What both parties don’t want to talk about

What both parties don’t want to talk about May 28, 2012

As the Mitt Romney campaign hails his business experience and as the Obama campaign demonizes it neither side wants to talk about what is surely Romney’s most pertinent qualification for the presidency; namely, being governor of Massachusetts.  Ezra Klein explains why both parties are avoiding that topic:

Why have we spent approximately no time talking about Romney’s governorship?

The answer, again, is that neither campaign really wants to. The Romney campaign wants to avoid it because Romney governed from the center in ways that could now alienate the right. In a Republican Party looking for a true conservative, Romney sees little but danger in his record. His signature legislative accomplishment was the forerunner to “Obamacare.” Meanwhile, his state ranked 47th in job creation during his term. (So much for the secret knowledge gleaned from Bain about how to create jobs.)

The Obama campaign doesn’t want to discuss it because Romney’s centrist record as governor might comfort independents, who otherwise may fear that Romney is a creature of the right. “I think people recognize that I’m not a partisan Republican, that I’m someone who is moderate, and that my views are progressive,” Romney said in 2002.

His health-care reform extended coverage to the uninsured, undercutting the image of a rapacious private-equity pirate. Although his state didn’t create many jobs, unemployment nevertheless fell from 5.6 percent to 4.7 percent while he was governor. In a country that’s looking for an alternative to Obama but is scared of the extremism of the modern right, the Obama camp doesn’t see much upside in emphasizing Romney’s moderate gubernatorial record.

via Why neither Obama nor Romney wants to talk about Romney’s record – The Washington Post.

So Romney is running to the right.  Which is exactly where Obama wants him!

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  • Bob

    Yeah.

    If Romney ran as a centrist while governor of Mass., well, there don’t seem to be an abundance of ‘centrist’ voters right now.

    I wonder if Romney could use this as a selling point with undecideds — that he’s flexible enough to tweak his positions when the electorate demands it. There are still some voters who don’t care for ideological rigidity and might be persuaded by R’s stances when he was Mass. guv.

  • Bob

    Yeah.

    If Romney ran as a centrist while governor of Mass., well, there don’t seem to be an abundance of ‘centrist’ voters right now.

    I wonder if Romney could use this as a selling point with undecideds — that he’s flexible enough to tweak his positions when the electorate demands it. There are still some voters who don’t care for ideological rigidity and might be persuaded by R’s stances when he was Mass. guv.

  • Dan Kempin

    This is some of the worst political analysis I have seen, and if I can see it, it must be truly bad.

    Neither side is talking about it for one reason alone: Romneycare. Since Obamacare is wildly unpopular, Romneycare is the last thing the Romney campaign would want to emphasize. Likewise, the President is unlikely to draw attention to it when the fate of Obamacare is still unknown. Rest assured that if Obamacare stands, Romney’s governorship and health care will become center stage.

    And if I were for president Obama, I would be much more concerned about where he is (in the polls) than about where he wants Romney to be.

  • Dan Kempin

    This is some of the worst political analysis I have seen, and if I can see it, it must be truly bad.

    Neither side is talking about it for one reason alone: Romneycare. Since Obamacare is wildly unpopular, Romneycare is the last thing the Romney campaign would want to emphasize. Likewise, the President is unlikely to draw attention to it when the fate of Obamacare is still unknown. Rest assured that if Obamacare stands, Romney’s governorship and health care will become center stage.

    And if I were for president Obama, I would be much more concerned about where he is (in the polls) than about where he wants Romney to be.

  • brianh

    Neither is my team. Disassociated, it seems to me the center will go with Romney in electorally important areas. Could change between now and Nov, tho.

  • brianh

    Neither is my team. Disassociated, it seems to me the center will go with Romney in electorally important areas. Could change between now and Nov, tho.

  • I hate to break it to Romney, but he really isn’t running for the nomination anymore. He’s running for the presidency. As such, I’m not really sure he should care anymore about “alienating the right.” If he’s still fighting for their vote, then he’s almost certain to lose the election.

    A potentially moderate voter like me actually finds this analysis of his governorship fairly attractive. I’m already fairly committed to not voting for Obama, because this election is a referendum on his first term, and to that, I say “meh”. Or possibly even “bleah”.

    If Romney could position himself as a centrist (instead of the way these sorts of things are more likely to be spelled out, which is as a “flip-flopper” or “spineless weasel”), he’d be more likely to get my vote, at least. Yes, the nation has been persuaded to vote for ideological hacks in recent elections, but I believe that the hacks at least sold themselves as centrists in order to get those votes (looking at you, 2000 and 2008).

    But I haven’t heard much from Romney’s camp that would persuade me at this point. I’m pretty sure he’s sunk already. We’ll see.

  • I hate to break it to Romney, but he really isn’t running for the nomination anymore. He’s running for the presidency. As such, I’m not really sure he should care anymore about “alienating the right.” If he’s still fighting for their vote, then he’s almost certain to lose the election.

    A potentially moderate voter like me actually finds this analysis of his governorship fairly attractive. I’m already fairly committed to not voting for Obama, because this election is a referendum on his first term, and to that, I say “meh”. Or possibly even “bleah”.

    If Romney could position himself as a centrist (instead of the way these sorts of things are more likely to be spelled out, which is as a “flip-flopper” or “spineless weasel”), he’d be more likely to get my vote, at least. Yes, the nation has been persuaded to vote for ideological hacks in recent elections, but I believe that the hacks at least sold themselves as centrists in order to get those votes (looking at you, 2000 and 2008).

    But I haven’t heard much from Romney’s camp that would persuade me at this point. I’m pretty sure he’s sunk already. We’ll see.

  • DonS

    Dan’s right — neither side wants to bring up Romneycare — it has not exactly been a stunning success, and it has also been linked, rightly or wrongly, to Obamacare, which has most certainly not been a stunning success, already resulting in huge annual premium increases and an upside down approval ratings.

    Romney was governing as a Republican in a state which currently features a General Court having, in the Assembly, 32 Republicans and 128 Democrats, and in the Senate, 4 Republicans and 36 Democrats. The ratios were similar when he was there. So, his record, i.e. the things he would have been able to pass through the legislature, would not be particularly conservative initiatives. How he would govern when he presided over a government roughly at parity between the two parties is the issue. I don’t know the answer to that, unfortunately, but have resigned myself to President Romney as a far better alternative to another term of President Obama. I disagree with tODD @ 4 to the extent that: a) Romney is definitely not sunk already — he is running even, statistically, with Obama in every poll I have seen, and even ahead in some — and the bad news for an incumbent president that can’t poll at 50% is that the undecideds typically break against him; b) Romney most certainly needs to appeal to conservatives. He needs their enthusiastic support and their money to win.

  • DonS

    Dan’s right — neither side wants to bring up Romneycare — it has not exactly been a stunning success, and it has also been linked, rightly or wrongly, to Obamacare, which has most certainly not been a stunning success, already resulting in huge annual premium increases and an upside down approval ratings.

    Romney was governing as a Republican in a state which currently features a General Court having, in the Assembly, 32 Republicans and 128 Democrats, and in the Senate, 4 Republicans and 36 Democrats. The ratios were similar when he was there. So, his record, i.e. the things he would have been able to pass through the legislature, would not be particularly conservative initiatives. How he would govern when he presided over a government roughly at parity between the two parties is the issue. I don’t know the answer to that, unfortunately, but have resigned myself to President Romney as a far better alternative to another term of President Obama. I disagree with tODD @ 4 to the extent that: a) Romney is definitely not sunk already — he is running even, statistically, with Obama in every poll I have seen, and even ahead in some — and the bad news for an incumbent president that can’t poll at 50% is that the undecideds typically break against him; b) Romney most certainly needs to appeal to conservatives. He needs their enthusiastic support and their money to win.