September, 7th 2007

Presidential notes for the day

– Liz Mair

First up: Cesar Conda, a member of Team Romney, is blasting Rudy's economic record, apparently claiming that he's not just moderate on social issues, but also economic ones, and that Romney is much more economically conservative. This marks the first time that the Romney camp has sought to attack Rudy on a non-social issue, and I don't think it's going to work out very well for them. Those paying attention will remember that the Club for Growth assessed Rudy's economic/fiscal record as quite stellar, whereas they described Romney's record thusly: "Promise and Puzzlement"-- hardly a ringing endorsement.

I've had my quibbles with Club in the past, but it's fairly obvious that Club does an excellent job of nitpicking. If they found little to fault in Rudy's record, and plenty to praise, that tells me that the guy's record is not being over-hyped by his campaign. Likewise, note that it wasn't just them that found fault with Romney's record. The CATO Institute strongly criticized Romney in their Fiscal Report Card on America's Governors last year, writing:

Romney will likely also be eager to push the message that he was a governor who stood by a no-new-taxes pledge. That's mostly a myth. His first budget included no general tax increases but did include a $500 million increase in various fees. He later proposed $140 [million] in business tax hikes through the closing of "loopholes" in the tax code. [...] In his budget for 2006, he proposed $170 million more in business tax hikes. [...] If you consider the massive costs to taxpayers that his universal health care plan will inflict once he's left office, Romney's tenure is clearly not a triumph of small-government activism."

Plus, of course, Mitt's nickname was "Fee-fee" (or is it "Fifi?").

That pretty much tells me everything I need to know about Romney's economic/fiscal conservatism-- i.e., it's not substantial enough, and that the Romney camp is having a major freak-out because compared to Rudy, they don't look nearly so good.

Second interesting tidbit: Mike Huckabee seems to be currying favor with labor unions. Not only did he pick up an endorsement by the machinists' union recently, but he's doing the whole SEIU "a day in their shoes" thing. He's the only Republican to do so. MSNBC's First Read offers an interesting thought: "Imagine if Huckabee is on the national ticket and SEIU's Andy Stern has nothing but nice things to say about him?"

Quite. Suffice it to say, that would probably concern me even more than Huckabee's record on taxes and his strong social conservatism does.


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