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May 3, 2012

It’s a New May…

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Written for: Communicado Magazine
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As it turns out, April WAS a make or break month for the Republicans. Rounding out much bristle, both Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich suspended their campaigns, leaving Mitt Romney as the imminent Republican presidential candidate. And, out of no where, every Republican has suddenly decided that Romney is such a wonderful candidate for the party and offered their endorsements. 🙂

I feel like endorsements don’t really mean anything anymore. It’s as if they’re all bipolar; In one instance they’re tearing each other down and in the next they’re offering high-fives. But, April wasn’t just about clearing the field… It was also boiling over with social issues and electability details…

Issue One: Tax Returns

There was more talk about the candidates and their tax returns. The litmus test appears to be the fact that Mitt Romney’s father, George, released 12 years of tax returns when he ran for the Republican nomination in 1968. Mitt has gone on-record saying he would not release 12 years, but, would consider releasing multiple years at some point.

President Obama has already made public several years and as soon as his 2011 returns were completed, he released them as well. The other Republican candidates have made a HUGE deal of the fact that Mitt would not do it. They released their tax returns and now they’re not even in the race anymore. So now, as private citizens, their tax returns are public record. I think this whole subject is misplaced…

According to the IRS, taxpayers need only retain three years of tax returns at a time – six years for income from self-employment. These are the timeframes the IRS uses to determine audits. That’s a good enough litmus test for me. And without pretty conclusive evidence that I was the party’s nominee, I wouldn’t release anything. And I would say so…

“My fellow Americans: I am a wealthy man. I have worked hard to amass my wealth and enjoy the fruits of my labor. It’s the American dream and I want to put every person within earshot in the position to create the same for themselves.

With regard to my tax returns, I am in the process of campaigning to BECOME the Republican nominee for the presidency. If I am lucky enough to win the nomination, I will provide the right amount of evidence of my worth as a candidate. Until that time, I remain a private citizen and will continue to value my privacy.”

Once my candidacy was all but for sure, my speech about my tax returns would go something like this:

My fellow Americans: Today, as I accept the nomination as the Republican candidate for President of the United States, I officially concede my position from private citizen to public figure….

(Other political propaganda in-between)

…As such, I also want to address the issue of releasing my tax returns. Today, I am releasing three years of tax returns. The IRS only requires taxpayers to retain three years of tax returns and I think that’s a great guideline with which to meet this expectation.”

Tax returns are a private matter and should remain that way unless absolutely necessary. Enough said.

Issue Two: Working women vs. Stay-at-home-Moms

Been an issue for decades. Now it’s a topic of debate in the election cycle? It got sparked by a political strategist who took issue with Ann Romney’s station as a stay-at-home-Mom.

As we know, Mitt Romney is having difficulties with the women’s vote. Women of ANY kind aren’t getting that he’s sensitive to issues of importance to them. In response to this, Romney said he often talks to his wife about where women stand on economic issues and she often has good advice for him.

The strategist said, “Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life,” to suggest that her advice about economic issues might not be a good campaign selling point to women. Ann responded that raising five boys and keeping the home in order is work. Thereafter, the issue became whether raising children and managing the home is work or not. This is where the men should bow out of the conversation…

Women have been engaged in class warfare over this issue as long as I can remember and they’re still at it. As a man, I can only sum up what I think is happening: The point the strategist was making is that Ann Romney is in no position to give business and economic advice to her husband or anyone. If she wants to give advice about being a Mom, she’s first in line. But, this is about the business world, of which she is not a member. No woman from the business world is going to give her any credibility on economic issues, thus, giving her husband credit for being sensitive to women’s issues. Too much of a stretch, but, good effort.

We all got that point no matter how the strategist said it. But, it did piss off a lot of women and gave a lot of men license to ask the question. Thank you to all the men who’ve been reporting on this that they’ve been bright enough to just ask the question, then let the ladies duke it out over the answer. Good job. But, the question nobody asked was with all of that money, how much did the housekeeper do and how much did Ann do?

In the end, Mitt Romney’s social positions will prevent him most of the women’s vote no matter what he tries to do to change it. He really should just leave that alone and focus on the evangelical vote, the tea party vote and most importantly, the traditional Republican voter. Those groups are how Bush 43 was re-elected despite his low popularity at the time. Incumbency helped greatly as well, but, President Obama has that on his side this time. This, is gonna be a close one…

So we go into May with the President making his campaign official and Mitt Romney the presumed Republican challenger. My prediction: The divide between conservative and liberal is going to be displayed in full regalia over the next six months. What we will find out in November is where we stand as a country. Are we a country of liberal thinking or a country of conservative values?

It is truly a new May…