Archive for August, 2007

Comparing Hizzoner & Mitt: Economics

August 24, 2007

While talking below about the Club for Growth’s white papers on Romney and Giuliani, I noted that the Club seems to prefer Giuliani.  This is despite the fact that Romney and Giuliani share some of the positions which the Club proscribes, most notably on campaign finance reform.

Deroy Murdock just posted a piece on National Review Online that clarifies the issue.  It seems I have overestimated Romney’s economic stewardship of the bay state.  Examples:

Unemployment: 5.7% drop for Romney, 40.8% drop for Giuliani.

Public Assistance: 5% welfare drop for Romney, 58% drop for Giuliani.

Tax Burden: 10.8% increase for Romney, 17% drop for Giuliani.

Personal Income: 18.2% increase for Romney, 49.9% increase for Giuliani.

As I noted below, Giuliani had the advantage of governing longer, but the differences are stark.  Besides, this means Giuliani was able to actually win re-election.  Most observers agree Romney could never have won a second term.  So yet again Giuliani’s electability advantage comes into play.

I’d say this goes a long way towards explaining why the Club appears to prefer Giuliani to Romney.

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Club For Growth White Papers: Rudy vs. Mitt

August 23, 2007

Y’all may remember a while back when the Club for Growth issued its white paper on Hizzoner.  It was not an unmitigated rave, but they were impressed not only with his pro-growth bona fides, but also his tenacity in getting them successfully enacted in a political environment inimical to any policy to the right of Che Guevara.

Well, they issued a Romney white paper recently, and it is a similar situation.  What they don’t like about Rudy pretty well matches up with what they don’t like about Romney.  Thing is, the overall tone of Romney’s review is much less laudatory, containing missives like “His landmark steps in the health care arena also exhibit a mixture of desirable pro-free market efforts combined with a regrettable willingness to accept, if not embrace, a massive new regulatory regime.”

It concludes with “…[W]e are reasonably optimistic that, as President, Mitt Romney would generally advocate a pro-growth agenda.”  Does that seem pretty tepid to everyone else?  “reasonably optimistic” and “generally advocate” sure seem like damning with faint praise.

Why the different tone, when the records are somewhat similar?  I mean, Rudy’s record is better.  Clearly.  But some could plausibly argue that’s a product of the fact that Hizzoner simply governed longer.

I think it comes down to believability.  On all the issues Giuliani strikes people, at worst, as merely attempting to massage potentially problematical policy positions so they are less heretical to GOP purists.  But he doesn’t try to sell a full-on conversion.  On abortion, for example, he’s not trying to emulate Ralph Reid.  On guns, he emphasizes Federalism rather than trying to channel the late Charleton Heston.

Romney, on the other hand, has never had a change of heart damaging to his ambition.  I guess God has blessed him with a politically timely conscience.  So in this particular case, for example, the Club for Growth knows Giuliani has a great pro-growth record, and will move forward with that, even if occasionally his administration differs on the details the the Club’s platform.

With Romney, though, who knows?  I guess it comes down to the flip-flop thing, but it’s more nuanced than that.  It’s just that Romney’s flips are so magnificently convenient, and have the stink of manipulative transparency about them.

Rudy will sometimes say “If you can’t handle my position on this issue, then you’re going to have to vote for someone else.”  Mitt seems like he would rather dance with a hungry crocodile than say something like that.

1st Foreign Affairs, Now Reason

August 21, 2007

Seems Hizzoner is moonlighting as a pundit.  First he did a piece for Foreign Affairs magazine.  Now he has an op-ed up at the Reason Foundation site.  NY Post commentary here.

He works the executive competence angle at Reason, which is how the law and order mayor can win the libertarian right.  Nothing new to us, of course.  Eventually, though, people who keep saying “all Rudy has is 9/11” will notice that Giuliani rarely discusses that awful day.  Don’t those smooth-brains understand?  He doesn’t NEED to.

Toward a Realistic Peace – Rudy’s World View

August 14, 2007

Rudy lays out his foreign policy in this substantial article.

But at Least Mitt Won the Iowa Straw Poll!

August 13, 2007

On the upside for the Mittster, at least he managed to win the meaningless Iowa straw poll this weekend by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to barely edge out Mike Huckabee.

Well done, team Romney.  Keep it up.  Maybe as soon as you start spending a similar amount of money per vote nationally you can break into double digits in a Gallup poll.

RomneyCare

August 13, 2007

SURPRISE: More government interference and regulation of the health care system leads to longer lines, more red tape, confusion, and…you guessed it…less care.

Here in my new home, Massachusetts, health care coverage is required by law.  If you can’t afford it, the state government will step in and subsidize your coverage.  (As a rule of thumb, when I read that the government is paying for something, I mentally substitute I or we for government, since, after all, it’s not the government that goes out and earns a paycheck.)

A local news station, NECN, reported this sunny Sunday morning that many thousands of Bay Staters, who have already been ‘in the process’ for months, are still waiting for their state-subsidized health insurance.  The paperwork is “confusing” and “overwhelming,” and many claim to have received contradictory information from different government officials regarding their coverage.

So who’s bright idea was this?  None other than the former governor, Mitt Romney.  That’s right, the man running for President who has the most invested in being known as the ‘conservative,’ ‘Reagan-esque’ candidate brought socialized medicine to my new home state without so much as a quiet apology.

Mitt prefers to think of RomneyCare as a market-driven solution to the ‘problem’ of health care.  After all, he still requires that the less fortunate pay something for their coverage.  Months of waiting?  Long lines?  Confusion?  More tax dollars taken from workers?  It’s all part of the process.  Right, Mitt?

Quinnipiac Swing State Poll

August 9, 2007

Sorry for the infrequency of posts.  Busy life + nothing shocking = less posting.

There’s some trenchant commentary here from a brilliant blogger about the recent Quinnipiac swing state poll covering PA, FL, and OH.  No surprises:  Rudy leads all for the GOP nod and is the only GOP candidate who can compete in the general election.

I guess there was some pseudo-shocking news in the Vanity Fair hit piece on Mrs. Giuliani.  Whatever.  If that’s the best the NYC media can do, despite the fact they detest Giuliani for making their city better through tactics they insisted would never work, then the election may be easier than we thought.

Of course, we all know there’s more of that coming.  I will not hold my breath, though, on the similar piece on Bill Clinton’s philandry and corruption, Mrs. Obama’s sanctimony, or Mrs. Edwards’ naked ambition.

NH Manchester Union-Leader’s Pro-Rudy Editorial

August 1, 2007

Well, look at this.  As soon as other candidates [ahem, Rudy Giuliani] start dumping resources into IA and NH at even a fraction of the pace of Mitt Romney has been burning bonfires of venture capital cash, the Mittster’s lead is revealed as thin at best.

I thought it was Giuliani who was supposed to have fickle and ill-informed supporters?  MSM pundits stunned again, Bloggers for Rudy grow bored with their predictable failures.

Now, on the heels of those polls the influential Manchester Union Leader writes:

Giuliani wants to use the power of free markets to reduce health-care costs and make insurance more affordable and more widely available.

“America’s health-care system is being dragged down by decades of government-imposed mandates and wasteful, unaccountable bureaucracy,” he said. “To reform, we must empower all Americans by increasing health-care choices and affordability, while bringing accountability to the system.”

Giuliani’s health care proposal has some familiar ideas, such as expanding Health Savings Accounts, reforming medical liability laws and offering a tax credit for health insurance not purchased through an employer. Each of these sound ideas has been pushed by the Bush administration.

It also has some less familiar ones, such as bypassing state coverage mandates by allowing people to purchase basic health insurance through interstate markets.

Giuliani’s plan is innovative and, if implemented, would achieve much of what the Democrats want, but for less money and with greater individual freedom.

It should be noted that he is not the only Republican candidate touting market-based health-care reform. But he is doing so more aggressively, directly challenging the Democrats on the issue. (Mitt Romney has done this to a lesser extent.)

Other Republican candidates need to follow Giuliani’s lead and play up their market-based approach to health-care reform. Socialized medicine is a terrible idea. But it will be the only idea if its opponents don’t challenge it more aggressively.

Pundits keep saying things like “All Rudy has is 9/11”, “Giuliani’s appeal is largely based on name-recognition and will dissipate”, and “National polls are meaningless, what is really significant is that Romney leads in IA and NH, and McCain in SC.”

They’re like some of the marketing people I work with.  They keep making judgements with their guts and don’t seek out– or ignore– outright data.  All the data available to us is that Americans love Giuliani, and his positions most closely match those of the voters.  I guess mundane things like facts are irrelevant to them, and I should craft a macro that writes out “MSM wrong again.”

Rudy on the Rise

August 1, 2007

                                 

American Research Group has a new set of polls on IA, NH, and SC, and one thing is clear: Rudy Giuliani is up in all three states. As is another: John McCain keeps sinking, especially in New Hampshire and South Carolina, where he’s down 11 and 13 points since June:

(movement since June +/- in parentheses)

IA:

Giuliani: 22% (+4)

Romney: 21% (-4)

McCain: 17% (+4)

Thompson: 13% (-1)

NH:

Giuliani: 27% (+8)

Romney: 26% (-1)

Thompson: 13% (+3)

McCain: 10% (-11)

SC:

Giuliani: 28% (+6)

Thompson: 27% (+8)

McCain: 10% (-13)

Romney: 7% (-1)

Giuliani’s perceived weakneses in IA and NH were always exaggerated and this poll proves what we’ve been saying all along: that with enough exposure and grassroots attention, Rudy’s numbers (already high in the larger states with later primaries) would start to rise among Republicans in the critical early primary states as well. It’s also interesting to note predictions that Fred Thompson would erode Giuliani’s support seem to be completely off base. In fact, Giuliani’s numbers have risen considerably in IA and NH with Thompson in the race, while Thompson ranks 4th and 3rd in those states, despite the media blitz surrounding his possible candidacy. Republicans across the country are coming to the realization that Rudy is the only candidate who can provide strong, honest leadership and challenge the Democrats directly for their dismal record on national security.