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August, 21st 2007

Romney's record, according to the Club for Growth

– Liz Mair

I've been meaning to post on this for a couple of hours now, but have been tied up with some paying work.

In any event, you can-- and indeed should-- read the Club for Growth's assessment of Mtt Romney's economic record here. My initial take? I don't think the Romney team are going to be enthused by this.

But then again, Romney's record on economic issues isn't what it's been cracked up to be, by himself and his surrogates, so the criticism the Club has for him should not come as a surprise.

First off, the subtitle of Club's assessment, when contrasted to that used in relation to their Giuliani paper, should tell you something about how they view Romney in the round. "Romney's Record: Promise and Puzzlement" sounds a lot less positive than "Rudy Giuliani Enacted Pro-Growth Policies Despite Liberal New York Environment."

The report highlights "Romney's strident opposition to the flat tax; his refusal to endorse the Bush tax cuts in 2003; his support for various minor tax hikes; and his once-radically bad views on campaign finance reform."

All positions (except maybe in relation to the flat tax) which he has supposedly rejected now (notice how the record matters not where Romney is concerned, what matters are the words he's saying now).

More: "His landmark steps in the healthcare arena also exhibit a mixture of desirable pro-free market efforts combined with a regrettable willingness to accept, if not embrace, a massive new regulatory regime."

Gosh, I can't begin to think where I've heard the sentiment expressed in the last half of that sentence before-- oh wait, yes, I can-- really.

The Club's position, in summary, is that "Governor Romney still needs to explain some of his past positions" (quite), but that they "are reasonably optimistic that, as President, Mitt Romney would generally advocate a pro-growth agenda."

Somehow, that just doesn't sound as enthusiastic to me as "It is impossible to ignore Giuliani's overall commitment to a pro-growth philosophy and his executive talent for implementing that philosophy in a hostile political environment."

Sounds like the Club may have a favorite in this race-- and like it may not be Romney.

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