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We’re supposed to believe that Mitt Romney didn’t really want to run for president? Puh-leeze!

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Dan Balz of the Washington Post is a former neighbor and childhood friend of mine. He’s also one of the best political reporters in the business, which is why I don’t blame him for a certain dubious tale in his new book about the 2012 presidential campaign.

Balz isn’t the prevaricator in this case. He’s just passing along Mitt Romney’s claim that he didn’t want to run for president last year.

The claim sounds to me like one of Romney’s excuses for having lost. It’s like saying: If my heart had been in it from the get-go, I would have won in a landslide.

Here’s Sam Stein’s TAKE on Balz’s book — including a fascinating little tidbit about how Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan was supremely confident of victory on Election Day:

Over the Christmas break of 2010, Mitt Romney and his family took an internal poll on whether he should run for president once more. Twelve family members cast ballots. Ten said no. One of the 10 was Mitt Romney himself.

The doubts that the former Massachusetts governor harbored before ultimately launching his second unsuccessful bid for the presidency are one of several attention-grabbing details in “Collision 2012,” the newest book on the 2012 campaign.

Written by The Washington Post’s Dan Balz, the book is set to go on sale Aug. 6…The Huffington Post obtained a copy on Monday.

Meticulously reported, Balz’s subject is the entire 2012 presidential contest. But the main drama is the Republican primary…And the chief protagonist is just one of the candidates: Romney.

As Balz reports, Romney suffered far more from political cold feet than was previously known. When his family gathers in Hawaii on that Christmas break, he’s worried about the personal toll another campaign would take and whether Republican politics had become completely unsympathetic to a candidate with his background…

In an interview with Balz that’s placed at the very end of “Collision 2012,” Romney explained that he ultimately decided to run when he saw the other (leaving-something-to-be-desired) candidates in the GOP field.

“I didn’t think that any one of them had a good chance of defeating the president,” he told Balz, “and in some cases I thought that they lacked the experience and perspective necessary to do what was essential to get the country on track.”

Coming from one of the most respected reporters in politics, Balz’s account is perhaps the most highly anticipated of the 2012 campaign retrospective genre. His book on 2008 — “The Battle for America: The Story of an Extraordinary Election” -– didn’t get the accolades (or HBO movie) that “Game Change” did. But campaign veterans regarded it as the definitive take on that race…

Balz’s look into last year’s Republican primary is both substantive in its analysis of conservative politics and entertaining with its richly reported anecdotes.

(Snip)

By the time Election Day approached, Romney was confident he was going to win, as was widely reported. But Balz adds another gem to the story line: Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan was even more confident.

As he was preparing to fly to Boston in the later afternoon of Election Day, he was openly talking about resigning his chairmanship of the House Budget Committee immediately after the election and was already thinking of possible replacements to head the committee during the budget fight coming in the lame-duck session.

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27 Comments

  1. expdoc

    The anecdote fits perfectly with his personality, his history and specific stories I personally had related to me by the Romney campaign finance director in the state of Wisconsin.

    Prior to the election.

  2. Brian Opsahl

    Typical rich guy…first he’s the white horse Mormon guy who was destin to be President since he was born…rememebr that one…and it was said that Mitt full believed that crap.

    Second he spent over 8 years running…so really now that he’s the 2 time looser he didn’t really want to…wow.

  3. Steverino

    He would have to start paying taxes and there are no car elevators in the WH.

  4. Brian Opsahl

    Im glad our fellow Americans could see right through him and his help the rich guy plan…

  5. expdoc

    I always love the hypocritical criticism of the “rich guy” by the wacked out left.

    What they really mean to say is they don’t like a rich guy who doesn’t agree with their politics, because they are certainly led by a bunch of “rich guys”.

    Even better, given that the lefties think the government is the engine that should drive the economy (a model so succesful in so many social democracies in the past) I always wonder why you wouldn’t want a rich guy to be the one controlling the government?

  6. Brian Opsahl

    So doc now knows what we …really mean…wow…wacked out leftys …into the gutter again

    The rich guy crap doc comes from them getting the lions share of welfare on there corporate side….hows that sit in your Church doc…?

    I should dip into the gutter and tell us all what you rightwing nut jobs think….but i dont have a union card for looking card readings and palm telling…

  7. doc says the dreaded “lefties think the government is the engine that should drive the economy.”

    The inescapable fact of the matter is that government IS the engine that drives the economy. The only debate is over how that engine should run. But only an ignoramus believes that the economy runs by itself without involvement by government.

    The business world counts on government to build the infrastructure and tinker with market controls and tailor the tax code to the benefit of certain businesses and industries. The rhetoric we sometimes hear about the wonders of an unfettered economy and totally free markets is utter foolishness. There has never been a completely free enterprise system, and there never will be — no matter doc’s childishly naive concept of the system.

    If the government ever stepped back and allowed unfettered competition in the marketplace, the business world would scream to high heavens.

  8. expdoc

    So who better to run the engine that drives the economy than a rich guy who knows how to be successful? Liberals are hypocrites no matter how you look at it. It’s just sad that guys like Brian swallow the talking points hook, line and sinker.

  9. Orlando Clay

    expdoc opines: “So who better to run the engine that drives the economy than a rich guy who knows how to be successful?”

    How soon you Republican fools forget: We tried that strategy with the Bush/Cheney cabal and, hence, we ended up with the biggest economic disaster since the Great Depression. And we can only imagine the catastrophic results that would have occurred if Congress had permitted Bush’s crackpot idea to privatize Social Security to be implemented.

    Grow up, Doc.

  10. expdoc

    Grow up? Nice to see you too and have a happy 4th!

    But please help me out oh great one.

    I take it by your tone Orlando that you out of hand reject all wealthy individuals as viable political leaders.

    Just so I can join in too, can you please define how much money is too much money? When does an individuals net worth hit a value where I can mock them as a fool and thief and out of hand reject their ability to be involved in government?

  11. expdoc

    By the way, as for you comment about privitization of Social Security, I am pretty confident that the thousands of dollars that I have contributed to Social Security in my 25 years of working would have grown quite nicely in a private account.

  12. enrique

    I can see how it would be difficult for people to understand this given how selfish the world is today. Others might refuse to see it because their ideology limits their perspective.

    I think it has to do with Mitts sense of duty to serve. He may not have personally wanted to do this but was doing it to help others. It is in line with how he has lived his life and his beliefs.

    It is really that simple.

  13. Neftali

    People who blame Bush/Cheney for the recent major economic recession have no idea as to what were the actual causes.

  14. Steverino

    I don’t think the wrong turn taken to Iraq left us free and clear of any encumbrance.

  15. Neftali

    Steverino – Iraq had very little, if anything at all, to do with the Recession.

  16. Brian Opsahl

    Are you serious nef…?

    1.3 billion out of our economy….and all those soilders missing limbs will need tratment for many many years to come…right..!!

    you cannot yada yada this Iraq misstake..nef.

  17. Craig Knauss

    “People who blame Bush/Cheney for the recent major economic recession have no idea as to what were the actual causes.”

    Have you been under a rock? There is no “recent major economic recession”. It is a continuation of what started in late 2006. The economy bottomed out about mid 2009 and has been climbing slowly and fairly steadily ever since. While significant progress has been made, there is still a long way to go. And Brian’s “1.3 billion out of our economy” isn’t totally correct. That was for ONE MONTH while the wars were going on. We were getting hit for almost $400 million per day of expenses that had little or no long term economic life.

  18. expdoc

    ..”that had little or no long term economic life.”

    Really? Explain that, because the money is being spent somewhere on something so it must be having economic impact as well.

  19. Neftali

    Exactly. Brian and Craig for some reason keep on forgetting that military spending is in fact stimulus spending. I’d even argue that’s it is better spending than many failed left wing programs.

    Besides, $1.6 Billion is peanuts compared to the money lost in the private sector in the economic downturn of 2008-2009 where we lost trillions.

    The real reasons for the economic collapse were a variety of factors including:

    – Government Sponsored Entities pushing subprime mortgages, which is a direct action of liberals in Congress.
    – Not enough regulation of how the credit agencies score Credit Default Swaps
    – The repeal of the Glass-Steagall which enabled too many merges of investment and insurance institutions.
    – Zero regulation of the derivatives market.
    – And to a lesser extent, too many people trying to make a quick buck by flipping houses and banks allowing these people to become more leveraged far beyond what they can really afford.

    Or in short, a combination of a housing bubble and poor management of the financial sector. THAT’S what caused the economic recession. Not the Bush wars.

    Got it?

  20. Craig Knauss

    doc and nef,

    Learn to read. If a truck is built, it is used for years and has a long-term economic contribution (life) that is many times its initial cost. If a bomb is built its economic life essentially ends when it’s crated and shipped. And it has virtually no salvage value when it’s dropped. Why is that so hard for you guys to understand?

    And nef, how much is $1.3 billion a month over 10 years? Do you call that peanuts? And the zero regulation you whine about was pushed by your conservative buddies to free the markets and stimulate financial growth. Just like they did in the 1920s. It didn’t work then either.

    I know people who have worked at Hanford for 20 – 30 years. They made good money and spent it in town. So their labor had an economic benefit. But what benefit is there to weapons grade materials? They were put into bombs and stored for as much as 60 years. The bombs didn’t contribute anything to our economy.

    In short, the Bush wars sucked billions out of our economy that could have been spent on goods that generated more economic activity instead of blowing Iraqis to bits.

  21. expdoc

    Craig,

    Yes but you use many more bombs than trucks.Plus you have to build trucks to carry the bombs and somebody is getting paid to make the bombs and drop the bombs.

    In fact, apparently the need for bombs is endless.

    In addition, why would you want to keep building trucks? Don’t believe in climate change?

  22. Neftali

    Craig – Raw materials are usually a small fraction of costs in manufacturing, be it bombs or cars. By far the biggest costs is always labor. And labor spent making bombs is what makes up most of the cost. So in the end as far as budgets are concerned, the end result of the material doesn’t matter much. So again the whole point is that money spent on labor (or raw materials for bombs) absolutely had absolutely nothing to do with the recession.

    To further prove my point, ask Pat what brought us out of WWII. He will readily point to massive amounts of stimulus and debt that brought us out of the Depression from war spending.

    So again, claiming that Iraq had anything to do with the recession is naive and stupid.

  23. Neftali

    Want more proof? Fine.

    Go buy Nate Silver’s book. Pat and I both have a high degree of respect for his analytic opinions.

    Nate spends several chapters talking about causes of the Recession. No where does he mention anything about Iraq. Instead, it’s all about the points which I listed above.

    Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Signal-Noise-Many-Predictions/dp/159420411X

  24. Steverino

    Sorry Nef but war plus tax cuts does not equal economic prosperity. Time to stop dusting off those pictures of Bush and Cheney in your bubble.

  25. Neftali

    Tax cuts does equal economic prosperity, as evidenced by every single CBO projection ever. And like I said, spending money on manufacturing does in fact help the economy, as evidenced by WWII.

  26. Craig Knauss

    nef and doc,

    You guys are unbelievable. Especially your lack of historical knowledge. Yes, WWII spurred the economy. But have you ever seen the pictures of planes, etc. being dumped into the sea at the end of the war. Our government dumped them so our economy wouldn’t collapse. And, no, we don’t use more bombs than trucks. That was an incredibly stupid comment. How many atomic bombs have we dropped? We probably built thousands of them and have only dropped TWO in warfare. The rest are in storage. So what economic activity are they generating.

    And nef, apparently you do not know much about ordnance manufacturing. Very little of what is put into ordnance can be used for something else. Yes, some plutonium has been recovered to make MOX fuel. And theoretically some TNT can be recovered – if it’s not too old and unstable. I live close to one of the Chem Demil plants. Thousands of shells of mustard and nerve gas were destroyed. Yes, the workers were getting paid, but they were getting paid with tax dollars to destroy the crap. It was money that could have been spent on education, highways, etc.

    Every time we’ve ended a war, we’ve had a recession of varying degree. That’s because the end products of our war did not have a long term economic life. Hoover Dam, which was finished in the 1930s is still generating economic activity. Vietnam, which ended in 1974, is not.

  27. Neftali

    Craig – You’re delving way too deep into this.

    Is there a long term economic benefit to war? Of course not. And I never suggested as such. I just stated that it is a economic stimulus, which you agree with. The whole point was disproving that ridiculous notion that increased war spending causes a recession, which is what Orlando was claiming.

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