Thursday, December 15, 2011

Why I Won't Vote for Mitt Romney If He is the GOP Nominee

This is really not a place I thought I'd be at.  Up until very recently I didn't even think there was a Republican that could be nominated that would keep me home on election day or vote for a 3rd party.  I think I have found that candidate and it is Mitt Romney.  There are two main reasons for this, the first being that I really have no idea what he actually stands for. I don't think anybody does.  And I think that chances are high that he doesn't really stand for much that is different than Obama's current policies.  Let's take a quick look at his record:

  • Of course, Romneycare, which is the basis of Obamacare.  How is it that nobody but Mitt Romney passed universal healthcare in their states?  No Republican, No Democrat, just Mitt Romney.  Than in itself provides evidence that he would govern from the left.  It's not like anyone pointed a gun to his head and told him to enact Romneycare.  He did it on his own.  His attempts to convince us that Romneycare wasn't that bad because states should be the laboratories of reform is just utter nonesense.  His plan denies healthy young people the ability to choose to not throw money away by paying for health insurance that they probably won't use (apparently you can choose to kill your baby but not choose whether or not to sign up with Oxford).  I don't really find it appealing to have states experiment with abrogating our civil liberties.  A local despot isn't much better a far off one. The worst thing about this is that despite pandering to the left wing in Massachusetts, he still only had a 34% approval rating when he left.
  • He broke his pledge not to raise taxes in order to balance the budget.  In 2004, he increased government fees by $259 million.  If you gross this up to a national level and then use the 10 year budgeting metrics that we normally use when talking about tax cuts and hikes, this is the equivalent of a $120 billion in tax hikes (I multiplied $259 million by 46.5, the ratio of the size of the US vs. the Size of Massachusetts and then multiplied by 10 to get the 10 year projection).  And Romney didn't stop there, he increased fees again every year of his administration.  He even proposed an excise tax on SUV's.
  • He has opposed real tax reform by the GOP.  He ran ads calling the flat tax "a tax cut for fat cats" and even refused to support the Bush tax cuts.
  • In 2004, he proposed a "climate protection plan" that would reduce greenhouse emissions by 25% by 2012.  Can you tell someone bought into the global warming hype?  I also don't see how you can realistically cut emissions by that much without asking a quarter of your people to leave your state.
  • He proposed indexing the minimum wage for inflation.  Again, why should the government get in the middle of two consenting adults negotiating pay?  Also, why would you want to make it more expensive for companies to hire workers?
  • He signed a permanent assault weapons ban (though has now become a lifetime member of the NRA).  
  • Out of 36 judicial appointments, Romney only nominated 9 Republicans.  One of his judicial appointees even turned out to be the judge that blocked the removal of those Occupy Boston whackos.  One of the strongest arguments to vote for a Republican, any Republican, is that the judges they will appoint will be conseravative.  But with Romney, the record doesn't show that.  How do we know he won't pick another David Souter to the court, as George H.W. Bush did?
So let's see, implemented a socialist healthcare system, raised taxes, opposed tax cuts, proposed a draconian decrease in greenhouse emissions, was for increasing the minimum wage, signed a permanent assault weapons ban and appointed liberal judges.  His record in Massachusetts is simply dreadful and really makes it hard to see how he would be that much different than Obama.
Even in this primary season, in which his rhetoric is the most conservative you will probably see Mitt act in his lifetime (if he gets the nomination, expect him to move to the left for the general election), it's unclear how different he is.  Take foreign policy.  His biggest issue with Obama is that he is withdrawing the "surge troops" in September 2012 instead of December 2012.  Really, a 3 month difference?  Is that why I am supposed to vote for you?  What about arguing that we keep the troops there until we win?  Have we forgot about having actual victory as a goal?  It seems Mitt has.  Then, on Israel, his biggest issue with Obama's policies seem to be that he criticized Israel in public instead of in private.  Big friggin deal.  As a strong Israel supporter I am not for any US President who will turn the screws on the Jewish state whether it be out in the open or behind closed doors.  I want someone who actually supports Israel, one of our closest allies, and will work together against common foes.  Then of course there was the exchange with Newt in which Romney defended capital gains tax cut being limited to those making under $200,000 in language similar to Obama's.  "I'm not worried about rich people. They are doing just fine."

So tell me again why I should be voting for Mitt?  Have you noticed that most Mitt proponents seem to focus on the idea that he is the "most electable" as the reason to vote for him with almost no mention of his record?  The most they can scrounge up are some quotes with promises from the Romney campaign.  Yes, promises from a guy who changes his mind like you change your underwear.  I think the real reason that much of the establishment Republicans support Romney is because of the same old Washington game.  It really doesn't matter to them what the ideology of the candidate is, as long as he wins and you are friends with his close advisors.  And since Romney has been the front runner for so long, each one of those establishment reporters have spent months, even years schmoozing with the campaign  and have dreams of close access with a sitting President and possibly even an undersecretaryship.  How else do you explain their visceral reaction to Gingrich, the first realistic challenger to Romney.  Newt has issues, sure, but has it deserved the relentless negative attacks?  Sure, he isn't a perfect conservative but very few are.  Even Rick Santorum has favored pork projects, steel tariffs and medicare part D.  You don't see the press attacking him for it.  Or even Ron Paul who is polling as #2 in most Iowa polls.  That's because the Romney supporters in the press don't feel either of them are a threat to them achieving the access/position they have been waiting for.

And this brings up the second big reason why I won't be voting for Mitt Romney if he wins the nomination.  His treatment of his Republican opposition.  This man acts just like Obama, someone who will do anything to be President.  It is one thing to compete with a candidate for votes through a fair description of differences in record etc., but it's another thing to be out to destroy another candidate, especially another Republican.  And that is exactly what Romney and his minions are trying to do with Newt, they are trying to destroy him.  Even people who aren't in Newt's camp, like Mark Levin are seeing this happen before our eyes.  Really, the temerity of Romney saying that Newt is an unreliable conservative after having a record as horrible as he had in Massachusetts?  Referring to him as "zany"?  Having surrogates character assassinate in the press on an almost daily basis?  It's not like Newt did anything to deserve any of this.  He didn't climb to the top of the polls through negative ads on Romney, he climbed to the top by appearing as an elder statesman in a weak candidate field and having the ability to actually explain why he believes what he believes. He also has a proven record of balancing budgets and passing entitlement reform under a Democratic President!  Is that so wrong?  And this isn't the first time Romney did this, as he also launched negative attacks on both Huckabee and McCain (though he didn't have the press in his pocket back then because Giuliani and Thompson were thought to have a greater chance at the nomination early on). 

Things have become so bad that you face character assassination just for opposing Romney.  Rudy Giuliani had a rant against Romney today focusing on his flip flops.  Jennifer Rubin attacked him for this by tweeting "Romney will never win over the adulterers no matter how hard he tries".  Really?  That is all Rudy Giuliani is now?  An adulterer?  How about the NYC mayor who showed real leadership while his city was under attack by Al-Qaeda, with thousands dead, including many members of the local police and fire departments?  He's a hero and doesn't deserve to be called an adulterer for voicing an opinion about a candidate.

And unfortunately, even Paul Ryan, who has become engulfed by the establishment, has come in on the act with a completely dishonest attack on Newt.  Just yesterday (as in 1 day ago) he said  "This is not the 1990s. The 'Mediscare' is not working and we should not back down from this fight. I, for one, believe the country is ready, they're hungry for it. They are ready to hear real solutions. We shouldn't wait around for the status quo to become popular. Leaders don't follow the polls, leaders change the polls."  And what did he do today?  He announced the Ryan-Wyden plan which waters down his reforms tremendously and possibly eliminates any actual benefit from medicare reform.  The Washington Post has this choice line "Ryan and Wyden acknowledged that their plan might not bring in more savings than under the current law."  Is this how leader's lead?  Also, apparently Ryan and Wyden won't even write the proposed legislation any time in the near future, likely waiting until 2013 (I guess they have time as there will be no benefit coming until 2022). 

And there you have it.  Neither Romney's record nor his rhetoric are something that I would actually want to vote for.  He is, in many ways, little different from the guy who Romney supporters claim Romney would be best at getting rid of.  I am also very much turned off by his character, which is supposedly exemplary but is, in actuality, that of a calculating political operative only interested in himself.  As I've mentioned before, he is the Dorian Grey of the GOP and I stick by that.  I am also sick of the establishment thinking they can ram a candidate down our throats, without even a single vote being cast!  Unlike normal people, they care more about which party is in office, than the ideology of the guy actually in office.  They are the ones behind the Democrat-lite candidates that we had in almost every election since 1936.  No wonder government has continued to expand at such a fantastic rate.  If the Democrats win, they expand government.  If the Republicans win, they also expand government.  I'm tired of that cycle and I'm tired of having to vote between the lesser of two evils.

I also think those of us who believe in small government need to take a stand against MItt Romney in order to save the Tea Party movement.  I think that if after all the effort to fight Obamacare and to win back the House ends up with us getting someone like Mitt Romney, many Tea Party supporters will just throw up their hands in disgust and walk away from caring any more.  Focusing more on their jobs and family rather than politics.  This will ensure both that the GOP will lose a large portion of their base for future elections (giving more victories to the Democrats) as well as giving GOP control squarely in the hands of the establishment so they can continue to nominate losers like McCain, Romney, Dole and George H.W. Bush.

So, I can see myself supporting every other GOP candidate if they are the nominee.  Bachmann, Santorum, Perry, Paul and even Huntsman will get my vote (he might be a wayward conservative but at least he is honest about it.  Plus, his record as Governor of Utah is much better than Romney's and his tax reform plan is actually ambitious).  But not Romney.  Not ever.

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