Romney for President

    After looking at Romney's Wikipedia page, it's hard to imagine anyone better suited for president, more admirable. A pro-business guy who was friends with the common worker, a Governor who managed the budget while expanding social programs, a very effective business leader who gave back excess bonuses, who stood up for civil rights and against the war.

    Why we ended up with Nixon in 1968 instead of Romney should give us pause for thought. Someone who seemed to unite the best of the right and left, an actual compassionate conservative, someone who believed in his people and his community, who raised taxes and expanded the budget to build a bigger, more effective state government.

    While Mitt perhaps has some of his father's qualities, I'm struck by what Emptywheel from Michigan noticed - when Mitt said "Let Detroit go bankrupt" - he was talking about his home town, where he was born. When he said "people don't ask for my birth certificate - they know where I'm from", he was talking about an unkempt house bulldozed as a city nuisance.

    I also know that when people insult Mitt's heritage, make jokes about Mormons and his father's citizenship and bigamy and all that - they're making fun of  and insulting the guy who was courageous, hard working, overcame adversity, and came out with stellar values.

    How did we lose the moderate Republicans, the Nelson Rockefellers and George Romneys? I noticed in 2000 that after what seemed a successful pro-business pro-people presidency, that Gore ran to the left, to fend off Bradley, but took the populist anti-business pro-labor stance. Bush held the center with his "compassionate conservative" schtick, but it was ceded territory anyway. Land he gave away upon election, taking the "my way or the highway" approach.

    It's impossible to imagine George Romney sitting over a Bain Capital that sucked the savings and pensions out of workers and left the companies dry. It's hard to imagine him thinking capitalism meant to let things die rather than doing the hard work to grow them. It's hard to think of him giving in to the bitter pinched interests of the hateful entitled class when he'd worked so hard for everything he had - not even able to finish school but finding life skills much more natural. It's hard to lose a nostalgia for a time when part of the political spectrum made sense, when there were people who could see two sides of a coin.

    If I could vote George Romney for President, I likely would - Mexican birth or not.   (joke). As for the kids, they seem like a rotten, self-righteous lot - all book learning, no moral scruples. How did we reach this conundrum and how do we get out?


    How did we lose the moderate Republicans, the Nelson Rockefellers and George Romneys?

    Blowing Smoke. Chapter 13.

    That's not fair - I haven't read an actual book in years. C'mon, give me a hint - was it the draft? Teddy Roosevelt? chlorinated water? the missing Beach Boys album? the decline of the Miss America pageant? Or maybe it was Cheech & Chong's fault - I'd like to think so. [poor Tommy - feds really screwed him]

    You need to play the record backwards.

    It started with two guys named Paul Weyrich and Richard Viguerie. They were pissed when Gerald Ford chose Nelson Rockefeller as his VP after Nixon went down and came up with a plan to take over the GOP. They both created political fundraising organizations that targeted liberal Republicans in primary elections. Weyrich also created organizations to mobilize the right wing, including the Heritage Foundation and the Moral Majority (he recruited Jerry Falwell). Joseph Coors was one of the early backers.

    And the rest is history, Weyrich and Viguerie deliberately knocked out Republicans liberals in the North one by one, and they promoted social conservatives in the newly competitive South. When they got old, copycats like the Club for Growth, Americans for Tax Reform, and Citizens United took over. Only there are no liberal Republicans left, so now they target not-conservative-enough Republicans.

    First there was Lewis F Powell, Jr., J.

    Weyrich in particular seems awful and effective. Thanks.

    Wouldn't it be cool if we could do a write-in campaign with George in a third party slot against Mitt and Barack? Wouldn't it be even cooler if the dead guy won? Now, wouldn't that send a message or two to D.C.?

    Mel Carnahan beat John Ashcroft post-humously.  Ashcroft went on to become the US AG.  Just sayin'.

    Yes, thinking it's time to give a Republican administration a try.

    The last one gave us some good times, and some bad times. Like the worst terror attack on US soil in history, two failed wars, one that they lied us into, torture, the anthrax attacks and the PATRIOT Act. They also gave us the real estate bubble and the economic collapse, in the second term. I am trying to think of the good times and all I come up with is ..... saving stem cells, and Dubya telling us to go to the mall. Could Romney be any worse? Possibly as he has a lot of the same neo-con advisors. I wouldn't be surprised if Mitt's first year has us on edge, a new war is almost certain, to establish his tough guy Republican credentials. If it all goes bad, we could, we will likely have to, vote the Democrats back in again to clean up the mess.

    Did you read the diary, or just the title?

    Phuck the phine print.

    'Give Republicans a try' is sarcasm, a joke, that unfortunately may come true. Most GOP supporters can't or don't want to remember the last one.

    Awesome piece, Peracles.  Genghis has the practical answer (how did the Republican party evolve and whodunnit) but I'll add some less substantiated cultural criticism.

    The Rockefeller voice is till around.  David Brooks thinks he has it.  George HW Bush might lay some claim to it with his collaborative foreign policy and willingness to tick off the right on taxes.  Bob Dole just recently told Mitt Romney that he needs to stand up to his party's right wing, though it seems Mitt has other ideas altogether.

    The thing is, all of these guys are dinosaurs whose time as past.  Because the whole Rockefeller thing has a patrician air about it that no longer plays well.  The idea that the wealthy owe something to society tends to fall on deaf ears.  Why is that?  One reason might be that as a society, we do not see the wealthy as our patrons or protectors.  We think it's nice if Jamie Dimon wants to build the wing of a hospital or if Henry Kravis wants to support the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but we do not look to these people as the culture's leaders.  On the left and the right, we make our own way.  We pick our own music, we pick our own art, we pick our own entertainments and we make our own morals.

    The type of Republican you're talking about is really the tycoon-statesman.  These are people who anointed themselves as responsible for the character of American society.  That idea is no longer acceptable, at least not so overtly.  These days, that kind of patronage seems, well, patronizing.

    You catch guys like David Brooks arguing in favor of its return fairly frequently.  He even recently argued that the country was better off with the old WASP leadership, even though many of them were anti-Semites, anti-women's rights and unlikely to hold polite views about minorities.  But, you know, one of the very good things that diminished the cultural power of those people (even if it left their economic and political power largely intact) is that society started to solicit the opinions of minorities, women and Jewish people like David Brooks.  This is a very good thing, isn't it?

    In a lot of ways, with the perspective of decades, George HW Bush doesn't seem like such a bad guy.  He seems well meaning.  And maybe it was a good thing to have a well educated, hyper-connected internationalist at the helm during the chaos of the Cold War's end.  But I doubt that, say, Public Enemy would write so rosy a summary of the Bush years and you can't judge him, or his type, without that perspective, too.

    Social conservatism comes in many forms.  But the old patricians (and not all of them were or even are Republicans, some Democrats do this too) do tend towards social conservatism.  Whether those values emanate from the revival tend, the assembly line, the loading docks or the country club, I can't support them.  Which is why I'd never vote for George Romney for anything, even if he's otherwise a heckuvaguy.



    It is always easier to paint a rosy picture about what might have been rather than ideal with what actually happened. If  only MLK and Malcolm X had lived and combined their efforts.If only Bobby Kennedy hadn't been killed . If only Al Gore and John Kerry had won. Everything would have been so much better.

    Of course, others wish that Strom Thurmond had won. They feel Barry Goldwater was a lost savior of the country. Robert Bork would have saved the court from John Roberts. things could have been so much worse.

    I love alternate history novels.

    Yeah, thanks for dropping by - we needed a dour curmudgeon, everything else the caterers were bringing.

    Funny, "hope and change" seems a lot like "shut up and eat what you're served" these days. Gotta stop that dreaming, fantasizing, "Please sir, can I have some more?" stuff.

    I was responding to a comment. Others on the page also bring up points about time transference. Would George Romney now be running as Mitt Romney because, he felt that there was too much government interference in business? Would MLK be on the side of rigid anti-abortion Christian Evangelicals? Both are possibilities, thus, my reference to alternative history.

    Aha, I see, mea culpa. Yes, in that case George Romney would have never made it close to the altar, and Robert Kennedy would probably be wearing a dress, and Richard Nixon would be donning a SEAL outfit but still donning black wingtips. Do I win?

    Sigh. You are obviously unaware the alternate history is an accepted subgroup of Science Fiction literature. Titles like "The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century" and "The Mammoth Book of Alternate Histories" are among the selections. Elvis is elected President and JFK survives the 1963 Dallas shooting in "The Way It Wasn't". You scenarios are not beyond the pale.

    I have read stories depicting Gandhi as an armed freedom fighter and MLK as the person who shot JFK because the alternate King felt Kennedy was too slow in addressing Civil a Rights issues.

    Our imaginations allow us to place historical figures in positions that agree with our hopes, or reveal how disappointed we would be in where our historical heroes wound up.

    Okay, I was trying to take it easy to not set off paroxysms of horror, but having Gandhi show up as a crack-smoking break dancer in Seattle wearing plaid and living on Castle "sliders" is as easy to roll off the fingers as say Rush Limbaugh getting Rachel Maddow and Jane Hamsher to agree to a threesome while singing the Internationale to the tune of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus". Or finding out Challenger was really equipped as a Soylent Green ship, only Charlton Heston's son brought it down with a shoulder-based rocket launcher, both denying Io it's next trendy foreign food sensation, but also ensuring no escape route from global warming, so in the end we're all deep-fried anyway.

    Hey, let's start a what-if Civil War post!!! Wouldn't that be exciting!!!

    Note: actually, the whales did make it off the planet, only because some passing Samaritan in a spaceship thought the "Save the Whales" t-shirts were pretty good souvenirs for his high school kids back home. Unfortunately, he had to reduce the whales down to the size of sardines to fit on the ship, but if you go visit him, you'll find he's made a whole series of albums of beautiful whale songs, which if translated from not whalese but a poor desperate heavily-accented attempt to speak Esperanto, say "get us the fuck out of here... and what's with the awful oily fish smell?"

    Don't know what you're smoking', but at this point enjoy arguing with yourself. Try counting to 10 (or 100) and take a deep breath. Calm down.

    Have a nice day.Later.

    Just trying to playfully go along with the what-if sci-fi tip you brought up, not "arguing" nor "smoking".

    Guess you really are intent on being grumpy. Never mind.

    Destor, I'd argue that the party that preaches this sort of Moderate Republican line is now the Democrats. That's where they went. The idea that the wealthy have something they owe society.... that's now popular a Democratic line. Liking those big money philanthropists? Again, a Democratic approach. The same way as it's now the Democrats who are willing to pour money into supporting big businesses so they can stay in the country. 

    Sure, the flavour - the accent - has largely fallen away. But the love of big money - just not that unpleasant, aggressive, braying kindof money - well.... that's home field for the Dems these days. 

    Except of course a big difference between George Romney running a company and Nelson Rockefeller just inheriting millions and millions.

    But yes, the Dems are no party of small money. A few tweaks for Michael Bloomberg and he'd be poster child.

    What exactly do you dislike George Romney for?

    Would Romney be more tainted as AMC chief than Obama directing the hard-nosed GM/Chrysler loan & bankruptcy?

    Does Romney's opposition to the Vietnam War win no points?

    Does Romney's support of Civil Rights in direct opposition to his party not strike you as admirable?

    Are you choosing values and performance, or you just want the D- next to the name? 

    We're talking a 2012 election, right?

    What does George Romney think about about abortion rights?

    Same sex marriage rights?

    Affirmative action?

    It's not about D and R, it's about the fact that he's ultimately, in my mind, a social conservative... he's thoughtful about it, but that's something to respect, not vote for.

    Actually I'm less interested in their position than their feelings towards process.

    People's positions change - witness Obama "evolving" on gay marriage.

    But if they support citizens' right to vote (I mean really support, not shut down early voting), if they respect alternate positions so anti-abortion doesn't mean "stack the deck", and so on...

    Did George Romney use his governorship to shut down alternate views? Did he use his brain to come to alternate views on the war and civil rights?

    (were those positions other social conservatives would come to? how come half of our darling liberals are supporting endless war in Afghanistan and enabled the 9 year occupation of Iraq and ready to slash Social Security & Medicare because of deficit scolds & age-old fear mongering?)

    In short, I don't care what the supposed position is - I care about how their brains work and how it translates into real legislation and how it fits with the real world. If a "social conservative" clamps down on Wall Street theft and legislative influence, I'll vote the "social conservative". If the "social liberal" refuses to enforce anti-corruption laws and take violators to court and impose significant economic sanctions, I'll vote against him. Fairly simple.

    P.S. Bringing up Massachusetts reminds me,  I was reading up on Senator Scott Brown the other day, and the Congressional Weekly study of 2011 Congressional voting records put him as the second-most bipartisan senator in the 100-member U.S. Senate, voting with his party only 54% of the time. (Susan Collins was #1.)

    The study is worth a look, they have some neat graphs:

    Note you have to toggle from Senate to House or all at a little menu at lower left.

    I read an article some weeks ago quoting a Democrat congressman. Basically he said Scott isn't the type of moderate republican that leads on issues. He stands back and waits to see how others vote, checks the polls and votes at the last minute. Scott's the type of moderate who's there when ever you don't need him.

    He's not my senator so I haven't watched closely enough to know if this is true but its a line of thought with greater complexity than mere voting record. Much as I so often disagreed and was sometimes disgusted with Arlin Specter when I was a PA resident he was a senator that would sometimes lead on issues against the conservative republicans.

    Broad WWII and up until around 1970, liberalism and the new reality ushered in by the New Deal were ascendant.

    Aside from Barry Goldwater, Republicans bent in the direction of liberalism whilst holding onto their reputation for being more "fiscally sound," or more concerned with being so.

    So Republicans, in general, were a bit like "liberalism light." At this point, the corporate class had not yet become politically active the way they are now; they weren't concerned with it. They had, in essence, accepted the new liberal reality.

    Within this trend, George Romney strikes me as a very decent guy. And there were others, like Dirksen and perhaps Javits.

    Today, the opposite trend still dominates, so Democrats appear to be "conservatism light." The two sides aren't symmetrical, but I this analogy has some merit.

    I think we can hope for another "George Romney" when the tide turns, if it ever does. Taking George Romney out of his time is a bit like taking a fish out of water (IMO), but I wouldn't be surprised, either, if George Today weren't more like Mitt Today.

    Mitt's biggest problem is that he's swimming upstream in a party where he doesn't really fit. So he's trying VERY hard to fit because it's the only way to fulfill his personal ambitions. So more and more he gives in to the dominant current, e.g., the Ryan pick.

    Mitt is really a technocrat, not a politician in the best sense, not a public servant.

    He'd be happiest just looking over spreadsheets with his closest people. Should be head of OMB or Treasury.

    He's pleased as punch if his actions "help" people, but that drives him only in the abstract sense. It's only a metric for success when you're a governor or senator.

    He doesn't care (really) about any of the social issues, but has to pretend to care to make it in his party.

    In some ways, he's a throwback to the apolitical captains of industry of old (albeit with lots of enthusiasm for the new tools of capitalism and getting rich).

    The only reason he's running is there are no other rungs on his ladder of personal ambition. And he comes from a political family, so it's sort of the "family business."

    Another good book to check out--not as good as Blowing Smoke, but still good--is Invisible Hands, by Fein.

    Really lays out the whole emergence of the conservative resurgence from the 1940s through to "today."

    I was reel happy that someone was writing a pro Romney article but, dang it, you got the wrong one. George isn't running.


    I needed a George, and you've already run your 2 terms. George Clooney? George Michaels? Certainly not George Stephanopoulos.

    Georgie Porgie, Puddin' and Pie,
    Kissed the girls and made them cry,
    When the boys came out to play
    Georgie Porgie ran away.

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