You are here

Governor Squish


Neo-neocon and I are in another conversation about Mitt Romney. I am coming to know more about Romney’s career than I do my own.

Our arguments revolve around my contention that Mitt is a finance guy, ultimately a friend to Wall Street over Main Street. This puts me in uncomfortable agreement with Gingrich’s attacks on Romney’s career with the two Bain companies.

I want to set aside the “finance guy“ part of my objections to Romney. Neo has previously argued that Mitt’s instincts are more conservative than he gets credit for. She holds that he was Governor of a pathetically leftoid State, and did the best he could (I’m paraphrasing).

I hoped to find a video of his inaugural address as Massachusetts Governor, to see what his vision was once the election was over and before the nasty task of governing began. I haven’t found it yet, but ran into the Wikipedia entry for his term as Governor. Let’s see how that strikes me.

In his 15-minute inauguration speech in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, he avoided policy specifics but said that he intended to bring about a "lighter, more agile bureaucracy."

From the outset Romney sought to show himself as the state's first 'CEO governor'

If you think government is there to help you, that sounds great. But if government is a necessary evil, lighter and more agile means it is a better oppressor. I often argue that government should be run more like a business, where waste is not tolerated and the focus is on customer service.

He filled his cabinet with lefties. That’s who he had to pick from, so it isn’t a fault. But that’s the nature of his political experience. I wonder how much his conservative cucumber got pickled from four years soaking in socialist brine.

Romney, in concert with the legislature, created new fees, doubled fees for court filings, professional regulations, marriage licenses, and firearm licenses, and increased fees for many state licenses and services. In all 33 new fees were created, and 57 fees were increased, some that had not been adjusted in over a decade. Some of these fees included were service fees, such as charging businesses more to put up signs.

Heaping on fees as a method to avoid tax hikes is the same nonsense that Governor Pawlenty pulled in Minnesota. Romney’s Bain-trained attention to detail shows up in the signage fee. A lighter, more agile government is more able to micro-manage and micro-tax every aspect of our lives.

He cut spending and shifted burden onto local units of government. Again, the same pattern as in Minnesota. The State budget looks good, but the county budget stinks and my property taxes go up 20%. If the local units of govenrment were also cutting spending, I could be more enthusiastic.

Upon leaving office, Romney argued that he had left the state with a large budget surplus, after he cut hundreds of millions of dollars of programs. However, successor Governor Deval Patrick said there would be a $1 billion deficit if existing service levels are carried over into the next year's budget.

Again, change the names to Pawlenty and Dayton, and this is the Minnesota story. Romney’s solutions were temporary. It’s like a corporate CEO rigging the quarterly reports to get a nice bonus, then leaving the company before reality comes to collect.

On April 12, 2006, Romney signed legislation that mandates that nearly all Massachusetts residents buy or obtain health insurance coverage or face a penalty (up to approximately $2000 for 2008 or equal to half of the lowest cost premium offered) in the form of an additional income tax assessment.

Candidate Romney has backed away entirely from this fiasco foisted by Governor Romney. Obamneycare stinks. It’s Mitt’s achilles heel.

I have no major beef nor any applause for the Education section of Romney’s career. He implcitly endorses state-run education. I might need to look up his record on homeschooling.

Romney subsequently released a statement in support of a proposed amendment to the Massachusetts state constitution defining marriage as existing only between "one man and one woman" in order to overrule the court's decision. His statement said, "the people of Massachusetts should not be excluded from a decision as fundamental to our society as the definition of marriage."

There was a rhetorical shift in emphasis during his time as governor, culminating with Romney rarely talking about protecting gays from bias and instead characterizing himself as a conservative stalwart in the battle against same-sex marriage and in support of heterosexual families.

He flipped and flopped, but never came to the conclusion that marriage is a religious sacrament and not under the purview of government. Candidate Romney is still trying to have it both ways and avoiding the obvious solution of replacing all marriage with civil union contracts.

On July 1, 2004, Romney signed a permanent ban on assault weapons. "Deadly assault weapons have no place in Massachusetts," Romney said, at a bill-signing ceremony with legislators, sportsmen's groups and gun safety advocates. "These guns are not made for recreation or self-defense. They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people."

FAIL. As I read somewhere, why do I need a high-capacity magazine? Because sometimes you need to kill a whole bunch of motherfuckers at once. The Second Amendement is about defense against government. If those law enorcement bastards have “black rifles”, the people need black rifles, too.

In 2003 Romney vetoed a bill funding hate crimes prevention, after which he impounded money previously approved by his predecessor, Governor Jane Swift, for a bullying prevention program.


In December 2004, Romney announced plans to file a death penalty bill in early 2005. The bill, filed April 28, 2005, sought to reinstate the death penalty in cases that include terrorism, the assassination of law enforcement officials and multiple killings.

Acceptable. Cops already get black rifles and body armor. They don’t need special status here.

Massachusetts had some of the weakest drunk driving laws of any state in the country, and the state was losing $9 million annually from its highway budget because existing laws were not in compliance with federal standards.

The bill included provisions that gave prosecutors greater power to go after repeat offenders with increased penalties. It also increased license suspensions, raised sentencing guidelines and required repeat drunk drivers to install ignition-interlock devices in their vehicles.

Would President Romney encourage the use of Federal highway funds to meddle in the States’ legislative process? I find most of the drunk driving laws to be a failure. The serious and dangerous drunks can always get a vehicle. I will resist going into a rant about the criminalization of fun.

"On a personal basis, I don't favor abortion. However, as governor of the commonwealth, I will protect a woman's right to choose under the laws of the country and the commonwealth. That's the same position I've had for many years."

The Governor says that Melton declared that the research "is not a moral issue because we kill the embryos at 14 days." "I looked over at Beth Myers, my chief of staff, and we both had exactly the same reaction, which is it just hit us hard," recalled Romney "And as they walked out, I said, 'Beth, we have cheapened the sanctity of life by virtue of the Roe v. Wade mentality.' And from that point forward, I said to the people of Massachusetts, 'I will continue to honor what I pledged to you, but I prefer to call myself pro-life.'"

Another notorious flip-flop. But I will give him the benefit of doubt. Once you are confronted with and embrace the sanctity of life, it is hard to flop back.

As a candidate for governor in 2002, Romney proposed indexing the minimum wage to inflation and raising the hourly pay for the state's lowest-paid workers from $6.75 an hour to $6.96 an hour starting January 2004, saying, "I do not believe that indexing the minimum wage will cost us jobs. I believe it will help us retain jobs."

In July 2006, the legislature passed a bill increasing the minimum wage to $8.00 an hour, and he vetoed it. "I have spent hours reading a wide array of reviews on the minimum wage and its impact on the economy, and there's no question raising the minimum wage excessively causes a loss of jobs, and the loss of jobs is at the entry level," said Romney when he vetoed the bill.

The guy really does have trouble picking a side and sticking to it.

Later in December 2006, Romney signed an agreement with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency that would have allowed Massachusetts State Police troopers to arrest and seek deportation of suspected illegal immigrants they encounter over the course of their normal duties.

Win. All the laws are supposed to apply to everyone.

He issued a 72-point Climate Protection Plan in May 2004. … On the day he announced he would not run for reelection, Romney reversed pulled out of RGGI, spurring accusations that he switched his stance in order to gain support from industry groups for a presidential campaign.

I’m beginning to see a pattern. I guess it fits with Neo’s take. Once he was free of his Governorship, Romney was able to flop conservative.

In August 2006, Romney unveiled an energy plan that called for improved energy-efficiency requirements for state buildings, increased use of biofuels in the state automobile fleet, the creation of a prize-rewards lottery for consumers who buy energy-efficient equipment, and proposals for wind and biomass power-generation for state facilities.

What, no mention of unicorns and a repeal of that great energy-waster, gravity?

In 2006, his last year as governor, Romney spent all or part of 212 days out of state, laying the foundation for his anticipated presidential campaign.

Whaddaya know? Gingrich was telling the truth on at least one point. If Sarah Palin is a quitter for resigning early, Romney is an abdicator. You’re supposed to do the job while you hold the job, Mitt.

Bottom line: The Big Media narrative actually fits. Romney has the heart of a big-government squish. Not a perfect squish, but spineless enough to have me cheering for his defeat.