In case you hadn’t heard, Mitt Romney is a moderate with progressive views. He’s also not partisan. At least that’s what he told us in 2002. I don’t know about you, but I completely missed that about him even then. Mitt Romney is a permanent member of what I like to call Darwin’s Workshop. He is always evolving, and that makes it difficult to pinpoint his positions on anything. He changes positions like people change their underwear (daily). However, one thing is certain. As he makes his presidential run here in 2012, Mitt Romney is not a progressive in any sense of the word.
Health Care, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid
Back when he was governor of my state (Massachusetts), Romney touted and then signed a health care reform bill into law that was similar to the reform bill signed into law by Barack Obama. Now, let me be honest with you. I do not consider what is now called ‘Obamacare’ real health care reform. People who know me know that I think our fearless leader has no spine and, when he coughed up the public option right from the beginning, any kind of real health care reform went out the window. Basically the law forces people to purchase private health insurance under the threat of financial penalty. However, I digress. The point is that Mitt Romney is now in favor of repealing ‘Obamacare.’ He will immediately instruct the secretary of health and human services and other relevant federal officials to return maximum authority to the states. Here we’re treated to the same twisted conservative thinking that we’ve heard a million times. The only way to solve the nation’s health care problem is through the free market.
Romney would also gut so-called entitlement programs, such as Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. In a speech to the Americans for Prosperity gathering in Washington, Romney stated, “ The future of Medicare should be marked by competition, choice and by innovation – rather than bureaucracy, stagnation, and bankruptcy.” To that end, Romney’s plan calls for giving seniors a set amount of money that can be used to purchase a health care plan. Of course, no immediate details were available, and why should we be surprised. The devil is always in the details. However, plans like these appeal to those ‘free market’ thinkers. The buzz words like ‘innovation,’ ‘competition,’ and ‘choice’ positively leave the wealthy drooling. However, those in need truly know that these words mean they are getting a royal screwing. With regard to Medicaid, Romney plans to cap spending for the poor and turning the program over to the states. He also wants to raise the age for Social Security benefits and cut the level of non-security discretionary spending to pre-2008 levels.
Abortion, Roe v. Wade, and Stem Cell Research
In 1994 when he ran for the Senate against Ted Kennedy he supported abortion rights and, in 2002 during his run for governor, he supported state-funded abortions via Medicaid for low-income women. In fact, he sought the support of Planned Parenthood by filling out a questionnaire pledging his support of Roe v. Wade and greater access to the morning-after pill. Romney crafts his positions based on which way the political wind is blowing. In both 1994 and 2002, he was running in liberal Massachusetts. (Far be it from me to infer that these positions would help him here!) These positions, however are profoundly different from Romney’s positions on the 2012 national stage as he desperately attempts to generate some of what I like to call Tea Party Traction.
Romney is emphatically pro-life and believes that the responsibility for protecting the unborn child is the responsibility of both the federal and state government. He also believes it is essential to overturn Roe v. Wade and return that decision-making power to the states, just as the states have discretion over their own laws when it comes to murder. In October, Romney voiced his support of a constitutional ban on abortion that is based on the Mississippi Initiative 26 “personhood” amendment which establishes that life begins at fertilization. So, let’s be clear here: Romney is in support of a measure which voters in one of the most conservative states in the union found too extreme to pass. Romney has also come out against stem cell research. In fact, he touts his record in a piece called The Romney Record that can be seen on my Scribd site.
LGBT Civil Rights and Same-Sex Marriage
Mitt Romney is against both civil unions and same-sex marriage, and was opposed to the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, preferring to declare the LGBT community second class citizens in spite of the fact that we pay taxes, fight our country’s wars, and take care of our families like everyone else. Although he has never been in favor of same-sex marriage, some of his positions have flip-flopped (his supporters prefer to say ‘evolved’) since 1994. When he was running against Ted Kennedy for the senate, he wrote that gays should be able to openly serve in the military. He also stated that Massachusetts “must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern.”
In an interview with the Boston Herald just this past week, Romney unveiled his three-tier anti-gay marriage plan. This calls for a constitutional amendment protecting marriage rights for heterosexual couples, allows gay people who have already married to remain married, but bans future same-sex marriages. Romney stated, “I think it would keep intact those marriages which had occurred under the law, but maintain future plans based on marriage being between a man and a woman.”
Taxes and Job Creation
On the issue of taxes, Romney said he plans to submit a bill to Congress his first day in office that would cut the maximum corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%. He is also in favor of eliminating the estate tax and capital gains, interest and dividends. He echoes the same flawed reasoning we’ve heard so many times before: Moves like this will spur economic growth.
It seems more than hypocritical to me that Mitt Romney even talk about creating jobs. When he worked for Bain Capital he was basically a corporate raider who put thousands of people out of jobs. I have some first hand experience with this because my old corporation used Bain Capital to do just that. Like every other conservative I hear, he blames regulations for stifling job growth in spite of the fact that studies have proved that regulations are not the real problem.
In a recent Wall Street Journal survey of 53 economists 65% cited lack of demand, while 14% cited uncertainty over government policies. The balance stated that overseas hiring was more appealing. Regulations were not even on the radar screen. A survey of small business owners also clearly stated that regulations were not an issue. In fact, most small businesses seem to welcome regulation. As part of his anti-regulation campaign, Romney also proposes a zero-dollar regulatory cap. This means that any government agency wishing to create a new regulation must offset the cost by loosening existing regulations. Some would call that governmental blackmail. Flying in the face of reality, Romney also touts increasing free trade as a means of creating jobs. He has pledged to sign the Colombia, Panama and South Korea free trade agreements. Worker retraining programs would move from the federal government to the states.
So, there you have my Mitt Romney in a Nutshell contribution to the 2012 election season. His positions are decidedly Tea Party now that he’s on the national platform again, so I’m trying to figure out why he isn’t gaining much traction. Certainly, he’s got to be more appealing in general than Newt Gingrich. Or not. I’m pretty sure, after analyzing all the material out there, that it’s because his GOP opponents are using his late 90s and early 2000 ‘progressive’ positions against him. That’s why there’s a whole separate web site devoted to clearing the air.
These are the kinds of programs you’d expect from a millionaire running for the highest office in the land. And, in case you haven’t yet taken a good look at the graphic I’m using, look closely now. Mitt Romney is most definitely a member of the 1%. Don’t be fooled by that little video of Mitt’s son talking about the family’s modest $12 million home in La Jolla. You know, it’s only two bedrooms. Pretty small. But don’t worry. Earlier in the year, word leaked out that Romney was planning on tearing it down and building a bigger compound. After all, if you’re going to be president, you have to live like a king…at least in America.