Recap of Romney’s Speech to the Values Voter Summit…

The video and text for Romney’s speech can be found here.

That link is a permanent page that can also be found if you hover your mouse over the ‘Speeches’ tab on the navigation bar at the top of this page. Notice there are other major speeches there, as well.

About the speech: Romney seemed very relaxed and comfortable which made for an excellent delivery. He entered and exited the stage to music from the 2002 Olympics which he seemed to appreciate and brought great sense of pride to him. Though Romney was quite relaxed, his sincerity and conviction were apparent. Nothing seemed to me to be forced or an attempt to be something he is not. This is important as that was his one of his greatest criticisms in the ’08 race.

Many speculated on how he would solicit this crowd as it is supposedly Huckabee’s home turf. Delving too much into the “look at me I’m a social conservative too” persona would do more harm than good because of the perceived lack of genuineness of his Socon values. I say “perceived lack” because he is the real deal, in spite of his detractors… But Romney, aware of this enigmatic stance against by some, chose to delivery a speech that was strongly DefCon, with a healthy dose of FiCon, and a sprinkle of SoCon deftly thrown in at intervals to assure them that yes he is on their side but he was not going to pretend to be their champion on those issues. This is good because they’re not looking for a champion of just the Socon peg of the three-legged stool. They are looking for the well-rounded champion that can fight liberalism on all fronts. Such is Romney – his excellent speech attesting to that fact.

Romney’s Op/Ed at Washington Times: Card-check

You may recall that Governor Romney was one of several conservatives invited to do a revolving column at the Washington times. Well, Romney’s first column is up today and he takes on the issue of card-check.

Click here for the whole column. Head over there to read/leave comments.

In 2006, my last year as governor of Massachusetts, I vetoed a card-check bill that allowed public workers to organize if a majority signed union authorization cards as opposed to casting a traditional secret ballot. The veto was a gain for the rights of employees and employers to a fair election, but the victory was short-lived.

After I left office, organized labor had another run at replacing the secret ballot with a card check. With the support of Democrats in the legislature, that same bill I had vetoed was passed again in 2007 – and my Democratic successor signed it into law. What happened next is a cautionary tale for Congress as it moves toward a vote on national card-check legislation.

With this powerful new tool, for the first time ever in Massachusetts, a charter school was unionized. One reason so many parents want their children in charter schools is precisely because they operate free of union contracts, so that when administrators want to try something new, they can implement it quickly.

For this, charter schools are fiercely resented by teachers unions as a competitor to failing public schools. Charter schools use a merit system, rewarding teachers according to results in the classroom. They don’t have complicated work rules that smother creativity, nor are they burdened with termination rules that make it almost impossible to dismiss an incompetent teacher.

The union drive started last year when the American Federation of Teachers met with a small group of teachers from the Conservatory Lab Charter School in Boston. Throughout the summer, they worked behind the scenes to sign up a majority of the 20 teachers at the school. Administrators learned of the successful organizing effort only after the decision to unionize had been made. For parents who may have liked the idea of a union-free school, there was no chance to be heard.

Not surprisingly, the chairman of the school’s trustees is worried that a collective bargaining contract will be loaded with so many workplace restrictions that it will make it harder for the school to fulfill its mission to experiment with new ideas.

Unfortunately, these kinds of underhanded power plays are what we can expect across the nation if card check becomes the law of the land.

By tilting the playing field in favor of unions, card check not only robs workers of a secret ballot, it deprives management of the right to express its point of view. It will dramatically change the workplace as we know it, just as it’s beginning to do for charter schools in Massachusetts. Small businesses will have to hire labor lawyers and follow burdensome new rules. If the parties can’t agree on a contract, mandatory arbitration follows and employers that don’t yield to union demands will have contracts foisted on them.

All of this will raise costs, leading to more unemployment. The Labor Department reported that nemployment in February rose to 8.1 percent as American employers cut another 651,000 jobs. Unions are supposed to serve the interests of working people, yet in this case more power for the unions would help destroy many thousands of jobs throughout the economy.

Conservatives like me are opposed to card check, but not to unions. At their best, labor unions have always fought for the rights of workers, and generations of Americans have been better off for it. But the card-check proposal is not an example of unions at their best – it is a case of union organizers rewriting the rules at the expense of working people.

Its advocates claim that card check is a step forward for labor, as if workers should thank them for making unions less democratic. But anyone who would deny a worker’s right to vote on unionization by secret ballot is not advancing the cause of labor. They are just expanding the power of labor bosses. No one should be forced to publicly declare their intention before their employers and co-workers.

Leaders in the Democratic Party are eager to pay back the union bosses for their campaign support, even if it means selling out the American worker. Responsible members of Congress need to make it clear that Washington will not act to virtually impose unions on businesses. It is undemocratic, and it would devastate business formation and employment, worsening the present economic crisis.

By guarding against coercion and intimidation in the workplace, we can protect our economy from great harm, and secure the rights of employers and employees alike. The working people of America should be able to unionize the way their fathers and mothers did – by free choice and secret ballot.

Video and Transcript: Mitt Romney on Larry King Live

Part 1:

Part 2:

Below is also a partial transcript from the interview:

Larry King: Some are seeing a problem with the president doing the “Tonight Show,” the first sitting president ever to do a late-evening [talk] show. Do you have a problem with it?

Mitt Romney: Well, this probably isn’t the right time for it. I line up with Warren Buffett on this. I prefer to see the president focusing all of his time and energy on the economy.

King: That’s what he was talking about.

Romney: He is talking about it. He’s out doing a rally in California. He’s posing for the cover of magazines and doing a number of things. He’s putting together a health care plan, putting together a cap and trade program, a lot of things on the agenda.

And frankly, if you’re doing too many things, a couple of important things can slip by. And one of them that slipped by was the AIG legislation that allowed AIG executives to get these bonuses. It was put in a specific bill.

King: Are you as angered over this AIG thing as probably 90 percent of the public?

Romney: Yes, my view is that this is really the fault of two parties. One, the members of our government that weren’t paying attention, at best. That’s the most favorable way to characterize it. …

The other, of course, is the folks at AIG. And you ask yourself, why couldn’t they have done what other enterprises do that get in trouble, which is people come together; they talk about the sacrifice they are going to make to try and keep the enterprise going. But these guys seemed not to be willing to do that. …

This is a president who is learning on the fly. He’s never turned anything around before. He hasn’t had the experience of leading a nation or a business or a state in trouble. And the first rule I can tell him is focus, focus, focus.

King: How do you account for the fact that his popularity stays high?

Romney: I know that people recognize that this is a man who is a decent fellow. He’s intelligent. He’s well-intentioned. He’s just not experienced in the matters that we’re dealing with right now.

King: The latest polls say you are the leader to get the party’s nomination the next time around. Others say it’s Rush Limbaugh leading the party. Is he the head of your party?

Romney: He’s a very powerful voice among conservatives. And I listen to him. A lot of other people listen to him. He’s not a spokesman for the party, of course. But we don’t have one spokesman right now.

King: You are apparently [leading] in recent polls …

Romney: Kind of early, don’t you think?

King: Are you going to run again?

Romney: I can’t imagine making that decision at this point.

King: But you’re going to run again.

Romney: No, I don’t think [so]. I’m glad that you’re so insistent.

King: What did you make of Gov. [Sarah] Palin?

Romney: Boy, she was able to connect with our party in a very powerful way, ignite a lot of enthusiasm and excitement. That kind of political skill is rare. I hadn’t met her before the announcement that she was going to be our VP nominee.

And I thought, boy, she’s going to have a tough time up there on the stage at the Republican convention. Was I wrong. She got out there and just lit the place up.

King: The House today passed a measure to slap a hefty tax on big employee bonuses paid by companies getting federal bail outs. Good idea?

Romney: Well, look, everybody is mad at AIG and their executives for doing what they did. But to suggest that this is not the fault of the people in Congress who passed the specific measure allowing them to take these bonuses is a diversionary tactic and wrong. You don’t have a government take punitive action against a small group of people. Frankly, it’s unconstitutional, in my view.

King: Former President Bush said he’s not going to spend anytime criticizing Obama. He says he deserves silence. However, former Vice President [Dick] Cheney is taking a very different tact, charging that he’s making choices which would make us vulnerable for another attack. Which way do you go here?

Romney: Well, I think there’s a standard which is applied to former presidents, and that standard is that they have had their time on the stage and it’s best for them to step aside and let the new president have his or her chance. I think President Bush is doing the right thing.

King: Do you think we’re more vulnerable to an attack?

Romney: I think if we’re going to release the detainees that are in Guantanamo and put them out either in our own prisons or at prisons in nations that are going to release them, that will make us less secure. … I’m glad that President Obama decided to pull back on his original plans to immediately bring our troops home from Iraq. We’re succeeding there. He’s decided to go a little more slowly. … That’s the right course, and I appreciate that.

King: Do you have faith in American business?

Romney: Yes. … Every job we have that isn’t working for [the] government comes because somebody had an idea and began a business. Small business people, big business people, they’re just American citizens who took a risk, and some of them find the chance to make that risk became positive and generate jobs and income. That’s a great thing.

King: What about when business goofs?

Romney: To err is human and to make bad decisions is also human. You’ve seen some very bad characters. But whether that’s an executive or a basketball player or a politician, it’s throughout every society I know of. … I’m not going to be taking my time taking pot shots at the entire profession of business or any other profession in this country. Except maybe lawyers — I’m kidding.

King: Your wife has multiple sclerosis, a disease some scientists think will be cured through stem cell research. How is she doing?

Romney: She’s doing terrifically well. She’s riding horses on a regular basis. And she’s one of the few that has had very little progression from the disease. So I’m pleased and hopeful.

King: Do you support the stem cell thing?

Romney: I support stem cell research. I do not support creating new embryos for the purpose of taking away the life of that embryo, and taking stem cells from those embryos.

King: Do you think we’re going to cure MS?

Romney: I sure hope so. I think eventually we’ll be curing most of the major diseases we know during our lifetimes.

Transcript of Romney’s CPAC Speech


Click here for the video.
David Keene’s introduction to Romney begins at the 8:30 minute mark, Romney takes the stage at the 12:45 marker and his speech is about 28 minutes.

Mitt Romney’s Remarks to CPAC 2009

As Prepared for Delivery
February 27, 2009

Thank you all very much. It’s good to see all of you, and to be among so many friends. Being at CPAC feels a bit like coming home. Your enthusiastic send off three years ago propelled my campaign to the top of the pack. That status turned out to be temporary, of course. And when the journey was over, both Ann and I were filled with gratitude for your friendship and loyalty. It warmed our hearts, and we thank you. A lot of you have been asking how Ann is doing. And I’m happy to say she’s doing great.

There are so many conservative leaders here this weekend. I was looking forward to seeing Governor Palin again. There’s a rumor that she has been offered an 11-million-dollar book contract. My publisher has been talking to me about an 11-millon-dollar deal as well. I’m just not sure I can come up with that kind of money.

It’s an honor to be introduced by David Keene. His commitment to conservative principles has been tested and proven, in many venues and over many years. Some of you were here with Dave for the very first meeting of CPAC in the 1970s. You’ve been involved long enough to know that like every great cause in America, the conservative movement has periods of success and moments of setback. And in 2008, we had more than our share of disappointments. But we haven’t come to CPAC to dwell on battles we’ve lost. We are here to get ready for the battles we’re going to win.

As conservatives, we face this new year with resolve, but without resentment. Our country has a new president, and he has our prayers and best wishes. In the last eight years, we saw how a president’s political adversaries could be consumed by anger, and even hatred. That is not the spirit that brings us together. We want our country to succeed, no matter who’s in power. We want America to be prosperous and secure, regardless of who gets the credit. At our best, that has always been the mark of the conservative movement – in good times and bad, the interests of this great nation come first.

Right now the interests of America will depend in many ways on the decisions of President Obama. Those choices are his to make, whether or not we see eye to eye. We won’t be afraid to disagree with him when we must. And we won’t be afraid to agree with him when we can. One thing the President can know is that when he takes strong action in defense of the United States, we will stand by him. And we will always support the brave men and women of our nation’s military that he now commands.

We make these commitments out of principle, and our principles don’t depend on elections won or lost. Contrary to what you hear from some commentators on the left, the 2008 elections did very little to settle the most serious differences of opinion in American politics. Some of those issues were hardly debated at all in the fall campaign. As conservatives in opposition, we have a duty to press on …a duty to state our case with confidence.

Some critics speak as if we need to redefine conservatism. I think that misses the mark. America’s challenges are different from year to year, but our defining principles remain the same. Conservatives don’t enter each new political era trying to figure out what we believe. Facing new and complex problems, we find the answers in principles that endure. Ronald Reagan used to say that “the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that what they know is wrong. ” Conservatives don’t claim to know everything, but what we know is right.

Conservatives believe in settling great questions the way the Founders intended – especially where the stakes are the highest. Courts that have undermined the fundamental right to life have shown an equal disregard for the rights of property and the rights of religious freedom. We’ve even seen them extend rights to terrorist combatants who have killed Americans and who would like to kill many more.

In the way of judicial nominees, these next four years aren’t likely to be encouraging. But we conservatives stand for causes that are too important to allow unelected judges to force their own biases on an unwilling nation. We may not always win at the polls, but we believe in democracy …we respect the will of the people …and across this country, we will not stand idly by as liberal judges try to re-write the constitution and override democracy.

I’m often asked these days what Republicans and conservatives have to do to recover. And I’ll bet my answer is the same as yours. Our first concern isn’t a political recovery – it’s the recovery of our country.

We‘re at one of those rare moments in history, when the biggest tests come all at once. We don’t have the luxury of taking them on one by one. We have to get a lot of things right, and all at the same time. We’re in the second year of a major recession, and if we don’t make the right choices, things could get worse. Americans have already lost some 12 trillion dollars in net worth. And the pool of our nation’s investment capital has also shrunk by trillions of dollars.

The President has already moved to stop our economy’s downward spiral. Parts of the stimulus will, in fact, do some good. But too much of the bill was short-sighted and wasteful. Every single Republican in Congress voted in favor of a better stimulus plan, one that focused on creating jobs immediately. But Congressional Democrats couldn’t restrain themselves from larding up their bill with tens of billions of dollars for their political friends. Republicans wanted to stimulate the economy, Democrats wanted to stimulate the government. Conservatives in the House and Senate stood their ground and voted no—and they were absolutely right.

So far, the Administration has been unclear on what it will do to address the huge decline in the pool of risk and investment capital. These losses will be felt in businesses that don’t start-up and grow, and in jobs that don’t get created. To grow the pool of investment capital, the last thing you’d do is to raise taxes on investment, as the President has proposed. The surest, most obvious course is to rule out higher taxes on investment. I would propose going one step further. For all middle-class Americans, we ought to abolish the tax on interest, dividends and capital gains.

This economic crisis has proven that government has an urgent obligation to address some awful abuses we’ve seen in the financial sector, particularly in housing finance. Free markets, properly regulated and allowed to work as they should, have propelled America to be the largest economy in the world. For years, Washington politicians did nothing to prevent the abuses at Fannie and Freddie, and in some cases they encouraged those abuses for political gain. Let’s be clear on this point: conservatives favor clear, streamlined and up-to-date regulations and laws that let the economy work, but we will vigorously oppose those politicians who are poised to use their own failures as an excuse to undermine the free enterprise system.

I know we didn’t all agree on TARP. I believe that it was necessary to prevent a cascade of bank collapses. For free markets to work, there has to be a currency and a functioning financial system. But we can agree on this: TARP should not have been used to bail out GM, Chrysler and the UAW. And this is personal for me, I want the U. S. auto industry to succeed. But as some of us pointed out last November, that can only happen if its excessive costs and burdens are restructured. And concessions are going to be few and far between if bondholders and unions already have your money when the negotiating begins. The right answer for Detroit is this: Fix it first.

All of these measures are meant to confront the current economic peril. Properly guided, Washington could in fact speed the recovery. So far, some of the actions it has taken will help, and some will hurt. But we can be certain that the American economy will recover. The invisible hand of the market is more powerful than the lumbering machinery of government. In the final analysis, we know that the private sector – entrepreneurs and businesses large and small – will create the millions of jobs our country needs.

Earlier this week, the President addressed not only the current economy, but also his broader goals. I was pleased that he put healthcare, education, and energy on the agenda. The direction we take on these issues will profoundly shape the future of the nation. I’m afraid I know where the liberal Democrats want to take us. And as they try to pull us in the direction of government-dominated Europe, we’re going to have to fight as never before to make sure that America stays America.

President Obama was awfully vague about some of his plans, but I think I heard him say that government is responsible for educating a child from birth—from birth—to its first job. Universal pre-school and universal college. And there were hints as well of universal healthcare and a universal service corps. It all sounds very appealing, until you realize that these plans mean universal government. That model has never worked anywhere in the world. America is great because our society is free and the power of government is limited by the Constitution.

For the last several years, we’ve heard liberals moaning about the 700 billion dollars that have been spent over six years to win freedom in Iraq. They have now spent more than that in 30 days. And with a government almost 12 trillion dollars in debt, any unnecessary spending puts at risk the creditworthiness of the United States. If the world loses confidence in our currency, that could cause a run on the dollar, or hyperinflation that would wipe out savings and devastate the Middle Class. President Obama says he hopes to cut the deficit in half after four years—does that mean a deficit in 2012 of 600 billion dollars? No president should accept such a staggering deficit, much less hold it up as a national goal. This is the time to pare back government spending. It is not the time to fulfill every liberal dream and spend America into catastrophe.

Congressional Democrats are gearing up to take over the health care system. We need to advance a conservative plan – one based on free choice, personal responsibility, and private medicine; one that doesn’t add massive new federal spending. I like what I proposed in Massachusetts when I was governor. And even though the final bill and its implementation aren’t exactly the way I wanted, the plan is a good model. Today, almost every Massachusetts citizen who had been uninsured now has private, free-market coverage, and we didn’t have to raise taxes or borrow money to make it happen. We may find even better ideas in other states. But let’s make certain that conservative principles are front and center. A big-government takeover of health care is the next thing liberals are going to try, and it’s the last thing America needs.

What America does need is a commitment to reforming entitlements. I believe that Medicaid should be capped and put in the hands of the states; Social Security benefits for high income citizens who are now age 55 or younger, should grow with the consumer price index, not the wage index; and Medicare should be reformed with a dose of free-market reality. These and other reforms are essential, because if we stay on the same road, the next generation could see tax rates 50 percent higher even than ours – and that’s to pay the bills we’ve racked up for ourselves. Passing on that kind of debt to our children is not only fiscally irresponsible, it is morally wrong.

I was glad that the President said he favors charter schools. Did you hear what sound came from the Democratic side of the chamber? Crickets. I hope the President will join all of us to expand school choice, reward better teachers with better pay, raise teacher standards in academic subject-matters like math and science, and enable school districts to remove teachers that don’t make the grade. It is high time to put America’s kids first and leave the union bosses behind.

We and the President agree that America must act to become energy independent. But his cap-and-trade proposal is exactly the wrong way to go about it. It would tax American citizens and employers and send businesses and jobs to high polluting and high emitting nations like China. Any carbon plan has to be worldwide in scope: they don’t call it America-warming, they call it global-warming.

Let’s also be the voice that defends the rights of workers – against coercion and intimidation. The working people of this country should be able to unionize the way their fathers and mothers did – by free choice and secret ballot. The Democrats’ plan to take away those rights is an insult to the dignity and common sense of working people. It would be calamitous for the economy. I know that the Democrats want to pay back the union bosses for all the money they gave them, but they must not do it by selling out the American worker – and democracy.

America voted for change. America did not vote for a boat-load of new government spending programs that would guarantee higher taxes and high deficits as far as the eye can see and that would threaten our currency, our economy, and our future. We must be the alternative course. We can’t be that if all we say is no. Our plans must be clear, compelling, and first to the table. Our plans must have at least one common thread—they must make America stronger. Better education strengthens our kids; better healthcare strengthens our citizens; and bringing our budget into balance strengthens our economy and preserves our future. Today, as much as ever, conservative principles are absolutely essential to keeping America strong and prosperous and free.

With all that is happening here at home, there are some who have forgotten that we are at war, that Iran and its jihadist surrogates are killing our sons and daughters abroad, and hope to do it here. I am pleased that our troops will be coming home from Iraq. But let there be no confusion: it is in spite of Barack Obama’s stance on Iraq, not because of it, that the troops are coming home in victory!

President Obama is barely a month into his term, and, of course, his biggest decisions on national security are still ahead of him. His administration has won the favor of liberal commentators by pledging what it calls reform in the treatment of terrorist detainees. He’s also promised to close down Guantanamo, without giving the slightest indication of the next stop for the killers being held there now. That decision, too, has received the predictable applause from certain law professors and editorial boards.

But here’s the problem. That is the very kind of thinking that left America vulnerable to the attacks of September 11th.

This is not a law enforcement problem. It is the gravest matter of national security, with thousands if not millions of lives in the balance. The jihadists are still at war with America. Our government has no greater duty than a vigilant defense, and no greater cause than victory for America and for freedom.

I had no objection when Barack Obama decided to give his first TV interview to an Arabic broadcaster. But when he said that America in the past has dictated to the world, he was misguided and naïve. And the next time our president speaks to a foreign audience I hope he will remember this basic fact of history: America is not a country that dictates to other nations. We are the country that has freed millions of people from the tyranny of dictators. Never in the history of a world has a single country possessed such great power, and used it for such good purpose across the world, as the United States of America.

I believe President Obama was also mistaken in backing away from our commitment to missile defense. And if he calculated that Russia would respond in kind by showing a little restraint and good will, he quickly learned otherwise. All Russia did to return the favor was bribe Kyrgyzstan to shut down our use of its airports, closing access we needed for our troops serving in Afghanistan. Gestures that communicate a lack of resolve only embolden America’s adversaries. With Iran seeking nuclear weapons, with North Korea already nuclear and selling its technology to the Syrians, it is essential that we construct a missile defense, now.

A lot of you have the memory of coming to CPAC in its early days, when America had challenges so big that many in the world – and even a few in our own government – thought we were in decline. They doubted our ability to compete economically, to face down the dangers of the era, or even to defend our ideals. Today we’re hearing echoes of that era once again, from those who speak of America as if our day has passed.

Some of these critics never cared much for our belief that America occupies a special place …that there is work in the world that only we can do …and that Americans have the heart and the courage to get it done. But we know these things to be true. And to those who question the character of our country, including the new attorney general, let us remind them that America has never been, is not now, and will never be a nation of cowards.

I don’t deny that America’s challenges are great, or that overcoming them will require the best that we have to give. But I know as well that times of difficulty always bring out the essential character of our fellow citizens. When I was a boy, my dad used to say that the pursuit of the difficult makes you strong. Well, the pursuit of the difficult will make America strong. We welcome the challenge. It will call on us, once again, to draw on the incredible resilience, ingenuity, and faith of the free men and women of America.

We don’t get to choose the tests and trials ahead. But we’re entirely free, you and I, to choose how we will meet those tests. We will meet them as conservatives have done before. We will find strength in each other, and answer our opponents with good will and honest words. And we will go forward – confident in our beliefs, and certain of victories to come. Thank you.

A Year Ago Today..

Feb 7, 2008, during his speech at the CPAC convention, Mitt Romney graciously drops out of the race for the Republican Presidential nomination.

This speech and the “Faith in America” speech are, for me, the two most memorable speeches of his campaign. Time to watch the video of his remarks at CPAC 2008 again:

Transcript:

I want to begin by saying thank you. It’s great to be with you again. And I look forward to joining with you many more times in the future.

Last year, CPAC gave me the sendoff I needed. I was in single digits in the polls, and I was facing household Republican names. As of today, more than 4 million people have given me their vote for President, less than Senator McCain’s 4.7 million, but quite a statement nonetheless. Eleven states have given me their nod, compared to his 13. Of course, because size does matter, he’s doing quite a bit better with his number of delegates.

To all of you, thank you for caring enough about the future of America to show up, stand up and speak up for conservative principles.

As I said to you last year, conservative principles are needed now more than ever. We face a new generation of challenges, challenges which threaten our prosperity, our security and our future. I am convinced that unless America changes course, we will become the France of the 21st century – still a great nation, but no longer the leader of the world, no longer the superpower. And to me, that is unthinkable. Simon Peres, in a visit to Boston, was asked what he thought about the war in Iraq. ‘First,’ he said, ‘I must put something in context. America is unique in the history of the world. In the history of the world, whenever there has been conflict, the nation that wins takes land from the nation that loses. One nation in history, and this during the last century, laid down hundreds of thousands of lives and took no land. No land from Germany, no land from Japan, no land from Korea. America is unique in the sacrifice it has made for liberty, for itself and for freedom loving people around the world.’ The best ally peace has ever known, and will ever know, is a strong America.

And that is why we must rise to the occasion, as we have always done before, to confront the challenges ahead. Perhaps the most fundamental of these is the attack on the American culture.

Over the years, my business has taken me to many countries. I have been struck by the enormous differences in the wealth and well-being of people of different nations. I have read a number of scholarly explanations for the disparities. I found the most convincing was that written by David Landes, a professor emeritus from Harvard University. I presume he’s a liberal – I guess that’s redundant. His work traces the coming and going of great civilizations throughout history. After hundreds of pages of analysis, he concludes with this:

If we learn anything from the history of economic development, it is that culture makes all the difference. Culture makes all the difference.

What is it about American culture that has led us to become the most powerful nation in the history of the world? We believe in hard work and education. We love opportunity: almost all of us are immigrants or descendants of immigrants who came here for opportunity – opportunity is in our DNA. Americans love God, and those who don’t have faith, typically believe in something greater than themselves – a ‘Purpose Driven Life.’ And we sacrifice everything we have, even our lives, for our families, our freedoms and our country. The values and beliefs of the free American people are the source of our nation’s strength and they always will be.

The threat to our culture comes from within. The 1960′s welfare programs created a culture of poverty. Some think we won that battle when we reformed welfare, but the liberals haven’t given up. At every turn, they try to substitute government largesse for individual responsibility. They fight to strip work requirements from welfare, to put more people on Medicaid, and to remove more and more people from having to pay any income tax whatsoever. Dependency is death to initiative, risk-taking and opportunity. Dependency is a culture-killing drug. We have got to fight it like the poison it is.

The attack on faith and religion is no less relentless. And tolerance for pornography – even celebration of it – and sexual promiscuity, combined with the twisted incentives of government welfare programs have led to today’s grim realities: 68% of African American children are born out-of-wedlock, 45% of Hispanic children, and 25% of White children. How much harder it is for these children to succeed in school and in life. A nation built on the principles of the Founding Fathers cannot long stand when its children are raised without fathers in the home.

The development of a child is enhanced by having a mother and father. Such a family is the ideal for the future of the child and for the strength of a nation. I wonder how it is that unelected judges, like some in my state of Massachusetts, are so unaware of this reality, so oblivious to the millennia of recorded history. It is time for the people of America to fortify marriage through Constitutional amendment, so that liberal judges cannot continue to attack it.

Europe is facing a demographic disaster. That is the inevitable product of weakened faith in the Creator, failed families, disrespect for the sanctity of human life and eroded morality. Some reason that culture is merely an accessory to America’s vitality; we know that it is the source of our strength. And we are not dissuaded by the snickers and knowing glances when we stand up for family values, and morality, and culture. We will always be honored to stand on principle and to stand for principle.

The attack on our culture is not our sole challenge. We face economic competition unlike anything we have ever known before. China and Asia are emerging from centuries of poverty. Their people are plentiful, innovative and ambitious. If we do not change course, Asia or China will pass us by as the economic superpower, just as we passed England and France during the last century. The prosperity and security of our children and grandchildren depend on us.

Our prosperity and security also depend on finally acting to become energy secure. Oil producing states like Russia and Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Iran are siphoning over $400 billion per year from our economy – that’s almost what we spend annually for defense. It is past time for us to invest in energy technology, nuclear power, clean coal, liquid coal, renewable sources and energy efficiency. America must never be held hostage by the likes of Putin, Chavez, and Ahmadinejad.

And our economy is also burdened by the inexorable ramping of government spending. Don’t focus on the pork alone – even though it is indeed irritating and shameful. Look at the entitlements. They make up 60% of federal spending today. By the end of the next President’s second term, they will total 70%. Any conservative plan for the future has to include entitlement reform that solves the problem, not just acknowledges it.

Most politicians don’t seem to understand the connection between our ability to compete and our national wealth, and the wealth of our families. They act as if money just happens – that it’s just there. But every dollar represents a good or service produced in the private sector. Depress the private sector and you depress the well-being of Americans.

That’s exactly what happens with high taxes, over-regulation, tort windfalls, mandates, and overfed, over-spending government. Did you see that today, government workers make more money than people who work in the private sector? Can you imagine what happens to an economy where the best opportunities are for bureaucrats?

It’s high time to lower taxes, including corporate taxes, to take a weed-whacker to government regulations, to reform entitlements, and to stand up to the increasingly voracious appetite of the unions in our government.

And finally, let’s consider the greatest challenge facing America – and facing the entire civilized world: the threat of violent, radical Jihad. In one wing of the world of Islam, there is a conviction that all governments should be destroyed and replaced by a religious caliphate. These Jihadists will battle any form of democracy. To them, democracy is blasphemous for it says that citizens, not God shape the law. They find the idea of human equality to be offensive. They hate everything we believe about freedom just as we hate everything they believe about radical Jihad.

To battle this threat, we have sent the most courageous and brave soldiers in the world. But their numbers have been depleted by the Clinton years when troops were reduced by 500,000, when 80 ships were retired from the Navy, and when our human intelligence was slashed by 25%. We were told that we were getting a peace dividend. We got the dividend, but we didn’t get the peace. In the face of evil in radical Jihad and given the inevitable military ambitions of China, we must act to rebuild our military might – raise military spending to 4% of our GDP, purchase the most modern armament, re-shape our fighting forces for the asymmetric demands we now face, and give the veterans the care they deserve.

Soon, the face of liberalism in America will have a new name. Whether it is Barack or Hillary, the result would be the same if they were to win the Presidency. The opponents of American culture would push the throttle, devising new justifications for judges to depart from the Constitution. Economic neophytes would layer heavier and heavier burdens on employers and families, slowing our economy and opening the way for foreign competition to further erode our lead.

Even though we face an uphill fight, I know that many in this room are fully behind my campaign. You are with me all the way to the convention. Fight on, just like Ronald Reagan did in 1976. But there is an important difference from 1976: today, we are a nation at war.

And Barack and Hillary have made their intentions clear regarding Iraq and the war on terror. They would retreat and declare defeat. And the consequence of that would be devastating. It would mean attacks on America, launched from safe havens that make Afghanistan under the Taliban look like child’s play. About this, I have no doubt.

I disagree with Senator McCain on a number of issues, as you know. But I agree with him on doing whatever it takes to be successful in Iraq, on finding and executing Osama bin Laden, and on eliminating Al Qaeda and terror. If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.

This is not an easy decision for me. I hate to lose. My family, my friends and our supporters – many of you right here in this room – have given a great deal to get me where I have a shot at becoming President. If this were only about me, I would go on. But I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America, I feel I must now stand aside, for our party and for our country.

I will continue to stand for conservative principles. I will fight alongside you for all the things we believe in. And one of those things is that we cannot allow the next President of the United States to retreat in the face evil extremism.

It is the common task of each generation – and the burden of liberty – to preserve this country, expand its freedoms and renew its spirit so that its noble past is prologue to its glorious future.

To this task, accepting this burden, we are all dedicated, and I firmly believe, by the providence of the Almighty, that we will succeed beyond our fondest hope. America must remain, as it has always been, the hope of the Earth.

Thank you, and God bless America.

Romney’s Q and A with TIME

Below is the Q and A portion of Time’s recent interview with Governor Romney. The article on their site has what I think is an awful picture of Romney. He looks like he’s about to cry and is thinking about how sad it is that he lost in the primaries. The picture is very dark, unlike the shining glowing photos they post of Obama.

The most interesting nugget I gathered from the article is that Romney spends most of his time writing a book. Well, I’m already excited. What’s it going to be called? When is it going to be released? Is he going to trash on the GOP like Huckabee did in his recent book? Inquiring minds want to know. Romney has only penned one book before, but I believe he is a great author. I was fascinated by his book “Turnaround” about the 2002 Winter Olympics.

~Nate G.


President Obama has announced an executive pay cap at some companies taking federal bailout money. A wise move?

I am very uncomfortable with government dictating the course for managing an enterprise. This should be done by the shareholders and by the board of directors, not by the federal government.

November was a rough month for the Republican party, and a Gallup analysis recently found only five states left in the “red” column. What explains the GOP’s rut?

I think politics is largely associated with individuals and less with party labels. I think without question that the economic downturn, occurring as it did during the tenure of President Bush, has cast a shadow over anyone in his party.

The prospects of our party I think are bright. I fundamentally believe that the Republican Party will do what is right for the country, and the Democratic Party will do what is right for their special interests.

Some observers have warned of a potential schism in the party between moderate voices and those farther on the right, like Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh. Does that possibility concern you?

I’m not terribly disturbed by the fact that our party is a relatively large tent. After all, we aspire to receive the support of slightly over half of the American people, and that’s not going to be a homogenous group.

Gov. Palin excited a lot of voters last year. Can you imagine rallying around her in 2012?

Gov. Palin is an effective and popular political voice, and I believe she will continue to draw interest among party faithful and that she’ll have an impact on the party’s direction in the future.

What are your thoughts on the anniversary of leaving the presidential race?

This has been a good year. I wish I would have won the nomination, and won the presidency. And yet, you don’t look back.

What’s keeping you busy now?

I help an entity called the Free and Strong America PAC. Our efforts are to help elect conservative candidates across the country. Perhaps the activity that is taking the most of my time these days is writing a book.

Could that book lay the groundwork for a future presidential run?

It’s not a political book so much as it is a discussion of the economic and foreign policy challenges that we face.

Okay, but can we expect to see you running for office again?

I really don’t know what the future holds. Like most Americans, I want to see Barack Obama adopt effective, correct principles and successfully lead our country. And so any discussion of future politics for me is, I think, premature.

Were you at all surprised by how much attention your hair got during the campaign?

(Laughs) It’s long been a source of self-deprecating humor. I love to make fun of my helmet hair. And so, I guess I bring that on myself.

Romney’s Remarks to the House Republican Retreat

Just received this in my in-box. It can also be found at the Free and Strong America PAC blog

It is like sweet music to my ears. I’m wishing more than ever that Romney was at the helm instead of Obama. I’m so glad to see him called on continually to speak to the Republican leadership.

Governor Romney today delivered the following remarks to the House Republican Conference Retreat hosted by the Congressional Institute at the Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia.

As prepared for delivery
January 30, 2009

Thank you for the warm welcome. And thank you for the vote you took this week. You stood strong. You stood for principle. You put the best interests of the American people ahead of politics. I got some calls yesterday, after the news. They said what I feel. We want you to know that we’re proud of you.

It sure feels good to be in a room full of Republicans who came out ahead on Election Day. You can be proud of your success. And don’t be afraid to remind the President of this: you, too, won your election.

After my own campaign was over, Ann and I just wanted to get away from it all. We ended up in Beijing, about as far away as you can get. We went to the Olympic Games, and one of the events we attended was women’s beach volleyball. I noticed a lot of people looking in our direction, pointing toward us and taking pictures. It’s always nice to be recognized, and I told Ann, let’s be sure to smile and look our best. Ann said, they might like us even more if we got out of the way—Kobe Bryant is standing right behind you.

A few months have passed since the election. It’s enough time to consider the outcome and take stock of our party’s future. I want to make clear that I’m optimistic: our ideas are good, our agenda will make America stronger, and your action this week showed that we have the kind of leaders who will stand up for what they believe in.

I have often been asked what I think the Republican Party must do to recover. What I’ve said is this: My first concern isn’t about our party—it’s about our country.

In fact, the two are closely related. The best way for us to advance the prospects of our party is to do what we know is right for the country. This is what the American people expect of us. And that’s what we should expect of ourselves.

This is a time of hardship and uncertainty for millions of Americans. The question is: whose leadership and ideas will turn things around. And in such a moment, it’s our job to offer the clear answers, the proven solutions, and resolute leadership that will make this country strong again.

The new President and the Congressional majority are having a difficult time doing that. After all, they have a lot of campaign rhetoric to make good on. And they’ve got plenty of special interests to pay back. As the opposition party, we’re entirely free to do what is right for the country. There are certain advantages to that kind of freedom, and I suggest we make the most of them.

That begins with a clear analysis of what’s needed to get the economy moving again. Predictions that we are almost out of the woods, based on the length of prior recessions, are wishful thinking. Americans have lost some 11 trillion dollars in net worth. That translates into about 400 billion dollars less annual consumer spending in the economy.

There’s something else people don’t talk much about: The pool of investment capital—all the money available for new investments, business start-ups, business expansions, capital expenditures, and new hiring. The size of that pool has shrunk by trillions of dollars. This was a huge loss in value, and the effect could be felt for years—in businesses that don’t start up or grow, in jobs that don’t get created.

Given these extraordinary conditions, I am convinced that a stimulus is needed.

So why not just spend and borrow with reckless abandon? Because we’re in a very delicate situation that could easily get worse if Washington does the wrong thing. The package which passed the House is a huge increase in the amount of government borrowing. And we’ve borrowed so much already, that if we add too much more debt, or spend foolishly, we could invite an even bigger crisis. We could precipitate a worldwide crisis of confidence in America, leading to a run on the dollar … or hyper-inflation that wipes out family savings and devastates the middle class.

We’re on an economic tightrope. That’s why it is so important to exercise extreme care and good judgment.

So far, the Democratic leadership hasn’t shown a great deal of that. They’ve passed 355 billion in infrastructure spending, 60% of which won’t be spent by the end of 2010. Billions for electronic medical health records—it’s a fine idea, but it won’t produce jobs for years and years.

Even worse are the liberal payoffs—50 million dollars for the National Endowment for the Arts, hundreds of millions of dollars to the states for STD prevention and education. Until your loud protests got it dropped from the bill, there even was 200 million dollars for the DC Mall. That might have grown some grass, but it wouldn’t have grown the economy. And they’re doing this when the economy is on a tightrope.

It’s still early in the administration of President Obama. Like everyone who loves this country, I want him to adopt correct principles and then to succeed. He still has a chance to step in and insist on spending discipline among the members of his own party. It’s his job to set priorities. I hope for America’s sake that he knows that a Chief Executive can’t vote “present.” He can’t let others run the show. He has to say yes to some things and no to a lot of others.

We need to stimulate the economy, not the government. A true stimulus package, one that respects the productivity and genius of the American people, could lift this country out of recession. And experience shows us what it should look like.

First, there are two ways you can put money into the economy, by spending more or by taxing less. But if it’s stimulus you want, taxing less works best. That’s why permanent tax cuts should be the centerpiece of the economic stimulus. Even Christine Romer, the President’s own choice to lead the Council of Economic Advisors, found in her research that tax cuts are twice as effective as new spending.

Second, any new spending must be strictly limited to projects that are essential. How do we define essential? Well, a good rule is that the projects we fund in a stimulus should be legitimate government priorities that would have been carried out in the future anyway, and are simply being moved up to create those jobs now.

As we take out non-essential projects, we should focus on funding the real needs of government that will have immediate impact. And what better place to begin than repairing and replacing military equipment that was damaged or destroyed in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan?

Third, sending out rebate checks to citizens and businesses is not a tax cut. The media bought this line so far, but they’ve got it wrong. Checks in the mail are refunds, not tax cuts. We tried rebate checks last year and they did virtually nothing to jump-start the economy. Disposable income went up, but consumption hardly moved. Businesses aren’t stupid. They’re not going to invest in equipment and new hires for a one time, short term blip.

You know, by proposing tax rebates, the Democrats are admitting that relief to families and employers works. Why can’t they shed their ideological bias and give the American people the kind of permanent, broad based tax relief that even they must know will relieve the suffering our country is going through?

Fourth, if we’re going to tax less and spend more to get the economy moving, then we have to make another commitment as well. As soon as this economy recovers, we have to regain control over the federal budget, and above all, over entitlement spending. This is more important than most people are willing to admit. I mentioned the economic tightrope before. There is a real danger that with trillions of additional borrowing—from the budget deficit and from the stimulus—that world investors will begin to fear that the dollars won’t be worth much in the future. They may fear hyper-inflation. It is essential that we demonstrate our commitment to maintaining the value of the dollar. That means showing the world that we will put a stop to runaway spending and borrowing. Senator Judd Gregg is rightly proposing a new bipartisan approach. It should be part of this bill.

Fifth, we must begin to recover from the enormous losses in the capital investment pool. And the surest, most obvious way to get that done is to send a clear signal that there will be no tax increases on investment and capital gains. The 2001 and 2003 tax cuts should be extended permanently, or at least temporarily.

And finally, let’s exercise restraint in the size of the stimulus package. Without restraint, it may grow as the days go by. Last year, with the economy already faltering, I proposed a stimulus of 233 billion dollars. The Washington Post said, and I quote: “Romney’s plan is way too big.” So what critique do they have for the size of the Democrat’s package? I’m afraid they’ve caught a bad case of liberal laryngitis. It’s everywhere these days.

In the final analysis, we know that only the private sector—entrepreneurs and businesses large and small—can create the millions of jobs our country needs. The invisible hand of the market always moves faster and better than the heavy hand of government.

The difference between us and the Democrats is this: they want to stimulate the government, and we want to stimulate the economy.

Government does have an obligation to address some of the abuses we’ve seen in the markets, particularly in the mortgage finance market and the mortgage guarantee sector. But when markets work as they should, when they are effectively and efficiently regulated, free markets create jobs and boost incomes.

As Republicans, we remain the confident voice of limited government and free enterprise. These principles are going to face another test when it comes to healthcare.

We should be first to propose a Republican plan to bring health insurance to all Americans, one based on market dynamics, free choice, and personal responsibility. I think what we did in Massachusetts is a good model to start from, but whatever direction we take, let’s not simply react to what the Democrats do. Their own plan would undoubtedly create a vast new system of costly entitlements and bureaucratic dictates, burdening the people and threatening the economy. Americans will be looking for a better alternative. Let’s give it to them.

Let’s also defend the rights of workers—against coercion and intimidation. The working people of this country should be able to unionize the way their fathers and mothers did – by free choice and secret ballot. The Democrats’ plan to take away those rights would result in economic calamity. More than that, it’s an insult to the dignity and common sense of working people. We’re going to defend the freedom of workers and the rights of labor. Interesting, isn’t it, which party stands up for workers and which one jumps for union bosses.

Ours is the party of freedom and enterprise, and we are the party of life. I know that I’m not alone in wondering why our new president, in the earliest hours of his administration, directed that international groups that promote and provide abortions be funded with American taxpayer dollars. Is that really what the world needs, more abortions?

In our party, we don’t have perfect agreement on the life issue. But with an administration that is firmly on the side of abortion, that answers to the most extreme wing of the abortion lobby, our duty is clear. We should be a voice for moderation and compassion. And even if the administration will say nothing on behalf of the child waiting to be born, we must take the side of life.

The new administration has also gained the favor of liberal commentators by pledging what it calls reform in the treatment of detainees who have taken up arms against America. And of course, President Obama says he will close Guantanamo.

But I wonder if he noticed that some of the men already released from Guantanamo have turned up in new al Qaeda tapes? I also wonder where the President now intends to send the terrorists we capture. Will he send them to nations that will release them to kill Americans? Or will he send them to US prisons, to infect our own criminal population?

There may be more steps like closing Guantanamo—and they will receive the predictable applause from law professors, editorial boards, and others who have no responsibility for protecting American lives. The Washington Post last week announced President Obama’s actions with this headline: “Bush’s War on Terror Comes to a Sudden End.” I hope this President knows that the terrorists are still fighting and killing Americans, and that they plan to keep killing Americans.

Here, too, our party will speak confidently. We have no greater duty than a vigilant defense.

This great party of ours has seen setbacks before. They have never defined us. For our party, I believe this will be remembered as the time when we demonstrated the strength of our convictions, when we defended the foundations of America’s prosperity, security and liberty.

America will be tested. It’s not for us to choose every new test that may arise. But we’re entirely free to choose how we will face those tests. We’ll face them as you did this week. And we’ll face them as Republicans have done before in our finest moments—with the clarity and the confidence of those who put their country first.

That is the work you have undertaken as Republican members of the 111th Congress. You gather in smaller numbers than last year, but you have ideas, energy, and convictions—and the resolve to lead America to a better future. The comeback for our nation and for our party starts with you. You can count me as an ally in the work ahead. Thank you.

Gov. Romney Remarks on Obama’s Speech

Though the speech wasn’t disastrous, Romney is much more gracious than I could be. Here are his remarks on Obama’s speech:

Barack Obama gave a speech from the middle. He once again is communicating that he intends to govern from the middle and not from the wing…It was a speech that could be offered by a leader from either party and that’s good. His themes extended well beyond partisan causes and drew upon American values and dealt with American challenges.

On a day like this, with an inauguration and the commencement of a new presidency, I think Americans come united. We want to see Barack Obama successful in combating terror, in helping strengthen the economy, in diverting Iran from its nuclear ambitions. We just join with common hope.

But down the road of course there will be differences of opinion and that is the blessing of democracy. Our system thrives by having a debate of alternative views. We’ll disagree with Barack Obama as he will with us but hopefully together we will act for the common good.

I think given the challenges we face today, the future of either party pales in comparison with the future of our country. I think partisans are burying their partisanship to take action that will strengthen action at a critical time.

~Nate Gunderson

Full Transcript of Romney’s Testimony for Economic Stimulus Working Group

H/T the NRO for a transcript of Romney’s Testimony, which I surprisingly ran across by way of Marc Ambinder. I formatted the testimony to fit in a blog post. I also saved a pdf version on my server available for download by clicking here. It is 4 pages and approximately 160Kb.

Economic Recovery Solutions

Testimony before the Economic Stimulus Working Group

Mitt Romney
Former Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

January 15, 2009

Leader Boehner, Congressman Cantor and members of the working group, I want to thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss options for a stimulus package.

I also appreciate the President-elect’s willingness to solicit input from our party. We are committed to working together to strengthen the economy.

These are not ordinary times. Yes, we have had bubbles before. And we have experienced recessions. But this was no ordinary bubble and this is no ordinary recession. This bubble encompassed the largest investment sector of our economy—housing. And when it deflated, it evaporated not billions, but trillions of dollars.

The first impact was to our nation’s pool of investment capital—capital that sustains businesses, capital that finances new enterprises, capital that promotes education and discovery. This pool of investment capital was held by banks, by investment banks, by institutions and even by individual investors. And it has shrunk by trillions of dollars.

It didn’t take long for America’s families to feel the impact either. The net worth of American families has shrunk by approximately $11 trillion. This translates into about $400 billion less annual spending by consumers. And that $400 billion drop in consumption would lead to a deepening downward spiral of business failures and unemployment.

Exports won’t make up the shortfall: most of the world is in a recession and the dollar has strengthened as fear has struck the currency markets. Investment won’t make it up either given the hit taken by the pool of investment capital. What’s left is the government sector.

There are two ways Washington can put money into the economy—one is by sending it
back to the taxpayers and the other is by spending it. Of the two, it’s the former that has the bigger bang for the buck. Research by Christina Romer, the President-elect’s Chairwoman for the Council of Economic Advisors, shows that tax cuts have a substantially greater multiplier effect than does spending on infrastructure projects.

Tax cuts should be the centerpiece of any stimulus plan. The President-elect has proposed refund checks for taxpayers. Experience shows, however, that a one-time check has very little positive impact. The 2008 stimulus led to checks being sent out in May, June and July of last year. Sure enough, disposable income rose in those months, but as Hoover Institution economist John Taylor has shown, consumption did not (figure 1).

stimulus romney chart

And further, even if consumption were to bump up, it would not lead businesses to expand and to add jobs. Business people are smart enough to recognize a one-time, short-lived bump for what it is.

The best medicine for a sick economy is permanent tax relief. I’d recommend eliminating the tax on savings for middle income Americans—no tax on interest, dividends or capital gains. This accomplishes three things: it puts money into the consumer’s pocket, it helps replenish the pool of investment capital, and it encourages more Americans to become owners of American business.

The same principles apply to business tax relief. A rebate check would be a welcome sight to every businessperson. But a rebate check isn’t going to incentivize businesses to expand, to invest for greater productivity, or to hire more people. It’s lower future tax rates that do that. And there sure is room to cut corporate tax rates—we are at the top of the heap, along with Japan, the nation that has suffered through a decade-long downturn.

In my view, sending out one-time refund checks to consumers and to businesses is not the best course—it adds to a monstrous budget deficit without significantly boosting the economy. The right course is permanent tax relief, designed to spur growth, investment, and jobs. It should go without saying that raising taxes should be out of the question. It is a positive development that the President-elect has chosen not to seek an immediate repeal of the Bush tax cuts. We should go further to seek a permanent or even a temporary extension.

President-elect Obama has also proposed a short term business incentive tied to hiring new workers. That’s not a terrible idea, but it would be less effective than allowing businesses to expense capital equipment purchased this year and next. That would lead them and their suppliers to add employees, and it would boost productivity, raising wages and improving our competitiveness abroad.

The spending portion of the stimulus should be limited to those things which are urgently needed and which we had already planned to buy in the future. Infrastructure projects will be included, but because they invariably face delays for engineering, environmental reviews and contracting, they can take a long time to actually boost the economy. They should be part of the picture, but not the whole canvas.

I would like to see a significant portion of new spending to be devoted to the maintenance, repair, replacement and modernization of our military equipment and armament. Since the 1990’s dismantling of our military, we have tended to live off the assets that had been purchased in the past. These have been extensively employed in two Gulf wars and in Afghanistan. Bringing forward needed replacement and repair will boost the economy, enhance our national security, and importantly aid our men and women in uniform.

I would also add spending for energy research and energy infrastructure. Energy independence is an economic and strategic imperative.

With new spending on the agenda, Republicans should make sure that there is no parade of pork. All spending projects should be selected by the responsible federal agency according to explicit and public criteria. Republicans should commit to vote “no” on any stimulus bill with earmarks that have not been voted upon by the entire body. I know that cities and states have various financial challenges of their own. Some have built rainy day funds for times like these. Others have not. As a governor who welcomed the help you provided to us in the last recession, I won’t prescribe zero help for the states. But I do believe that it is critical for cities and states to use this time to finally align
spending with revenues.

Today, we are rightly focused on a stimulus to stop the economic decline and end the recession. But if we are not careful, it could add to the risk of something even worse than a recession. If we continue to leverage the public sector, to pile on more and more debt, and to ignore the looming entitlement liabilities, we could precipitate a worldwide collapse of confidence in America—in our currency, in our credit-worthiness, in our competitiveness, in our future. We cannot write bailout checks to every petitioner, spend hundreds of billions on a laundry list of infrastructure goodies, nor reduce taxes without also reducing government obligations. The ballooning deficits must be balanced with budget restraint and responsibility when the economy recovers.

This stimulus package should include a commitment to reform entitlements—Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. Senator Gregg is right to have proposed a bi-partisan commission to do just that. He is right, and now is the right time. A stimulus bill, combined with a projected deficit of $1.2 trillion, could send us down the road to ruin if we do not muster the courage to reform entitlements and to rein in future government spending.

Let me add a thought about regulation. Smart regulation is good; dumb regulation is bad. Housing finance is one of the most highly regulated sectors of our economy. And no one will claim that that regulation was very smart. Yes, we need to improve regulation, in housing and in financial services. But the right course is to make regulation that is effective. Smart regulation will make these sectors more productive and more competitive. Simply layering on burdensome regulatory schemes will depress these industries, kill more jobs, and slow economic recovery.

And there is one very bad idea that is being promoted by a special interest group. It is an idea that would have devastating impact on the economy—short term and long term. It would lead investors to send their funds elsewhere, businesses to expand elsewhere and jobs to relocate elsewhere. It is the plan to virtually impose unions on all small, medium and large businesses by removing the right of workers to vote by secret ballot. Card check is a very bad idea under any circumstances. In these circumstances, it would be calamitous.

In sum, we are presented with economic peril unlike anything we have faced during our lifetimes. I do indeed believe that careful, skillfully crafted stimulus can improve the prospects for recovery. But excessive and sloppy spending and one-time refund checks could have the exact opposite effect than that which the stimulus seeks. And in the final analysis, we must remember that it is the private sector—the home of entrepreneurs, workers, managers, and visionaries—the private sector, not government, that creates jobs, boosts wages, and provides for our future. What gives me my confidence is this: I believe in the American people. Thank you.

Transcript of Romney’s Convention Speech

Hat tip to Myclob for this transcript which he sent in an e-mail yesterday.

Mitt Romney’s Speech Wednesday night to the 2008 GOP Natl Convention

FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY:

For decades, the Washington sun has been rising in the east -Washington has been looking to the eastern elites, to the editorial pages of the Times and the Post, and to the broadcasters from the coast.

If America really wants change, it’s time to look for the sun in the west, cause it’s about to rise and shine from Arizona and Alaska!

Last week, the Democrats talked about change. But let me ask you — what do you think Washington is right now, liberal or conservative? Is a Supreme Court liberal or conservative that awards Guantanamo
terrorists with constitution rights? It’s liberal! Is a government liberal or conservative that puts the interests of the teachers union ahead of the needs of our children? — It’s liberal!

Is a Congress liberal or conservative that stops nuclear power plants and off-shore drilling, making us more and more dependent on Middle East tyrants? — It’s liberal!

Is government spending – excluding inflation – liberal or conservative if it doubles since 1980? — It’s liberal!

We need change all right – change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington! We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington — throw out the big government liberals and elect John McCain!

It’s the same prescription for a stronger economy. I spent 25 years in the private sector. I’ve done business in many foreign countries. I know why jobs come and why they go away. And I know that liberals don’t have a clue.

They think we have the biggest and strongest economy in the world because of our government. They’re wrong. America is strong because of the ingenuity and entrepreneurship and hard work of the American people.

The American people have always been the source of our nation’s strength and they always will be!

We strengthen our people and our economy when we preserve and promote opportunity. Opportunity is what lets hope become reality.

Opportunity expands when there is excellence and choice in education, when taxes are lowered, when every citizen has affordable, portable health insurance, and when constitutional freedoms are preserved.

Opportunity rises when children are raised in homes and schools that are free from pornography, promiscuity and drugs; in homes that are blessed with family values and the presence of a father and a mother.

America cannot long lead the family of nations if we fail the family here at home!

Liberals would replace opportunity with dependency on government largesse. They grow government and raise taxes to put more people on Medicaid, to take work requirements out of welfare, and to grow the
ranks of those who pay no taxes at all. Dependency is death to initiative, risk-taking and opportunity.

It is time to stop the spread of government dependency to fight it like the poison it is!

It’s time for the party of big ideas, not the party of Big Brother!

Our economy is under attack. China is acting like Adam Smith on steroids, buying oil from the world’s worst, and selling nuclear technology. Russia and the oil states are siphoning more than 500
billion dollars a year from us in what could become the greatest transfer of economic wealth in history. This is no time for timid, liberal empty gestures.

Our economy has slowed down this year and a lot of people are hurting. What happened? Mortgage money was handed out like candy, speculators bought homes for free – when this mortgage mania finally broke, it slammed the economy. And stratospheric gas prices made things even
worse.

Democrats want to use the slowdown as an excuse to do what their special interests are always begging for: higher taxes, bigger government and less trade with other nations.

It’s the same path Europe took a few decades ago. It leads to moribund
growth and double-digit unemployment.

The right course is the one championed by Ronald Reagan 30 years ago, and by John McCain today. It is to rein in government spending and to lower taxes, for taking a weed-whacker to excessive regulation and mandates, for putting a stop to tort windfalls, and to stand up to the Tyrannosaurus appetite of government unions!

It is to pursue every source of energy security, from new efficiencies to renewables, from clean coal to non-CO2 producing nuclear, and the immediate drilling for more oil off of our shores! And I have one more recommendation for energy conservation — let’s keep Al Gore’s private jet on the ground!

Did you hear any Democrats talk last week about the threat from radical, violent Jihad? Republicans believe that there is good and evil in the world. Ronald Reagan called-out the Evil Empire. George Bush labeled the terror-sponsor states the Axis of Evil.

And at Saddleback, after Barak Obama dodged and ducked every direct question, John McCain hit the nail on the head: radical violent Islam is evil, and he will defeat it! Republicans prefer straight talk to politically correct talk!

Republicans, led by John McCain and Sarah Palin, will fight to preserve the values that have preserved the nation. We will strengthen our economy and keep us from being held hostage by Putin, Chavez and
Ahmadinejad.

And we will never allow America to retreat in the face of evil extremism!

Just like you, there has never been a day when I was not proud to be an American. We inherited the greatest nation in the history of the earth.

It is our burden and privilege to preserve it, to renew its spirit so that its noble past is prologue to its glorious future.

To this we are all dedicated and I firmly believe, by the providence of the Almighty, that we will succeed.

President McCain and Vice President Palin will keep America as it has always been — the hope of the world.

~Nate Gunderson

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