published Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Mitt Romney has a problem

George W. Bush is gone from the White House, but his presidency remains prominent in the memory of most Americans. That's not good for Mitt Romney, the likely Republican presidential nominee who must deal with the questionable legacy of the former president.

Romney, just 155 delegates short of the 1,144 need to win the nomination after Tuesday's primary victories in Oregon and Nebraska, is between a rock and a hard place when it comes to the 43rd president. If he ignores him, it could cost him votes and money. If he is viewed as too friendly to him, it could cost him votes, too.

George W. Bush remains a divisive political figure. Polls show that many Americans -- and would-be voters -- still blame him for the state of the economy and for the Iraq war. That opprobrium is not limited to Democrats, who view Bush and his record as fair game. Many staunch Republicans, particularly moderates, prefer not to discuss his record, either. They understandably view it as a negative in the current campaign.

Romney can't afford to repudiate George W. Bush. The former president has kept a low profile since leaving the White House. Nevertheless, he remains a powerful figure and significant fund-raiser in districts and states with heavy, conservative Republican majorities. Any real or perceived snub from Romney towards Bush, then, could alienate a big bloc of voters and dry up a ready source of cash. If that occurred, it could inflict a major wound on the Romney campaign.

The same thing could happen if Romney is viewed as too cozy with the former president. One of the Obama campaign's most persistent and credible charges against the GOP front-runner is that he would reinstate Bush tax, job and economic policies that favor the wealthy few at the expense of the middle class and the poor. If Romney yokes himself in any meaningful way to George W. Bush, it gives credence to those arguments and strengthens the Democratic cause.

So far, Romney has managed to tiptoe around the Bush problem. He rarely refers to his predecessor by name and ignores his role in undermining the U.S. economy. Instead, he blames President Obama for all ills, conveniently overlooking the positive changes that have taken place in the last three-plus years.

Romney's dilemma was clearly evident Tuesday, when George W. Bush told a reporter in Washington, D.C. that "I'm for Mitt Romney." There was no elaboration. Even so, the Romney campaign was less than thrilled. Rather than trumpet the news, as it did following other high-profile endorsements, a spokesman barely acknowledged it with a statement that read. "We welcome the president's [George W. Bush] support, as we welcomed his father's."

Romney can ignore the Bush record and his party's embrace of the policies that created it. If he wants to be president, though, he'll have to explain how his platform is different. So far, he has failed to do so.

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.

Mitt Romney spent a day not answering questions. Did he hire Chuck Fleischmann as a consultant?

May 17, 2012 at 1:01 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

Clinton was likewise a huge liability for Gore in the 2000 election - but for different reasons, of course. I think that Gore would have easily won if Clinton had been able to keep his pants zipped up. But then, it's hard to say. You can't very well win when the opposing party is so good at stealing an election.

May 17, 2012 at 1:21 a.m.

Well I am one that thought there could never be a President as bad as G.W. but then the people of this country elected a person they knew nothing about. Well lets just say it has not worked out so well, and even Obama has made Bush look almost intelligent.

May 17, 2012 at 7:06 a.m.
timbo said...

This idiot Harry Austin said, "George W. Bush remains a divisive political figure." Well, what in the heck do you think Obama is??????

I never thought anyone could be worse than the big spending, Rino, George Bush but Obama proved me wrong. He is much worse.

Romney should ignore liberal mouthpieces like the idiot that writes for the left side of the editorial page because this advice is a just a little biased. If I was Romney I would do the exact opposite that Mr. Austin suggests.

So, Mr. Romney, cozy up to President Bush because he looks like the second coming versus that imbecile Obama.

May 17, 2012 at 10:42 a.m.
jesse said...

MITTS biggest problem is hisownself! it's like his hobby is "shootin hisself in the foot" after livin for 73 years and payin attention this is w/o a doubt the most inept campaign i have seen to date! and after watchin mccain's last go around thats sayin a BUNCH!! BUT the way scott mayfield is conducting his race? may have to update that opinion!

May 17, 2012 at 11:39 a.m.
joneses said...

And you libtard dummycrats want more of this?

The National Defense Authorization Act was signed into law in December by President Obama, allowing for the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism. The law gave the government authority to move against individuals who engage in political speech with views that "may be extreme and unpopular as measured against views of an average individual.

Attorney Carl Mayer, speaking for plaintiffs at oral arguments earlier this year, had noted that President Barack Obama said the bill should be upheld and enforced to the fullest intentions of the bill.

After the ruling, Mayer called on the Obama administration to drop its decision to enforce the law. He also called on Congress to change it "to make it the law of the land that U.S. citizens are entitled to trial by jury. They are not subject to military detention, policing and tribunals, all the things we fought a revolution to make sure would never happen in this land."

This is a perfect example of where obastard's definition of moving this country forward means. Forward to obastard means to quiet the citizens by eliminating freedom of speech so he and his fellow communist supporters can arrest anyone that disagrees with them or anything else he does not like. Is this what you liberal fools want? Thank God a judge had enough sense to rule against this complete unconstitutional law that obastard signed.

May 17, 2012 at 12:16 p.m.
chatt_man said...

Hey joneses - this may not seem as bad as it sounds. It says "allowing for the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism. The law gave the government authority to move against individuals who engage in political speech with views that "may be extreme and unpopular as measured against views of an average individual." Hell, that's Obama to a tee.

Well crap, I see in here where it says they have to be an American Citizen... Obama would just go back to the non-citizenship he went to college on.

May 17, 2012 at 2:40 p.m.
joneses said...


I guess we that refer to obastard as obastard will be arrested and held indefinitely as that could be deemed as "extreme and unpopular as measured against views of an average individual (liberal)."

May 17, 2012 at 3:29 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Joneses, I don't think anyone would consider your predictably constant, boring use of the term "obastard" as being extreme enough for you to be detained or locked up....just extreme enough to make you a moron.

May 17, 2012 at 4:08 p.m.
conservative said...

Obamination only wishes he had "a" problem instead of the many he does have.

May 17, 2012 at 4:25 p.m.
joneses said...


I do not know what is wrong with obastard? Obama was born out of wedlock making him a bastard and I add the "O" to honor the Irish heritage he claimed to have. Maybe you need to get your mind out of the gutter. And thanks for telling me using obastard is not enough to get me arrested now I can rest at ease knowing it is okay to use this term. Thanks for your support stupid.

May 17, 2012 at 8:22 p.m.
lightkeeper said...

You know what Joneses, you have about as much intellegence as a split pea. I hope and pray you don't have children so you can raise then up to be a ignorant right wing bleephole like yourself..heaven forbid!

May 17, 2012 at 9:13 p.m.

So Mitt Romney's own words:

Uh, I'm actually going to to, I'm not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was. And with regards to, uh, I'll go back and take a look at what was said there.

May 17, 2012 at 11:11 p.m.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »


Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.