07-18-12, 12:23 AM #221
He goes further, however, and places the blame for this latest conspiracy, right at Obama's door:
You may think it’s ridiculous, I’m just telling you this is the kind of stuff the Obama team is lining up. The kind of people who would draw this comparison are the kind of people that they are campaigning to. These are the kind of people that they are attempting to appeal to.
You could not make this stuff up if you tried.
07-18-12, 12:14 PM #222
That might be the pointOriginally Posted by Bells
Burton and his colleagues spent the early months of 2012 trying out the pitch that Romney was the most far-right presidential candidate since Barry Goldwater. It fell flat. The public did not view Romney as an extremist. For example, when Priorities informed a focus group that Romney supported the Ryan budget plan — and thus championed "ending Medicare as we know it" — while also advocating tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the respondents simply refused to believe any politician would do such a thing.
(Draper; boldface accent added)
That's a pretty tall obstacle.
But they're Republicans. Conservatives. In the days before the Democrats accepted the "blue" label, they were denounced as "red"—as in "pinko" or "Commie". This is important to remember, because the counterpoint was "capitalism". The idea that Republicans should adopt unbelievable—quite literally unbelievable—arguments is actually a brilliant capitalistic twist. What they're doing is exactly what a capitalist does; they are seeking a way to increase market share and thus harvest increased returns. If the marketplace follows, they're geniuses; if the marketplace balks, they've pushed too far.
Take birth control as an example. If a Republican supports "life at conception", the implication is that most hormonal birth control would become illegal since it prevents implantation of fertilized ova. Yet the idea of outlawing The Pill seems unbelievable to many voters, so Republicans can fight back against such points by calling Democratic objections paranoid and extreme. The question going forward is whether Republicans will recognize the limits of this method, or trip over it and fall flat on their faces.
Sure, they're gambling with women's health, but even that phrase challenges some people's limits of belief. Make the truth crazy enough, and people will reject it.
We'll see how this works out come November.
Draper, Robert. "Can the Democrats Catch Up in the Super-PAC Game?". The New York Times. July 5, 2012. NYTimes.com. July 18, 2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/08/ma...-pac-game.html
07-18-12, 01:02 PM #223
The Better Candidate?
The Better Candidate?
It is not even a question of backhanded praise. Mitt Romney's surrogates in the public discourse cannot seem to help themselves; they repeatedly trip up their candidate by trying to make excuses for him. Such as Marco Rubio, once considered a leading contender in the veepstakes, who explained his support for Romney by saying, "There are a lot of other people out there that some of us wish had run for president—but they didn't." Or NRCC Chairman Rep. Tom Davis (VA), who said, "He may not be Mr. Personality. You know, he's the guy who gives the fireside chat and the fire goes out." Or Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV), who showed his support for Romney by criticizing the former Massachusetts governor's outlook on housing. Or Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), who openly disagrees with Romney's attack against the auto-industry recovery.
Sen. John McCain has already disagreed with Romney on foreign policy and national security issues, but if that wasn't enough, the Arizona Republican just pummeled his party's presidential candidate in an attempt to defuse the tax issue.
The Democratic argument goes something like this: Mitt Romney had no problem releasing two decades worth of tax returns to the McCain presidential campaign. Still, though, McCain passed over Romney in favor of Sarah Palin. Now Romney doesn't want to release those returns for public consideration. Putting the two and two together, one now wonders if maybe McCain passed on Romney because of something in those returns the campaign considered a liability.
McCain fired back yesterday.
The Arizona Republican has responded that Palin was the better candidate.
"Oh come on, because we thought that Sarah Palin was the better candidate. Why did we not take Pawlenty, why did we not take any of the other 10 other people. Why didn't I? Because we had a better candidate, the same way with all the others .... Come on, why? That's a stupid question."
No, really. Sarah Palin was the better candidate.
Having witnessed the debacle that was Ms. Palin's vice-presidential candidacy in 2008, we are supposed to believe that she is a better candidate than the guy the Republicans are putting up for the presidency?
Raju, Manu. "McCain: Palin was 'better candidate' than Romney". Politico. July 17, 2012. Politco.com. July 18, 2012. http://www.politico.com/blogs/on-con...ns-129201.html
07-18-12, 01:55 PM #224
Even with the benefit of hindsight, it's not clear to me that Palin wasn't a better choice for a VP candidate than Romney. Yeah, she had more than her fair share of gaffes and became a laughing stock with liberals - but that might actually be a plus for movement conservatives, especially ones that are cold on McCain. Likewise, Romney is a total cold fish who has no resonance with the movement conservatives, and who also puts his foot in his mouth pretty frequently. Frankly, Palin is actually pretty impressive when it comes to campaigning (i.e., being a candidate), at least when the target audience are movement conservatives (which is to say that making an idiot of yourself in a Barbara Walters interview is actually a positive). What she's terrible at is actually governing.
07-18-12, 02:32 PM #225
07-18-12, 08:02 PM #226
This just in:
"Romney Challenged Kennedy in 1994 To Release Tax Returns To Prove Kennedy "has nothing to hide"."
I mean, seriously....
07-18-12, 08:35 PM #227
Something About the Definition of Insanity?Originally Posted by Syzygys
Yet he's tried to hide behind the blind trust in the current campaign.
Questioned by Robert Costa of National Review about his offshore accounts, Romney offered two points in response. One is just strange, as he seems to imply that he is somehow a foreign investor. Setting that aside, though, Romney's asserted: "Well, first of all, all of my investments are managed in a blind trust. By virtue of that, the decisions made by the trustee are the decisions that determine where the investments are."
But, as Liz Halloran reported:
As has been reported in recent months, and also during his 2008 presidential run, Romney referred to Sen. Edward Kennedy's use of a blind trust to manage his money as "an age-old ruse" during the 1994 Massachusetts Senate race.
Here's what Romney told The Boston Globe in 1994:
"You give a blind trust rules. You can say to a blind trust, don't invest in properties which would be in conflict of interest or where the seller might think they're going to get an advantage from me."
There is a direct conflict between what Romney told the Globe in 1994 and what he told NR's Costa.
But wait ... there's more.
The issue came up during the Republican primary debates. Romney attempted the blind trust defense in January—
BuzzFeed has dug up footage of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney questioning Democrat Edward Kennedy over the then-senator's blind trust in a 1994 Senate debate. During the campaign, he called Kennedy's blind trust "a ruse," arguing that it is easy to determine where one's money is going.
But that's not the tune the former Massachusetts governor was singing on Thursday.
At the CNN debate, rival candidate Newt Gingrich accused Romney of making investments that fueled the housing crisis. Romney responded by saying that his investments in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were part of mutual funds invested through a blind trust, managed by a trustee.
—and was called out on the contradiction then.
Talk about "Etch-a-Sketch". Just give it a shake, and expect that nobody remembers what happened in January?
Come on. Just how stupid does Romney think people are?
But wait ... there's even more.
Romney tried the blind trust defense five years ago, and, as you might expect, was called out. As Lisa Wangsness reported in August, 2007:
It only took the Democrats a few hours after Mitt Romney released his personal financial filing to dig up an interesting tidbit from Romney's 1994 challenge of Senator Ted Kennedy.
During that campaign, Romney objected to Kennedy's blind trust's purchase in 1981 of a property in Washington D.C., which the trust then leased to federal tenants. Romney called it "a conflict of interest, pure and simple" and rejected Kennedy's argument that he was knew nothing about the trust's investments.
"The blind trust is an age-old ruse," Romney told the Boston Globe in October of that year. "You give a blind trust rules. You can say to a blind trust, don't invest in properties which would be in conflict of interest or where the seller might think they're going to get an advantage from me" ....
.... Like Kennedy, Romney's campaign has responded to questions about those investments by saying that Romney was not aware of the blind trust's contents until yesterday, when the FEC filings were made public. The campaign has also said that Malt tried to align the trust's holdings with Romney's politics "to the best of his ability."
He keeps trying, and he keeps getting smacked with his own words. One wonders why he keeps trying this defense.
How ridiculous can Romney get? Really, how stupid does he think people are? Every time he hides behind the blind trust defense, he is going to get hit with his own words.
I wonder how many more times he's going to try.
Costa, Robert. "
Romney on Tax Returns: 'I'm Simply Not Enthusiastic about Giving Them Hundreds or Thousands of More Pages to Pick Through, Distort, and Lie About'". The Corner. July 17, 2012. NationalReview.com. July 18, 2012. http://www.nationalreview.com/corner...s-or-thousands
Halloran, Liz. "Romney Repeats No-New-Tax-Releases Stance, Defends Offshore Accounts". MPR News. July 17, 2012. Minnesota.PublicRadio.org. July 18, 2012. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/fea...p?id=156914558
Poulson, Theresa. "Romney Criticized Kennedy for Blind Trust in 1994 Senate Debate". National Journal. January 27, 2012. NationalJournal.com. July 18, 2012. http://www.nationaljournal.com/2012-...video-20120127
Wangsness, Lisa. "Romney in 1994: Blind trust argument an 'age-old ruse'". Political Intelligence. August 14, 2007. Boston.com. July 18, 2012. http://www.boston.com/news/politics/...y_in_1994.html
07-18-12, 09:00 PM #228
The definition of insanity is repeating that repeating things over and over again is a definition of insanity.
07-19-12, 02:27 AM #229
While truth is invariably stranger than fiction, one would think there is some sort of practical limit. Then again, this is the 2012 election cycle in the United States, and Mitt Romney seems hell-bent on proving something about strangeness.
A brief moment from October of last year, when the "Buffet Rule" made the headlines, and Mitt Romney had yet to release any of his own tax returns:
An analysis of publicly available data by Citizens for Tax Justice found that Romney’s tax rate is likely 14 percent, far below the statutory rate for someone who earns as much as he does. Seeing Romney’s full tax return could provide a more complete picture of his tax situation, but so far, he hasn’t committed to releasing it:
The financial disclosure forms Romney filed during his 2008 presidential run showed the former Massachusetts governor was worth as much $250 million at the time. But Romney has never released any tax returns — neither during his campaigns for president and Senate nor during his time as governor — and would not commit to doing so this time around.
But in 1994, Romney vigorously called for then Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) to release his tax returns, in order to prove that he had “nothing to hide”:
With the tax-filing deadline looming, Republican Senate candidate Mitt Romney yesterday challenged Sen. Edward M. Kennedy to disclose his state and federal taxes to prove he has ‘nothing to hide,’ but another GOP rival, John R. Lakian, called Romney’s move ‘bush league’ ‘It’s time the biggest-taxing senator in Washington shows the people of Massachusetts how much he pays in taxes,” said Romney, a business consultant from Belmont. Romney said he would disclose his own state and federal taxes for the last three years ‘on the very day that Kennedy turns over his taxes for public scrutiny.’ [Boston Globe, 4/19/94]
One wonders if Romney somehow believes there is no such thing as an historical record.
It is difficult for many to utter the words, "Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich were right." But that is also part of the strangeness of the 2012 cycle. Before putting Mitt Romney at the front of the pack, Republican voters tried and failed to come to terms with Santorum, Gingrich, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry. Strangely, Tim Pawlenty, who never stood a chance in the GOP primary, is now short-listed for the veepstakes.
Still, setting aside Mr. Romney's complete inability to deal with the tax question of the health care mandate, one wonders what GOP voters eventually saw in the former Massachusetts governor. While Democrats might criticize Pawlenty as uncharismatic—read, "boring"—it is a difficult proposition to suggest that the Minnesota Republican would have been so inept at dealing with the routine demands of a presidential campaign.
Because Romney's flip-flop—read, "hypocrisy"—on tax returns doesn't just touch the 1994 campaign against Ted Kennedy. ThinkProgress' Pat Garofalo also notes the 2002 gubernatorial campaign. Not only did Romney try to refuse to release his own tax returns, he called on his opponent, Shannon O'Brien, to release hers. And, what's more, since O'Brien and her husband filed separately, Romney went so far as to demand that Emmett Hayes, Ms. O'Brien's husband, a lobbyist with ties to Enron, release his, as well.
So what we end up with is that Mitt Romney, who is trying to dodge the tax return question, has not only called for his opponents to release their own tax returns in the past, but also demanded that his opponent's spouse release tax returns as well.
Did Romney somehow think that nobody would pick up on this point? Did he somehow think newspaper archives were off-limits, or nonexistent, or something like that? Or does he just think he should be exempted from the very rituals of electoral campaigning he demands others abide by?
Garofalo, Pat. "FLASHBACK: Romney Challenged Kennedy To Release Tax Returns — Will Romney Release His Own?" ThinkProgress. October 11, 2012. ThinkProgress.org. July 19, 2012. http://thinkprogress.org/economy/201...ey-tax-return/
07-19-12, 05:49 AM #230
I have to say... the more I learn about the man, the more I find myself wondering... is he like, following some weird Disney(tm) script on "how to be an evil villain"...?
07-19-12, 08:39 AM #231
The rare occasions, when Newt was making sense:
"During a primary debate, Newt Gingrich said: “If there’s anything in [the returns] that is going to help us lose the election, we should know it before the nomination.... And if there’s nothing in there—if there’s nothing in there, why not release it?”
The common assumption is that he has 1-2 years of close to zero taxes, when in 2009 he used losses to offset his gains. Even if this is perfectly legal, a multimillionaire not paying taxes doesn't sound good to many people...
This is the dude who wasted 87 million of his own money 4 years ago:
07-19-12, 02:05 PM #232
An Unbelievable Proposition
An Unbelievable Proposition
It's the sort of thing you take with a grain of salt because, to the one, it is pretty much unbelievable. And, to the other, it comes from Huffington Post.
Abby Huntsman and Ryan Grim report:
Mitt Romney has been determined to resist releasing his tax returns at least since his bid for Massachusetts governor in 2002 and has been confident that he will never be forced to do so, several current and former Bain executives tell The Huffington Post. Had he thought otherwise, say the sources based on their longtime understanding of Romney, he never would have gone forward with his run for president.
See, the thing is, I have nothing against HuffPo. But I also understand it plays the liberal side of the aisle. And, yes, that paragraph is, on its face, very nearly beyond belief. Between the source and the sheer insanity of the idea, I can understand that the fact of HuffPo reporting it will be a strike against the story.
But is it even possible that Mitt Romney would not have run for president if he thought he would have to release his tax returns?
Is it possible that the Republican nominee for president is so ineffably naîve?
"Rumors on what unknown people who Mitt Romney may not have ever met muse about what someone else, also unknown, told them should not justify a story," explained Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul.
Editorial cartoonist David Horsey attempts to distill the underlying question:
Mitt Romney’s income tax returns may contain some surprises that he does not want the world to know about, but they are hardly his only secrets. His biggest secret, the question he has not answered through the entire campaign, the one that bothers conservatives even more than it irks liberals, is this: Does he believe in anything besides Mormonism and money?
As unbelievable as the proposition might be, the one thing that gives it credibility is Mitt Romney himself.
To wit, Republicans are much better than Democrats at devising and playing long strategies. It is not impossible to imagine the GOP tanking an election if they think they can get what they want without winning. But even in that scenario, there must be a limit. And the Party seems to be at its limit. To the one, this is a presidential election. The gamble of screwing the Democrats out of the White House for twenty years by stonewalling Obama for eight is a crazy risk assessment, because there is a possibility that the president will still outmaneuver conservatives, especially if he is no longer constrained by electoral concerns. So the idea of tanking a presidential election is somewhere between insane and impossible.
Prominent Republicans are now calling on Mitt Romney to release his tax returns, yet the nominee seems to be holding firm.
According to Huntsman and Grim, "Underlying the resistance, sources close to him say, is Romney's belief that voters simply don't have a right to see what should be private financial information."
That doesn't even begin to make sense given Romney's demands of prior opponents to release their tax returns.
Perhaps the insanity of the situation is best framed by Syzygys' point:
Originally Posted by Syzygys
I mean, sure, this is a tough year for the corporate raider to appeal to the so-called Ninety-Nine Percent, but had Romney released his returns during the primary, the "scandal", such as it would have been, would be over. Well, it would be over if the only problem was that he played legal but distasteful maneuvers to reduce his tax burden.
At this point, I'm starting to wonder if the Romney campaign is hoping someone will try to hack the records and release them to the public, so he can play the role of victim.
Right. Go ahead and laugh. That's just as crazy as the rest of it.
But what is the problem? At some point, the political argument that there must be something actually criminal in those records is going to gain legitimate traction in the discourse.
But barring actual criminality, it is hard to see what could be in those returns that would do more damage than this ongoing melodrama.
Huntsman, Abby and Ryan Grim. "Mitt Romney Never Thought He'd Have To Release Tax Returns: Bain Sources". The Huffington Post. July 18, 2012. HuffingtonPost.com. July 19, 2012. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...n_1682539.html
Horsey, David. "Mitt Romney's secrets are not all in his tax returns". Top of the Ticket. July 19, 2012. LATimes.com. July 19, 2012. http://www.latimes.com/news/politics...,1392391.story
07-19-12, 04:49 PM #233
What if this whole thing has to do with Mormonism? They are supposed to tax for the church exactly 10%, but this is based on honesty. Now if he releases the records, the church leaders can easily see if he did the exact 10%, or shortcharged the church. In that case he should lose his good standing and priesthood.
Mind you, for a very rich person (and we are talking about 1+ billion here) it is actually very difficult to figure out what is taxable (for religion) and what is not. If he has a 100 million bucks investment that is up, shall we say 30%, should he pay 3 million for the church, or wait until he actually cashes out? The same with real estate.
But anyway, the bottom line is that the reason for his secrecy is maybe not political, but religious...
07-19-12, 04:50 PM #234
07-19-12, 04:52 PM #235
07-19-12, 05:00 PM #236
It can be dismissed as silly. He was a leader in the church and anyway he has enough money to wipe his ass with 100 dollar bills for the rest of his life.
07-19-12, 05:03 PM #237
OK, so I take you don't have an argument. Silly is not one for sure...
1. Being a leader doesn't mean he likes to pay taxes, and as we know, apparently he doesn't, at least not to Uncle Sam.
2. Being rich usually means he doesn't like to pay taxes, period.
So care to try again???
07-19-12, 05:28 PM #238
Here is a new one I read:
"it appears highly likely he participated in the tax amnesty program to avoid prosecution for using Swiss banks for tax evasion."
07-19-12, 05:35 PM #239
More likely he's ashamed of his association with a corporation that disposed of aborted fetuses.
07-19-12, 08:04 PM #240
His wife is even better:
"“We’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life,” she added later."
She said this to a black interviewer...
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