The Romney campaign is measuring the drapes for Mitt’s move into the White House – taking meetings, getting offices, staffing up, and of course, “reaching out to K streeters” because nothing says small government like lobbyists.
The Romney campaign is doing what all candidates do at this stage of the game, only we recall when candidate Obama did it, he was accused of measuring the drapes. The difference, of course, is that candidate Obama appeared to have a good shot of needing those drapes.
Nonetheless, a former Bushie is on staff to lead the Romney “Readiness Project”, because while Romney is loath to give us specifics on his tax plan or immigration plan or women’s health positions, he is already playing Presidential dress up — focusing on staffing up for an administration that polls deem unlikely to occur at this stage in the race.
Apparently no one has told Romney that given his own party’s refusal to nominate Obama’s appointees, were he to actually win this race, he might be facing a rather hostile opposition party. Romney is not known for governing well with the opposition; when faced with it in Massachusetts, he gave up and left the state for 212 days out of the year.
Leading the Readiness Project is Mike Leavitt, former Governor of Utah and a former Secretary of Health and Human Services under Bush. You might remember Mike — he’s the guy who caused conservatives to flip out because he supports health care insurance exchanges.
Mike’s on board because he can allegedly keep Mitt calm. Ann Romney has told us her job is to create a peaceful environment for him, and Mike Leavitt, the head of Romney’s Readiness Project, has been quoted saying, “I offer an independent voice when it’s needed. When you have a thoroughbred racehorse, you can put a goat in the stable with them, and it calms them down. I’m the goat.”
The Romney Readiness Project has actually been quietly gearing up for the transition since June; their activity has only become more noticeable now post convention, per the Pre-Election Presidential Transition Act of 2010. Accordingly, since the Republican National Convention, the General Services Administration has been acting as a liaison between the current administration and the transition team.
The need for the Pre-Election Presidential Transition Act of 2010 was evident prior to the law being passed; that is, having candidates who are prepared on day one regarding our national security. But this fact did not stop Republicans from attacking then candidate Obama as he took steps to be prepared. Hence, the Romney campaign is sheepishly trying to keep their Romney Readiness under wraps.
They face even more potential for embarrassment now, as plunging poll numbers have left their candidate ricocheting from saying his campaign is doing great to blaming Obama for his poor campaign (as if somehow President Obama should have let him win).
Sunday, someone let Paul Ryan tell the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that they would beat Obama because in the end, “certain fundamentals will reassert themselves.” Not to be confused with the fundamentals of the economy are fine, my friends.
The Pre-Election Presidential Transition Act of 2010 is, surprisingly, a reflection of something George W. Bush did right; it’s widely agreed that W did a good job transitioning and putting national security above politics. That he did a better job leaving than he did governing is of concern only when you get a glimpse of Romney’s staff. Examples include the attendees to a meeting in June:
Jamie Burke, the White House liaison at the Department of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush; Russ Gerson, the head of Mr. McCain’s transition team four years ago; Ben Ginsberg, the Romney campaign’s top lawyer; Emil Henry, a senior Treasury official under Mr. Bush; Kay Coles James, the director of the Office of Personnel Management under Mr. Bush; Kent Lucken, a longtime Romney supporter and foreign policy adviser; Chris Liddell, the former chief financial officer for Microsoft and General Motors; Steve Preston, the Housing and Urban Development secretary under Mr. Bush; and Jim Quigley, the former global chief executive at Deloitte.
Romney’s entire staff is decidedly Bushian for a nominee who refused to let George W Bush come anywhere near his convention.
Not to worry, the leader of the Readiness Project is apparently more open to criticism than his boss. Politico reports that “Leavitt and Maloney also told top Republican vote counters to “‘Tell us if we’re doing something stupid’ and recognized that they can’t dump legislation on the floor and think it will pass because it comes from the president.”
Well, that’s a relief. If they think otherwise, they haven’t been paying attention to their own party’s abusive use of the filibuster and general rule of obstructionism.