It is terrible that conservatives are out there distorting the records of each candidate. Or worse passing along wrong information without checking facts. All of them have qualifications and disqualifications. But can we get away from what they say they will do and compare what they actually did when they were afforded governing power?
I was talking to a nationally published conservative author and speaker today who had absolutely no clue that Newt Gingrich gave the “keynote” rebuttal AGAINST Al Gore on Cap and Trade legislation. This is a travesty not just of conservative media, but those we surround ourselves with.
Sorry in advance to those supporting Santorum and Paul. For Florida at least, this is a 2 man race. My apologies in advance for the lack of objectivity. The more I read about how wildly Romney lies about his record (and distorts Newt’s), I realize I simply can’t address this without showing emotion. But I am trying to give an ACCURATE snapshot of anything that could be considered conservative or liberal on both.
What are their biggest accomplishments actually governing?Mitt Romney as MA Governor
- 4 years as governor – 220 days absent his last year.
- Scored a 55 on CATO scorecard of Governors.
- Had a Democrat Controlled Congress.
- Promised no new taxes and raised them excessively.In 2003, Romney actually set the record for the most fee increases enacted by a state, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. In addition, he raised over $300 million dollars from businesses by “closing loopholes” on subchapter S corporations but this loophole closing actually resulted in doubling the tax rates. Indeed, as Peter Nicholas, chairman of Boston Scientific stated, “when Mitt Romney became governor in 2003, subchapter S corporations that were owned by Massachusetts business trusts were taxed at 5.3 percent…..By the time Romney left office, the tax rate on these corporations had climbed to 9.8 percent.” *
- Was 47th out of 50 in job creation of all Governors. If Katrina had not hit he would have been lower.
- State spending ended $5.2 billion dollars higher when he began office.
- He left a
$3 billion deficit$2 billion deficit via RomneyCare in unfunded liability. (Romney also claimed he turned $3 Billion deficit into $1 Billion surplus. Truth is it was only a $1.2 Billion deficit cut with gutting education and raising taxes. The “rainy day” fund ended up only being $77 Million surplus NOT a $1 Billion surplus.)
- He spent millions on pork projects such as buying new cars for welfare recipients.
- Initiated most liberal progressive socialized health care of any state in history. 50% (2010 poll) dislike it, and costs are higher than other states.
- Allowed Planned Parenthood to be incorporated into MA law by name as part of the oversight of parts of the program.
- Used executive orders to implement gay marriage
- Romney spent millions of state money pursuing Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and although they dumped it, then created the Massachusetts Climate Protection Plan
- Romney dramatically limited emissions on six power plants, even going so far as to claim – with radical environmentalists at his side – that one power plant had killed 59 people.
- He continued to grant state aid to four “sanctuary cities” in Massachusetts with no effort made to restrict this assistance. Contrary to his campaign propaganda there was no bill or effort to give drivers licenses to illegals that he “fought.”
- One of his own endorsers (Powerline) admit, “…there is no question that Governor Romney’s initial fiscal discipline slacked off in the second half of his term…” Note: Said another way, he couldn’t even be fiscally responsible for more than 2 years.
Romney’s conservative initiatives?
- He consolidated the social service and public health bureaucracy and restructured the Metropolitan District Commission.
- Romney even eliminated half of the executive branch’s press positions, saving $1.2 million. (yes million).
- In May of 2004, he proposed cutting the state’s income tax rate from 5.3% to 5.0%. He failed. Three times.
- He pushed for legislation that increased the number of hours each week recipients must work and establishing a five-year limit for receiving benefits.
- He forced Medicaid recipients to make co-payments for some services and for new state workers to increase contributions from 15% to 25%.
- He changed the state pension system by moving it from a defined benefit system to a defined contribution system.
- He vetoed a “card check” system for unions.
- He vetoed a minimum wage law.
Romney left office without running for a second term with approval ratings under 35%.
Newt Gingrich as GA Congressman and Speaker of the House
- 33 years as Congressman including 4 as Speaker of the House
- Lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 90%
(most recent year was for 1998 at 100%)* **
- He had a Democrat controlled Congress up until 1994, a Democrat President and Senate from 1992 until 1998
- Helped Reagan pass biggest tax cut in 50 years as Minority Whip, called out George Bush on breaking his promise and led (as a legislator) a Democrat President to do the same.
- Art Laffer confirms Gingrich helped on a team that designed “Supply Side Economics.”
- Supported/Championed policies that created 11 Million jobs.
- National Taxpayers Union’s Annual Scorecard on reduced spending and taxes gave Gingrich an “A”, for his last four years in office, ranking him #1, #4, #2 and #11 and as one of the most conservative members in Congress.
- Led a Balanced Budget initiative with a Democrat President. As a Speaker not an Executive Branch Leader and not in control of the Senate or Executive Branch. He balanced the budget 4 times creating the first surplus in decades.
- $400 billion in debt was paid off during time as Speaker, although Gingrich agreed with Reagan on deal that ended up running deficits until 1988.
- Fought and defeated HillaryCare both in strategy, as well as political and legislative maneuvering.
- On third try got a Democratic President and Senate to initiate Welfare Reform that put 60% of recipients to work.
- Gingrich’s pro-life voting record is 98.6%, 70 out of 71 votes.
- Brought two partial birth abortion bills to Clinton that served as the model for what was passed under George W. Bush.
- He helped Reagan’s initiative to eliminate 12 of 94 programs and cut budgets of many others like the SBA more than 50%.
- He identified, recruited, campaigned for and helped organize over the biggest minority opposition swing getting 367 Congressional candidates to sign the Contract With America. This resulted in a NET GOP pickup of 52 seats in the House, 8 in the Senate and 11 Governorships.
- Multiple conservatives congressmen got their political start including:Jon Kyl
- Contract With America – (1995 Description): “…represented the culmination of 30 years of creative conservative thinking dealing with the basic social and economic problems of modern America. The ideas provided the background for the widest range of legislative initiatives, certainly since the 1930s, and possibly at any time in American political history.”
- Contract With America, summarized: The ten items in the Contract were all acted upon in the first 100 days of the new Congress, which is what the signatories had pledged. Nine of the ten items in the Contract passed the House: Only the constitutional amendment on term limits (which required a two-thirds vote) was defeated. Out of a total of 302 roll call votes on issues related to the Contract With America, the conservatives prevailed on 299 of them. A balanced budget amendment passed in the House by a 300-123 margin but was subsequently defeated as it fell one vote short of the two-thirds needed for passage in the U.S. Senate. The overall margin by which the items in the Contract were passed averaged about 70 percent despite the fact that the Republicans only held a 12-seat margin over the Democrats (52-48 percent, the smallest House majority margin in 40 years). Given the notorious lack of party discipline in the American Congress, the passage by a large majority of nearly all of the items in the Contract was a remarkable achievement. I can’t adequately cover all 10 initiatives and their profundity but they include:
- Congressional Reform including Congress being subject to the law they pass
- Balanced Budget with Line Item Veto (failed Senate, passed Veto but declared unconstitutional)
- Anti-crime package (truth in sentencing, more law enforcement help)
- Personal Responsibility (ultimately became Welfare Reform)
- Tax Package Including Child Tax Credit, Elimination of Marriage Penalty, Savings Account, Middle Class Tax Relief
- Disallow US Troops from serving under foreign authorities like the UN
- Frivolous Litigation vetoed by Clinton but tort reform override veto.
- Job Creation act included capital-gains cuts and indexation, neutral cost recovery, risk assessment/cost-benefit analysis, strengthening the Regulatory Flexibility Act and unfunded mandate reform to create jobs and raise worker wages. Other sections of the Contract include a proposed Family Reinforcement Act (tax incentives for adoption, strengthening the powers of parents in their children’s education, stronger child pornography laws, and elderly dependent care tax credit) and the Senior Citizens Fairness Act (raise the Social Security earnings limit, repeal the 1993 tax hikes on Social Security benefits and provide tax incentives for private long-term care insurance). The only bill that failed was Term Limits.
- He is the longest-serving teacher of the Joint War Fighting course for Major Generals at Air University and taught officers from all five services as an honorary Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Professor at the National Defense University.
Gingrich’s “Liberal” Legislation?
- Supported Reagan in Simpson-Mazzoli Amnesty Bill
- Voted to raise taxes twice with Reagan.
- Would vote for earmarks in exchange for conservative legislative votes.
When Newt became Speaker in 1995 congressional approval was about 20%. When he resigned the Speakership four years later, it was about 60%. Now it’s 11%.
It is interesting how Romney is mostly lauded for conservative positions he never implemented, or was able to pass, when he was a governing leader and Gingrich is chastised for supposed liberal positions for which there is no voting record evidencing it. When it comes down to what they accomplished when in power to govern – Gingrich acted more like a Conservative President, and Romney more like a Compromising Legislator.
Similarly, why there is no evidence that Gingrich ever voted against something he campaigned on, Romney broke numerous pledges to both liberals and conservatives in his state.
So I leave it up to you to conclude who is more likely to do what they say.
(If I have omitted any major legislation that was passed into law for either – please submit in contact page so I can add it).
**Santorum lifetime ACU rating is only 83%, 84% for 1998 alone. David Keene, who headed the organization during most of Gingrich’s 20 years in Congress, said Gingrich’s rating is high in part because the issues on which he deviated were not voted on in Congress, and votes determine the group’s scorecard. While he’s not a conservative, he’s a partisan. He’s done a lot for conservatives. His speakership was basically conservative,” said Keene, who calls Gingrich a friend but is neutral in the 2012 race. Keene gives no substantive fact for his assertion and doesn’t explain why Gingrich wouldn’t vote for non-conservative positions if indeed he wasn’t a conservative. He similarly doesn’t comment on Santorum’s ideas that didn’t make it into law or Romney’s.
hat tip: @OhSuzyQz
Gulag Bound, and other key sources.