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Saturday, September 22, 2012 3:07 PM

Does Mitt Romney Really "Know Better" Than the Silly Things He Says?

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Does Mitt Romney really "Know Better" than the silly things he has said on the campaign trail lately? I ask the question because that subject came up twice recently, once in Time Magazine, and once in the Financial Times.

Writing for Time Magazine, writer Joe Klein brought up the subject in The Imaginary Campaign

It is the business of a presidential challenger to overstate the dire situation the incumbent has inflicted on a betrayed public. Bill Clinton certainly overstated the extent of the economic recession in 1992. But there are limits. There is reality.

In this country, successful politicians have always avoided apocalyptic predictions. This year, however, Republicans have routinely embraced the dark side. If Obama is re-elected, "I don't know that our country really survives four more years of all the regulations," Senator Rand Paul told CNN's Wolf Blitzer during the Republican Convention. Blitzer called him on it, saying, "Wait a second. If President Obama is re-elected, you think the United States of America, in four years, will not be the United States of America?" Paul beat a hasty retreat.

Romney has lived the past six years in his party's overheated shark tank, spending more time pestering plutocrats for cash than meeting with and listening to the general public. I suspect Romney doesn't really believe that 47% of the electorate are moochers; he was just dialing for dollars. But it's becoming increasingly difficult to see how the man who mouthed those words, whether he believes them or not, can be elected President.
Foot-in-Mouth Disease

I wrote about that set of now infamous statements by Romney in Foot-in-Mouth Disease.

Shortly after Romney made that huge gaffe, Tim Pawlenty, a Top Romney Adviser Quit the Campaign. What caught my eye in the Financial Times article was an analysis of some of the statements made by Romney regarding trade with China.

Let's take a look.
Chris Chocola, president of the influential Club for Growth lobby group, gave the most tepid of endorsements of Mr Romney on Thursday, saying he could not be sure that the former Bain Capital executive would be a “pro-growth” president.
“I think he has the potential to exceed expectations. But it’s a mixed bag with Romney. That’s his problem . . . you don’t really know how he’ll serve,” Mr Chocola told reporters at a briefing organised by the Christian Science Monitor.

“When you start to threaten a trade war with China, when you start to pander politically on trade issues, you’re hurting the economy, you’re not helping it,” Mr Chocola said. “What we need is politicians who stand up and [say] trade with China is good. Yeah, this is why.”

With his background in business, Mr Romney “knows better”, Mr Chocola said, “but he says what he says”.

Mr Romney has vowed to label China a currency manipulator on the first day of his presidency, while Mr Obama this week took action against China over its export subsidies for cars and car parts.
Does Romney Really Know Better?

Chocola says "Romney knows better". Really? Why should anyone believe he does?

In fact, it is far more logical to believe Obama "knows better" for the simple reason Obama has resisted huge pressure from trade unions to label China a currency manipulator for the last four years.

Understanding Smoot-Hawley

One would think that Romney ought to know something about Smoot-Hawley

Yet, off he goes, threatening a no-win trade war with China when instead he ought to stand up and explain why trade is good (with China and everyone else).

A Fool or A Liar?

If Romney does what he says he will do, he is a fool. If he doesn't, he is a blatant liar.

Now, we all know candidates lie. However, Romney made a pledge to do something blatantly stupid on day one. Is he going to lie about a "day one" promise? If that is the premise (and several high-placed Republican friends suggest that), I have to ask: why should anyone believe anything he says at all?

It is far easier to believe Romney is a complete dunce regarding the benefits of free trade than he is purposely making a pledge of this nature. The only other possibility (and it is a far worse possibility), is Romney knows his position on China is wrong, but he will do what he says anyway, if it helps him get elected.

Regardless, of whether he "knows better" or not, Romney certainly "says what he says", frequently flip-flopping in the process (as he does on health-care reform). Those actions have him in extremely hot water.

Thus, I side with Joe Klein on multiple grounds, on several issues: "It's becoming increasingly difficult to see how the man who mouthed those words, whether he believes them or not, can be elected President."

Please bear in mind, this is not an endorsement of president Obama. It is simply a statement of political reality regarding hopelessly inept statements by Romney. The fact remains, both Obama and Romney are fatally flawed, and I will not vote for either of them, but I will vote.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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