The Vice Presidential Stakes

Ten of the last twenty presidents, dating back to 1900, have been forced from office or come close: one was forced to resign (Nixon), one was impeached (Clinton), two were assassinated (Kennedy and McKinley), one was shot (Reagan), one was shot at twice in three weeks (Ford), two died in office of natural causes (FDR and Harding), one was incapacitated by a stroke (Wilson), and one nearly died of a massive heart attack (Eisenhower). If you go back to the 19th century, the record unsurprisingly gets worse. As for vice presidents since 1900, not only have five taken office (Ford, LBJ, Truman, Coolidge and Teddy Roosevelt), but four others have been nominated for the presidency while sitting (George H.W. Bush won, Richard Nixon lost and then won later, and Hubert Humphery and Al Gore lost – with Gore and Nixon losing two of the closest races in history and Humphery losing a tight three-way race), and one other (Walter Mondale) was nominated four years later. Losing vice presidential nominees have mostly not gone on to better things, but a few have – FDR came back to win the presidency 12 years later, Earl Warren became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court five years later, Bob Dole was nominated for the presidency 20 years later, and Lloyd Bentsen moved laterally to become Treasury Secretary five years later. Others, like Sarah Palin and Joe Lieberman, saw their national profiles greatly raised by the experience; Lieberman, Edmund Muskie and John Edwards all ran presidential campaigns four years later, with varying degrees of impact on the race.

All of which is a way of saying that Mitt Romney’s choice of a running mate could have very important repercussions whether or not that choice makes much impact on the outcome of the 2012 election. Romney seems to be a man of unusual health, vigor and personal ethics, and so less likely than most to leave the Oval Office before his term is out if he’s elected, but he’s also 65 years old; things happen. Given that the outcome of the election remains uncertain, we should therefore be rightly concerned with his choice. Let’s take a look at a couple of the considerations on the table, and why I ultimately think Paul Ryan is the best choice under the circumstances.

Identity Politics:

Gender: In theory, given that vice presidents have a fairly good chance of becoming president but little proven ability to affect the election (Bush-Quayle is the most well-known example of a ticket that won despite general consensus that the VP was a political liability), we should want the choice of vice presidents to be made solely on the basis of merit. But running mates are the one and only prominent hire made by the candidate during the heat of a contested election, and so almost invariably they are chosen with a lot of emphasis on political considerations; even Dick Cheney, the most obvious “screw politics, I’m picking the best guy for the job” choice, was well-matched to George W. Bush’s major perceived weakness at the time (lack of foreign policy gravitas).

So, we can’t discount politics, and that includes identity politics, which like it or not has always been a part of appeals to voters wherever there has been elections. That’s not to say a responsible campaign should let identity politics trump other considerations, simply that there’s no sense in pretending that it will not, in the real world, factor into decisionmaking.

The biggest potential target is women, who constitute a majority of the electorate (only white voters and Christians are a larger faction, and both are even less likely than women to see themselves as a cohesive voting bloc). All things being equal, Mitt Romney would clearly love to select a female running mate, as he did the one time he had the chance to do so before (his Lieutenant Governor in Massachusetts, Kerry Healey). But the problem with the available choices is that they are an even more extreme illustration of the transitional nature of the GOP’s talent pool in general: the experienced women, like Condi Rice and Kay Bailey Hutchison, are pro-choice and/or otherwise politically unacceptable to the party, whereas the more conservative women elected in 2010, like Kelly Ayotte, Susanna Martinez and Nikki Haley, are mostly not quite ready for prime time yet. In Martinez’ case, she’s been all but screaming from the rooftops that she doesn’t want the job, and as a result almost certainly has not been vetted by the Romney campaign. In between, the closest to women with the requisite level of both experience and ideological positioning would be Congresswomen Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, and I’ve seen no indication that either has drawn much support or attention in this process.

Ayotte is the closest to a credible candidate – she ran the state Attorney General’s office in New Hampshire, she earned street cred with pro-lifers by fighting an abortion case (on parental notification) all the way to the Supreme Court and winning, she’s campaigned early and often with Romney dating back to the primaries and has clearly got a good rapport with him on the trail, and she looks and sounds like the person you’d cast as a busy suburban professional woman in a minivan commercial. In 2010, she carried independents by 26 points in a state that had voted for both Obama and Kerry and was in the process of re-electing its Democratic governor. But while New Hampshire is one of the states Romney still hopes to swing, Ayotte is still a comparatively unknown figure from a tiny New England state in Romney’s back yard. And the shadow of the Palin controversies still loom: while Ayotte is stylistically nothing like Palin’s red-moose-meat persona, the perception of Palin as an underqualified running mate would require Ayotte to meet a higher standard than a man to convince the media that she’s ready for the job.

Race/ethnicity: The talent pool of Hispanic or African-American Republicans has the same basic problems – burned-out veterans who are non-starters (Rice, Colin Powell, Mel Martinez, etc.) and young up-and-comers who would have to overcome short resumes in major public office (Marco Rubio, Susanna Martinez again, Allen West). Rubio, of course, is a great package of domestic and foreign policy conservatism, eloquence, a great life story and popularity in a huge swing state, and he’s a more seasoned figure than Obama was in 2008 – in the Florida Legislature he was Speaker of the House, not an obscure backbencher – but he’s happy in the Senate and seems interested in building a career there before reaching for a national perch (about the only argument for running now is his hairline). Romney’s been wisely hesitant to rule out Rubio completely; he’d be the most dramatic choice and the one you would reach for – as McCain reached for Palin – if you thought you were losing but not yet defeated and needed to go big and try to run the table the rest of the way. But while the polls have not been encouraging the past few weeks, there’s no sign that Romney is thinking that way.

Also, it’s not at all clear that non-Cuban Hispanic voters in key swing states are open to Romney or would respond to the Cuban-American Rubio; everything we have seen from Romney indicates that his political calculus is focused on counter-programming Obama’s racial divide-and-conquer strategy by picking up white swing voters in the mostly Midwestern states that are still overwhelmingly white. There are six potential swing states where the electorate, based on Census data and past elections, is likely to be more than 80% non-Hispanic whites, and not coincidentally, those were the six states on Romney’s summer bus tour: New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Colorado’s population is nearly 90% white according to the Census, but that includes Hispanic voters; Virginia’s is below 80%:

It’s distasteful to carve up the electorate on those lines, but certainly the demographics of those states are an argument against picking a Latino running mate solely for the sake of picking a Latino running mate.

South Asian voters are a much tinier voting bloc, but they happen to have one of the remaining talked-about candidates in Bobby Jindal. If Romney is looking to appeal to voters who are generally uncomfortable voting for a ticket of two white males, Jindal – who’s overqualified for the job for multiple other reasons – could solve that problem for him.

Religion: Then there’s that other identity-politics wild card: religion. On the one hand, Catholics are a potentially important swing vote, albeit a group that in many cases will not vote as Catholics. (Also, according to the NY Times exit polls, Obama lost white Catholics 52-47 four years ago and no Democratic nominee has won more than 48% of white Catholics since Jimmy Carter in 1976, so the “swing” part may be overrated). On the other hand, there has never in American history been a major-party presidential ticket without a Protestant (the Democrats have had a Catholic on the ticket seven times – Al Smith, JFK, Muskie, Sergeant Shriver, Geraldine Ferraro, John Kerry and Joe Biden – and a Jewish candidate once – Lieberman – and the GOP has run a Catholic VP candidate once, William Miller in 1964), and a ticket combining Romney with a Catholic like Rubio, Paul Ryan, Jindal, Chris Christie or Bob McDonnell would set sail for that uncharted territory. That’s especially true at a time when the leadership of the House and Senate are very thin on Protestants and there are no Protestants on the Supreme Court. For Romney, perhaps still nervous about the unpopularity of his own Mormon faith, that may counsel in favor of the Methodist Rob Portman or the evangelical Christian Tim Pawlenty.

Class: Like it or not, Mitt Romney is heavily identified with being a rich son of a rich CEO who grew up to be a rich CEO himself; Americans love rags-to-riches stories, but are not so much enamored of riches-to-more-riches stories in their leaders (not that this has prevented them from repeatedly electing Roosevelts, Kennedys, Bushes, etc.) Still, with Obama hammering him over his money, his taxes, and his role as CEO, voters who have never had anything resembling Romney’s money are clearly concerned that Romney may just not understand what it’s like to not be rich. That gives an advantage to candidates who have had something of a rougher ride in life, whether they be the sons of immigrants (Rubio, Jindal), or people who went through hard times (Ryan, whose father died suddenly when he was 16; Pawlenty, the son of a truck driver, lost his mother to cancer as a teen).

Geography: Geography is a little different from identity politics, but perhaps not so much; it’s even more of a traditional consideration in Vice Presidential politics, and in point of fact, many people are far more apt to react negatively to a politician who is seen as too Southern or too Northeastern than to distinctions of race, gender or religion. As noted above, with a handful of exceptions (New Hampshire, Colorado, Nevada, Florida, Virginia), by far the dominant region up for grabs in this election is the Midwest, which is undoubtedly one of the several reasons why most reports seem to indicate that the frontrunners for the VP slot come down to three Midwesterners – Ryan from Wisconsin, Portman from Ohio, and Pawlenty from Minnesota, a state that is probably out of Romney’s reach but similar in other ways to the neighboring battlegrounds. Portman probably has the edge on geography alone – Ohio is a perennial swing state that no Republican has ever won without, and while Portman’s name recognition is fairly low even in his home state, he does have a solid organization in key parts of the state that helped Romney pull out a hard-fought primary victory over Rick Santorum. Geography is also almost the sole reason why McDonnell has entered VP discussions, although he seems a long shot now for a variety of reasons. The candidate who is hurt most by the geography issue is Jindal, the lone Deep South candidate under consideration, albeit a very un-stereotypical Southerner in nearly every way but his accent and his politics.

Age: This is an under-discussed angle to the VP selection, but one that figured heavily in the choices of FDR in 1920, Dan Quayle in 1988, Al Gore in 1992, and Palin in 2008: the desire to either balance a ticket or provide (in the Clinton-Gore case) an overall reinforcing image of youthful vitality. Romney, like Clinton and George W. Bush, is a Baby Boomer, born in the 1940s; three of the candidates under discussion (Ryan, Jindal and Rubio) were born in the 1970s and came of age in the Reagan years. That could raise concerns in some voters about their readiness for the job, as it did with both Quayle and FDR, but it also sends younger voters a message that the GOP is not just your grandpa’s political party.

The Candidate Factors:

Ideology: It’s no secret that conservatives in general and social and fiscal conservatives in particular still mistrust Romney for his past positions on abortion, health care and a litany of other issues. Much of that has been set aside as the party unifies behind removing Obama, but it’s never far from the surface, and as a result, Romney will face some disappointment if he picks a candidate who is viewed as generally moderate (such as Pawlenty, Ayotte or Christie), and open revolt if he picks a liberal and/or pro-choice Republican.

Experience: Romney’s running as a Mr. Fix-It executive who values business experience, but he himself has never served in DC. There’s some tension here: few of the people he’s looking at have spent a lot of time in the private sector, but the experiences they offer are different. Pawlenty’s been a two-term governor and state legislative majority leader, so he’s clearly ready to be a chief executive but doesn’t offset Romney’s lack of foreign policy credentials or DC experience. Ryan has essentially no executive experience beyond being Budget Committee chairman, but has been in DC since the 90s and is an acknowledged domestic policy expert. Portman and Jindal have much more varied resumes, ideally suited to a presidential candidate (like Pawlenty, both have worked in both executive and legislative jobs, although Portman hasn’t been a chief executive; Portman has more foreign policy experience, Jindal has the advantage of having served both in and out of DC).

Personality: Here’s where the rubber starts to hit the road in a serious way. On the one hand, you have Portman and Pawlenty and longer shots like McDonnell and John Thune who are all sort of dry and considered boring. On the other hand, there’s the concern – which should not be a problem for a confident candidate, but could figure nonetheless – that Romney could be outshone by a more colorful choice like Christie or Rubio. I think this is actually part of the constellation of reasons Christie won’t be picked: his chief asset is that he’s a leader and a take-charge personality who dominates every room he enters, and that’s just not the kind of guy you pick for a second banana job.

Pawlenty presents the problem most dramatically at the other end. He’s the candidate I originally supported in the presidential race in large part because he’s the ideal check-box guy who has no real weaknesses. But his campaign suffered from the fact that he just does not project a forceful, authoritative personality, epitomized when he refused to attack Romney’s health care plan to his face. If you think Romney is sailing ahead on course to win, he’s the lowest-risk pick, and there’s still something to the idea that Romney needs to keep his sails trimmed and let Obama beat himself. But even with all the methodological issues with the past few weeks of polling, I think it seems pretty clear by now that Romney still needs to sell the voters on himself. And Pawlenty just won’t help him do that.

Why Not Jindal?

If I was choosing a 2012 GOP presidential nominee from scratch right now, my top choices would be Jindal – who would make the best potential president – and Christie, who is the man best suited to the times and would bring a powerful leadership style to the campaign and the job. I certainly won’t be disappointed if Jindal is the surprise pick. But we’re not picking a number one, we’re picking a number two who might become a number one. And while this election is hugely important, it’s still one we could lose, and we’d best keep some powder dry for 2016 just in case. Both of those candidates will be prime contenders then if we get there.

Jindal is a shake-it-up pick, and undoubtedly ready for the big job, but is he ready for the national campaign trail? He’s a brilliant guy, but while governors make the best presidential candidates, they sometimes – as we saw with both Palin and Rick Perry – stumble if they get thrown straight onto the national trail and suddenly have to face a whole new set of reporters and a whole new set of issues that are different from their state-level political environments. (That’s less of an issue for Pawlenty, who has been on the national campaign trail almost as long as Romney by now). Plus, a VP candidate can be at the mercy of the presidential candidate’s staff, impairing his or her ability to clean up negative stories. There’s a lot of risk there – and as long as there are other good candidates who might marginally help Romney more in a tight race, the party’s interests are probably better served by letting Jindal come to the national stage on his own timetable. Paul Ryan, by contrast, is a campaign-trail ready veteran of the DC talk show circuit, is probably stymied from advancing much further within the House, and might have more trouble running an independent presidential campaign without much of a record as an executive. He has more to gain and less to lose than Jindal by going national now.

(A related consideration here that affects Portman, Christie, Rubio and Ayotte in particular: I’d like to see the GOP avoid doing what Obama did and putting at risk a whole host of Senate seats and Governorships with his appointments. Pawlenty is out of office and Jindal and McDonnell are term-limited, so we would lose a lot less if one of them moved out of his current role).

Why Ryan?

I haven’t covered all the possible considerations here, but at the end of the day, the choice seems likely to come down to Ryan, Portman and Pawlenty. None are terrible choices, and it may well be that Portman is the Cheney-esque pick here. But were I advising Romney, I’d go with Ryan.

Romney can win this election, but there is little sign that he’s winning it right now, and as the Wall Street Journal points out, Ryan is the guy best positioned to step into the leadership deficit created by Romney’s approach to this campaign:

The case for Mr. Ryan is that he best exemplifies the nature and stakes of this election. More than any other politician, the House Budget Chairman has defined those stakes well as a generational choice about the role of government and whether America will once again become a growth economy or sink into interest-group dominated decline.
Against the advice of every Beltway bedwetter, he has put entitlement reform at the center of the public agenda – before it becomes a crisis that requires savage cuts. And he has done so as part of a larger vision that stresses tax reform for faster growth, spending restraint to prevent a Greek-like budget fate, and a Jack Kemp-like belief in opportunity for all. He represents the GOP’s new generation of reformers that includes such Governors as Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal and New Jersey’s Chris Christie.

As important, Mr. Ryan can make his case in a reasonable and unthreatening way. He doesn’t get mad, or at least he doesn’t show it. Like Reagan, he has a basic cheerfulness and Midwestern equanimity.
As for Medicare, the Democrats would make Mr. Ryan’s budget a target, but then they are already doing it anyway. Mr. Romney has already endorsed a modified version of Mr. Ryan’s premium-support Medicare reform, and who better to defend it than the author himself?

There’s a tension, of course, in Romney choosing a guy known for policy specifics when Romney himself – despite his love for data, facts and figures – has chosen as one of the central pillars of his campaign strategy to keep his message general and let the focus stay on Obama. (Romney does have plenty of substantive policy proposals, but many are not yet terribly detailed, and most voters would be hard-pressed to identify anything in particular he stands for beyond resisting tax hikes on business). Picking Pawlenty or Portman, despite their other virtues, would entail doubling down on this approach, and sending conservatives a “trust me” message that has already generated a lot of support but not much enthusiasm. But the time comes when you need to get at least a little bit bold in order to get your own side excited and get the marginal voter in the middle to pay some attention. Of the likely candidates, Ryan is the best guy for the job.
Romney-Ryan 2012.

30 thoughts on “The Vice Presidential Stakes”

  1. Another potential negative for Gov. Jindal: As a sitting gov., there’s tremendous potential for his home state Dems to distract him with bogus ethics charges and public record requests. They did it to Gov. Palin in 2008, and the Romney folks should consider that.

  2. Unusual personal ethics pretty much nails it although I’m certain you meant in the completely non-ironic sense of the word.

  3. Your proposed ticket would constitute the least qualified P-VP combo in history if elected. We can’t afford that. Romney absolutely must win Ohio to win the election and won’t likely win Wis with Ryan on the ticket. For both of those reasons Portman is the better choice. If you go bold, you should go bold from a swing state and diversify the demographics: Rubio over Ryan.

  4. As for Rubio he can pull in the Cuban vote but the not the overall Hispanic vote. There is a deep rift between Cubans and other Hispanics on immigration. Not one monolithic demographic.

  5. Tom – You underestimate how unique Alaska’s law is, which allows any citizen to initiate an ethics investigation; it’s even worse than the disastrous Independent Counsel statute (one of the best arguments against Palin is that she signed the damn thing into law). That can’t happen in most states. And there’s no time to initiate new nonsense this late in the season.
    jim – Romney’s record in public life, whatever else can be said of it, is squeaky clean. And rarely have we had leaders who had dedicated such a significant percentage of their income (or their personal time) to private charity as Romney, to say nothing of stories like the time he rescued a drowning family on his jetski. The stories of his charitable good works keep coming; here’s just the latest.
    java – I made that same point in the post.

  6. I guess I’m a little less amazed when someone with vast personal wealth gives a bunch of it to charity (or in Romney’s case to a church). Should we then be voting for Tom Cruise or Bill Gates? Please. He saved someone on a jetski? Sign me up for voting for Alex Rodgriguez for POTUS. Romney clearly has no belief in the career that he came to late in life that he isn’t willing to change, forget, lie about or sell. His career has included the occasional willful vivisection of companies for personal enrichment at the expense of others. There is no doubt he has taken said riches to other countries to shirk paying into an American tax system. He’s a GOP/Tea Party guy though so he could pretty much do anything he wants and you would go to bat for him and his morality. In your world view he has paid enough money in so he gets the “unusual personal ethics” rubber stamp. I and the majority of others find him empty, lacking any sort of moral code that does not directly involve himself and bankrupt of any world view that qualifies him to be any sort of world leader. He may be the worst Presidential candidate I have ever seen.

  7. Having lived in Utah for several years, I have to point out that a Mormon tithing the required 10% is not a bragging point. To remain in good standing you MUST tithe along with a few other things. One of those little lost details. But some Romney’s overall problems is that he lacks charisma/charm and that matters. Along with the fact he has changed on every position to suit a small but vocal minority in the conservative movement. Even some of his career highlights, that should be concerning!!! But then again do we want a businessman that made his money via leveraged buyouts and then funneling profits thru tax havens? That kind of defines deficit spending, if you care about deficit. Not sure if there is a VP candidate out there that can fix those issues.

  8. I find nothing immoral or improper about -legally- avoiding US taxes – a practice that just about every American does in one way or another. If you want to curb that practice, fine, but if you call it immoral, then we’re all sinners.

  9. No one wants to pay more than they have to but if you are running for POTUS and you have willfully taken money you made in the USA and sheltered it in all sorts of manners in different countries it speaks volumes about what you think about this country that you claim you want to lead. If I take a personal deduction on my income that may be a little shaky in terms of its defensibility that’s one thing, when any ultra-wealthy person takes vast deductions for Olympic show horses, opens Swiss bank accounts and shelters money in offshore island countries and then tells me he loves this country and wants to lead it I think I’ll believe he is a self-centered craphound with little in the way of a country and world view that I think is somewhat of a requirement to be the POTUS.
    He MAY have done all this legally (who knows?) but when the super-super rich who have bought and paid for politicians (or flat out become them) who then go about rigging the tax code to allow them to do all these things so they can be called legal then the game is totally rigged.

  10. So you are saying there are different standards of behavior for the rich and the relatively poor? It’s ok for the middle class to take a deduction but the super-rich should just pay up? I disagree. You sound exactly what conservatives accuse liberals of being: prejudiced against the rich simply because they have a lot of money.
    I’m not against some tax reform of US income held abroad – as long as its part of a much larger tax reform proposal and as long as it makes some sense – but certainly not because the people taking advantage of these rules are somehow awful people rigging the system.

  11. MVH, you miss the point. The point I’m making is that the reason that folks of Romney’s ilk have the ability to pay insanely low tax rates and can right off things normally-earning people never would consider being deductible is that the tax code has slowly been purchased by the very wealthiest in the country so that doing all the things Romney does is legal. When the rules of the game are written both for and by a certain sector of the folks involved in it then it’s a rigged system. If I claim $300 in, I don’t know, clothing contributions to charity but the value was really closer to $250 am I gaming the system the way folks who make 8 figures are when they can offshore income, deduct their hobbies and run up their IRAs in ways that are seemingly impossible when the reason they can do this because they have paid to have the system turned on its ear in their favor? If you find an over-claim on some contribution the same level of dodginess that getting to pay far less taxes because the tax code has been bought and paid for then I guess your fine with the idea of how monarchies operate. I doubt you are. If this was an even handed affair we were engaging in that would be one thing, but it’s not. Romney may not have broken laws but I am far from alone in finding his behavior suspect for someone who wants to be POTUS. Private citizen? Eh, I’m less annoyed with it although it is still a horridly rigged system but you’re not asking to be the one at the top of it.

  12. jim, now you are preaching straight from the conservative hymnal. The tax system is too complex, and a flatter tax structure with lower marginal rates but fewer exclusions/deductions etc. would be far more honest and equitable.

  13. That’s not actually the conservative position. It’s wht some conservatives pay lip service to but it is in way the position in reality and in no way is ever going to happen. Do you think Romney is going to reform the tax code and make it simpler? Only if the parts that make it simple also benefit his income bracket. Obama is far more likely to reform the tax code in some sensible way than Romney is and by far more likely I mean not at all in the sense that it will not happen. While we know you have family issues that have led to decreased content I suspect you can’t stand Romney when push comes to shove and the whole “he has paid enough money to be considered ethical” is about as much as you can stomach to say about him, his “policies” and his general electability.

  14. “Obama is far more likely to reform the tax code in some sensible way than Romney is and by far more likely”
    That is hi-larious. Obama has only added to the tax code, made it more complicated, and loaded it with favors for his cronies. Romney understands that we could simplify the tax code AND increase revenues to help pay for the disaster that was the “stimulus”. Obama is too wedded to his redistributionist ideology and prevented by his complaints about “fairness” to try anything which might let individuals and business keep more of their earnings to help grow us out of this mess.

  15. Nice use of the quote. Of course, the rest of it says, ” I mean not at all in the sense that it will not happen.” You are on glue if you think Romney is going to re-vamp a system tricked out to his income level’s benefit. As I also stated he may simplify things that continue to pile on for he and his ilk’s benefit but if you think he is going about reforming tax code at all levels you don’t have a very clear understanding of the Romney.

  16. You were quoted correctly, otherwise what you said was . . . nothing (neither will do it but Obama is more likely to?). You are trying to give credit to Obama that flies in the face of his actual record. And you end by merely projecting about Romney. Keep in mind Obama’s actual record clearly shows that he will only ‘redistribute the wealth’ and give special favors to his crony corporatist friends (you know, Obama’s ‘ilk’) by spending at unsustainable levels.

  17. You come with way too much agenda. I think Obama has more than screwed the pooch on several topics. I think he’s wy too far in bed with the banker and Wall Street types and has done less reform in those areas than he should have sought. That being said I will take Obama’s fiddling and diddling over what Romney absolutely would do (there’s no need to project there, his masters are well identified and they have bought and paid for the empty suit that is Romney so thoroughly that his agenda is pre-determined.) If you were to be graded on your use of quotations you’d be downgraded for misrepresenting the quote. I don’t think anyone who gets elected will make changes to the tax code that do anything but further allow for mass discrepancy in wealth and how that wealth is allowed to be utilized.

  18. If you want to call Obama’s nationalizing health care and student loans, 5 trillion in new debt, government subsidies for unions and campaign bundlers, with more job-killing and energy-reducing regulations, coupled high unemployment and falling income mere “fiddling and diddling”, I would say you protest too much about anyone here having an agenda.
    In 2008 we couldn’t tell where Obama was getting his money from because they did not track the contributions coming in at one dollar below the limit requiring identification, other than all the George Soros front groups.

  19. I’ll stop with the total thread drift here since you’re just wound up on what you are wound up on regardless of, well, anything. My point at the start was that Mitt Romney is not some exceptionally ethical guy and certainly not because a lot of money to his religion of choice. I would regard Romney as, at best, amoral.

  20. 1. It’s funny to me that anyone could rip Romney for taking advantage of a rigged system, then vote for Obama, whose very house was subsidized by a favor-seeking slumlord who has since been convicted of political corruption. Obama has spent his whole life gaming the system for personal benefit.
    2. Romney is “Tea Party” in the same way that Joe Lieberman is “anti-war.”
    3. The ” his masters are well identified and they have bought and paid for” line is hilarious. If anything, the big donors are less conservative than the party as a whole.

  21. I get it now, Jim. You just prefers that your candidates make their millions ethically- serving in the Senate.

  22. I forgot how missing the point here is mostly the point. Obama is far from my candidate probably in the way that Romney is far from y’all’s. In the end having Obama is better than the alternative which is 2008 was the whole McCain/Palin shit show and in 2012 it’s the Romney/Ryan fiasco. I didn’t say Romeny was a Tea Party guy. I simply put Tea Party and GOP together as they are one in the same. Romney’s big donors are likely less conservative than many of the yahoos in your party but those folks sure as shooting aren’t giving money to Romney to reform the tax code in any sort of way that y’all are talking about.

  23. Jim,
    The other thing to keep in mind about “rigging the system” is that even if you raise the taxes on the very wealthy, it really doesn’t generate enough income to meaningfully resolve our debt/deficit. There are just not enough of them. You need a broader tax base. Frankly, you should raise personal income taxes on everyone, just not right now with the economy as shaky as it is. Long term entitlement reform should be the focus, and hopefully Romney will stick to that.
    Now you can also raise revenue by increasing the capital gains tax, which I have no problem for personal income taxes – but not corporate. I think that should be part of the mix.

  24. This wasn’t really a tax increase/revenue raising discussion. While it’s not as if I would vote for Romney in this lifetime for about a thousand reasons I’m less than impressed by someone who wants to be the leader of this country who”s goal has been to game the system, hide assets, offshore money and make personal decisions to take advantage of loopholes at every possible turn. Again, if you just want to be some dude who decides that his fucking showhorse is a passive business asset he is taking a loss on rather than a fancy little hobby I’ll think your ridiculous but if you want to be POTUS and you have, in effect, taken money out of my pocket to pay for your dressage fetish then you have not earned my dis-respect but my disgust and contempt. These types of actions make it abundantly clear to me that Romney rather than possessing unusual personal character is a solely me-first ruthless bastard who shouldn’t be in charge of anything more important than a Little League baseball team.

  25. Jim, you left off he actively lobbied for the carried interest taxation rules. Yep, and people think he will not continue to work along that line.

  26. The Tea Party is the Republican Party with a name change ONLY.
    Same people, same funding, same failed ideology.
    Anyone fooled into thinking Dick Army in a tricornered hat is not Dick Army, is either a liar or a gullible moron.

  27. As usual mad, like a typical KC hitter, is down 0-2 in the count facing a Felix Hernandez level pitcher that he can’t handle.

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