Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mitt Romney Goes All Out on Political Cowardice – Will Cut Federal Program; Will Not Say Where

Once Again A Conservative Refuses to Identify the Cuts for Fear of . . .

The great thing about Conservative positions on taxes and federal spending is that they sound great in principle.  For example, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has come forth with a plan to cut tax rates to 10% and 25%, but raise just as much money as the current system.  How does he do that?  He doesn’t say, you just have to take his word for it.

On the spending side Conservatives are united in their zeal to cut Federal spending, and usually once a day there is a Conservative screed about how they are going to do so.  That sounds great, nobody likes Federal spending except for the programs they do like, so Conservatives never ever state the specific programs they are going to cut.  After all that would risk alienating voters who actually support those programs.

Mitt Romney has now joined the political cowardice faction by expressing the position that he will eliminate various federal programs, but refusing to name a single one.  Here he is making an unequivocal (okay, that’s a joke, Mr. Romney never makes an unequivocal anything) statement that he will eliminate programs.

Mitt Romney wants to eliminate government programs and shutter cabinet agencies. Doing so, he says, is “the critical thing” that needs to be done in order to bring government books back into balance and to begin restoring the promise of America. “Actually eliminating programs is the most important way to keep Congress from stuffing the money back into them,” he told me in a 30-minute interview on March 21. It’s a smart answer and a deeply conservative one.

And here is Mr. Romney refusing to identify a single program he will eliminate.

So I think it’s important for me to point out that I anticipate that there will be departments and agencies that will either be eliminated or combined with other agencies. So for instance, I anticipate that housing vouchers will be turned over to the states rather than be administered at the federal level, and so at this point I think of the programs to be eliminated or to be returned to the states, and we’ll see what consolidation opportunities exist as a result of those program eliminations. So will there be some that get eliminated or combined? The answer is yes, but I’m not going to give you a list right now.”

But why won’t Mr. Romney say what he will eliminate?  Well at least he is honest about that.

“One of the things I found in a short campaign against Ted Kennedy was that when I said, for instance, that I wanted to eliminate the Department of Education, that was used to suggest I don’t care about education,”

Uh, yes Mr. Romney.  If you want to eliminate the Department of Education and eliminate that funding the Department provides for education (yes, the Department of Education mostly sends money to educational institutions) then it is probably reasonable to conclude that you don’t care a whole lot about education.  See, caring for education and reducing funding are really two opposites.

And finally, here is Mr. Romney saying how he takes a position and voters can support or reject him.

“I describe what my positions are on issues and lay out my policy and people will either warm to it or not, depending upon how they connect with it.

Yes you are reading that correctly.  In the same interview where Mr. Romney refuses to lay out his policy he asserts that he lays out his policy.  It appears that Mr. Romney can not even be honest about his dishonesty.  But that should not be unexpected, after all that’s what a dishonest candidate does.

Mr. Romney is a smart enough politician to know that he has the Conservative vote locked up in the general election.  His failures in the South do not matter, those states will support him in the fall.  Mr. Romney sees his goal as not saying anything to offend and turn off independent voters,

In a conversation with him, you can feel him thinking about his words, trying to make sure he doesn’t say anything that could become the latest in a string of gaffes—some real, some manufactured—that have dogged his campaign. His inveterate risk-aversion often comes off as a lack of commitment to conservative policies and goals

And while the Conservative interviewer finds this a problem, when Mr. Romney and his advisers read those comments they think they are doing things just right.  All they need to do is to fool some of the electorate some of the time.  After all Republican Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin managed to do that and look how things have turned out for him.

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