A Big Ideas Campaign, With Few Specifics On a Key Issue

  • Share
  • Read Later
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign rally at Palacio De Los Jugos in Miami, Fla. on August 13, 2012.

Miami, Fla.

Since picking Paul Ryan as his running mate, Mitt Romney has pledged repeatedly to wage a campaign of ideas. But the specifics have so far been hard to come by.

Romney cast his decision to tap the architect of Republican budget policy as a gesture of his commitment to elevate his campaign and zero in on the starkly different governing philosophies between the two parties. As he crisscrosses the country on a four-day bus tour of five battleground states, however, Romney has yet to stake out a clear position on his newly minted running mate’s signature proposal to overhaul federal health programs. During a press conference on the muggy tarmac of Miami International Airport Monday afternoon, Romney dodged a series of questions about how his vision for Medicare dovetails with Ryan’s controversial blueprint.

(PHOTOS: Paul Ryan’s Life and Career)

Asked whether he could identify specific differences between his Medicare plan and Ryan’s, Romney responded, “There may be. We’ll take a look at the differences.” Pressed further, Romney ducked again, saying merely that the two were on “the same page,” with points of agreement that “outweigh any differences there may be.”

“We haven’t gone through piece by piece and said, ‘Oh, here’s a place where there’s a difference,'” the former Massachusetts governor told reporters. “I can’t imagine any two people, even in the same party, who have exactly the same positions on all issues.”

Romney’s hazy explanation comes as Democrats launch an effort to define Ryan, 42, as a right-wing ideologue who would eviscerate the social safety net to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy. The corollary to this onslaught is a bid to tether Romney to Ryan’s budget, which would slash programs like Pell Grants and food stamps, turn Medicaid into a block-grant program administered entirely by the states and convert Medicare to a system in which the government provides subsidies for beneficiaries to buy private insurance. (Under Ryan’s plan, people over 65 in 2022 could keep the current system; the overhaul would generate savings because the subsidies wouldn’t keep pace with escalating health care costs.)

(MORE: Inside the VP Pick: How Romney Decided on Ryan – and Kept the Secret)

As expected, Democrats quickly ramped up their attempt to link the two Republicans’ approach to budget policy. “There is no distinction between what the Republican Congress has been proposing the last two years … and what Gov. Romney wants to do,” Vice President Joe Biden said Monday as he campaigned in North Carolina, where Romney will return Wednesday.

Romney’s advisers were waiting for the broadside. The Ryan budget, which House Republicans have twice passed, is a familiar brickbat which Democrats have wielded effectively in recent Congressional races. It’s the reason why skeptics suggested the Wisconsin Congressman was a risky pick. While Republicans promoted the budget as evidence of Ryan’s vision, courage and intellect, Democrats are convinced the plan will damage the GOP ticket. A recent Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation poll reflected widespread unease about tampering with the current Medicare system. Nearly 8 in 10 respondents opposed scaling back Medicare benefits to help reduce the federal deficit; 58% said they preferred to keep the system as is.

Republicans say the changes are necessary because spiking health care costs are depleting the government’s coffers. “I can’t tell you about the politics of something like the Medicare issue, but I can tell you about the truth,” Romney said Monday. “And the truth is we simply cannot continue to pretend like a Medicare on track to become bankrupt at some point is acceptable. We must take action to make sure that we can save Medicare for coming generations.”

(MORE: The Romney-Ryan Ticket Unveiled in Virginia)

Anticipating that Ryan’s spot on the ticket would thrust Medicare politics to a central place in the campaign, Republicans have tried to recast the issue as a liability for President Obama, whose controversial health-care law calls for Medicare funding to be reduced by $700 billion over the next decade. “If any person in this entire debate has blood on their hands in regard to Medicare, it’s Barack Obama. He’s the one that’s destroying Medicare,” RNC chairman Reince Preibus said Sunday. Campaigning through Virginia, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Florida, Romney has blistered the President along the same lines. Yet Ryan’s budget would leave those same cuts in place, and in other ways go further.

Choosing Ryan enabled Romney to reboot his campaign, ditching the sputtering plan to frame the race as a referendum on the president and instead defining it as a choice between two divergent doctrines of governance. But the promises to fight a high-minded and idea-focused campaign has quickly given way to speeches peppered with airy applause lines. There’s still nearly three months until Election Day, but so far the new campaign of big ideas is beginning to look like the old one.

MORE: What the Ryan Pick Means for Religion and the Romney Campaign

86 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
SmilingSmartBlonde
SmilingSmartBlonde

The Democrat Think Tank needs to simplify the message so that the masses might understand it.  Senior voters are likely confused.

In reference to Medicare:

Yet Ryan’s budget would leave those same cuts in place, and in other ways go further.Read more: http://swampland.time.com/2012...

dmbfan93933
dmbfan93933

Has anyone checked out the 90 Days 90 Reasons site?  I'm really enjoying the positive messages there.

kira_a2012
kira_a2012

Under Ryan’s plan, people over 65 in 2022 could keep the current system;

the overhaul would generate savings because the subsidies wouldn’t keep

pace with escalating health care costsBUT, I thought the new Affordable Health Care act was going to rein those cost in? I must be confused.

Cthulhu Shrugged
Cthulhu Shrugged

Apparently the Romney campaign is yelling at reporters for fact-checking their claims and telling them to "put an Obama sticker on your forehead" when citing factcheck.org or the Congressional Budgetary Office's findings. Guess reality really *does* have a liberal bias.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/201...

Dan5404
Dan5404

Neither Romney nor his communications director can answer when asked the specifics about how Romney's plan is soewhat different from Ryan's.  They both awkwardly beat arond the bush in separate appearances and clearly showed there is no Romney plan on this or anything else.

3xfire3
3xfire3

Economist Thomas Sowell writing at realclearpolitics.com, Aug. 14:

This election is a test, not just of the opposing candidates but of the voting public. If what they want are the hard facts about where the country is, and where it is heading, they cannot vote for more of the same for the next four years.

But, if what they want is emotionally satisfying rhetoric and a promise to give them something for nothing, to be paid for by taxing somebody else, then Obama is their man.

 This is not to say that the public will in fact get something for nothing or that rich people will just pay higher taxes, when it is easy for them to escape taxation by investing overseas—creating jobs overseas.

Even if most Americans do not have their own taxes raised, that means little, if they end up paying other people's taxes in the higher prices of goods and services that pass along the higher taxes imposed on businesses.

There are no doubt voters who will vote on the basis of believing that Obama "cares" more about them. But that is a faith which passeth all understanding. The political mirage of something for nothing, from leaders who "care," has ruined many a nation.

http://online.wsj.com/article/...

La_Randy
La_Randy

Thomas Sowell (born June 30, 1930) is an American economist, social theorist, political philosopher, and author. A National Humanities Medal winner, he advocateslaissez-faire economics and writes from a conservative and libertarian perspective.

wikipedia.

 

Pretty much says it all.

Did not realize you were a libertarian 3xfire3.

How could you support Romney when Ron Paul should be your obvious choice, given your support of this person?

3xfire3
3xfire3

Which Economists Are Throwing Their Support Behind Mitt Romney?

Over 400 economists say they're throwing their weight behind Romney.

By Neil Shah

According to a press release from Economists For Romney (which is not an official arm of the presumptive GOP nominee's campaign), over 400 economists have signed a statement in support of Romney's bold economic plan for America.

Some notable names are: Gary Becker, Robert Lucas, Robert Mundell, Myron Scholes, and Edward Prescottâ “all Nobel laureates; along with Robert J. Barro, Steven Davis, Charles Calomiris, Richard Clarida, Martin Feldstein, Glenn Hubbard, Arthur Laffer, Edward Lazear, Greg Mankiw, Allan Meltzer, George Shultz, and Robert Zoellick, among others.

http://stream.wsj.com/story/ca...

La_Randy
La_Randy

Your link does not reflect your assertion, although, it is not surprising that Arthur Laffer would support the trickle down economics that landed America in its current financial situation.

Krugman's and Stiglitz's, who have been right about everything that has transpired so far, names are missing from your list.

Why is that?

3xfire3
3xfire3

Krugman has been right about nothing.

StanleyCupp
StanleyCupp

 Mittless should release his tax returns. What's Mittless hiding from the American people?

3xfire3
3xfire3

Yah what’s Romney Hiding?

Better yet what is Obama hiding?

What kind of friends did Obama hang out with in Chicago?

He paling around with Tony Resko, the convicted felon, slum lord and overall major league crook who backed most of his campaigns with millions and helped him buy his $1.5 million dollar mansion in Hyde Park [really wealth exclusive area in Chicago.

Or, was he sitting in the church pew listening to his "mentor", substitute father and once favored pastor, Jeremiah Wright giving his "God Damn America" sermons?

Or, having tea and crumpets with all of his radical pals like Bernadine Dohrn, Jeff Jones, and of course Bill Ayers.

I am sure when Bernadine said “Dig it! First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them. They even shoved a fork into the victim’s stomach! Wild!". This just after the Manson Family murders in California in 1969.

Or, in 1970 when Dohrn, Ayers and Jones wrote a book titled "Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism", which had the following statements made by the SDS members who supported Obama and he embraced them and their creed.

"We are a guerrilla organization. We are communist women and men ... deeply affected by the historic events of our time in the struggle against U.S. imperialism."

"Our intention is to disrupt the empire, to incapacitate it, to put pressure on the cracks, to make it hard to carry out its bloody functioning against the people of the world, to join the world struggle, to attack from the inside."

"The only path to the final defeat of imperialism and the building of socialism is revolutionary war."

"Revolutionary war will be complicated and protracted. It includes mass struggle and clandestine struggle, peaceful and violent, political and economic, cultural and military, where all forms are developed in harmony with the armed struggle."

"Without mass struggle there can be no revolution. Without armed struggle there can be no victory."

"We need a revolutionary communist party in order to lead the struggle, give coherence and direction to the fight, seize power and build the new society."

"Our job is to tap the discontent seething in many sectors of the population, to find allies everywhere people are hungry or angry, to mobilize poor and working people against imperialism."

"Socialism is the total opposite of capitalism/imperialism. It is the rejection of empire and white supremacy. Socialism is the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie, the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and the eradication of the social system based on profit."

Yea, no big deal at all. While the Obama campaign cries out to have Romney release his income tax returns, perhaps we can get a better understanding of Obama's relationships with these people in his past.

 

Yes Barack had some unique mentors.

 

http://www.discoverthenetworks......

 

3xfire3
3xfire3

Alex,

Nice little Obama lap dog. Nice puppy. Fair and balanced you are not.

3xfire3
3xfire3

BAR STOOL ECONOMICS

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for a beer and the bill for all ten comes to 100 dollars.

If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.

The fifth would pay 1.00

The sixth would pay 3.00

The seventh would pay 7.00

The eighth would pay 12.00

The ninth would pay 18.00

The tenth man (the richest) would pay 59.00

So that’s what they decided to do. The men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with arraignment, until one day, the owner threw them a curve.

Since you are all such good customers, he said, I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by 20.00 dollars.

Drinks for the ten men now cost just 80.00 dollars

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men the paying customers? How could they divide the  20 dollar windfall so that everyone would get their fair share? They realized that  20.00 divided by six is 3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay!

And so:

The fifth man like the first four, now paid nothing ( 100% savings).

The sixth now paid 2 instead of 3 (33% savings).

The seventh now pay 5 instead of 7 (28% savings).

The eighth now paid 9 instead of 12 (25% savings).

The ninth now paid 14 instead of 18 (22% savings).

The tenth now paid 49 instead of 59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before! And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

I only got a dollar out of the 20 declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, but he got 10 dollars!

Yeah, that’s right, shouted the seventh man. Why should he get 10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!

Wait a minute, yelled the first four men in union. We didn’t I get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalist and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

For those who understand, no explanation is needed.

For those who do not understand, [most Liberals] no explanation is possible

David R. Kamerschen, PH. D

Professor of Economics, University of Georgia

Paul Dirks
Paul Dirks

That would be a brilliant parable except for one thing. In real life the four poorest would only get one beer between them and the ricesth man would end up puking all over his own shoes.

Other than that.........

3xfire3
3xfire3

PD amp; Rookie,

As Margret Thatcher once said Liberal/Socialism will never work because eventually you run out of other people’s money"

You low achievers’ in life cannot make it on your own so you pray for income redistribution and more free stuff.

November is coming and you are going to lose. Bye, bye.

I'm really going to enjoy this election.

 

3xfire3
3xfire3

Randy,

I am seldom sad and at 6 foot and 235 lbs I'm not exactly little either.

You just cannot handle facts or opinions that don't agree with your twisted ideology.

La_Randy
La_Randy

You have become a sad little man 3xfire3.

rokinsteve
rokinsteve

This means 3x has the brains of a bar stool.  We do know his head is made of wood.

3xfire3
3xfire3

rookie,

You have no brains.

Christie Mayo
Christie Mayo

In the article, this little sentence: Under Ryan’s plan, people over 65 in 2022 could keep the current system; the overhaul would generate savings because the subsidies wouldn’t keep pace with escalating health care costs.

"the subsidies would not keep pace with escalating health care costs"

In other words, in a few years the government would be phasing out of Medicare.

3xfire3
3xfire3

BAR STOOL ECONOMICS

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for a beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100.

If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.

The fifth would pay $1.00

The sixth would pay $3.00

The seventh would pay $7.00

The eighth would pay $12.00

The ninth would pay $18.00

The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.00

So that’s what they decided to do. The men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with arraignment, until one day, the owner threw them a curve.

Since you are all such good customers, he said, I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20.00.

Drinks for the ten men now cost just $80.00

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men the paying customers? How could they divide the $ 20 windfall so that everyone would get their fair share? They realized that $ 20.00 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay!

And so:

The fifth man like the first four, now paid nothing ( 100% savings).

The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).

The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).

The eighth now paid $9 instead of 12 (25% savings).

The ninth now paid 14 instead of 18 (22% savings).

The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before! And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

I only got a dollar out of the $20 declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, but he got $10!

Yeah, that’s right, shouted the seventh man. Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!

Wait a minute, yelled the first four men in union. We didn’t I get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalist and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

For those who understand, no explanation is needed.

For those who do not understand, [most Liberals]no explanation is possible

David R. Kamerschen, PH. D

Professor of Economics, University of Georgia

 

Phaerisee
Phaerisee

I remember when Obama was runnning, his church and his pastor Jeremiah Wright were under constant and intense scrutiny.   I think it is important that people also know what Mitt Romney believes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

Many pop ups for news from Time are just bad news. So I have disabled Time news from my mobile device. TG

Here is some good news for a change, from the New York Times.

Off the Charts

A Hopeful Sign: Job Openings Rise

By FLOYD NORRIS

Published: August 10, 2012

THE number of jobs available in the United States has risen to its

highest level in four years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said this

week, providing more evidence that the job market is slowly recovering.

Multimedia

There were 3.8 million job openings at the end of June, up 105,000 from

the previous month and the most since July 2008. That is also 1.6

million more openings than when the market hit bottom in July 2009.

All of the gains in May came in the private sector. The number of open

government jobs declined in June, as it had in two of the preceding

three months. But at 363,000, the government figure was well above the

low of 280,000 reached in 2009.

The government’s Jolts report — Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey —

comes out more than a month after the widely followed monthly job

numbers are released and, as a result, gets little attention. But it

provides significant information on how the job market is changing by

asking a sampling of employers how many workers were added during the

month and how many left. It also seeks information on why those people

left, and on how many jobs the company has that it is seeking to fill.

 ...................................................................................

During the crisis, the number of workers being dismissed rose above the

number of workers quitting, but now departures are more likely to be

voluntary, at least officially. The third category of departures,

labeled “other,” includes transfers and deaths but is dominated by

retirements. More than a fifth of government departures fall into that

category, and many of them probably are early retirements of workers who

were offered incentives to leave by government agencies trying to avoid

or minimize layoffs.

abby0802
abby0802

Romney can't give specifics because he would have to defend his position and since his position changes so often he couldn't keep his lies straight.

Ryan, on the other hand, is very specific -- stick it to the middle class and poor so that the rich get richer.  He speaks against gov't help but didn't mind taking gov't help himself.  What was sauce for him is not to be made available for other people.

Ryan is an advocate of Ayn Rand who very specifically says that only the rich are deserving and everyone else is a parasite who only deserves to serve the rich.

How much more specificity does one require???

batcavenc
batcavenc

Big ideas with few specifics. That sums up Obama's term in office.

rokinsteve
rokinsteve

Republicans blocked everything the last 3 1/2 years.  Is that specific enough for you?  And where is the jobs bill they promised? 

3xfire3
3xfire3

rookie,

Democrats had complete control of congress and the presidency for 2 years.

Dumb comment.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

I thought you guys liked to complain that HCR was too long with too many things packed in it.  Which is it?

grape_crush
grape_crush

Big ideas with few specifics. That sums up Obama's term in office.

I guess it seems that way if you choose to dismiss anything that was accomplished in the past three-plus years.

bwshook
bwshook

I've been pointing out for months now that Mitt Romney is full of ideas that he loves to promote, but very rarely, ever, gives us the details.  I'm glad TIME finally caught on to it.

sacredh
sacredh

OT, but has anyone else noticed that both Ryan and Romney favor shirts that look like they were made from picnic tablecloths?

rokinsteve
rokinsteve

sacredh, I saw that too.  They're dress in shirts make from the tableclothes in pizza parlors. 

sacredh
sacredh

Herman Cain is supplying the wardrobes?

harry2333
harry2333

To me, the social safety net is just another price society has to pay for civility. If you visit any under-developed, or "developing" country, what you find is great levels of  street crime, panhandlers on every traffic light, etc. I'd rather contribute to food stamps coffers than having that in US.

sacredh
sacredh

“I can’t imagine any two people, even in the same party, who have exactly the same positions on all issues.”

.

Mitt, we can't imagine you having the same position from one day to the next. Face it bud, you talk out your @ss all the time.

groovecity
groovecity

Specifics please sacred?

grape_crush
grape_crush

Specifics please...

Here ya go. Twenty-nine of them. So far.

http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_n...

groovecity
groovecity

Maddowblog? So you're one of those six people that actually watch MSNBC. I said, SPECIFICS please.

sacredh
sacredh

Thanks grape_crush. I had to go out for a while and get a cake for my anniversary. I bought her some stuff last month but gave it to her early. I put $ 100 bill in the card and the 1st thing she asked me was "Did you just win this?".  I said "yes" without the slighest hesitation.

.

She knows if I'm not telling the truth so I don't even try to lie. I admit to stuff I didn't even do and it works out better for me.