They were called primaries Tuesday night. There was Washington DC, Maryland and Wisconsin. But they weren’t really primaries; they were among the first stops in the general election standoff between presumptive republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney and incumbent Barack Obama. Earlier in the day, President Obama presented an enthusiastic “give ‘em hell, Harry” speech before the American Society of News Editors, lumping nominee Romney in with the ‘radical’ GOP in describing the House budget plan as “so far to the right it makes the Republican’s 1994 Contract with America look like the New Deal.” He threw in terms like ‘Social Darwinism’ and ‘Trojan Horse’ to further cement the differences between himself and the opposition party.
The outcome of the latest primary, a Romney sweep, was never in doubt although at 4 percentage points over Santorum, Wisconsin was closer than the Romney people would have liked. Maryland was around 20%, Washington a romp 70-12 over Paul. Most pundits are now calling the republican race officially over. Romney must believe it. After being introduced to a Milwaukee crowd by scary Wisconsin Representative, Paul Ryan, whose latest disgusting budget for the rich was the prime target of the Obama speech, Mitt accused the president of “trying to divide us in order to distract us.” He spent as much time ripping Obama as Obama had spent ripping Romney hours earlier.
There’s basically a three-week hiatus before the next primaries on April 24th. New York and Pennsylvania are the only ones worth covering. Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware? I don’t think so. A home-state Pennsylvania loss would be the final curtain for the Santorum campaign. Gingrich and Paul stopped being relevant a long time ago and represent little more than wagering on the time and order of their departure. Gingrich has already all but dropped out. I expect an official Paul exit soon.
Romney has already started using his rebuttal slogan to the current administration, “Obama’s Government-Centered Society’. He repeated it in his Milwaukee speech and you’re going to hear it hundreds of times as the primaries roll on. News flash for Mr. Romney! Every political subdivision throughout this fine republic of ours is “Government-Centered”, every last one of them, whether it’s your village council, home-rule, mayor/council, city manager, county commissioners – you name the entity that runs your town, municipality, county, state or nation and, by golly, it’s GOVERNMENT-CENTERED.
So Obama’s ‘Government-Centered Society is everybody’s Government-Centered society. There is nothing you can do in these United States without the government being a component at some level. I know Mitt’s talking about the federal government. Take all fed participation away and you still have to raise revenue, provide services and run stuff. You think the locals can take on all those obligations?
What are we actually getting with Mitt Romney? Well, he’s certainly AARP eligible and then some. In fact, he’s retirement eligible having recently celebrated his 65th birthday…not really old by today’s standards. He possesses one imperative to make a competitive run for president. He’s fairly tall, at least not short at 6’2″; Obama is an inch shy of that height. Looking at Mitt’s genetics, his late father was George Romney. George passed in 1995 at age 88. I remember George Romney. He was in great shape and used to train like a boxer. He had slicked-back steel-gray hair and a bent nose and looked like a central casting aging tough guy.
George attended several colleges but never graduated. He still ended up with a golden business touch. He’s most remembered as the man who made American Motors Corporation (AMC) a strong presence in the auto industry as it’s head from 1954-1962. Politically he was a moderate republican who served as governor of Michigan from 1963-1969. He introduced a state income tax and was a big civil rights booster. He left the governor’s mansion to become Housing and Urban Development Secretary from 1969-73. Unlike his son, he had a special feeling for the poor and their access to decent housing. A run for the 1968 Republican presidential nomination was cut short when he claimed his early backing of the Vietnam war was due to being ‘brainwashed’ by the military and U.S. diplomats. The blowback ended any hope of winning the nomination. You might credit that statement with allowing Richard Nixon to win the presidency. Nixon subsequently ended that increasingly unpopular war after the American pubic realized they had been ‘brainwashed’.
Mitt Romney is a semi-chip of his old man’s block. He’s the youngest of four children. His lack of athletic skills might have disappointed the elder Romney who lettered in Football, Basketball and Baseball in high school. He appears to have inherited some of his dad’s business acumen, though in ways that might not have been met with George’s approval.
Mitt’s upbringing in Bloomfield Hills, known as a high-dollar haven for auto executives, included attendance at Cranbrook School from grades 7 through 12. Contemporary Cranbrook tuition will set you back about $25 – $28,000 a year for the span of Romney years. Their home page pictures a fancy swimming pool with what appears to be 3 or 4 diving boards. Visit the Cranbrook site today and you’ll read the following, “as one of Michigan’s top boarding and day schools, we are proud of our independence from local, state and federal governments.” Santorum couldn’t have said it better. Do you really think a President Romney will give the least little crap about public schools? My guess is no.
The most obvious parallel between father and son is their relationship with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Romney Mormon connection goes back five generations and both George and Mitt were major participants in church affairs.
The starkest contrast between father and son? George would never cuddle up to the likes of Paul Ryan. A smitten Mitt seems to warmly embrace his new political BFF and praises his latest budget. A budget that gives huge tax breaks to the wealthy, calls for repeal of health care (if the Supremes don’t do it first), block grants Medicaid, a program Ryan calls ‘onerus’ and vouchers Medicare. All music to Romney’s 1% ears. A Romney/Ryan ticket? On one hand a nightmare, on the other a gift from the heavens to Democrats.
See you in Rhode Island!