Tag Archives: Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama facing off in the final presidential debate, showed a difference in tone but not so much in policy.

Horses and bayonets: Why the Democratic Party is the party of the future and Republicans are stuck in the past

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama facing off in the final presidential debate, showed a difference in tone but not so much in policy.

By Lee Cole–

My last article explored the possibility of Mitt Romney becoming president, a possibility that is becoming less feasible by the day.  It was written during a time when polls seemed to suggest, as well as the general mood of the campaign, that Romney was picking up momentum.  Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight pointed out in an article released on Thursday, Oct. 25 that any gains Romney may have squeezed out of his first debate performance were losing steam and that President Obama had regained lost ground.  The third debate was largely unremarkable; most counted it as a victory for Obama, but foreign policy issues are not at the forefront of this election.  The one moment that will be played again and again, however, and is perhaps a perfect microcosm for the Romney campaign and the Republican strategy in general, was the now infamous “horses and bayonets” zinger.

While President Obama was only trying to underscore the ridiculousness of Romney’s criticism that our navy is the smallest it’s been since 1917 (battleships are basically obsolete now, as we don’t have naval battles like we did in World War I), his point raised a number of issues about the state of the Republican Party, namely that they are out of touch old fogeys who long for the “good old days” when minorities knew their place, women’s bodies were strictly vessels for childbearing and sandwich making and only rich White men with rich White names like George, Dick and Taggart could ever reasonably expect to be elected to higher office.  In short, the Republican Party is on the wrong side of history, and if they continue their current strategy, I don’t know if they can reasonably expect to win any elections in the near future.

First of all, Latino and African American populations are growing, and white Americans will not constitute a majority in 50 years, perhaps within 30.  Republicans have used some variation on the southern strategy for the last 30 years to win elections.  This is going to become increasingly more difficult, as older southern whites die off or lose influence and their children attend universities and are exposed to increasing levels of diversity.  The Republicans will no longer be able to count on racism and bigotry to fuel their base, even though it’s taken them pretty far this year.  But to illustrate the point, consider that Obama is probably the most hated president in history, often for racial reasons, and this still probably won’t be enough for Mitt Romney to win.  Unless Republicans radically change their strategy, the math just won’t add up.  They would have to actually make themselves appealing to minorities and the impoverished, a Sisyphean task, to be sure.

President Obama’s slogan, “Forward,” sums up the Democratic Party’s position.  They believe, like many Americans, that discrimination, whether it is to gays, African Americans, Latinos or women, is always unacceptable.  Polling suggests that my generation expresses unprecedented support for gay rights and women’s reproductive rights.  Republicans have made almost no attempt to court the under 35 vote, either now or in 2008.  This will inevitably come back to haunt them.  Furthermore, younger Americans are becoming increasingly concerned about environmental issues, which Republicans have either repudiated or ignored.

One of the many memes created after the debate featuring Romney on horseback.

The Republican Party’s alliance with Conservative Christians is also troublesome.  I recently saw a bumper sticker that read “Pro-choice and Catholic: You can’t be both.”  What Republicans have done is to make certain religious issues the main points in their platform.  Suddenly voting is no longer a choice based only on economics or foreign policy, but is also based on fear of eternal damnation.  Republicans have managed to convince Christians that God is a neocon and that Jesus was a free market, greedy, Wall Street-type who hated gays.  The central thesis of Republican campaigns across the country this election cycle has been centered around fundamentalist Christian dogma and biblical literalism, made all the more ironic considering that the man who commissioned the Bible’s translation into English, thus allowing for them to quote it in speeches and on anti-gay signs, was King James, who was by all accounts very gay.

There are other reasons why a Romney victory looks to be increasingly unlikely.  There are very few paths to 270 electoral votes for him.  While few polling or news agencies, besides the FiveThirtyEight, have been willing to place Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Nevada in the president’s column, all the numbers indicate that they should.  It seems as though most outlets want the race to appear closer than it actually is, so they can boost ratings.  But if Obama wins the aforementioned states, Romney’s chances are all but quelled.

So while Obama takes advantage of social media and pushes the country forward with progressive, tolerant ideas, the Republican Party will continue to be the party of old, crotchety white dudes.  The only question that remains is how long before the horses and bayonets are retired for good.

opinion@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo courtesy 1btimes.com

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The Romneyverse: What a universe in which Mitt Romney is elected the next president would look like

Because of his constantly shifting positions, and what President Obama termed “Romnesia,” there seems to be a level of quantum uncertainty involved in the election.

By Lee Cole–

According to some quantum physicists, there is not just one universe governed by one set of physical laws and constants, but rather an infinite number, in which all possibilities and all possible configurations of physical laws are realized, which they’ve termed the “omniverse.”  So for instance, if you were to buy a bagel instead of a muffin this morning, there is an alternate universe in which you chose to buy the muffin.  There is yet another universe in which you bought a blueberry muffin instead of chocolate chip.  And there is yet another in which you decided you couldn’t afford either a muffin or a bagel, and because you were distracted and fatigued as a result of your hunger, you stepped out in front of a bus on 4th street.  If all that is true, then it holds that there is also a universe in which Mitt Romney becomes the next president.  I’m becoming increasingly concerned that I might reside in that universe.  Let’s call it the “Romneyverse.”

What might the Romneyverse look like, you ask?  What is it like to see the world through Mitt Romney’s eyes?  Well, like the omniverse, Mitt Romney’s subjective world is one in which any and all possibilities could be realized.  Mitt has been both a ruthless Bain Capital investor and a champion of social liberalism in Massachusetts.  He has been both pro-choice and pro-life.  He was for universal healthcare before he was against it.  He was against coal as an energy source and now he isn’t.  The set of moral and personal laws which have governed Mitt’s choices have shifted so many times that charges of waffling no longer hold any sway.  He doesn’t try to conceal his shifting views; any attempt to point out the contradictions results in obfuscation by the Romney team and insistence that he never really meant what he said before, even if it was just a few weeks ago.

In any other time, Romney wouldn’t have been a viable candidate because of his inconsistent beliefs.  There is a degree of quantum uncertainty involved here, as it is nearly impossible to determine his position at the rate he moves.  If an observer attempts to put her finger on Mitt’s position, the wave function collapses and we capture something of Mitt’s viewpoint in that observer-determined instant on a transcript or a secret video at a fundraising event.  But the Romneyverse defies these rules; as soon as one tries to pin anything on him, based on something he actually said or supported in a captured slice of time, Mitt has already moved beyond it, abandoning the position like a frontier outpost to delve deeper into the unknown.

The truth is that Mitt Romney will be whatever gets him elected.  He will say whatever scores political points in the moment, without regard for future consequences.  He’s been running for president for 6 years, and by sheer force of will and the influence of contributions made possible by Citizens United, he’s come this far, and that fact should be astounding and deeply troubling.  He isn’t likeable, even for Republicans, and he represents the lifestyle and trickle-down philosophy that crippled our economy under Bush.

Is our collective memory span that short, that we’ve forgotten how the great recession happened?  Are we that fickle, and frankly that thoughtless, that we could possibly vote for Mitt Romney, of all people, the epitome of Wall Street, deregulation and religious commitment to soul-crushing consumerism and product fetishism?  It’s a bad cosmic joke that just four years after super-rich, irresponsible corporate-types who care nothing for the poor or the middle class screwed over our economy, the man propped up by the Republican Party to lead our country is a super-rich, irresponsible corporate-type who doesn’t care about 47 percent of the country.

The race is very close, and at this point, it’s anybody’s game.  For all intents and purposes, it’s a tie, but like the New York Times, if I had to bet, I’d bet on Obama.   The incumbent always has an advantage, but to really secure victory, President Obama has to change his debate strategy.  Because of what we might call the Romney Uncertainty Principle – that at any given moment, the more precisely we describe his position, the less we are able to describe his momentum, and vice versa – the president cannot refute Romney on a point by point basis.  He cannot quote Romney or use facts and figures.  He can’t even really point to Romney’s platform, either, as it’s about as vague and generalizable as a horoscope.  What President Obama has to do is express what many Americans feel and suspect about Romney.  He has to start speaking in the broadest of terms, not just pointing to policy differences, but instead focusing on less tangible philosophical differences.

In the second presidential debate, Romney did a lot of that for him.  His tone and demeanor belied the tenuous façade he’s been maintaining.  He came across as smarmy, disrespectful and misogynistic.  President Obama was forceful but dignified, even when Romney behaved as though the president was beneath him – like he was scolding a child.  Since Obama first entered the race in 2008, commentators and journalists outside of Fox News have underscored the particular vitriol with which mostly white, older people, often from very particular geographic locales and fundamentalist religious backgrounds, criticize and seem to hate Barack Obama.  The hatred and racism continues to this day, and it will be what leads many Republicans to hold their noses and vote for Romney.  Romney’s worldview – that 47 percent of Americans are lazy and don’t take responsibility for their lives – won’t be shocking to those who hate Obama, because they share his opinion, even if in their case it’s blatantly self-loathing as many would be considered a part of that 47 percent themselves.

The position of the woman outside the VP debate in Danville – that Obama is a socialist – is not unusual among southern, conservative Christians, even though neither she nor the rest of her cohorts could ever explain what socialism actually is.  For them, socialism is just a word Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity say every day which translates as a threat to the pristine, White, Christian, suburban, consumer capitalist fantasy that they now consider normal – a threat in the form of people of color and the impoverished organizing and taking part in the system

It is inherently racist and xenophobic, just like the Mormon Church until 1978, when they finally decided that Black people were not an inferior species.  As Christopher Hitchens pointed out, Mitt Romney was an adult in 1978, and this has to be reconciled.  No one will bring up Romney’s faith, of course, because it’s seen as off limits.  But what liberals who are so concerned with religious tolerance don’t realize is that for many conservatives, racism, homophobia and xenophobia are deeply ingrained in not just their social and political views but their religious views as well.  It’s the elephant in the room that can no longer be ignored.  It can’t be said that all, or even most, conservative Christians are racists, sexists and homophobes, but it would be a safe bet to say that most White, Christian, racist, sexist homophobes vote Republican.

So what would the Romneyverse look like?  It would be a place where abortion is outlawed in the U.S. and a woman’s reproductive choices are handed over to men.  It would be a place where we put women in binders.  It would be a place in which millions of LGBT persons would be denied the rights they deserve and children brought to this country through no choice of their own would be subjected to “self-deportation.”  It would be a place where Blacks and Latinos are threatened with force if they attempt to vote, where unions no longer exist and the wall between church and state is demolished.  It would be a place where the super-rich can continue to exploit and manipulate those less fortunate.  It would be a place where students, including many at U of L, would struggle even more than they already do to pay for college.  It would be a place where we continue to deny global warming, poisoning the air we breathe and cutting the earth out from under our feet.  It would be a place where people who are sick and cannot help themselves die so that a CEO can have one more private jet.

I truly believe that this is the most important election in American history.  We have a choice as to which America we want to live in, and I hope that we will choose the one that Barack Obama envisioned four years ago, an America worthy of its founding principles.  I hope that the Romneyverse – that place where all of our worst patriarchal and chauvinistic impulses as human beings are realized – is destined for some other distant, parallel time.  I hope the people living there, when the American morning dawns the day after the election, will realize what they’ve done.

opinion@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo courtesy of Jeffwinbushfiles.com

worldculturepictorial.com

What students should know about each party’s platforms

A quick review of each party’s stance on issues that matter to student voters

Democrats: President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden

 

Healthcare

-Allow small businesses to receive tax credits for their workers
-Continue to provide preventative services such as cancer screenings, annual well-woman visits and contraceptives, with no out-of-pocket cost
-Ensure insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions
-Ensure that Medicaid will cover more working families
-Ensure that families will continue to have access to mental health and substance abuse services
-Oppose efforts to privatize or voucherize Medicare
-Allow young adults to remain on their parents’ insurance policy even after they’ve entered the workforce

Higher education

-Increase money for Pell Grants
-Reduce the percentage of monthly income that a person has to pay back to students loans to 10 percent
-Invest in community colleges
-Call for additional partnerships between businesses and community colleges to train 2 million workers for needed jobs
-Refrain from deporting young people who are seeking higher education
-Make it possible for foreign students earning advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math to say here and help create jobs

Economics

-Cut tax breaks for companies that are shipping jobs overseas
-Offer tax breaks to companies that are investing in the U.S.
-Increase American exports to other countries
-Create more jobs by harnessing energy resources such as wind, solar, biofeuls, geothermal, hydropower, nuclear, oil, clean coal and natural gas. This will encourage innovation and save money for consumers.
-Continue to reform the unemployment system to get people back to work
-Continue to encourage the unemployed to seek futures in entreprenuership
-Continue to invest in American infrastructure, creating jobs and projects to improve roads and bridges

 

Republicans: Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan

Healthcare

-Repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)
-Ensure that consumers have a choice in their healthcare
-End tax discrimination against the individual purchase of insurance
-Make it possible to purchase insurance across state lines
-Expand stem cell research
-Invest in healthcare delivery systems that will provide greater, more cost-effective access to high quality healthcare.
-Invest in basic and applied biomedical research that may hold potential for dealing with diseases and disorders such as Autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes and various types of cancer
-Preserve the right of a company to provide insurance that are consistent with its religious beliefs
-Preserve the right of the individual to have healthcare services that are consistent with their religious beliefs
-Opposition to physician-assisted suicide
-Opposition to abortion

Higher education

-Promote new systems of learning to compete with traditional four-year colleges: expanded community colleges and technical institutions, private training schools, online universities, life-long learning and work-based learning in the private sector
-Encourage greater transparency on student loans so that families are aware of completion rates, repayment rates, future earnings and other factors that may affect their decisions
-The government should not give student loans but should be the insurance gaurantor for the private sector
-Re-evaluate legislation that drives up tuition costs

Economics

-Rejects the use of taxes to redistribte income or to fund unnecessary or ineffective programs
-Extend the Bush tax cuts
-Eliminate taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains for lower and middle-income taxpayers
-End the Death Tax
-Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax
-Reform the tax code by reducing marginal tax rates by 20 percent in a revenue-neutral manner
-Reduce corporate tax rates in order to keep U.S. corporations competitive internationally
-Restructure entitlements such as Medicare
-Enact the Secret Ballot Protecton Act, enforcting the Hobbes Act and passing the Race Act in order to protect and promote union workers

The topics covered in this article do not represent the platforms as a whole.
To see the platforms in their entirety, please visit each party’s official website: www.democrats.org and www.gop.com.

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Romney vows to shrink department of education

By Caitlyn Crenshaw–

At a closed fundraising event on April 15, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney vowed to shrink the Department of Education.  Romney said that if elected, “I will either consolidate it with another agency, or perhaps make it a heck of a lot smaller.”

Although Romney also said, “I’m not going to get rid of it entirely,” response to these comments has sparked controversy within the political arena and the education world. “Romney is out of touch. He doesn’t get it,” Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said in a statement.

One of the reasons Romney cited to keep the agency is to have a federal role in pushing back against teachers’ unions.  Weingarten said, “If all he wants to do is use the Department of Education to go after union, then he’s clearly not interested in using it to help kids.”

This year, the Department of Education with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which Romney has also mentioned shrinking or consolidating, will total expenditures equaling $155 billion.

At the time of the comment concerning the Department of Education Romney was unaware that reporters were listening.  Representatives for Romney told CNN, “He was tossing out ideas, not unveiling policy.”

When asked how Romney’s comments affect her view and vote, Jessie Halonen said, “I would have to consider what impact those changes would have.”

Halonen, a fifth year accounting major, also said, “I don’t think that most people look at a candidate as a whole,” and that has the potential to harm Romney’s race for the White House.

This is not the first time that Romney has commented on cutting the department.  In 1994, Romney suffered a blow to his senate campaign when democratic opponent Robert Kennedy ran a political ad quoting his plan to consolidate the Department of Education.

ccrenshaw@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo courtesy Steve Deace

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Cardinal Politics: Campaigning gone wrong

By Marianna Michael–

Politics should not be defined as an act anymore — it is an art form. The art of politicking has evolved from organized debates to today’s vicious slandering. As if this were not enough, “Super PACs,” PACs being Political Action Committees, are gaining power. These groups can endorse whomever they please and spend as much money as they want on any form of advertisement. This gives candidates a way to run malicious ads about their competition without necessarily having to take the blame. By allowing third parties to campaign on their behalf, candidates relinquish any responsibility to ads that slander another candidate.

America is losing control of its government and the way that the government works. It is upsetting to see all these candidates for the presidency not having to be held accountable. A good leader would not allow such a group of people to attack his opponents. Instead, he would take a stand and offer a more effective and honest way to spend the funds being put into these ads. Even though none of the candidates have given permission to the Super PACs to run the advertisements, they are not condemning them either. This is just as bad.

Newt Gingrich is a prime example of how slanderous campaigning turns people into hypocrites. Towards the end of 2011, Gingrich was constantly complaining about how the media and Mitt Romney unfairly called him out on many issues. He continuously reminded Americans that he had never slandered any of his opponents. It was only a matter of days after Gingrich’s announcement that he started running negative advertisements towards the Romney camp. This is a prime example of hypocrisy at it’s finest.

Campaign advertising is not bad and is in fact the nature of how a politician gets elected in this day and age. This part of political life is accepted and harmless. There are examples of this all around campus as CardVision and CardsUnite compete in SGA ‘s election. What is harmful is libel, the malicious publication of untrue material. This is not only against the first amendment, but diminishes the legitimacy of the entire electoral system. Politicking becomes art in the way that campaigns can get around the standard of clean campaigns.

What makes political elections seem so full of guile is that everyone tries to find fault with everyone else. The thing is, no one is perfect. Yes, Gingrich has had many wives and Romney is rich, but why does that matter? Those are personal decisions that they have made in their past. Most people should desire a president that is willing to forgive his or her opponents and look towards the future. In a perfect world, a president would be elected based on what he or she can do for his or her country, not by what their demographics or history say.

In a utopia, there would be such a thing as a clean campaign. Politicians would run for office based on their own merits, not by slamming their opponents. Until this day comes, voters can sit back and watch a bipartisan effort to make everyone look bad.

opinion@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo courtesy Newt.org