A few hours ago the Des Moines Register threw its support behind the Bain Capital founder, and the man now known to have actively destroyed any trace of his public "service" before his 2007 Massachusettes office handover (with a pending response to a Reuters FOIA, which will disclose just what it was that Romney was so tenuously shredding). Because according to the Iowan newspaper, Mitt Romney "is the best to lead" America, although into what, is not quite clear - perhaps the biggest Fed funded LBO (with a Bain Capital $1 mezz piece) of all time, that of America? We don't know. And neither does the Register's editorial board. What they do know are hollow adjectives, such as "sobriety", "wisdom" and "judgment" which somehow are applicable to Romney, if not so much "betting" and "shredding." Those looking for a late night laugh can read the OpEd below (link to tomorrow's front page here). And ironically, while likely set to provide a very short-term boost to Romney's chances, it is the baseless ongoing accusations against Ron Paul that will likely solidify the groundswell behind the Texan, with such desperate platitudes as "Ron Paul's libertarian ideology would lead to economic chaos and isolationism, neither of which this nation can afford." Because what America certainly needs is more of that old ideology of doing everything just the same and hoping for the best, because if there is anything Romney's would be predecessors have taught us is that hope apparently is a credible strategy. But perhaps most relevant is the reminder that the Des Moines Register is a Gannett company whose Chairman just happens to be one Marjorie Magner, whose bio reads:
Ms. Magner, 61, is Managing Partner of Brysam Global Partners, a private equity firm investing in financial services firms with a focus on consumer opportunities in emerging markets founded in January 2007. She was Chairman and CEO of Citigroup's Global Consumer Group from 2003 to 2005. She served in various roles at Citigroup, and a predecessor company, CitiFinancial (previously Commercial Credit), since 1987. Ms. Magner currently serves as a director of Accenture Ltd. and Ally Financial Inc. and served as a director of The Charles Schwab Corporation from February 2006 to May 2008. Ms. Magner has broad business experience and financial expertise from the various senior management roles she held with Citigroup.
We will let readers find the other curious Gannett board members who just may have some conflicts of interest with a Ron Paul presidency.
Yet while this Paul-bashing circus was happening, Ron Paul made an appearance on Leno, further solidifying his mainstream image (ironically a process started by Jon Stewart). The full inteview is below.
But first, the propaganda scribbles from deep in the bowels of Iowa, which could have been Xeroxed from circa 1965 Stalingrad.
HE IS THE BEST TO LEAD
Sobriety, wisdom and judgment.
Those are qualities Mitt Romney said he looks for in a leader. Those are qualities Romney himself has demonstrated in his career in business, public service and government. Those qualities help the former Massachusetts governor stand out as the most qualified Republican candidate competing in the Iowa caucuses.
Sobriety: While other candidates have pandered to extremes with attacks on the courts and sermons on Christian values, Romney has pointedly refrained from reckless rhetoric and moralizing. He may be accused of being too cautious, but choosing words carefully is a skill essential for anyone who could be sitting in the White House and reacting to world events.
Wisdom: Romney obviously is very smart. He graduated as valedictorian at Brigham Young University and finished in the top 5 percent in his MBA class at Harvard, where he also earned a law degree. Romney also exhibits the wisdom of a man who listened and learned from his father and his mother, from his church and from his own trials and errors in life. He does not lack self confidence, but he is not afraid to admit when he has been wrong.
Judgment: Romney disagrees with Democrats on most issues, but he offers smart and well-reasoned alternatives rather than simply proposing to swing a wrecking ball in Washington. He is a serious student of public policy who examines the data before making a decision. His detailed policy paper on the economy contains 87 pages of carefully crafted positions on taxes, energy, trade and regulatory policy, complete with 127 footnotes.
Mitt Romney is making his second bid for Iowans’ support after an unsuccessful run in 2008. We did not endorse him then, but this is a different field, and he has matured as a candidate. Rebuilding the economy is the nation’s top priority, and Romney makes the best case among the Republicans that he could do that.
He stands out in the current field of Republican candidates. He has solid credentials in a career that includes running and starting successful businesses, turning around the 2002 Winter Olympics and working with both political parties as Massachusetts governor to pass important initiatives. He stands out especially among candidates now in the top tier: Newt Gingrich is an undisciplined partisan who would alienate, not unite, if he reverts to mean-spirited attacks on display as House speaker. Ron Paul’s libertarian ideology would lead to economic chaos and isolationism, neither of which this nation can afford.
Romney is accused of being a “flip-flopper.” He has evolved from one-time independent to moderate Republican in liberal Massachusetts to proud conservative today. He does not deny changing his position on some issues, but he will say he has made mistakes and has learned from them. Though Romney has tended to adapt some positions to different times and places, he is hardly unique. It should be possible for a politician to say, “I was wrong, and I have changed my mind.”
But more subtle distinctions apply to Romney on some major issues where he has been accused of flipping or flopping. He helped create health-care reform in Massachusetts that is strikingly similar to the much-derided “Obamacare,” for example. Yet Romney argues reasonably, though not entirely persuasively, that while all states should be free to experiment with their own reforms, it is wrong for the federal government to force a one-size-fits-all plan on the entire nation.
Romney’s tendency to carefully pick his way through the political minefields is illustrated by his carefully nuanced position on abortion over the years. He was quoted in 1994 as defending a woman’s right to choose abortion. When he ran for governor in 2002, Romney said he was personally pro-life but vowed he would not restrict or promote access to abortion. Yet he vetoed legislation legalizing the so-called morning-after pill because he saw it as easing access to abortion.
Voters will have to decide for themselves whether such subtly nuanced statements express Romney’s true beliefs or if he’s trying to have it both ways. Romney at least appreciates both sides of hard questions. “Many women considering abortions face terrible pressures, hurts, and fears; we should come to their aid with all the resourcefulness and empathy we can offer,” he wrote in a Boston Globe essay in 2005. “At the same time, the starting point should be the innocence and vulnerability of the child waiting to be born.”
While other Republican candidates are content to bash the president’s health reform law without offering meaningful reforms of their own, Romney has defended the principal goal of the Massachusetts health care legislation, which was to ensure that all residents there had access to health care. In the same way, Romney’s strategy on taxes is unique among the Republican contenders in calling for reforms that would benefit middle-income Americans and not just those at the top of the economic pyramid.
This ability to see the merits of tough issues from something other than a knee-jerk, ideological perspective suggests that Mitt Romney would be willing to bridge the political divide in Washington. Americans are desperate for the Republicans and Democrats to work together. His record of ignoring partisan labels to pass important legislation when he was governor of Massachusetts suggests he is capable to making that happen.
For those reasons, Mitt Romney deserves the support of his party in the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses. If he is the GOP nominee, the nation would have a clear choice in November 2012.
WE OWE YOU OUR FRANK OPINION OF CANDIDATES
The Des Moines Register has been publishing presidential endorsements before general elections for more than 60 years. However, we didn’t endorse in the caucuses until 1988. Prior to that, the thinking was the editorial page should refrain from getting mixed up in the business of who a political party chooses as its nominee.
By 1988, the Iowa caucuses had established themselves as a matter of national interest. The people of this state were watching the candidates up close, and the country was watching Iowa.
“We’ve had a front-row view of these candidates and their ideas for more than a year, and it seems to us that we owe you a frank opinion on them,” explained James Gannon, the Register’s editor then.
The tradition of endorsing in caucuses was born. And here we are again.
Opinion pages are, after all, in the opinion business. We weigh in on issues of public interest 365 days of the year. Today’s endorsement is not intended to tell Iowans who to caucus for on Jan. 3. It is not to campaign for a candidate. (If we wanted to do that, we would have weighed in months ago and written subsequent editorials supporting that person). It is not to predict a winner.
Our goal in an endorsement is to provide a perspective for Iowans beyond what they read in regular news coverage and see in debates.
Rick Green, now the Register’s editor, said, “Our goal is to answer one question: who among these candidates would make the best leader for our country, should he or she land in the White House.”
Iowans take seriously their role as the first-in-the-nation caucus, Green said. So, too, does the Register. “We’re part of a unique conversation that dominates our state every four years but stretches well beyond Iowa. We embrace that responsibility thoughtfully, seriously and with due diligence.”
Our endorsement decision was informed by watching and listening to the candidates. We read widely — their speeches, position papers and contrary views. And we had the opportunity to question the candidates in interviews with the editorial board.
The staff met with all the Republican candidates who campaigned in Iowa. We have shared impressions from these meetings on the Opinion pages over the past few months.
Endorsements are the culmination of a long process. Last week, the editorial board met and worked to reach a consensus.
Members of the board are Laura Hollingsworth, the Register’s publisher and president; Rick Green, editor and vice president; Randy Evans, editorial page editor; and editorial writers Rox Laird and Andie Dominick. No one else at the newspaper attends this meeting or has any say in our endorsements.
As always, candidates who receive the Register’s nod receive no special consideration in subsequent news coverage or editorials.
In fact, we run our endorsements shortly before an election or caucus and later than many newspapers. That allows us to take full measure of candidates as their campaigns unfold, the same way other Iowans do.
So again today this newspaper is doing what we’ve done for almost 25 years: being part of the dialogue of democracy.
Thanks for reading.
— Editorial page staff
And after that fervent salute to Wall Street, here are the clips from Paul's appearance on Leno.