Romney and Election 101: Bury the Details, Lead the Sheep

Romney and Election 101: Bury the Details, Lead the Sheep


Yesterday, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney formally accepted his party’s nomination to become its presidential candidate.

But halfway through the campaign and at the height of the Republican National  convention this week, there have been statements and presentations that blatantly conflict with conservative and Republican ideals.

First, one of the convention’s featured speaker Sher Valenzuela, who is running for Lt. Governor in Delaware,  was discovered to have given a presentation this April  to the Wilmington Women In Business forum  on scoring  government contracts for small businesses.  Seemingly, this would be a ‘no no’ for a party which has harnessed and practically exhausted the “we built that mantra”.

Last month, during a campaign stop president Obama, while bestowing how government infrastructure helps all said,  “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help… There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

The “you didn’t build that” portion of the statement has been extrapolated and used as a rallying cry to gin up the base among conservatives who embrace individualism, bootstrap theories and bemoan government intervention or involvement in private businesses and lives.

And the other buzz is over Medicare.

In campaign stump speeches by Ryan and Romney, they promise to return the $700 Billion in Medicare provider bonus payments, provider reimbursements, and inefficiency costs   that the Obama administration removed from Medicare and put into Obamacare to expand coverage to more adults.

But here again is an example of party rhetoric not matching principles. If the Republican party is the party that wants  to decrease the deficit, extraneous and excess spending, balance the budget and cut inefficiencies, should its party leaders be promising to return wasteful expenditures into an already burdened system?  Even if it were to return the money, how would that make it a better entitlement system than before, than today?  Saying you will replace a system after stripping some of its benefits is only okay if you are prepared to present an at least quasi-detailed explanation of what you plan to replace it with.

Then, there was those moments when VP candidate Paul Ryan and former candidate Rick Santorum wrote op-eds and boldly stated that the president had removed the work requirement from welfare.  Since then scores of news outlets have fact checked and reported the details which undermines that assertion.  A popular Romney advertisement well-received by his base is still in circulation which also makes this assertion.

“Since 1996, welfare recipients have been required to work,” the August 20 ad said. “This bipartisan reform successfully reduced welfare rolls. On July 12th, President Obama quietly ended the work requirement, gutting welfare reform.”

In fact, the federal government is not. Rather, it is permitting the states the flexibility to remove it if it submitted a better way of making people work while receiving benefits.

In a memo issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in mid-July that would permit states to get waivers from certain parts of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and permit  states more flexibility in meeting the work requirement. “The Secretary is interested in approaches that seek to improve employment outcomes,” the memo says.

Paul Ryan’s infamous budget calls for the feds to get out of the Medicaid entitlement business and to give states rights to request block grant funding to run Medicaid  themselves. After all, the mantra is that states know better the needs of their respective citizens and would be better able to police fraud cases since they are closer to the ground.

Thus, if conservatives truly are all for States’ rights and returning power to the local level, then this policy position runs close with the Republican preference. What’s the deal with turning the back on established positional points then?

If you haven’t figured it out yet, what this twist of truth does, in fact, is send dog whistles to a common perception and stereotype that only minorities and illegal immigrants are collecting welfare on the backs of hard working middle class Americans.  About 1 in 3, or 1.9 million, Black mothers of childbearing ages were food stamp recipients, compared with 1 in 9, or 3.2 million White mothers, a Census department report states. Despite these differences in recipiency rates, Black food stamp mothers did not have significantly more children than their White counterparts.

It’s not only the Republicans twisting and turning either. An Obama ad suggested that Ryan opposes abortion in all cases, when that is not the case, according to Politfact. Romney supports abortion when the mom’s life is in danger. Also, while trying to promote their Buffet Rule, the Obama administration has overstated the facts, claiming millionaires pay less than middle class Americans when in fact 99% of millionaires pay a rate higher than middle class Americans.  Then there was that recent and infamous statement from Vice President Joe Biden to a Black audience suggesting that the Republicans want “to put yall back in chains” a reference which clearly references slavery.

And of course, there was that pro-Obama SuperPAC Priorities USA ad. It suggested that the wife of a worker in a company that closed after Romney’s Bain Capitol took it over died 22 months after Bain sold the company and its assets under Romney.  In actuality, the woman died years later.

They’re all, both sides, betting that no one really is paying attention to the details. And if the details will get your base to sit up and question the rhetoric and positions, then it is better buried or distorted.

There is a delicate calculus being tabulated and executed. No one really pays close attention to or has time to research the truth and  details anymore and the parties in charge know this.