Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Romney, the Perfect 1996 Candidate

It is unfair to pick on a year, but we have a broken political system that is biased towards short term thinking. Rumors that Mitt Romney will attempt a third presidential campaign are rather humorous. Yes, he trounces names in some straw polls, but most of that is name recognition and residue of Chris Christie getting snipered over a bridge. No bridge media hyperventilating and Christie would be ahead of everyone by a mile. Why do it? Why set up for possible failure? If it's a "come on people, do over, I was right, just look at tapes from 2012", that does not work now. We do not have a voter pool of elastic thinkers that could possibly think about the guy taking the job. It's tribal. I feel bad for Romney. He seems like a decent guy, and one obviously sharp and successful. Whenever I hear Romney speak, I think, "There's the perfect '96 Candidate".

The 1996 election was a nice one. No active wars on the front pages. No giant war commitments anywhere we had to unwind. The Cold War was over. Heck, the Russians even had a reformer in charge who was helping bring MTV, McDonald's and Pepsi to Russia. We had a growing economy. Some of the moral degeneracy had slowed a tiny bit because of the HIV-AIDS scare. The budget gap was closing and on track for a surplus the next year. The president, a Democrat, had signed a law from a Republican Congress that defended marriage for straights. The president, a Democrat, had signed a law from a Republican Congress to get tough with the border. Man, OJ's trial starts up, but heck, that looks pretty damn open and shut. He'll be in jail, everyone can see he did it. What a sunshine time? This is an election for Romney. That time frame and those stakes are tailor made for a well spoken, pro-business and ideologically flexible candidate. After all, Clinton is not too far removed from Romney from a political standpoint.

The problem of viewing Romney as a '96 candidate and the idea of an election being an easier one is our American democratic mindset. Here's 1996 from another perspective. There are no hot wars going on, but America is getting dragged into police actions with the UN. The Cold War is over, but why are we going back on our pledge not to advance NATO closer to Russia's new borders? America is propping up Yeltsin in Russia so that the US Treasury, Harvard, Soros and Wall Street can loot Russia with the help of some sharp insiders that that Western nexus trusts. This could all lead to a massive backlash from a nuclear armed nation that could hurt is in the far future. The economy is growing and budget gap is closing but how much is due to the expansion of financial sector debt and capital gains vs. productive economy growth? Greenspan just mentioned this irrational exuberance, which may become a problem. There is no security at the border, and illegal immigration is on the rise. OJ's a black millionaire going on trial in a location not in his upscale zip code but a different zip code with a far more black population that just had multiple race riots a few years earlier. Did we really fix the race problem? HIV-AIDS scared some people, and the DOMA says marriage is one man and one woman, but the Supreme Court just said you can't stop someone from making laws that protect the rights of gays, and the NY Times likes the idea of gay marriage???? Have you seen tv? MTV has a gay character on every Real World, sex positivism is rolling around and I hear rumors about Ellen DeGeneres.

I'll travel back in time and fix Romney's political career. "Remain a Michigan resident", is all I will say. If a Michigan resident, he can run as a Republican for governor in 2002 who is far more conservative than candidate Romney was in 2002 in Massachusetts. He would have won, too. All his money, his polished speaking, his corporate connections, and the GOP candidate who lost was named Dick Posthumus (Dead Dick). As a two term governor with a more conservative speaking record, he isn't flip-flop Mitt with Romneycare baggage in 2008. How good does he look in debates in 2008 versus neophyte Obama. Throw in a financial crisis, and who do people trust the car keys with? It is 2015, so we'd be discussing President Clinton's first two years in office, but a Michigan Romney is a far more base pleasing Romney.

The world is a tough place. Even to provide the sunshine times, hard decisions and sacrifice must be made presently or in anticipation of the future. Our system is gear to much on the moment because we need to know who is winning and who just won. Our political system now just talks about who just won and who may win next, with actual legislation a sideshow that can be used for individual grandstanding for later elections. It is unfair to think of Romney as a '96 Candidate because there should not be '96 Candidates. Although the dumb play is to have Romney running as a do-over because he was right, but the GOP failing to clear the field, which hurts him, so maybe this is real. People thought Al Gore might run in 2004, but he did not. His endorsement of Obama over Clinton in 2008 came at the crucial June stage when the superdelegates were deciding the nomination. You only get one real shot.

Romney's real role is most likely stalking horse and controller of a giant nexus of donors. Think of that 20% of voter support and the donor network behind him that Romney could bequeath to a new man. A fresh face to be used by the same donor network that might need someone less establishment to trick, sorry, please the red meat voters. It is quite obvious that the anti-Bush wing of the party is going to try to get out ahead of the Bush donor juggernaut. Besides the freshness test that both Romney and Jeb barely pass, they are tied to too many policies that are off-putting to too many pieces of their tribe's coalition. Unlike the left, they do not have a straight, white male boogeyman to unite the hatred and create solidarity for the coalition of victims that hate each other. Romney is a figure who came up through the system too late, and we have a system that is set for too short of a time frame and run by psychopaths too arrogant for our collective good. The world is far too serious of a business to leave it to a system and spectacle like an American presidential election.


nikcrit said...

Whenever I hear Romney speak, I think, "There's the perfect '96 Candidate".

Romney's flaws were similar to GWB's: regrdless of their true interior qualities, people want and the job of the US presidency require someone who can make serious decisions about war and economic policy and speak about those things with the grammar and syntax of a confident adult ------ and neither of those fellows could do either.

I also have a theoretically driven hunch that neither of them really wanted the job and suffer from 'scionitis': they're both basically silver-spoon-raised bluebloods who are disconnected from and ennervated by real-world issues and passions but are consumed by Oedipal demons that compel them to compete and attempt to surpass the achievements and shadows of their patrimony..... Oliver Stone's 'W' captured that element thematically really well, IMO.
Beyond even all of that, i'm not convinced that Romney really, truly wanted the job; to me, there's a essence of indifference that practically emanates from his pores.

Anonymous said...

quite a headtrip to think about. i like the angle.

unfortunately for him, and the country, he didn't do any of this. he is where he is. you really think he won't win? He just needs to focus on the rust belt states - a few points there and he's in.

chris christie is a boor; perhaps that is what people want, someone they can "relate to". another advertisement against democracy. I think his temper is wildly inappropriate for a guy who will be engaged in international relations and nuclear decisions. i've really never seen anything like it, other than michael grimm - and you see how that worked out.

jeb - just has no business in the white house. bush fatigue. he's like romney without the brains, the looks, or the business success. jeb is not even in office, unlike GWB.

democrats are basically careerist politicians, which is why republicans will struggle. there's no respectable path for "conservatives" to be in government - they are trapped by ideology and alternatives.

another interesting question which i'd be interesting to see you explore, is whether hillary is derailed by jeffrey epstein. apparently bill had a very close relationship with him, and there's "no way" he would not have at least known what jeffrey was up to, whether or not he actually committed statutory rape and/or child molestation.

alan dershowitz is involved, he negotiated a very shady deal to get jeffery off in florida (exonerating any co-conspirators) and his public statements are very carefully worded denials.

one could be cynical, and say "hey, the democrats will protect their own." however - couple of factors

- no one really likes hillary - she will be an annoying president at least.
- elizabeth warren has the obama "true liberal" wing
- if warren runs, the true libs will be less likely to extend an olive branch to the clintons, when they can vote their beliefs.

so - i'm thinking "this could be bad" for hillary. 2016 is not 1992. people are well aware of this issue (underage abuse) - one of the few areas where moral outrage is allowed.

Anonymous said...

every president since GHWB has had "daddy issues." cllinton - hello? Obama - seriously?

let's try this:

we have presidents motivated by "high class" daddy issues and presidents motivated by "low class" daddy issues.

clinton - birth father died (four marriages), raised by stepdad.

obama - disowned, single momma, raised by grandparents.

Republicans - "how can i live up to, or exceed the example set / failures of my father."

same story, just reflective of much healthier social trends.

peterike said...

A good analysis. One thing you missed on the dark side of 1996 was that the outsourcing of high-tech manufacturing and development was really gaining steam. We had outsourced lower-level manufacturing (clothing, furniture, smaller items) starting in the 80s, but high tech was still very much a "Made in the USA" deal. By the end of the 90s it was pretty much over. Hundreds of thousands (millions?) of very well paying jobs were shipped to China, and the floodgates were opened on H-1Bs and outsourcing work to India. Somewhere along the lines Microsoft etc. figured out they could hire cheapo Asian labor. This had the dual negative effect of destroying countless well paying jobs for white people, and starting a flood of Asians into America.

This is to say nothing of the utterly insane notion of allowing critical infrastructure components to be manufactured in a nation that is essentially our enemy. If China wanted, they could shut the doors on high-tech equipment shipments to America, and that would in a short time have a devastating effect on our military, on our communications infrastructure (no more China gear, no more interwebs), on our power grids, on medical equipment and so forth. All of this is dependent on a steady supply of equipment now made entirely in China or other areas of South Asia that China could easily blockade in the event of a true contretemps with the US. It would take years to re-ramp this in America.

All of this happened under Clinton, to say nothing of the massive giveaway of technology to China -- remember that satellite guy? some Jewish dude who sold us out to China -- along with equally massive Chinese industrial espionage which we did nothing to stop, and still do nothing to stop.

It's all yuk-yuk about Clinton and Monica, but Clinton was an absolute amoral scoundrel who should have been tried and shot for treason several times over. Thank goodness he had that stained dress to divert our attention while he was selling us out for a few campaign dollars.

Rifleman said...

Romney's flaws were similar to GWB's: regrdless of their true interior qualities, people want and the job of the US presidency require someone who can make serious decisions about war and economic policy and speak about those things with the grammar and syntax of a confident adult ------ and neither of those fellows could do either.

Really? You think Romney has GWB's low level of verbal skill?

I don't see it. Romney speaks very well and clearly. That's his problem. He's too direct about the facts and that gets him in trouble.

He's a weak campaigner and doesn't understand how much people in the media are predisposed to hate him.

But he is in no way inarticulate like GWB.

Christie is a low class pig and blowhard. The bridge wasn't his problem.

Son of Brock Landers said...

Yeah nikcrit, the other commenters note that Romney was a much better speaker. Their biographical similarities end with famous, connected dads and being straight white men. Romney was a joint JD-MBA from Harvard when that program first began, donated his inheritance and then made millions. Bush failed at every biz venture he tried.

PA said...

While G.W. Bush was genuinely inarticulate, you can say that ALL Republican politicians with national-level ambitions have a certain inarticulateness "imposed" on them. Lawrence Auster's tern "right-liberal" is the rhetorical zone these politicians are corralled in. This limits their speech to universalistic bromides and weak-sounding conservative clichés.

Even if you were to assume any genuine conviction on behalf of what Steve Sailer calls core-America, they are under a gag rule. They can's say "immigration is anti-white." They have to say something like "I'm all for legal immigration, but..."

Political correctness is one source of speech-restriction for the GOP. Corporate donors is another, which is again, why they can't articulate any Right-populist convictions, even if they had any.

That is why any major GOP candidate since Bob Dole sounds like a retarded schoolgirl.

nikcrit said...

re. w-vs.-mitt's verbal styles; perhaps i generalized but i don't think i'm too off on that asessment.

yes, romney was clearly less tongue-tied; but what he held over W in syntax he sorta lost when comparing the two circumstantially ------ as peterike noted, romney was really pitch-deaf culturally and situationally; it was hard for him to quickly get a sense of occasion and react right accordingly, e.g., his defending his 'useless 30%' remark by saying what he said was true 'but not too elegantly put' when he meant to say 'eloquently.' never mind that he was empirically correct in his statement; he also might have intentionally muffed the elegant/eloquent usage intentionally to not appear too effetely verbose, etc.
who really knows, but fwiw, there was a clear verbal clumsiness to Romney, sometimes even worse than W's tongue trippings, even though i'd agree that mitt was overall a higher-grade speaker.
I disagree with you dissenters about their scion dispositions; to me, mitt even more than W seemed disinterested in politics, or at least the nitty gritty of pol's work; it was all about creating a challenge out of thin air and, best of all, topping Dad at last.

nikcrit said...

To wit, re. Mitt:

Yet, I do understand that the annoyance level registered on each individual who takes in clips like this is largeley dependent on the ethnodemographics and history of the one viewing it, etc.

nikcrit said...

Okay, not to belabor a point that we possible, if not 'agree on,' at least mutally understand. But does this clip merely an aberration to an otherwise savvy and clever verbal campaigner; i recall, at a time i was quite neutral in the race, dropping my jaw in my lap while taking in the following gaffes when they first occurred.

I mean, c'mon, man!

nikcrit said...

.....but Clinton was an absolute amoral scoundrel who should have been tried and shot for treason several times over.

I've taken it upon myself to up my financial and economic-system knowledge in recent months, including reading biz-columnistsd of the last twenty-some years, and i'm more and more coming to the same conclusion as peterike; i recall clinton touting the virtue of turning over our manufacturing and us becoming a 'service economy to the world'----- and even then, in my even larger naivete, i kept thinking 'how would that benefit us?'
What's sorta scary to this center-left born, raised american outlier ethnodemographically is that i'm finding myself becoming more and more a down-the-line Patrick Buchananite economically! I mean, justg what is wrong with protectionism? Perot agreed too.

pssst, just please don't tell me upper-midwestern scandinavian mother of this development of mine; i don't wanna be disowned at this stage of the game, lolzz

Rollory said...

"The budget gap was closing and on track for a surplus the next year. "

You may know this and have written it in irony or sarcasm, but I want to point this out anyway: it is a lie. The budget never was balanced under Clinton. There never was a surplus. All the news reports to the contrary were deliberate lies. What actually happened was that they took a series of short-term loans out of the Social Security fund, and in the accounting they noted the money coming in, but not that these loans would have to be paid back. If you or I do something similar we go to jail for fraud if caught. Had that accounting been done correctly it would have been clear that the country was nowhere near a surplus.