Romney’s Choice of Ryan

I feel like I have read several times on liberal blogs that Romney now has to carry Ryan’s baggage as well as his own. I do not think so.

The Ryan pick does indicate that Romney was not completely confident of enthusiastic support from his base (which amounts to the Tea Party). Choosing Ryan makes the base feel a lot better about Romney.

To win the general, Romney has to move to the center at least some distance, but without a Tea Party approved running mate, he could not afford to do that.

Back to the baggage. My memory is that when the presidential candidate picks a running mate, it is the running mate that must conform to the candidate’s positions. Ryan’s job is to take Romney’s conservative message to the base while Romney moderates himself for the general electorate.

Democrats will do everything they can to hang Ryan’s previous positions around Romney’s neck. Romney’s long record of being on every which side of every issue will make that a lot easier. But anywhere where Romney’s conservative position differs from Ryan’s, we can expect that Ryan will be talking up Romney’s position, not his own.

I still believe that in the end, Obama wins with a solid margin.

UPDATE:  “Well, first of all, Congressman Ryan has joined my campaign and his campaign is my campaign now. And we’re on the exactly the same page,” …the page being Romney’s page, not Ryan’s.

Alternate Future Presidential Press Conference

Reporter:  Mr. President!!! Mr. President!!!

President Romney:  What? Oh, right!  What is your question?

Reporter:  Sir, you are the duly elected President of the United States, correct?

President Romney:  Yes, that is correct.

Reporter:  And that means you are also the Commander in Chief, right?

President Romney:  Yes, that is correct, the Constitution itself makes it so.

Reporter:  And you draw a salary as President and Commander in Chief?

President Romney:  Why, yes.  I believe there is a statute to that effect.

Reporter: Very good, sir.  Given that, could you please explain why the US military has attacked Iran?

President Romney:  Oh! I see your confusion.  No, at the time that attack took place, the First Lady and I were doing a tour of our mansions, we do not like to leave them to the staff for too long without checking up on them. You never know when the opportunity to fire staff will arise!

So, you see, I was on a kind of sabbatical from the Presidency when the attack took place.  I cannot be held responsible for the actions of the people I left in charge while I was away.

Next question, please




Update:  I added the line “You never know when the opportunity to fire staff will arise!”

Let Us Help You Imagine the Future

And that, to me, fully sums up the Republican case against Barack Obama, or at least one weird variety of it. Obama is about to do all sorts of horrible things: bankrupt the nation, induce hyperinflation, confiscate guns, bring back the Fairness Doctrine. About to do them.

That is Jonathan Bernstein over at A plain blog about politics discussing Santorum’s new ad against Obama (I guess he has no hope of beating Romney…), Obamaville.

It is amusing that the right is beginning to fall back on what Obama is about to do (at this point it is getting difficult to run against what he has done).  I suppose there may be some item or few that Obama has done in his first term that he did not talk about during the campaign, but I have no memory of such. Based on that track record, there is no reason to think that Obama is going to do things in his second term that he has not talked about doing.

Unless one wants to use current Republican officeholders as the example.  Wisconsin Governor Walker did not campaign on the issue of stripping public employees of collective bargaining rights.  But once elected, he did so.  Indiana Governor Daniels did not campaign on the issue of making Indiana a Right to Work state (in fact, I am reasonably sure that he specifically denied any interest in doing so). But once elected, he did so. I suspect there are plenty examples of late.

It does seem (at least to me) that the right tends to be most energetically against that which they themselves do and most suspicious of others doing the same thing they do (not that the right has a monopoly on this).

And yes, I understand that the right believes that Obama has already started bankrupting the country and inducing hyperinflation.



Newt Jumps Onto Romney’s Anti-Jobs Bus

Mitt Romney’s success in the private sector was at Bain Capital where he made lots of money by buying and breaking up companies, destroying jobs in the process.  Now Newt wants us to know that he was part of the effort to change the laws to allow Mitt to do what he did.

So neither of them care a whit about jobs.


So, last night Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain had a debate.  At one point Gingrich asked Cain “what about the campaign has most surprised him”.

“The nit-pickingness of the media,” Cain said, explaining that he had known “I would have to work hard, I knew I would have to study hard,” but that he was not fully prepared for the media onslaught — especially as it occurs when a candidate rises in the polls.

Good grief!  Mr. Cain, you are not qualified to be President if you are not able to even anticipate that running for president would cause you to be subject to the media’s scrutiny.

Romney’s Mistake?

So, Mitt Romney has

compared the current anti-Wall Street protests to “class warfare.”

This is interesting.  If Obama is vulnerable next fall, it will be be due to the economy.  I fully expect that the Republican nominee will talk of little else.

I also expect the Republican nominee to be Mitt Romney.

All those people protesting Wall Street would not be there if the economy was humming along and unemployment was five percent.

Romney has now gone on the record of saying that people who want the economy to improve are conducting class warfare.  That does not strike me as the best way to woo the votes of those unhappy about the economy.

Who’s to Be Blamed?

The most important factor influencing who wins the presidency in 2012 is the economy.  If the economy is showing improvement, then Obama wins.  If the economy has double dipped into another recession, things look bad for Obama.  And if the economy is similar to today’s, limping along in a slow recovery, then it will be a close race.

There is another factor that in certain scenarios is more important than the economy.  That factor is where the voters lay the blame if the economy is poor.

I have read a lot about Obama’s (and the Democrats) poor messaging and positioning.   But we have arrived at a point where Obama has managed to be on the correct side of the messaging and positioning.

The Republicans are holding the economy hostage.  They refuse to raise the debt ceiling unless it is accompanied with huge amounts of spending cuts and no increases in revenue.  The problem for the Republicans is that they are using the language of a hostage taker.  Obama initially asked for a clean bill, but quickly “caved” and entered negotiations.  Since then, it is the Republicans who have repeatedly insisted that it is their way or the economy gets it.

If Obama had stuck to his guns for a clean bill, he would have been just as much a hostage taker as the Republicans.  He did not and the Republicans are now looking at the possibility of taking the blame for a bad economy.

Why the Deficit Does and Does Not Matter

Saturday night I was at a charity casino night.  Buy a ticket, get an assortment of chips and try and increase them.  I got my initial chip allowance of “$30,000”  and headed for the roulette wheel.  At the end of the evening I had “$740,000” in chips.

This was not entirely luck.  I used a system.  One chip on odd.  When I won,  I bet one chip on odd again.   When I lost, I doubled the bet.  So two chips, then four, then eight, etc.   Sooner or later the ball was going to land in an odd number and I would win.  (Try this with real money at your own risk).   After a while, instead of starting the process with a “$1,000” chip, I started with a “5,000” chip.  I raised the initial amount once I felt comfortable that I had enough money to survive a likely (i.e. short) losing streak.  Eventually, I was starting with a “”$15,000” bet.

I believe the closest I came to bust was when, starting with a “$15,000” bet, I did not win until I had bet “$120,000”.  So I had lost three times in a row.   If I had lost that fourth time, I would have been starting over.  I did not have anywhere near “$240,000” in chips left to double my bet with again.

What does this have to do with the deficit?  As long as there are various entities ready and willing to buy bonds from the United States, then the deficit is not a problem.  But when there is no more money to put back us….

This years deficit is irrelevant.  It might be made relevant if the government decided to spend three or four more trillion this year (maybe a little less, maybe a little more), but given the probable deficit, even with no cuts from congress, the deficit is irrelevant.  Next year’s is too.

The people making the decisions on whether to buy or not buy our debt are fully aware of the projected deficits.   But even so, they still loan us money.  This tells us that the marketplace (where conservatives usually worship) believes that our present deficits are not that much of an issue.

However, it is reasonable to assume that at some point the total debt combined with the projected deficit will become too much for those decision makers and they will start putting their money elsewhere.   Then we are screwed (just as I would have been screwed if the wheel came up even four times in a row).  The money will no longer be there.

In the meantime, the economic recovery continues, slower than we would like, but continues none the less.  Some of the reason for this growth is a large federal government spending deficit.  That deficit is stimulative.  Continuing economic growth is very important for the deficit/debt issue as a strong economy will do much to ameliorate the problem.

The Republicans want to slash current spending which will have a depressive effect on the economy and cost jobs and will have a small effect on the current deficit and might easily increase the deficit over the next couple of years (due to the slowed economy).    It is difficult to understand exactly what the Republican objective is other than they want to handicap the economic recovery hoping for a double dip recession and that the voters blame Obama.

It is their only hope for winning the white house in 2012.

My Time to Waste