Calling President Barack Obama a “one percenter,” former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour made the point that Obama and GOP presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney hit golf balls at the same country club. While it’s true Barack’s estimated net worth is around $12 million, it’s also true Romney’s worth over 12-times as much. Both are rich by conventional metrics but their policy differences couldn’t be more dramatic. Romney wants a leaner, meaner government, scaled way back from Obama’s “socialist” ways, including his $1 trillion-over-ten-years health care overhaul, designed to insure some 30 million currently uninsured Americans. Romney and his 41-year-old Tea Party-backed VP House Budget Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) want to scale back the role of the federal government in providing entitlements and federal employment.
Barbour wants to turn the Occupy Wall Street movement on its head, claiming Obama and Romney are cut from the same cloth. “We’ve got two guys running for president, by the way, who are both very rich. Each one of them is in the top one percent in the United States,” hoping to reverse Democratic claims that the GOP is out of touch with ordinary taxpayers. When President John F. Kennedy ran for president in 1960, the same thing was said about the wealthy Kennedy clan. Barbour knows that one’s net worth doesn’t matter, only policy differences. Romney and Ryan want to end Medicare and Social Security as we know it. They both want to privatize the government’s two biggest entitlement programs to help reduce the deficit because they’ve signed Grover Norquist’s “No Tax Pledge.” Barabour hopes to convince more conservatives to back the GOP ticket.
Hosting an event for the National Bloggers Club in Tampa, Barbour hoped to persuade fellow conservatives to back Romney. While much has been said about expanding the GOP tent, the unwritten or spoken undercurrent at the RNC convention is Romney’s Mormon faith. Barbour would like to see more support from Christian evangelicals, the primary group that gave former President George W. Bush two terms in office. Because Bush left the country in economic ruins Jan. 20, 2009, he’s not welcome at the convention. Romney’s trying his utmost to convince voters to reinvent Supply Side Economics this year, despite transforming U.S. Treasury surpluses under former President Bill Clinton into the largest deficits in the nation’s history under Bush. Whatever Romney’s economic policies, the GOP knows he’s not accepted by Christian evangelicals.
Bush and his Vice President Dick Cheney’s absence from the convention suggests they’re both radioactive. Romney’s got Reagan nostalgia, starting over with Supply Side Economics. Mitt’s promises to add 12 million new private sector jobs but won’t say how he’s going to pull it off. Urging more tax cuts, Romney has already painted himself into corner when it comes to generating more tax revenue. Concerns about a “fiscal cliff” when Bush’s tax cuts expire at year’s end encourage Romney to continue to promise more tax cuts. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben S. Bernanke has warned House Republicans about cutting government spending, something basic to Romney’s economic plan. Despite the lowest tax rates in modern history, the government continues to struggle with today’s high unemployment with generating enough taxes to meet government debts.
Characterizing Obama as rich, Barbour hopes to end Democrats’ argument that the GOP is hopelessly out-of-touch with everyday voters. “Both of them are one percenters. And in fairness, both of them made their own money. Romney made his winning the confidence of people who invested their money . . . Obama make his money writing books about himself . . . “ said Barbour, suggesting that Barack is just as out-of-touch as Romney. Barbour, who presides over one of the nation’s poorest states, wants voters to forget about policy differences between Romney and Obama. He wants voters to focus purely on the candidates’ wealth. Forget about Romney and Ryan’s attempt to gut entitlements or scale back the federal workforce. Obama’s health care reform is the largest government entitlement since President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed Medicare into law July 30, 1965.
Barbour’s appeal to Christian conservatives to support Romney falls on deaf ears. “Mitt Romney’s not as conservative as I am. It’s a fact,” said Barbour, not stating exactly where the two part company. “But the difference between him and Obama in terms of their vision, their plan, their policies, their beliefs in the history and fundamentals principles of America are the greatest difference of any to presidential candidates in my lifetime . . . it behooves us to make sure Romney wins,” said Barbour. Barbour conveniently forgets when Clinton VP Al Gore ran against Bush in 2000. Barbour talks of Romney’s plan and policies but Mitt has yet to state his plan other than cutting taxes. Barbour can’t possibly believe a poor state like Mississippi benefits from ending government entitlements, especially aid to education, food stamps, welfare and health care benefits.
About the Author
John M. Curtis writes politically neutral commentary analyzing spin in national and global news. He’s editor of OnlineColumnist.com and author of Dodging The Bullet and Operation Charisma.