Reforming America: Mitt Romney and Chris Christie on Public Employee Pensions, Teachers’ Unions, Unsustainable Entitlements

May 29, 2009 - Mitt Romney endorses New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie on steps of Borough Hall, Haddonfield, NJ.


Governor Chris Christie’s hunt, confront, and blunt approach to solving New Jersey’s deficit problems is thrilling. I like what he has to say about public employee/union entitlement demands. Take a look at a Townhall meeting he held on September 14, 2010, in Gloucester Township, NJ:


Governor Mitt Romney addresses this issue in No Apology: The Case for American Greatness. Here’s a brief excerpt (P. 217, 218):

Accountability is one of those things we expect from others but would prefer not to submit to ourselves. Most of us would rather be rewarded regardless of whether we excel, yet we know that if that were the case for everyone, our society would falter. Teachers’ unions do their very best to secure these insulations from performance for their members, and the results are lack of accountability, rising pay as a simple function of years on the job, and near-absolute job security. These have a deadening impact on student achievement. [...]

[...] Our elected representatives’ role is to sit across the table from the unions and bargain in good faith in the interest of children and parents. But the teachers’ unions long ago discovered that they could wield influence – and, in some cases overwhelmingly influence – over the selection of our representatives on school boards and in state legislatures. In states like Massachusetts and in many others, it’s almost impossible to be elected a city mayor if you are opposed by the local teachers’ union, and the same is true for candidates for state representative in many legislative districts. As a result, candidates for office woo the teachers’ unions. If they secure their endorsement and are elected, the official sitting across the table from the union at bargaining time is the very person the union campaigned for and helped get into office. All too often, no one at that bargaining table is there solely to represent the interests of the children and parents. Of course, there are always the requisite public nods to education reform, accountability, performance pay, and all the potential education reforms that are currently in vogue. But meaningful change is seldom accomplished. Instead, the priority almost always remains more education funding and creating smaller classes – the two measure with the least positive impact on the quality of education, but the most impact on teacher pay and union dues. When citizens vote to reduce education revenues or the state cuts back on funds, the education officials typically make the cuts where the voters will feel them most – in sports, music, arts, libraries, and computers. You simply don’t see administrators being fired or salaries being cut across the board.

[…]

[…]The unions’ influence directly affects policies that lie at the foundation of our nation’s economy, the core of our ability to preserve freedom, and the heart of our children’s future prosperity. The reform and improvement of our failing schools is a priority that is simply too important to be shaped by such a powerful and self-interested special interest.

(my emphasis)

More on Christie’s Townhall meeting 9/14/10:

Governor Christie proposes pension and health benefit reform

Read more here.

No Apology – Mitt Romney P. 113

Unfortunately, some union CEOs are less concerned about an industry’s competitiveness than they are with how many of their union’s jobs they can protect, how much they can increase wages, and how they can impose even more favorable work rules. In some cases, this mind-set has contributed to companies or to entire industries failing so badly behind their competition that they lose market share or fail altogether, resulting in even greater job losses. Airlines, textiles, tires, steel aluminum consumer electronics, and autos include cases in point. The declines in unionized workplaces in the private sector reflects a recognition by working people across America that continual improvement and innovation are required in order for an employer to survive in the global marketplace. Unionization continues to grow in the public sector, however, because there is no competition to drive out a government entity that is inefficient, unproductive, or high cost – government is a protected monopoly.

(my emphasis)

For further details on Romney’s stance on unsustainable entitlements, refer to No Apology: The Case for American Greatness.

America is gasping for tough reformers like Chris Christie and Mitt Romney.

► Jayde Wyatt

The Free & Strong America PAC Releases a New Video and Announces West Virginia and Maryland Endorsements

UPDATE by Jayde 9:29 AM PST: This is the perfect place to insert a North Star National opinion piece that was published today – Romney speaks, and echoes of Reagan fill my ears:

Besides returning sanity back to the country by flipping the House and stalling the Senate, you know what I’m most excited about this year? Mitt Romney about to start showing some more face than he’s been giving us lately, thanks to that looming year ahead, 2-0-1-2.

Right now, he’s camping in New Hampshire, and his recent appearance at the New Hampshire Republican State Committee will definitely give you a taste of what his you-know-it’s-coming presidential bid is going to bring. And boy do we need it now.

No apologies.

After this primary season, Romney’s uniting leadership could certainly heal many wounds and bring us back together. If we can get him to the general election, I’d certainly bet on a landslide win followed by a victory and a presidency the GOP can put into its Reagan Hall of Fame.

What did he say? What did he do?

This man has Reagan down. He’s got the witty little stories with the funny lines. Some of the humor is self-deprecating, as appropriate Reagan-ness would proscribe. He’s very incorporative of his family in his stories, appearances and the like. And bonus, his message is very “we” the people, “we” the Republicans, “we” the future.

He can talk about the character of our country, relate it to something he’s an expert at, i.e., business (which could be a snore if he wasn’t so damn good at speaking), and turn it into a moment of inspiration for Americans.
[...]

Don’t miss reading more here.


On 9/27/2010, Mitt Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC announced the following four West Virginia endorsements and committed a total of $12,500 to their individual campaign committees:

John Raese, a successful businessman, is now running to serve the people of West Virginia in the U.S. Senate.

Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito represents the 2nd Congressional District of West Virginia and is running for reelection.

Spike Maynard previously served the people of West Virginia on the state Supreme Court and is now running to represent the 3rd Congressional District of West Virginia.

David McKinley, a small businessman and former state legislator, is now running to represent the 1st Congressional District of West Virginia.

————————————————————————-

Then, today, Mitt Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC announced the endorsement of four Maryland candidates:

Bob Ehrlich has previously served the people of Maryland as a Congressman and as Governor. He is now running to once again serve the people of Maryland as Governor.

Congressman Roscoe Bartlett currently represents the 6th Congressional District of Maryland, and is running for reelection.

Andy Harris, a physician and Maryland State Senator, is now running to represent the 1st Congressional District of Maryland.

Charles Lollar, a business executive and Major in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, is now running to represent the 5th Congressional District of Maryland.

Mitt Romney Travels Across USA to Help Conservatives, Delivers Keynote Speech NH GOP State Convention

Where in the USA is Mitt Romney?

This past week, Governor Romney’s rock-solid commitment for conservative midterm victories took him from sea to shining sea: New York, California, Illinois, and New Hampshire. With multiple events held per day in each state, his jam-packed schedule of speaking, campaigning, and fundraising was no small feat!

Backstage view of Governor Romney delivering keynote speech at New Hampshire's GOP State Convention Sept 25, 2010 - TwitPic by ryanGOP

Crowning this week’s calendar, Romney enlivened New Hampshire’s GOP State Convention with a compelling keynote speech in Concord today:
Union Leader.com

CONCORD – Mitt Romney called out President Obama Saturday at a state GOP convention where Republicans vowed to capitalize on voter anger and take back the state and nation.

Romney, a 2008 presidential contender sounding like the 2012 candidate most political observers expect him to be, said Obama is at war with private enterprise in America.

Obama has traveled the country vilifying one job creator after another, Romney said. “They don’t understand what makes America, America.”

Meanwhile, believing they are riding a wave of momentum into the general election, New Hampshire Republicans talked about restoring the party to its once dominant perch in state politics.

Democrats are ruining New Hampshire and bankrupting the country said N.H. GOP chairman John H. Sununu told about 400 people, almost 300 of them delegates to the state’s annual convention.
[...]

(link added)

Romney brings conservative message to New Hampshire:

[...]“We are all unhappy with what’s happened under the president,” Romney said in a keynote address to the state Republican Party convention in Concord.

The former Republican presidential candidate said Obama has proven what Ronald Reagan said about liberals a long time ago: “It’s not that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that what they know is wrong.”

He criticized Obama for failing to understand American values and not being able to turn an ailing economy around.

“This is the first time I can recall the government declaring war on private enterprise,’ Romney said.

Romney said the nation’s dissatisfaction with the Obama administration would manifest itself at the polls in November’s midterm elections.

“I can’t predict the scale of the victory we’re going to see in November, but I can predict that there’s going to be a repudiation of the liberalism that has been running rampant in Washington D.C.,” Romney said. “Let’s bring Republican values back to Washington.”
[...]

To see a great photo of Mitt acknowledging wife, Ann, before addressing the delegates at the NH GOP Convention today, click here.

A few tweets from those in attendance:

EricFehrn: In speech, Romney praised US Sen hopeful Ovide Lamontage for uniting party behind Ayotte instead of seeking recount
Sat Sep 25 – 9:34:34 am

EricFehrn: Standing O for Romney at NH GOP Convention. Now he’s off to a funder for Gov candidate John Stephen.
Sat Sep 25 – 10:42:40 am

JimMerrillNH: Big day at #NHGOP convention as @MittRomney, delayed by standing ovations, fires up the ticket and big crowd.
Sat Sep 25 – 1:09:39 pm

Romney meets with local friends and candidates after NH GOP Convention Sept 25, 2010


After meeting with friends and candidates, Gov Romney then headed to Derry, NH, where the Derry Republican Town Committee and Friends of John Stephen held a fundraiser to support Stephen’s bid for Governor.

Mitt Romney speaking at packed fundraiser for gubernatorial candidate John Stephen in Derry, NH. Sat, Sept 25, 2010

Today’s center-stage events for Romney highlights the fourth time he has assisted the NH GOP in the past two months.

“Governor Romney has been a strong supporter of the New Hampshire Republican Party and we are extremely appreciative of all the assistance he has given us through this critical election cycle.” ~NH state party chairman John H. Sununu

Thanks to Governor Romney for his unrelenting work to boost conservatives across the country to the WIN category in just a few weeks!

UPDATE: NECN news report of Romney’s NH activities today:


(NECN video – hat tip/Bosman)

UPDATE 2: To watch Romney’s entire NH GOP Convention keynote speech click here.

► Jayde Wyatt

Gov Mitt Romney Speaks at ACG Business Conference in Los Angeles, CA

Tweetpic "Watching Mitt Romney speak at ACG LA Business Conference" Sept 22, 2010 Los Angeles, CA



Approximately 1200 executives, bankers, investors, and professionals congregated in Los Angeles on Wednesday, September 22, for the annual ACG LA Business Conference to share information, network, and listen to Governor Mitt Romney speak.


Marketwire described the speakers as “A roster of luminaries from the worlds of business, politics and the media …”  Romney was described thusly:

Mitt Romney, former CEO of Bain & Company, former Governor of Massachusetts and a candidate for the Republican nomination for the 2008 presidential election. He is the author of “No Apology: The Case for American Greatness,” and is regarded as a leading candidate to lead the Republican ticket in 2012.

(my emphasis)

This video shows a portion of Romney’s speech, his ease in taking questions, and how adroitly he answers:


Governor Romney continues to impress…

UPDATE – This tweet sums it up:

svranca: I just left the ACG conference in Beverly Hills and met Gov. Mitt Romney. He gave a great speech and made me wish he was the US President
Wed Sep 22 – 7:08:51 p

(Hat tip/DougNYCGOP )

► Jayde Wyatt

Video: Mitt Romney Addresses SoCal Heritage Group

heritage-logo Mitt Romney
I thoroughly enjoy listening any of Romney’s speeches but… they are nothing compared to the Q and A sessions that sometimes follow them. In the speech embedded below I highly recommend both parts. His answers to the random questions display his firm grasp of issues, histories and facts. I’ve frequently heard him answer criticism to the Mass health care bill, and this episode is one of my favorites. He also gives his impassioned view of the Tea Party and the good they are doing in upcoming elections. Sit down and enjoy!

MITT ROMNEY ADDRESSES THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA COMMITTEE FOR HERITAGE 9/23/10:




0:00 – 2:45 Introduction of Michael Reagan – “The Current Reagan”

2:45 – 8:00 Michael Reagan comments and intro of Mitt Romney
—- 4:45 Mitt Romney is one of the next great leaders of this movement

8:00 – 31:15 Mitt Romney’s Speech
—- 9:05 Invites crowd to ask the really embarrassing questions – the interesting ones that make him squirm.
—- 12:00 Romney: I think we are doing better if the President is getting advice from his caddy rather than his economic advisers
—- 13:30 Romney: Obama used the poor economy as cover to promote other agenda
—- 17:20 Romney: [Obama plan] is the most anti-Jobs, anti-growth, anti-investment strategy we have seen in our lifetime. He called it ambitious; I call it reckless.
—- 21:50 Romney: Total Debt and unfunded liabilities of the US is approximately 75 Trillion dollars

31:15 – 44:40 Q and A Session
—- 31:30 Q1: Your Massachusetts health care plan has been compared to ObamaCare. Where did it go wrong and would you have changed that program at all?
—- 31:45 If I were President of the United States … I would commit to repeal Obamacare. It is wrong for America. (Offers several distinctions between MassCare and Obama Care)
—- 34:05 Romney: Frankly I would love the chance to go toe to toe with the Obama folks to explain to them why their program is such a mess.
—- 34:15 Q2: Do you favor raising the eligibility age for Medicare and Social Security recipients to keep those programs solvent?
—- 35:55 Q3: Given the right policies in Washington, how long would it take to see obvious positive movement in the economy?
—- 37:05 Q4: What is your opinion on a flat tax, and do you think it’s attainable?
—- 38:20 Q5: Please address the Tea Party, and how it can affect the upcoming election.
—- 38:20 Romney (very boldly): The Tea Party is a manifestation of the energy and passion of the American people for real change, to get America back to its roots. It’s a good thing for us.
—- 39:10 Q6: Looking past our current economic problems, what should be our long term economic strategy?
—- 42:10 Q7: What can the Republican Party do that would be a platform of positive rather than negative?
—- 42:20 Romney: As others have noted… it’s a good thing to say no to bad stuff.
—- 43:10 Romney: Democrats Party bows to the teachers union
—- 44:15 Romney: We have a positive agenda for America’s future. A future that is bright for our kids, and their kids. And we are going to win in November!

~Nate Gunderson

Video H/T: Bosman

Mitt Romney To Be In Illinois With More Endorsements

Mitt Romney will  continue to keep busy with endorsing Republican candidates by going to Illinois tomorrow where he will be attending two events.  Romney’s scheduale begins in the morning where he will attend an RGA breakfast for Republican Governor candidate Bill Brady followed by a luncheon in support of  Congressman Mark Kirk’s U.S. Senate campaign.

With Illinois unemployment rate 10.1% which is  above the national average of 9.6%, Mitt Romney continues to hammer his message that job creation is the number one priority for Illinois and America:

“At a time when too many of our elected officials put special interests ahead of the public interest, it is more important than ever that we elect candidates who are dedicated to enacting the pro-growth policies Illinois – and our country – needs.  Illinois is fortunate to have so many strong candidates dedicated to turning our economy around and I am proud stand with them today.”

Mitt Romney has also announced his endorsement for 9 additional Illinois political candidates:

Jason Plummer: Jason Plummer, a small businessman, is now running to become the next Lieutenant Governor of Illinois.  For more information about him and his campaign, visit www.jasonplummer.com.

Congresswoman Judy Biggert:  Congresswoman Judy Biggert currently represents the 13th Congressional District of Illinois, and is running for reelection.  For more information about her and her campaign, visit www.biggert.com.

Congressman Tim Johnson:  Congressman Tim Johnson currently represents the 15th Congressional District of Illinois, and is running for reelection.  For more information about him and his campaign, visit www.timjohnsonforcongress.com.

Congressman Don Manzullo:  Congressman Don Manzullo currently represents the 16th Congressional District of Illinois, and is running for reelection.  For more information about him and his campaign, visit www.manzullo.org.

Congressman John Shimkus:  Congressman John Shimkus currently represents the 19th Congressional District of Illinois, and is running for reelection.  For more information about him and his campaign, visit www.volunteersforshimkus.org.

Bobby Schilling:  Bobby Schilling, a small businessman, is now running to represent the 17th Congressional District of Illinois.  For more information about him and his campaign, visit www.bobby2010.com.

State Senator Dale Righter:  Dale Righter currently serves in the Illinois State Senate and is running for reelection.  For more information about him and his campaign, visit www.righterforillinois.com.

State Representative Patti Bellock: Patti Bellock currently serves as an Illinois State Representative and is running for reelection.  For more information about her and her campaign, visit http://pattibellock.com/.

State Representative Rich Brauer: Rich Brauer currently serves as an Illinois State Representative and is running for reelection.

Not only is Mitt Romney giving his high profile endorsement to these candidates, but his Free and Strong America PAC has announced that it is sending Brady’s gubernatorial campaign a $1,000 contribution as well as  providing $2,500 each to the Congressional campaigns of Biggert, Johnson, Manzullo, Shimkus, and Schilling. Romney’s  PAC has already given a  $1,000 contribution to Jason  Plummer’s Lieutenant Governor campaign.

~ Jared. A

Mitt Polls Most Favorably Among Undecideds – PPP (UPDATED)

I’ve always taken Public Policy Polling’s (PPP’s) data with a grain of salt as they are perceived as left-leaning.  That said, I think their results have generally been fairly reliable in the past (vs. say, Zogby).  Caveats out of the way, I noticed a very interesting poll result that bodes well for a potential Romney candidacy.

You can read the full write-up here.  They don’t provide raw data or cross tabs, so here’s the summary.  PPP asked voters nationwide who are undecided about their vote in the upcoming congressional election their favorable vs. unfavorable perception of a range of politicians.  The breakdown of the undecided population was 14% Democratic, 21% Republican, and a whopping 65% Independent.   Below is a list of the politicians they asked about, and the resulting Unfavorable rating:

Democrats:

  • Barack Obama – 44% Unfavorable
  • Hillary Clinton – 31%
  • Michelle Obama – 28%
  • Bill Clinton – 39%

Republicans:

  • Sarah Palin – 65% (Highest among all politicians tested)
  • Glenn Beck and Newt Gingrich - 41%
  • Mike Huckabee – 33%
  • Mitt Romney – 25% (Lowest among all politicians tested)

 

Of course, 2012 is still a long way away, but it is clear that 1) Sarah Palin is a double edged sword…great currency within the Republican Party, but extremely challenged outside, and 2) as of now, Mitt has the best chance of winning votes among Independents.

Separately, Mitt is doing a webcast at the Heritage Foundation in about 45 min at 3:45pm EDT.  I don’t know if there are any membership requirements for participating (I am a member), but just in case, try clicking over to Heritage at 3:45 PM and check it out.

UPDATE:

Reader Doug NYC GOP has posted a related article over at Right-o-Sphere which I would highly recommend.  He covers some additional polling data which shows that Mitt is leading the early polling even among the Tea Partiers, which is great news!

MEDIA ALERT: Mitt Romney to Speak on MyHeritage.org Webcast Today – Listen LIVE!

Stay tuned, folks! I know this is short notice, but Mitt Romney will be speaking via webcast within the hour (3:45 pm ET)! Let’s be sure to gather at MyHeritage.org and listen to what he has to say:

Click Here to Listen!

From The Examiner.com – Patricia Walston
Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts and now a political commentator, will deliver remarks on the current political climate and conservative prospects this fall during an event hosted by the Southern California Committee for Heritage. Mitt has many followers here in Atlanta and all across the US.

Watch the event live online!

Will Mr. Romney still be a contender in the Presidential race of 2012? Many of his supporters feel he will run and many hope that he will become president next go round.

Right now it is certainly a tossup as to who will actually run; but rest assured most of the US will certainly be looking for an alternative come 2012 for the White House; and the other two Houses as well.

My Heritage is a great web site for keeping informed about the Conservative movement.

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