Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Romney on the Stump

I went to a Mitt Romney breakfast this morning...lots of heavy hitters in the room. I asked Romney the following:

Our tax code is a job-killing monster, and less well understood is that it is an enormous source of political corruption. I read you policy PDF, and while you make some tweaks to the system, you seem to leave the monster in place. Would you comment?

Romney's response was an very skillful dodge, a wink and a nod. He said he'll do a few things on day one, like lower the corporate rate to 25%, and that "longer term" he'd work towards a "flatter, fairer system."

Here are my problems with this approach:

  1. Presidents don't have a mandate to do something unless they actually say they're going to do it (Obama has learned this).
  2. As a new president, you have maybe 18 months to do the big things. If the real fix isn't part of the initial policy push, you miss the window.
Romney fears that if he's overly specific now, he leaves himself politically exposed (coddles the rich, etc.). Sure, liberals and the MSM will go nuts, but so what? They're going to eviscerate the Republican candidate no matter who it is and no matter what he or she stands for. Have no doubt that serious opposition research is being done right now into every deal Bain Capital ever did.

But also, as I've written before, Republicans only win when their base is fired up. "Trust me, I'll take care of it once I'm elected" - does this fire you up?

Having said all this, Romney is markedly better on the stump than four years ago. He speaks asperationally about America in a way that is very Reaganesque. You end up wanting to like him, which wasn't the case last time.

We'll see how this all develops. I have a crush on Herman Cain at the moment.

Monday, September 12, 2011

No Doubt

I was with a friend the other day who knows Obama quite well - someone who spends a lot of time with him. I was genuinely curious about some things, but here was part of our discussion:

SJ: We took a man who wasn't even qualified to run a small division at General Electric and we decided that he could somehow be president of the United States. My question is, when Barack Obama is alone, when he is lost in his own thoughts, do you think he ever has moments of self-doubt, that maybe - just maybe - he's gotten in over his own head?

Friend: No.

There was no hesitation. Washington and Lincoln, our two greatest presidents, were famously plagued by self-doubt, and yet this just-turned-50 phantom who has never run anything, has never fought in a battle, who taught briefly and organized communities briefly, is supremely confident he is the right man for the task.

My friend did add that maybe Obama had some doubts about some of the people he had surrounded himself with, i.e. they aren't his equals.