Yesterday, author, pundit and Conservative Beltway Darling, Ann Coulter, published a column titled “What’s Their Problem With Romney”?
While I am not anywhere near as talented a writer as Ms. Coulter, nor am I rich like she is, I am one of “Them,” which I presume to mean the Republican Party’s conservative base.
So please bear with me as I attempt to answer some of Ms. Coulter’s pronouncements concerning the perfect candidate, former governor Willard “Mitt” Romney.
COULTER: As governor of one of the most liberal states in the union, Mitt Romney did something even Ronald Reagan didn’t do as governor of California: He balanced the budget without raising taxes.
I guess that depends on how you define “taxes:”
The Republican managed to slash spending to eliminate a deficit pegged at $3 billion, but he also proposed or presided over a far-ranging series of fee hikes — a strategy that allowed him to maintain the no-new-taxes stance he now boasts about as he runs for president.
In all, then-Gov. Romney proposed creating 33 new fees and increasing 57 others — enough, he said, to pull in an extra $59 million for the cash-strapped state.
Horseback riding instructors, prisoners, those seeking training to combat domestic violence and used car shoppers were asked to dig a little deeper.
Romney and Democratic lawmakers ended up approving hundreds of millions in higher fees and fines, making it more expensive to use an ice skating rink, register a boat, take the bar exam, get a duplicate driver’s license, file a court case, install underground storage tanks, sell cigarettes or alcohol, comply with air quality rules and transport hazardous waste.
A survey of states by the National Conference of State Legislatures found Massachusetts led the nation during Romney’s first year, raising fees and fines by $501 million. New York was second with $367 million. Nine other states raised fees and fines by more than $100 million.
COULTER: Romney became deeply pro-life as governor of the aforementioned liberal state and vetoed an embryonic stem cell bill. (Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich lobbied President George W. Bush to allow embryonic stem cell research.)
In December 2005, Romney required all Massachusetts hospitals, including Catholic ones, to provide emergency contraception to rape victims, even though some Catholics view the morning-after pill as a form of abortion.
COULTER: Romney’s approach to illegal immigration in Massachusetts resembled what Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona is doing today, making her a right-wing heroine.
If so, it’s a poor resemblance:
The Globe reported yesterday that Romney had continued to employ Community Lawn Service with a Heart to mow his lawn and rake his leaves, one year after the newspaper reported that the company was using illegal immigrants for work on his grounds. Romney fired the company Tuesday night, hours after the Globe inquired about the work at his Belmont home.
COULTER: Romney pushed the conservative alternative to national health care that, had it been adopted in the 49 other states, would have killed Obamacare in the crib by solving the health insurance problem at the state level.
From my post “Romney: Romneycare Good. Obamacare Bad.”:
…although Mr. Romney promised that his plan would lower costs, the liberal Commonwealth Fund reports that Massachusetts insurance costs have climbed anywhere from 21% to 46% faster than the U.S. average since 2005. Employer-sponsored premiums are now the highest in the nation.
COULTER: Unlike actual Establishment candidates, Romney has never worked in Washington, much less spent his entire life as a professional politician. He’s had a Midas touch with every enterprise he has ever run, including Bain Capital, the Olympics and Massachusetts.
A Washington Outsider? Hardly.
Romney’s fourteen lobbyist bundlers – including representatives from powerhouse D.C. lobbying firms Dutko Worldwide and Ogilvy Government Relations – raised $1.1 million for his campaign in the second half of 2011, according to recent Federal Election Commission filings. Ogilvy chief Wayne Berman, one of Romney’s top bundlers, is also a co-chair of his national finance committee.
But Romney’s connection to elite D.C. operatives don’t end with fundraising.
Ron Kaufman, a former Bush Sr. advisers and now one of Romney’s top advisers was a top lobbyist for Dutko for years, telling the Boston Globe he decertified as a lobbyist just last year.
Team Romney also includes other top-tier Washington power brokers like Charlie Black, a former top adviser to John McCain began advising Romney earlier this year, and Romney’s chief counsel Ben Gingsberg, who held the same role in both Bush-Cheney campaigns, and has represented numerous house and senate campaigns and PACs.
COULTER: The chestnut about Mitt Romney being pushed on unsuspecting conservatives by “the Establishment” is the exact opposite of the truth. The Establishment, by any sensible definition, is virulently opposed to Romney — and for completely contradictory reasons.
The entire NFM (non-Fox media) hate Romney because he is the only candidate who stands a chance of beating Obama.
Meanwhile, many of the pillars of the conservative establishment also implacably oppose Romney. Fox News is neutral, but its second-highest-rated host, Sean Hannity, is anti-Romney – though endorsing no one — as is prominent Fox News contributor Sarah Palin — who has also offered herself up as a possible presidential nominee at a contested convention. (Wouldn’t a former candidate for vice president on a major party’s ticket be part of the Establishment?)
The No. 1 conservative talk-radio host in America, Rush Limbaugh, is critical of Romney, and another top conservative talk-radio host, Mark Levin, is adamantly against Romney — though both Limbaugh and Levin supported Romney as the conservative alternative to John McCain in 2008, and Romney has only gotten better since then.
That’s your opinion, Ms. Coulter.
Here’s mine, which I originally expressed on January 23rd, in a post titled, “Southern Man Don’t Need Ann Coulter Around, Anyhow”:
You see, we average Americans, here in Dixie, and folks in the rest of the Heartland, are fed up with you Vichy Republicans treating us like the hired help. We stood by and watched you nominate the likes of Bob Dole and John McCain, the squishiest of squishes, then held our noses and dutifully voted for them.
Then, we watched you and your buddies, the Democrats, and their lackeys, the Main Stream Media, trash a good Christian American like Sarah Palin, to the point where she and her family said, “Enough of this mess”, which led to her dropping out of the Primary race.
Miz Ann, you need to go on Wheel of Fortune, buy a vowel and get a clue. The South and rest of the Heartland will vote for whomever we want to, so go get your skinny self a sammich and stuff it.
Besides, why should we trust the judgment of someone who used to date Bill Maher, anyway?
I rest my case.