Off the Cuff By Chris A. Porter email@example.com WNI Web Developer and PVtrib.com webmaster shares his perspective on technology, local and national politics, and life in the Quad-city area.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Spotlight on '08 Presidential Candidates - Part 4: Mitt Romney
NOTE: This is Part 4 of a multi-part series of blogs spotlighting the candidates for President of the United States that I will be posting throughout the election year.
Mitt Romney is one of the Republican Party candidates running for the 2008 Presidency. He is a former CEO and founder with vast experience in business management and investments, a summa cum laude graduate of
Brigham Young University and holds an M.B.A. from Harvard. Romney won the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in 1994, but was defeated by Democratic incumbent Ted Kennedy. He was elected Governor of Massachusetts in 2002, serving only one term (did not seek re-election). Romney's family is a well known, politically motivated one, with his father, George W. Romney, serving as a former Michigan Governor and his brother G. Scott Romney currently serving in the State University Board of Trustees.
He is highly involved in civic affairs and has worked with charities and organizations such as the Points of Light Foundation and the Boy Scouts. The Pratt-Romney family is deeply rooted in the Mormon faith, and Mitt's great-great-grandfather Parley Pratt was one of the religion's first leaders. Romney did missionary work for the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS) overseas in his youth.
Mitt Romney's platform focuses on the following key issues:
Keeping America Safe - He believes in investing further into our military presence and wants to add 100,000 new troops to our armed forces. To offset health care and necessary equipment costs for this new personnel, he proposes at least a 4% increase in the GDP.
He emphasizes an importance in protecting our homeland, advocates reforming civilian agencies to prevent bureaucracy and better strategic planning.
Confronting Islamic Extremism - Romney is steadfast in his plan to curtail Jihadist groups by assembling a new partnership of developed allied nations to pool resources in ensuring threatened Islamic states get the education, finance, health care, legislation, banking and basic human rights they require. He proposes a intelligence-driven "Special Partnership Force" comprised of Army special forces in cooperation with local civilian governments to isolate and prevent terrorist threats on our nation's soil.
Combating Iranian Threat - He believes an Iran with nuclear capability combined with cells of extremist Islam is a very real threat, and imposes that the United States tighten sanctions against it as well as utilize neighboring ally states to diplomatically isolate it, sending a message to the governing regime that the world will no longer tolerate the thriving atmosphere of terrorism it supports.
Latin America Policies - In Cuba, Romney supports continuing isolating the country with sanctions both diplomatically and economically as long as the Castros are still in power. He wants to get the truth out to other nations regarding the deplorable situations Cuba's citizens must endure under the tyrannical rule of the Castro regime. He also advocates improving trade agreements with neighboring Latin American countries.
Global Economy - Romney wants to lower corporate taxes to make businesses competitive in the world markets. He urges strengthening education with new partnerships in public and private institutions, establishing charter schools and advocating focus on teaching math and the sciences so students will be more competitive in the workforce. He wants better training programs for workers, reform of immigration laws to stem the influx of illegal immigrants, lower rates and taxes on the middle class, eliminating the Death Tax, regulatory relief, tort reform and improving transportation infrastructure.
Achieve Energy Independence - As President, he wants to make energy independence in our country a top priority by investing in clean technologies research and increasing domestic energy security and production using nuclear technology.
Federal Spending - He wants to establish more fiscal discipline in government by establishing spending limits, evaluating current programs to identify financial inefficiencies, reforming entitlement, restoring super majority funds appropriation requirements, line-item veto powers to state governors and authorizing more flexibility for Executive spending.
Illegal Immigration - Romney proposes building technological fences across the southern border and other points of entry to prevent illegal immigration. He also wants to issue biometric identification cards to non-citizens for easy verification of legal status, completely reject amnesty, cut funding to american cities providing sanctuary for illegals, improve enforcement, crackdown on businesses employing illegals and streamline the process for retaining legal skilled workers.
Health Care - He wants to improve America's health care situation by deregulating insurance in state markets, making all health care expenses tax deductible and transition moneys currently being used to treat the uninsured to help needy citizens buy private insurance. By reforming the Medical Liability System, giving states more flexibility in Medicare spending and introducing more competition in certain market sectors, Romney feels he can "bring Health Care into the 21st Century" in America.
Culture and Values - Governor Romney is pro-life, and supports a "Culture of Life" where he believes Row v. Wade should be overturned to allow abortion issues to be addressed at the state and local levels. He wants to appoint conservative Justices and pass legislation defining marriage as a union between one woman and one man. He advocates more protection for children via proposing tougher federal penalties for internet sexual predators, such as harsher jail times and tracking offenders with GPS devices for the rest of their lives. He wants to make sure all new computers carry software that gives parents options for establishing internet filters, establish better enforcement of federal obscenity laws and strengthen community and faith-based initiatives previously promoted by the Bush administration.
Education - He is dedicated in his plan to improve education by transitioning more control to local communities, promoting more choices in public, charter and home schooling programs, allowing tax credits for home schoolers and reforming No Child Left Behind. He also believes in improving the quality of education by supporting performance-based pay and other initiatives for instructors as well as more focus on teaching math and science, giving students skills necessary to be competitive in the job market.
Since Mitt Romney has no Congressional voting record, here's a partial list of his voting in accord with Democrat platform as Governor of Massachusetts.
Affirming marriage for heterosexuals only
Overriding veto on Stem Cell research
Maintaining two state psychiatric hospitals
Increasing benefits under MassHealth
moratorium on expansion of charter schools
investing in emerging technologies, math & science Fund
Allowing in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants
Restricting welfare benefits to 5 years
Reinstating capital punishment
earmarking funds for women's substance abuse program
Postponing reduction of income tax to 5%
Off the Cuff - My Take:
I like Romney's harder immigration stance, although I don't see the biometric IDs idea getting too far with a Democratic majority controlling Congress . I also appreciate his willingness to address human rights problems in Islamic and Latin American countries by upholding embargoes and working with neighboring regions to stabilize extremist hotspots. Will this be enough? Since these issues are so complex, it's difficult to determine. His stance on establishing more fiscal discipline in government is good as well.
Romney's plan for energy independance is admirable, but very lacking in detail. I would think he would want to stand out a bit more on this hot button issue, seeing as how every candidate seems have their own take on it during this year's campaign. His stances on 'keeping America safe' and combating Islamic extremism seem no different than what we have under the current administration. In a climate where upcoming voters seem focused on change, this might not fare too well for Romney. Governor Romney is pro-life (i'm pro-choice), and affirms marriage as between a man and women. I oppose these stances, but that doesn't necessarily mean I discount him automatically. For example, he does want civil unions for homosexuals to be legally recognized - which, I feel, is a fair compromise in regards to the controversial issue. However, i'm suspicious about his complete 'about face' on the abortion issue since 2003, when previously, he made statements insinuating pro-choice views. It seems disingenuious, but before I pass judgement, I simply need more information.
He wants to lower corporate taxes - right now, I just can't see getting behind this. I feel corporate America already has too much welfare and in many cases more rights than some of its own citizens. He is a religious man, something which I highly respect. However, I tend to be wary of any man running for the highest office in the country so profoundly wearing his faith on his sleeve, because many times said men try and legislate by it. Being a firm believer in the separation of Church and State, this draws concern.
Would I vote for him?
Not Likely. His makes his hardline Conservative stance pretty apparent and has too many similarities to the current President's ideas to promote any real changes. I see him pandering to corporate special interest rather address the issues in certain circumstances. I could be completely incorrect in this assumption, but that is what my gut tells me. With Romney's vast business experience, one wonders if he will try to make a difference, or fall on a 'corporate mentality' in running the country as President.
Most candidates, including Romney, feel No Child Left Behind needs reform. Okay, but HOW? I feel omitting these little details always tends to personally sour me on potential Presidential candidates. Perhaps that's a problem with our current system that voters are beginning to see - without providing said details, aren't we just left with candidates simply telling us what we want to hear?
It's something to think about, at least.
FOLLOWUP EDIT:Mitt Romney dropped his Presidential bid on February 7. The Republican nomination went to John McCain, who lost to Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential election.