Consultant in Chief

Instead of planning to cut government, Mitt Romney is repackaging the same old Republicanism.

(Page 5 of 5)

If flip-flopping is Romney’s greatest weakness, his business experience is probably his greatest strength. But can the two be separated? Consultants don’t have ideology; they have strategy. Their job is to take their current client’s side, whatever it is, and put a good polish on it while restoring whatever’s underneath. 

Think about what Romney actually did while running Bain Capital. Stephen Kaplan, the Chicago business professor, argues that he should get credit just for having run something. But former Bain Capital partner Eric Kriss, who also worked with Romney in the Massachusetts governor’s office, has warned people not to read too much into the gig. “Mitt ran a private equity firm, not a cement company,” Kriss told The New York Times in 2007. “He was not a businessman in the sense of running a company. He was a great presenter, a great spokesman, and a great salesman.”

Those who have worked with Romney cite his flexibility as a virtue. “He’s spent his entire life in a world that’s constantly changing, where he has had to modify his thinking in order to address problems,” says Scott Meadow, his friend and former business partner. “I think it demonstrates something that I’ve always seen: an ability to adapt and change, and a willingness to accept that his thinking evolves. And not being afraid to change his mind and go in a different direction because that seems like the appropriate thing to do.” Meadow says Romney is “loyal to success,” whatever form it takes. “He’s flexible because he’s had to be,” Meadow says. 

A Consultant for the GOP

Which is why Romney’s book, his speeches, his debate performances, and his interviews are not necessarily indicators of who Romney is and what he believes. Aside from being rhetorically pro-business, Romney appears to have no consistent ideological outlook. The best way to understand his campaign is as a top-of-the-line consultant’s report on the contemporary GOP. 

His first set of major policy proposals, a 150-page PDF document titled “Believe In America,” has all the worst hallmarks of consultancy. It also reflects the baseline incoherence and inconsistencies of the client. 

The document is heavy on information but light on insight, long on minutiae yet short on solutions. It has no sense of proportion: An appendix offers a 59-point list of “policy proposals that will get America back to work,” from minor bureaucratic tweaks (“establish fixed timetables for all resource development approval”) to specific legislative updates (“reduce corporate income tax rate to 25 percent”) to undefined wholesale federal overhauls (“undertake fundamental restructuring of government programs and service”). The proposals Romney does elaborate on tend to be carefully couched in the language of possibility and technocratic tinkering. “A robust investment tax credit, extending the write-off for capital expenditures for an additional year, and a lower payroll tax,” he writes, “could each have a positive effect if properly structured.” Implementation—management—is the key.

This constant hedging appears designed to avoid commitment whenever possible, but it also mirrors the indecision of the Republican base. Medicare—the single biggest driver of America’s long-term debt—is mentioned just three times in “Believe In America,” including a familiar jab at Obama for cutting $500 billion from the program to fund his health care overhaul. By the beginning of October, Romney could be found cajoling GOP voters in Florida with the line, “When you see your friends with signs that say keep your hands off our Medicare, they are absolutely right.”

Romney’s eventual Medicare overhaul proposal, unveiled that month, was yet another attempt to have it both ways. Like House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Romney embraced “premium support,” a softer variant on individual vouchers that would give each Medicare beneficiary a set amount of money with which to purchase his own insurance plan from a menu of government-approved options. But perhaps sensitive to the barrage of criticism Ryan has taken for proposing to “end Medicare as we know it,” Romney opted to keep a government-run, fee-for-service Medicare plan as an option. “Unlike the Ryan Plan, Romney’s approach keeps traditional Medicare available as one of the insurance plans that seniors can choose among,” Romney’s campaign explained on his website. (A few weeks later, Ryan offered a version of his own plan that includes a Medicare-like option.) 

Yet Romney’s plan doesn’t quite preserve Medicare as it has always been offered; under his plan, even “traditional” Medicare would be subject to the limits of premium support. Asked whether Romney’s plan could reasonably be described as ending Medicare as we know it, a Romney policy advisor admits that the structure of the program would be altered in the future. Why the hedge? Despite Romney’s oft-stated belief in the power of competition, he is not confident about it in the case of Medicare. His policy advisor warns that the effects of competition are still unclear, and it would be a mistake to eliminate a fee-driven system that has worked for years. Yet the whole premise of reform is that Medicare doesn’t work. In No Apology, Romney talks about the “burden” the program imposes. When outlining his reform proposal in October, he warned that “Medicare will go bankrupt at some point.” 

In this, his second primary campaign, the problem that consultant Romney has chosen to solve is not the Medicare crisis, the federal debt burden, or sluggish economic growth. Instead, it is how to appeal to a Republican Party torn between Tea Party activists and Beltway moderates. Romney’s insistence on having it both ways at every opportunity reveals not just his own incoherence but a party with irreconcilable goals: a leaner federal government that cuts no major programs, a balanced budget with a beefed-up defense budget, entitlements that are reformed and reduced but never cut or changed. What does Mitt Romney believe? Like the PDF says, he believes in America—and anything America wants him to believe. 

Peter Suderman is an associate editor at reason.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Tim||

    In the end, Obama will be the anyone-but-Romney candidate. Contemplate that on the tree of woe.

  • o3||

    do u like turkish baths after the tree of woe timmy?

  • o3||

    derp de derpity derp

  • ||

    It's nice that Reason prefers candidates with substance like Santorum.

  • Would Be Tulpa Spoofer||

    Fuck, I was coming in here to spoof you with some, "Waaah! Reason is picking on Mittens! Waaah! He's totally better than Obama even though they are virtually the same! Waah!" but the real deal had already beaten me to the punch.

  • Apatheist||

    Seriously Reason has shown no preference for Santorum. I'll give you this Tulpa Santorum is the worst of the bunch but all three of them are fucking awful.

  • ||

    Actually I'd put Gingrich on the bottom, but it's close. Which makes the GOP field sans Paul just a Santorum sandwich.

  • ||

    I'm always one step ahead of you. That's why I'm up here and you're down there.

  • Would Be Tulpa Spoofer||

    When it comes to logical fallacies, you truly are the master. You'll get no argument from me.

  • tarran||

    Tulpa continues his slump: guessing incorrectly, yet again, about other people's motivations and desires.

  • ||

    You're just saying that because you're jealous.

  • Tony||

    Don't confuse having substance with being a substance.

  • Tony||

    Santorum: It's what's for dinner!

  • ||

    From my favorite Demotivator: "Consulting: If you're not a part of the solution, there's good money to be made in prolonging the problem."

  • juris imprudent||

    Or as an old friend and co-worker put it...

    The Consultant's Credo: In confusion there is profit.

  • kinnath||

    It's all about the after-work.

  • J Robert Giles||

    Santorum had a big day yesterday - here's a look at the man behind the vest. Please share.

    http://jrobertgiles.blogspot.c.....point.html

  • Apatheist||

    I don't want to see behind the vest. He makes me vomit enough as it is.

  • ||

    I know what's behind the vest...

    "Ricky. Start the re-actor."

  • ||

    Let's completely mix up some scifi for Ricky Cumfarts.

    "The Santorum must flow."

  • ||

    "Santorum is coming."

  • ||

    "This should be agony. I should be a mass of aching muscle — broken, spent, unable to move. And, were I an older man, I surely would... But I'm a man of 30 — of 20 again. The santorum on my chest is a baptism. I'm born again."

  • ||

    "One does not simply walk into santorum!"

  • Gojira||

    Kirk: "SANTORUUUUUUUM!!!"

  • ||

    "I've got Santorum...in front and behind!"

  • ||

    "If it santorums, we can kill it."

  • ||

    "murotnaS! murotnaS!"

  • Gojira||

    Mos Eisley: you will never find a more wretched hive of santorum and villainy.

  • ||

    "The 600 series had rubber skin. We spotted them easy, but these are new. They look human... Santorum, bad breath, everything. Very hard to spot. I had to wait 'till he moved on you before I could zero him."

  • Gojira||

    They mostly come out in santorum...mostly.

  • ||

    "Hey, buddy. You got santorum in there, or what?"

    POSSIBLE RESPONSE: YES/NO; OR WHAT?; GO AWAY; PLEASE COME BACK LATER; FUCK YOU, ASSHOLE; FUCK YOU'

    "Fuck you, asshole."

  • BakedPenguin||

    "The Santorum mostly comes out at night. Mostly."

  • ||

    "Soylent Green is Santorum!!!"

  • Gojira||

    Beat you to that one, BP, at 4:18 ^_^

  • BakedPenguin||

    Ah, fuck you, Jim.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Or better yet, "He's Santorum, Jim.

  • ||

    Santorum at the party, Richter!

  • ||

    I got five Santorums to feed.

  • Would Be Tulpa Spoofer||

    Sir! The anus, sir! It appears to be...jammed!

    Jammed?...Santorum. There's only one man who would dare give me the santorum! Lone Starr!

  • ||

    THIS!!!

  • Sudden||

    Can we add fantasy fiction into the mix?

    "Winter is shitcumming"

  • ||

    nope try again

  • annonymous commenter some guy||

    I don't know how I feel about yesterday...

    Part of me wants to cry knowing that so many of my countrymen agree with a man like Santorum. Part of me wants to crack a little smile at the thought that the GOP is on the path to an explosive convention.

  • Sudden||

    I kind of expected Minnesota and Missoura might break favorably for Santorum as midwest and upper midwest manufacturing blue-collar states. But Colorado surprised me. I expected less religiousity, more liberty-leaning, and more professionalism among them.

    Tim Tebow has turned that place into a shithole apparently.

  • tarran||

    My principal at the financial firm I work for is a former atheist biology teacher from Colorado. The quiet type of atheist, not in-your-face militant kind.

    Some of the stories he told me when I was on a long drive described a very religious so-con state. He described a great deal of social oppobrium due to his non-participation in religious things. For example, the administration was wigged out that he wasn't enthusiastic about teaching Intelligent Design to his students.

  • ||

    Colorado Springs/El Paso County turned out to vote quite heavily. The Denver suburban counties seem not to have.

  • Adams, Jefferson, Arapahoe||

    Fox and CNN told us voting for Paul would be a waste of time, so we stayed home and smoked a bowl instead.

  • tarran||

    You left out Santorum's role in the K street project, picking candidates for lobbying jobs in DC on bhealf of Senate Republicans.

    As long as the Gayz Menace is suppressed, Santorum has noooo problem with crony capitalism plundering the un-politically-connected.

  • annonymous commenter some guy||

    After squeaking out a victory in the January 3 Iowa caucus, Romney was well positioned to win the GOP nomination.

    When was this written? Last I heard, Romney squeaked out a loss in Iowa...

  • Peter Suderman||

    Our print production schedule means we have to send pieces to the printer quite early. This piece was finalized just a few days after Iowa, when the count still had Romney winning (just barely).

  • ||

    In 2010, the party successfully unified around an anti-spending message that helped it retake the House.

    In 2010, the party successfully unified around an anti-Obama and anti-Democratic Party message. As always, that consisted of various wings of the party (hawks, fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, and the always popular "exactly the same stuff except we'll be the ones in charge" wing) sublimating their differences.

  • Sudden||

    To be fair, they rocked the anti-spending rhetoric, so long as it was against spending on the National Endowment for the Arts, but left 75% of the federal budget known as SS, MC, and Defense alone.

    It is a bit of a stretch to say they embraced an entirely anti-spending message when they campaigned on the Medi-Scare cuts in PPACA.

  • Apatheist||

    Holy fuck Chrome 17 is fast and it fixed all the problems that cropped up with adblocking and reasonable the last month or so.

  • Rich||

    The first printing of the hardback summarized RomneyCare’s achievements and national implications with the line, “We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country.” When the book came out in paperback, that line was gone.

    Just gotta ask: Is that line in the eBook?

  • Ann Barnhardt||

  • barfman||

    I'm gonna need to start charging Overtime.

  • ||

    If Romney gets elected, he won't do shit but make Obama's worst shit "bi Partisan". That of course won't stop the Democrats and the media from blaming the continued decline of the country on Romney's radical rightwing, libertarian nihilism.

    So other than giving a bunch of party hacks I can't stand political jobs, what exactly is the upside of Romney winning? I don't even buy the whole court appointment angle. Suiter, Warren, and Stevens were all Republican appointees. So it is far from certain Willard won't fuck those up too.

    If on the other hand, Obama wins, there would be some upside. First, it would prevent the Democrats and liberals from blaming the country's problems on conservatives. Second, it would probably help the Republicans in Congress. People may vote for Obama because they don't like Mittens, but no one wants another 2009 where him and Pelosi are in there running the country without any adult supervision. My guess is that a likely Obama win would cause a lot of people to ticket split hoping Congress keeps him under control.

    So Obama would be left with no mandate, since his party would have lost seats in Congress and he his running a totally negative it wasn't my fault campaign. He would be facing a hostile Congress. Since he has shown no ability to either work with the other side or move public opinion, he would be a lame duck from day one. All a second term Obama could do is executive power grabs and run arounds around Congress.

    Now, I suppose it is possible that he could irrepairably damage the country like that. But I doubt it. More likely he would do a bunch of infuriating and corrupt payoffs to supporters that didn't do that much long term damage. Meanwhile, he would continue to discredit liberals and the Democratic party and put them on the blame line for all of the country's problems. I can't see the Democratic party emerging from that as anything but a shell of its former self.

    I certainly won't shed any tears over Obama losing. And I still think he will. But I am not sure it wouldn't be better if he won.

  • ||

    Speaking of making shit bipartisan:

    The poll shows that 53 percent of self-identified liberal Democrats — and 67 percent of moderate or conservative Democrats — support keeping Guantanamo Bay open,


    and

    And get this: Depressingly, Democrats approve of the drone strikes on American citizens by 58-33, and even liberals approve of them, 55-35.

    It’s hard to imagine that Dems and liberals would approve of such policies in quite these numbers if they had been authored by George W. Bush.

    As General Hayden said the other day, "We needed a court order to eavesdrop on [Alawki], but we didn't need a court order to kill him. Isn't that something?"

  • ||

    That is a good counter argument in favor or electing a Republican no matter how bad. It is clear that Democrats and liberals will under no circumstances hold one of their own accountable for abusing civil rights. They will however, gladly hold a Republican responsible. A Republican President is much more constrained as a result.

  • Bam!||

    Fuck civil rights. I want better economic policy and nothing constrains Republicans from doing bat-shit crazy stuff in that realm.

  • tarran||

    John,

    I agree with this analysis, and want to extend it.

    In 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 2000, 2008 the elections went to people who made a convincing case that they were going to reform government and get it off of people's backs while streamlining and making more efficient the services it provides.

    The electorate is pissed at the government giving give-aways to politically connected people. For a significant faction of Americans this means a pseudo-libertarian cutting of spending while leaving 'critical' safety nets in place.

    With the possible exception of Ron Paul none of the Republican candidates have any serious reform plan.

    Thus, another four years in the wilderness might teach the Republicans= establishment to stop promoting ersatz limited government candidates but to go for the real deal.

  • ||

    I doubt that. They will convince themselves that they would have won if only they didn't have to pander to the small government nuts.

    The only real hope is that by 2016, a Republican President and Congress is forced by events to do the right thing because they will never do it on their own.

  • ||

    Eh, another real hope is that a truly moderate Dem President is combined with a Republican Congress and they cut government in a bipartisan manner, or with great acrimony, whatever works.

  • ||

    The problem is that there are no moderate Dems left. The Kos wing owns the Democratic Party. That is really the heart of our problems. The Republicans deserved to lose in 2008. And they deserved to be totally out of power for more than two years.

    But the Democrats have gone so fucking insane that voters had no choice but to put the Republicans back in control of the House and nearly the Senate in 2010. The country desparately needs moderate Democrats who will kick out the hard core leftists. As it is, the only alternative to Republicans is turning the country over the public employee unions and the greens. And that is no alternative.

  • ||

    Cuomo in New York appears to be getting a reputation for cutting spending. (And since he's a Dem, no protests.) Is it entirely undeserved?

  • ||

    I don't think so. I think a few liberals are waking up to the fact that they can't get their ponies if the public employee unions take all of the money. The problem is he is just taking on the unions to use the money elsewhere. He is not really cutting the size of government.

  • ||

    I seem to recall the Blue Dog Democrats torpedoing the card check law, the public option part of Obamacare, and reinstating the assault weapons ban.

  • tarran||

    The only real hope is that by 2016, a Republican President and Congress is forced by events to do the right thing because they will never do it on their own.

    I wish I could say you are wrong... :(

  • Sudden||

    I certainly understand the Romney-averse crowd here. But truth be told, I consider him the most palatable option outside of Paul (or GJ on the libertarian ticket). Romney strikes me as a shrewd enough chap to say what he needs to say to get elected, but also well-informed enough to know what the big issues are.

    He refuses to address entitlements, but a man of his background surely recognizes the complete absurdity of the entitlement state. Maybe he is just trying to avoid scaring granny until he secures the nomination.

    Sadly though, he also seems like the kind who will pass politically popular legislation once in office (hence Romneycare in Mass). Truth be told, I think he offers a significant improvement on Obama. That said, I wouldn't mind seeing Obama beat him if only to provide the opening for Rand Paul in 2016.

  • ||

    Romney strikes me as a shrewd enough chap to say what he needs to say to get elected, but also well-informed enough to know what the big issues are.

    He refuses to address entitlements, but a man of his background surely recognizes the complete absurdity of the entitlement state.

    Err, is this supposed to be an intentional parody of all the libertarians and moderates who supported Obama because of what a smart man like that must have been really thinking, no matter what he told the rubes?

  • ||

    Not that I'm saying that I like Gingrich or Santorum at all, I would pick Romney second out of that set of four. But your comments still strike me as astoundingly similar to what was said about Obama by hopeful people. (And David Brooks still seems to be saying the same things about Obama.)

  • Sudden||

    I was never wooed by language as much as record. And in that regard, although Newt is the guy with the more silver tongue and needlessly verbose lexicon, Mittens actually has experience in financial analysis.

    I care not how well or poorly a person speaks. Hence why I'm sometimes alone in thinking Obama or Newt (depending upon the company I'm in at the time) complete fools, all style and no substance. The only endearing quality to Mittens is that he was resoundingly successful in a field that is largely about financial accounting. That gives me at least the glimmer of hope that he recognizes the problem, which is more than I can confidently say about Newt, Santorum, or Obama.

  • ||

    First off, Romney has actually demonstrated his smarts in the real world, in several different pursuits: the Olympics, capital management, etc. The biggest organizational responsibility BO had before 1/20/09 was when he edited the law review, and who knows what happened with that.

    But even if he is being completely forthright in his support of the entitlements, so what? NO ONE is going to get elected who directly attacks entitlements. It's that simple.

  • ||

    Oh, all that's fairly true, I can't disagree with it much. It's just that if a politician can't get elected doing something, it means that he also can't get re-elected, win midterm elections, keep his popularity up, etc., doing those things.

    So it all means that none of it's likely to happen. Which we knew anyway.

  • ||

    means-testing for SS and Medicare is not quite as noxious to the public as getting rid of it altogether, and would save oodles of cash.

    But you'd have to be extremely careful about approaching it, because your opponents will definitely use the opportunity to paint you as against all SS and Medicare (be they Dems or GOP). Part of the problem with politics being a game these days rather than serious business.

  • ||

    Boehner has been tweeting that the Republicans have been offering means-testing on Medicare Part A for the payroll tax cut, and the Dems are refusing.

    The Dem position is, as always, raise taxes on the rich Yes, cut spending on the rich, Nay.

  • ||

    He would definitely be an improvement over Obama. But that is a pretty low bar. I just don't know if he would be enough of an improvement. The worst thing that could happen is for Romney to get in there and not fix things allowing another nut leftist to get in there in 2016.

  • tarran||

    But that is a pretty low bar.

    Is it lower than a limbo stick at carnival time?

  • ||

    MassCare didn't occur in a vacuum. The solid blue legislature had some even more statist universal health care plans lined up.

  • ||

    Sure it didn't. And if Romney would come out and say that and admit it was a horrible mistake, I would probably vote for him. But he won't do that. So he is either a liar or really believes it. Either way, I can't vote for him.

  • ||

    That's a piss poor reason to hand the election to BO.

  • ||

    Why? If he believes in Romneycare, he is just as bad as BO.

  • ||

    I think that gridlock with a Republican Congress would be better than GWB style progress.

    In 2008 this wasn't an option, the Congress was definitely going to be Democratic. In 2012 I'm not so sure. I don't want unified Dem control, but I might prefer Obama + GOP Congress to Romney + GOP Congress.

  • ||

    How do you like Obama + GOP congress now?

  • ||

    Let's see:

    Recess appointments while Senate is in session? Check.

    Instructing the EPA to regulate CO2? Check.

    Starting wars in Libya and soon Syria? Check.

    Running guns to Mexican drug gangs and then using this as an excuse to require new reporting requirements for gun dealers? Check.

    Writing into the law that the president has the authority to unilaterally kill or detain anyone he deems a terrorist, anywhere on the globe? Check.

    yeah, BO + GOP congress is working real well.

    BO is the problem, and getting him out of the picture has to be the #1 priority.

  • ||

    Starting wars in Libya and soon Syria? Check.

    Writing into the law that the president has the authority to unilaterally kill or detain anyone he deems a terrorist, anywhere on the globe? Check.

    You don't think Romney would have done these two?

    You want to oppose war, then your choice is probably GOP President plus Democratic Congress, and even that is close.

    And I think things would be slightly better with a GOP Senate as well. The House isn't the entire Congress.

    An actual GOP Congress would get more bills to Obama's desk.

    As far as actual accomplishments, I take credit in that SOPA and PIPA appear to have been stopped, unlike similar bills in basically every other Administration/Congress combination.

  • ||

    Instructing the EPA to regulate CO2? Check.

    That would be after the House sunk more intensive regulations.

    The recess appointments would be getting much more attention with different Senate control, naturally. But even recess appointments are also a consequence of a slowdown in his normal appointments, which is a good thing.

  • ||

    Everything that you've complained about BO doing since 1/1/2011 has been done with a hostile Congress. You're only a lame duck if you feel constrained to follow the law and the constitution, which he doesn't.

    And it's by no means a given at this point that the GOP takes back the Senate and doesn't lose the House in 2014.

    And yes, Souter was a bad appointee. But I'm willing to risk the small possibility of a Souter as opposed to the certainty of a Kagan type, which is what BO would replace Scalia and Kennedy with. And even Souter was at least an old-school liberal like Breyer and Ginsburg, who cared about civil rights. The Sotomayor/Kagan types that BO will appoint will be the new kind of authoritarian leftists.

    Romney is no one's idea of a great reformist president. I wish Dr Paul could get elected but "not gonna happen". But if you think Mitt will do anywhere near the mischief against the country that BO has done and is waiting to do after his reelection, you're bonkers.

  • ||

    Of course he won't do mischief. But I have no faith that he has even a shred of competence. And yeah Obama doesn't feel constrained by the law or Constitution. And you think having an out of control Democratic President doing wildly unpopular and illegal things is going to be good for the Democratic Party? How exactly will Dems take back the House with the Community Organizer and Chief around their necks?

    Other than maybe if we are lucky, put a decent person on the court, name me two positive things Mittens would do?

  • ||

    Romney has demonstrated competence in the business world time and time again. So if you have no faith it's a willful lack of faith on your part.

    Mitt will gut Obamacare from the inside, end the EPA's quest to regulate CO2, end the FCC's drive for net neutrality, and deregulate in other ways if it is possible.

    Don't forget, the convoluted process for making and repealing laws at the federal level is like having bars on every window in your house: once the robber is inside your house, they actually work against you. Gridlock is the friend of the status quo, not necessarily limited govt. So it's going to be very hard work to undo the damage BO and his pals have done (and yes, that which Bush did before).

  • ||

    "Very hard work" sounds like the kind of thing we can't expect Romney to do. Offering tinkering changes to make things "work better" sounds more like his style.

  • ||

    I actually agree.

    I'd rather have someone not doing the very hard work needed to improve things than someone working to make them worse. You?

  • ||

    I'm not sure that Romney can be particularly trusted not to work to make things worse.

    Either way, Obama or Romeny, we're going to get George W. Bush's 4th term.

  • Mo||

    I disagree. Sotomayor has been surprisingly solid on civil liberties.

  • ||

    Yes, Sotomayor has been better than expected. Kagan unsurprisingly bad.

  • Sudden||

    Tell that to Citizen's United.

  • Mo||

    She's been a lot better than the W appointees on civil rights.

  • ||

    But I don't like GWB appointing the new kind of authoritarian rightists. Give me Scalia and Thomas over Roberts and Alito any day.

    The only defense is that apparently Democrats would prefer authoritarian rightist judges to libertarian ones.

  • ||

    So they're more likely to filibuster libertarianish ones.

  • ||

    Roberts and Alito are bad in the way right-wing judges are usually bad (though Roberts hasn't been as bad as Alito).

    Kagan has been bad in both wings' ways.

  • Bam!||

    "The only defense is that apparently Democrats would prefer authoritarian rightist judges to libertarian ones."

    Both political parties push for one thing in all aspects of their influence: Increased government influence. What changes between parties is in what spheres they shoot for.

    Supreme court is no different. A libertarian judge who sees the constitution as a document that restricts the government? Get'em out of here!

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    I sadly agree.

    Lame duck Obama + TeamRed control of both houses seems like the best outcome, at least selecting from the fairly likely outcomes.

  • Mo||

    Romney didn't have a big innovation and didn't create Bain Capital. The idea for Bain Capital came from Bill Bain himself. Romney took the easiest, lowest risk way of running it.

    [Romney] explained to Bain that he didn’t want to risk his position, earnings, and reputation on an experiment. He found the offer appealing but didn’t want to make the decision in a "light or flippant manner." So Bain sweetened the pot. He guaranteed that if the experiment failed Romney would get his old job and salary back, plus any raises he would have earned during his absence. Still, Romney worried about the impact on his reputation if he proved unable to do the job. Again the pot was sweetened. Bain promised that, if necessary, he would craft a cover story saying that Romney’s return to Bain & Company was needed due to his value as a consultant. "So," Bain explained, "there was no professional or financial risk." This time Romney said yes.
  • Mo||

    Oops, source

  • ||

    But once he took the opportunity, he was wildly successful.

    And it says something that Bain held young Mitt in such high esteem he was willing to make such guarantees. A history of driving hard bargains is not the worst thing to have in a president.

  • Mo||

    Agree that driving hard bargains is a good skill to have. However, a guy so spineless that he would require Bain to lie to cover up for him if it didn't work out strikes me as a bad quality for a president. One would hope that a guy that risk averse when it comes to his reputation would transfer that risk aversion to send troops to war, but he doesn't seem to have issues with that.

    And 37, only a decade younger than Bill Bain, is not all that young.

  • Brandon||

    What happened to the post about the Chrysler ad?

  • ||

    It's in the shop.

  • ||

    The jingoist's masturbation material starring Clint Eastwood? ugh

  • Mattrue||

    I was all for Romney until this indexing the minimum wage with inflation crap.

    Why does he set the bar so low??? How about indexing the minimum wage with the average hourly rate of a Banes consultant. I'm sure he can figure that one out. You know, since all economists are in virtual agreement that price controls lead to market imbalances in everything EXCEPT labor!

  • chaussures nike shox R4||

    why?

  • Kascade Kat||

    As a long-time consultant, I must respectfully disagree with your characterization of our profession.

    The best consultants are capable of maintaining their independence and authenticity in the face of corporate politics - not adapting to them. In fact, that's a requirement for longevity in this reputation-driven field.

    I often have to tell clients what they do not want to hear. They rehire me because they know that I will call it like I see it.

    Most corporate executives have plenty of yes-men/women. They need candor and an external perspective.

    It's telling to me that Romney was sent off to form Bain Capital rather than continuing to progress towards partner in Bain Consulting. If he was that great with clients, they would have never let him go.

  • ||

    And all this time I thought spending originated with Congress. If Congress will make the cuts, do you think Romney will veto the bills?

    Or do they just pay you by the word?

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