Questions for Romney

Just in case he might be in the mood to take questions, how about asking him something other than “Tell us about your gaffes”?

While there’s some disconnect between “This is a holy place” and “Kiss my @ss,” I have to admit some sympathy for Romney’s spokesgeek. His guy has been looking like a fool, and the press has been taking delight in reporting it.  Worse, the traveling reporters seem to be incapable of asking a question that might have an intelligent answer:

Gov. Romney, are you concerned about some of the mishaps on your trip?

Gov. Romney, do you have a statement for the Palestinians?

What about your gaffes?

Governor Romney do you feel that your gaffes have overshadowed your foreign trip?

I mean, really: have you stopped beating your wife? What’s he supposed to say? “No, I’m not worried about my gaffes”?

So, just on the off-chance that Romney is chastened enough to be willing to take some questions, here are some questions he might be asked to take:

* Gov. Romney, Rep. Michelle Bachmann and four of her colleagues have charged that the Muslim Brotherhood has undue influence over U.S. foreign policy and have demanded an investigation of Huma Abedin’s family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Frank Gaffney, the originator of those charges, has also charged that Grover Norquist is a Muslim Brotherhood agent of influence.  Do you think Rep. Bachmann and her colleagues were justified in publicly challenging Ms. Abedin’s loyalty? Do you think Gaffney’s charges should be investigated?

* Gov. Romney, comparing your tax proposals with those of President Obama, how much money would you, personally, save in taxes over the next five years if your proposals became law?

* Gov. Romney, how many years of tax returns are you requiring that candidates for vice-president submit to your vetting operation?

* Gov. Romney, did you ever take advantage of the IRS amnesty on undisclosed foreign bank accounts?

* Gov. Romney, when you claimed to be the Chief Executive Officer of Bain Capital in SEC filings between 1999 and 2002, were those claims true or false?

* Gov. Romney, are labor unions people?

* Gov. Romney, your very first general election campaign spot showed President Obama saying “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.” In fact, he was quoting an adviser to John McCain. PoliFact rated that ad “Pants on Fire” and called it “ridiculously misleading.” Do you take responsibility for that attempt to deceive the voters? Do you believe that sort of tactic is appropriate in a Presidential campaign?

Note that Romney can keep ducking: until the debates. Then, for a few precious minutes, we will get to see if there are any journalists left in America. I’m not especially hopeful.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

9 thoughts on “Questions for Romney”

  1. More to the point: Governor Romney, how much lower would your personal tax bill have been this year if you, rather than Barack Obama, were President?

    Romney’s policies probably mean hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in savings, annually, in taxes on his end (this is in a normal year and not in a 2010/2011 year where he’s rigging his taxes for election purposes and claiming as little income as possible).

  2. Those are great questions, Mark.

    “Kiss my ass. This is a holy site….”. That is destined to be a classic.

    1. Destined to be on “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” at any rate. Practically made to order.

  3. Well, as someone who — like most voters — hasn’t been obsessively following every single campaign event, but did get the impression he sucked up hard to Israel (didn’t he blame culture for the Palestians’ economy?), I’m wondering why “Do you have a statement for the Palestinians?” isn’t a worthwhile question to ask.

    I mean, yours are good, too, but isn’t it good journalism to ask a powerful figure to address a marginalized group that the figure has (unfairly) denigrated?

  4. A comment I saw yesterday, possibly at Huffington, raised an interesting point about Romney’s 2009 taxes.

    The 2010 return shows estimated payments of $1,369,095.

    When you make estimated payments it’s normal to make them in an amount at least equal to your prior year’s tax, and many taxpayers pay that exact amount. This avoids incurring penalties for underpaying estimated taxes. Since the form show no penalty for underpayment of estimated tax it’s a fair bet that Romney’s 2009 tax bill was $1,369,095 or less, (I’m ignoring the $112 in withholding he also paid.) or about half the 2010 figure.

  5. Next time he’s through the midwest:

    Governor Romney: Is Ohio much poorer than New York because it’s culturally inferior, like Palestine, Mexico, and Ecuador?

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