Tag Archives: Mitt Romney

Addendum: The Dishonest Tax Day Anti-Trump Protests (And The Misleading Defenses Of Them)

How quickly we forget…

I wasn’t going to post any more on this topic, but in 2012 CBS helpfully provided some historical perspective on the supposed “tradition” of candidates releasing tax returns. Some revelations:

1. Donald Trump was not the “first candidate since Nixon” to refuse to release his returns.

Who else didn’t? Why H. Ross Perot, the third party candidate who cost George H.W. Bush re-election in 1992! And what a coincidence: Perot was also a billionaire with complex finances and conflicts! Had he been elected, and that was not beyond the realm of possibility, he, not Trump, would have been the first President since George Washington without elected office experience or experience in military command.  Perot got almost 20 million votes  from Americans who presumable cared about other issues more than Perot’s tax returns, or his refusal to release them.

So Trump was following tradition and practice: the tradition and practice of all billionaires running for President to refuse to release their taxes. The tradition even extends to some half-billionaires: Steve Forbes, another businessman who made a strong run at the GOP nomination in 1996, also refused to release his returns.

(By the way, Perot’s returns were not a major issue in the election, nor did the mainstream media harp on it. But there was some semblance of fair journalism then.)

2. When tax returns are released by candidates, the opposition will still find reasons to object, raise suspicions, and claim that they are not enough. Mitt Romney released two years of returns, and Democrats said he was hiding something nefarious.

In 2008, Barack Obama released seven years of tax returns, then accused Hillary, his opposition for the nomination, of hiding something. “Senator [Hillary] Clinton can’t claim to be vetted until she allows the public the opportunity to see her finances — particularly with respect to any investment in tax shelters,” Obama’s spokesperson Robert Gibbs said. Continue reading

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Filed under Finance, Government & Politics, History

As Republican Ethics Heroes And Dunces Board, Dodge Or Drive The Donald Trump Presidential Candidacy Ethics Train Wreck

off the train

The Donald Trump Presidential Candidacy Ethics Train Wreck is so deadly that the nation will be forced to board the Hillary Clinton Presidential Candidacy Ethics Train Wreck to survive it, as a broken back, a smashed face and need for multiple organ transplants are still more survivable than a damaged brain and a crushed heart.

Like all political Ethics Train Wrecks, however, it does allow us to learn a great deal about various pundits, politicians and public figures. Here are some early results from the wreckage once known as the Republican Party:

Ethics Heroes: The Bushes (Jeb, George H.W. and George W.) Mitt Romney, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Republican U.S. Senators Lindsay Graham,  Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Jeff Flake of Arizona, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner;  Conservative columnist Erick Erickson, Republican strategist and operative Mary Mat Weekly Standard founder and editor William Kristol.

There will be more. To reject the apparent nominee of your own party is a nearly unprecedented step for party leaders and ex-Presidents. I can’t find any vaguely similar example since Teddy Roosevelt split the GOP with his Progressive Party in 2012. Sasse has called for a third party alternative. Eventually, we will have a more definitive list, and some of these will fall into perdition. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Heroes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Journalism & Media, Leadership

Post-Debate Ethics, Part I (of 4): The New York Times And The Biased Media’s Disrespect For Mitt Romney

"Boy, what a jerk, warning the public against a power-mad, narcissist blow-hard before they make him President...."

“Boy, what a jerk, warning the public against a power-mad, narcissist blow-hard before they make him President….”

Since the last GOP debate, several ethics issues have emerged, for those inclined to see them:

1. The New York Times and the Media’s Anti-Romney Bias

The biased news media helped sink Mitt Romney’s chances four years ago, and now, perhaps by habit, it can’t stop itself from bashing him even for doing something indisputably good. Though Mitt did a thoroughly statesmanlike, honest, accurate and unprecedented job eviscerating any argument for supporting Donald Trump, his own party’s front-runner for the nomination, most of the media couldn’t bring themselves to give him credit. Democratic operative Matt Lauer, on the “Today Show,” asked Romney if his direct attack was “betrayal,” as Trump portrayed it. (Hint, Matt: any time Trump stakes out an ethics position, you can assume it’s either self-serving or stupid.). The theory behind Matt’s Mistake is that Romney asked and received Trump’s endorsement in 2008, so he owed Trump the same in 2016. Let me explain to you Matt, the concepts of patriotism and statesmanship, as well as truth-telling, and how loyalty works.

You see, Matt, Mitt Romney’s loyalties in this matter, in order of priority, are individual, party, and country. If returning Trump’s courtesy had no negative impact on the Republican Party or the future of our nation, then yes, he would be ethically obligated to return Trump’s courtesy. That is not the situation, however, as I’m sure you know, but want to pretend otherwise in order to try to blunt Romney’s message and ensure that the  Democratic nominee, either the unqualified Bernie Sanders or the corrupt Hillary Clinton, has to face the weakest opponent possible, now that Ben Carson has finally withdrawn.

When Romney sought and got Trump’s endorsement, Trump didn’t predicate it on a future endorsement when Donald ran, because nobody in their right mind, even Trump, would have seriously suggested that Trump would or could mount as credible campaign. Mitt was seeking the endorsement of a businessman, a reality TV figure with high visibility, celebrity and a potential donor, and that’s all he was doing. That doesn’t obligate Romney to return the favor. Lauer apparently thinks Mitt is in “The Godfather” : accept the favor from the Don(ald), and you must do whatever you are asked at a later date, even if it means shooting someone. No, you are not obligated to do anything. What you asked before was a favor; what is being asked of you now is a wrong.

For nominating Trump will wreck the Republican party. It will dissolve its values, embarrass its members, soil its reputation and legacy, and when Trump turns out to be the new Silvio Berlusconi, or a modern day Huey Long, or an American Hitler, or, as I suspect, being an optimist, just a more destructive version of Evan Meacham, the car salesman turned Arizona Governor who became the first U.S. governor to simultaneously face removal from office through impeachment, a scheduled recall election, and a felony indictment, or, in the best case scenario, a national version of Jesse Ventura. Under any of these scenarios, however, the GOP will be crippled, accountable and ultimately doomed, and that’s just what journalists like Lauer want in their heart of hearts. What they don’t seem to realize is that there is a real risk that Trump could win.

Romney owes his first loyalty in this matter to his party, and his highest to his fellow citizens. His speech was not a betrayal of either of these, but an ethical act to its core.

Even worse than Lauer was the New York Times editors, who wrote yet another embarrassing editorial, one of many they have authored in the past 12 months or so as the paper has almost completely shed its mantle as the exemplar of U.S. journalism. Rather than an objective and fair editorial praising Romney’s courageous and well-aimed broadside at a juggernaut, the Times used the opportunity to play partisan politics while expanding and re-using old cheap shots at Romney: Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Leadership

Ethical Quote Of The Day: Mitt Romney’s Indictment of Donald Trump

Thanks, Mitt. Well done.

Thanks, Mitt. Well done.

Mitt Romney took the podium in Utah and delivered one of the most remarkable attacks on a public figure since Marc Antony went after Brutus. I cannot recall anything like it. This was Mitt’s finest moment in the public arena, and every American who values responsible leadership and abhors the execrable values Donald Trump stands is in his debt. Romney was thorough, sharp, and did not resort to hyperbole or dishonest characterizations, not that he needed to. I like to think that I could have compiled an equally persuasive brief, but I’m not sure of that at all.

Romney’s timing was superb. On the day of the GOP debate, he provided all of Trump’s opponents with twenty times the ammunition needed to sink most candidacies, and deftly alerted his audience to look for the personal attacks on Romney sure to come. The news media, which is so shameless in pursuit of a storyline, has been relentless characterizing Romney’s speech as “the establishment’s” declaration of war on The Donald. That unfairly minimizes what Romney did. Romney spoke for all Americans—you know, the responsible ones—who don’t want an unstable buffoon succeeding Washington, Lincoln, FDR and Ronald Reagan. He did it with the skill and power, and presenting anyone trying to rebut his points with a daunting, indeed, impossible task.

Here is the speech: Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, Ethics Quotes, Government & Politics, Leadership

Unethical Headline Of The Month: The Hill

“Cecil the lion’s killer donated to Romney”

Yup. This really was the headline, and the story under it really had nothing more valuable to offer.

You know what? I’m willing to bet that at least one of those Planned Parenthood execs caught on video talking about crunching unborn baby skulls donated to Barack Obama’s campaign. Or have given money to Hillary’s campaign.

Or have bought Barbra Streisand CDs. Or like cheese.

What possible relevance to anything is this jerk’s political donation record from three years ago? What does this headline mean? Is Romney a lion-killer? Is the Republican Party now implicated in Cecil’s death? How is this conceivably news, since only an imbecile would see any relationship between the two acts: giving to a political campaign and shooting a beloved lion?

It is interesting, I suppose, that The Hill employs at least two imbeciles: the one who wrote this piece, and the editor who didn’t toss it in the trash.

Now if Cecil the lion had donated to Romney, THAT would have been news.

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Filed under Animals, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media

Introducing A Third Niggardly Principle, And A Dilemma: Does It Apply To The Confederate Flag?

Scarolina flag

Before unveiling the new Third Niggardly Principle, indulge me some observation  on the emergence of a renewed controversy over the Confederate flag as a response to the Charleston, South Carolina shooting of nine black churchgoers last week:

1. The Confederate battle flag did not cause Dylann Roof to start shooting. If  all the Confederate flag had been retired to museums 100 years ago, it would not have turned him into a civil rights advocate.

2. The effort of anti-flag advocates, who are frequently advocates of censorship and restrictions on free speech as well, to exploit this tragedy to advance their pet grievance is transparent and obnoxious, and is even more attenuated than the furious efforts of anti-gun zealots to do the same thing.

3. The flag, like many symbols, represents different things to different people. Racial hate and bigotry is only one of them. The flag legitimately represents pride in a family legacy (“My great grandfather died bravely in Pickett’s Charge”), the historical record, opposition to federal government overreach,  aesthetic appeal, or defiance of authority generally (“I’m a rebel”). Old Glory also represents different things to different people, and we do not ban it because what it symbolizes to some people is unpleasant for them. (Yes, I know some schools have done exactly that. One hopes they are outliers)

4. Mitt Romney’s much praised tweet—“Take down the #ConfederateFlag at the SC Capitol. To many, it is a symbol of racial hatred. Remove it now to honor #Charleston victims.” —is simple-minded and irresponsible. (See the previous post.) Is Mitt arguing that any speech, symbol or expression that “many” find offensive should be suppressed? It sounds like it to me. Since Roof’s act had nothing to do with the flag, nor was it related to slavery or the Confederacy, how does taking the flag down “honor” his victims? Sure: Roof liked the flag, because of what it symbolized to him. He also liked Gold’s Gym:

dylann-roof1

Would closing down all the Gold Gyms in South Carolina honor his victims? The fact that the attack was racially motivated and that racists often display Confederate flags does not make a state flying the flag complicit in the shootings. Stop using Twitter to discuss complex issues, Mitt! Continue reading

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Filed under Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, History, Race, Rights, Social Media, U.S. Society

Cover-up: Successful

Somebody tell Rep. Gowdy that his committee's investigation is futile. The news media and the public just don't mind being lied to any more.

Somebody tell Rep. Gowdy that his committee’s investigation is futile. The news media and the public just don’t mind being lied to any more.

From USA Today:

One day after the deadly Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, the Defense Intelligence Agency concluded the assault had been planned 10 days earlier by an al-Qaeda affiliate, according to documents released Monday by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch. “The attack on the American consulate in Benghazi was planned and executed by The Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman,” said a preliminary intelligence report by the Defense Intelligence Agency, obtained through a lawsuit following a Freedom of Information Act request.

Wait…I thought that Hillary Clinton, State, President Obama and Susan Rice were all laboring under the misconception that the attack was spontaneous and prompted by a YouTube video, and the claims that the Obama Administration was stalling the revelations of what they already knew so Mitt Romney couldn’t challenge Obama’s carefully manufactured narrative that he had terrorism on the run were just partisan sour grapes. That’s been the spin the liberal press has been accepting from the White House for over two years.

What’s going on here? Well, the “narrative” carefully shifted away from the most transparent administration in history lying to the American public to excessive Republican claims that the outpost wasn’t given proper security, wasn’t rescued when it could have been, was the product of criminal incompetence. As soon as those accusations failed, Democrats and the news media promptly adopted the official Obama line: Benghazi was a “nothingburger,” in the contemptuous words of Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank. It was a manufactured scandal of no substance designed to discredit Hillary Clinton.

But no evidence proved that Obama, Clinton and Rice weren’t lying about the attacks being spontaneous and not organized terrorism, and all the evidence has demonstrated the contrary, with this latest piece of the puzzle simply filling in some of the blanks. Of course, the latest story wasn’t even covered by most of the mainstream media; I was shocked to see it in USA Today. Judicial Watch is a conservative organization, you see. To be fair, it’s a whack job conservative organization. That means it could legitimately discover cold fusion and the news media wouldn’t pay attention.

Maybe it isn’t news. After all, the Obama cover-up worked. As Harry Reid said, after admitting his part in the organized effort to make sure that the 2012 Presidential elections was based as much on smears, lies and slight of hand as real issues, “Romney lost, didn’t he?” Hillary’s famous dismissal of the issue in the Benghazi hearings was on the mark: “What difference, at this point, does it make?” Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media