(This is the first of profiles of the current candidates and their performance. I’m reviewing this as if each of the candidates submitted information to me and then did an on-site interview, and my reactions to their information. They are considered to be applying as a Republican candidate for office, not a conservative candidate for office.)
Candidate Name: Mitt Romney
Cover Letter: Bio from Website.
Comments: He seems like a good family man and has been actively involved in industry. Strangely enough, there’s nothing in the post that says why Mitt wants to be President.
Education History: BS in English, Brigham Young University
JD (Law Degree), Harvard
Comments: Very impressive, especially the joint JD/MBA. He has had high grades. But do we want another lawyer as President?
Work History: Management Consultant, venture capital / investment, CEO of Bain Capital, CEO Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games, Governor of Massachusetts, ran for Senate, ran for President in 2008
Comments: Certainly has a lot of leadership experience and understands business.
Government Experience: Governor of Massachusetts. Ran for Senate. Enacted Romneycare. Ran as a Pro-Choice Governor in Massachusetts. Claimed a pro-life mantle when running for President in 2008.
Comments: A “moderate” Republican. Has claimed a more “conservative” mantle, but his record disputes that. Has serious conflicts with the Tea Party thanks to his Romneycare policy.
Issues: Whole plan is listed here and focuses on economic policy. His jobs plan is to “restructure” the tax code by “broadening the tax base”. He never really defines this particular term, but the tax base is going to be broad, baby! He also plans on moving toward a territorial tax plan to bring extranational taxes back to the the US. He plans on eliminating red tape by repealing Obama regulations. He wants to ensure that regulations do not make a direct impact on the economy and will restrict any new regulations from making negative impacts on the economy. How? Not sure. he will also allow new permits for drilling and expand the territory allowed for such drilling. What territories? Doesn’t say. His labor policy will be to put more “conservative” people on the NRLB to ensure unions act “fairly”. He plans to “work with Congress” on this (translation: if Congress wants to do it, I’ll sign it.)
Comments: It’s long. And in fact, most of it isn’t what Romney is proposing, but what Obama has done wrong. It’s an interesting read because the proposals inside are vague and the language is carefully crafted to come off as saying something important. Every statement is capable of meaning something that can be deflected. For example, Romney throws his support behind Paul Ryan’s Medicare Reform as “a good start”, and claims to want to do something similar but different. What he wants to do that’s different? I don’t know. He doesn’t explain. And that’s what Romney is good at– making sweeping declarative statements that have no substance. Same goes for his jobs policy, energy policy, labor policy– everything is treated with a broad brush. There is no “red meat”, per se.
The Interview: Romney’s performance in the debates has been great. He’s been confident, articulate, and has good comebacks for any attacks. However, he’s not giving any specifics on his plans. His 59-point plan on jobs is an organizational mess and Romney hasn’t explained anything about it at the debates because it would take too long. But it hasn’t hurt his performances in the debates, and he’s still the frontrunner.
Comments: Again, light on specifics. Mitt looks great, sounds great, but is weak on giving an indication on what his plans are. Mitt excels at talking while not saying anything. He’s proud of Romneycare but opposes Obamacare even though people from Romneycare lent the Obama administration support on how to craft Obamacare.
Overall Application: Mitt’s a force to be reckoned with. But he’s short on conservative credentials. Serious conflicts with Tea Party values. Proven leader. He’ll be a good candidate, but as for governance, it’s unsure just what he will push and if it will be a solid conservative Presidency or something more middling. His track record suggests he will lean more towards centrist policies. He’s talked a more “conservative” game in this run, but his plan lacks specifics. Also, there’s nothing that suggests Romney will cut government spending or streamline government by eliminating departments. He’ll suspend Obamacare, but what he’ll do with it is unclear. Will he push for its dissolution? Will he amend it? Will he talk with Paul Ryan and get Medicare straightened out? Who knows. Nothing in his debate performances has addressed specifics in these plans. I’d like to see more specifics, but Romney’s been running for 10 months now and we haven’t seen anything that the Tea Party can get behind.