The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Obama can't run on his record, so he tries to demean Romney's

Today there appeared an article in the New York Daily News, entitled “President Obama distorts Mitt Romney’s record and ignores his own,” which points out that we have a President, Barack Obama, who, because he has a woeful record to show for the 3½ years he has been President, is forced to make false claims about his opponent, Governor Mitt Romney. There are so many points made in this article that it is better to reproduce the full article than to try to excerpt it, and so I do so:

Running far less on his own record than against that of his opponent, President Obama has latched on to Mitt Romney’s career in venture capitalism as a centerpiece of his reelection campaign.

These desperate times for Americans have called forth desperate measures from an incumbent weighed down by an 8.2% unemployment rate and the barest flicker of job growth. Say, why not suggest that Romney could even be a felon? Oh, right, an Obama aide did that.

Masterfully and disappointingly, the President’s campaign is branding Romney as a rich (repeat, filthy rich) corporate buccaneer who made a fortune sending jobs overseas and bankrupting companies.

In states where voters are in neither camp solidly — the crucial swing states — Obama is executing a distort-and-destroy media blitz. A primary goal in campaign-speak is to “define” Romney as not just out of touch, but as an agent of fat cats who want to take everything.

Secondarily — never mind the results of his almost four years in office — Obama is trying to frame the campaign as a referendum on a clash between a compassionate there-for-you Democrat and Republican forces that would strip government bare to get theirs.

The rhetoric distills to class warfare and is intended to deflect discussion of how exactly Obama would rev the economy any better in a second term. Follow his logic, and you arrive at the extreme Obama reached in a speech in Virginia, where he described how “wealthy, successful” Americans achieved their standing.

“I’m always struck by people who think, ‘Well, it must be because I was just so smart,’ ” he said. “There are a lot of smart people out there. ‘It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.’ Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

Regardless of whether Obama was talking about “roads and bridges” or about “a business” when he said, “you didn’t build that,” there is no question that as he extolled the virtues of government — the government he claims Romney would dismantle — the President demeaned the qualities of initiative, industriousness and ingenuity that drive America’s ladder-climbers.

Just as revealing have been Obama’s attacks on Romney’s tenure as head of Bain Capital, the firm he created in 1984 and built into a powerhouse with a strategy of buying underperforming companies and attempting to straighten them out and increase their value.

Romney’s record at Bain is more than fair game, not least because he has used economic savvy and jobs that Bain helped to create as key credentials for the White House. But the President’s swing-state advertising blitz on the topic was rife with cynical mischaracterizations.

The ads labeled Romney a “corporate raider” who had “shipped jobs to China and Mexico.” Really? The invaluable nonpartisan truth squad at researched the Obama assertions and reported that “we found no evidence to support the claim that Romney — while he was still running Bain Capital — shipped American jobs overseas.”

The campaign similarly leaped on Bain paperwork that seemed to suggest Romney had stayed involved with Bain in years when the firm took actions that might be stretched to weakly support the outsourcing accusation. Out of this came the suggestion of a felony.

Actually, the evidence all but conclusively indicates that Romney had broken from decision-making at Bain in 1999 to devote his energies to rescuing the scandal-scarred Salt Lake City Olympics from collapse.

He made the games a hit, as well as a financial winner. Obama avoids that part of Romney’s record, just as he has shied from putting his own tenure front and center before voters.

This cannot be much of a surprise. President Obama has no record worth defending — and he is a Chicago machine politician who knows no shame regarding trying to drag down opponents, no matter how ridiculous the allegations. He is playing true to form — look at my posts from four years ago to see what kind of things he has been capable of in the past. On the other hand, Mitt Romney is ill-disposed to brag about the things he ought to, so it behooves the rest of us to call the people’s attention to the record that Mitt Romney has amassed — as Governor, as head of the committee saving the Salt Lake City Olympics, and yes, as founder of Bain Capital. If Obama had a fraction of Romney’s accomplishments, it might be worth dwelling on them. But, of course, he doesn’t.

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