Vetting and Venting: Roeser on Mitch Daniels and Mitt Romney
Q. What’s this? A spouse decides whether one runs for president? Has this ever happened before?
A. No. Of course not. I think it’s a joke and makes a laughingstock out of Daniels who on a number of fronts…budgetary expertise, excellent governor…is a well-qualified candidate. The proper way would be for the couple quietly to make that decision up or down and then either go for it or no. Throwing the ball to Cherie in public to make the decision for Mitch makes Mitch a sad joke of the GOP candidates—the weenie runt of the litter.
As we all know, Cherie left him and their daughters for another man, divorcing Mitch and marrying an old flame because she despised Mitch’s chosen vocation of politics…and then did a reverse switch, divorcing him and returning to Mitch. Do they think this device…leave it to Cherie… will insulate her from another switcheroo when the press heat comes on? Looks a lot like it. But with her already demonstrated instability I’m not so sure. This stupid p. r. device should disqualify him from election if anything does. This smacks of Dick Lugar, his topmost adviser.
Q. And what’s this Condi Rice for vice president stuff?
A. Daniels made the suggestion carelessly over cocktails with some college kids after Cherie spoke to a Republican audience. Smart, huh? Earlier he had been quoted as saying he did not feel qualified at this point to debate Obama on foreign policy. Smart, huh? What a laugh after all the goof-ups Obama has made! Now he evidently wants an architect of the George W. Bush foreign policy to be considered for veep! Thus from the outset the negatives of that policy will be used against him and the cameras will switch continually to Condi to defend it. Thus one woman decides whether Mitch will run—not Mitch—and another woman will be asked all the big foreign-defense policy questions—a vehemently pro-abort woman at that…..with Mitch presumably left to drive his motorcycle alone down the highways.
The Bush tie-in has already been glaring….Laura calling up Cherie to steady her nerves….the big media serving a trumpet fanfare that here is the truly super-duper candidate…with smoothly the George W. and Poppy rolodexes clicking into place. That’ll mean we face a return to Wilsonianism…our mission being to lead those nations involved in the Arabian Spring to democracy—no how much blood and treasure it takes.
And why Condi? Does he remotely think that Condi Rice is going to lead him to a treasure-trove of black votes when blacks already have a president? God, I hope not. But “My Man Mitch,” as “W” calls him has made all by his own-self the most spectacular screw-ups any pre-announced presidential candidate has done…with a laudable pro-life record, he announced it would be off his table if he were to run—thus sacrificing an army of social conservative volunteers.
He then angled back and signed the Planned Parenthood state funding ban which didn’t allay social conservatives but proved he was trying to be cute. Anyhow, he vitiated much of the so-called “moderate” vote he had gained previously which had made him so exciting to big secular media. Then he booted his big decision…whether or not to run…to his wife. Finally denying himself a free hand postulating a foreign policy at odds with Obama’s…a great natural advantage…he hoists the white flag by suggesting the point-person in the Bush foreign policy be his veep.
What we have here, friends, is a wimp who has proven he isn’t worthy of serious consideration for the presidency because all by himself he has blown it.
Many so-called “business approach” candidates…especially liberal Republican ones…fail to start first with the question—is this a job government ought to do? Mitt failed to ask this question first.
Q. Please explain.
A. Relativists, ultra-pragmatists…and that approach made Mitt Romney a multi-millionaire in business…see a problem….insist there should be a solution and hire an army of experts to crunch numbers and come up with a popular liberal, governmental solution—because the trend lies that way—government leading the way. Traditional conservative thinkers ponder a problem, determine if government or private sector is the route to the solution and postulate from there. In 1994 when he ran for the Senate against Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts a heavily pro-abort state, Mitt Romney decided he would craft a strategy on abortion thusly—Under Roe v. Wade legal abortion is the law of the land. I happen to oppose abortion but the law is the law and I respect a woman’s right to make that choice freely.
He had calculated that a pro-abort answer was correct for his candidacy and then crafted a rationale that seemed to hint he was more amenable than Kennedy to pro-life views. A so-called businessman’s pragmatic “solution.”
But ironically Kennedy won the argument by pointing out that if Romney felt personally abortion was wrong, a moral evil, he should forthrightly oppose it and seek to root it out. It was the closest election Kennedy ever won…and at the beginning Romney was leading him….but the tables turned ever so slightly and Romney’s wobbliness on abortion helped Kennedy a fast-and-forever pro-abort. Years later, when he planned a run for president, Romney said his views on abortion were “developing” and came out as a full-blown pro-lifer but was tied up trying to reconcile his earlier and present views and show that he had not….as suspicioned…changed his sails to square with the national GOP’s consensus on pro-life.
Q. Now on RomneyCare…
A. On RomneyCare, he made the same basic error—calculating via hunch that universal health care was the wave of the future. As Massachusetts governor, he hired an army of experts, drafted the legislation and added some juicy pro-Republican parts such as tort reform. But in the bill was the mandate that everyone in the state had to buy health insurance or pay a penalty which is the same as contained in ObamaCare. Because RomneyCare is a state bill it does not have the constitutional ones that ObamaCare has.
But the thing is pesky enough. He signed the bill with great fanfare….Ted Kennedy was there applauding…but now the unpopularity of ObamaCare has taken much of the issue away from him. So until yesterday he had two strategic choices. Both unappetizing.
He could join the full-throated Republican candidates who urge repeal of ObamaCare by saying it had already been tried in the laboratory of state government….Massachusetts….and had been shown to be inefficacious. He could thus renounce his own child. Here he would have to confess he had been wrong.
A. Or he could stick with RomneyCare and say it failed by failure of execution by his successors in the state. That’s the course he’s taken …and the rationale is not working. It clearly points out…as The Wall Street Journal’s lead editorial said yesterday…the fault is in Romney’s flawed philosophy and ultra-pragmatic theory of government. Too damned pragmatic by half, Junior by a man who has always been called the smartest guy in the room.
Q. What’s likely to happen?
A. Although a brilliant salesman, he’s got a lemon with this one and I can’t fathom he can make it to the finals. His game-plan is to drown out all the others with kabillions and be the last guy standing by convention-time. I don’t think he can do it.
Tom Roeser is the Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Chicago Daily Observer