Monday, January 23, 2012

Mitt Romney's Flawed Candidacy

Last week the political discourse, as intellectuals like to call it, centered on how Mitt Romney was both inevitable and electable.

As the new week and the Year of the Dragon arrive professional pundits are beginning to see the flaws in the Romney candidacy. It’s a good day and a good morning when serious thinkers heed the voice of the people.

Of course, some bloggers—humility prevents me from naming any—have been trying to point out the problems with the Romney candidacy for some time now.

This morning the Wall Street Journal editorialized: “This is in contrast to Mr. Romney, who is cautious at his most tenacious but in the last week has seemed befuddled by questions he surely knew were coming. The demand to release his tax returns was inevitable, especially with Mr. Obama preparing to attack him as "Mr. 1%." Mr. Romney said Sunday he will release his 2010 tax return on Tuesday, but blowing that layup suggests either personal stubbornness or the lack of an adviser who can tell him when he's wrong.

“The more serious flaw exposed by the tax debate is Mr. Romney's inability, or unwillingness, to make a larger and persuasive case for free-market economic growth and lower tax rates. Before last week, he seemed to believe he could dodge a class-war battle by not proposing a cut in tax rates. This was always implausible given Mr. Obama's campaign, but it is impossible now that he has disclosed that his own effective tax rate is 15%.”

Later it adds a note about the Republican establishment: “As for the GOP establishment, such as it still is, Mr. Gingrich's re-emergence is likely to cause a panic attack. They don't believe he is electable. Our advice would be to relax and let the voters decide. If Mr. Romney can't marshal the wit and nerve to defeat the speaker, then he isn't likely to defeat Mr. Obama.”

In his own inimitable way Mark Steyn takes the measure of the Romney candidacy and finds it lacking. Steyn sees Romney as the best candidate that money can buy, but still, all the money in the world cannot compensate for Romney’s obvious failings.

In Steyn’s words: “Why is the stump speech so awful? ‘I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love.’ Mitt paid some guy to write this insipid pap. And he paid others to approve it. Not only is it bland and generic, it’s lethal to him in a way that it wouldn’t be to  Gingrich or Perry or Bachmann or Paul because it plays to his caricature — as a synthetic, stage-managed hollow man of no fixed beliefs. And, when Ron Paul’s going on about ‘fiat money’ and Newt’s brimming with specifics on everything (he was great on the pipeline last night), Mitt’s generalities are awfully condescending: The finely calibrated inoffensiveness is kind of offensive.

“And what’s with the wind up? The ‘shining city on the hill’? That’s another guy’s line — a guy with whom you have had hitherto little connection other than your public repudiation of him back in the Nineties. Can’t any of his highly paid honchos write him a campaign slogan that’s his own and doesn’t sound in his mouth so cheesily anodyne, as if some guy ran a focus-group and this phrase came up with the lowest negatives?”

He adds: “And where, among all the dough he’s handing out, is the rapid-response team? Newt’s ‘spontaneous’ indignation at John King was carefully crafted by Gingrich himself. By contrast, Mitt has a ton of consultants, and not one of them thought he needed a credible answer on Bain or taxes? For a guy running as a chief exec applying proven private-sector solutions, his campaign looks awfully like an unreformable government bureaucracy: big, bloated, overstaffed, burning money, slow to react, and all but impossible to change.”

In Romney’s latest foray into the world of high concept he declared Gingrich to be a “Washington insider.” By apparent contrast, Romney is an outsider.

His surrogate, Chris Christie, declared that Gingrich had embarrassed the Republican Party.

Of course, this remark highlights Romney’s lack of experience in the federal government. Only a Washington insider would be sufficiently familiar with the workings of the federal government to make his mark on it from the first day of his tenure.

As a number of people have pointed out, Romney’s experience in business qualifies him to be CEO more than POTUS.

As for Gingrich’s having embarrassed the Republican party, Christie should have noted that the Republican party is not all that popular nowadays.

Gingrich will easily take this idea and use it to show that even though he has been a Washington insider he is perfectly capable of confronting the interest groups that currently reign there.


The Ghost said...

I have working in the Financial Asset Management industry since 1986 and the one thing I am certain about is that the men and women who run financial firms are nothing like the lean mean free market warriors that too many on the right like to portray Romney as.
It is a business of the mind and money. They manufacture nothing of substance. They don't manage raw materials, supply and demand, delivery or accounts payable activities on a day to day basis. Most of their organizations are very flat and for the most part they don't ever have to deal with unions. What they do deal with to their disadvantage and to their advantage is government regulation. But that makes a good percentage of them simple rent seekers as we have seen with Obama and his Wall Street friends.
Romney didn't start Bain in his garage with money borrowed from friends and family, building it up to be a multi-billion dollar company ...
He started out on third base and did a good job getting to home plate but has never had the skills to get on first, advance to second and steal third to set up a score.
Not all business models lead to skills that we desire in a President.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thanks, Ghost. I have seen very little analysis of what a private equity firm actually does, and I have not seen any that are as clear and concise and to the point as your comments.

Pizza the Hut said...

Gingrich also "embarrassed" the R party right before the RINOs sold out Conservatives for 8+ years.

Most of America thinks Congress should be thrown in jail anyway, it appears both Establishments are nervous the guy they threw out has returned from the political dead to expose them. The Hippocrates have had their heads spun.