Posts filed under ‘Mitt Romney’

Who made Rush, Coulter emperors?

The Republican punditocracy — including Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, Pat Buchanan and Laura Ingraham — boasts lots of listeners and New York Times best-seller status. But it seems to be mistaking its clout at store counters and on radio dials for the authority of Moses on the mountaintop.

On “Super Tuesday” the clarion calls came out against Arizona Sen. John McCain. Ingraham welcomed Focus on the Family boss Dr. James Dobson, who delivered some unkind words against the Straight Talk Express. Limbaugh got a dressing-down from former GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole for his attacks on McCain. Savage, when not calling the entire primary process a ploy of Goldman Sachs, also castigated the senator, as did Buchanan and Coulter.

Yet party voters seem to like the guy right now. The punditocracy can gin up one excuse after another — too many independents in New Hampshire, too many in Florida — but after McCain won delegate-heavy states like New York and California in the voting yesterday, the conservative hydra seems to be spewing more smoke than fire.

The GOP has valid complaints against McCain: he’s shown he’s a maverick, but he hasn’t yet proven he’s a unifying leader. Or, rather, when he’s led, he’s done so by working with Democrats (as in the Gang of 14) and not enough with his own party. Nevertheless, the Republican rank and file seem to prefer him over more authentic-sounding efforts like former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

During last year’s insurgency against President Bush and McCain over amnesty for illegal immigrants, the Republican punditocracy gleefully noted that the leaders had lost touch with their base. They may not be so gleeful to acknowledge that now it is their turn to lose alignment with their base.


February 6, 2008 at 5:39 pm 1 comment

Obama, McCain picking up good vibrations

Think positive, the self-help gurus say, and good things will happen. Who has the most positive vibes out there in the Democrat and Republican races on Super Tuesday? Here are my thoughts on the four front-runners …

 The ones with good vibrations are Democratic Sen. Barack Obama and Republican Sen. John McCain. Obama wowed voters at the Meadowlands and at Boston’s World Trade Center the last few days, and of the Black Eyed Peas and Jesse “Son of Bob” Dylan crafted a video of the Illinois senator that’s drawn thousands of YouTube views. McCain, meanwhile, comes across as a happy warrior in contrast to his grating, angry rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. As for Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, her new anti-Iraq War position after her 2002 vote for the Bush Iraq resolution — and her use of RFK Jr. in a campaign ad to counterbalance Caroline Kennedy’s support for Obama — give  her an image of opportunism that taints her campaign.

It would be different if the negative-minded Mitt and Hillary would embrace who they really are. Mitt could simply tell conservatives he was wrong on his 1994 opinions on abortion (in the style of John Edwards, who, to his credit, recanted his 2002 vote for the Iraq War) and be the heir to the social policies of George W. Bush. Hillary could shrug off and Daily Kos and defend her 2002 Iraq War vote, giving confused Democrats a clearer option between a pro-war candidate (Hillary) and an anti-war one (Obama). The negativity of Mitt and Hillary seems to be a way for them to hide their own unclear stances.

Obama and McCain have had their own unclear moments. Ann Coulter highlighted McCain’s haziness on the Iraq surge in a recent column, while the American Spectator showed that Obama needs work in formulating his health-care policy. But in trying to get things done, a positive attitude is better than a negative one, and at least Obama and McCain have that.

February 5, 2008 at 6:21 pm Leave a comment

Candidates behaving badly

Which of the 2008 candidates for president made the most outrageous statement lately?

In one corner, we have former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who spoke rather insensitively to a Jacksonville, Florida, audience. Romney “posed with a group of young African-Americans and, in an apparent reference to a 2000 hit song, jokingly said, ‘Who let the dogs out?'” the New York Times reported. (The stuffy NYT did not credit the artistry of the Baha Men, which was later used by one of the Gray Lady’s hometown teams, the Mets, during their Y2K World Series run.) “Later, shaking hands in the crowd, he said, ‘Oh, you’ve got some bling-bling here.'” This on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, of all occasions.

In another corner, we have two dueling Democrats, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and former Sen. John Edwards, both of whom spoke condescendingly toward their rival, Sen. Barack Obama. This, too, happened on MLK Day, beginning with Sen. Clinton’s description of Obama as “an extraordinary, young African-American man with so much to contribute.” The Times continued:

“[Disapproving] murmurs spread through the crowd at Mrs. Clinton’s reference to her rival as ‘young.’ It was one of many reflections of the simmering tensions between the two candidates. Mr. Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, also referred to Mr. Obama, 46, as a ‘talented young man.'”

What is it about race that prompts so many politicians to speak so thoughtlessly? Is it the result of candidates addressing a subject about which they may know very little? All of the experience that Romney, Clinton and Edwards command seems pretty pathetic when they show how inept they are on race-related topics.

January 22, 2008 at 8:54 pm Leave a comment

Martin Luther King Jr., 40 years later

RG011808 copy, originally uploaded by oppositefields.

Forty years after the civil rights leader’s death, how much have we progressed in race relations and civil rights as a nation? We still fall short of the mark — as evidenced by Sen. Hillary Clinton’s insensitive comparison of herself with LBJ, and by Mitt Romney’s anti-gay marriage stance. Bob and Susannah discuss in the latest “Running Gags”!

January 18, 2008 at 9:56 pm 3 comments

Mitt takes Michigan; (South) Carolina on his mind

Three early tests, three different Republican winners: Mike Huckabee in Iowa, John McCain in New Hampshire, and now Mitt Romney in Michigan. Is there a sign of who has momentum?

Romney’s stumble in New Hampshire had pundits saying he had to do well in Michigan to salvage his campaign. McCain’s Granite State victory didn’t help him win Michigan, a state whose primary he had captured in 2000. Huckabee, whose victory in Iowa shocked the GOP establishment, hasn’t duplicated his success to date.

Will South Carolina, and not New Hampshire, determine who wins the Republican presidential nomination? If so, this religion-oriented state may make it a contest between Romney and Huckabee. McCain may have alienated Palmetto Staters for good with his criticism of the Stars and Bars and denunciation of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.

Romney’s Michigan victory gives him credibility in the Republican race. Now he has a chance to show his conservative cred if he captures a truly red state, which New Hampshire and Michigan certainly are not.

January 17, 2008 at 9:22 pm Leave a comment

Having faith in Romney

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney told a Texas audience that he would not let his faith (Mormonism) impact any policy decisions he would make if elected president in 2008.

“Romney addressed a fear that many evangelical Christians have voiced,” NPR reported. “He said his faith would shape his moral values, but he promised that his church would not dictate his policies.”

Perhaps he’s being too cautious, for it seems that he shares common ground on other issues with the evangelicals that make him tiptoe.

“Romney made no mention of hot-button evangelical issues, such as abortion, gay marriage and stem-cell research,” NPR noted.

As governor of Massachusetts, Romney opposed all three of these issues. Reminding voters of his record in these instances might impress the folks at Focus on the Family and be a better way to help his candidacy.

December 6, 2007 at 9:24 pm Leave a comment

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