Political resume: While his father George was a political figure in his own right, making a 1968 Presidential bid as governor of Michigan, Mitt didn’t try for office until 1994 when he ran for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts against Ted Kennedy. After losing that race, Mitt stayed on the political sidelines until 2002 when he ran for governor of Massachusetts, winning with 50 percent of the vote. He opted not to run for re-election, however, in order to run for president in 2008. This is Romney’s second try for the Oval Office; he formally announced on June 2nd after beginning his exploratory committee in April. RealClearPolitics.com has him second overall in polling; he has regularly drawn around 15 to 20 percent of the vote and was the frontrunner before Rick Perry entered the race.
On campaign finance/election reform (three points): Apparently Mitt has had a change of heart on the campaign finance issue. While he’s come around to the right side, I don’t know how sincere he is on the subject so I’ll not give him any points.
On private property rights (five points): While Mitt “believes the Kelo property rights case was wrongly decided,” Massachusetts still ranks among the worst states for eminent domain abuse. So I’ll only give him three points.
On the Second Amendment (seven points): A National Review piece which was critical of Newt Gingrich also questioned Romney‘s gun record. Because it’s somewhat mixed I can only give him four points.
On education (eight points): While Romney supports school choice and home schooling, he’s backed away from supporting the demise of the Department of Education after once supporting its elimination. Supposedly it dampens the influence of the teachers’ unions, but I find that laughable. I can only give Mitt two points.
On the Long War/veterans affairs (nine points): Mitt seems to tie this issue together as a general foreign policy platform. But he’s certainly wavering on Afghanistan, and that worries me. I think he only deserves three points.
On immigration (eleven points): While Romney doesn’t address the issue directly on his website, this “unofficial” website makes him look downright hawkish. It’s mainly based on his 2008 statements, but I don’t think he’s flipped much on this. It’s his strongest area so far, and he’ll get nine points.
On energy independence (twelve points): Mitt shrewdly addresses energy independence in his “job creation” category. But terms like “government must be a partner,” “facilitate,” and “address market failures” don’t convince he wants a conservative, small-government solution. We see what kind of “partner” government has become, and it’s not government’s job to interfere with the market. And believing climate change is caused by mankind is a nonstarter. I’m deducting three points.
On entitlements (thirteen points): The problem with Mitt is that this sounds reasonably good but it belies his record as governor of Massachusetts. And I don’t want to reform entitlements, but set our nation on the path to eliminate them entirely. Since Romneycare was his idea, I’m tempted to dock him again; instead I’ll give him three points for saying nice things.
On trade and job creation (fourteen points): Well, I wanted details and I got them, 87 pages worth. And while I think Mitt needs to lower the corporate tax rate below 25 percent, the economic policy he lays out is worthy of exploration, particular the concepts of “Reagan Economic Zones” and cutting unions off at the knees by not allowing dues deducted from paychecks to be used for political purposes. Overall, I’d give him 12 points.
On taxation and the role of government (fifteen points): While Mitt is to commended for his ideas for job creation, he fails to address the individual tax burden in his jobs plan aside from a few paragraphs. Certainly the call for lower rates is fine, but that’s not the sort of reform he promises elsewhere. I can be better convinced he’ll restore government to its rightful place if he gets more bold on individual tax policy, as it stands I can only give him seven points.
Intangibles (up to three points): Romney claims to be pro-life and supports marriage between a man and woman. Unfortunately, he goes too far with the latter and wants a Constitutional amendment. My other intangible on Romney is that he has flip-flopped on positions far too often, generally for political expediency. Can he be trusted to do what he says? As such, I give him no points in this category.
Total (maximum, 100 points): Just like in 2008, Romney languishes among the bottom tier of GOP candidates as he scored just 40 points. I guess I have a sincerity issue with him, perceiving him as a moderate who will run right in the primary but veer left once the general election rolls around trying to curry favor with the media. Good luck with that running against the One.
Now last time around Romney ran up until Super Tuesday, pulling out a week before the Maryland primary and screwing up my chance to win a political pool. I suspect he will win Maryland this time around if he doesn’t again pull out – most likely we could see a Romney bid be the establishment’s last stand against Rick Perry; then again, since Perry is new to the race he may decline in support and we could see the same type of race as the Democrats had in 2008 between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama – a clash of the titans, as it were. (Then again, at this time in 2007 that GOP “clash of the titans” was expected to be Rudy Giuliani, the established frontrunner, against a new entrant to the race in Fred Thompson. At that point John McCain was a somewhat distant third – a place where Sarah Palin lies now. In September 2007 Romney was polling fourth at just over 10 percent.)
It’s not over by any stretch of the imagination, but I think Romney comes up short again.