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Oct 2012 09

by Sandor Stern

Dear Republican Friends,

Regarding Your Candidate…

I know that following the first presidential debate you are feeling pretty good about your candidate. He won hands down on style and energy, but as for substance? If you are a conservative who followed Romney through the Republican Presidential debates where he touted his belief in all of your policies and positions, were you not alarmed over his new declarations? Perhaps you have become inured to the constant shape shifting of your candidate. In 1994 when he ran against Ted Kennedy for the senate, he was a moderate in a state that has always supported moderation in its candidates. He even supported Roe v. Wade. He was still a moderate when he ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2002. He even promoted and signed into law the state’s Healthcare Act. Perhaps you can forgive him for that because it was being promoted by your own conservative think tank, The Heritage Foundation. And perhaps their support for that private insurance plan was motivated by the fear that a Massachusetts legislature that was dominantly Democrat might veer towards a universal public health care plan. But the plan signed by Romney stands as the model for “Obamacare” – a plan anathema to your core beliefs (which have apparently changed since 2002). So the question to be answered is this: was the Romney who debated Obama, the ultraconservative you nominated? And, if so, will he remain in that guise through a presidential term in office? For you moderate Republicans who would savor a shift towards your position, will he actually make that shift if elected?

In judging a person running for President it seems paramount to view substance. In this case substance encompasses words, deeds and party platform.

As for words: following the debate, fact checkers logged 27 lies in Romney’s 40 minutes of speaking. That’s a lie in less than every 2 minutes. That’s astounding even for a man who has demonstrated an enormous appetite for lies throughout the course of his political career. Even back in 2002, when he ran for Governor of Massachusetts and was required by law to be a resident of the state, he lied until confronted by evidence that he lived and paid taxes in Utah. This man has flip flopped more times than a trout in the bottom of a fishing boat. Here’s just a few examples culled from the many:

  • On January 4, 2009 he supported the stimulus package but on September 28, 2011 he said he never supported it.
  • In 2009 he said that President Obama was copying his healthcare ideas and he was glad to hear it, but on October 18, 2011 he said Obamacare is bad and he will repeal it.
  • In June 2011, he said “I believe the world is getting warmer and humans contribute to that,” but five months later in October, 2011 he said, “We don’t know what is causing climate change.”
  • In March, 2002, he said he would not sign a “no tax” pledge, but in October 2007 he said he was “proud to be the only candidate for President to sign the tax pledge.”
  • In December, 2009, he said TARP ought to be ended, but in June, 2010 he said “TARP kept the financial system from collapsing – it was the right thing to do.”
  • In January, 2008, he said, “I’m not willing to sit back and say too bad for Michigan, too bad for the car industry” but in June, 2011, he stated, “That’s exactly what I said – let Detroit go bankrupt.”

As for deeds: Romney had a political life of four years. Although he touts his success as Massachusetts Governor, the facts don’t support him. His one major success or failure (depending on the political points he can score) was the healthcare plan. More than two thirds of voters are happy with the plan, yet for most of the Republican nominating season, Romney shied away from the topic. It wasn’t until the Presidential debate that he crowed about how he worked with Democrats to pass the legislation. With a legislature heavily stacked with Democrats who wanted healthcare legislation passed, how hard was his path? But kudos, it was passed under his governorship. As for bipartisanship, Democrats, who were legislators during his term, tell a different story. Romney used a bully pulpit approach towards promoting his agenda, staging well organized media events to appeal directly to the public rather than pushing his proposals in behind-doors sessions. Though he rails against tax hikes, during his tenure fees were raised for driver’s licenses and gun licenses. Cuts in spending put pressure on localities to raise property taxes from 49% to 53% of revenues. Cutting $140 million in state funding for higher education led state run colleges and universities to increase fees by 63%. The combined state and local tax burden rose during his governorship. By the time his term was over, Massachusetts ranked last among the 50 states in job creation. He left office with an approval rating of 34%, ranking 48th of all U.S. governors.

As for party platform: I assume you are happy with your party platform of 2012. Or have you read it? Let me refresh your memory.

  • It will ban abortion even if pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. That includes opposition to government funding of abortion and contraception, opposition to embryonic cell research and cloning.
  • It strongly opposes any affirmative action to bring more women into the workforce and opposes women in combat.
  • It strongly opposes same-sex domestic partnership benefits, defines marriage as between one man and one woman and seeks a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage, opposes homosexuals serving in the military, believes states should not recognize gay marriages from other states.
  • Strongly opposes more federal funding for health coverage and favors the repeal of Obamacare.
  • Strongly favors privatizing Social Security, and wants to give workers the choice to invest their payroll taxes.
  • Strongly favors reforming Medicare with a voucher system.
  • Strongly favors teacher-led prayer in public schools, limiting the role of federal government in education, favors parents choosing schools through vouchers and promoting school choice and home schooling.
  • Strongly favors the death penalty, mandatory three strikes sentencing laws with harsher sentences for serious crimes and an absolute right to gun ownership, including the right to obtain and store ammunition without registration and no gun licensing.
  • Strongly opposes replacing coal and oil with alternatives.
  • Strongly opposes making taxes more progressive, favors tax cuts including corporate tax cuts and repeal of the inheritance tax.
  • Strongly opposes illegal immigrants earning citizenship, favors making E-verify mandatory nationwide and opposes any amnesty.
  • Strongly opposes stricter limits on political campaign funds, favors repealing McCain-Feingold, favors no contribution limits and favors photo ID in order to vote.

This is the platform of a party that cries out against big government. If you know and accept it then I assume you don’t see nor care about the hypocrisy. You want the government out of your lives in the essentials of health and ageing and education but you have no problem with the government in your bedroom or your house of worship. And this is the platform you believe your candidate will stand upon if elected President. Will he? Should he? And given what we know of him through his words and deeds and his acceptance of this platform, is this the character of a man you really want presiding over this country?

Just asking.

Your inquisitive friend,

Sandy

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