December 28, 2007

Unfit Mitt Romney, Grosse Pointe-MLK, and the Push Poll

Filed under: Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:10 pm

This post has been moved to the top for the rest of the day.

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“Americans of all political persuasions are coming to the sad realization that our First Lady — a woman of undoubted talents who was a role model for many in her generation — is a congenital liar.”

– New York Times columnist and former Nixon
speechwriter William Safire; January 8, 1996

With appropriate paraphrasing, how can we not now be at about the same place with Unfit Mitt Romney as Safire was with Hillary Clinton almost 12 years ago? (Side question: What has happened in the intervening time period that would contradict Mr. Safire’s assessment of Mrs. Clinton?)

Grosse Pointe, George Romney, and MLK

Oh how I wanted to give Romney the benefit of the doubt on the “I saw my father march with Martin Luther King” episode. I thought it had all the appearances of a kerfuffle when it first appeared, as the comment that I made at the Boston Phoenix on December 19 shows (excerpted; paragraphing added):

I’m no Romney fan, ….. but I think he’s probably accurate enough given the likely full history, if not precise.

….. I think this might get Mitt off the hook, given that he would have been about 15 years old at the time. There WAS a big MLK March down Woodward Avenue (in Detroit) on June 25, 1963, and I would not be at all surprised if his dad marched in that — Except that as gov, security may have been a problem. Recall that MLK was a Republican. Go to Page 28 at this link.

Ah, but the plot thickens: George Romney’s PREDECESSOR as governor marched down Woodward Avenue. The Wiki entry for George Romney says he was strong on civil rights, but makes no mention of the march. It would be interesting to see if George Romney issued a proclamation of any kind or made a speech on the day of the 1963 march, if he didn’t himself march.

Again giving Mitt the benefit of the doubt, it’s not unlikely, since he was 15 or so during the time period, that he would over the years have juxtaposed the events and even given his father a little more credit than he deserved. …..

I wrote this because it appeared, based on the research I was able to do, that nothing relating collectively to Grosse Pointe, George Romney, and MLK happened in 1963 or 1967. So I said, “OK, they must have been at the 100,000-strong Woodward Avenue march.”

It turns out that I was much too generous.

Not to George Romney. Unfit Mitt’s civil rights-supporting father wasn’t at the Woodward Avenue march, but, as found in a Phoenix follow-up, he actually did issue a proclamation the next day. It was well-received by King (who “refused to criticize Romney for not attending the demonstration”), but not by many of his rank-and-file supporters.

But I was much too generous to Unfit Mitt and his campaign. They cravenly upped the ante, in the process revealing a part of the candidate they would probably rather not let us see.

Unfit Mitt first embellished:

Peppered with questions while campaigning in Iowa yesterday, Romney defended his account that his father marched with King, saying it had become part of the family’s history.

….. “My brother also remembers my dad having spoken about the fact he did not do political events on Sunday but that he decided at the last minute that he was going to break that self-imposed rule and participate (in Grosse Pointe)”

Then last Friday, two “eyewitnesses” came forward to say they saw George Romney march with King in Grosse Pointe in June 1963.

Based on what I had found, or actually not found, I was fairly certain that the “eyewitnesses” would be debunked.

And they have been. Those “witnesses,” God bless their faulty memories, were only “half right” (i.e., George Romney was there, but not MLK), making Unfit Mitt Romney all wrong, (per the Washington Post’s Fact Checker blog; HT The Phoenix), and cynically so:

By getting this story (of the two “eyewitnesses” — Ed.) out late on Friday afternoon, heading into the holiday weekend — good luck getting a King historian on the phone before Wednesday — the campaign was pretty well assured that it could keep alive through Christmas their claim that Mitt Romney was mistaken only about “seeing” it, not about it taking place.

Then-governor George Romney did indeed march in Grosse Pointe, on Saturday, June 29, 1963, but Martin Luther King Jr. was not there; he was in New Brunswick, New Jersey, addressing the closing session of the annual New Jersey AFL-CIO labor institute at Rutgers University.

Those facts are indisputable, and quite frankly, the campaign must have known the women’s story would eventually be debunked — few people’s every daily movement has been as closely tracked and documented as King’s. As I write this, I am looking at an article from page E8 of the June 30, 1963 Chicago Tribune, which discusses both events (among other civil-rights actions of the previous day), clearly placing the two men hundreds of miles apart. I also have here the June 30, 1963 San Antonio News, which carries a photo and article about Romney at the Grosse Pointe march; and an AP story about King’s speech in New Jersey.

A King researcher editing his letters from that time has stated definitively that the two men never marched together; Michigan and Grosse Pointe historians have stated definitively that King was not at the 1963 Grosse Pointe march; Michigan civil-rights participants of the time have concurred; so have those who worked for George Romney at the time.

All of this evidence is important to present to the general public, but it is unnecessary for the Romney campaign — it has been clear for some time that they know perfectly well that the two men never marched together.

Believe me, they know the two men never marched together. This is an attempt to rewrite history. And even if it is a small rewriting, it is offensive.

And, sad to realize, likely habitual.

Those Anti-(Insert Romney’s Religion Here) Calls

The tactics on display in the “I saw” story ought to bring a new level of scrutiny to what is now known about the anti-(insert Romney’s religion here) calls that took place in New Hampshire and Iowa (and, according to a now-unavailable Salt Lake City Tribune article, South Carolina) on or about Wednesday, November 14. These labor-intensive 20-minute calls were said to be among the drivers behind the sudden need for the “The Speech” in early December.

EyeOn08 hears an echo from the past in the “I saw” story, citing a TPM Election Central post from November 21:

….. the Romney campaign is confirming that it referred reporters to two recipients of the calls without disclosing that the two were also on the Romney campaign payroll, TPM Election Central has learned.

In response to questions from TPM Election Central, Romney spokesman Kevin Madden confirmed that the campaign had failed to disclose this info to reporters. Madden suggested that the campaign had identified them as “supporters,” which is a far cry from being directly paid by the campaign, as the two call recipients were.

No kidding.

(Note: Please spare me the objection that TPM is liberal. These people either were being paid by Romney, or they weren’t. If you have evidence that they weren’t, e-mail me.)

Am I supposed to believe that Team Romney couldn’t find anyone not being paid to come forward and talk about the calls, after The Associated Press was able to was able to find seven others?

Something is still not adding up in all of this.

In the top GOP tier, only Giuliani’s campaign has the money to even think about doing this, and their denial is convincing (see Update V here).

That leaves some “mystery 527,” some other totally independent person or entity, Ron Paul (who has some money), one of the Dem campaigns, or the Romney campaign itself (take your motivational pick between determining the extent of the religion problem, generating sympathy as a distraction from more serious matters, or setting the stage for “The Speech”) as the possibilities. I don’t see how you can take any of them off the table yet.

The Significance

Is the “I saw” story a 45 year-old ado about nothing? Is bringing out “supporters” who were really paid campaign members just a disclosure oversight?

I doubt it very much. Throw the two items described above in with at least these three items:

  • Romney’s patently false, unconstitutional, and oath-of-office breaking assertion about how he HAD to follow the (non-existent) court “order” in the Goodridge same-sex marriage case (made, by the way, to keep a campaign promise not to get in the way of the expected ruling).
  • His false claims that Ronald Reagan and Henry Hyde were ever “effectively pro-choice,” and in Reagan’s case, “adamantly pro-choice.”
  • His reassertion of a debunked claim that his mother was pro-choice in 1970 when she ran for the US Senate in Michigan — “Two longtime Romney family friends and political supporters — former governor William Milliken and former Republican National Committee co-chairwoman Elly Peterson — told (Boston Globe reporter Eileen) McNamara (in 2005) they could not recall Lenore Romney speaking out publicly for abortion. If she had, it would have represented a dramatic change of heart and break with the Mormon Church. Peterson, who worked on Lenore Romney’s campaign, said, ‘If it happened, I’d remember it. It didn’t and I don’t.’”

How many of these things does it take before they constitute a pattern?

And speaking of possible patterns, the original “I saw” part of the four-Pinocchio George Romney-MLK whopper (the Fact Checker blog’s evaluation) reminds me of two other people, who fed us horse manure like this throughout the 1990s, on matters large (collection here; also add “the worst economy in 50 years“) and small (e.g., his “vivid and painful” memories of Arkansas church burnings that never occurred; her claim to have been named after Sir Edmund Hillary, who conquered Everest six years after she was born).

Instapundit, in a pre-witness debunk post, noted an annoying tendency Unfit Mitt has. He calls it the politician’s disease, but I think it’s better described as the Clinton Disease (try to name a politician who engaged in this behavior before the Clintons did):

…. it’s not enough to report that something happened, you have to report it in a way that puts you in the story.

Exactly.

I am so not up for even the possibility of 4-8 more years of the large or small stuff. I would hope that GOP voters aren’t either, especially with someone in their own party.

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UPDATE: In New Hampshire, Romney has a negative credibility evaluation coming from the left, but more importantly, a sharp jab from the Manchester Union Leader, a biggie on the right:

Last week Romney was reduced to debating what the meaning of “saw” is. It was only the latest in a string of demonstrably false claims — he’d been a hunter “pretty much” all his life, he’d had the NRA’s endorsement, he marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. — that call into question the veracity of his justifications for switching sides on immigration, abortion, taxes and his affection for Ronald Reagan.

In this primary, the more Mitt Romney speaks, the less believable he becomes.

California Spendin’: WSJ Notes, Rest of Media Ignore

A hard-hitting subscription-only editorial in the Wall Street Journal today needs some reinforcement.

That’s because Californians relying on Old Media for their news about the Golden State’s dire financial situation are being conditioned to believe that only a tax increase will solve the state’s problems.

The latest offering in that regard is a Field poll covered at the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle, headlined “Many voters think deficit fix will require higher taxes” and “Voters resigned to higher taxes to solve budget crisis,” respectively. Those headlines conveniently obscure the fact that the margin of those believing that tax increases are necessary vs. those who think that the answer is totally in spending cuts is only 48%-43%.

Here is some of what the Journal had to say:

Let’s start with the culture of overspending in Sacramento. State outlays have nearly tripled to $142 billion this year from $51 billion in the early 1990s. After the technology bubble burst in 2001, the state’s deficit swelled to $20 billion. Voters recalled Gray Davis from the Governor’s mansion in favor of Mr. Schwarzenegger, who promised to “cut up the state’s credit card.” In Arnold’s first year, the budget was held in check, but the state still issued $9 billion in “revenue bonds” rather than shrink the size of government.

What really rescued the state was the national economic expansion, including the housing boom and the cut in capital gains and dividend taxes that helped the state’s technology industry. Tax receipts rose 40% over the last four years, but Sacramento returned to spending as usual. Expenditures rose by 44%, and billions of dollars of new school and road bonds were issued. After getting trounced by labor unions in state referendums, Mr. Schwarzenegger gave up trying to change any of this.

Even with the new deficit estimates, the Governor and legislature are promoting a new government health-care plan at a cost, coincidentally, of $14 billion.

….. “Our tax policies practically invite Californians to pack up their bags and leave the state,” says Assembly Minority Leader Mike Villines. “We can’t possibly balance our budget with new taxes.” Ah, but Democrats are willing to give it a try. Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez wants to institute a new tax on Internet sales, increase corporate taxes, and double the state’s hated car registration tax.

Mr. Schwarzenegger is again preaching spending restraint, which is long overdue. The tragedy is that he and his Sacramento running mates wouldn’t be facing this current fiscal mess had they done more to improve the state’s policies during the last one.

That California’s politicians need to get a grip on spending is illustrated in this table (the spending amounts come from the editorial, the population numbers from the Census Bureau, and the inflation adjustments came from relevant December-ending figures at the Bureau of Labor Statistics):

CaliRealPerCapSpendingIncs1207

The state is spending over 58% more per person in real terms now compared to 12 years ago, and over 12% more in real terms compared to just two years ago. Additionally, I have been told by several residents over the years that the state has pushed a lot of spending down to the counties and cities over the years, increasing the overall tax burden in the state by even more than would be indicated above. Commenter confirmation of that contention would be welcome.

The idea that tax increases are part of the remedy in California is patently absurd, but don’t even expect the state’s Old Media to tell you that.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Quotes of the Day: The Best of Thomas Sowell’s ‘Random Thoughts’ in 2007

About five times a year, the man who is probably America’s foremost legitimate intellectual, who has authored over 40 books (estimate after removing duplicate listings), and is a frequent Townhall columnist, devotes his Townhall column to brief “Random Thoughts,” most of which pack more wisdom into a few words than faux intellectuals are able to utter in a year.

IBDeditorials.com has the complete 2007 collection. Here are my top ten faves:

Teaching is very easy if you don’t care about doing it right and very hard if you do.

The culture of this nation is being dismantled, brick by brick, but so gradually that many will not notice until the walls start to sag — just before they cave in.

Now that the British television documentary, “The Great Global Warming Swindle” is available on DVD, will those schools that forced their students to watch Al Gore’s movie, “An Inconvenient Truth” also show them the other side? Ask them.

One of the painful signs of years of dumbed-down education is how many people are unable to make a coherent argument. They can vent their emotions, question other people’s motives, make bold assertions, repeat slogans — anything except reason.

One of the great non sequiturs of the left is that, if the free market doesn’t work perfectly, then it doesn’t work at all — and the government should step in.

“A good catchword can obscure analysis for 50 years,” said Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. If so, then we may be hearing about “diversity,” “social justice” and “a living wage” for many years to come.

In contrast with today’s senators who try to get every Supreme Court nominee to pledge allegiance to Roe v. Wade, when Abraham Lincoln was considering nominees to that court, he said, “We cannot ask a man what he will do, and if we should, and he should answer us, we should despise him for it.”

Too many people in positions of responsibility act as if these are just positions of opportunity — for themselves. The ones who simply steal money probably do less harm than teachers who propagandize their students, media who slant the news or politicians who sell out their country’s interests in order to get re-elected.

Amid all the media hysteria over the price of gasoline and the profits of “Big Oil,” one simple fact has been repeatedly overlooked: The oil companies’ earnings are just under 10% of the price of a gallon of gas, while taxes take 17%. Yet who ever accuses the government of “greed”?

Despite political spin about “tax cuts for the rich,” cuts in tax rates have led to increases in tax revenues — not only in this administration, but in the Reagan administration before that, and the Kennedy administration before that, not to mention in India and Iceland as well.

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UPDATE: Add one more, from a non-Random Thoughts column (HT to a Hot Air commenter)–

If Senator (Fred) Thompson can beat the odds and become president, he would probably be better than most of those who have been in the White House in recent times — though that is not extravagant praise.

Couldn’t Help But Notice (122807)

A nominee forQuietest Story in the Country” (HT Return of the Conservatives; I changed ROTC’s original link to a longer story):

Eight people were charged with filing bogus voter registration forms in St. Louis and St. Louis County for the 2006 general election, federal authorities announced Friday.

All eight worked for ACORN, the not-for-profit Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. ACORN focuses on voter registration drives targeting low- and middle-income people across the nation.

The federal indictments were unsealed Friday morning. Authorities were still seeking some of the people indicted, so their names were withheld.

….. Questions about some of the voter registration cards surfaced in October 2006, when St. Louis Republican elections director Scott Leiendecker sent letters to 5,000 voters registered by ACORN, asking them to verify their registrations on the phone and with signatures returned by mail.

….. Earlier this year, seven ACORN workers were indicted in Seattle for submitting phony voter registration forms.

Questions:

  • How many of those 5,000 forms got no response?
  • When is ACORN, which also has been linked to voter-registration and other election-related fraud in 12 states, including Ohio, going to be barred from activities involving voter registration?

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Ya gotta love the sense of humor Tim Gaynor of Reuters inadvertently exhibits (bold is mine):

Illegal immigrants “self deport” as woes mount

In the past year, U.S. immigration police have stepped up workplace sweeps across the country and teamed up with a growing number of local forces to train officers to enforce immigration laws.

Meanwhile, a bill seeking to offer many of the 12 million illegal immigrants a path to legal status was tossed by the U.S. Congress, spurring many state and local authorities to pass their own measures targeting illegal immigrants.

The toughening environment has been coupled with a turndown in the U.S. economy, which has tipped the balance toward self deportation for many illegal immigrants left struggling to find work.

….. Aluisio Carvalho, 66, left a wife and four children behind in Brazil in 2001 when he set off to find work in Boston. Since then, he has managed to pay for the education of his children by working in a restaurant, but is now planning to leave himself in February

“Salaries are really low, and living costs are high. We also face too much exploitation at work here, too many demands,” he said.

Sigh:

I’ll allow for the remote possibility that the good news so far this quarter won’t somehow ultimately lead to a report of positive economic growth. But, for Mr. Gaynor to credibly assert, as if it’s a fact, that there is a “turndown in the US economy,” something besides one or two sectors needs to be, y’know, “turning down.”

If illegals like Mr. Carvalho are leaving, it’s more likely that there are fewer “exploitation” opportunities for illegal work than there were a year or so ago (Mr. Carvalho has learned about claiming victimization, has he not?). Especially given the stats cited, that does not mean that there are fewer legal opportunities.

Let’s not leave the out-of-proportion commission of crimes by illegals out of the picture either. An enforcement response is long overdue, and at least one city has responded. In October, the City of Scottsdale, Arizona, after a police officer in nearby Phoenix was slain by an illegal immigrant Scottsdale police had let go, began “routinely asking for proof of citizenship from every suspect they arrest and turning those who are in this country illegally over to federal immigration officials.” It’s. About. Time.

Once illegals cross the border into Mexico, their ongoing, day-to-day illegality will have ceased. This is a good thing, and it would appear, contrary to the “There Shall Be Open Borders” Wall Street Journal, that the economy might actually be able to handle their absence.

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“Charlie Wilson’s War” (CWW) is a Hollywood fantasy, per IBDeditorials.com:

Hollywood would have us believe that Democrats defeated the evil empire in Afghanistan, and that President Reagan played only a minor role and even helped pave the way to 9/11.

….. “Charlie Wilson’s War,” which opened Friday, manages to reduce the president who won the Cold War to a background footnote.

….. The movie also perpetuates the left-wing myth that the covert operation funded Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida and ultimately led to the 9/11 attacks. Reagan-era officials such as Ikle say Osama never got funding or weapons from the U.S. and that he didn’t launch his terror war until after U.S. involvement and the Soviet withdrawal in 1989.

No, CWW is not a comedy — at least not on purpose.

Another fantasy may be that CWW, with a production budget of $75 million, will break even at the box office.

Nevertheless, like the pitifully inaccurate “Nixon” and “JFK,” it will probably be coming to a school classroom near you, unquestioned.

Positivity: American soldier adopts Iraqi boy

Filed under: Positivity,Taxes & Government,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Wisconsin, and Iraq (HT Hot Air):

Sun Dec 23, 1:14 PM ET

Capt. Scott Southworth knew he’d face violence, political strife and blistering heat when he was deployed to one of Baghdad’s most dangerous areas. But he didn’t expect Ala’a Eddeen.

Ala’a was 9 years old, strong of will but weak of body — he suffered from cerebral palsy and weighed just 55 pounds. He lived among about 20 kids with physical or mental disabilities at the Mother Teresa orphanage, under the care of nuns who preserved this small oasis in a dangerous place.

On Sept. 6, 2003, halfway through his 13-month deployment, Southworth and his military police unit paid a visit to the orphanage. They played and chatted with the children; Southworth was talking with one little girl when Ala’a dragged his body to the soldier’s side.

Black haired and brown eyed, Ala’a spoke to the 31-year-old American in the limited English he had learned from the sisters. He recalled the bombs that struck government buildings across the Tigris River.

“Bomb-Bing! Bomb-Bing!” Ala’a said, raising and lowering his fist.

“I’m here now. You’re fine,” the captain said.

Over the next 10 months, the unit returned to the orphanage again and again. The soldiers would race kids in their wheelchairs, sit them in Humvees and help the sisters feed them.

To Southworth, Ala’a was like a little brother. But Ala’a — who had longed for a soldier to rescue him — secretly began referring to Southworth as “Baba,” Arabic for “Daddy.”

Then, around Christmas, a sister told Southworth that Ala’a was getting too big. He would have to move to a government-run facility within a year.

“Best case scenario was that he would stare at a blank wall for the rest of his life,” Southworth said.

To this day, he recalls the moment when he resolved that that would not happen.

“I’ll adopt him,” he said. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.