind. CHinese do create jobs in US while Romney takes them out of US (Freeport , IL co is closing it’s door despite huge profits).You don’t bite the hand that feed you or makes you money.

  • If Romney is elected I expect everyone in the GOP to do exactly what they did to Obama- six weeks in start asking where’s the jobs, you promised jobs. If they are as fair and balanced as Fox news says they are of course…

  • We turned to China when President Bush and the Republicans wasted all the surpluses President Clinton left. You don’t bite the fingers that feed you.

    If you declare an economic war with China, then you are done for. You don’t fight a country with economic powers, when you owe them something. If you can beat them, then you have to join them. We should learn from China and perfect their methods of economic development and stop making noise. Gov. Romney doesn’t know about running a business, he knows about moving moneyaround and manipulating money in order to make a profit. By the way, how many businesses did he create from the scratch? He is also a big manipulator of money, so he will never be a President of this country- Period.

  • Mitt just saying what ever he thing will get votes. He has too much invested in China to lose in a trade war

  • The same Marco Rubio? That Talks Big but Fails to Deliver?

    “rivera has been accused of misusing campaign donations for personal use, and Rubio has largely admitted to having done the same thing.

    Indeed, the far-right senator was about using a Republican Party credit card to purchase personal items. Rubio conceded it “looks bad,” and acknowledged, “I shouldn’t have done it that way.”

    It’s worth noting that we’re not talking about minor purchases — Rubio billed the state GOP for more than $100,000 during his two-year tenure as Florida’s House speaker, including repairs to his family minivan.

    marco rubio and david rivera the two con men also co-owned a house together, a house that went into foreclosure

  • Marco Rubio born to Cuban exiles? Not true, after all.”Marco Rubio Lied About His Cuban Exile Immigrant Background”

    as House speaker when he spent nearly $400,000 on office renovations.

    Rubio’s 2010 senate campaign was fined $8,000 by the Federal Elections Committee for receiving “prohibited, excessive and other impermissible contributions totaling $210,173.09.”

    Before the March 2000 session, Rubio was hardly the scorching conservative who would later woo Tea Partiers nationwide. He said he’d focus on supporting early education and community policing. And he wasn’t particularly passionate about cutting spending. In his first three years, he supported adding a $4 surcharge to cruise tickets to fund a Marlins stadium and a $1.2 million earmark to build new bike paths in his district

    Records show Rubio sent payments to American Express totaling $13,900 for his personal expenses during his tenure as House speaker. But those payments were not made monthly. He made no contributions to the bill during a six-month stretch in 2007, records show.

    One committee paid relatives nearly $14,000 for what was incorrectly described to the IRS as “courier fees” and listed a nonexistent address for one of them. Another committee paid $5,700 to his wife, who was listed as the treasurer, much of it for “gas and meals.”

    Rubio’s spending continued in 2005 when the Republican Party of Florida handed him a credit card to use at his own discretion. While serving as House speaker in 2007 and 2008, he charged thousands of dollars in restaurant tabs to the state party at the same time taxpayers were subsidizing his meals in Tallahassee.

    Rubio’s wife, former Miami Dolphins cheerleader Jeanette Dousdebes, served as the committee’s treasurer. In reports filed with the state, Rubio and his wife failed to disclose more than $34,000 in expenses over an 18-month period.

  • so we are voting for a mitt romney who doesn’t follow any of his personal beliefs because they’re not popular? Sounds like someone who needs therapy not control of a nation.

    It’s a tax cut for fat cats.
    “I believe the tax on capital gains should be zero.”

    I like mandates. The mandates work.
    “I think it’s unconstitutional on the 10th Amendment front

    “I respect and will protect a woman’s right to choose.”
    “I never really called myself pro-choice.”

    I think the minimum wage ought to keep pace with inflation.”

    “There’s no question raising the minimum wage excessively causes a loss of jobs

    i supported the assault weapon ban.”
    “I don’t support any gun control legislation

    I would like to have campaign spending limits.”

    “The American people should be free to advocate for their candidates and their positions without burdensome limitations.

    i am not in favor of privatizing Social Security or making cuts.”

    “Social Security’s the easiest and that’s because you can give people a personal account.”

    the TARP program… was nevertheless necessary to keep banks from collapsing in a cascade of failures.”

    “When government is… bailing out banks… we have every good reason to be alarmed.

    “Those… paying taxes and not taking government benefits should begin a process toward application for citizenship.

    As president, I will create 12 million new jobs.” —Mitt Romney, during the second presidential debate

    “Government does not create jobs. Government does not create jobs.” —Mitt Romney, 45 minutes later

    Romney shipped our jobs to China and that is the person you want to be president of the United States.?

  • nomaster

    Willard the Ratman will say anything which he thinks will change the issue and decieve by misrepresentaion.

  • bestofandy

    The objective is to say anything that gives the perception to the public that Romney knows what he is talking about and should be elected. The truth is subjective here anyway. But the public does not care if he is right, but is it something they like to hear and make Americans feel proud of themselves. Romney knows that this can get him elected.

  • The analysis by Jonathan Alter of Bloomberg is absolutely spot on. It is not possible for the USA to wage war of any kind, whether militarily, in words or any kind of war on anybody leave alone China. We have all seen that war is a costly affair in terms of human lives, monetary and the general welfare of the economy of the nation. Those who think or believe that the USA needs to start an economic war with China are misguided buffoons who do not realize that the world has changed and is changing so fast on every issue daily. Remember, what happened during George Bush’s first term in Office, when the Chinese intercepted an American Spy plane with 17 American officals on board? Bush kept on ranting that the Chinese must release our plane with our officers untouched or else! The Chinese Premier at the time, took his golf buggy and proceeded to an island for golf. When he was asked by journalist why he was going away without releasing the American spy plane and the American President i.e, George Bush was threatening to take military action on China? The answer of the Chinese premier was simple. Let him try! And off he went to play golf. Romney and his allies should not lose sight of such postures when posturing about war with China. Romney has demonstrated that he can not be relied on, on anything, because he changes his stand on everything so many times that one wouldn’t know what he stands for! He will say one thing to a group of voters depending on what he guesses they may want to hear, whether they are his supporters or not and completely the opposite of the same thing to a different group of voters again depending on what he thinks that group may want to hear. That kind of person should not be trusted to run the affairs of state. He could declare war against some country and if things do not go according to plan, he will change his story and lie to the American people that, that country invaded the US. What a professional liar is he is. Romney has used those lies all the time to dodge the tax system unashamedely and he thinks he can use the same lies to climb to the highest office in the land. He may have promised his wife and children that he will be president one day, probably that has forced him to use every available trick to try and win the presidency, but that is not how it is done folks! It is Never done! Lie after lie after lie with no shame. Talking very fast so that he can mask his lies with words and ensure that nobody takes note of his lies. Shame! Romney blames every body for his own failures but himself. Journalists, debate moderators, Obama, Obama campaign groups, Bill Clinton etc. Romney is like this bird called the knightingale, when it starts to sing it closes its’ eyes and its ears so that it sees nobody, hears nobody but itself.

  • I said Romney had no foreign policy that could help the U.S., But that he would have us in another war, Either Economy or Physical, Sen. Rubio agrees.

  • Lets add this to the confusion. I think that Americans are envisioning job growth immediatly if Romney wins…..I hope they take a minute to understand that he must make the cuts to programs that he has talked about, and that will take months and months. It will also take months for him to be trained/informed on issues and policies etc… remember folks that the majority of inhouse staff will also need to change-causing even a longer stall. Those cuts and loophole changes is what you will feel immediatly…. with those cuts it will inpact job loss in those positions across the lands. …..I will take a slow but steady forward!