Mitt’s (Mixed) Tea Party Support (Updated)


I was first going to write about how Mitt’s opponents have jumped the shark with their attacks on Mitt and Bain Capital, but the comments of how ill-advised (Should I say dumb?) this is are all over everywhere! Why even Allahpundit of has put together an excellent collection of comments defending Mitt that were made by staunch opponents of Massachusetts’ health care initiative many of whom are Tea Party folks!  Despite this support, many commentators seem to feel that this is bad news for Republicans in general and Mitt’s opponents in particular.

Although I agree with the point about Mitt’s opponents (They do look rather silly, don’t they?!?), my take, however, is a little different for the election in November. It seems to me that it is probably good to get this issue out there early so Mitt can respond now rather than later. We know that Kennedy brought it up in the Senate race that he almost lost to Mitt in 1994, so there is no doubt that President Obama & Company are going to be all over the story. In fact, David Axlerod could not resist piling on with the Republicans as covered by Bloomberg and everyone else for that matter.

Eye-opening (Disgusting?) was a piece from John Ransom,  the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance, who wrote a piece entitled, “Mitt: All American Vulture Capitalist.” Vulture capitalist? The first conclusion is that this guy has no idea about how venture capital works, but, upon reflection, he is after all the “Finance Editor” for Townhall Finance, right? This must mean that he can’t be totally ignorant of the system. I mean, Larry Kudlow, a pretty smart fellow, writes there for heaven’s sake!

TEA Party: Taxed Enough Already

I tried to verify Ransom’s bonafides, but the only thing I could learn about him is that he supports Gingrich and the Tea Party. It was then that I began to understand! Basically, it seems that some Tea Party enthusiasts, terrific supporters of the capitalist system that they are, seem to hate Mitt more than they love capitalism! I wrote earlier about the hatred on the right, but referring to Mitt as a “vulture capitalist” is a new low for these people. Not only is this slur out of place for someone of Mitt’s character, but the usage does not even fit the way these words are typically used. Investopedia defines “vulture capitalist” as “A slang word for a venture capitalist who deprives an inventor of control over their own innovations and most of the money they should have made from the invention.” This of course is not a claim that anyone has made about Mitt.

At this point I began to think I had spent more time on this guy’s stuff than it warranted, but another Tea Party enthusiast, Michelle Malkin, also got my attention. In her piece entitled, “The abysmal incompetence of the non-Romneys; Huntsman, Gingrich, Perry all go Occupier; Santorum declines” she justifiably lamenting the recent performance of Mitt’s opponents. Unfortunately, she goes on to add her vocalizations to the Echo Chamber of the Right that I previously wrote about here.

Malkin’s disdain for Mitt, heartily echoed by her colleagues at her former Web site the Web site she started, has been thick and at times even obnoxious, especially among the followers who frequent the comment pages. Yesterday, after making the case that Mitt’s opponents are basically out to lunch, she adds:

Mitt Romney’s chronic flip-flopping political career is teeming with reasons to oppose his nomination — from his support for racial preferences, to government funding of abortion, liberal judges, global warming enviro-nitwittery, TARP, auto bailouts, the Obama stimulus, gun control, and of course, individual health insurance mandates that presaged Obamacare.

Based on the link she provides with her piece, this statement is influenced a video on the YouTube channel of “The Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama” which was started by the PAC, Our Country Deserves Better, who are huge supporters of everything Tea Party including Sharron Angle and others who had no chance of winning anything but their respective Republican primaries.

Unfortunately, most of the stuff in the video is taken out of context and other aspects are just plain false. Just taking one claim for example, Mitt was the first person who said that the auto companies should NOT be bailed out but should go into bankruptcy and emerge stronger. He even defended his opposition to the bailouts as late as November and this in Michigan no less! Of course, bankruptcy proceedings are basically what ultimately happened, except that we had Washington involved to the extent that the Democrats were able to bail out their union buddies, stiffing bond holders who had a prior right to assets!

Looking at the actions of the Tea Party folks who can’t bring themselves to support Mitt, combined with the polls that say that Mitt is basically the only Republican who can beat Barack Obama, it would appear that they are intent on doing the same thing for the presidency that they did for one particular senate seat in Nevada: Prevent the qualified Republican from defeating the incumbent Democrat! I have no doubt that their opposition to Mitt provides a major element of the explanation of this Pew poll that says that Republican voters are not as happy with this field as they were at this point in 2007-2008.

Update: The good news is that exit polls from New Hampshire, as reported by the Washington Post, provide some interesting insights as well as some excellent news for Mitt that is quoted here:

  1. Romney wins strong tea party backers, wins evangelicals
  2. Most important issue — economy, by far
  3. Romney: Agreeable and electable

In meager defense of Malkin, she does heap much more derision upon Gingrich, Perry, and Huntsman for their anti-capitalist attacks on Mitt’s record at Bain Capital than she does on Mitt. Nevertheless, I cannot for the life of me see the value in continuing to shout out declarations that Mitt is not conservative, as she and too many other Tea Party supporters are doing. Furthermore, it is incredibly disappointing that they do this by using  statements taken out of context and illustrate their opposition with situations over which Mitt has had little or no control (panels that actually nominate judges, legislature overturning his veto, state supreme court ordering support of gay marriage, etc., etc.).

It is not hard to counter the other issues Malkin raises, indeed Mitt has done so over and over in position statements, in his book, and in several debates. The bottom line is that Michelle is directing fire at Mitt that is no more substantiated than the attacks that Gingrich, Perry, Huntsman and Company are making on Mitt. No doubt she should do a little more research into her own positions before she does exactly what she is accusing them of doing.

As for me, I align my views with the opinion of Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric. As quoted by Newsmax, Welch said that Mitt is “the most qualified candidate for president in the past 75 years.”

Those of us who have known Mitt for as long as we have (over 45 years!) could not agree more!

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About Mike

Michael Bush first met Mitt in 1966 when they reported for a one-week training session in Salt Lake City before heading to France on the 4th of July to serve as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 2 1/2 years. They also served at the same time in Bordeaux for several months in 1968, where they worked together quite often. Mike is on the faculty of Brigham Young University and grew up in Alabama. He graduated from Brigham Young University in Political Science. He also has an MBA from the University of Missouri and a PhD from The Ohio State University in Foreign Language Education with an emphasis in Computer Science. He is a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who spent most of his career at the US Air Force Academy teaching French and doing research in the area of computer-assisted language learning. He and his wife Annie have four children and 18 grandchildren. It goes without saying that the things written on this site reflect his views and opinions and are in no way intended to reflect those of Brigham Young University or its sponsor, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

3 thoughts on “Mitt’s (Mixed) Tea Party Support (Updated)

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