Presidential Campaign

Presidential Campaign

History shows businessmen make bad presidents

Republicans make much of Mitt Romney's experience as a businessman and tell us it predicts success as president. But is there a precedent for this, a track record of business success correlating with presidential success? In a word, no. Historically, the relationship between business success and presidential success is zero, perhaps even inverse.
 
Many surveys have ranked our presidents in terms of their achievements and success or failure in office, assessing such qualities as leadership, political skill, character and integrity, including many surveys of presidential scholars - academic historians and political scientists. by the Wall Street Journal in 2000 and 2005 emphasized a balance between liberal leaning and conservative leaning scholars.

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Romney offers course correction at home and abroad

In his recent speech at the Virginia Military Institute, Mitt Romney laid out a foreign policy vision that represents a clear break from President Obama’s approach.

Sometimes foreign policy is viewed as being completely distinct from domestic policy. But in his speech, Romney underscored the crucial connection between the two realms, highlighting the need “to revive our stagnant economy, to roll back our unsustainable debt, to reform our government, [and] to reverse the catastrophic cuts now threatening our national defense. . . ”

Indeed, no matter how wise our foreign policy may be, our scope for action is curtailed if our domestic finances are in disarray. Throughout the Cold War, the United States largely defended much of the free world while incurring a drastically lower debt than we have today. With our $16 trillion debt now rising by a trillion dollars a year, even if we manage to avoid the severe defense cuts in the sequestration, we are still confronted with unsustainable debt levels that are even more alarming when you factor in the tens of trillions of dollars unfunded liabilities from our entitlement programs.

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Romney's pivots raise the character issue

With his performance in the second presidential debate, Barack Obama allowed his supporters to exhale. Not only did the president show up; from the opening question he executed his debate strategy against Governor Romney almost flawlessly. Each two-minute response was framed in all the necessary ways I laid out after the first debate: Obama succinctly took credit for his accomplishments, made clear contrasts between his policies and positions and Romney’s, and defended himself when Romney went on the attack. The only apparent hiccup on the part of the president was his meandering response to a question about gun violence and the lapsed weapons assault ban legislation. But Obama recovered quickly by paraphrasing (of all people) George W. Bush, when he accused the former Massachusetts governor of being “for the assault weapons ban before he was against it.”

That moment crystallizes the retooled strategy of the Obama campaign that will in all likelihood take us through Election Day. It’s not necessarily the economy, stupid – it’s character. If Massachusetts Mitt is going to show up for the rest of the campaign, then expect him to be painted, in the words of Jon Huntsman, as a “perfectly lubricated weathervane.” 

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Romney - A man without a plan

Never mind the usual boxing-style debate roundups or overblown tactical analysis. That’s all well and good – and what a lot of reporters specialize in – but it doesn’t tell us what we really need to know. What’s important to take away from last night’s debate, and every debate, is what it tells us about policy. Last night told us a lot.
 
The big takeaway is that Mitt Romney doesn’t have an economic plan. You can sugarcoat it, wave your arms around to create a distraction, and dress it up with a hundred right-wing studies, but there’s nothing really there. When he told moderator Candy Crowley with an annoyed smirk, “Of course my numbers add up,” tens of millions of Americans saw the bluster of an executive who didn’t prepare for a board meeting and didn’t expect to be called on it.

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Politicizing the Benghazi attacks

The killing of four American patriots in Benghazi, Libya last month was an act of terror. Those four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, represented the best of our country. They put their lives on the line to advance American interests in a volatile region. They deserved the support of their government back home.

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Romney to the right of Bush on immigration

In the second presidential debate, Mitt Romney dug himself deeper into the hole on immigration. While both candidates traded barbs, for Romney they stung more. Romney refused to address the 12 million undocumented immigrants already living in the country while at the same time touching bad nerves when he called undocumented immigrants "illegals".

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Not the 'Thrilla in Manila', But certainly 'Nasty in Nassau'

The President Obama of yore (2008, that is) showed up at the debate last night and so was hailed the victor. In fact, the numbers show that it was not that Romney faltered. He did not. Rather it was the president who recovered from his first debate 'debacle' (as viewed by his strongest supporters).

The numbers reveal the story. First, keep this number in mind: 7.4. This is the grade level of Obama's most widely hailed speech, the "Yes, We Can!" Grant Park victory speech. 'Yes, We Can!" is widely perceived as a classic to be enshrined in the American Oratory Hall of Fame along side Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have a dream," Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address,' and Ronald Reagan's "City on a Hill" speeches.

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Obama-Romney debate: Binders full of questions

For the second straight presidential debate, the top trending meme related to one of the least sensational aspects of the contest: the presidential transition period. With due respect to “Big Bird”, the interchange in the first debate over Romney’s  “busy first day” and in the second day over “Binders full of women”, drew chuckles and rapid tweeting and re-tweeting.  What makes each of these comments interesting, though, is that, while they were clearly not a part of the prepared debate quips, they address a critical issue: how Governor Romney would actually transition into office if elected.

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Debate fact-checking long overdue - Hooray for Candy!

One of the highlights of last night’s presidential debate was moderator Candy Crowley’s real-time fact-checking about when President Barrack Obama first used the word “terror” in reference to the murders in Benghazi. We needed such quick corrections in the first debates on another important issue.
In those debates inaccurate statements were made about how allowing the Bush-era tax cuts for the richest 2 percent of Americans to expire on schedule at year-end would affect small-business owners. 

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Obama rebounds, Romney stumbles

Forget policy and details. Last night's presidential town hall debate at Hofstra University in New York was about each candidate's acting in the political theatre. Could President Obama atone for his lackluster display in the first debate without appearing too aggressive? Could Mitt Romney maintain the aura from the first debate in Denver of an authentic presidential alternative?

We had answers within the 90 minutes.“Can Obama Rebound?” is now the question of the past. “Can Romney Re-surge?” takes over.

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