The "bleeding heart conservative"?
or Mitt Romney makes me nauseous
You've probably noticed that I despise Mitt Romney, the photogenic new governor of Massachusetts. His latest exercise in ridiculousness was staging a huge photo opportunity with a non-Republican family that supposedly called him to thank him for his "no-new-taxes" plan. From today's Globe ("Family finds itself in midst of a Romney whirlwind")
From the vantage point of her living room couch, Heather Newton, 17, watched with wide eyes yesterday morning as her house became the site of a gubernatorial event.Substantial? I can't help but be reminded of all those "work days" ads he put out during his campaign showing him spending a day serving hot dogs or collecting garbage--in order to camouflage policies that will do nothing but gut services in Massachusetts for real garbage collectors, for example. The man is a rightwing Ken Doll.
Her parents had called Governor Mitt Romney's office, urging him to stick to his no-new-taxes budget plan. The governor's office wanted to spread the news. So for an hour or so, the Newtons became a symbolic state family, with all of the attendant chaos.
State workers with clipboards hurried through the living room. Reporters paced the floorboards and photographers snapped. The children, sprung from school, sat through it all and stared.
And a few feet away, Jean and Edward Newton sat at their kitchen table with the governor himself, fingering mismatched coffee mugs and talking about the family, the Bible, and the budget.
When Romney presented his 2004 budget in the State House this week, those on Beacon Hill gave him decidedly mixed reviews. Municipal leaders insisted his cuts were deeper than he claimed. Democratic lawmakers stood at podiums and vowed to fight.
Now, Romney is launching the next stage of the battle: taking his message directly to the public, and trying to demonstrate he has a statewide mandate to balance the budget without raising taxes.
''This is symbolic and it's also substantial,'' he said toward the end of his hour-long Westborough visit, standing in shirtsleeves on the Newtons' front porch. ''Adding hundreds of dollars in state taxes is just not the way to go.''
But to return to the article--this was hardly a spontaneous gesture on the Newtons' part, registered independents or no, as they've been ardent Romney supporters.
Jean Newton said she supported Romney's gubernatorial bid before he announced he was running; she made phone calls for his campaign. The couple attended the Romney inaugural festivites, and have a Romney-Healey sticker on their van. An employee in Romney's external affairs knew of their support, and recommended them for symbolic duty this week.Not that this family has even really thought about what Romney's refusal to raise state income taxes will do to education and state services... not to mention local taxes:
Edward Newton conceded that he isn't familiar with all the details of Romney's budget, and wasn't sure if cuts in local aid might translate into higher local property taxes."Solution-oriented" is of course meaningless jargon. But even more meaningless was Romney's comment to reporters that they could call him a "bleeding-heart conservative," which is, I suppose, another way of saying "compassionate conservative."
''We haven't looked at the budget in depth,'' he said. But he has been pleased with what he's seen of Romney's performance: ''The one thing that I do appreciate: He's solution-oriented.''
The man said no-new-taxes, not no-new-fees...
But whoever his heart is bleeding for, it isn't stopping him from slashing education and healthcare funding... and it isn't stopping him from closing a shelter for homeless veterans... or imposing all sorts of new "fees." From Friday's Globe ("ROMNEY PROPOSALS ON FEES DRAW FIRE"):
He vowed not to raise taxes. But Governor Mitt Romney never made any promises about fees. The governor's proposed 2004 budget includes about $60 million in fee increases, on everything from daily fees at state golf courses to a new fee on individuals who file complaints with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. Fees are different from taxes, Romney said yesterday, because they affect narrow groups of people, and pay for specific services that are "generally considered relatively voluntary."That's brilliant, charging people fees to file anti-discrimination complaints.
Critics say such fees, while politically convenient, often disproportionately affect the poor, because they are not graduated to account for income. For example, a middle-class couple refinancing their two-bedroom home pays the same flat fee of $200 to the state as a millionaire refinancing a palatial mansion.So I ask again--who is Romney's heart bleeding for?