Romney outclasses Clinton on campus speaking fees

21 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Marco Rubio not slowing down as 2016 decision nears.

The prospect of a third Mitt Romney run for the White House is really getting me down. Calling President Obama’s speech “disappointing”, Mitt Romney posted on Facebook his response to the State of the Union address, saying it was “a missed opportunity to lead.” Mitt Romney will charge Mississippi State University $50,000 to deliver a lecture on campus next week, most of which will go to charity — a dramatically lower fee than the $250,000 to $300,000 Hillary Rodham Clinton requires for her university lectures.

In assessing that question, I think it might be useful to compare the world that Republicans warned us that Obama’s policies would create against the world as we now know it to be.With Jeb Bush (and now Mitt Romney) eating up the headlines, it’s easy to overlook how Marco Rubio has been pushing forward toward a possible presidential run. * His own “Team Marco” donor gathering on Friday and Saturday in Miami Beach.

Henry Clay, the 19th century politician who made three unsuccessful bids to become this nation’s chief executive, once said about the great issues of his day that he’d “rather be right than president.” In each of his prior campaigns for the presidency, Romney was soundly defeated. Remember when massive Ebola outbreaks would overwhelm our public-health system and prove once and for all the incompetence of government? (Not one single person has died after contracting the disease in this country.) Remember when Mitt Romney was promising that thanks to his superior business acumen, the unemployment rate would be 6 percent by the end of his first term as president? (It is already down to 5.6 percent, two years before the Romney deadline. Rubio’s raised millions through his Reclaim America PAC and invested that in a fundraising machine and growing a political team that has now worked together for several years. For the better part of a year, I’ve been telling friends and family members that there’s no way Romney would run again. (Here I am saying as much last summer.) And now it looks like I might have been wrong. Romney’s fee stands in stark contrast to Clinton’s, the presumptive 2016 Democratic front-runner who has spoken to dozens of industry associations, Wall Street banks, universities and other groups.

Remember when Republicans were demanding that Obama take “forceful” yet unspecified actions to punish Vladimir Putin for meddling in Ukraine, warning that Obama’s efforts to organize economic sanctions would be useless? (Those sanctions have since helped to cripple the Russian economy, leaving the ruble devalued and Putin chastized). From his suggestion of “self-deportation” as a solution to this nation’s immigration problem, to his call for the federal government to let the nation’s home foreclosure problem “run its course and hit the bottom,” Romney espoused bad ideas. The former secretary of state’s speaking fees at universities have typically also gone to a family-connected charity — in her case, the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. I now realize it’s not so much that I didn’t think he would run as that I didn’t and still don’t want him to run — and not because I’m a Democrat and think he’d be such a formidable opponent.

However, her high fees have drawn campus protests and sharp criticisms from Republicans, who have said they demonstrate a likely presidential candidate who has grown out of touch. Romney re-emerged as a presidential wannabe recently, when he told a room full of big-time Republican financial donors that “I want to be president,” according to The Washington Post. The reason I don’t want Romney to run is that I think he’s a decent and in some ways admirable man — and if he runs he’s likely to make an utter fool of himself. At the University of California Los Angeles, Clinton’s $300,000 fee prompted a university official to inquire with her speaking agency whether the university could receive a discount. The GOP’s best prospect is probably with someone else heading a ticket that combines foreign policy, military, business acumen and governing experience.

Or when it was going to sent insurance rates into a death spiral, doubling or even tripling the cost of health insurance (a 2 percent average rate increase for 2015)? Romney’s political resurrection, it appears, is motivated by the growing possibility that yet another member of the GOP’s first family is closing in on the 2016 presidential campaign starting blocks. The GOP would also be wise to pick candidates who wouldn’t be lightning rods for Democratic attack dogs: a governor, but not Chris Christie ; a woman, but not Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann ; a business person, but not a “Wall Street” capitalist. According to a financial disclosure released during that campaign, he collected more than $360,000 in speaking fees in 2011 from appearances at Barclay’s Bank, Goldentree Asset Management and other companies.

I was teaching political science at Brigham Young University and living in Salt Lake City back in the late 1990s when Romney swooped into town to galvanize the foundering organizing committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics. It’s an experience that will always hold a very special place in my heart, but I wouldn’t put myself or my family through it again for anything in the world.

Like many of my Mormon students at BYU, he was a little too earnest for my taste, but like the best of those students, he was impressive — exuding ambition, confidence, and competence. Missing from your editorial is what I would call the “stay at home coalition.” Many conservatives will not support a Republican nominee who fails to directly address President Obama’s ignoring his constitutional obligation to faithfully execute the laws.

George Romney, dropped out of the race for the GOP presidential nomination after his support plummeted following an interview in which he said he had been brainwashed into supporting the Vietnam War. It outlines no requirements for luxury amenities, such as food or equipment in his green room, though it is possible those kinds of requests have been made by his representatives in private communications with the university. In a like-father-like-son moment, Mitt Romney tripped over his tongue in his 2012 White House race when he said 47 percent of Americans would vote for Obama no matter what because they paid no taxes, thought of themselves as victims and were dependent upon government. Having my hypothetical abortion discussed on television and in newspapers because of my father’s response to a reporter’s question about what he would do if I became pregnant.

I don’t know how you read that admission, but to me it sounds like the confession of a man who puts being president ahead of being right — a man who puts his political ambitions ahead of telling Americans the truth. Third, demonstrate domestic-policy accomplishment by touting how he’d engineered and instituted a sweeping health care reform plan in Massachusetts that had made coverage nearly universal in the state. The first two campaign planks didn’t appeal to me at all — indeed, I’d taken an early swipe at Romney on the religion question in a January 2007 cover story for The New Republic — but the last one sounded impressively pragmatic and reformist to me. Your clothes, your more colorful extended family members, the way you talk, if you’re too edgy, if you aren’t edgy enough, what music you listen to, where you live, who you hang out with.

It is a testament to Romney’s not-inconsiderable gifts as a politician that he was able to pull off this two-step in debate after debate during the interminable GOP primary season of 2011 and 2012, and on into the general election campaign, without once breaking out in laughter or breaking down in tears. Aside from its absurdity, the strategy left Romney with very little to talk about besides how much he loved America, and how his experience as a venture capitalist taught him how to create jobs. His successor came up short — and the economy has since rebounded more quickly and more strongly than even he himself had predicted for his own presidency.

When you believe in someone you love, and believe that they can change history and make your country a stronger, better place, it trumps everything else. Conservative columnist Ross Douthat touched on this core truth in a humorous tweet written a few days before writing a more polished (but less incisive) column on the once-and-future Romney. Romney 2028: Neo-reactionary.” One needn’t assume that Romney will drift ever-further rightward to recognize the reality captured here — namely, that the substance of the man is protean, fluid, in flux.

Especially given that this time will most likely be harder than the last, not easier and a lot of people in the party are looking for new, fresh blood to inspire voters. As The New York Times recently noted, relying on unnamed “advisers,” Ann “believes deeply that her husband owes it to the country to take a serious look at running a third time.” No, actually Ann, he doesn’t owe us anything at all.

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