Partisanship, Who Needs It?

Partisanship, Who Needs It?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Case for Mitt Romney

I could compare and contrast Mitt Romney with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former Senator Rick Santorum, and Representative Ron Paul. There are many good arguments that could be made in his favor with a direct comparison with any or all of his GOP nomination competitors. Sure Romney isn't perfect, but such a comparison would, in my view make a clear case. But....I will not be doing that. This is a more centrist blog and that wont be necessary. I will use comparison, and I will use contrast, and I will make the case why Mitt Romney is the superior choice,....but in the general election.

On another thread in The Rise of the Center I listed the criteria that I look for in a Presidential candidate in the comments section, I listed my 4 criteria and will use those criteria for my comparison here.

1. Obeys the US Constitution

A perfect contrast can be drawn here between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Mitt Romney in getting healthcare reform through in Massachusetts signed into law a mandate for coverage in his own State that was widely in support of such. There is no violation as the 10th Amendment gives States that right. Romney has time and time again dismissed any notion of forcing an unconstitutional federal mandate.

Barack Obama signed a widely unpopular bill with an unconstitutional mandate for the entire nation that ignore the protection of the 10th Amendment. This individual mandate was the very thing he criticized rival Hilliary Clinton for on the campaign trail in 2007 and 2008 during the Democratic Primary. Just look at the video record

2. Actually be able to lead.

Mitt Romney got major things done in Massachusetts as a Republican governor in a Democratic State with two houses controlled by a democratic legislature. He lowered taxes, turned a $3 billion deficit into a $2billion rainy day fund by the time he left office. He slashed spending and balanced the state budget all four years he was governor. When he took over the state was 50th in rate of change in unemployment shedding jobs all over the place, when he left Massachusetts was in the top ten in the nation He did all this with a state legislature that was 85% democratic by cutting taxes and cutting spending. Now that is leadership, working with others, convincing them to follow you despite ideological differences, putting the right people in the right jobs and executing.

On the Other hand there is President Obama.....sure he inherited a bad situation, but so did Romney, granted Obama's situation was in someways worse, but in some ways it was much better. He went into office on a huge euphoric wave with his own party in control of both branches of government with a filibuster proof majority. He had tons of political capital as he was replacing the unpopular George W. Bush and riding the wave of Hope and Change and as the first black president which helped to shield him from much media and other criticism when he assumed office. But what happened? His signature healthcare reform could not get passed by normal channels even with his majority as moderate democrats rebelled and sided with Republicans who were in opposition. Not until a constitutionally shady gimick of reconciliation was brought in and twisted like a pretzel would he get it passed and even then only with questionable ethics using earmarks and favors to sway the democratic votes he needed, the "Cornhusker Kickback" to Sen Nelson for his vote, the "Louisianna Purchase" of Sen Landrieu's vote, etc.

But did Obama at least get the economy going in the right direction? I think most of us know the answer to that. Record deficits for three years that top any before he took office, Massive unemployment not just in the official rate but even more so in the real unemployment rate that doiesn't change when people give up and stop looking for work, no rainy day fund but instead a government that begs to raise its debt ceiling every couple of months because it continues to increase its spending. Department heads involved in scandal from the Interior and the Gulf spill, to the Feds less than 1% loans to big banks, to Justice's fast and furious, to Energy's loan to Solyandra and 23 other businesses that have failed or are in desperate straits.

I could go on and talk about the Olympics, about a President actually wagging his finger at the Supreme Court at a SOTU address, but I'll go to the next point after I do give one bit of credit to the President on the leadership issue, he did give his 'okie-dokie' when the Seals had Bin Laden in their sights, but serious does anyone reading this right now have one ounce of doubt they would have made that same call? does anyone even doubt they would make that no brainer for even a millisecond? I don't.

3. Putting the country first.

This is the one area where I won't have much to say. Both Romney and Obama try to put the country first, they just have different views of what policies achieve that, and both are bound by their own biases. Both also have sought to advance their careers and agenda without thinking about the consequences from time to time and been divisive. Its a fairly close call here, but I give the advantage to Romney who was able to work with a legislature that was 85% democratic and get his agenda carried out to a large degree, that took not only leadership but some compromise on his end on some things Obama has not proven himself able to put forth that same level of working across the aisle, not entirely his fault, but I can't say I' ever saw Governor Romney using the same type of verbal assaults and condescending finger wagging from his executive position.

4. Efficiency

Mitt Romney went into a state with severe economic problems and turned them around almost from the start and built on that until he left office.

President Obama went into his job with a similar situation and put hundreds of billions into projects with little effect, then for a year turned his head away from the economy and instead to a largely unpopular healthcare reform bill which got passed with shady tactics that he couldn't get done even with a filibuster proof majority and ignored the unemployment situation for a year. When he did he set up a commission on the deficit then promptly ignored the advice they gave him.

I ask you, which was more efficient, I think it is clear.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Obama, the debt ceiling and lack of leadership

A flashback that is apt.

"The fact that we're here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. Leadership means 'The buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America's debt limit."

--Democratic Senator Barack Obama 2006

Holy come back to bite you in your presidential butt Batman!

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Centersphere

Just wanted to make reference to a great collection of truly moderate (and not just trying to appear to be by using the word) and centrist oriented sites with descriptions from The Rise of the Center blog:

Donklephant – Justin Gardner runs this absolute staple for moderates, with the tongue in cheek tag line of “Big Teeth. Huge Ass. Surprisingly Reasonable.” Its a great place for some good political chatter, and fun. He’s been around a while and has earned a good following. In full disclosure, I used to post there myself, and may do so in the future.

Uncovered Politics – I really dig what I’ve seen from these guys, since I dug it up a couple months ago. One of the more professionally designed sites. Very newspaper like, in a good way. One of the bloggers there (Austin Cassidy) is a co-founder of Independent Political Report & Third Party Watch.

POLI-TEA – Probably the site out there that is most like mine… so of course I think its great! This is the personal blog of Damon Eris, who posts in several other places, from CAIVN, to Independent Political Report. One of the top voices in the centersphere, his blog is another must read.

Think 3 Institute – This isn’t a think tank, but it might as well be. The design is… not awesome, but they consistently have some of the most intelligent political commentary you can find anywhere. Generally a mix of in depth policy and both national and New York state politics.

The Center Lane – Just like Think 3, The Center Lane is a place you can go and always expect very high quality content. It chooses quality over quantity, but the quality is very very good.

The Pragmatic Center – Nick Goebel, who I’ve chatted with a bit, has his head on straight. His blog is a mix of common sense political talk on national and Michigan state politics.

Independent Political Report – This is the most popular site on this entire list. There is a mix of centrist politics and independent politics (defined generally… including all non major party related news). A good place to keep track of the forces fighting the two party system.

Third Party and Independent Daily – This site doesn’t just stick to centrist type stuff, as any third party groups are discussed, but there is a lot of great coverage of smaller stories you don’t see anywhere else, related to those on the front lines of the war against the two party system. If you really want to keep your finger on what is going around with all the major groups that are trying to pare down the two party duopoly, this is a great place to start, along with IPR.

Outside the Beltway – This moderate conservative (they call themselves classically liberal) blog has been around since 2003, which might explain why the traffic ranking sites list it as the highest traffic site on this list. In general it is probably the most professionally put together site on the list as well.

The Wright and Left Report – This site’s tag line is “Determining fact from lunacy in the circus that is politics”, and from what I’ve seen so far, it does a pretty good job. There seems to be a lean to the left, but certainly no partisan shill.

Independent Rage – As the name would suggest, this puppy is a pit bull. He doesn’t pull punches, doesn’t censor himself, has Nirvana set to play when you load the site, is generally just a riot… and he likes posting pics of scantily clad women, so take all of that in mind. In his own words “Being serious about politics all the time is not everyone’s cup of tea, and so I really do try to mix up my blog with a combination of the fun and the serious.” But look past all that and you see someone who has a pretty interesting, and very honest, perspective.

Mildly Relevant Thoughts – Yet another blogger, this one mostly video blogging (which is a nice change of pace), who I’ve had the pleasure of talking to a bit. Much like Independent Rage, this one is… not exactly serious, and at times downright raunchy, but its all in good spirited fun. Check his site out for reliably funny and biting commentary on the absurd circus that is American politics.

Rebel Yid – This is another blog that I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with the man behind the keyboard, and has become one of my first reads. Sharp commentary, with “Ideas beyond the left/right, red/blue, and liberal/conservative thinking”. Definitely a right lean, but still moderate enough to fit under our big tent here.

All Things Reform – This is a pretty heady site, and isn’t about centrist politics, but most of it is what you might call ‘transpartisan’, that any good intentioned politico would support, and/or want to know about.

The New Moderate – Rick Bayan has been at it since 2007 apparently. I’ve had the pleasure of talking with him a bit by email, and his site has moved into the “First Read” section of my RSS feeds. This site falls into the category of blogs that don’t post all of the time, but when they do, they’re in depth and insightful.

Center Movement – This is one of the best designed sites on the list, and it most notable for the fact that it automatically aggregates content from some of the better moderate and centrists blogs, as well as a bit of original content of its own.

Moderate Voters – This is somewhat like Center Movement, but collects news from all over the web that they see as being related to moderates, not blog posts. Seriously though, they do a heck of a job scouring the news sites for stuff moderates might want to know about. A great resource.

The Hankster – Nancy Hanks is a long time activist in New York Independent Politics. Her blog is a must read, if only for her fairly regular “TODAY’S NEWS HEADLINES for INDEPENDENT VOTERS” updates, that cover an awful lot of what is going on in what I call the “independent groundswell”. She is well connected with the crowd, which would be fairly described as the liberal side of the mainstream independent spectrum. (5.860)

John Avlon – I’m making an exception here. John Avlon doesn’t have a blog per se… although he has a column at what you could consider a professional blogging site, The Daily Beast. He’s written two great books, one on independents and another on the political extremists, is a political analyst for CNN and is probably the best centrist pundit around these days. Click his name for a Google News search for what he’s done lately.

The Future American – Jess Chapman, who cross posts here a few times a week, is a Canadian college student with ambitions of becoming the next John Avlon, a centrist political pundit in the United States. She covers national politics, occasionally mentions Canadian politics, and also some Northern Midwest coverage.

Rise of the Center – You may have heard of this new-ish blog that some guy from Omaha with a weird name runs… he’s quite the political junkie, I hear, and has an acute addiction to twitter, haha. Fastest growing centrist blog around.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Open thread for any banned at TMV

With one of my favorite comment boards having the ban hammer held over heads in a threatening matter (and in some cases certainly justified), I figured I'd open this thread up so that any banned folks could let us know where they are posting now, or where they might like to join up and another board and post together. This goes to those I tend to see eye to eye with and those who I tend not to. I don't care what your views are far-right to far left or anywhere in between you are welcome to use this thread to let others know where to find you if you wish and to vent.

The invitation extends to any TMV moderators or staff if they wish to comment on any bannings or to vent.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dr. Obama and the Medicine Show

The fact that it takes a Rolling Stone article to get our President to act on the division among the administration figures in Afghanistan does not leave me inspired with confidence in his leadership ability. That coupled with the mishandling of the Guld Spill has lead me to dedicate a song to him....

...Hit it boys.....

(talking...) Ha ha ha I don't believe it
Da, da, ah, ah don't touch it
Hey, Rahm, Hey Axlerod tell them who we are.....

Well, we're political left wingers
We got away pointing fingers
And we're loved, media says we're great..... (except for FOX)
We make speeches about fairness and we lie about truth
At ten-thousand dollars a fund-raising plate..... (Cha-Ching)
We reconcile all kinds of bills nevermind we can't stop a spill.
But the spill we've never before known
Is the spill that'll grate when you get your war update
On the cover of the Rollin Stone

(Rollin stone.....) Wanna see my appointee on the cover
(Stone.....)Wanna buy five copies for my baby mother..... (fist bump)
(Stone.....)Wanna see my war update
On the cover of the Rollin Stone.... (that's a very very good idea)

I got a freaky ole lady name a Nancy Pelosi
Who embroideries on my ways and means
I got my poor ole grey haired caddy
Drivin my golfing limosine
Now it's all decided to blow our minds
But our minds won't really be blown
Like the blow that'll grate when you get your war updates
On the cover of the Rollin Stone

(Rollin stone.....) Wanna see our pictures on the cover
(Stone.....) Wanna buy five copies for our baby mothers..... (fist bump)
(Stone.....) Wanna see my war update
On the cover of the rollin stone
(talking) Hey, I know how
Hope and Change.....

Ah, that's liberal

We got a lot of little fainting blue state groupies
Who do anything we say
We got a genu wine Tax Cheat
Who's teaching us a better way
We got all the politicians that lobbyist can buy
So we never have to be alone
And we keep getting irate when we get our war updates
On the cover of the Rollin Stone

(Rollin stone.....)Wanna see my appointee on the cover
(Stone.....) Wanna buy five copies for my baby mother..... (wa wa)
(Stone.....) Wanna see my general's face
On the cover of the Rollin Stone
On the cover of the Rollin.......
Stone.....) Wanna see my appointee on the cover
(talking) I don't know why we ain't on the cover, Baby....
(Stone.....) Wanna buy five copies for my baby mother
(talking) We're liberal subjects....
(Stone.....) Wanna see my smilin face
(talking) I ain't kiddin, we would make a liberal cover....
On the cover of the Rollin Stone......
(talking) fresh shot, right up front, Man.....
I can see it now, we'll be up in the front....
Smilin, Man......
Ahh, liberal.......

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Slipping into Capitalism

The Washington Post reports:

Faced with the smothering inefficiencies of a state-run economy and unable to feed his people without massive imports of food, Cuban leader Raúl Castro has put his faith in compatriots like Esther Fuentes and his little farm out in the sticks.

If Cuba is searching for its New New Man, then Fuentes might be him. The Cuban government, in its most dramatic reform since Castro took over for his ailing older brother Fidel three years ago, is offering private farmers such as Fuentes the use of fallow state lands to grow crops -- for a profit.

Quite a change for the island nation. Of course the rhetoric must be applied to justify this:

Raúl Castro prefers to call it "a new socialist model."

The "new socialist model" can be summed up in two words...... profit motive.

What brought this on?

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the loss of subsidies from Moscow and Eastern Europe, Cuba abandoned its huge farms devoted to sugar cane -- and that land was quickly taken over by marabu, a tenacious, thorny weed that now covers vast tracts of Cuba the way kudzu blankets the American South.

Guess they decided that its actually better to allow some capitalism than let the land sit useless under their previous policies. But what do the people of Cuba think:

Fuentes pointed to his new fields of sweet potatoes, corn, tomatoes, cassava and beans. He's also growing flowers to sell. Chickens were running around, and trees bore monster avocados. The future looks better.

"This is big change," he said. "Everyone wants in."

How far will it go? Who knows but one academic has an idea for them:

"If they really wanted to solve their problem, they could solve it in a minute, with the stroke of a pen," by allowing private ownership and free markets, said José Alvarez, a professor emeritus and authority on Cuban agriculture at the University of Florida.

Is Cuba likely to turn into a capitalist state? Not likely, but they are begging to face at least the reality that the profit motive will help them to feed their people.