Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

NOTICE: Inside Opinion has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Inside Opinion.
Visit the new section.

Tag: mitt romney

Nov.
28th

What will Romney and the president talk about over lunch? Here’s a suggestion

This came in late in the afternoon – way past our deadline for the Thursday print edition.

I’d sure like to be a fly on the wall listening in to the lunch conversation between President Obama and Mitt Romney. I’m guessing it’ll be a little awkward. Anyway, writer Matt Miller has an idea for what they should talk about.

By Matt Miller
Special to The Washington Post

I don’t know whether Emily Post has any tips for breaking the ice over lunch with your just-vanquished foe. But I have just the thing if President Barack Obama was serious about asking Mitt Romney to “work together to move this country forward.”

Romney was once a world-class management consultant with a legendary appetite for “the data.” His private-equity success was due partly to his knack for identifying and purging inefficiencies from bloated, underperforming enterprises. It’s time, therefore, to set him loose (analytically speaking) on the mother of all domestic challenges: America’s radically inefficient health-care system. Read more »

Oct.
31st

Superstorm Sandy leaves questions in its wake

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

The Northeast is only starting to clean up and assess the damage caused by the most devastating, costly storm to hit the region in many years. But it’s not too early to start seeking answers to some of the questions left in Sandy’s aftermath.

• Will this finally get the presidential candidates to talk about climate change? And what can be done to better protect coastal populations?

Many scientists have linked the increasing number of extreme weather events to global warming. It’s unclear if Sandy is one of those events, but with melting polar ice and rising seas, what is more clear is that coastal cities like New York will be increasingly vulnerable to future such storms.
Read more »

Oct.
30th

6 days from election, the scariest Halloween of all

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print editon.

Witches, zombies, ghosts and ghouls. Lions and tigers and bears. Dare we venture out after dark with election day so close at hand?

A pall of horror shrouds the ballot from top to bottom.

It begins with revelations of Barack Obama conniving with top advisers to let terrorists kill his ambassador to Libya – perhaps in expiation for any sins he didn’t cover in his apology tour of the Middle East.

Mitt Romney is no less spooky: He said “binders of women” instead of “binders of names of women,” a telling omission that betrayed his plot to put half the human race in manacles.

But let’s not forget about Obama gutting the Navy by having fewer ballistic-missile warships than Woodrow Wilson had gunboats.

Washington’s elections are haunted by frightful apparitions. Put on the “Shriek” masks, everyone.

Charter schools are fluttering in the twilight, poised to feast on the blood of public education. Just ask the Washington Education Association.

Jay Inslee, running for governor, has exposed a terrifying truth about his rival, Rob McKenna. As attorney general of the nation’s most plaintiff-friendly state, McKenna actually settled lawsuits against the government.

In the race for attorney general, it’s Alien vs. Predator.

According to Democrat Bob Ferguson, Republican Reagan Dunn bought a $707 rug for his office.

According to Dunn, Ferguson bought a $707 table skirt for meetings.

According to Ferguson, Dunn has been charged with a “serious crime.” Which appears to consist of doing doughnuts in a Camaro on a snowy parking lot – at age 17.

According to Dunn, Ferguson once – as a law student, 20 years ago – helped a death row inmate get an attorney. Two would-be attorneys general, both steeped in criminality.
Read more »

Oct.
23rd

With sobered expectations, Obama for president

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Is the country better off than it was four years ago? We believe the answer is yes and that Barack Obama deserves re-election.

Four years ago, before Obama’s election, the United States was sliding into its deepest economic downturn since the 1930s. The economy is still in the doldrums, and the jobless rate remains far too high. But the financial system is not flirting with collapse, and few Americans wake up in fear of another Great Depression.

Presidents do not stage-manage the U.S. economy. If politicians of either party knew exactly how to deliver unbroken prosperity, they would have done it a long time ago. This is less of a science than economists like to admit, in part because there’s no second United States to serve as a control group.

Obama has played a very bad hand well. The maligned Troubled Asset Relief Program, the 2009 stimulus bill and such smaller measures as the Social Security payroll tax cut may well have kept the nation from falling off a cliff.

When the economy is sinking, deficit spending is not reckless – though failing to cut deficits after recovery would be monumentally irresponsible.

The deficit problem is less about either Obama or Mitt Romney than it is about their respective parties. Historically, Democrats have pandered to beneficiaries of middle-class entitlements; Republicans have pandered to hatred of taxes.

It seems obvious that, long-term, both parties will have to back down. Entitlements must be cut and taxes increased to chip away at America’s increasingly dangerous national debt.
Read more »

Oct.
22nd

Foreign policy questions for tonight’s debate

Tonight’s third and final presidential debate will focus on foreign policy. In the article below, Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Trudy Rubin, who has long written on foreign affairs, previews the debate and outlines questions she’d like to see answered. It moved on the wire Friday, so the time element in the first paragraph is a little off.

By Trudy Rubin

If you’re still hoping for a serious foreign-policy debate between Mitt Romney and President Obama, you’ll have to wait until Monday, when the candidates will focus on global issues.

Don’t get your hopes up, however. For one thing, the two men know the public isn’t focused on foreign affairs, which was barely raised by the audience at Tuesday’s town-hall discussion.

For another, the most serious security challenges confronting the country — in the Mideast and South Asia — are so complex and fluid, it’s hard to provide clear answers. This makes for a lot of posturing by Romney (it’s easier for a challenger to insist the answers are obvious) and for oversimplification by Obama. Read more »

Oct.
1st

You’ve lost the election. Now what do you do?

Either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney is going to lose come Nov. 6. So what does the future look like for the man who doesn’t win?

Here’s an interesting read by Scott Farris, author of “Almost President: The Men Who Lost the Race but Changed the Nation.” He speculates how Obama or Romney will approach a life after losing and looks back at how past “losers” fared.

By Scott Farris
Special to The Washington Post

On election night in 1896, a friend watched William Jennings Bryan struggling to conceal his disappointment after losing to William McKinley.

“It is a terrible thing,” the friend wrote, “to look upon a strong man in the pride of youth and see him gather up in his hands the ashes of a great ambition.”

Come Nov. 6, either President Barack Obama or former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney will gather those same ashes in his hands. The losing presidential candidate will have received the support of nearly half the nation’s voters and, still in the prime of life, will face the question: So, what do I do now?

Bryan was just 36, so his answer was to run for president, and lose, twice more. But running again seems an unlikely option for the 65-year-old Romney. The last losing presidential nominee to run again and win his party’s endorsement was Richard Nixon in 1968.

Nor does it seem probable that the 51-year-old Obama would follow the example of Grover Cleveland, the only president denied re-election who later ran again, winning his rematch with Benjamin Harrison in 1892. (That is, unless Obama faces similar circumstances: Cleveland won the popular vote in 1888 but lost in the Electoral College.) Read more »

Sep.
27th

This poll has a clear winner (Spoiler alert: It’s Obama)

Forget Gallup, Pew, Rasmussen and the other polls. They all show either a dead heat between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney or Obama slightly ahead – but still within the margin of error.

Over at 7-Eleven, there’s no such wishy-washiness. Its “abashedly unscientific” poll, which has predicted the winner in the last three presidential races, shows Obama clearly out in front: 58 to 42 percent as of Wednesday afternoon.

Customers make their preference known by buying their drinks in either a blue Obama cup or a red Romney cup.

Click here to check out its red state/blue state map. Click on individual states to see how 7-Eleven customers voted there.

Washington is slightly more pro-Obama than the national average: 60 to 40 percent. Romney is running ahead of Obama in only four states: Idaho, West Virginia, South Carolina and New Hampshire. Not in Utah? That’s surprising. And the crucial battleground state of Ohio – which no Republican winner has ever lost – is staunchly pro-Obama at 67 to 42 percent. Read more »

Aug.
21st

Biden, Akin, et al: Not all gaffes are created equal

The following editorial appeared in the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday, Aug. 21:

One of the most annoying features of modern American politics is the scripted politician. He or she memorizes a set of consultant-generated talking points, repeats them with monotonous efficiency and never lets the public glimpse a real human being with thoughts that have not been preapproved and focus-group-tested. So why do politicians behave that way? Simple: They want to avoid the dreaded “gaffe.”

Gaffes have become one of the dominant topics of this election season. But contrary to what you might assume, all gaffes are not created equal. Here, we offer voters a guide to which stumbles warrant a response and which deserve to be excused or ignored:

A common type is the quote ripped from context, framed to distort the candidate’s actual views and blown up 10 times its original size. Mitt Romney found his way into this phenomenon when he was quoted as saying, “I like being able to fire people.” His critics pretended he was showing disdain for the unemployed, when he was really extolling the value of letting consumers “fire” companies that treat them poorly.

Something similar occurred when Barack Obama said, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” The “that” in his statement, though not entirely clear, seemed to refer to the infrastructure that businesses need to operate in a modern economy. The valid criticism was not that Obama thought business people didn’t build their businesses, but that he discounted the importance of that entrepreneurial contribution. This pertinent point, however, was lost in the uproar.

Then there is the gaffe committed when someone dares to speak impromptu on a controversial topic. Among the politicians prone to this sort of spectacle are Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill.

Biden made news¬†the other day when he got carried away in front of an audience that included many African-Americans, warning that Republicans are “going to put y’all back in chains.” Walsh attracted attention recently when he asserted, in reference to the threat of Islamic terrorism, “It’s here. It’s in Elk Grove. It’s in Addison. It’s in Elgin.”

The vice president later insisted he didn’t mean to make any racial allusions, and Walsh acknowledged that he got “a little ahead of myself with my language.”

Maybe both were hoping to inject some unworthy elements into the electoral bloodstream while escaping responsibility. But we’re inclined to give the benefit of some doubt to any elected official or candidate who refuses to be enslaved by scripts and teleprompters. Walsh and Biden deserve some credit for not poll-testing every utterance before speaking.

But spontaneity is not an excuse for ignorance or egregious blindness. Both were on display when Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., a U.S. Senate candidate, was asked about his opposition to legalized abortion even in cases of rape. “First of all, from what I understand from doctors, (pregnancy from rape) is really rare,” he said. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Read more »