A Victory For Naked Partisanship

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announced Thursday he has chosen longtime Kennedy friend Paul Kirk to fill the vacant seat left open by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy until a special election is held in January.

Patrick said Kirk will begin serving immediately, not in the 90 days that the measure passed by the Massachusetts House and Senate allowing for the appointment stipulates. The measure, which passed both chambers Wednesday, includes a provision allowing the interim senator to begin immediately if the governor declares it is an emergency.

We all knew this was going through, and I’m sure most know the story but to reiterate:

In 2004, John Kerry ran for president. If he would have won, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney would have the power to appoint the successor to his vacant seat per the 17th Amendment. Ted Kennedy and company see this and have the state legislature strip Romney of this power. The legislature had the choice to let Romney appoint a temporary successor was there 5 years ago of course, Romney himself suggested it, but they decided to be bullheaded and decided that no representative was better than a Republican.

Now, we have Ted Kennedy’s final legacy. And it is fitting to this person who spent decades hurting this country (our immigration mess largely falls at his feet). With his last plea to the American public he asked that Democrats play by a different rulebook than Republicans. What the politicians of Massachusetts have done is disgraceful.

Of course, we should expect nothing less from a man who let a young woman remain at the bottom of a lake while his liver destroyed the evidence of his drunk driving.

~~~Thomas

“MA Healthcare Plan a Winner” – But Not Perfect

The following is cross-posted at Race 4 2012. It is my first front page post at that site, though I’ve long frequented the site. I’d like to thank Kavon for allowing me join the fabulous blogging pool there to aid in representing those who support Romney. For those of you unfamiliar with that site I recommend it highly. The site has bloggers from all corners of the big tent and is a great insight into all of the potential candidates for President in 2012, and is also an excellent source for conservative news. There has been a great discussion there today concerning this post at Race 4 2012, click here to view the comments. ~Nate G.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Just this afternoon there was a noteworthy article written at Newsmax.com by Ronald Kessler. This article is a much needed clarification of the record of the MA healthcare plan that has received so much criticism as of late, most notably from potential 2012 rivals Tim Pawlenty and Mike Huckabee. Most frequent of the complaints leveled against the plan is that it is just a failure – but seldom are any facts or reasons given and without such there is nothing to argue against. So, the second most common statement is that it is bankrupting the state. This simply is not true. Detractors point to total cost of the program for shock effect, but that value is hardly fair to the overall picture. A more accurate report would be the net cost of the program, since the plan does provide savings in other areas in the budget.

Central to the plan was Romney’s recognition that uninsured individuals were costing the state and federal government money because they showed up in emergency rooms for non-emergency care. If they had health insurance, Romney concluded, those government payments to hospitals could be applied to paying to cover the uninsured.

“We said, let’s take the money that the federal government is giving us and that we’re taking from our own state coffers that we use to give to hospitals to give out free care,’ ” Romney says. “Instead, let’s use that money to help low-income people purchase their own private market-based insurance.”

huck-rom

In this society of one-liners and 140 character encapsulations (Twitter), the full story seldom gets told, but the headlines stick. Someone like Huckabee, whose name has proliferated the conservative halls of this country, should have access to such information and be able to avoid falsely claiming that the MA plan is making the state go belly up. Unfortunately he and other have gleefully sounded the alarm and the echo chambers have sounded in return. The FACT is, the HC plan is little over 1% of the MA’s budget, and it is not the reason for their economic woes. Can someone tell me a state that didn’t have to close a budget deficit the year? Massachusetts is in the same boat, and opponents have in their political opportunism seized upon MA’s woes and said “Look at that! Romney must have done it.” The only thing this indicates to me is that Romney has a huge target on his back going into 2012.

But wait there’s more! Some would like give sole credit to Romney to the MA plan. Remember there was a legislature involved. Remember that this legislature is extremely liberal (what is it 87% Dem?), and they have major override powers, which they used in this plan. More from the article:

As initially proposed by Romney, “The plan would not have cost the state an additional dollar,” Romney says. “However, the legislature decided to add some features, which are ones that I did not support.”

For example, Romney says, “In my proposal, I said that every individual should have to pay some portion of their health care insurance premium. In the final bill, people with low incomes don’t pay anything. Also in my proposal, I said that there should not be any mandates directed to insurance companies as to what insurance policies must include, such as unlimited treatments for in vitro fertilization. Such mandated coverage made the product far more expensive.”

Romney observes that those are legitimate decisions by a legislature.

“I didn’t agree with all of them,” he says. “In some cases, I vetoed those provisions, but they were put back in. And yet in the final analysis, the program is very much in line with the forecasts that were made by the legislature at the time of its passing.”

There were 8 sections in the bill that Romney vetoed, 6 were overridden. One of which is the employer mandate to offer insurance if you had a payroll of X amount of dollars. If you want to do your own research regarding the bill, here it is in it’s entirety. (It’s 39,000 words!) Also noted in the text are the sections he vetoed. Hint: Press CTRL-F in your browser and search for the word ‘veto’.

Other thoughts concerning the MA health-care plan: Does it cover abortions for $50? Yes. Is Romney to blame for that? Definitely not. Will you explain why? Yes, in a future post. Is the MA plan good for the whole nation? No, the health care plans and regulations should be handled at the state level – what’s good for MA is not necessarily good for Alabama. What should national heath care reform entail? Nothing more than provisions to help lower the costs of health care, something an individual state won’t be able to do by itself. What provisions would those be? Open up markets to sell across state lines, tort reform, and reform of the entitlement programs.

Again that article by Newsmax can be found clicking here. It is your civic duty to read the whole thing. :)

Ambinder on RomneyCare

I noted in my post below that early attacks on Gov. Romney will be in response to his healthcare plan.  Marc Ambinder gives us a little reminder that RomneyCare isn’t the disaster some on the right have portrayed it as.  It’s actually popular and getting good bang for its buck.  We’re going to be fact-checking this stuff constantly for some time, so start getting your bookmarks ready.

The nation’s most ambitious experiment in universal health insurance is succeeding on its own terms, and has become fairly popular, a new survey minds. 96% of working age adults have health insurance in the state today, which is significantly higher than the national average. Also up: the percentage of people with private health insurance. It’s now as high as 70% among seniors. An Urban Institute study finds that 72% of state residents are happy with the effort.

——

In calling it RomneyCare, I’m continuing the tradition of identifying the health care program by the chief executive who signed it into law. As Romney’s health policy advisers will tell reporters, Romney didn’t favor the mandate that Massachusetts Democrats added to it — Romney wanted people who refused to buy insurance to post a bond that would cover their emergency care. But he supported the package in the end. It is something that our all-or-nothing political system doesn’t tolerate: a government plan administered by private companies; a mixture of regulation and market incentives. A hybrid. (Remember — Sen. Edward Kennedy was a major Romney ally.)

The last part is important.  Gov. Romney knew he didn’t have a perfect bill, but he knew he could do a lot of good by compromising a bit.  Not everything in that bill was on Romney’s wish list.  As a result of a little flexibility, a lot of Massachusetts residents have benefited.  President Obama can learn from that.  Instead he’s insisting on a trojan horse public option as a starting point and using a joint session of Congress to besmirch anyone who disagrees with him (under the guise of bipartisanship of all things).

~~~Thomas

McCain’s No Math Whiz…

Senator John McCain, by his own admission, is not the sharpest tack in the shed on economic issues. So when McCain attacks Romney via mailers in Michigan accusing Romney of raising taxes by $700 million, it’s a good idea to check the REAL numbers.

$260 million – Romney’s fee hikes on targeted services…like highway billboards, duplicate copies of driver’s licenses, bar exams, registering a boat, installing underground water tanks, filing a court case, transporting hazardous waste, etc. This represents less than 10% of the $3 billion deficit Romney closed in his first year.
$240 million – Fee hikes that were passed PRIOR to Romney’s first year in office, yet did not take effect until Romney was IN office.
$210 million – Romney closed corporate tax loopholes…for example, banks that did some real estate as part of their business were claiming to be “real estate lenders” as their primary business and were thereby qualifying for a major tax shelter. Closing the corporate tax loopholes are simply enforcing existing tax code as it was intended…to call this a tax hike is like calling it a sentencing when you send an escaped convict back to prison.

Add all three up, and there’s your $700 million. Romney’s contribution is only about $470 million, NOT $700 million, and NONE of it can honestly be considered tax hikes.

Furthermore, the $260 million of fee hikes that Romney approved were more than offset by various TAX CUTS he implemented…in other words, better than a “revenue neutral” shift of taxes to service fees, which any conservative should like. The service fees were generally in line with national and local inflationary trends, as well as making the prices more reflective of the actual costs. Fees generally make accounting in government more transparent, as you can see where the money is going…and there’s really no good reason to subsidize a service cost below its market value anyway.

Romney’s fiscal record on cutting spending is unimpeachable. And here’s the list of Romney’s tax cuts, the biggest of which was his reversal of the $250 million retroactive capital gains tax in 2005.

CAPITAL GAINS TAXES
INVESTMENT TAX CREDIT
PROPERTY TAX RELIEF
2004 SALES TAX HOLIDAY
2005 SALES TAX HOLIDAY
BIOTECH MANUFACTURING JOBS TAX REBATE
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT TAX CREDIT
LOW-INCOME HOUSING TAX CREDIT
PRESCRIPTION DRUGS TAX RELIEF
COMMUTER TAX RELIEF
VETERANS TAX RELIEF
HOME HEATING OIL DEDUCTION/ENERGY EFFICIENT CREDIT
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
FIRE SAFETY TAX DEDUCTION
CONFORMITY TO FEDERAL INCOME TAX CODE
MEDICAL DEVICE TAX CREDIT
MOTION PICTURE TAX CREDIT
BROWNFIELD REDEVELOPMENT TAX CREDIT EXTENTION
HISTORIC REHABILITATION TAX CREDIT

Mitt Romney: Tested and Proven

Yesterday we brought you the new TV ad that the Romney campaign had put together. Now we bring you the facts behind the ad.

What were the odds against Romney in Massachusetts?

The Economist, On Governor Romney: “Being The Republican Governor Of Such A Liberal State As Massachusetts Must Be Like Swimming Through Sugary Sludge.” “Being the Republican governor of such a liberal state as Massachusetts must be like swimming through sugary sludge. Everywhere he looks, he is surrounded by sweet-talking liberal legislators, judges and citizens.” (Editorial, “Mitt Romney And Gay Marriage,” The Economist, 6/30/05)

There Are Almost 3 Times As Many Registered Democrats As Republicans In Massachusetts:

* Registered Democrats: 1,526,711

* Registered Republicans: 532,319 (Massachusetts Secretary Of State Website, www.sec.state.ma.us, Accessed 5/21/07)

The Massachusetts Legislature Is Comprised Of Over 85% Democrats. (Maria Cramer and John C. Drake, “Republican Lawmakers Hit Historic Low Mark,” The Boston Globe, 11/8/06)

Against Those Odds, Governor Romney Enacted A Conservative Agenda:

Gov. Romney Turned The Legislature’s $250 Million Retroactive Capital Gains Tax Increase Into A $250 Million Tax Refund. (“Romney Signs Bill Abolishing Retroactive Tax,” Boston Business Journal, 12/8/05)

Gov. Romney Closed An Inherited $3 Billion Shortfall Without Tax Increases. (Pam Belluck, “Romney Candidacy Puts Massachusetts Economy In Spotlight,” The New York Times, 3/16/07)

Gov. Romney Has Championed Traditional Marriage, And Fought Efforts To Redefine The Institution. (John DiStaso, “Romney: 1 Man 1 Woman,” The [Manchester NH] Union Leader, 4/4/07)

Gov. Romney Enforced A 1913 Law Preventing Out-Of-State Same-Sex Couples From Marrying In Massachusetts. (Pam Belluck, “Romney Won’t Let Gay Outsiders Wed In Massachusetts,” The New York Times, 4/25/04)

Gov. Romney Funded Abstinence Education For The First Time In Massachusetts’ Classrooms. (Andrea Estes And Tracy Jan, “State Widens Teaching Of Abstinence,” The Boston Globe, 4/21/06)

Gov. Romney Vetoed A Bill To Expand Stem Cell Research That Included Embryo-Destructive Methods. (“Massachusetts’ Gov. Romney Delivers On Promise To Veto Stem Cell Bill,” The Associated Press, 5/27/05)

Gov. Romney Vetoed Legislation That Would Have Provided For The “Morning After Pill” Without A Prescription. (Governor Mitt Romney, Op-Ed, “Why I Vetoed The Contraception Bill,” The Boston Globe, 7/26/05)

Gov. Romney Filed And Promoted A Bill Protecting Religious Liberties. (Brooke Donald, “Romney Files ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill On Church And Gay Adoption,” The Associated Press, 3/15/06)

Gov. Romney Took Action To Enforce Immigration Laws. (Michael Levenson and Jonathan Saltzman, “Troopers Can Arrest Illegal Immigrants In Romney Deal,” The Boston Globe, 12/3/06)

Massachusetts Liberals Are Trying To Roll Back Gov. Romney’s Conservative Record:

Among The Romney Accomplishments Now Under Attack By Democrats In 2007:

* Gov. Romney’s Fiscally-Responsible Budget Cuts Amounting To $383 Million Were Restored. (Casey Ross, “Deval Flips Mitt’s Cuts,” The Boston Herald, 1/6/07)

* Gov. Romney’s Blocking Of Out-Of-State Gay Marriages Was Reversed. (Andrea Estes and Lisa Wangsness, “26 Gay Marriages Set To Be Recorded,” The Boston Globe, 4/2/07)

* Gov. Romney-Supported Ballot Measure Banning Same-Sex Marriage Is Being Targeted For Defeat. (Frank Phillips and Lisa Wangsness, “Same-Sex Marriage Ban Advances,” The Boston Globe, 1/3/07)

* Gov. Romney’s Abstinence Education Funding For Schools Was Targeted For Elimination. (Lisa Wangsness, “Patrick Seeks To Forgo Grant,” The Boston Globe, 4/24/07)

* Gov. Romney’s Restrictions On Stem Cell Research Were Reversed. (Stephen Smith, “Governor Wants End To Curb On Stem Cells,” The Boston Globe, 3/30/07)

* Gov. Romney’s Plan To Have State Police Arrest Illegal Immigrants Was Reversed. (Casey Ross, “Gov: States Won’t Nab Illegal Aliens,” The Boston Herald, 1/12/07)

* Gov. Romney’s Initiative To Reform The State’s Auto Insurance Industry Was Halted. (Bruce Mohl, “Patrick Halts Romney’s Auto Insurance Revamp,” The Boston Globe, 1/20/07)

* Gov. Romney’s Plan To Rescind Turnpike Tolls Was Stopped. (Frank Philips, “Romney Pick Resigns From Pike Board,” The Boston Globe, 2/14/07)

AEI: Praises for the Romney Health Insurance Mandate

The American Enterprise Institute today published a newsletter today citing praise for the Massachusetts health insurance mandate that Governor Romney signed into law last April. Here are some excerpts from the newsletter:

Quick description of the program:

A program called the Connector makes low-cost insurance available to small businesses and those without employer-sponsored coverage. Employers are able to offer their workers the option of paying premiums for insurance with pretax dollars. The mandate is intended to provide taxpayer savings by reducing the amount spent on emergency care and hospital services not covered by insurance.

Mark V. Pauly, an AEI adjunct scholar from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, evaluated the study and concluded:

If you want to produce greater equality in an unequal world, you need unequal plans, he said. A good program to help the uninsured will not attempt to offer universal health insurance,

The Urban Institute’s John Holahan emphasized:

that mandates on individuals are better than those on employers. He also warned that other states attempting similar programs should beware of special interests: hospitals, insurance companies, health-care providers, and advocacy groups. “Interest groups are incredibly strong,” he said. The Massachusetts plan is superior, he added, because it offers educated and structured choices.

John McClaughry of the Ethan Allen Institute spoke about personal responsibility in health insurance.:

He praised the Massachusetts plan because it deals with the uninsured by sending them out into the market, thus reinforcing personal responsibility. Each individual has to decide his own risk level and can purchase insurance to meet his own needs. The Connector is ingenious, he added, because through it individuals and small businesses capture the deduction for health insurance that they could never have captured on their own

Holly Benson, Florida’s secretary of business and professional regulation, said:

…the Massachusetts plan offers incentives for preventive care, thus driving down health-care costs. She also noted that insurance companies are responding to mandates and the growing market of uninsured young people by developing low-cost insurance products. Benson praised the virtues of the Connector in offering portability in an era of frequent career transitions. “If you give the private sector enough room to innovate,” she concluded, “[it] will find ways to make money and reduce the overall cost of health-care systems.”

John R. Bohrer of the Huffington Post

For those who are just starting your observation of Mitt Romney, I would like to introduce you to one of the stupid accusations that you will hear (until 2008, when eventually you will want to bash your brains out).

John R. Bohrer of the Huffington Post is the latest zombie who repeats the following: “Romney is more readily identified with the Salt Lake City Olympics and making the state that elected him the butt of his jokes.”

But no one ever gives you an example of the Jokes that Romney tells about Massachusetts, because there are none. Romney says that there are a lot of liberals there, but that is not a joke. It is an observation. And unlike observations from liberals, it is the truth. There are a lot of liberals in Massachusetts. Why does pointing this out hurt the poor feelings of the poor liberals of poor Massachusetts? Were they trying to keep their presence there a secret? Are they behind in child support payments, and think this information will help former wives or girls friends track them down? “Tanner was a liberal, maybe I should look for him in Massachusetts!”

Are we supposed to feel sorry for them? Is Romney a bully, and he would beat up Massachusetts students for their lunch money, and laugh at them, saying that they were liberals, who will probably live in Massachusetts the rest of their lives, because they are stupid Massachusetts liberals? Did he make people cry, when he points out that there are a lot of liberals in Massachusetts? Did he hurt their feelings?

What joy can John R. Bohrer have of repeating this stupid observation. Why do people have the desire to repeat over and over what the main stream media tells them? Is this all they got on Mitt Romney? Romney pointed out that a lot of liberals live in Massachusetts?

Then John R. Bohrer makes the fatal mistake of many liberal blogers when they try to debate. They don’t. He asserted that Mitt Romney was a flip flopper with out giving any examples of times that he has flipped or flopped.

John R. Bohrer said; “And that’s because Mitt Romney views his identity just like every policy position he’s ever taken: temporary.”

Here is some background. Romney advocated states rights when it comes to abortion, and he declared a truce on the issue in Massachusetts. He said he would not change the laws. Now that he is running for president of the United States, he is asserting the same thing: each state should have the right to choose their abortion laws. So he has kind of changed his position from advocating that Massachusetts be able to remain pro-choice, to Massachusetts should remain pro-choice and other states should also get to choose their abortion policy, as he seeks to represent those from more states than Massachusetts. If you want to call that a flip, sure, go ahead. But I get to call you an idiot, if you try and call Mitt Romney a flip flopper, because a “flip flop” implies that he changed his position, and then changed it back again. And Abortion is the only issue that you could try and say his vies have changed. But even this is stupid. Is John R. Bohrer saying that we should never vote for someone whose views have changed? Did he really write a senior paper on JFK, Martin Luther King, and Cesar Chavez? Does he want to see examples were they advocated different things in DIFFERENT situations?

And, John R. Bohrer, I also get to also call you an idiot if you say that all of Romney’s positions have been “temporary” because of this one change.

I also get to call you a jerk for contributing to the stupidity of public discourse. You make an assertion (every position Romney has ever held has been temporary) without giving one example of times Romney has changed his position. No reasons to agree with you, just your attitude of self rightous disdain.

David asserts that he is able to read Mitt Romney’s mind twice. This is something else that will become infuriating over the next couple of years.

David says:

“Mitt Romney must be feeling pretty good right about now” and “Mitt Romney views his identity just like every policy position he’s ever taken: temporary”.

David wrote his senior thesis on “Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Cesar Chavez in 1968”. Was Robert also able to channel the personal feelings of these Cesar Chavez? People wonder what Cesar Chavez would have thought of the protest by illegal immigrants over the 2006 United States Congress immigration bill. Perhaps David can tell us what Chavez thinks, sense he is able to tell us with such clarity what Mitt Romney is thinking.

Mitt Romney said, “Being a conservative Republican in Massachusetts is a bit like being a cattle rancher at a vegetarian convention.”

Does this the truth hurt the feelings of liberals? Romney is saying the truth. Massachusetts is the most liberal state in the union. Is this fact off limits for Romney to point out? Should Romney not be allowed to have a sense of humor? How dare he laugh at the fact that he is a Republican Governor of the most liberal state, or must he assume a somber attitude, and never dare make fun of the fact that Republicans are a minority is Massachusetts? That Romney is able to laugh is admirable. If I had to live with these self righteous little pukes, I would be crying all the time.

Romney is not making fun of every citizen in Massachusetts. He is pointing out the fact that there happen to be a lot of liberals in that state. Is this wrong? Did he say everyone is Massachusetts is dumb? Did he say they are ugly? Did he make fun of them? No. He did not criticize them, he just said there are a lot of liberals. Is he wrong?

Mitt Romney makes fun of Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Michael S. Kukakis, and the main stream media tell the citizens of Massachusetts that Romney is making fun of them.

Lyndon Johnson separated himself from racist elements in Texas, and Ronald Reagan did the same with the hippie fringe in California. Grover Cleveland, who in 1884 used the slogan “Grover the Good” to separate himself from the political corruption in his home state of New York”. Every president has had to separate themselves for the benefit of stupid people who think that every single person of a state, religion, or race is exactly the same.

Romney has said:

“There’s no question I do love jokes. Indicating that there are very few conservative Republicans in Massachusetts, I do not think is a surprise to anyone inside or outside of Massachusetts and is in no way an indictment of the state. If anything, it’s a recognition that I have to do a better job of recruiting Republicans.” Governor Mitt Romney, Mighty Mitt Romney, By Shawn Macomber, The American Spectator, 04-21-2006

So, to be clear, did Romney — who came here in 1975 to seek degrees from both Harvard Business and Law schools — pursue the governorship out of some Machiavellian plan to attain higher office, or does he love the state he leads?

“We’ve lived here now 34 years, raised all five of our sons here, and paid a mountain of taxes here. You don’t do that unless you enjoy the state and the economic, social, and cultural opportunities which it provides.” Governor Mitt Romney, Mighty Mitt Romney, By Shawn Macomber, The American Spectator, 04-21-2006

~ Mike