Jim Brown is a Louisiana legislator, Secretary of State and Insurance Commissioner.
The focus for Mitt Romney last week at the Republican National Convention was supposed be his plan to create jobs and strengthen the economy. It was supposed to be all about the candidate, with the party faithful rallying around both him and his vision to put Americans back to work. Romney and his wife did their job and carried the main political load. But overall, just how well did Romney and his supporting cast rate with voters throughout the country in “closing the deal?”
Some 4000 Republican delegates and party officials are converging in Tampa this week, with Democrats heading for Charlotte next week. Network television stations are allowing only three hours of national coverage for each convention. So voters apparently are just not tuning in, at least for now. And it’s not just some guy named Isaac who is trying to dampen the political enthusiasm. Political conventions just do not stir up national interest the way they have in the past.
For months during the Republican presidential primary campaign, Mitt Romney has tried to focus the debate on economic issues. He has continually argued that the campaign should be about the economy and job creation. “Bill Clinton beat George Bush by talking about only the economy,” he would argue. But try as he did during the campaign season, his cohorts, also seeking the Republican nomination, kept bringing up those nasty social issues.
But now that he’s the Republican nominee, Mitt is calling the shots and controlling the GOP agenda. He’s on the attack and seems to be doing a pretty good job of keeping the Democrats on the defensive. But there’s just one problem. Romney’s Achilles heel is Republican members of congress, including his new vice presidential nominee, who keep undermining what Romney hopes to be a disciplined conservative economic agenda.
A year ago he was an intriguing possible choice. Key Romney operatives were putting Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on their “watch list.” The young Bayou State’s chief executive had conservative stalwarts like Rush Limbaugh and Bill Krystol praising his strong credentials that qualified him to become the Republican vice presidential nominee of choice. But when all was said and done, Jindal‘s actions and inactions rapidly relegated him to a list of second tier candidates.
Sarah Palin seems to be back in vogue, and she’s barnstorming the country supporting, with a good measure of success, a number of Tea Party candidates. Her latest success is Texan Ted Cruz, who last week won the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in the Longhorn state. And she continues to advocate states rights, and even secession, for states that have had their fill of the federal government. Maybe the lady is on to something that could interest my home state of Louisiana.
If you could sit down with each of the two presidential candidates, President Obama and Mitt Romney, what would you ask them? What insights would you be looking for? What knowledge would you expect them to have? And just how much difference do you think they could really make?
Most likely, the nation’s financial problems would be at the top of anyone’s list. “It’s the economy, stupid,” says the Ragin’ Cajun, James Carville. But can a president really make that much difference in solving the country’s economic woes? I tend to agree with a number of financial observers who say that no president has all that much influence on major economic change.
In an effort to end up on the Romney ticket as the vice presidential nominee, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has been out of the state almost 30% of the time in recent months, crisscrossing the nation speaking and raising money on Romney’s and his own behalf. He’s rarely been visible in his home state, but voters are getting to know him far and wide in the likes of New Jersey, Alabama, Oklahoma, North Carolina, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Virginia, Illinois, West Virginia, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, D.C., Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington State. So the question is -- who’s in charge when the Louisiana Governor is on the road?
You would think that in an election year, with anti-tax fervor at an all time high, our politicians at state and national levels would be adverse to mining every nook and cranny for more taxes. Democrats, generally, are more willing than Republicans to hop on a new tax bandwagon. But now it looks like Republican governors, in a desperate attempt to send more revenue to state coffers, are quite willing to stick purchasers with sales taxes for whatever they buy online.
by Jim Brown
In the current presidential campaign, both parties harp on number of national problems that cry out for solutions. The economy, tax reform, healthcare, and immigration all command front-page status in the continuing political debate. But one issue is rarely discussed. In fact, it seems to be overlooked or ignored by both the Romney and the Obama campaigns -- the dramatic loss of American freedoms.
But that can’t be, you say. After all, America is “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” No country has the individual freedoms found in the United States, our leaders continually tell us. No other country comes close to the economic and individual freedoms found here at home. Well, maybe not.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal summed up Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s problem pretty well. Jindal told the Wall Street Journal last week that “there is only one candidate, Governor Romney, who has committed that he will repeal the Obomney, uh, the Obamacare tax increase.” A slip of the tongue, on a subject that continues to be an Achilles’ heel for Romney as he campaigns against the Obama healthcare plan. The question he will be answering for the coming months is simple. How can Romney run and campaign against the same healthcare plan that he initially proposed when he was Governor of Massachusetts?