MEMO: Romney, Southwest Airlines and the Politics of Phony
To: Interested Parties
From: Bill Burton, Priorities USA Action
Re: MEMO: Romney, Southwest Airlines and the Politics of Phony
@MittRomney 31 Aug: Thanks to the great @SouthwestAir crew for an easy flight”; @MittRomney 1 Sept: “Thanks @subwayfreshbuzz for breakfast.”
“Romney to quadruple La Jolla home size” –San Diego Union Tribune, 8/20/11
When Governor Romney decided that he would say or do anything to get elected, you have to imagine he didn't think it would involve flying in non-private aircraft and eating at Subway. In fairness, as someone who made a vast fortune laying off American workers his identity is indeed in need of a makeover. (And quadrupling his beach home in an exclusive San Diego neighborhood isn't exactly helping that effort.)
But in his attempted makeover, Governor Romney is simultaneously highlighting a key weakness: he is willing to do or say anything to become President, even if it means changing his positions, his appearance and his sandwich.
This weekend Romney will fly (commercial, presumably) to New Hampshire and South Carolina for back-to-back Tea Party events he had previously declined. It’s a sudden shift for a campaign that earlier this week telegraphed a strategy of appearing more moderate and electable than Rick Perry. Tea Party members have already trashed Romney’s pandering and the head of one of the largest groups called Romney a, “political opportunist claiming to be a tea partier.”
Governor Perry tried a different brand of phony this week, declaring himself AMERICA'S JOBS GOVERNOR in his literature. As anyone who follows such things would know, Perry's so-called "Texas miracle" was achieved in large part as a result of federal government investments and minimum wage jobs.
And, falling to an asterisk in polls, Jon Huntsman this week tried a phony and unseemly page out of the Romney playbook. While he is claiming to fill the moderate void in the Republican primary, he rolled out an economic plan that was pure right-wing extremism: massive tax cuts for the wealthy, ending Medicare, eliminating regulation on Wall Street and actually raising taxes on the poor and middle class. That Jon Huntsman claims this plan is moderate shows both how desperate his campaign is and how radical the Republican Party has become.
Phony: Romney Campaign Using Twitter Photos to Promote Image that Romney Flies Southwest and Eats Subway. According to the Daily Caller, “Mitt Romney is an ordinary American, who flies and eats cheap just like us.Take a look at the Republican presidential candidate’s Twitter feed in recent days, and it’s clear his campaign is making an effort to show that… This isn’t the first time Romney made an effort to not appear so formal, stuffy or wealthy in the age of a weak economy and the tea parties. He’s also noticeably ditched the tie at while on the trail.” [Daily Caller,9/1/11]
Reality: “Mitt Romney, scheduled to attend a series of fundraisers this weekend in San Diego, is also working on plans to nearly quadruple the size of his $12 million oceanfront manse in La Jolla.” [San Diego Union Tribune, 8/20/11]
Reality: “Mitt Romney shelled out more than $5 million in campaign cash over the past three months, including blowing $80,000 on hotel rooms in Las Vegas, $50,000 on a security squad and $125,000 on private jets — despite a pledge to scale back on luxury travel, new campaign filings show.” [Boston Herald, 7/20/11]
Reality: Romney, Who Profited from Laying Off American Workers, Joked About Being Unemployed. [Wall Street Journal, 6/16/11]
Reality: “As poll numbers fall, Romney schedules tea party events” [CNN, 8/30/11]
Reality: FreedomWorks Plans to Protest “Political Opportunist” Romney. “One of the great successes of the decentralized tea party movement has been its ability to self-police. If every political opportunist claiming to be a tea partier is accepted unconditionally, then the tea party brand loses all meaning,” said FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe announcing his group’s plan to protest Romney. [FreedomWorks Statement, 8/31/11]
Phony: “Perry’s new campaign literature brands him AMERICA'S JOBS GOVERNOR.” [Politico Playbook, 9/1/11]
Reality: Texas Job Growth Fueled by Expansion of Government Jobs. The Washington Post reported, “With a young and fast-growing population, a large and expanding military presence and an influx of federal stimulus money, the number of government jobs in Texas has grown at more than double the rate of private-sector employment during Perry’s tenure. The disparity has grown sharper since the national recession hit. Between December 2007 and last June, private-sector employment in Texas declined by 0.6 percent while public-sector jobs increased by 6.4 percent, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, government employees account for aboutone-sixth of the workforce in Texas. The significant role of government in Texas’s relative prosperity stands in stark contrast to the “go-it-alone” image cultivated by Perry, who credits a lack of government interference for fostering a business-friendly environment in Texas.” [Washington Post, 8/20/11]
Reality: Texas Tied for Highest Percentage of Minimum Wage Jobs in the Nation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Texas, at 9.5 percent, tied with Mississippi for the highest proportion of hourly-paid workers earning at or below the prevailing Federal minimum wage among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in 2010.” [Bureau of Labor Statistics, 3/28/11]
Phony: “Huntsman advisers argue that independents and moderate Republicans will respond well to Huntsman's message.” [Associated Press, 9/2/11]
Reality: Huntsman’s Economic Plan Raises Taxes on the Middle Class In Order to Provide More TaxCuts for the Wealthy. According to the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein, “In other words, Huntsman’s plan raises trillions in new revenues by cleaning out the income-tax code -- which means it raises income taxes -- and then it plows that money into large tax cuts for corporate profits and income derived from dividends and capital gains. Both of those are taxes that fall disproportionately on the wealthy. So Huntsman’s plan increases taxes on most Americans in order to pay for very large tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations.” [Washington Post,9/1/11]
Reality: Huntsman Called for Repealing Wall Street Reform in Economic Speech. [WashingtonPost, 9/1/11]
Reality: Huntsman Reiterated His Support for Ryan Plan to Essentially End Medicare. [National Review, 8/31/11]