Tag Archive: romney


I voted this last Friday, dropping my ballot into the box at the county Elections office down the street. I’ve followed the campaign pretty avidly, and I’m keyed up, waffling between optimism and terror that some statistical oddity, some stealing of the the vote, some awful twist will hand Romney the White House. Not just a GOP a White House, but a soulless White House.

I was incredibly on edge about the 2008 election, but in some ways this seems tighter, more determinative. The stakes do seem higher. While in retrospect I think McCain could have been an awful president, at the time I didn’t so much fear him as the Republicans already in the executive branch. I sincerely wanted Obama as president, but was feeling more grim than alarmed at the idea of McCain winning. And I was pretty sure he wouldn’t, for all the Sarah Palin related reasons you can supply.

This time it really is alarming to think of a Romney presidency. The man has no moral core when it comes to governance; he swings where the winds of opportunism guide him. He can be bought.

Compare that to an administration that, despite the heaviest partisan opposition I can remember, got quite a number of things done, changes that expanded civil rights, job opportunities, the manufacturing industry, put constraints on the health insurance industry and opened paths to getting health care coverage, and, oh yeah, some military stuff and dragging the economy away from the brink of complete collapse.

Oh yes. I enthusiastically, proudly, confidently cast my vote for Obama.

Jamelle Bouie, at The Plum Line, offers a compelling case for why THIS election actually matters more than most, and a common take on Medicare changes proposed from the right:

a complete overhaul of Medicare that would end its promise of guaranteed health care for seniors, and move it to a system where — ultimately — you get the care you can pay for.

via Yes, this campaign is negative and nasty — and that’s a good thing .

… which is not news, just a jumping off point for MY rage, as in:

If I don’t get the Medicare I’ve promised my entire working life, can I sue for benefits I worked for but never received?

Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that I will have to cough up another $6,500 bucks a year that would have been otherwise covered by Medicare.  Say I start collecting Medicare at age 65.  Let’s assume that I live a long time, like most in my family, and that I make it to 90 years old, a somewhat pessimistic estimate given the rather large number of my relatives who’ve lived into their late 90s or even early 100s.  That puts me at about 25 years on Medicare.

Okay, I understand that with the “premium support” (aka Lousy Voucher) program covering less and less each year, I’d likely have to put out more that $6,500 as the years went by, but for this discussion, let’s say it stays at about $6,500 for the duration.

That’s $162,500.

That’s a wompin’ butt-load of money for most people.  It certainly is for me. And so, dearest Government of mine, I’m puttin’ you on notice:  I might just be coming after those lost benefits, should Medicare-as-we-know-it fall to the wayside.  And guess what, I bet I can get a whole lot of my fellow citizens to join in.  Because, you know, we worked for it.  We paid into the pool. We contributed to our future, on the understanding that we’d be taken care of.  And you know what? I expect to get the benefits I was promised.

Another reason that the reassurances to “those 55 and older” read like betrayals to those of us 54 and under, and generally just piss me off.

[edited 8/22/12 for clarity in first paragraph]

Eugene Robinson, on the “little people” who mean so much in the lives of us ordinary folk, and apparently mean so little to those who live  life exclusively in the stratosphere of the 1%:

It may not be the driver’s job to help with algebra homework, but he or she bears enormous responsibility for safely handling the most precious cargo imaginable. A good bus driver gets to know the children, maintains order and discipline, deals with harassment and bullying. Romney may not realize it, but a good driver plays an important role in ensuring a child’s physical and emotional well-being — and may, in fact, be the first adult to whom the child proudly displays a report card with all A’s.

via Romney and Ryan’s disdain for the working class – The Washington Post.

My own bus driver experience rings clear and true, 40-some years later.

Stan, the bus driver, first picked me up when I was in Second Grade, when I rode the Junior and High School bus to my “new school” while my family was waiting on moving into our new house. I didn’t ride the regular bus with the other third graders. I rode the older kid’s bus, a weird route that managed to pick me up out of the school’s area, and deliver me safely to my new school.

And Stan made that happen.  He sat me right behind him. He talked to me all through that intimidating ride with the older kids. He watched me walk to the school. He was patient. He was nice.  I can still see his face.

After we moved, he wasn’t my bus driver for a while. But when I went to Junior High, Stan was still driving that bus, and was the driver all through the next five years.

There are so many memories: Stan coaxing that old creaky bus up a steep, winding, icy hill, slipping, restarting, always managing to get all the way up the hill eventually – and the soundtrack all the while: the screaching brakes, the whining clutch, our gasps and squeals and cries of fear.  And then us all being grateful – some cheering, some just silently sweating out the success – when Stan finally topped the hill, and we trundled on through the flatter roads.

Stan broke up fights.  Stan sat people so the timid ones wouldn’t get bullied.  Stan pulled the bus over to the side of the country road till the “bad kids” settled down.  Stan rarely raised his voice. Or maybe he never raised his voice – I can’t actually remember a single instance, though he’d have had plenty of reasons.  I do remember him shaking his head, I do remember a lot of sighing.

Stan was the bus driver that most of us wanted to please, because Stan was the guy who looked out for us, and did it in a very calm, confident, quiet kind of way.  He really was a model of compassion, of reason, of perseverance, of humor.  He really was a public employee who influenced me greatly.

So, Stan, here’s to ya!  And here’s to the fabric you helped weave for me and for so many of us.

Thanks, Stan!

The Mittster announced that Paul Ryan is his VP pick for the 2012 campaign.

Gahhhhh!

Leaving aside all the well-founded critique of Ryan’s budgetary vision – Ayn-Randian as it is, and all that – I just don’t get it.  Doesn’t Romney want to WIN?

He’s got the hard-core conservatives in the bag, at least the ones who are willing to stray far enough to the left to vote Republican. So why add Ryan, a hard-core economic conservative, all be it a nice guy from all accounts.  Can he possibly appeal to enough swing voters to pull the ticket Romney’s way?  Seems like an odd pick to me.

But that aside:

Why leak the announcement late on Friday, and announce early on Saturday?  Certainly to make this topic THE topic of the Sunday morning talk shows (who started scrambling their guest lists sometime yesterday I would imagine). But isn’t there a thing about Friday announcements, burying the hard news, leaving something for the regular journalists come Monday, light treatment by the weekend staff, etc etc etc

Of course, I noticed that several of the major bloggers I read – Greg Sargent, Steve Benen come to mind – who normally don’t post much on the weekends were right there, opining left and right as it were.

So it’s not that the announcement will be ignored. But it will be treated differently, I think, than if it had come out early in the week.  The tone is set by the Opinionators, the pundits, who are notoriously (and I think gloriously) biased, particular perspectives held right out front. The tone is also set by the Romney supporters, who’s enthusiastic response to this idealogue (Ryan, obviously; I’m not sure if Romney could even relate to pure idealism).  That’s what will be blasted all over the news this weekend:

– Cheering, happy supporters, relieved that Romney picked a purist who actually talks like a human

– Pundits on the left, railing against everything whacky in Ryan’s budget ideas

– PUndits on the right, lauding the solid pick of a true patriot

What we won’t have is any analysis of any depth by any news organization until MOnday, when journalists and their staff support will hit the ground running.  I’m not saying nothing  is happening this weekend, but the running start is going to be more opinionating, and less research, more rah rah, and less Ah Hah!

Well, as I said above,
Gaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!

It’s a question I often ask myself – usually any time some aspiring business dude (or gal, but it’s usually a dude) starts talking about running the country. Sure, they may be talented at what they do. But do they have the skills to run a public office?

Leaving aside the question of whether someone is good at their job, or whether their achievements are desirable, Ezra Klein looks at this question in light of Mitt Romney’s claim to have skills appropriate to the presidency when he cites his “job-creation” and businessman track record.

Romney was running a private-equity firm that specialized in leveraged buy-outs. Obama is president of the largest economy on earth during the worst economic crisis in 80 years. However Romney performed, however Obama is performing, the two jobs simply aren’t comparable. Romney is not being elected to issue debt, purchase private companies and try to return a profit for the taxpayer. He might be very good at doing all of that, but as president, that won’t be his job. It won’t even be close to his job.

via Romney’s Bain figures don’t add up – The Washington Post.

It often seems that folks forget that running a government and running a business are two different entities – yes, both have a lot of rules and a lot of paperwork and a lot of think-tankish-bull-session qualities, but the goals are absolutely different. And that means that not all administrative skills are applicable to both environments.

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