Signs of Hope, Part 2

November 22nd, 2011 at 5:00 pm | 34 Comments |

| Print

American elections are always hotly contested, and 2012 already conforms to type. Yet Mitt Romney at least is opening the contest by acknowledging the realities faced by President Obama in 2009:

{Y]ou were dealt a hard hand. You came into office in the midst of an economic crisis that was not of your making. You were asked to face great challenges and to solve difficult problems. The tasks before you would have taxed the abilities of any new president.

Romney pulls no punches in then proceeding to state his case against Obama.

Your policies have failed. It is bad enough that they have fallen short even by the standards your own administration set for itself. But things are much worse than that. Far from bringing the crisis to an end, your policies have actively hindered economic recovery. In some cases, they were the exact opposite of what our government should have been doing.

Romney shows: it’s possible to offer an alternative policy response – without first creating an alternative factual universe.

Recent Posts by FrumForum Editors

34 Comments so far ↓

  • TerryF98

    “Romney shows: it’s possible to offer an alternative policy response – without first creating an alternative factual universe.”

    Apart from creating an actual alternative universe by taking a quote by Obama taken from the McCain campaign and falsely attributing it to 2011 and from Obama about Obama.

    In fact a 100% total lie!

  • sweatyb

    Did you forget to link to Romney’s “alternative policy response”? I thought I was going to read some concrete examples of policies that President Romney would pursue to increase employment and get the economy growing.

    This just looks like your standard Republican “all these regulations are hurting all the poor job creators” nonsense.

    Maybe the reason Romney is having so much trouble distancing himself from the rest of the Republican candidates is that he’s never enunciated a clear policy alternative. He doesn’t have a platform other than bashing the President. And anyone can do that. Sniping at the President from the sidelines doesn’t qualify you for the highest office in the land.

    When you have no backbone and a tendency to flip-flop, it’s probably smart to avoid any specific policy pronouncements. So I can understand why the Romney camp wouldn’t want to open that pandora’s box. But still, if you’re looking for a reason why Newt Gingrich is currently polling better than Romney, here it is. Gingrich is much better at saying mean things about the President.

  • Ray_Harwick

    Looks like the editors don’t read the what the boss writes.

  • nuser

    Mr. Romney
    The deficit budget had already exploded, when Bush left the deficit was 10 and a half trillion .
    That deficit was due to wars and tax cuts and still counting. Mr. Romney ,you and your party
    have acted like Svengali and Trilby, the gullible republicans, being Trilby.For shame!

    • ggore

      Yes, but while starting those two wars without paying for them, those people were being GOOD REPUBLICANS! Don’t forget that Grover Norquist runs things in Washington, and those Republicans in charge had signed the No Taxes pledge, so they were obligated to start the war with no way of paying for it because they were not allowed to raise taxes to pay for anything.

      To my way of thinking, you can lay most of our deficit problem squarely at the feet of Norquist, and as long as he is running the Republican party, nothing will change.

  • wileedog

    “Did you forget to link to Romney’s “alternative policy response”?”

    Sure he did. Undo everything Obama did and go back and do more of what Bush did.

    De-regulate everything. Go back to a health care system that increases costs while failing to cover everyone. Make sure those people with pre-existing conditions are thrown out of the system so we can pay exponentially more for them in the emergency rooms. Lets cut some more taxes for those job creators and gut Medicare while we’re at it.

    It’s sure to work out differently this time….

    • Reagan Wasn't a God

      Not that I support anything less than a single payer option (a great argument I’ve heard is that it is not within the government’s right to force citizens to buy things, but it is within their right to collect taxes and provide services that will raise the value of living — individual mandate is a false compromise because what republicans and democrats should want (it aligns with their own ideology) is a single payer system), but these straw arguments really don’t address the way that most Republicans actually want to solve the problems of medicare and healthcare as a whole.

    • gover

      More of the Republican policy of pushing all income to the wealthy and all taxes to the poor. What could possibly go wrong?

  • Oldskool

    This should be fun. Romney is baiting the guy who ran Team Clinton in circles.

  • LFC

    “Your policies have failed.”

    Uh, by non-partisan accounts (Faux News need not apply) the stimulus and the bailout of the auto industry were actually successful.

    “Romney shows: it’s possible to offer an alternative policy response – without first creating an alternative factual universe.”

    He is digging in on unaffordable tax cuts that were never paid for, while offering no specific plan on how to cut spending enough to pay them. (Remember how he said he’d reject a 10:1 deal?) How is this not creating an alternative factual universe? Oh, wait. I know! “FUZZY MATH!” There, that takes care of everything just like it did for Boy George.

  • icarusr

    Mr. Frum

    Romney – the man you think cynical enough to lie about core values to hoodwink the illiterate hicks running the Tea Party, but intelligent enough to understand America’s problems and ethical enough to be President – just put an ad out that is in equal measures stupid, unethical and cynical.

    Romney might – just might – try to win on the strength of his Presidential looks and bearing (the “Harding Effect”), and his photogenic family (minus the dog on the roof), strong religious values (even if they are crazier than the son-sacrificing myth of the semitic desert tribes). But, seriously, do you think Romney is clevered than Penn-Clinton, or Rove, or any of the other morons who have tried to take down Obama over the past four years by distortions and lies and magnifying “gaffes”?

    Really? Is this your preferred candidate?

    The “Americans are lazy” attack was silly; the current ad is downright stupid. Romney showed his hand too early, Sir; he is, as against Obama, as good as dead meat, roasted and served on a platter.

    Wow … the Great White Hope of the Grand Old Party … a cheap fake.

    • LFC

      “Wow … the Great White Hope of the Grand Old Party … a cheap fake.”

      Yes, but in a nice suit.

  • think4yourself

    David, your Signs of Hope Part One was awesome.

    Part two not so much.

    The fact is Romney second paragraph also contains factual inaccuracies (lies) and has no alternative policy response.

    It’s not that I dislike Romney. I think he’s really a moderate and a pragmatist (much like Obama is the same, Obama’s just center-Left instead of center-Right). I do think that he cares more about winning the election than standing on principle. I understand that if he did stand on principles that did not match Tea Party ideals, he wouldn’t get nominated so I get that.

    But he’s also not telling the truth about Obama (along with the rest of the conservatives). In the same New York Magazine as your great article is an equally good one by Jonathan Chiat about the problems of Liberals. In it, it fairly deals with Obama’s successes and failures. Romney’s certainly not doing that.

    But he’s not the guy to make the arguments to Conservatives or Liberals that Hayward makes in your previous piece.

    Find me that guy and I’ll support him or her (might not vote for him or her, depends on the strengths of the alternatives).

  • rbottoms

    Sign of hope or lying sack of sh*t?

    [blockquote]On the eve of a presidential trip to New Hampshire on Nov. 22, 2011, Mitt Romney’s campaign released an ad targeting President Barack Obama. In the ad, the Romney campaign used a quote that prompted an immediate counterattack from the Obama camp, which argued that it had been taken out of context.

    So the comment is drastically different than the way it’s portrayed in the Romney ad. Obama was actually saying that his opponent’s campaign three years earlier had said, “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.” That context is not included in the Romney ad — and leaving it out sends a profoundly different message.

    The Romney camp seems to have anticipated this complaint. In a blog post published around the time the ad was released, Romney spokeswoman Gail Gitcho acknowledged that, “Three years ago, candidate Barack Obama mocked his opponent’s campaign for saying, ‘If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.’” She went on to say Obama is trying to distract voters from his economic record.

    Our ruling

    We certainly think it’s fair for Romney to attack Obama for his response to the economy. And the Romney camp can argue that Obama’s situation in 2011 is ironic considering the comments he made in 2008. But those points could have been made without distorting Obama’s words, which have been taken out of context in a ridiculously misleading way. We rate the Romney ad’s portrayal of Obama’s 2008 comments Pants on Fire.

  • Reflection Ephemeral

    Don’t forget that Romney’s whole campaign is based on a lie.

    this plainly dishonest claim is at the core of Romney’s entire campaign message — it’s in every speech; it’s in every debate; it’s even in the title of his book. And the underlying point of the lie isn’t just over some routine policy dispute — Romney desperately wants Americans to question the president’s love of country. The “apology” claim is a lie, but it’s also an ugly smear.

    • nhthinker


      Reflection Ephemeral chooses to quote from an article by Larison…

      “He happens, in addition, to be a member in good standing (at least until 2005, when he celebrated ten years of membership) of the League of the South. A little background on the League of the South, which is the most prominent neo-Confederate group in America. The League describes itself as a “Southern Nationalist organization whose ultimate goal is a free and independent Southern republic” and “encourage[s] individuals and families to personally secede from the corrupt and corrupting influence of post-Christian culture in America.” For more on this merry band of would-be traitors, see the Southern Poverty Law Center’s 2000 report on the League, which SPLC labeled a “hate group.””

      Yes, some neo-Confederates hate Mitt. Why the hell would you want to call attention to Larison’s article on Romney?

  • nhthinker

    Mitt Romney on Hannity last night:
    “I think he [Obama] is a rigid ideologue…I think he looks for his political inspiration to Europe. I think he thinks the Europeans got things right and I disagree….
    You would think he would figure it out, don’t ya? It is- his policies are bankrupt. The evidence is so stark, both internationally: look, his policy is saying ‘we’re just another nation, we’re not really exceptional; we’ll apologize to the world’ Let’s look at Iran… the greatest threat we face…Has he made progress there? no. Has he made progress with Israel? no. His efforts in Afghanistan? I applaud the fact that he was in favor of a surge…but at the same time he did not give them enough troops, he set a withdrawal date; he didn’t make sure the election of a new president in Afghanistan was fair- would have the support of the people. He’s failed on almost every dimension. And yet he continues to pursue the same course. It’s really inexplicable other than having a person that just does not understand America. And I don’t think he does…I don’t think President Obama understands what is unique about America… What is exceptional about America. I don’t think he understands that it is free people and free enterprise that make America the economic powerhouse that it is. I think he thinks that government bureaucrats- well intentioned- somehow can do a better job guiding our economy and our lives, than free people. And he’s wrong!”

    Yes, David Frum thinks Romney is wonderful and gracious. Romney thinks Obama does not understand America. I wonder if Frum thinks Obama understands America.

    • TerryF98

      Romney is a flip flopping liar, a dog abusing slick smarmy ahole. A cultist, A man without a core, A man with the slick goodhair image of a used car salesman. A man without principle. A destroyer of jobs. A man with the second worst record as a job creator as Governor. A Man who shipped jobs abroad and reveled in it.

      A man the American people will soundly reject.

    • Frumplestiltskin

      Ha, so says a Mormon cultist with helmet hair who flip flops daily in his vain attempt to get elected. Romney has lost more elections than Stassen at this point.
      Romney doesn’t understand America, how can he? He belongs to a truly bizarre homegrown religion, and moreso, he is a President in the religion. What is to stop Romney from being chosen among the “12 Apostles” and from there to be both President of the Mormon church and the United States? There is nothing to stop that from happening.
      Running against the weakest Republican field in history, Romney is floundering and if he wins the nomination it will be by default, his only natural constituency are the Mormons and his venture Capitalist friends in Wall Street.
      I would rather see Perry be elected anyday.

    • Traveler

      Listen “thinker”, deal with facts on this site. Posting a BS stump speech is just so much a waste of pixels. Not even a nice try. Fail.

      Maybe if you put in some commentary to support this it might be worth ripping you apart. As it is, it’s nothing but self serving drivel offered up by a mendacious spineless corporate leech. And you know it.

    • ottovbvs

      Heh thinker when you’re not lying you’re spamming. By all mean put a link in if you want or even an odd sentence but we don’t need to waste band width on the entire load of dog poop.

    • nhthinker

      Nothing “spamming” about it. It is totally relevant to this thread.

      Frum likes to describe Romney as someone he admires and comes close to his POV.

      All I’m doing is clarifying that Romney’s rhetoric is much closer to my rhetoric than it is to Frum’s on almost all issues- especially the view that Obama is out of touch and has been looking to Europe for inspiration.

      Would Frum even acknowledge that Romney uses NHThinker-like rhetoric?

      No, of course not! That is what gives me such pleasure for putting it here.
      Neither Frum nor the Obamabots want to see it, and especially not here.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    But Obama can talk about the economy, after the full crash private sector job growth has been consistent, it has been hurt by public sector job cuts but is Romney advocating hiring back all those school teachers and policemen? It takes a Republican to fire workers and then complain how those workers are now out of work, Romney fits that bill perfectly. I tell you what, lets rehire all of those public sector workers now. If you don’t choose to don’t complain that they are out of jobs.

  • rbottoms

    [blockquote]8:12: Mitt’s first lie of the debate: claims his first name is Mitt, but his actual first name is Willard. [/blockquote]

    Oh this is too fun, time start calling “Mitt” by his proper name.

    Willard Mitt Romney (born March 12, 1947) is an American entrepreneur and politician. He was the 70th Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007 and is a candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination.

    “You made me hate myself. Well I like myself now.”
    ~ Willard

  • ottovbvs

    Given that today Romney launched an anti Obama ad which has been universally proved to be a lie this is a laugh. The man is a liar as well as a flip flopper.

  • midwest guy

    Dear Editors:

    I sense that there is now an almost desperate need among Frum Forum editors to find something compelling about Mitt that will convince the masses. The second paragraph above is a simple lie, yet you present it as clear evidence that Mitt and only Mitt is the candidate who can do battle with Obama. You are all smart folks, so I know that you can do much better, despite the dearth of really solid evidence that Mitt is in fact capable of leading our nation. Do your homework and come back with something stronger, or simply acknowledge that the GOP will not have a viable candidate this time. It is better to stay home and build one’s strength to fight another day——rather than waste all available resources on support of a candidate that actually cannot win.

  • kuri3460

    Open letter to Mitt Romney:

    Dear Mitt,

    Supposed you lowered the corporate tax rate to 0%, you eliminated 50% of Federal regulations, and you personally chiseled this into a block of granite that was placed in front of the White House, ensuring that every job-creater was “certain” of what you just did.

    How would any of this cause economic growth?

    As you know, growth is when business have more customers, more sales, more purchase orders, more jobs to bid, and this is what creates jobs. If my employer’s tax burden goes down, but our sales stay the same, am I to expect him to increase our workforce, hoping that these new employees have something to do in six months? Am I to expect him to reinvest that money into a business that isn’t growing?

    Probably not.

    Your policies promote expense reduction, not growth. This is not a bad thing, per se, but you should be aware that the best thing for business owners, more so than a favorable tax code or a light regulatory docket, is customers who have money to spend. In the process of reducing expenses for businessowners, you do nothing to put more spending money in the hands of their customers.

  • jamesj

    Wow. Strongly disagree.

    ROMNEY: “Far from bringing the crisis to an end, your policies have actively hindered economic recovery. In some cases, they were the exact opposite of what our government should have been doing.”

    How in the world can one come to this conclusion? Which specific policy is Romney referring to? We can all see that the major economic policies the President managed to get passed despite staunch opposition from Republicans in Congress turned out to have a clear and positive effect on the US economy, US economic growth, and US job growth, correct? Even though these policies were weaker than originally favored by the president, left wing economists, and left wing policy wonks, the weaker policies did still have the meager positive effect predicted at their time of passing. Most economists agree with this. The CBO agrees with this. Most think tanks agree with this. Correct? Even if you take the stance that we can never know whether an alternative policy would have been better, all of the empirical evidence still makes it look as though we’ve seen significant improvements under Obama’s time in office.

    How can you square all this with Romney’s caustic statement? Isn’t Romney painting a picture that is literally the opposite of empirical reality?

    You’re going to have a really big problem walking this tight rope. The modern Republican party has left you and I literally no room to be reasonable. You are grasping for any shred of decency in any modern Republican presidential candidate, but you have little to grasp at. And when you find a handful of anything it usually turns out to be rubbish. Thinking people, even those who used to vote Republican (like myself), are going to have trouble swallowing a statement like the quoted one from Romney. It just simply isn’t true. Not only that, but it actively stokes the flames of ignorant populist anger. It actively misdirects the energy of the American people in a time of crisis. I understand Romney needs to do this to get through the primary, but it makes him look bad. It makes him look highly irresponsible.

  • Terry McKenna

    I agree with some, this is not an honest assessment, it only pretends to be such. Many non partisan analysts suggest that the stimulus, far from making the economy worse, prevented an even deeper dive into unemployment, a dive that is fed largely by the utter collapse of the public sector.

    To say the stimulus didn’t work, is like a person saying that his jacket didn’t work, put on because of a chilly morning, but unfortunately, by day’s end, a cold front moved on and now its REALLY cold. The solution would not be to forego further applications of warm clothing. In fact, you would put on an even warmer coat.

    What is especially sad is that, should Republicans manage to elect a president in 2014, and may even a Congress, by 2016, the people will throw them out – unless magic occurs and our economy really recovers.

  • ErikSanDiego

    Yup. The press is highly unlikely to spend the time dissecting this but one of the great failures of the Obama administration was their SINGULAR inability to think through and respond to the housing crisis. The constant shifting in the winds has made things MUCH worse, as now millions of homehowner, thousands of loan originators and scores of security buyers constantly are anticipating the NEXT shift in policy rather than getting to the hard slog of dealing with an asset bubble bursting.

    Most of this I chalk up to the horrific “East Coast Bias” in Obama’s initial administration. Lacking any native “Westerners” there was no voice for what was going on in the SW when it came to housing but lots of voices for the big banking system. So we got shifting policy that only made the problem worse.

    How worse, Frum readers? – well as of the latest more than 35% of mortgages in San Diego County are underwater. This a county which is doing BETTER than the state of California in respect to unemployment, has benefited from defense spending post-9/11, and has a tech oriented innovation economy. The consequences of these bad balance sheets is lack of consumer confidence, depressed spending and all the spirally deflationary problems of such a confidence trap.

    Housing is hard. Voters don’t like the moral hazard problems of principal write downs. But it isn’t THAT hard to explain that in an economy that 2/3 of which is consumption we have to have a consistent housing policy, designed to work, and a STICK WITH ITNESS that allows equilibrium.