I was quite concerned today to see this story on Powerline. The country is in serious straits because we have spent and are spending too much on public employees. My first wife went back to teaching a few years ago when she got laid off in a bank merger. She had a lifetime certificate in elementary education and has worked as a mortgage banker after our divorce in 1978. After that, she worked for the FSLIC, closing and liquidating insolvent S&Ls and currently. at the age of 72, she works for the FDIC doing the same thing. Her brief experience as a third grade teacher about 20 years ago, appalled her. She was always a public school advocate. After the divorce, the kids all went to private school. Now she says she would home school them.

Herman Cain won my support when he was asked what role the teacher’s unions played in out current school mess. He said that, as far as he was concerned, teachers’ unions were responsible for the school troubles. Would Romney say that ? He would be dreaming if he concluded that going easy on teacher’s unions would earn him any votes. Ditto for public employee unions.

Why then would he disclaim supports for a budget bill that affects public employee unions?

Why is he such a squish ?

24 thoughts on “Romney”

  1. I think that he thinks he has the nomination locked up and is therefore trying to run as far to the Left as possible, to get votes from Democrats and independents who don’t like Obama but who wouldn’t vote for a conservative. He may assume that Republican voters have nowhere else to go. This strategy could work.

  2. What is the percentage in it for Romney. The Conservatives and the Tea Party have made it clear he is not their guy. They have been grasping after one champion after another solely to try to stop Romney. Why should he offer them anything? If he gets the nomination it will be in opposition to those people, and they will hold their noses and vote for him against Obama. That’s obvious. So, his strategy makes perfect sense.

  3. I am hearing today on the Hugh Hewitt show that he was at an Ohio call center – trying to get one of Gov Kasich’s initiatives passed – which happens to be unpopular with the voters – So Gov Romney is saying “I support this but I don’t really know what the wording is”

    The lyrics from the musical Best Little Whorehouse In Texas” come to mind – with the politician singing “I dance to the left; dance to the right”…..

  4. Well, I think he’s just an accomplished but otherwise unexceptional establishment politician that hasn’t really begun to seriously question the civic and political norms he came up with.

    The times suggest to many people that powerful institutions like public employee unions have become at best incapable of delivering on what was supposed to be their primary virtue*, at worst simply corrupt, avaricious and self-aggrandizing.

    I think a lot of politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike, haven’t really begun to even imagine that the norms they’ve been used may have been mooted and may never return.

    Romney doesn’t strike me as dumb at all, but I don’t think he’s the kind to peer very far under the surface of his primary assumptions, much less abandon them, and as a long time Massachusetts politician the power and prestige of PE unions must be something like bedrock unalterable truth.

    I wish he were capable of recognizing that the old ways may really be changing and that the times call for really new methods, and I wish that he was bold enough to slough off what he’s known and adapt to what’s new. That’s what we need, I don’t think that’s him**.

    *I take that to be that ensuring good pay for public workers ensures effective, high quality public work.

    **I admit that I base part of this judgment merely on his hair, which just shouts to me “I am a vanilla humdrum politician fake as a practiced smile”.



    Could be, as Johnathon suggests, he’s just being cynical and

  5. Romney is a “squish” because he thinks he has a reasonable chance of becoming the Republican nominee, who has to capture some non-GOP, non-Conservative votes in order to win the presidency. Mr. Cain, I think, sees himself as something of a longshot.

    Let’s look though at the underlying premise here.

    “Herman Cain won my support when he was asked what role the teacher’s unions played in out current school mess. He said that, as far as he was concerned, teachers’ unions were responsible for the school troubles.”

    Well, assuming that is true, then why are the public schools in the non-union states that ban teacher strikes and outlaw collective bargaining in the same or, frequently, worse condition as unionized states?

    The nonunion states are not exactly rocking the world on the SAT; one would think that if unions are so destructive to education of children that some of these states would be in at least the top ten in terms of student performance, instead of clustering in the *bottom* five states, then up to the 50th %.

    This would seem to be an important empirical point.

    Knowing a little something about what teacher’s unions can and can’t do politically and legally in real life, I am somewhat amused by the ascribing of all-encompassing, demonic, powers to them, to the point of ignoring major – heck – *all* other variables that have shaped public education in our lifetime and today.

    One example: what would the California public schools (and their budgets) look like today absent thirty years of Federal policy tolerating (or actively encouraging through amnesty, catch and release etc.) record high illegal immigration?

    Another example: what would major urban school systems (or city tax bases) look like today without the white and then middle-class flight from cities that took place in the 1970’s and 1980’s as a result of Federal court decisions regarding forced busing, the rights of criminal suspects and Federal tax and environmental policies that encouraged deindustrialization and offshoring of jobs that once sustained an urban middle-class?

    I can think of many others.

    If teacher’s unions disappeared tomorrow – let’s say a national ban – and you furthermore eliminated tenure and summarily fired every teacher with more than 5 year’s experience (the goal of eliminating tenure laws, BTW)and reduced all remaining teacher salaries to as low as you like by fiat – what otherwise would change about school structure, state laws, Federal laws, funding, court decisions, student demographics, Federal DoED policy?

    Seriously, what do you expect the outcome to be? I’m curious what you anticipate the second and third order effects are here.

  6. Insofar as Romney is a Republican, he is a Massachusetts Republican. Which is to say that he is what was a mainstream Liberal Democrat in the days before Year One Anno Obama. The appropriate campaign slogan for him is: “Romney 2012- Obama’s second term, win or lose.”. Up until his announcement of his candidacy, his hostile fire was reserved for more Conservative Republicans.

    He may be miscalculating the “force down your rising gorge and vote for whoever the Institutional Republican “leadership” says you have to” factor. I supported Palin. I now support Cain. I can tolerate anyone else who has a measurable chance of getting the nomination to varying degrees EXCEPT Romney. Him stabbing Kasich in the back just sets him in stone as this cycle’s John McCain. I am not alone in this in the circles I move in.

    Short form: I will vote for, work for, and contribute to Cain if he is the nominee. I will vote for any other nominee, EXCEPT Romney. At this point, if it is any nominee but Cain, my work and my funds will go to building a Patriot Congress, including supporting primary challenges against RINO’s.

    Subotai Bahadur

  7. Romney, even if he were as bad as Obama in every other way, which is not credible, he will certainly appoint better Federal judges, including Supreme Court Justices. That alone is reason to work to put Romney in to get Obama out.

  8. I can be sure they will be better than Obama’s picks. Absolutely sure.

    Souter would be better than Kagan. And we could do better than Souter.

    Start being realistic and quit dreaming of some fantasy world where you get the candidate you really want.

    It’s childish. Just face reality and work within the existing scope of the possible.

    The only choice once the primary is over is Obama or someone else. ANY someone else that the GOP can come up with is better than Obama.

    Romney was the conservative favorite to beat McCain, as I recall.

    The Tea Party is will not even be four years old next November. Mass political movements take a generation to get their own guy into the White House. This is a marathnon, not a sprint. Play the long game.

    You cannot get major results in that short a time. Stopping the damage Obama is doing is the main thing we need to.

    The really great presidential candidate is probably not even on anybody’s radar yet and may not get in until 2020.

    Until then, there are two goals only for 2012: (1) get Obama out, and (2) get the best Congress we can, which means GOP majorities, with the strongest Tea Party presence we can get in both chambers.

    If we get a decent congress, odds are Romney will sign whatever they send him.

    That will be a huge win and will be a basis for further progress.

  9. Romney and judges? Remeber it was Eisenhower who appointed Earl Warren to the Supreme Court and look what that did.

  10. I think a lot of politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike, haven’t really begun to even imagine that the norms they’ve been used may have been mooted and may never return.

    This. All I can add is that the overall public is starting to grasp this – not to the point of coming up with solutions, but the diagnosis is sinking in – and that’s what is really causing the national angina.

    Regarding holding one’s nose and voting for Romney – fortunately, living in Illinois, I have the luxury of writing in Glenn Reynolds’ “syphilitic camel” with no fear. A state that votes in the likes of Pat Quinn will go for Obama by 500 basis points over any Republican.

  11. Not sure you are right about Illinois. Brady ran a miserable campaign. If Illinois could be put in play it would have a huge knock-on effect, since the money and activists from this state form an expeditionary force that is used in Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota and other places. If the Ds were forced to actually do some work here, even if Obama won handily in the end, it would help very much in the region.

  12. Zenpundit makes good points up there re: teacher’s unions & how it’s not just the PE unions, but the interplay of government policies working in concert to blow everything up. That underlines the overarching problem we’ve got which is the existence of an ambitious activist government with Big Plans, but human foibles and abilities.
    One of the governmental “norms” that has exploded – or needs – is the notion of a wise accomplished managerial class that’s competent to make it all work. A lot of people I’ve known who work in government at state & federal levels are in fact very smart and highly competent. I don’t think many of them have come to grips with the idea that their smarts and competence don’t matter, that the goals they seek to achieve via government may be impossible through that mechanism, and that just trying harder and tweaking the policy points won’t help.
    And I’m with Lex. I have no problem holding my nose and voting for Romney if he’s the nominee. Get Obama out and put the screws to who gets in so they remember why they’re there. Third parties this go ’round are all cross-purposes.

  13. First: About the Ohio ballot initiative, Here is the entire proposition:

    A majority yes vote is necessary for Amended Substitute Senate Bill No. 5 to be approved.
    Amended Substitute Senate Bill No. 5 is a new law relative to government union contracts and other government employment contracts and policies.
    A “YES” vote means you approve the law.
    A “NO” vote means you reject the law.

    I have been told, by people who really do know what they are talking about, that the wording of the proposition is mandated by the Ohio Constitution.

    This mornings Columbus Dispatch, which supports the law (SB 5), ran a poll on the front page showing the union side winning by 25 points.

    Second: Romney has now clarified that he is “110 %” in favor of SB5. I think the question was either phrased, or understood as, will the YES side win. Since he did not know the arcane phraseology of the proposition, and may have been told about the polling by Gov. Kasich, he tapped danced the answer. I don’t think it makes any difference as to the results of the referendum.

    Third: As to Romney himself. I endorse Lex’s comments above.

    Y’all need to take a chill pill. Stop inhaling your own vapors. And repeat after me the Instapundit’s oath:

    “I will vote for a syphilitic camel, if it will stop Hussein from having a second term.”

    And that means no third parties or write ins. They will not help. Suck it up. This is important.

    You must remember that the President is a top executive. He does not run the government. He appoints a couple of thousand people who do.

    Obama has appointed the insane clown posse. Have you ever seen a worse cabinet? And the White House is even worse. Van Jones is the one we know about, the rest of them are just as wacky, they just haven’t said it on camera.

    Any Republican will be choosing from a completely different pool. Instead of closet communists, we will get closet libertarians. The White House will be full of patriots. Isn’t that better.

    Now breath out.

    Fourth: As to Eisenhower. It is true that he nominated Warren, but that was something he had to do to keep peace in the party. Warren had been the extremely popular 3 time governor of California, and Dewey’s running mate in 1948. Besides, it was number of years, before anybody realized how much damage SCOTUS could do.

    His next nominee was John Marshall Harlan II, the greatest conservative of the pre-Scalia era.

    As for Mitt’s nominees, Bush was forced to back down on Harriet Meyers by the party. I think people are very attuned to what a SCOTUS nomination means, and they will not let Romney appoint anyone who would not vote with the Fabulous Four.

  14. @Zenpundit and others.

    No, the unions have not caused whatever ails our schools. The objection to unions is that they cost way too much for what they deliver. In the golden age of our memories, when kids were much smarter, teachers came from Normal Schools – generally two years of instruction. Just how much edumacation does one need to teach elementary school?

    Credentialism has all but destroyed some historically significant parts of our education system. In the 1960s there were different “tracks” – college prep, clerical, business and industrial trades. Now it is all college prep. No wonder, in the throes of 9% unemployment, many companies complain about not being able to find qualified workers.

  15. “No, the unions have not caused whatever ails our schools”

    But, they have not helped, and they have obstructed many attempts at change.

    If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the …

  16. “Start being realistic and quit dreaming of some fantasy world where you get the candidate you really want.”


    How about you start being realistic yourself and quit dreaming that the GOP will start selecting candidates that are closer to what you really want unless you push back.

    There’s really only a couple of ways that I can signal to the party apparatus that they are choosing poorly:

    1) Stop giving them money.
    2) Stop voting for the candidates that are unacceptable to me.

    I’ve been using signal #1 for a few years now. I used signal #2 in the last presidential election and will do the same if Romney turns out to be the GOP candidate.

    If the GOP believes that I will hold my nose and vote for their candidate no matter what, there is absolutely no logical reason for them to give any weight to my views. Why should they if my vote is a freebie?

  17. Another fact on Warren: he was an ardent proponent of relocating Japanese-Americans from California into internment campsduring WW II and was opposed by the left’s bad boy J. Edgar Hoover.

  18. “… unless you push back.”

    Push back in the primaries. Then vote for whoever is available to get BHO out of there.

  19. Oh, I’ll vote for Romney if it’s between him and President Popinjay, but I’ll be holding my nose. (Wouldn’t be the first time – in my misbegotten youth, I was a Democrat, and geez, the mouthbreathers I used to blindly pull the lever for…)

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