January 16, 2008

If the economy is going to be the central issue, who is the best candidate?

The exit polling in the Michigan primary shows a strong preference for Mitt Romney among voters who thought the economy was the most important issue. Meanwhile, last night the Democratic candidates debated and — to my ear — pandered scarily on economic issues.

Here's Power Line on Mitt Romney:
... Romney made a fundamental but understandable error in his approach to the campaign. Romney and his advisers decided, early on, to position him as the one plausible candidate who is conservative on all three of the basic issue clusters: economics, national defense, and the social issues. As such, he could claim the mantle as heir to the Reagan coalition. This was a natural and maybe inevitable choice, but I think it turned out to be wrong.

Romney's self-definition exposed him to ridicule because of the liberal positions he took on the social issues when he ran for Governor of Massachusetts. Romney's brain trust apparently thought they could avoid this problem, maybe because they underestimated the power of YouTube, more likely because they knew that Romney really is a social conservative and assumed he would be credible as such. Instead, he was typecast early on as a flip-flopper and a plastic candidate. That image has hurt him more than anything else.

My guess is that Romney's views on the social issues are similar to my own: he's a social conservative, but doesn't have much appetite for red-meat politics on abortion and gay marriage, and places much higher priority on the economy and national defense. With hindsight, I think there was a better way for Romney to position himself: as a conservative and supremely knowledgeable expert on the economy, as George Bush's heir as a vigorous defender of the U.S. in the war against Islamic terrorism, and as a person who is himself a social conservative--just take one look at his family portrait--but who doesn't talk much about those issues except in the context of the constitutional philosophy which will guide his appointment of judges. I think if he had followed this route, he would have been truer to himself and more credible to voters.
He'd certainly be more appealing to people like me who want a strong national defense position, don't trust the Democrats on the economy, and are social liberals. The "plastic" taunt has never bothered me, because it meant he might be closer to what I thought than he appeared or at least pragmatic and accommodating on the social issues.

Power Line notes that the economy is Romney's strength:
I don't think Romney needs to do an about-face on the social issues. If he emphasizes his expertise in applying free-market solutions to economic problems, with strong national defense in a close second place, and if he couches whatever comments he makes on the social issues in terms of the only sphere where the President actually impacts them--the appointment of judges--he should be able to achieve a subtle shift in the way he presents himself to voters.
Of course, he can accomplish a subtle shift. He's plastic:
plastic (adj.)
1632, "capable of shaping or molding," from L. plasticus, from Gk. plastikos "able to be molded, pertaining to molding," from plastos "molded," from plassein "to mold" (see plasma). Surgical sense of "remedying a deficiency of structure" is first recorded 1839. The noun meaning "solid substance that can be molded" is attested from 1905, originally of dental molds (Plasticine, a trade name for a modeling clay substitute, is from 1897). Main modern meaning, "synthetic product made from oil derivatives," first recorded 1909, coined by Leo Baekeland (see bakelite). Picked up in counterculture slang as an adj. meaning "false, superficial" (1963).
Wouldn't some plasticity be good for a change?

80 comments:

Joe said...

we'll fight, we'll fight
we'll fight for your music halls
and dying cities

they'll fight, they'll fight
for your neural walls
and plasticities
and precious territory

Tim said...

"Wouldn't some plasticity be good for a change?"

Voters say they want consistency, and tend to punish flip-floppers, esp. on touchstone issues; governance generally requires much greater flexibility, but it does little to bridge the partisan divide. We can see this today - flexibility against principle (steel tariffs, spending) hurt Bush; consistency in principles (tax cuts) and consistency in principles but flexible in approach (ramping up to win in Iraq when all the bedwetters wanted to surrender) have helped Bush.

titustiff said...

I mentioned this is another post. I would of been curious if Romney would of run as the candidate in Mass if he would of been able to win without all the drastic changes on his social issues.

On a seperate note one of my favorite actors, Brad Renfro, who I absolutely loved in the movie Bully was found dead-how sad.

age group mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
age group mom said...

Mitt told Michigan he was going to "fix" the domestic auto industry and bring back jobs. Now that's a fairy tale. But voters here will believe anything that sounds like cars will be king.

Meanwhile, in and around Ann Arbor--home of the left-leaning UMich community--voters knocked Hillary but good. She was the only leading candidate on the ballot (Obama and Edwards dropped off when the Dems chastised Michigan for moving its primary). But voters could choose "uncommitted" instead of Hillary, and in Ann Arbor, the uncommitted vote won the Dem primary.

http://blog.mlive.com/annarbornews/2008/01/local_votes_vary_slightly_from.html

A bad sign for HRC?

MadisonMan said...

Would have. Would have. Would have.

If the economy is the central issue, it's generally because the economy is going south. If the economy is going south, the party holding the White House gets the blame. That might not be fair, but that's what happens. Translation: Is it hard for the public to vote for a Republican who is saying he'll take care of the economy when the present Republican holding the reins on the economy (even though you and I both know those reins aren't attached to actual horses) that is floundering? Yes.

I'll say that Romney seems pretty clueless when it comes to the Michigan economy. Promising to bring back the auto industry? How? Detroit seems fascinated with huge cars that might sell well to Romney's Country Club buddies, and those who aspire to join a nearly all-white County Club, but globally demand is for small efficient cars.

George said...

If you want a poll-obsessed, data-crunching tactician in the White House, Gov. Romney is your man.

“Prior to running for president, Mitt was not particularly partisan or ideological,” said Eric A. Kriss, who worked with Mr. Romney at Bain Capital and later as the Massachusetts budget chief. “He was more likely to say, ‘Show me the data.’”

If you want a President who's interested in doing deals because they look good, not because of their long-term implications, Romney is your man.

"Much of Mr. Romney’s style was developed in his years at Bain Capital, the private equity powerhouse he helped found. He led a small team that singled out companies for takeover, revamped them and then sold them for profit. But the premium was less on operational prowess, which might be brought to running the sprawling federal bureaucracy, and more on salesmanship and deal making, as well as on the kind of intense analysis he had employed as a management consultant."

Take off his dyed Reagan hairdo, and remove his multistate Bush-type addresses, and you'll find a situational manager--a Sudoku puzzle--not a leader.

hdhouse said...

of course in Michigan the economy is the big issue. If Canada invaded by force it would still be a big issue and Michigan wouldn't mind if it meant more jobs.

I was there last week and got an ear-full. I am going back next week and expect to hear more. There are jobs there - and I will possibly be foresaking NY to relocate there and will as it is my home-state, but for those related to the auto industry and the small shops that supported parts to the auto industry, it is a depression.

Michigan is an educational treasure with the miracle 150 miles from Detroit to Kalamazoo full of distinguished universities - a real brain trust. However, the kids leave because there is no "research triangle" or "route 128" or "silicon valley" to make it go although there should be.

Romney at least demonstrated his "auto" ties but no one believes in their heart of hearts that it will return and most feel that it will die a slow but certain death...which brings me to why I dislike Romney so much. He knows better. He can't restore a jar of peanut butter much less GM or Ford. And to hold out that false hope that government - what everyone hates and as Reagan says "we are here to help you" as the great bad news, to pledge the populace that if elected he will change water into wine is just hypocrasy at its most blatant.

I think the term is pandering and I'm sorry that people are in such straits that they listen to it.

Middle Class Guy said...

The Democrats will leave us in a royal mess if they win the White House and keep their legislative majority.

They have no concept of economics. They have no understanding of how markets work. The Democratic platform on defense would leave us wide open for attack and ridicule through out the world. They have proved over and over again that they cannot be trusted with National Security; Clinton and Carter were disasters on that front.

The Democrats believe that the solution to any domestic problem is punitive taxation. They believe in oppressive measures to ensure the fallacy of equal economic outcome. Democrats do not believe in opportunity and prosperity. They believe in penalization They would stunt upward economic upward mobility.

As to social issues, both parties are out of touch with the public. Most people are socially moderate. People are also more flexible on social issues. They may hold certain beliefs, but are willing to live and let live. The Democrats and Republicans are too rigid in some of their positions. But the Democrats are more dangerous. They would shred the Constitution in their march to implement their social and social engineering programs.

As to civil liberties, it must be remembered that FDR, Kennedy and LBJ were the worst violators of civil liberties in modern history; they were Democrats. What ever the Left accuses Bush of is less than zero compared to what those three Democrats sanctioned, allowed, and implemented.

Henry said...

Middle Class Guy -- Sorry, but you need to add Nixon to your list of civil liberty offenders. Consider Wage and Price controls. Also note that Nixon was no more able to rid the country of J. Edgar Hoover than Kennedy or Johnson. Hoover died on the job.

I would give Romney the edge on economic issues. He's not going to push deregulation and tax reform like Reagan, but no candidate is. He should be able to match Clinton's record (and Clinton had a very good economic record, Internet bubble or no) -- that is, put a good guy in Treasury, don't make any sudden moves, and have the economic IQ to cut through the BS when needed.

hdhouse said...

henry, don't get into a debate with middleclass guy. he is a loon who only spouts generalizations with no specifics.

by the way the inflation rate is the worst in 17 years..just announced...but i guess that is because mr. bush has a handle on all things economic.

Doug said...

There's a difference between "flexibility on the issues" and "telling someone whatever they want to hear at any given moment, regardless of whether it's diametrically opposed to something they said before."

The only reactions I can muster to Romney are contempt and a little bit of ick. He reminds me of the creepy stepdad in so many made-for-TV movies who tries so hard to be "cool," lets the teenage daughter do whatever she wants and takes her side against the uptight mom, and then one day makes a pass at the stepdaughter on the way home from cheerleading practice. There's nothing heartfelt, genuine, or remotely likable about the guy.

But of all the GOP candidates, I think he'd be the most fun for the Dems to run against.

terrance said...

When pundits lean toward a candidate's political party they refer to their lying as "plasticity" or "flexibility", however when it occurs in the candidate from a non-preferred party, pundits refer to it as "flip-flopping phoniness" Slimyness (sp?) and successful political punditry seem to be positively correlated.

Henry said...

He reminds me of the creepy stepdad...

He's not Fred MacMurray in My Three Sons. He's Fred MacMurray in The Apartment!

Funny how Romney's negatives seem to match up well with Clinton's in 1992. He's plastic. He panders. He's running away from his record as a Governor. I might actually vote for him.

Sloanasaurus said...

Is it hard for the public to vote for a Republican who is saying he'll take care of the economy when the present Republican holding the reins on the economy (even though you and I both know those reins aren't attached to actual horses) that is floundering? Yes.

This idea obviously comes from the 1992 election where George Bush Sr. exposed himself as being uninformed about the economy leaving Bill Clinton to get traction by saying he at least cared. It won't be that easy this time for Democrats.

Romney has a clear and highly successful track record for turning around troubled organizations, including his old hedge fund and the winter olympics. In debate, the Democrats will have difficulty against Romney on these economic issues.

Clinton/Obama have nothing to point to. They are lifetime government servants with no real world experience - they are going to need more than just blaming Bush to challange Romney on an economic message. Especially because Romney is not part of the White House. The Dems have already made economic blunders such as their inflexible opposition to the Bush tax cuts. These statements will come back to haunt the dems. Messages of equality don't always resonate when your first priority is creating jobs.

If the economy becomes the main issue for 2008, which looks likely, Romney will be tough to beat.

terrance said...

Henry said...
I might actually vote for him.

Nice comic timing.

Sloanasaurus said...

There's nothing heartfelt, genuine, or remotely likable about the guy.

Ha Ha. So you support Obama, because he makes you feel good?

This is revealing that like most liberals, your life is ruled almost soley by emotion - which is why liberals are not generally fit to lead our country.

Middle Class Guy said...

hdlouse
Ah, once again you go directly to the insults. Loon. Is that what you consider anyone who disagrees with you? Your usual form of debate is to insult people, not just me. You seem to be able to dish out insults and call names, but as you proved in a previous comment, you cannot take it. You sir, wallow in the sty of porcine excrement. Your mind is full of offal and your morals and ethics are made of the material of the swamp.

Were you tormented as a child? Is that why you seem to think you can just throw insults and remain immune from them? If you actually read history versus fairy tales and comic books as a child, you would have a better grasp of the past so we do not repeat it. If you studied economics instead of Sixties rhetoric, you would have an understanding of how things really work versus your Aquarian fantasy.

Question Mr. Louse; what if your beloved progressives were to propose something for the common good, to achieve some equal outcome, and it had a deleterious effect on your industry, threatening your livelihood? What would you do? What if they decided that whatever industry you are in is too profitable and they demand a punitive windfall profit tax to penalize you? Better yet, what if they decided that your business or industry should be strictly controlled and regulated by the government and compliance with said regulation would destroy your ability to operate? Would you walk the party line like a good little apparatchik or would you sink to the depths of hypocrisy and protest to high heaven? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm?

tightspotkilo said...

Even by resorting to the stilted dictionary hypertechnical definition of the word, it isn't possible to transform the word plastic into a compliment when it comes to applying it to people. When you call somebody plastic you are saying that they are not authentic, that they are phoney, fake, and a little bit cheap. That's what they're saying about Romney.

Sloanasaurus said...

I would give Romney the edge on economic issues. He's not going to push deregulation and tax reform like Reagan, but no candidate is. He should be able to match Clinton's record (and Clinton had a very good economic record, Internet bubble or no) --

Maybe, but no experienced and successful business figure has ever been nominated to run other than Ross Perot (not in recent history). Romney really is a change candidate in this sense.

Doug said...

Ha Ha. So you support Obama, because he makes you feel good?

This is revealing that like most liberals, your life is ruled almost soley by emotion - which is why liberals are not generally fit to lead our country.


No, I support Obama because I agree with him on the issues -- the fact that I can stand to listen to him talk for more than five minutes at a time is a bonus. My instantaneous gut reaction to Romney is one of distaste, as I pointed out, but he doesn't get any better when you dig into his actual substance (or lack of same).

But by all means, do tell me why turning around a hedge fund is the same as running a country.

Bruce Hayden said...

I am frankly not that worried long term about the economy as long as no one tries FDR era fixes. We may be going into a small recession, just as we were as Bush (43) was coming into office and Clinton (42) was running against his father (41). I will give both Bush (43) and Clinton (42) credit that they were able to keep the economy going strong throughout most of their respective terms.

But many economists have argued that recessions or slowdowns are necessary for the economy to shake out inefficiencies, such as, in this case, a bit of the overvalue in housing. Some people are going to suffer, and some big businesses are going to go through major change. But realistically, Citi, Merill Lynch, et al. deserve serious pain, given their feckless involvement with the subprime lending market. [

I esp. feel bad for those who will get (or already have been) laid off. My turn was last time around, when I jumped for a 50% pay raise, and then got downsized right after 9/11 after the firm I joined lost a big chunk of business in my area of expertise.

At this point, I think that the only major party candidate who really understands the economy is Romney. He has a Harvard MBA, is very bright, and earned an awful lot of money through his understanding of the economy.

Clinton (42) probably didn't know that much before being elected, but is very bright, a policy wonk, and made learning enough to keep from screwing up the economy a priority, so really ended up doing decently well. His wife doesn't have his instincts, but could probably keep from screwing up the economy if she listened to him. But if she listens to her own socialist instincts, that we seem to be hearing a lot of recently, then the economy is likely toast with her in the White House.

Obama has Hillary's socialist instincts, without having a spouse with relevant experience, but is smart enough to understand it, if he can overcome those socialist leanings. Edwards though doesn't have a chance.

On the Republican side, I would rate the rest of the pack as: Thompson, Giuliani, McCain, Huckabee, and Paul, with the later two probably as scary to me in this area as Edwards and maybe Obama.

Hoosier Daddy said...

He knows better. He can't restore a jar of peanut butter much less GM or Ford. And to hold out that false hope that government - what everyone hates and as Reagan says "we are here to help you" as the great bad news, to pledge the populace that if elected he will change water into wine is just hypocrasy at its most blatant.

So while you would believe that the government is incapable of doing anything for the auto industry, do you hold the same conviction with say, universal health care?

But by all means, do tell me why turning around a hedge fund is the same as running a country.

Well it shows a grasp of economics. Then again he does have a record of running a state whereas Obama has a record of being elected Senator who immediately began running for President. Might want to tell me how that is the same as running a country?

Bruce Hayden said...

I agree with Sloanasaurus. Feeling is really more important to liberals than thinking. Somehow feeling people's pain and raising taxes on the middle class justified as taxing the rich seems to be the preferred way of addressing economic problems.

Sorry, but that doesn't work. The Keynesian has repeatedly been shown to be less than one, and redistributing income has one of the lowest paybacks. There has long been an argument that at the very bottom, forced savings and investment through government appropriations is sometimes necessary to get an economy to a jump off place, but we were beyond that by a long way even during the heyday of Keynesian economics during the Great Depression.

Doug said...

Then again he does have a record of running a state whereas Obama has a record of being elected Senator who immediately began running for President.

Romney was governor of Massachusetts for four years, or almost exactly as long as Obama has been a senator -- and Romney filed the papers to form his presidential exploratory committee two days before his term as governor ended.

Bruce Hayden said...

But by all means, do tell me why turning around a hedge fund is the same as running a country.

Well, maybe that turning it around required knowledge of how the economy works in order to be in the right place at the right time, and not being at the wrong place at the wrong time in the market.

But also, in that role, he was able to build up businesses that hire a lot of people, Staples being probably the best known.

On the Democrat side, Obama has done or said nothing really that shows any ability to understand the first thing about basic economics (and our economy is far from simple). Both Edwards and Hillary! have done nothing either, but rather have benefited from transfers of wealth from the productive to the non-productive segments of the economy, which, of course, destroys (through friction) instead of creates wealth.

Bruce Hayden said...

Romney was governor of Massachusetts for four years, or almost exactly as long as Obama has been a senator -- and Romney filed the papers to form his presidential exploratory committee two days before his term as governor ended.

But, of course, we are comparing what they did before this level of politics.

Cedarford said...

George - If you want a President who's interested in doing deals because they look good, not because of their long-term implications, Romney is your man.

NIce try, George. All it takes for someone to buy your argument is to have a complete ignorance of the basic nature of management consulting and venture capitalism - both which are about building long term value in a firm, and getting postive cash flow going ASAP in startups and turnarounds.

**************
Henhouse - Romney at least demonstrated his "auto" ties but no one believes in their heart of hearts that it will return and most feel that it will die a slow but certain death.

No, because I think Romney is not so ideological as to reject the notion that free trade has it's limits. Just as it would be insane for a country to abandon growing all food because they can get it cheaper in trade because they'd all starve to death in a trade diruption or naval embargo, there will be a "bottom floor" in manufacturing, in critical services, and in core technical and scientific competencies that we will not go below.

It is not just the "defense" argument that says we must have at least one large steel forger left out of dozens so we can make tanks and Naval components.
It is the argument that we cannot abandon all export, wealth generating sectors to foreign comepetition. Not, and expect that wealth consumption centers like services for parasites, 7X as many lawyers as other nations, etc - continue or else "people would suffer". Ultimately, those "nurturing caregivers helping special ed kids care for themselves, the cop on the street, the welfare check to the NOLA parasite all depend on the wealth generation sectors of the economy and the economic multiplier of 6-13X they can generate locally coming to them through government. No factory workers, no exports - ultimately, no taxes, no taxpayer services.

Ronald Reagan recognized free trade was intolerable if it destroyed America in the process. That is why he set "voluntary quotas" for the Japanese and German's goods that threatened US industry. Among the highest priorities Reagan had in preserving America's strength and technology base was by saving the automotive industry - which draws on nearly every discipline of hard science and engineering and components of which drive the existence of 100 other industries.

Romney and a good deal of the Democrats now realize that free trade does not obligate a country to commit economic suicide, and globalization must not be blindly followed to become a labor resource race to the bottom, lowest-cost foreign worker. And just as when Reagan was in charge - automotive is a critical core industry driving critical core jobs essential for not just defense but critical wealth for funding wealth-consuming critical services as much as telecomms, aerospace, steel fabrication, medical device and products, entertainment, and energy services and products are.

Romney means it. We can no more afford to have our transportation products sector wiped out than we can afford to have the Chinese make our missiles and fighter jets for us.

Doug said...

I have no doubt that Romney has managed to be "in the right place at the right time" regarding his hedge fund, etc., and good for him. What bothers me is that he appears to be so taken with his own success that he thinks he can create the right place and the right time, e.g. with his comments in the S.C. debate about stopping the recession and bringing auto-industry jobs back to Michigan and whatnot.

I used to have the good ol' young-liberal idealism about presidents being able to almost singlehandedly bring about sweeping economic changes, but I've become a lot more jaded since then, which may be why Romney's recent big talk rings so false to me. And if Romney doesn't have economics to run on, I don't see what's left, unless you think doubling Guantanamo is sound, mature foreign policy.

former law student said...

What are Romney's core values? Because up to now he's been telling everyone he meets what they want to hear, and I can't support anyone like that.

But I understand Mitt's desire to pander to Michiganders. Unfortunately, the management mentality of the Big Three has yet to evolve past the Pleistocene era. His dad could take over today, with no need to update his fifties AMC management style. Only Americans' desire to be able to haul around more that Two Adults/Two Kids At A Time has saved the Big Three's bacon.

Another sad fact is that Michigan's economy has become less diverse rather than more. The historic pharmaceutical companies Upjohn and Parke-Davis both merged with other companies who shut Michigan operations down.

Sloanasaurus said...

But by all means, do tell me why turning around a hedge fund is the same as running a country.

Add turning around the Olympics to that. Romney is not just a one time success.

Its not the same. But it's a lot more than being an empty suit like Obama. When Romney was running a giant hedge fun and gaining experience on the world economy, Obama was directing voter registration drives in South Chicago.

hdhouse said...

middleclass guy..

i'm sure that meant to write a question instead of rhetoric so perhaps you would care to write a simple sentence of what it is that has you all beserk all the time.

Is it regulations? Lack thereof? Needless regulation is needless. Regulation for the common good is good. What is hard about that. Government, not the corporation or the individual, becomes the arbitrator as it should be. Government is elected by the people and staffed by those elected.

De-regulation is just rehetoric. deregulating what or regulating why are the questions.

Try and be concise and specific and you will have a warmer reception. Rant and boil over like a petulant child will get you no where - which i suspect is where you are.

Sloanasaurus said...

While Romney was saving the 2002 Olympics from total disaster (an event which cost $2 billion and had tens of thousands of peopl involved), Obama was voting "present" on abortion bills in the Illinois state Senate.

Since then Romney went on to govern the state of Mass, while Obama went on to govern a Senate office.

It's hard to come up with anything more contrasting.

George said...

Cedarford--

Would Mitt promote someone whose supervisor said he misunderstood his job, didn't meet expectations, and didn't create jobs?

No.

Paul Guzzi, the President of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, and Brian Gilmore, spokesman for Associated Industries of Massachusetts, trashed Romney. Yesterday!

Here are their quotes, not mine, from the January 15, 2008, Boston Globe:

"Brian Gilmore, spokesman for Associated Industries of Massachusetts, said Romney's early focus on luring big companies to Massachusetts revealed a misunderstanding of a state economy driven by small, homegrown firms.

"Traditionally, the growth in Massachusetts is internal," said Gilmore. "They grow here because of the workforce, the universities, and the availability of venture capital, and I don't know if he did anything to enhance them."

"Mitt Romney as governor did some things well," said Paul Guzzi, president of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. "But as far as creating jobs to drive the economy, there was disappointment.

"He probably didn't meet the expectations of the employer community."

Those guys are not his friends. And if Romney were a sharp pol he'd have them in his back pocket.

Doyle said...

He'd certainly be more appealing to people like me who want a strong national defense position, don't trust the Democrats on the economy, and are social liberals.

You trust Republicans on the economy? Why? And why would you trust Mitt Romney on anything? The guy might as well be wearing a sign around his neck saying "I will say absolutely anything to get elected. I am devoid of shame."

Hoosier Daddy said...

Try and be concise and specific and you will have a warmer reception. Rant and boil over like a petulant child will get you no where - which i suspect is where you are.

House, I'm hoping you planted a lightning rod somewhere close when you wrote this.

But I needed a good laugh and this was so good, I don't need to do an ab workout today.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Why? And why would you trust Mitt Romney on anything? The guy might as well be wearing a sign around his neck saying "I will say absolutely anything to get elected. I am devoid of shame."

Doyle, you can say that about 98% of the candidates when they're out pressing flesh and speaking on the stump. Romney is hardly the exception.

hdhouse said...

Hoosier Daddy said...
"But I needed a good laugh and this was so good, I don't need to do an ab workout today."


Trust me. You probably do.

former law student said...

sloano: Because you don't seem to understand the significance of Obama's voting "present":

Seven other times, he voted that way [present] as part of a broad strategy devised by abortion rights advocates to counter anti-abortion bills.

Pam Sutherland, president of Illinois Planned Parenthood Council, said Obama was one of the senators with a strong stand for abortion rights whom the organization approached about using the strategy. Sutherland said the Republicans were trying to force Democrats from conservative districts to register politically controversial no votes.

Sutherland said Obama had initially resisted the strategy because he wanted to vote against the anti-abortion measures.

"He said, 'I'm opposed to this,'" she recalled.

But the organization argued that a present vote would be difficult for Republicans to use in campaign literature against Democrats from moderate and conservative districts who favored abortion rights.

Lisa Madigan, the Illinois attorney general who was in the Illinois Senate with Obama from 1998 through 2002, said she and Obama voted present on the anti-abortion bills.

"It's just plain wrong to imply that voting present reflected a lack of leadership," Madigan said. "In fact, it was the exact opposite."


http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/12/20/america/20obama.php?page=2

hdhouse said...

Hoosier Daddy said...
"So while you would believe that the government is incapable of doing anything for the auto industry, do you hold the same conviction with say, universal health care?"

Please think about this for a minute. Can we get health care from Japan or Europe? no.
Is there a real and necessary need for health care? yes.
Is there a market for healthcare that is affordable and in the reach of everyone? yes
Is there a market for a Ford Bronco that gets 9 miles per gallon? no.
We can rebuild auto plants but the workers are gone, the skills are gone, the support industrial sector is gone, the mom-pop parts suppliers are gone. They can't wait.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Trust me. You probably do.

You have some secret camera on me that you'd know this? Unlike Titus, I'm a bit more modest about my attributes.

Is there a market for healthcare that is affordable and in the reach of everyone? yes

Of course there is but to somehow thing that it being run by the government will make it in the reach of everyone is wishful thinking. Is the government going to make sure that medical schools start cranking out more doctors to ensure that the increased demand is covered? Cause if not, having medical coverage is not the same as getting medical coverage.

Is there a market for a Ford Bronco that gets 9 miles per gallon? no.

You sure about that? Seems to me there isn't a shortage of people still opting for SUVs over the clown car sizes that dominate Europe and Asia.

We can rebuild auto plants but the workers are gone, the skills are gone, the support industrial sector is gone, the mom-pop parts suppliers are gone. They can't wait.

That's a lot of hogwash and you know it. Indiana is hardly known for its 'skilled autoworkers' yet that didn't stop Subaru from opening a plant in Lafayette and filling it with workers. Open up an auto plant anywhere and you'd have them lining up for work again and the suppliers will all come back. That's how the economy works. As long as we maintain a free market system which encourages entrepenuerism, someone will always step in to make it happen.

AJ Lynch said...

If the Dems had any balls, they would push for a minimum wage of at least $10 per hour.

But then they'd have to get rid of all their vote-getting welfare programs...can't let the poor spend money on their own.

former law student said...

eeyore moans: the workers are gone, the skills are gone, the support industrial sector is gone, the mom-pop parts suppliers are gone.

Actually these are either untrue or irrelevant. Honda, Toyota, Mercedes (irrespective of D-C) and BMW all were able to find workers of adequate skills to build vehicles on American soil. Incoming skill sets are not that important, because European companies in particular have a tradition of in-house apprenticeship programs to train the workers they need. Savvy US parts suppliers have been qualified and approved by European and Japanese customers, and build parts and assemblies to world quality standards.

Roger said...

I have serious concerns about governmental involvement in health care--at the risk of provoking a fire storm, I will assert the US health care system does a very good job overall at least as measured by such indicators as increasing life expectancy and survival rates following treatment of ICD conditions. And for all the bad rap on them, US Pharmaceutical companies have provided the drugs that have made those increases possible.

Would we really want the government to determine which drugs should be produced? Oregon tried to involve the state in making medical decisions--they ended up creating a list of conditions for which they would fund treatment and drawing a red line at the conditions where the money ran out. Under existing conditions, health care is effectively a scare good and as such is rationed. Do we want the government rationing it? or do we want a market mechanism rationing it. I prefer to let the market do it.

Middle Class Guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Middle Class Guy said...

hdlouse,
My rant was against your constant personal insults when you cannot make an argument- or in your own words- be specific. You seem to delight in name calling, but resent it when the tables are turned. You love to rant and rage, but you accuse others of doing the same.

As to the question, it was specific. What would you do if the government came after your industry? You just refuse to answer it, either because you do not have the intellectual capacity to do so or because it puts you into a very uncomfortable moral position.

I will give you an example to assist you; when the government went after tort reform, attorneys fought back hard because it threatened their industry and their pocket books; all that talk of about justice was nonsense. It is always about the money.

BTW, prior to your personally insulting me, I read some of your rants and rages too. So, I guess it is ok for you to do certain things, but others are berserk, loons, lunatics, wing nuts, etc. Hmmmm. There is a word for people like you, aside from immature; hypocrite. Oh, I noticed your first sentence. Are you emulating ee cummings?

Have a nice day and I will keep you in my prayers.

hdhouse said...

boys boys boys...

foreign car makers coming to america build their cars has zero to do with resurrecting the michigan auto dependent econonomy.

michigan cannot afford the tax breaks and the freebies the indiana, kentucky, south carolina states afford them. you don't get it. you probably never will get it.

take a look at SUV sales for once. take a look at what created the SUV craze. take a look at the tax breaks given to buyers of SUVs.

can you possibly justify in your mind that SUVs are good for us? yet you fume about foreign oil.

your arguments are hogwash.

James said...

McCain made the mistake of telling the people the truth: guess what, the auto industry jobs are not just going to magically come back to you, we have to find new ways for you to get jobs.

Romney, meanwhile, took an Obama-esque approach, promising the moon and the stars to the people of Michigan, claiming he'll get all those jobs back! Exactly how he would turn around the flailing industry, of course, he did not say. While saying he wouldn't engage in the buyouts and subsidies, he promises multi-billion dollar "research" packages to the industry. Or does he think that merely lowering the corporate tax a little will somehow solve every problem the industry is facing?

For Republicans who like to decry Obama as being full of empty rhetoric (something I can at least partly agree on), this victory shouldn't be something to cheer about. False "hope" won out over the truth.

hdhouse said...

middle class guy said "What would you do if the government came after your industry?"

well dolt, they did. i'm in advertising. take a look at the on again/off again/patchwork of FCC regulations and how they cost you for just about everything you buy. smart people work through it. dumb people holler.

which are you.

LarsPorsena said...

HD:
"take a look at the tax breaks given to buyers of SUVs."

I own one. Tell me about the breaks.
It's tax time again in America.
Is it a credit or deduction?

Doug said...

Romney, meanwhile, took an Obama-esque approach, promising the moon and the stars to the people of Michigan, claiming he'll get all those jobs back!

Uh, how is this an "Obama-esque" approach? When did Obama promise all those things?

Heck, if Republican Congressman Joe Knollenberg is correct, Obama actually promised to get rid of thousands of Michigan auto-industry jobs!

Revenant said...

Please think about this for a minute. Can we get health care from Japan or Europe? no.

Er, yes. There are plenty of foreign companies that provide health care services in the United States.

former law student said...

michigan cannot afford the tax breaks and the freebies the indiana, kentucky, south carolina states afford them.

And this is because, what, hillbilly backwaters know how to manage tax money better than Northerners? I'm old enough to remember when Michiganders had bumper stickers reading "Michigan -- the Welfare Wonderland."

AJ Lynch said...

Lars:

The tax deduction is available to business owners and the self-employed if they use the vehicle in their business.

Many libs like hdhouse have deluded themselves into believing most SUV's are bought for that reason alone when the truth is most people drive SUV's because larger vehicles are safer. And they place a high value on their family's safety.

In my case, I drive an SUV just to make liberal loons like hdhouse even more apoplectic.

Roger said...

WRT health care from foreign sources: We do use a lot of practitioners from overseas via JI visas. And there is no shortage of hospital beds; in fact, maintaining daily census is a big problem for hospitals.

hdhouse said...

Hi LARS

http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2002-12-18-suv-tax-break_x.htm

this jump started the SUV craze. if you were too dumb to take advantage of it write Bush a letter about no child left behind.

Michigan pays comparatively zip in property taxes compared to New York. All the bitching and moaning mean very little in comparison.

Taxes don't kill economies. No jobs do kill economies. Non-diversification of industry kills economies. The governmet - this government, our government has done more to harm Michigan by fostering their non-competitive output. The fuel economy structure is laced with loopholes that put a blind eye to the promotion of cars that, now with gas at 3.08 a gallon, don't sell - or did you miss the empty lots.

Part of the trouble is that the uber-rich look in their backyards and say "hey its fine here" and the 50% who you decry as "don't pay taxes" are in the tubes. You can see that attitude of "tough luck for your issues" all over this board. hey, if the poor can't manage their money, their credit, their lot in life, well tough shit they deserve it.

your lack of scoial conscience is appalling. your lack of what for a lack of a better term "christian caring" is damnadble.

hey, but it is someone else's problem. not mine. i've got mine. you to scratch for yours and i won't raise a finger to help.

hdhouse said...

oohhh and AJ...hate to burst your bubble but

http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/Insurance/Insureyourcar/P140031.asp

SUV's tendency to tip over and the general craziness of SUV drivers thinking they are in a tank is a myth. I thought you were smarter than that. guess not.

ohhh don't let facts hit you in the ass when you run out the door.

AJ Lynch said...

Hdhouse:

Your linked story has no statistics and was from the very liberal Associated Press.

Count me as unconvinced due to an absence of evidence.

hdhouse said...

AJ Lynch said...
"Your linked story has no statistics and was from the very liberal Associated Press."

http://www.mindfully.org/Health/2006/SUVs-No-Safer3jan06.htm

http://www.safermotoring.co.uk/AreSUVsSafe.html

http://eetd.lbl.gov/ea/teepa/pdf/Are_SUVs_Safer.pdf

I could go on and on but my feeling is that unless SUV safety has a footnote in the university of stupid newsletter you won't believe.

Middle Class Guy said...

hdlouse…
“…well dolt”.

You really are an insulting poltroon. Besides me, you have insulted several others on this post. You act like you suffer no fools while acting like one. BTW, smart people fight back against regressive regulation and they holler about it. They try to get their representatives to change it. Evidently, you would rather work through it, and that is your choice. Some of us would like to change things for the better. That is our choice. So, I guess that makes me one of the smart people. Who the eff are… Sorry, I realized that you are against people having choices and believe the nanny government should choose for us, or ruin businesses and lives.

“…can you possibly justify in your mind that SUVs are good for us?”

Once again, you show your true elitist ignorance. We have free choice. If I choose to drive and SUV and can afford to pay for the gas, what is it to you? It is my choice. Why should I suffer because you don’t like my choices? People also badly drive expensive sports cars that are better suited for the racing oval. Should we ban those cars too and deprive those people their toys?

I do have mine. It is mine. I want to keep it. All of it. I scratched for it, I earned it, and it was not given to me on a silver platter. That is my choice. You want to have a social conscience, that is fine. That is noble. That is your choice. Just don’t try to shove your choices down anyone else’s throat.

You sound like you swallowed an awful that Sixties progressive Kool Aid or maybe you smoked too much of that happy weed. You sir are dangerous, for you are one of the true believers.

Joe said...

hdhouse, while the 2002 tax bill may have exacerbated the "SUV craze" it certainly didn't start it. The popularity of SUVs took off in the late 90s.

(Note that the behemoth Ford Excursion was first introduced in 1999)

AJ Lynch said...

Hdhouse:

I looked at one of the links you provided (the American one). It indicates the primary drivers of compact are 33% more likely to be killed than an SUV primary driver and a subcompact primary driver is 66% more likely to be killed than an SUV primary driver.

So SUV's are safer pal. Sometimes you have to read more than the headline. I thought a Stupid Putz like you knew that.

Joe said...

I revise my earlier comment. There was no SUV craze. Didn't happen. All that happened is that since 1990, there has been a very steady increase of SUV sales. Sales of other vehicles held steady, which increased the percentage of SUV sales as compared to other types of cars, but there was no "craze" and and the 2002 tax laws appeared to have no effect on the sales rate of SUVs.

One chart is here:

http://chemistry.beloit.edu/Warming/moviepages/vehicles.htm

(One thing that's interesting is that gas mileage has been very stable, yet automotive horsepower has had a very steady increase since the early 1980s. Seems that if auto makers reduced the displacement of engines such that the horsepower is equivalent to, say, 1985, they could improve flee gas mileage.)

AJ Lynch said...

I would think the East Coast blizzard of 1996(?) had a bit of an impact on SUV sales but I am only a Dolt and surely not as smart as hdhouse. So what would I know.

Middle Class Guy said...

AJ Lynch said...
Re: hdlouse and SUV accidents.

Thanks! I was going to bring that up, but then he would want specifics or he would just call me another name and blather on.

Middle Class Guy said...

The blizzard of 79 in Chicago also saw an increase in SUV sales. Other winters stimulated more sales. People buy them for myriad reasosns. People who love the outdoors buy them because they can go anywhere and haul anything they need.

I know that is not specific enough for hdlouse, but I am not an elitist, effete, socially conscious person either.

reader_iam said...

Oopsie!

Michigan's GOP hit the wrong button and congratulated the wrong guy (though they caught the mistake and rectified it quickly).

I'm glad I'm not the only one who screws up.

Middle Class Guy said...

hdlouse said:
SUV's tendency to tip over...

SUVs tend to tip over due to people who do not know how to drive them. They are not made to be driven like cars or sports cars. They are hybrid trucks. Do we ban something because a few people every year are irresponsible?

Gee, you really do beleive everything some one shoves in front of you.

Pogo said...

Taxes don't kill economies.
Wrong.
100% wrong.
Ruinous taxes killed the Soviet economy. Centrally controlled command governments also do their damage, and the two things ("planning" and high taxes) usually go hand in hand.

The U.S. Economic Freedom Index: 2004 Report
"How much is economic freedom worth in dollar terms?
A 10-percent improvement in a state's economic freedom score yields, on average, about a half-percent increase in annual income per capita.

Relative to the freest state, Rhode Island residents suffered the largest reduction in annual income per capita due to their loss of economic freedom, $3,607, followed by Hawaii at $2,963, and New York and New Jersey at around $2,400 each. The national average was $1,161. This might not sound like much, but over a 40-year working life at a conservative 3-percent interest rate, this translates into $87,541 that would have otherwise gone into the pocket of an average working American.

Rhode Island also had the highest effective "oppression tax," 13.17 percent, Hawaii at 11.36 percent, Maine at 7.61 percent, and New York at 7.45 percent. The national average was 4.42 percent of income. State institutions have a substantial impact on income levels across the U.S. states. Economic freedom matters significantly."


According to the WSJ:
"[T]he states that embraced supply-side tax cuts are not only financially more sound and enjoy stronger economies, but they are draining residents away from the states that opted for high taxes....In 2005, per capita personal income grew 31% faster in the 15 most economically free states than it did in the 15 states at the bottom of the list. And employment growth was a staggering 216% higher in the most free states."

James said...

Doug-

I was referring to the general view of most non-Obama supporters - the "yes we can," all "hope," or as Romney put it "Optimism" with little substance behind it. While McCain took the rational, most likely true approach, Romney reverted to telling everybody in Michigan what they hope will happen.

Revenant said...

"Taxes don't kill economies."

Wrong. 100% wrong.

Well, not 100% wrong, but mostly wrong. What really kills economies is government control; the bigger the percentage of GDP that the government has direct control over, the worse the economy does. So it is really the government *spending* that kills economies -- it doesn't particularly matter if the money being spent comes from taxes, or borrowing.

hdhouse said...

ahh rev..then explain the late 90s when clinton has his taxation in place, the budget was balanced and the economy was through the roof...
it is more complicated than that but there is absolutely no evidence that increased taxation in this country had an adverse effect on the economy.

and middle class guy...please please please.... you have to do better. you are way too easy.

this is an "A" game blog here. if you show up with C's..well you look horribly out of place. You just have to do better.

MadisonMan said...

SUVs tend to tip over due to people who do not know how to drive them.

You do realize you are agreeing with him.

This is just an anecdote, but I've been foolish enough to drive in horrid weather twice in the past month -- the interstates were snow-covered. Every flipped vehicle in the median was an SUV. Cars and minivans might have been stranded in the median, but only the SUVs flipped.

Revenant said...

ahh rev..then explain the late 90s when clinton has his taxation in place, the budget was balanced and the economy was through the roof...

You obviously only read the first sentence of my post. Had you read what I wrote you wouldn't be asking that particularly idiotic question.

Like I said in that post, what really matters is the amount the government *spends*. Taxation is bad, but borrowing is pretty much just as bad. The big government success story of the 90s wasn't raising taxes or balancing the budget (neither of which really matter), but the way that spending was held in check in relation to the GDP during the period in question. Taxes are bad for the economy if they lead to more spending. If they simply act to reduce the need for borrowing they have no significant impact, at least for the tax rates we have today. At sufficiently high tax rates that changes, but we haven't had truly punitive tax rates for decades.

In closing, I'd like to point out that you're doing what you always do and childishly assuming that if economic times were good while Policy X was in effect, Policy X must be good for the economy. In reality, of course, it is entirely possible to have a good economy even if the government has bad policies -- it just won't be AS good as it would be otherwise. Similarly, you can have a bad economy despite good government policies -- it just won't be AS bad. The government doesn't control the economy; it just influences it.

Middle Class Guy said...

hdlouse
…there is absolutely no evidence that increased taxation in this country had an adverse effect on the economy.

If you raise taxes- especially the with holding tax, like Clinton did, you are giving people a pay cut. They have less money to live on, spend, waste, invest, or save. This has an effect on the economy. Not an immediate effect, but there is an effect. Businesses and corporations passed the costs of higher taxes on to their customers and the consumers.

Beside that, can you tell me how lowering taxes or even eliminating some taxes harms the economy? No one can ever answer that question. Seeing as you think you are an expert on everything, maybe you could give me specifics.

Secondly, Clinton did not balance the budget in the normal sense. He used voodoo accounting to accomplish this task. One of the man tricks was taking money from Social Security and putting into the general revenue fund. Government, unlike you and I, is not held to GAAP standards. They can use any accounting methods they want to achieve any goal they want.

I was just wondering who made you the arbiter of what grade people are? Is this some elitist progressive thing or do you truly believe you are superior to the rest of us? Just wondering?

hdhouse said...

middleclass guy..

to answer the only question you raised that makes any sense whatsoever, "yes, i am superior to you". live with it.

Middle Class Guy said...

hdlouse,
I will live with it, thank you. I remember reading about people like you. It explains why you are so twisted and vile. These people were progressive, they believed in drastic social change, they believed that government was the be all and end all of society. But the best part, the part that describes you to a tee, is they believed they were superior to others.

They had names like Hitler and Goebbels. They called themsleve Nazis.

hdhouse said...

Middle Class Guy said...
hdlouse,
I will live with it, thank you."

yes child i am sure you will. i'd rather you leave the Nazi stuff alone sonny. I lost a good portion of my ancestry in that mess and if you just meant to be offensive you were. if you speak out of ignorance, and i'll give you benefit of the doubt on that, you did.

Middle Class Guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Middle Class Guy said...

Hdhouse,
You brought up your superiority. I had no idea you are Jewish or lost family to the holocaust, thus my ignorance. However, my only argument with you is your personal insults and name calling, not just against myself, but against others. You appear to be an intelligent person and you demean yourself when you resort to name calling.

If someone insulted you based upon anti-Semitism, irregardless of your politics or opinions, I would defend you and rip them a new one. On that we are on the same page. I do not tolerate religious or racial intolerance or hatred. I also do not tolerate any person claiming they are superior to another.

I will not be insulted and will fight fire with fire. Attack my opinions, attack my facts, morals, ethics or honesty, fine. Call me names, demean me, try to humiliate me or claim you are superior to me, and then we have a problem. Can we agree to disagree as adults?

BTW, as to the sonny comment, we are probably of the same age, thus I will consider sonny a compliment.