Archive for Friday, October 5, 2012

Column: Romney completes a trifecta

October 5, 2012


WASHINGTON — The presidential campaign, hitherto a plod through a torrent of words tedious beyond words, began to dance in Denver. There a masterfully prepared Mitt Romney completed a trifecta of tasks and unveiled an issue that, because it illustrates contemporary liberalism’s repellent essence, can constitute his campaign’s closing argument.

Barack Obama, knight of the peevish countenance, illustrated William F. Buckley’s axiom that liberals who celebrate tolerance of other views always seem amazed that there are other views. Obama, who is not known as a martyr to the work ethic and who might use a teleprompter when ordering lunch, seemed uncomfortable with a format that allowed fluidity of discourse.

His vanity — remember, he gave Queen Elizabeth an iPod whose menu included two of his speeches — perhaps blinds him to the need to prepare. And to the fact that it is not lese-majeste to require him to defend his campaign ads’ dubious assertions with explanations longer than the ads. And to the ample evidence, such as his futile advocacy for Democratic candidates and Obamacare, that his supposed rhetorical gifts are figments of acolytes’ imaginations.

Luck is not always the residue of design, and Romney was lucky that the first debate concerned the economy, a subject that to him is a hanging curve ball and to Obama is a dancing knuckleball. The topic helped Romney accomplish three things.

First, recent polls showing him losing were on the verge of becoming self-fulfilling prophesies by discouraging his supporters and inspiriting Obama’s. Romney, unleashing his inner wonk about economic matters, probably stabilized public opinion and prevented a rush to judgment as early voting accelerates.

Second, Romney needed to be seen tutoring Obama on such elementary distinctions as that between reducing tax rates (while simultaneously reducing, by means testing, the value of deductions) and reducing revenues, revenues being a function of economic growth, which the rate reductions could stimulate. Third, Romney needed to rivet the attention of the electorate, in which self-identified conservatives outnumber self-identified liberals two-to-one, on this choice:

America can be the society it was when it had a spring in its step, a society in which markets — the voluntary collaboration of creative individuals — allocate opportunity. Or America can remain today’s depressed and anxious society of unprecedented stagnation in the fourth year of a faux recovery — a bleak society in which government incompetently allocates resources in pursuit of its perishable certitudes and on behalf of the politically connected.

Late in the debate, when Romney for a third time referred to Obamacare’s creation of “an unelected board, appointed board, who are going to decide what kind of [medical] treatment you ought to have,” Obama said, “No, it isn’t.” Oh?

The Independent Payment Advisory Board perfectly illustrates liberalism’s itch to remove choices from individuals, and from their elected representatives, and to repose the power to choose in supposed experts liberated from democratic accountability. Beginning in 2014, IPAB would consist of 15 unelected technocrats whose recommendations for reducing Medicare costs must be enacted by Congress by Aug. 15 of each year. If Congress does not enact them, or other measures achieving the same level of cost containment, IPAB’s proposals automatically are transformed from recommendations into law. Without being approved by Congress. Without being signed by the president.

These facts refute Obama’s Denver assurance that IPAB “can’t make decisions about what treatments are given.” It can and will by controlling payments to doctors and hospitals. Hence the emptiness of Obamacare’s language that IPAB’s proposals “shall not include any recommendation to ration health care.”

By Obamacare’s terms, Congress can repeal IPAB only during a seven-month window in 2017, and then only by three-fifths majorities in both chambers. After that, the law precludes Congress from ever altering IPAB proposals.

Because IPAB effectively makes law, thereby traducing the separation of powers, and entrenches IPAB in a manner that derogates the powers of future Congresses, it has been well described by a Cato Institute study as “the most anti-constitutional measure ever to pass Congress.” But unless and until the Supreme Court — an unreliable guardian — overturns it, IPAB is a harbinger of the “shock and awe statism” (Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ phrase) that is liberalism’s prescription for curing the problems supposedly caused by insufficient statism.

Before Denver, Obama’s campaign was a protracted exercise in excuse abuse, and the promise that he will stay on the statist course he doggedly defends despite evidence of its futility. After Denver, Romney’s campaign should advertise that promise.

— George Will is a writer for the Washington Post Writers Group.


Richard Heckler 5 years, 8 months ago

Can Republicans or democrats afford this reckless republican party of the last 32 years?

I cannot afford the reckless repub behaviors the past 32 years represent.

WE must all think about what republicans have left behind for democratic administrations to clean up which BTW is no mean feat

Think about the magnitude of these events which have cost millions upon millions their homes, jobs,retirement programs and medical insurance!

In fact it appears to be policy of republican administrations.

AND they are still trying to steal OUR Social Security Insurance dollars and Medicare Insurance $$$ to pass on to greedy Wall Street investors and campaign contributors. That is simply unacceptable.

It's YOUR money! A few cases in point to be considered :

  1. The Reagan/Bush Savings and Home Loan Heist(Cost taxpayers $1.4 trillion)

Move Your Money

  1. Wall Street Home Loan Bank Fraud on Consumers under Bush/Cheney sent the economy out the window costing taxpayers many many more trillions.

Move Your Money

  1. Only 3 financial institutions were at risk in spite of what Americans were told yet cost taxpayers another trillion $$$ or two.

Move Your Money

  1. Social Security Insurance AT Risk for no reason( This would cost taxpayers $4 trillion, add $300 billion to the debt each of the next 20 years, place taxpayers insurance money at risk and wreck the economy)

Richard Heckler 5 years, 8 months ago

The Big Guys Work For The Carlyle Group What exactly does it do?

To find out, we peeked down the rabbit hole.

FORTUNE Monday, March 18, 2002

By Melanie Warner

Are you the sort of person who believes in conspiracies--the Trilateral Commission secretly runs the world, that sort of thing? Well, then, here's a company for you. The Carlyle Group, a Washington, D.C., buyout firm, is one of the nation's largest defense contractors. It has billions of dollars at its disposal and employs a few important people.

Maybe you've heard of them: former Secretary of State Jim Baker, former Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci, and former White House budget director Dick Darman. Wait, we're just getting warmed up. William Kennard, who recently headed the FCC, and Arthur Levitt, who just left the SEC, also work for Carlyle.

As do former British Prime Minister John Major and former Philippines President Fidel Ramos. Let's see, are we forgetting anyone? Oh, right, former President George Herbert Walker Bush is on the payroll too.

The firm also has about a dozen investors from Saudi Arabia, including, until recently, the bin Laden family. Yes, those bin Ladens.

tbaker 5 years, 8 months ago

It doesn't really matter who wins. Niether candidate really understands and promotes the true role of government in a free society. One to protect the liberty of every individual, not to police the world, not to run a welfare state, impose mandates, transfer wealth, or subsidize certain industries over others, not to run-up massive debt and debase the currency to pay for it, leaving all of us with dollars that won't buy what they used to.

They go to great lengths to make us think they are different becuase they have to keep us poor saps at each others throats fussing over trivia. They know that if we ever came together as a people and united on a subject we would have the power and they would not. That prospect terrifies the ruling elite, which is why I'm not voting for either one of these clowns.

beatrice 5 years, 8 months ago

A football coach would have trouble turning a bad franchise around in three years, but you want a miracle with something like the economy? Wow.

beatrice 5 years, 8 months ago

You don't like the fact that people are getting jobs so you have to make false claims. How exactly would a president go about "cooking the books" on the job report? Support your accusation.

beatrice 5 years, 8 months ago

He (meaning Obama) isn't in charge of releasing the numbers by the Labor Department.

If someone is going to make a claim of "cooking the books," then support such a claim. Simple. Otherwise, that person making the claim is just making stuff up.

beatrice 5 years, 8 months ago

Um ... that isn't even close to what I wrote. I stated that Obama isn't responsible for gathering the employment numbers nor for releasing the numbers. Presidents don't do that. Silly argument even for you LO.

Tara Painter 5 years, 8 months ago

Thats WRONG, it was in the new a while back that it appears down because a lot of people have given up trying to get a job

deec 5 years, 8 months ago

Did Romney bring a cheat sheet? If he did, at least he used a piece of paper instead of his hand.

beatrice 5 years, 8 months ago

Wow, that was like three-card-monte quick.

deec 5 years, 8 months ago

He's also decided he wants to be president of everybody after all. "Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said his remark that 47% of Americans are government-dependent victims was "completely wrong"."

when will the mea culpas from the con. posters on this forum start? :)

mom_of_three 5 years, 8 months ago

a repub relative of mine said "well, at least he admits his mistake." He got caught telling what he thought was the truth and now he backed into a corner after alienating half the people in the country who will never trust him.

jonas_opines 5 years, 8 months ago

People speak their true minds behind closed doors to exclusive crowds, and say whatever they think the public will like when they talk to the public.

fiddleback 5 years, 8 months ago

"First, recent polls showing him losing were on the verge of becoming self-fulfilling prophesies by discouraging his supporters and inspiriting Obama’s. Romney, unleashing his inner wonk about economic matters, probably stabilized public opinion and prevented a rush to judgment as early voting accelerates."

Entirely backwards. GOP voters may have previously felt pessimistic but are a dedicated voting bloc. Before the debate, both Obama and his supporters were more likely to become complacent than "inspirited"...

"unleashing his inner wonk" LOL. George must be kidding--Mitt a wonk? The guy who glibly side-stepped any calculations of what his plans would actually entail or cost? Saying "I'd drop all the bad parts and keep the good parts" is the absolute opposite of being a wonk...

As for the IPAB, some reality checks for Grandpa Will:

jafs 5 years, 8 months ago

Thanks for the links.

The interesting thing to me about this one is that this board is doing exactly what conservatives have argued for consistently over a long period of time - it's trying to improve efficiency, cut waste in government spending, and continue to deliver essential services.

That could be a campaign line from any number of R politicians.

And, yet here they argue strenuously against it?

tbaker 5 years, 8 months ago

The IPAB takes choice away from people, and puts it in the hands of an unelected group of bureaucrats. There is not a single example of this type of government approach ever improving the efficiency of anything, or reducing it's cost. Not one. Free people making their own decisions for themselves is always a better choice by comparison.

jafs 5 years, 8 months ago

It doesn't actually do that.

What it does is identify "best practices" by medical professionals, and clinics, and incentivizes those in health care to follow those practices.

For example, instead of each doctor in a clinic doing their own blood tests and x-rays, they can do one set of those and share the information. Same information, better coordinated care, and lower costs.

By the way, this "unelected" thing that gets thrown around is puzzling to me. Our system is designed as a 3 part system, with the legislature only one part of that. The executive branch includes agencies headed by appointees, and the judicial branch as well, at least partly. The SC has judges nominated by the president, and confirmed by the Congress.

Those who throw around "unelected" as if it's somehow a terrible thing must want to collapse our system into a single part system, in which every government employee is elected, or something.

tbaker 5 years, 8 months ago

Everything you said is not the proper role of government. It is up to the market place, the consumers, and the healthcare professionals to decide what a best practice is - not some government entity. Unelected simply means unaccountable. If the IPAB does something people don't like, what is the recourse? The people being powerless to change an aspect of their government is a terrible thing.

jafs 5 years, 8 months ago

Shifting the goalposts again, I see.

Consumers, unless extremely well educated and assertive, can't possibly determine best practices. And, it's very difficult for consumers to educate themselves that well on medical issues.

The marketplace, if it runs on "consumer choice", also can't do that, without those kinds of consumers.

Health care professionals are more likely to be able to determine those, but clearly they're not doing it well enough, given the many mistakes and bad outcomes in our health care system.

Unelected doesn't mean unaccountable - appointees are made by elected officials, like the president, so if people don't like their appointees they can vote for another candidate for president.

Also, when they're confirmed by Congress, as with SC justices, one can vote for different Congresspeople.

If the founders had wanted a single part system, they would have created one. Clearly they intended for us to have 3 branches, and checks and balances between those. I think that the cry of "unelected" heard from right wing talk radio reflects a lack of understanding of that basic fact of our system.

Also, of course, one doesn't hear it when there's a R president - I don't recall the right yelling about his SC nominees, or EPA/SEC etc.

fiddleback 5 years, 8 months ago

Yes, of course it's aiming to achieve new efficiencies just as they would want, but they could only support such a board if a GOP administration had implemented it and they could take the political credit. Otherwise, coming from a Democrat it must be labelled a socialist monstrosity...

Here's a couple more for you: On why attacking Obamacare is really about politics rather than policy:

About whether Romney's plan really covers pre-existing conditions:

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 8 months ago

Why not? it was the Republicans that voted down the veteran's jobs bill before they went on one of the earliest vacations in Congressional history so they could campaign. You seriously think the grunt is gonna vote for the guy who put them in his 47% of "entitlement bums"? The only military that will vote for Romney are officers high enough to know he will protect their bread and butter and keep shoving the money at them to buy $140 hammers. Oddly, they will also probably be the only military to get absentee ballots.

dwendel 5 years, 8 months ago

I hadn't heard about Obama's plan to eliminate the US military. This seems like an important topic, and you obviously have some inside information,. Please tell us more.

beatrice 5 years, 8 months ago

If ... indeed.

And if he invents the flux capacitor, we will have time travel.

fiddleback 5 years, 8 months ago

I must say I'm enjoying the spring that this debate put in ol' George's step, and also watching all the GOP partisans swoon as their candidate finally starts acting the part.

All this rejoicing at the revived horse race, deliciously oblivious to history repeating itself. Nevermind that other Massachusetts flip-flopper who nailed his first debate only to become a historical footnote a month later...

Maybe they should just start looking forward to Rubio beating Hilary in 2016?

beatrice 5 years, 8 months ago

Nice to see some of our regular posters out campaigning.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 8 months ago

"Romney Trifecta"....Rpmney.......Ryan.....Akin

There you have it!

The true agenda of the Republican Party (aka "Three if by Tea")

beatrice 5 years, 8 months ago

Obama Trifecta = Iraq, bin Laden and Ghadafi

Romney Trifecta = Big Bird, Bert and Ernie

beatrice 5 years, 8 months ago

A movie about Muslims, even one mocking Muslims, didn't kill anyone -- not a single person.

Movies don't kill people, people kill people.

Big Bird has a person inside it (sorry to spoil the illusion for you). How many jobs will be lost if PBS stations around the country are tanked?

beatrice 5 years, 8 months ago

So? Nice to know you care so little for whether or not Americans have jobs. Juan Williams is one person. Thousands work for PBS across the country.

Oh, and the argument of jobs that would be lost was the same one made by Senator John McCain regarding cuts in the defense budget. So -- jobs in America matter, even those partially funded through the federal government.

beatrice 5 years, 8 months ago

Money growing on trees -- that is a false hope with no change.

I love the smell of zombies in the evening.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 8 months ago

Video has been released and authenticated showing that Romney, at the debate, reached in his pocket at the lectern and withdrew a sheet of paper. Placing it on the lectern, he unfolds it. Romney has attempted to say that it was a handkerchief, however, not only is it the wrong pocket for a hanky, frame by frame analysis has shown that it was, indeed, paper. Debate rules clearly state that no notes or audiovisual materials are to be used and the only thing allowed on the lectern is blank paper (of the debater's choice) and a pen so that they may make notes when the other person is speaking of points for rebuttal. Romney is seen removing it from the lectern after the Obamas leave.
So, in other words, ROMNEY NOT ONLY LIES, HE CHEATS!
And this is the man you people SO admire.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 8 months ago

You are the epitome of everything that is nasty about your party.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 8 months ago

Check out this "trifecta":

Protect your money from stupidity

Carol Bowen 5 years, 8 months ago

George Will wrote a very good column before the debate. I guess that was a special treat. He's back to his usual tirades.

beatrice 5 years, 8 months ago

I remember that column. Came out in 1979, correct?

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