The Debate – Round 2. Did we get the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God”?
On Thursday Joe Biden and Paul Ryan will have the opportunity to stand (or sit) in a room and look 45 million Americans right in the eye and potentially lie right to their faces. If they do they do not deserve your vote. Will they take the opportunity to clear up the misinformation from the last Presidential debate? Will they force each other to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Will they challenge each other briskly so no half-truths or purposeful evasion can stand? Will they speak up and shine the disinfectant of light on the dark untruthful acts of their challenger?
I believe this time around, platitudes and loose facts are going to be challenged …. and then the challenge will be followed up on. This time it will be very clear that the person speaking is the either telling the whole truth or is being vague as a political strategy.
President Obama has lead the nation for the past 44 months. He has a record that he has to defend. America clearly knows what he has done and what he has not done. Vice President Joe Biden has been a member of this Administration so he will be held accountable for the praise and criticism that comes with leadership and a very public record. He also has been a US Senator decades and will be responsible for accepting the praise and criticism that comes with his history.
Congressman Ryan has also been in a Leadership position in the House which his party has controlled. He has been in Congress for 13 years and he should have a very public record himself. He will be responsible for accepting the praise and criticism that comes with being a leader of a Congress that is sporting the an approval rate not seen in 40 years.
However, Paul Ryan is also a candidate for Vice President. He has the added responsibility of being responsible for the praise and criticism related to Governor Romney’s proposed policies and publicly stated positions.
At no time in history has a Vice Presidential candidate been so crucial to the future policies of a potential Presidential candidate. Sometimes a VP is selected to shore up the presidential candidates weakness or to secure a specific voting block or state. However in Romney’s case, he said he governed his state as a severe conservative, is a fiscal conservative, believes in very-small government, and is a master of budget management. In other words there is no difference between Romney and Ryan so they are truly one man in two bodies. They are a perfect match for each other.
Since neither Paul Ryan or Governor Romney have any original foreign policy experience, nor have they demonstrated a history of any specific foreign policy positions, it is clear Ryan was selected for his conservative positions and specifically for his budget principles. It is clear that together, they know exactly what they are going to do and exactly how they are going to do it.
I can not think of a time when the policies of the Vice Presidential candidate and the policies of the Presidential candidate were so similar. As a matter of fact, it is the clarity of the Paul Ryan’s positions and policies that the Presidential candidate adopted by selecting Paul Ryan. He chose Ryan because he completely bought into the Ryan budget that was already passed in the House. He has stated on numerous instances that he completely supported the Ryan budget without equivocation. He even described Ryan’s budget as “marvelous”. Whether you like or dislike Ryan’s budget that has passed the House in numerous years, you can be sure of this, Governor Romney has already committed to passing Ryan’s budget as President
We must all remember, no one forced Governor Romney to pick Congressman Ryan as the person one-heartbeat from the Presidency. Ryan was Romney’s “second” most famous PRO-CHOICE position.
The good news for America is Ryan has a well-deserved history of being (or claiming to be) very specific. He is a numbers guy and has been confident that his budget plan is the best plan for the nation. His budget has been passed twice in the House and Romney knows if he is elected, he will pass the Ryan budget because he already knows he has the votes.
I am so glad that we are going to hear specifically and exactly how the numbers in Ryan’s plan and Romney’s plan will add up.
Let’s be very clear, I am calling foul if I hear a numbers guy avoid specifics. I am tossing a flag if I hear a numbers guy use “FAITH-BASED ACCOUNTING” or “BUDGET-MANAGEMENT BY HOPE”. Do not tell me that growth will occur just because you say growth will occur.
As a business person, I do not budget based on hope. I budget based on my current expense burden and my short-term revenue forecast … period. Any extra growth that occurs because of luck or happy-talk is NEVER in any business-persons budget plan.
Ryan can not honestly claim to be a fiscal-conservative budget hawk if he tries to pawn off hopeful growth estimates as serious budget principle -especially if the magical-growth projections are not consistent with prior year history. Counting endless superlative growth increase in a serious budget is like claiming to have seen BIGFOT RIDING A UNICORN. Ryan can only seriously build a budget based on revenue in -expense out. The budget has to balance based on these figure year-over-year with very conservative and historically accurate growth projections overlain. He can only speak to the cost of running the government and the level of revenue he will receive. Only those two numbers can be used to create a credible budget. Anything else is a budget is simply accounting gimmickry!
So it looks like we’re going to end this debate with real clear, verifiable budget answers. ALLELUIA!
Or will we?
During this debate, Congressmen Ryan will also have another much more challenging burden. He will have to defend 100% of the policies and statements Governor Romney , his boss, has been promoting for the last 12 months. As his VP choice, Ryan could be the next President of the United States and he would be elected under the flag of his boss. Romney’s policies are Ryan’s and Ryan’s policies are Romney’s. Now Ryan gets 90 minutes in front of the nation to promote and defend everything Governor Romney has been committing himself to as he runs for the presidency.
HERE ARE A NUMBER OF POSITIONS, STATEMENTS AND POLICIES GOVERNOR ROMNEY SAYS HE (and now Congressman Ryan) IS COMMITTED TO:
The current challenger is campaigning on a number of promises in 2012:
1. Cut taxes by 20% for everyone
2. Eliminate the estate Tax
3. Cut corporate taxes by 30%
4. Keep all of the Bush Era tax cuts for all income brackets
5. Self deportation policy for immigration
6. Stop Iran from developing a nuke
7. Cut tax loopholes to a new level to be defined by a future Congress
8. Be a severe conservative
9. No new taxes for anyone but every American should be paying Federal Income Taxes
10. Repeal Wall Street Regulations bill (Dodd-Frank)
11. Allow for-profit competition to Medicare in 10 years
12. Create a Medicare cap through a voucher for some
13. Repeal Obamacare
14. Approve Keystone
16 Reduce Regulations on corporations
17. End the subsidy for Planned Parenthood, NPR, PBS and Dept. of Education
18. Appoint judges in the Scalia model that will overturn the federal role in Roe vs. Wade
19. Increase US energy production
20. Decrease subsidies for alternate energy and renewable energy
21. Allow Corp. profits brought back from overseas to be free from US taxation
22. Increase defense spending by $2 trillion or 4% of GDP
23. Balance the budget within 4 years
24. Reduce Debt 25. Pursue a new 2 state solution for Palestine and Israel
26. 47 percent of Americans are victims and are not the focus of the campaign
27. Prioritize policies focused on supporting the job-creators and federal income-tax payers
Of course there are many more positions, but I believe the point is this list represents a set of promises they are selling in order to get elected. They themselves are the product and they need you to “buy” them so they can remain/become the leader of the free world. Talk about a high-stakes product sell!
Here are my questions:
A). Do you believe they are selling the same product to their donors and their party that they are selling to independents, the other party, or the rest of “we-the-people”?
B). Do you believe that in front of each group they are telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth when they are selling their policies and products?
C). Do you believe there are any policies they have described to one group as fact that they have described to another group as fiction?
D). Should they be saying the same thing about their policies to every group equally?
E). Do you believe they are purposely leaving out important details of their promises or policies because they know they may lose support if the detail was known to their “customer”.
F). Do you believe they understand the political make-up of the legislative process and have a deep understand of what they really can do and what they really cannot do?
G). Is there a lasting public punishment for intentionally misrepresenting the whole truth?
Without attempting to judge any of the promises, I wanted to see if I can demonstrate the difference between making a promise that you believe you can get done and making a promise you know cannot be done -but making it anyway just to win an argument or influence one-group or the other. Worst yet is making a promise to one group to close the sale and then making the exact opposite promise to another group to close the same sale with them. You be the judge.
Here are a few troubling examples and statements from the ROMNEY file that Congressman Ryan must be called upon to clarify, support or defend:
He told a room full of donors and supporters that he did not believe the Palestinians wanted peace and only wanted to destroy Israel. He said he did not believe there was any chance for a peaceful settlement and would instead “kick-the-can down” the road until something hopeful just happened, (happened but not due to his efforts).
While in Israel he told a group of supporters that the Palestinians had a cultural defect that led to their lack of success when compared to the Israelis whose superior culture was the reason for their prosperity.
He told another group of future soldiers at VMI that he would actively promote and work in good faith to negotiate a 2 state solution with the Palestinian’s and the Israelis.
Which one is it and why the different story for the different group?
He told a room full of donors that 47% of Americans that do not pay federal income taxes see themselves victims and take no personal responsibility. Therefore the 47% do not matter to his campaign and his focus is on his supporters that do pay federal income taxes as well the 5% independent group.
He equated people that do not pay federal income taxes as dependent on government and not considered productive Americans.
He then told a room full of Hispanic professionals that his focus is on the 100% of all Americans and he will be President for the 100%.
He told reporters on his campaign plane that he only needed to get 50.01% of the vote and his primary goal was to do whatever it took to get to that point.
Which one is it?
He told David Gregory that he liked parts of Obamacare and would include them in his plan. When asked about the details of his plan, he offered few but emphatically said he would require insurers to cover Pre-existing conditions just like
Later, his campaign advisors came out and clarified that the Governor does not cover pre-existing conditions like Obamacare in his plan. If you have no healthcare insurance coverage today, under his plan, insurers will still be allowed to deny you coverage if they deem you as having a pre-existing condition – (for example you if had a history of asthma, you might be considered a pre-existing condition and denied affordable coverage or any group-coverage at all).
During the recent Presidential debate, when the President stated Romney’s plan does not cover pre-existing conditions like Obamacare does, the Governor stated confidently once again that his Healthcare plan included the requirement that insurers provide coverage for pre-existing conditions once again. He gave the same answer that he gave to David Gregory a month ago on national television.
After the debate, his campaign came out once again to state his plan does not have a requirement for pre-existing conditions for those without coverage.
What kind of salesperson looks Americans right in the eye and completely literally lies to them?
He repeatedly tells a bevy of donors and supporters for the last year that he is going to cut their taxes and the President is not going to raise their taxes. Based on this core promise, he asks them for their vote and financial support.
He tells a national audience during the Presidential debate that he is not going to lower the taxes or tax burden of any high-wealth person by one dollar. He says it emphatically and like Paul ( the bible Paul), he says it 3 times just to make the point clear. He is not cutting any wealthy person’s taxes that they pay. He is not lowering the taxes of the wealthy.
Which one is it and why are the same wealthy people that he promised were getting a tax cut giving him financial support if he is not going to follow through on the tax cut promise he has made to them for the past year?
After the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare, he held a press conference and said Obamacare was the most destructive legislation in the nation’s history and would destroy the American economy and cost 700,000 jobs.
He said he would repeal Obamacare on his first day in office. He did not say replace it, only repeal it.
He told another audience that he would repeal Obamacare and replace it with his plan but could not provide any details other than it may include some elements of Obamacare that he supported.
He told an audience that if you wanted to see his level of compassion for the working-class and children, just look at his Massachusetts legislation that created Romneycare. That should how compassionate he was.
He told an audience of Hispanic professionals that he agreed Obamacare was modeled after his successful Romneycare legislation.
He told another audience that Obamacare and the concept of mandated coverage was an affront to American freedom and the mandate was an unconstitutional power grab.
He told Jay Leno’s audience Romneycare’s mandate that everyone had to purchase Health insurance coverage was necessary and good public policy because it meant there would be no more free-riders in the system. He described free-riders as those healthy people with the means to pay something for their care but choose not to yet still use the emergency room when they need assistance – forcing everyone else to pay for their lack of investment in their own care.
His spokesman told a reporter on camera that if a family from the Midwest that lost their healthcare which eventually left the wife exposed and without the care she needed, had lived in Massachusetts under their healthcare plan, she may be alive today.
He told a nationally televised audience during the primary’s that Massachusetts healthcare reform was not a national model. He told a talk show that Massachusetts healthcare reform was a national model and the federal legislation being promoted at the time by a Republican and a Democrat in Congress was a national model he supported.
Which one is it?
He said he believes in State’s rights and supported block grants for things like Medicaid and Education funding programs to come to the states with no strings attached so the states can have state control over their use of federal dollars.
He said to another group that states should not have the ability to have flexibility with improving their federally funded Welfare-to-work programs even if the improvements still required the state to achieve an increased work requirement.
He produced an ad stating the Obama Administration was gutting welfare reform and just handing welfare recipients checks because some states had asked for a waiver to give them more flexibility in their welfare programs while still being required to exceed the work requirement.
While Governor of Massachusetts, he petitioned the federal government for his state to have the welfare waiver so he could have more flexibility in his own state related to welfare-to-work.
How does a voter sort this out and what does the Governor really believe?
He told an audience at CPAC that he governed Massachusetts as a “severe conservative”.
He told a national audience at the debate that he governed Massachusetts as a moderate, working across the aisle with an 85% democratic opposition party. He says he says he will govern in the same way as President.
Which one is it? Gov. Romney was in a state controlled by a Democratic Legislature with a veto-proof majority. What exactly is he claiming to have done to that the Dem controlled legislature did not already decide to do first. He led no one in either house of government. He stopped nothing significant they did not already want. He was simply the Face of the State and the General Manager of the state. He had no voting power and even his most passionate veto meant nothing. He got along with the Dems because he did not have any choice not because he was the great legislative leader.
He said his plan for immigration reform was to have a strong border, a big fence and self-deportation of 12 million people. He skewered Governor Perry for supporting the Dream Act and state education for children of illegals.
He told an audience of Latinos that he supported Comprehensive Immigration reform like the reform Rubio was touting even though he could not explain exactly what Rubio’s immigration plan was since it is not written down anywhere for anyone to see.
He then told another reporter with a different audience that he did not know if he would repeal or not repeal the President’s executive order that allowed for “Dreamer’s” (children of illegals between the ages of 16-30) avoiding deportation.
About his taxes, he stated he paid the legal amount of taxes – not one dollar more not one dollar less. He even said if he were to have paid one dollar more than he had to, he would be unqualified to be President of the United States.
He said as president he would lead the most transparent and open government in history. He said he would not release the same number of tax returns as his father or Paul Ryan because he did not want people to find something in his returns that would make for news, ridicule or require him to have to defend whatever was in those returns.
Last month he revealed his 2011 taxes. His accountant inserted a note in his returns that stated Governor Romney instructed him not to take the full value of his available tax deductions because it would have pushed his tax rate to below 11%, not the 14% he had earlier claimed. He literally re-jiggered his tax filing to keep one promise but broke another by paying more than he should have just to show he could.
I’m not sure which broken promise was worse?
During the debate he spoke eloquently about Simpson-Bowles and how the President should have supported the plan and pushed for its passage if he was serious about the deficit and dealing with long-term debt. Simpson-Bowles called for a balance of cuts and new revenue from taxpayers in order to produce a comprehensive balanced plan that could dramatically improve the nations fiscal health; however when pressed for more details of his own budget plan, he stated he would not support one dollar of new revenue.
During the primary he stated he would not accept 1 dollar in new revenue for 10 dollars in cuts even if it could ensure a bi-partisan deal to address the budget.
During the debate he stated he would accept no new revenue even if it could help close a deal with both parties.
He rejected Simpson-Bowles as an alternative he would support.
How do we-the-people deal with this?
He criticized the President for lacking leadership during the Healthcare legislation and for giving too much control to the House and Senate to shape what became the Affordable Care Act. When asked why the public cannot see the details of his tax plan, he said he could not give details of his tax plan because he felt he had to let the House and Senate work out the details of his plan before revealing them publicly. He said it was not his job to tell Congress what to do.
I will not even attempt to go into his foreign policy promises because frankly, he really does not have any positions that seem intensely well thought-out or principled. Peace through strength is a word-phrase not a policy. Leadership from the front seems obvious unless it makes more sense to allow some other fool to stick his chin out and get clobbered first. Sometimes it makes more sense to lead by understanding when to let others take the lead. This does not mean you are weak … it means you’re smart. Surely an experienced negotiator understands this concept. Governor Romney appears to be the kind of President, like Bush 43, that is going to take direction from his advisers – not lead – when it comes to national Security and foreign policy.
Therefore if you want to know which promises he will keep, you will need to ask folks like Dan Senor, Donald Rumsfeld, John Bolton, Condoleezza Rice, and Bill Crystal what they want, first. Romney will take his marching orders from his policy guru’s who are the same experts of the last Bush administration.
There you have it. Governor Romney’s words now belong to Paul Ryan. All I want to know is this: With all that we have heard from Governor Romney and now that Congressman Ryan is his fully compliant partner; exactly what does he believe is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
Tomorrow, America deserves to hear the long-version answer to this question.
America is not going to stand up for someone that would fail the simple test that we all take when we put out hands on the bible and promise “to tell the whole truth”; when we look into the eyes of our spouses and make that promise . …til’ death do us part”. America understands that when a person says. “… cross my heart hope to die” the next words that come out of that person’s mouths had better be the whole truth.
Americans will judge a person especially harshly when they look into the eyes of the American people and say ; “This is Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and we approve this message because it is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”!
Especially if it turns out to be intentionally untrue.