The Lowe Down

Category: Mitt Romney (17)

Chan Lowe: Mitt heading for the junk yard in Michigan?


Yes, Mitt Romney did at least wait until after he had dropped out of the presidential nomination race in 2008 before he wrote the op-ed piece in the New York Times wherein he argued that Detroit automakers ought to be allowed to go bankrupt.

That doesn’t mean that his free-market rant still wasn’t both short sighted and in monumentally poor taste to boot.

Even the most laissez-faire business tycoon might admit to the wisdom of saving an industry that employs so many hundreds of thousands of primary, secondary and tertiary American workers at a time when the nation is reeling and desperately needs to preserve what manufacturing capability it still possesses. After all, a depression is one of those rare economic events from which even the wealthy don’t benefit. Sometimes, the ends really do justify the means.

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Chan Lowe: Mitt Romney loses big


You need an ego that stretches from sea to shining sea to even contemplate running for the presidency of this great land, but you also require a hide like a rhinoceros.

Imagine what it must be like to put yourself up on display, election cycle after election cycle, spend a considerable amount of your own fortune to service your ambitions, approach friends and strangers with hand outstretched, ask them to be enablers for your self-indulgence, tramp from hotel to hotel in out-of-the-way places (a lot of them snowy), eat rubber chicken day after day in banquet halls with incredibly boring people, and find out that after all that trouble, most folks still don’t like you.

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Chan Lowe: Mitt Romney's concern for the very poor


And they accuse Barack Obama of not being able to speak without a TelePrompTer. Every time Mitt Romney goes even slightly off script, he utters inanities so maladroit that they almost sound like he spent time polishing them.

It’s actually painful to see Romney step on his tongue with such regularity. Sure, he’s rich⎯but so was FDR, who had a similar upbringing, went to the same schools, and also grew up in posh, protected surroundings. Nevertheless, he had a finely tuned politician’s ear for the vernacular and the daily concerns of those less privileged, and those with no privileges whatsoever.

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Chan Lowe: Romney wins ugly in the Florida primary


It’s obvious what Mitt Romney’s advisers decided to do in Florida. In order to prevent fatal wounding by a thousand cuts over a period of months, they elected to win quick and, if necessary, to win dirty. Yes, in the short run, those suffering the nine-day scorched-earth lead-in to the Florida primary might conclude that Romney was, as Newt put it, ruthlessly “carpet-bombing” with negative ads and presenting nothing positive about his own vision for America. But negative advertising has been proven over and over again to work, even though voters claim to dislike it. By November, general election voters wouldn’t even recall the Florida ugliness, so went the reasoning.

With attackers from his own party out of the way, Romney would have the luxury of attacking only President Obama (always a crowd pleaser), and unveiling his own rationale for wanting to be president (we’re still waiting).

Romney’s people weren’t counting on the durability of Newt’s rage. Had Romney won in an honest, clean way, Newt might have gracefully folded his tent and offered his support in exchange for a juicy cabinet post. But they also knew that Romney’s support was so lukewarm that he ran a high risk of losing unless he went nasty.

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Chan Lowe: The Florida Primary is upon us


While the Florida Republican primary is a spectator sport for many of us here in the Sunshine State, there’s a sense that we all may be witnessing history in the making.

If Mitt Romney clinches it, which, as of this writing, it looks like he will, it could represent the high water mark for tea party influence in the GOP. Yes, he won it dirty by outspending Newt Gingrich five-to-one, but winning by stuffing obscene amounts of money into the system has an honorable history here.

Romney’s victory will be a triumph of blandness, and a late-in-the-game spasm of muscle flexing by what is left of the Republican establishment⎯a group of old bulls that still has trouble accepting that their dalliance with the tea party was a Faustian pact.

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Chan Lowe: The Romney/Gingrich smackdown


So what did happen to all the heavy hitters? How did the Republican race get populated by all these pygmies? If Barack Obama is as reviled as the GOP contends, he should be easy to depose, right?

Yet, truly credible candidates like Jeb Bush have decided to sit this race out. Maybe Jeb sees something the rabble can’t, because it’s blinded by rage. It can’t all be about his last name, even though his feckless brother is the one responsible for running two wars on the credit card and giving the wealthy a tax cut that further bankrupted us. Some Republicans who yearn for the good old days, when a president actually looked like a president ought to, might think there was poetic justice in a sibling swooping in to clean up his brother’s mess.

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Chan Lowe: Prepare for the Florida Republican Primary


The problem with Florida is that it comprises a pastiche of viewpoints and backgrounds from all across the country, reflecting its transplant makeup. It has no indigenous political character of its own, so it needs to follow someone else’s cue. Florida usually validates the front runner in a race, because as I’ve said before, Floridians are so lackadaisical that they tend to vote for the person they’ve heard of (Exhibit A: Governor Rick Scott, who bought the airwaves before his election. Now you can’t find anybody who’ll admit to having supported him).

An exception to this rule is Rudolph Giuliani, who came down here when he was running for president, expecting to corral Florida and its rich trove of delegates because there were so many transplants from the New York area, and he figured they’d know who he was. Ultimately, that turned out to be his Achilles’ heel. They certainly did know who he was.

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Chan Lowe: The Iowa miscount


He who lives by the stats, must also die by the stats. Mitt Romney was crowing after the New Hampshire primary that he had “made history,” which is to say that no Republican candidate had snagged both Iowa and New Hampshire since Abraham Lincoln or somebody. All this because he had won the Iowa caucuses by eight votes. Evidently, it is hard to do this because only a political contortionist can tie himself in enough knots to appeal to both the God-fearing agrarians of Iowa and the flinty pragmatists of the Granite State.

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Chan Lowe: Mitt Romney's tax returns


One can only assume that Mitt Romney is stalling on the release of his tax returns until he is the official nominee of the Republican Party, because by then it will be too late to trade him in when the nation finds out that he’s been getting a pretty easy ride. Americans are used to rich guys running for president. They don’t even mind so much that their income keeps pouring in over the transom while they just sit there on their bankbooks.

What ticks people off, though, is a skewed, preferential system that enables the idle rich to skate off with a much lower tax rate than those who actually have to get out of bed every day to earn a living. That’s a tough one to justify, even to ultra-conservatives. As Newt Gingrich said, “Why don’t we all pay a 15 percent tax rate?” Yeah, why don’t we?

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Chan Lowe: Romney under Republican attack


It appears that the Republican primary comedy warm-up act is finally drawing to a close, and the party is reverting to its usual modus operandi, to wit: The nomination is going to the man who ran the last time and lost. Unlike Democrats, who send their fallen warriors off into the wilderness to be forgotten (see Dukakis, Michael), Republicans believe in crowning he who waits his turn, and awarding him a second or third chance.

Some disgruntled also-rans, however, have failed to get the message. A couple of them, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich, have gone so far as to accuse the Heir Apparent of being too ruthless a businessman, as if there were something unseemly about that in the eyes of anybody but a liberal, or a communist (a redundancy to this crowd).

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Chan Lowe: The Mitt steamroller


That giant sigh you hear is from right wing true believers who are just cottoning onto the fact that no matter how passionate they are, no matter how loudly they scream, the great, woolly political machine is going to deny them their hopes and dreams.

They wanted, just once, to feel good about whom they were voting for. No more compromises (that awful, Communistic word). They didn’t even care if their man or woman won the general election. They just wanted to settle down in front of the flat screen next October, break out the pork rinds, and watch their champion kick that skinny holier-than-thou foreigner’s butt all over the debate set.

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Chan Lowe: Newt Gingrich panics the GOP


If you cup your hand to your ear, you can hear the harrumphing in the men’s grill down at the club. “Who does this Gingrich think he is? He isn’t playing by the rules! And whatever happened to St. Ron’s eleventh commandment, you know, ‘Never speak ill of another Republican?’ Can you believe he accused Mitt of earning his wealth by shutting down companies and laying off workers? That’s Communist talk. Clearly, Gingrich is only out for himself!

“Remember the last time he was in power? He almost ruined us. If, God forbid, the rabble takes over the primaries and he wins the nomination, not only would it guarantee a Democrat win, we could lose the House and the Senate filibuster as well. Then that upstart community organizer squatting in the White House would have free rein to steal our wealth and lavish it on the welfare queens.

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Chan Lowe: Mitt Romney's high-stakes bet


There’s a reason why so-called “Gotcha” questions are important in campaigns. It speaks to the dual nature of the office of the president as head of state as well as head of government.

This person, whoever he or she may be, is expected not only to be leader of the free world⎯to possess an omniscient view of the shifting sands of global developments⎯ but to be “one of us,” sprung from the masses and chosen by us to point the way forward. So when a member of the media asks if a candidate for this high office knows the price of a gallon of milk or gas, it’s just as critical to constructing the framework we use for assessing a potential leader as a question about the U.S. trade imbalance with China. Smart pols now verse themselves on the prices of typical consumer goods in case the dreaded question should ever arise.

Those who were around for the presidency of George H.W. Bush remember with a cringe his sense of wonderment the first time he saw a grocery store scanner in action. It was an inadvertent slip, but it was damaging because it added to the already-popular narrative that Bush was out of touch with the American people.

Mitt Romney has tried everything to appear as though he were an average American. He’s lost the tie on occasion, he sometimes wears plaid shirts, he sports khaki Dockers. He even purposefully mis-arranged one cliff of his trademark Brylcreemed hair sculpture.

All it took was one ten-thousand-dollar bet, though, to reinforce his card-carrying membership in the hated one percent. You could almost see the wheels turning in his head: “I know, I’ll bet the S.O.B. ten bucks. No, let’s make it $10,000! That’ll really prove my point.”

That the relative amounts made so little difference to him is exactly his problem. It was a mere throwaway line, but it was a revealing window to his soul. He’ll have a devil of a time neutralizing its effects.

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Chan Lowe: Kiss the Hermanator goodbye


I’m going to miss the Hermanator. There’s no question he was the most entertaining figure in the race. The machine-gun accusations about his inappropriate sexual behavior and marital infidelity would have sunk a more moderate candidate far sooner, but fortunately he was the darling of ultra-right family-values types, and they tend to gloss over those foibles when it’s one of their own.

Of course, it’s hard to blame an affair of 13 years’ duration on the liberal media conspiracy, so it looks like this, not the back-of-the-limo couch rugby sessions, is what will finally bring our dauntless warrior down.

Mr. Cain, who may have invented his candidacy as a gimmick to spur book sales, either didn’t intend to become anything more than an asterisk in the race, or he possesses such an overarching ego that he assumed he could bully his way past the inevitable scrutiny into his past that a front-runner always attracts. Whichever alternative you choose makes him supremely unsuited to serve as the leader of the Free World, and we aren’t even talking about the women.

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Chan Lowe: Anybody but Mitt


It’s probably a smart move that Mitt Romney has revamped his Iowa strategy. Originally, he was going to let the crazies have Iowa and make his big move in New Hampshire.

The problem is that for the short period between the Iowa caucuses and the (presumably more rational) New Hampshire primary, he will have ceded all the media turf to whichever anti-Mitt happens to have captured lightning in a bottle for that particular moment, watering down his brand as the Inevitable One.

Contrary to popular belief, other people vote in the Iowa Republican caucuses (it turns out the plural is not “cauci” because it’s a Native American word, not a Latin one) besides Christian conservatives, so even a so-called heretic like Romney has a chance there if he devotes enough resources to the project.

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Chan Lowe: Sarah Palin goes for the greenbacks


Nobody is more dismayed about this turn of events than I am. Along with the rest of my colleagues in the editorial cartooning business, I was fervently hoping⎯no, praying⎯that Ms. Palin would conclude that the only way to save America from its socialistic death spiral was for her to offer herself up in patriotic service to the nation and constitution she holds so dear.

Little did I realize that Ms. Palin’s brand of demonstrating her allegiance is of the more mundane kind, that being the amassing of as many images of Benjamin Franklin and other famous dead presidents as she can.

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Chan Lowe: Chris Christie bows out


I don’t blame Chris Christie. The white-hot media scrutiny was just beginning to crank up, and it wasn’t going to be pretty. In the end, he still gets to misuse a state helicopter to fly to his son’s sporting events, and that’s almost as good as having Air Force One without the attendant hassles.

It looks like this is the best the Republicans are going to do, so they might as well start getting that lovin’ feeling. How frustrating it must be to have your opponent in the White House with a 42 percent approval rating, the economy in the toilet, and all you can scrape up are these two characters.

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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