Friday, May 25, 2012

Bain of America: Capitalism and the 2012 Election

Mitt Romney Logo
Obama round logo
President Barack Obama has been taking some grief from his own supporters for criticizing likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for killing jobs and making money while Romney was head of the "Venture Capital" firm Bain Capital. This is something though that Romney has partly brought on himself by emphasizing his experience with Bain and for hardly ever mentioning his time as the moderate governor of Massachusetts, where he was behind a state-wide health insurance law that later became the blueprint for Obama's nationwide health care law, the Affordable Health Care Act, better known by the pejorative term Republicans love to use, "Obamacare", and that each would-be Republican presidential candidate in the GOP primaries vowed to kill if they'd become president.

Romney himself has crowed that he actually created jobs rather than killed them while was at Bain so perhaps the criticism is fair. But Obama supporters such as Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, and former Congressman Harold Ford Jr. have all expressed misgivings about the approach since it leaves the President open to the charge that he is against Capitalism. That is a very fair point.

Romney does not like to talk about him being governor of Massachusetts but that should not stop Obama and the Democrats from talking about it. In fact, the whole of Romney's working life and character should be fair game, just as the whole of Obama's career and time as President should be fair for the Republicans to talk about. Let's talk about Romney's time as a businessman, his time as governor, and as head of the 2002 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Salt Lake City in Utah. Talk about the issues and who is best to lead the United States from 2012 to 2016. Mitt Romney is not Darth Vader but neither is Barack Obama. They both seem to be decent family men who happen to think they each would make the better leader for the next four years. The election promises to be a tight one. Let's make it a fairly fought one!

I have nothing against Mitt Romney. I just don't think he would be very good for the country. I don't think his business experience necessarily qualifies him to run the country. More trickle-down economics? Wasn't that tried under Reagan and found that it didn't work? Austerity? Nobody wants it. I just think that Mitt Romney is a somewhat boring stuffed-shirt kind of guy, not particularly interesting, and wrong for America at this time.

Sorry, Mitt. And while I have you on the line, Mitt, a crazy thought: your logo, my friend, keeps reminding me of Alfred Hitchcock's logo from his 1960's television show, "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour"!

Alfred Hitchcock logo

Clerihew on the 2012 Election So Far

Barack thinks his rival's time at Bain presents a fair target,
making money at others' expense, the way of the market.
Others say it gets to the root of what is the US of A
-- in the Fall election, who will get the final say?

Christopher T. George

American Battlefield

Military Cemetery

Rows and rows of stone markers,
rows and rows of the same flag:
so many stars, so many stripes.
Only the names and dates differ.

Christopher T. George

Photograph from Americans for Battlefield Protection. Find them on Facebook.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Obama's Wily Maneuver on Same-Sex Marriage


Motor scooter Obama
I sense that President Barack Obama made a very wily move in the effort to get himself re-elected by coming out publicly in favor of same-sex marriage in an interview with ABC's Robin Roberts. I don't think it's any coincidence that the announcement came almost exactly six months before the November Presidential election. Nor any coincidence that his statement came just before he was to attend a lucrative fundraiser with Hollywood stars hosted by actor George Clooney. Nor that the statement precedes a commencement address that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is scheduled to deliver on May 12 at Liberty University, a bastion of higher learning for evangelical Christians in Lynchburg, Virginia, founded by the late televangelist Jerry Falwell. Will Romney take the bait and make some remarks about marriage being only between a man and a woman? It is also pertinent to note that recent polls show that 50% of Americans support marriages of gays and lesbians.

Hooray! Obama has reinvigorated his base with this declaration of support for the rights of gays and lesbians as also, at long last, he is talking tougher on foreign policy and about the intransigent Republican-dominated Congress, particularly the Republican majority House of Representatives. Although there was some suspicion that Obama's hand was forced by remarks in support of same-sex marriage by Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday's "Meet the Press." But Biden's remarks were pre-recorded on the Friday before the airing of "Meet the Press" and not an ad-lib. It seems likely therefore that this was not another case of "Loose-Lips Biden" but rather that the two statements were calculated to be made at this very strategic moment.

In contrast, Romney has had a hard time courting the Republican base. Evangelical conservatives are lukewarm on him, partly because of his Mormonism, and they probably would have preferred Rick Santorum or some other rightie with better religious and conservative credentials. In fact, due to his discomfort with those right wing social issues, Romney would rather be talking about the economy and not social issues at all, because he knows he has an advantage in economic areas... or at least his advisers seem to think that's where he is strongest, emphasizing his business and management experience at the expense of putting a spotlight on his background as the moderate governor of Massachusetts where he passed into law a health care system that critics label "Romneycare" and that served as the model for Obama's health care mandate excoriated as "Obamacare" by conservative critics.

At last, Obama is standing for something. A very wise move because I do not believe the "Hope and Change" battle cry of 2008 will work this time. He has not exactly delivered on that pledge of bringing "Hope and Change" to Washington and the nation.

It's also good because it's not clear what Romney stands for other than he wants to replace Obama and can sing "America the Beautiful" badly. He seems to be an awkward cipher of a businessman. The same man who flunked the chance to stand up to right-wing radio blowhard Rush Limbaugh over the broadcaster's disgraceful remarks about Georgetown Law Center student Sandra Fluke after her testimony to Congress when he called her a prostitute, and who condoned the hushing up by his campaign of Richard Grenell, an openly gay spokesman on foreign policy, leading to that aide's resignation less than two weeks after he had been hired by the Romney campaign. (A source told CNN that "Grenell was told on several occasions not to speak on the campaign’s conference calls with reporters. . .") Similarly, Romney did not correct a member of public who recently asked him a question and remarked that President Obama should be tried for treason -- his whiff on that being in stark contrast to John McCain's reprimand to a woman during the 2008 campaign who impugned Obama as a terrorist. It's not certain what Mitt Romney stands for. He has demonstrated time and time again that he has no backbone. Arguably he does not deserve the chance to be President of the United States. Is the cover of the latest cover of the New Yorker a portrait of Romney?

New Yorker Cover