The Worst Gaffe of 2012

Soon-to-be GOP nominee Mitt Romney (end rhyme) was caught on tape doing the unthinkable. Something so vile, so disastrous, that I doubt his campaign will survive the week.

What did he do? He revealed details on his plans were he elected President. (Gasp!) He said he wouldn’t do it, but here it is.

Before I get into what he actually said, can I just ask how these guys running for office can think anything said in front of a crowd, even a super secret fundraiser crowd, is going to remain secret? Literally everyone in the room has a device in their pocket that can record video and instantly upload it to the Internet. I know you want to believe that these guys are on your team, but everybody wants to get a scoop sometimes.

The highlights of Mitt’s slip:

  • He plans on cutting tax deductions for second home mortgages and state income and property taxes to pay for an across the board 20% tax cut.
  • He wants to frame his campaign around jobs and kids. Real controversial Mittster. Really pushing the envelope with that one.
  • Finally, he wants to make Republicans an attractive choice for Hispanic voters. Knowing Republicans as well as I do, I assume Governor Rom-com will achieve this goal by offering a mix of tax cuts, tax credits and something slightly offensive/ridiculous to minorities.

There you have it folks. The first dip into the minutia of the Romney 2012 platform. Not much to it yet, but I’m sure after a few more big-money fundraisers we’ll get a bit more.

The Potential for Backfire of Mr. Romney’s Campaign Strategy

Now that you’ve finished reading that incredibly long title, I think it’s time we begin discussing the general election. The general Presidential election. The one that comes after the primary.

Now that Mitt Romney has wrapped up the Republican nomination, he is concentrating on attacking President Obama. He’s recently criticized President for being out of touch and spending too much time at Harvard (oh snap!).

HOLD UP. Lets run this back one minute. Romney is calling out Obama for being out of touch. Even though he’s the guy who has an elevator for his cars. And the Harvard thing? Mittens Romulus has not one, not three, but TWO degrees from Harvard. Here’s a video of Al Sharpton exposing this hypocrisy. The reason he keeps referring to Romney as Willard is because that’s Mitt’s real first name and the  name Willard is way less cool than Mitt.

It seems like a risky move to attack someone in areas that you yourself are weak. The smart play here for el Presidente is probably to say something along the lines of, “Is he serious? He’s joking right? It’s the same… We both went… Car elevator.” And here’s a tip to anyone thinking about getting into politics: whenever your strategy can be effectively countered with two questions and three incomplete sentences, you need to rethink your strategy.

The Dual Nature of the Buffett Rule

In the next few weeks, we can expect Democrats to start bringing up a new tax increase called the Buffett Rule. The Buffett Rule has nothing to do with all-you-can-eat taxes, but is actually named after Warren Buffett. Buffett, the richest man in Omaha, Nebraska, once commented that he has a lower tax rate than his secretary, who earns considerably less than him. Thus, the Buffett Rule will raise minimum tax rates on millionaires and two millionaires to 30%.

The money raised from this tax would go towards reducing the deficit, but don’t let that fool you. The Dems are using it to pound Republicans. Most American’s are fine with raising taxes on the rich and Democrats know that. If Republicans stay true to form and reflexively shout “NO!” at anything with the word tax in it, Democrats end up on top. Plus, stirring up some extra hate for the rich can’t hurt considering Mitt Romney is obscenely wealthy.

The polling suggests that a majority of Americans are for this tax, but I can imagine a scenario in which this strategy backfires on the Democrats. 30% seems like a lot to most people. Plus, a tax increase is always a tax increase. Still though, it will be hard for Republicans to defend voting against the Buffett Rule, especially when it plays into the stereotype that they are overly protective of the rich.

The Inevitability of Governor Romney’s Nomination

Congratulations Governor Romney! I don’t know if you heard, but you won primaries in Maryland, DC and Wisconsin yesterday!  You hadn’t heard? You thought the primaries were over? Well, thank God you read this blog. That could have been really embarrassing.

For everyone else, Mitt Romney won some more states yesterday. But I’m sorry to inform you, I really, really am, that the Republican Presidential primary is not over yet. Technically.

Before you vomit all over your screen or murder your TV for fear of accidentally catching a glimpse of a debate, I should let you know, this thing is over. Romney’s got it in the bag.

This shouldn’t be a huge surprise if you’d been paying attention (it’s ok if you haven’t, sometimes I wish I hadn’t). I made a bet with a friend in November that Romney would win it all. He picked Newt (HA). Romney’s had the money, the establishment and, perhaps most importantly in a Republican primary, the next-in-line status. And now he’s got an overwhelming lead in delegates and the next states to vote are in the Northeast, Romney’s wheelhouse.

Except Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania could be a problem. That’s where Rick Santorum is from. And he’s leading in the polls. And of all the states left to vote it has the fourth most delegates, so it’s hard to ignore. Oh and that delegate lead Romney has? Turns out he only has about 57% of the delegates he needs to wrap up the nomination. So, the second half just started.

Oh and after that? The general election. That primary election was just a preview election for this next election. Which, yes, will give me a ton of stuff to write about, but who’s going to read it if everyone has been bored to death?

The Threat of a Boring Vice President

In an op-ed for the Boston Globe, former Republican Senator from New Hampshire John E. Sununu urged eventual GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to choose a “dull” vice-president. It makes sense from an electoral angle. Making waves tends to offend people and that’s not a good way to win votes.

I agree with Senator Sununu. In addition to a having a last name that wouldn’t be out of place in a Dr. Seuss book, he has a point. Picking an experienced running mate is responsible from a governance standpoint and makes background checks all the easier. Al Gore or George H. W. Bush would have been competent taking over for the president had the worst happened.

That said, I really hope he doesn’t pick a boring VP. Elections are already pretty boring. No need to dull it up on purpose. And this election hasn’t been all that exciting. Some in the “elite media” are already talking about the 2016 election. Luckily Sarah Palin is on the case, agreeing with me as usual.

Plus, an interesting VP candidate makes my job easy. Personally, I’m rooting for Vice President Donald Trump. Why not? He’s super conservative, which would shore up Romney’s base and he has business experience, just like Romney. To top it off, he already has a catchphrase that fits in with Romney’s message. Ok, maybe “you’re fired” won’t win many people over when unemployment is as high as it is. But it would sell a heck of a lot of t-shirts. Sure, he probably wouldn’t make a great president if something awful were to happen to POTUS Romney, but he would be fun.

And frankly, it wouldn’t be fair if Mr. Mitt chose a boring Veep, considering that President Obama chose Joe Biden, coolest dude on this side of the Mason-Dixon line. Whether he’s letting us know how he really feels about health care reform or just singin’ a song, he keeps it fresh. Always gotta keep yer eye on ol’ Joe, you never know what he’s agonna do!

The Inconvenience of Details

So I know I talked a little bit about Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget last week, but if you’ll indulge me, I would like to pick on him one more time. It’s not that I want to make the guy a constant target. But when your ideas are targeted towards a political party that believes protecting individual liberty and outlawing certain types of marriage are two sides of the same coin, things tend to get a little nutty.

In addition to the cuts he proposed, his budget also promises “Pro-Growth Tax Reform.” Now, there’s nothing inherently crazy about tax reform; in fact his budget lays out a number of problems with the current tax code that are considered conventional wisdom for both parties. What Ryan wants to do is lower income tax rates and the amount of income tax brackets, while eliminating loop-holes and deductions to make up for the money lost by lowering rates. Ryan laid out a few specifics, most notably that income taxes will be 10% and 25%.

The budget is less clear on which loop-holes will be closed and which deductions will be phased out. This is where things get ugly. People like their loop-holes and deductions. Homeowners, homebuilders, bankers and realtors all benefit from home mortgage tax deductions. Denying a deduction for child dependents can be labeled as anti-family and closing loopholes for oil and energy companies will be blamed for seasonal increases in gas and electricity prices. Which is why Ryan didn’t single any out for cuts. Which is a problem, because he needs to find somewhere in the neighborhood of $4-6 trillion to keep revenue from dropping.

Republicans claim to have these great plans, but the details seem to derail them. Mitt Romney went so far as to say he wouldn’t name programs he would cut. But vote for him anyway, because he won’t cut anything you like, just things other people like. My well-honed political brain is telling me that there is an opening for a Republican candidate who isn’t afraid of getting into the nitty-gritty. Rick Santorum can’t fill that hole. Everyone says the devil is in the details, so he won’t get near those. Maybe Newt Gingrich could step in though. He loves to talk and reciting statistics and obscure programs would be one way for him to hear his own voice. Gingrich: He’s not afraid of the miNEWTia. That’s a pretty good slogan, if you like puns. And if there’s one thing America loves, it’s puns. Not details.

The Presidentialness of Newt Gingrich

According to the National Journal, Newt Gingrich has begun charging his supporters $50 for the pleasure, nay privilege, of taking a photograph with him. This is his latest desperate (and I’ve used the word desperate deliberately) to keep his campaign going, regardless of what those pesky voters do.

I think it’s time for a little thought experiment. If Newt charges $50 for a photo, and taking a photo is a 30 second process, it is fair to say that the Gingrich campaign values their candidate’s time at $100 a minute. And 30 seconds is a liberal estimate, given that photographers are literally dealing with the speed of light every time they snap a picture. At $100 a minute, this man could reinvigorate the economy by himself if he concentrated himself on something other than a losing campaign for president.

But he won’t do that because casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson keeps pouring money into super PACs determined to prop up the defeated husk of our former Speaker a la Weekend At Bernie’s. And while “casino billionaire” is the most baller title I’ve ever heard, I have to fault the guy for giving Newt even the slightest hope. At this point a vote for Newt is worth no more than the chuckle you get after pulling the lever. Honestly though, I’m not surprised Newt’s campaign has become a joke; his name IS the most similar to Lizard People.

So enjoy the laughs you get watching Newt Gingrich, clad in a head scarf and huge sunglasses, hide from the paparazzi like a true diva. Because the only thing more presidential than charging people to stand next to you for 30 seconds, is acting like Madonna.