Presidential heavyweight Mitt Romney is riding a major momentum shift following a 4 to 1 victory in Puerto Rico and now a double digit lead over rival Rick Santorum in the Illinois primary. Governor Romney was the clear choice for this populous state with very high unemployment. Illinois is a large bell-weather state, delegate rich and a nice model for the nation as a whole.
Immediate media reaction has been positive and his direct outline of his economic freedom and vision for America’s future is evident in his victory speech.
Romney getting stronger? See his speech and decide:
President Obama’s campaign staff made the curious decision to build a fundraising message around their candidate’s apparent weakness, warning supporters that Mitt Romney would beat Obama if the election were held today.
“Friend,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina wrote today, “If the general election were held today, President Obama would lose to Mitt Romney — according to the latest poll from Washington Post-ABC News. Now, many other polls put the President on top, but all point to the same reality: We’re looking at a race that will be tighter than you think,” Messina warned.
Messina didn’t even bother praising the president when he asked for money. “If the idea of a President Romney scares you, it’s time to own a piece of this campaign,” he said before appealing for donations of $3 and up.
Obama’s Messina added that “we must not overreact to any one poll. But this one is a reminder that we have to remain vigilant — always focused on November 6th and the work we have to do to win.”
Now that Mitt Romney is likely to be the Republican nominee, we can expect new attacks on his “vulture capitalism.”
That’s how Rick Perry characterized his private equity work when he was still a GOP presidential candidate.
As the campaign has unfolded, Newt Gingrich’s supporters ran an ad about Romney’s firm, Bain Capital, that said, “Their greed was only matched by their willingness to do anything to make millions in profits.”
Give me a break.
“Greed” means you want more for yourself. Fine. If you obtain it legally, without force or privilege — say, by buying a business and making it more efficient, or shifting resources to where consumers prefer them — that is a good thing. “Creative destruction” makes America richer.
Shifting resources does mean some people lose their jobs. That is sad for those who are fired.
But on balance, it’s a good thing. Intuition tells us that it would be better if no one ever lost a job and that capitalists who close businesses are evil.
But America would not be better off today if elevator operators and factory workers who made typewriters had their jobs preserved by a “compassionate” government.
America is richer today because those workers lost their jobs, because money once paid them is put to better use. In addition, most of those workers found new jobs where their skills better served consumers. Some even say they were glad that they were fired, because now they are more productive, and being productive makes people happy.
But we in the media almost never tell that story. That’s because we only report what we see.
We can see, and interview, the sad people who get fired. We take pictures as they leave their jobs on that last day when the factory closes. We interview them about the hardship to their families.
It’s a sad and moving story.
We tell it well.
But we never tell the flip side, the creative part of creative destruction. That’s because we don’t see it. We don’t see the better things that are done with capital that once went into the factory. We don’t see what many of the workers do next.
None of us covered the first few weeks of Apple or Google or Staples or Domino’s Pizza. We had no clue that those companies were about to produce cool new things, thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in value. Staples and Domino’s, by the way, were funded by Bain Capital.
Not all bankers and private equity firms create wealth, because some make bad decisions. But if government does not bestow privileges, those that don’t create wealth go out of business, and those that fund good ideas grow. Some may call that “vulture capitalism” and sneer at “hostile” takeovers, but if the takeover is not enabled by government force, it is likely to be a good thing. It makes America more prosperous.
Micheal Moore says, “Capitalism has no moral core.”
Is that right? Since the word “capitalism” is ambiguous, the answer depends on what we mean. If it’s crony capitalism — well, yeah. It stinks.
Handouts to Solyndra and special deals for Goldman Sachs and GM are not capitalism. That’s “crapitalism.”
Many people hate banks, private-equity firms and mortgage brokers.
In light of the last few years, this isn’t totally unjustified. I resent the bankers who got rich by taking foolish risks and then, when they failed, got bailed out with our tax money.
I guess I shouldn’t blame bankers. I should blame the politicians. They gave our tax money away. If someone offered me money to cover my losses, I’d take it, too.
The real evil bankers are the government cronies, like those at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They took our money by force, our taxes, then paid themselves fat salaries and promised us that none of our money was at risk. And then they squandered more than $100 billion, betting that housing prices would always rise and few people would default.
I resent them and their backers in government.
But in a real free market — no government privileges or barriers to competition — capitalism is great. It’s the only system with a moral core because it’s based on freedom, not force.
John Stossel is host of “Stossel” on the Fox Business Network. He’s the author of “Give Me a Break” and of “Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity.” To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2012 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS, INC.
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Presenting hard-headed calculations on the morning after Super Tuesday, Romney advisers at their Boston headquarters made an explicit case for what their candidate is not yet prepared to say: the Republican race is over and Mitt Romney has won.
“All we have to do is keep doing what we’re doing and we can get to the nomination,” said one adviser. “Those guys, it’s going to take some sort of act of God to get where they need to be to win the nomination.”
To win, Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich would have to “bend the laws of reality” and “overperform in ways that they have so far not performed in any way, shape or form”. It was clear that “we are going to be the Republican nominee”.
Another adviser, citing the delegate rules, said flatly that the problems faced by Santorum and Gingrich were “insurmountable”. A third suggested that Santorum and Gingrich would soon face the decision to drop out: “There comes a point where it’s just diminishing returns and all you’re doing is help re-elect Barack Obama.”
The case they presented was compelling and bore a close resemblance to the arguments we would hear from David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign manager in 2008, when it became a virtual mathematical impossiblity that Hillary Clinton could win.
Ironically enough, Romney’s 2012 strategy has been very similar to Obama’s in 2008 – focus on delegates rather than popular vote and momentum, research all the esoteric rules in each state and take maximum advantage of them.
That is something that Santorum and Gingrich signally failed to do in Virginia, where they were not on the ballot. Santorum also slipped up in Ohio, not providing the paperwork needed to get delegates in several districts.
The Romney case for this primary battle being over is that thus far he has won 430 delegates, 53 percent of those available, with 1,144 needed.
For Santorum to win, he needs 65 percent of the remaining delegates available. Thus far, he has won 22 percent. For Gingrich to win, he needs 70 percent of the remaining delegates. Thus far, he has won 13 percent.
What you often hear from Santorum and Gingrich supporters is that there winner-takes-all big states like Texas and California that could turn things upside down.
But that’s not quite right. In fact, there are only four statewide winner-takes-all states: the District of Columbia (April 3rd), Delaware (April 24th), New Jersey (June 5th) and Utah (the final primary, on June 26th).
Romney holds big advantages in all these: Santorum didn’t get on the ballot in DC; Delaware is a moderate eastern state; Romney has Governor Chris Christie on his side in New Jersey; and Utah is, er, full of Mormons.
The biggest prizes, Texas and California, are winner-takes-all by congressional district. That means that delegates go to those who win districts, not the entire state – which virtually guarantees that delegates will be shared. Gingrich has presented Texas as his big hope.
Team Romney cited the example of Hillary Clinton’s five-point win over Obama in the 2008 Texas primary. It netted her just nine more delegates than Obama.
In Illinois, the next really big 2012 contest, delegates are allocated by district and Santorum has what a Romney adviser called “an Ohio problem in Illinois” – he failed to submit the paperwork needed to be eligible for 10 of the 69 delegates on offer.
The same adviser pointed out that even in states where Romney did not win, he was likely to finish second and pick up delegates just as he had in Oklahoma, Tennessee and Georgia on Super Tuesday.
“So, sure there are going to be some other candidates who are going to win some other races but we’re going to be consistently coming in second place and getting delegates in a lot of these states.”
The adviser added: “If I’m Rick Santorum, if I’m Newt Gingrich, I don’t see anything on this calendar where I can get a giant delegate pick-up and try and compensate for the huge deficit I have right now.”
A memo by Rich Beeson, campaign political director, given out to reporters trumpeted the campaign’s organisation and the fact that primaries rather than caucuses now dominate the calendar. “These contests require a national organisation that Governor Romney’s opponents simply don’t have,” Beeson states.
The advisers pooh-poohed the notion that Romney’s unfavourables in polls or calls for new candidates were a long-term problem, citing the fact that in 1992, when Bill Clinton was running, 53 percent of Democrats wanted another candidate. In March 1992, they said, Clinton had a 20 percent favourability rating and 31 percent unfavourable.
“We’ve seen this before, guys, we’ve been though this before and if I remember correctly Bill Clinton served two terms,” said one. It’s not often the Romney campaign compares their man to Bill Clinton but it was a valid point – things get tense in a primary battle but everyone calms down afterwards.
The advisers were adamant that Romney would get to 1,144 delegates before the convention and would not need to cut a deal in Tampa to put himself over the top.
They would not say when they expected to reach the all-important threshold but April 24th, when New York votes, or June 5th, when Californians go to the polls, would seem obvious points. If all else fails, there’s Utah right at the end – an all but certain Romney win.
In the coming weeks, we are likely to see the pressure being ratcheted up on first Gingrich and then Santorum to drop out – just as Romney did in 2008 when he calculated that the path to victory ran up a mountain that was just too steep and John McCain would be the nominee.
The number-crunching and calculations about where to concentrate resources to pick up delegates and when bureaucratic requirements have to be met is not glamourous stuff. It’s not exactly inspiring to hear about the delegates available to the second place finisher in Arkansas.
But it was the approach – alongside the hope and change message -that gave Obama to victory over Clinton in 2008.
Just as “no drama Obama” prevailed over the sometimes histrionic Clinton four years ago, Romney is well on course to overwhelm Santorum and Gingrich, both prone to rhetorical excess and complaints about the rules, this time around.
Romney Scores Big Win; Press Fails to Notice
by Keith Koffler on March 7, 2012, 9:23 am
Mitt Romney won a crushing victory Tuesday, winning twice as many states as Rick Santorum and more that two and half times as many delegates, but his triumph is being portrayed in headlines across the nation as sign of weakness and failure.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Romney picked up 211 delegates while taking six states, bringing his total delegate count to 415. Santorum won in three states and added only 84 delegates to bring his total to 176.
Romney scored a huge upset in Ohio, coming from way back to take a politically diverse state that is representative of the type of place he’ll need to win to beat President Obama.
Romney is being widely panned by the press for an “inability to close the deal,” and yet the description seems far more apt for Santorum, who now has blown huge leads in the most critical contests of recent weeks, Ohio and Michigan. If anything, the more voters look at Santorum, the more concerned they become and less likely they are to sign on the dotted line.
Worse for Santorum, he will continue for the foreseeable future to split the most conservative votes with Newt Gingrich – who stays in after winning Georgia – and with Ron Paul, who would remain in the race until 2018 if he could. And Romney has a war chest that will swamp Santorum in the upcoming air wars for closely contested states.
And yet, despite all the evidence Romney largely vanquished his rivals Tuesday night, here are some of the headlines this morning:
Wall Street Journal: Romney Ekes Past Santorum in Ohio
New York Times: With No Knockout Punch, a Bruising Battle Plods On
Los Angeles Times: Battle in Ohio Reinforces GOP Divide; Romney’s Slim Victory Leaves Race Uncertain
USA Today: Romney, Santorum See Momentum
CNN: No Knockout Blow for Romney
Reuters: Romney Narrowly Wins Ohio, Fails to Knock Out Santorum
You get the idea.
There are several reasons for this.
All reporting is now sports reporting. Reporters love a battle and they love to go on TV and rave about how exciting everything is. And editors seek a bracing and never-ending storyline because it draws readers and ultimately pleases their corporate bosses, who want to sell papers and generate pageviews.
The headline “Romney Scores Six Wins and Continues Methodical Drive Toward Nomination” is just not going to drive eyeballs to your story.
And reporters also tend to be moderate to liberal. Bloodletting among Republicans at some level is agreeable to many of them. I have to believe that if this was Obama instead of Romney, the stories would be about the growing inevitability of Obama’s nomination.
That Romney is in all likelihood on the march toward nomination will probably soon become too apparent for any serious journalist to deny. At that point, for the reasons listed above, we will begin to hear feverish talk about the prospects for a third party candidacy.