Friday, August 12, 2011

The Mitt Romney Beat Down Has Begun – and Gov. Perry Is Not Even Officially in the Race

Look Out Mitt, It is Just Beginning

The Dismal Political Economist has said earlier that he expects Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry to strongly attack GOP Front Runner Mitt Romney, but the way things went on Thursday it Mitt may be doing a lot of the work of Mr. Perry himself.

First up is Mr. Romney verbally jousting with a spectator at a rally in Iowa.

Mitt Romney Greeting a Corporation

Romney explained that one way to fulfill promises on entitlement programs is to “raise taxes on people,” but before he could articulate his position on not raising taxes, someone interrupted.

“Corporations!” a protester shouted, apparently urging Romney to raise taxes on corporations that have benefited from loopholes in the tax code. “Corporations!”

“Corporations are people, my friend,” Romney said.

Leaving aside the problem of using language “my friend” that sounds like John McCain, Mr. Romney’s comment that “corporations are people” will just go to reinforce the negatives on Mr. Romney that he is a “corporate guy” and not a “people guy”.  Not the kind of guy Mr. Romney wants to present as himself.

But the real problem is with Mr. Romney’s presentation to S&P touting his record on raising taxes to obtain a good bond rating for Massachusetts while he was governor. Mr. Romney has been touting S&P’s upgrade of Massachusetts while he was Governor.

When I was governor, S&P rewarded Massachusetts with a credit rating upgrade for our sound fiscal management and the underlying strength of our economy,” Romney boasted.

But there is one slight problem.  Mr. Romney also boasted to S&P about revenue increases, a no-no for Republicans, in the presentation to S&P.

Massachusetts “successfully managed revenue and expense positions” during a downturn in fiscal years 2002 and ’03, the presentation said. “The commonwealth acted decisively to address the fiscal crisis.”

The claims are followed by a chart indicating that the state stayed solvent as tax collections plunged: “July 2002 — Legislation to increase tax revenue” by more than $1 billion in each fiscal year; a tax amnesty; and “tax ‘loophole’ legislation” worth $269 million.

So here it is just as Gov. Perry is getting into the race that Mitt’s bona fides are under attack. 

Mr. Romney seemed to have escaped the attack mode in the Iowa debate, as his rivals were more concerned with not being voted off the island than with jumping into first place.  But with Mr. Perry assured a place in the top tier of candidates, the road is going to get bumpy.  Watch out for those bumps in the road Mr. Romney, there will be a lot of them and no detour.

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