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December 21, 2006


Remember, this was all happening in 1994. The century-old tradition of Northeastern small-government conservatism hadn't been murdered yet. No wonder these past positions give rise to a bit of nostalgia in the many Republicans who have grown disenchanted with recent party leadership.

I may well be a Republican if people like pre-pandering Mitt Romney still (1) existed (beyond Snowe, Collins, and Shays), and (2) had some degree of influence over the jihadis who have lately been running the GOP.

As is, gotta go with the party that believes in reality.

Remember, this was all happening in 1994.

Tsongas ran (and lost) in 1992. 1994 was the year of Hillarycare, the Contract with American, the Republican revolution, Newt Gingrich, et al.

Right, but Romney's campaign was in 1994. Presumably that's when he said that stuff. The Republican revolution hadn't overtaken everything (ie, Mass GOP) then. But not in 1992, either.

Gotcha, Elvis.

Tsongas was a liberal dem? WTF?

in fairness to TPM, the GOP has made "liberal" and "dem" into synonyms.

Tsongas was not a liberal dem. Or rather: he was liberal on a whole lot of issues, but his biggest issue was fiscal conservatism, and that overshadowed everything.

He was also, fwiw, less than impressive, if one happened to live in the same state with him. Though what summed up Tsongas for me was a non-public story: while a Rep, he decided to go on a tear about universities divesting from S. Africa. Since my Dad was at the time not so divesting, he came in for a bit of Tsongas' lectures. I believe that Dad at one point mentioned that in his view, while it would be neither appropriate nor particularly effective for universities to try to influence SA by divesting, it would be both fine and a lot more effective for the US government to impose some sort of economic sanctions, and asked Tsongas whether he would support such a move. Tsongas was apparently taken aback; the idea of using his own office to produce the effects he wanted, rather than lecturing other people about their failures to use their (less effective, and less appropriate) offices to produce those effects, apparently hadn't crossed his mind.

Then there was the time he made a big show of sleeping in the shanties some students had put up in Harvard Yard, and crept out and went off to some warmer bed after the cameras had left...

On further reflection: von, the question whether one would call Tsongas a liberal Democrat would depend heavily on how much weight to give fiscal issues. Really, he was pretty liberal (even in 1992 terms) on other issues.

"Gerson leaves out our big government governor in California – who like Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney promises magic fairy dust in the form of low taxes and lots of spending."

Just a line from an article over at Angry Bear. If you want more I'll link, but the source isn't important. I am just wondering if there is any truth to a "smoke & mirrors" Romney. Consider it an honest question.

Like Schwarzennegger, Reagan, George Bush in Texas and then as President, has Romney used bonds or something to postpone taxes and leave tough decisions to his successors?

I would not be surprised if this is the case, entirely based on von's enthusiasm.

I mean John McCain is a big-government spender? The main thing I remember about John McCain is that he opposed the tax cuts, especially after we were like, in a war.

So I would expect Mitt Romney to run on a committment to tax cuts and vague promises of unspecified spending cuts; then if elected push thru the tax cuts without really forcing the spending cuts thereby creating even huger deficits. Upon which the party faithful say:"We never thought this would happen. So very disappointed are we."

The plan is of course Norquist/Greenspan: drown the baby in the bathtub while the parents are sleeping. Force a fiscal crisis and rape the SS Trust Fund to pay off the bloodsucking rich. AFAIK, every President von ever voted for was part of this plan.

We ouught to understand what "Economic conservative" means in the Republican Party after 26 years.

Yes, we should - but all people see is the magical "tax cuts!," and vote accordingly.

(1) Why can no one spell "Giuliani"?

(2) To what extent does the group of "Guiliani" misspellers overlap with those who spell "Gandhi" as "Ghandi"?

(3) Can a man whose name is misspelled even by his supporters be elected president?

That is all.


When I did volunteer work for AI, Tsongas was one of the politicos most receptive to meeting with the NE regional office in Somerville, MA. he was very liberal on social issues.


At least the Gandhi misspellers can hide behind transliteration issues.

Inasmuch as I like Josh Marshall, I would like to point out that he didn't write the post to which von is referring. Although, of course, TPM is his baby.

Randy: what always bugs me about the Gandhi thing is that both g and gh, and d and dh, are different sounds in Hindi. So it always strikes me as a mistake like, oh, spelling 'Chile' 'Cilhe': a mistake that you wouldn't make if you knew the relevant language.

What makes this response odd is that I do not speak Hindi, so I have no right to feel this way at all.

(3) Can a man whose name is misspelled even by his supporters be elected president?

There's a joke to be made there about supporters of the present administration, but I'm far to congenial to make it.

Mitt Romney is a social liberal? Are we talking about the same man? The one who did his best to restrict the rights of gays to marry even after the Supreme Court of his state made it clear that not allowing them to would be blatant discrimination? That's a social LIBERAL?

Guiliani would have one major advantage as president: he would provide a huge amount of entertainment value. One would simply never know what was going to come out of his mouth next. Plus he wouldn't sit and look stunned and then hide if, FSM forbid, there was another 9/11 type crisis. He'd be there and doing something. Possibly even something helpful. But I wouldn't describe him as a social liberal. The man who turned NYC into Singapore-on-the-Hudson by enacting and enforcing laws such as cracking down on graffitti, letting cops who shoot an unarmed man off, and illegalizing eating on the city buses (yeah, I know, that one's largely ignored these days)? Arguably, some or all of his actions on the law and order side were useful, but they weren't the acts of a social liberal exactly.

@hilzoy: Harvard's endowment is the largest of any U.S. university, which makes it a significant economic actor. Its president's excuses for foot-dragging didn't go over well then, and are even less appealing now. But the question he posed to Tsongas was the right one.

@von: Many Republicans and former Republicans are hoping your party can manage to nominate someone like Mitt Romney. I have my doubts, but you have my sincere best wishes in that effort.

I'm glad you're off Giuliani, who stirs narrow partisan glee among Dems ("oh, please please please nominate someone that sleazy!!).

Romney is not a true Republican because he voted for Paul Tsongas.

Reasons to agree

1. A good republican would never vote for a Democrat.
2. A vote for a Democrat is a vote for the Devil himself. D is for Devil. Even if it is the just the primary and you vote for George H. Bush (like Romney) in the General election.

Reasons to disagree

1. Romney was a good republican because he was very practical. In 1992 there was no Republican primary. He had two options. He could sit on the side lines and not vote (like me this last election cycle) or he could vote for the best candidate who would not likely beat Bush in the General election. Romney chose the latter. This does not make him a bad republican.
2. Paul Tsongas was a fiscal conservative.
3. Paul Tsongas was a good guy.
4. I wish every Republican would have registered as independents in 1992 and voted for Paul Tsongus. Bush would have lost anyways, but we would have had Tsongus instead of Clinton. And now Hillary Clinton. Maybe George H. Bush would have one against Paul Tsongus. Two descent guys, that had nothing to do with Hollywood instead of Bill going against H. Bush in 1992.
5. Maybe Republicans should all claim independent, so that we can vote for Hillary in the Primaries and our guys in the General election.
6. There was no GOP primary contest in 92. In 1992 Mitt Romney voted against Bill Clinton twice.
7. I am a Romney fan, but not even I think Romney was smart enough to see that Bill Clinton was a bigger liability than George H. Bush was an asset for our Country. I am not going to attribute Mitt Romney of difficult political calculus. This was very basic addition. Vote once for the guy you like best, or vote twice? Hmm, let me see…

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