When Trustworthiness is an Unreasonable Expectation for Leaders, the Skill Set for the Most Important Problems becomes the Standard “Those are my views, and if you don’t like them, well then, I’ll change them.” Allegedly by Mitt Romney, Presumptive GOP Presidential Nominee Post: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 Vol. V, No. 15 3:13 pm I
When Trustworthiness is an Unreasonable Expectation for Leaders, the Skill Set for the Most Important Problems becomes the Standard
“Those are my views, and if you don’t like them, well then, I’ll change them.”
Allegedly by Mitt Romney, Presumptive GOP Presidential Nominee
Post: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 Vol. V, No. 15 3:13 pm
I heard that Mitt Romney ended his speech last weekend to a group of the GOP faithful by saying, “Those are my views, and if you don’t like them, well then, I’ll change them.” That bit of humor reveals Romney’s biggest problem among fiscal conservatives: you can’t trust him to be the conservative he now claims to be; too much history of flip-flopping to the contrary.
During the last decade, the nation trusted Republicans with all of the power and they let us down. Under Republican President George W. Bush, and a Republican congress led by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Republicans spent money like crazed liberal Democrats and started The Great Recession that cost us 8.5 million jobs and brought our country to the brink of bankruptcy.
Who can be trusted? Is trustworthiness too much to expect in our political leaders?
In the fall of 2008, there was only one other option on the ballot: the Democrats. So, we put them in charge with great hope for change in Washington and a restoration of our country’s financial integrity. Well, that turned out to be the proverbial fox guarding the henhouse.
Now we are stuck: do we keep the big spending liberals in power who have not figured out how to get us back on our own two feet or do we put the big spending conservatives in power who knocked us off our feet in the first place?
Have we forgotten that during the administration of Republican President George W. Bush we went from a budget surplus to a national debt of $4.9 trillion? Have we forgotten that the banking crisis, subprime mortgages crisis, real estate crisis, Wall Street meltdown, bank bailouts, auto manufacturing crisis, and The Great Recession happened on the Republican watch?
So, how about trustworthiness? Who can I trust to do the right thing by the country?
Unfortunately, that’s like asking, who is more trustworthy to do the right thing: the Republicans in the U.S. House or the Democrats in the U.S. Senate? Got the picture? Trustworthiness is an unreasonable expectation for elected officials. Both have proven themselves untrustworthy.
Political Math: Obama’s Job Approval is High because Bush’s was so Low
Last week, Gallup’s job approval number for Barack Obama’s was 50%. Per Gallup, his average for April was 47%. President Bush had a job approval of 25% in the fall of 2008.
I am persuaded that the ONLY reason President Obama has sustained a near-50% job approval in the midst of high unemployment and a debilitating sovereign debt crisis is a fear of giving the country back to the Bush team.
The Bush team is the Albatross around Romney’s neck. That’s why Jeb Bush, arguably the most competent and level-headed Republican on the American political stage today, cannot be seriously considered as Vice President. Wrong last name. Who would want a third Bush term?
The only way that President George W. Bush had such a historic low 25% job approval is that Republican voters in 2008 agreed with Democrats and Independents that Bush and his team were responsible for the economic crisis and could no longer be trusted to manage the country.
Why would we put that group back in charge? When President Bush was sworn in on January 21, 2001, Gallup polling showed that only 22% of Americans thought that the most important problems facing the country were economic. When President Obama was sworn in on January 20, 2009, Gallup polling showed that the number of Americans who thought that the most important problems facing the country were economic and grown to 86%.
That’s why Romney must distance himself from all things Bush.
Republicans and Democrats have Different Priorities/Worries
So, what are the most important problems of the day? According to Gallup, the only replies with a 10%-or-greater group of voters to the question, “What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today? are:
- Economy in general 32%
- Unemployment/Jobs 25%
- Dissatisfaction with Government 12%
- Federal budget deficit/debt 11%
All other problems are single-digit numbers. Only 9% said health care was the most important problem; only 8% named Fuel/Oil Prices as the most important problem; 5% said Education; 2% said Taxes; 2% said Immigration/Illegal Aliens; 2% said War; 1% said National Security; 1% said Crime/Violence; 1% said Abortion.
So, which one of the two candidates likely to face off in this fall’s presidential contest has the skill set to take on the most important problems of the day?
It all comes down to the skills to deal with the most important problems of the day, and, with few exceptions, that comes down to your party affiliation. A March 28, 2012 study by Gallup shows a distinct difference in how Democrats and Republicans answered the “most important problem” question.
- 84% of Republicans said Federal Spending/Budget Deficit was an issue that worried them “a great deal.” Only 42% of Democrats agreed.
- 71% of Republicans said Size and Power of the Federal Government worried them “a great deal.” Only 31% of Democrats agreed.
- 46% of Republicans said Availability/Affordability of Health Care worried them “a great deal,” whereas, 69% of Democrats were worried about health care.
- 34% of Republicans said Hunger and homelessness worried them “a great deal,” whereas, 53% of Democrats were worried about the poor.
Look at where Democrats, Republicans … and Independents Agree
The political value of the Gallup study is not just in seeing where the parties disagree, it’s in seeing where they agree:
- Both parties are highly worried about the Economy, Gas Prices and Unemployment
- Neither party is highly worried about Crime, Drugs, Environment, Terrorism, Race Issues
But perhaps the greatest political value of the Gallup study is in seeing where Independent voters come down on the issues that both parties see as important.
- Independent voters are not nearly as worried about the Federal Spending/Budget Deficit issue (56%) as Republicans (84%), although more concerned than Democrats (42%).
- Independent voters are not nearly as worried about the Size and Power of the Federal Government issue (40%) as Republicans (71%), although more concerned than Democrats (31%).
- Economy, Gas Prices and Unemployment are important to all three groups.
- Independent voters are more worried about the Availability/Affordability of Health Care issue (61%) than Republicans (46 %), much closer to the Democrats (69%).
Bottom line, since voters do not trust either party anymore, the 2012 winners will be those who make the best case that they have the skill set to deal with the issues relating to the Economy, Unemployment and Gas Prices. And, the winners of the all-important Independent vote will be those who can add Availability/Affordability of Healthcare to their list of core competencies.
It strikes me that as of today, May 1, 2012, presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney has the perfect skill set for the problems of the day provided he’s willing to flip-flop one more time and take credit for being the architect of Obamacare, to lock in the Independent vote, and provided he joins the American majority in its fear and loathing of a third Bush term by distancing himself from anyone associated with the Bush administration.
That should not be a stretch for a pathological flip-flopper who allegedly ended his speech last weekend by saying, “Those are my views, and if you don’t like them, well then, I’ll change them.”
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