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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Gov. Romney Proposes New Bill

Governor Mitt Romney proposed a new bill in accordance with his "personal responsibility principle" that would require non-custodial parents with financial means to pay for their childrens' health insurance . This "personal responsibility principle" is the idea that every person needs to take seriously the responsibilities that are theirs and not find ways to escape from them. Mr. Romney will continue to beat this drum while governor and along his presidential campaign as it rings so true to conservatives. This could also be an issue on which he will campaign to pass it as a federal law if elected in 2008 (current federal law only requires non-custodial parents to cover their children if they have a fitting insurance plan through their employer . . . but that kind of law sends the wrong message! . . . the right message is that if you father a child, you are responsible for supporting that child . . . period)

Some of the details of this new bill are addressed in the Governor's press release earlier today.

The Boston Globe's article regarding this new plan quoted Mr. Romney as saying:

"This is largely dealing with fathers who have not been married, who have
brought a child into the world, have escaped the responsibility of marriage and
we're saying no longer can you escape the responsibility of caring for your
child,"

"I think from a society standpoint, recognizing that as an individual one
would have responsibility for one's child for 18 years, that will have an impact
on the level of out of wedlock births"

Our nation needs more leaders like Governor Mitt Romney who will make people take responsibility for their actions (and decrease government spending in the process!) This is a truly a great plan from a truly great man!

Bits and pieces . . . a few links to other blogs.

Here's and interesting photo . . . with a little exerpt from a Cache Valley, UT blogger.

And over at another blog "Let Your Mind Alone" a two part piece called "Run, Mitt, Run" can be found here and here.

Mormon Handcart Trek Sesquicentenial Commemoration

This post is to draw attention to an important civic, historical, and religious event in the Iowa City area June 9-11. This link details the many events included in the program including an interfaith devotional Sunday morning and a visit from the President of the LDS church, Gordon B. Hinckley for a Sunday evening program/discourse that will be broadcast worldwide over the Church's Satellite system.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

On Pols and Polls


First the Pols . . . as in the trio of politicians (3M-state governors) recent trip to Iraq). There's a great blog/diary entry by one of the Air Force's C-130 pilots who flew the governors into Baghdad. A couple of the relevant exerpts:

Romney was on the flight deck with us for the takeoff, and not knowing Mitt Romney from Knute Rockne I asked him who he was. When he told me he was Massachusett's governor, I politely asked him to leave the flight deck, declaring the cockpit off limits to all Red Sox fans. He laughed and made a few cracks my way, regarding the Yanks, and we hit it off pretty well. I asked him if he was at Fenway when the Sox finally won the World Series, and with a huge boyish grin he replied, "Yes I was."

And later . . .

Two helicopters waited fifty feet from our plane for them, but before anyone could whisk them away, the governors promised us a few photos, and were gracious enough to oblige. Romney even handed me his personal coin, and told me "You're not a bad guy... for a Yankees fan." I wished him "Good Luck in '08," and we went our separate ways.



Anyone know what a "personal coin" is? Again, people who meet Mr. Romney always seem to come off very impressed . . . even Yankee fans!
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UPDATE 5/31 . . . Ann Marie Curling over at Elect Romney In 2008 was recently in contact with Capt. and was able to obtain photos of the "personal coin" . . . Great job Ann Marie!


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Now onto the Polls:

This first ABC News poll (props to Jason at Illinoisians for Mitt for finding this one) confirms what most of us know already . . . and that's that it is way too early for anyone to be a "lock" as a frontrunner. Only 9% of voters polled at this point "would definitely vote for McCain" . . . less than half of those that are already sold on Hillary (19%). Broken down to just the Republicans and he's still only got 11% "sealed-uup" at this point. What is even more encouraging for Mr. Romney (both in the primary and in the general election) is that 28% of those polled would definitely not vote for McCain and 42% for Hillary. This confirms the polarizing nature of Hillary amogst voters since nearly two-thirds (61%) of voters have already made up their minds on Hillary. The Republican field seems to be wide open!

The last interesting poll summarized and linked at a Giuliani blog site is another of the "cold-call" phone survey types (which means that they're all about name recognition . . . since most people don't care this early in the game and are apt to agree to the first name that they recognize that doesn't completely repulse them just to get off the phone and back to dinner. I mean who hasn't heard of McCain, Giuliani, or Newt? No surprise that they're leading).

Governor Romney has never been a "frontrunner" in these kinds of polls (see this link for lots of them over the last several months) because of his poor name recognition. However, it is interesting that where his name is better known (i.e. Michigan . . . where at least the older crowd remember his fathers leadership), he is definitely on the map at 15%. Look for these numbers to go up once he formally announces his candidacy and is seen/recognized in the public eye as a serious contender.

One other thing to consider is that George Allen seems to have almost NO support outside of the south . . . 3% in Michigan and 1% in Washington State? That's not going to get him very far in the GOP primaries . . . but again, that might be mostly name recognition as well . . . but 1% . . .)

It should be an interesting next 8-12 months as the candidates announce their campaigns and the race starts to take form.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Krusty Impressed With Romney's Financial Strength in Iowa . .

Over at The Krusty Konservative (a popular conservative Iowa political blog) Krusty himself is impressed with the money that Romney's PAC has brought in and is distributing to Iowan GOP hopefuls. There's even a link to the actual public documents of what $ Romney brought in and from whom and to whom that money went. Interesting stuff! Some entertaining discussion/comments follows.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

We have our first neighbor! Illinoisians for Mitt is up and running!

The first bordering state to Iowa to start a "For Mitt" blogsite is up and running in Illinoisians for Mitt! Get on over and check out Jason Bonham's blogsite and wish him well.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Massachussetts Receives Approval for Fed. Aid for Recent Flooding

Mitt Romney's requests for federal aid from the federal government for the damage inflicted by the recent flooding has been approved. This is good for Romney as his strong "within the crisis" leadership is now followed up with an inflow of relief for Bay Staters. I see this experience helping to increase Romney's poll numbers in Massachussetts the next time around.

In other news . . . Romney's support of the Abstinence educational program for MA school kids is hitting a bumpy road, but should make it through the congress.

Also, GOVERNOR ROMNEY IS STILL LISTED AS #2 AMONG CURRENT LIKELY GOP CANDIDATES (link fixed . . . sorry it was a bad link before). It says:

"These rankings are based on a number of factors, including: organization, money, buzz and polling. The two candidates in our two top spots are the candidates who are doing well in all four attributes."

Great job Gov. Romney!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

More Big News: Some Details About Romney's Next Visit to Iowa

Mitt Romney will be coming to Iowa again for the Iowa GOP State Convention on June 17th. The information listed in these two links is quite ambiguous about Romney's plans . . . but newly acquired inside sources confirmed that Romney will indeed be in attendance on Saturday, June 17 (I don't have info about the 18th.) The details aren't entirely ironed out at this point. But it looks like Governor Romney might be hosting a free breakfast for delegates at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines (tentative time 8am to 9:30.) I've also been informed that up to twenty fellow non-delegate "Iowans for Romney" could be invited to attend as well. So e-mail me (jjfuller72@yahoo.com) if you are an "Iowan for Romney" who wants to be at the breakfast with the delegates and Governor Romney on June 17th!

Governor Romney in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan.

Well, Mitt now joins the ranks of the other half of state governors who have already been to Iraq. The most informative article I found is in from the Military News. Boston's coverage of the trip is also interesting with articles here and here (the last one has links in the middle of the story to some photos from the trip as well as to a 3.5 minute interview with Romney that aired on Boston area NPR). Over at the Boston CBS affiliates video archive you can hit the Search tab on the right and search for "Romney" to see some news segments on the visit as well as a "Web Extra" DOD interview with Romney from Kuwait (pretty long . . . and can't hear the questions).

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

BIG NEWS! Doug Gross to head Romney's Iowa Arm of Commonwealth PAC

Mitt Romney's Official Commonwealth PAC website issued this press release this morning which announces Doug Gross as taking the job of heading up the Iowa division of Romney's PAC.

For those who are not versed in Iowa politics you may be wondering: "Who is Doug Gross?"

Here is his bio from his Law Firms' website.

This link gives his bio/history when he was running for Iowa Governor in 2002 and mentions:
"Despite the time it took to serve as the managing partner of one of the state's largest law firms, Gross continued to advise many Republican candidates for office and was co-chair of George W. Bush's finance effort in Iowa in 2000."
Looks like Gross knows how to spot and support a winner! He's obviously seen something special in Gov. Romney.

Over at "The Krusty Konservative" (the best conservative Iowa blog) they are discussing this improtant announcement and arguing about how important (or not) this "get" is for Romney.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Governors better than Senators

This article from Human Events Online discusses the inherent differences in Senators vs Governors as presidential candidates and highlights Mitt Romney's recent successes in Massachusetts.

Catholics for Romney Blog

I ran into this Blogsite called Catholics for Romney today. It seems to have stemmed from Gov. Romney's support of the Catholic Church exception from "anti-discrimination" in not allowing gay/lesbian couples adopt through Catholic programs. The Catholic adoption agencies were going to be penalized by the state until Romney sought and obtained an exemption in their behalf. This article has a nice review of Romney's recent positive interactions with the Catholic church.

So visit Catholics for Romney and encourage their continued good work in supporting Mitt. And if you're a Catholic Romney fan, offer your support at this blogsite. Those of you who have blogs . . . make sure you link to his site!

Romney to headline 2006 Gov dinner in Little Rock, Arkansas July 6th

Over at the Arkansas Family Coalition's blog it has annoucned that Mitt Romney will headline 2006 Gov dinner in Little Rock on July 6th. Let any potential Romney supporters/friends know about it! See the comments on the blog too. (Also, this Arkansas Times Blog section has some debate going on about the upcoming visit)

The Boston Globe also confirms plans for the visit

Huckabee will be there, of course. This is a couple of times recently that these two have been together (see Guantanamo trip) . . . Romney/Huckabee might just be a great ticket!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Turn-around King . . . see article at Red State

This Red State article about Mr. Romney's extensive managerial experience and success is generating a lot of discussion and interesting comments. I highly recommend registering with Red State and commenting there. It's a pretty important conservative discustion site. Feel free to join in the discussions.

Also, Mr. Romney didn't do so poorly at the Wisc state GOP straw poll for '08. Six candidates (Allen, Giuliani, Gingrich, Rice, Romney, and McCain) all received between 10-17% of the votes (n=357). That's a "wide-open" field if I've ever seen one. I assume that Romney would have done much better if he had been able to keep his appointment and speak at the convention as scheduled . . . might have even been the front-runner.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Fighting the "name recognition factor"

This recent story out of Massachusetts has an interesting take on Romney's recent leadership through the flooding crisis in Massachusetts. A disaster like this is horrible and devastating to affected individuals. Situations like this require focused effective leadership and Gov Romney seems to be providing that well. Also, one cannot dispute the fact that situations like these represent opportunities for Gov. Romney to prove his leadership capabilities beyond the borders of his state and thereby improve his still poor national "name recognition factor."

This story got me thinking again about the "name recognition factor" and how it plays a roll in the pre-election world.

Romney supporters (or potential Romney supporters) should not be discouraged by all of the "early polls" (like this compilation of polls over the last year or so) about the 2008 presidential race. At this point . . . people called by a polling service about a potential race over 2 years away are not likely to take it seriously and would probably say anything to get off the phone quicker. More importantly, at this point these phone polls are all about name recognition. That's why McCain, Giuliani, and Rice seem to do the best . . . because they are well known names that have been highlighted on the national stage. However, political pundints see it a little differently as the following links (here, here, here, and here) all show that Romney is in the top teir of possible republican nominees.

What about McCain? Is he unbeatable? I mean he's tops in the polls and tops among pundits!

Well, a few of points on McCain:

1) Bear in mind that the mainstream media (MSM) LOVES and has always loved McCain. He's championed campaign finance reform which gives disproportionate power to the MSM. Plus, he's a "Maverick" and the media love a guy who will speak out about and against the "status quo". So, McCain sort of gets "a pass" by the MSM. However, when election time comes up all of his controversial past WILL be brought up and will make the GOP base have some second thoughts about Senator McCain

2) Longtime GOPers and the Christian right don't much like McCain as he's been so willing to team up with the left on several issues. GOP bloggers also have a pretty negative opinion of him as far as polls go.

3) As stated above, McCain is a "Maverick" which is an OK stance to take as a moderate republican senator . . . but is not much of what most people think of in a President. In a word, McCain doesn't strike many people as "presidential."

4) He's not terribly young . . . Most people remember him as he was during the 2000 presidential race, but he'll be 72 years old in 2008. Assuming the GOP wants to get another potential two-term president in office, that would make him 80 years old as a president. This will play a bigger factor than people are now realizing.

5) He's pretty testy and reactionary which won't go over well in debates or when he's finally grilled by the MSM during a hotly contested GOP primary.

6) He's a senator. Time and time again, the public seems to wildly prefer Governors to Senators when it comes to electing a president.

7) Part of McCain's support now is based on the polling that shows him handily beating Hillary in a general election. This excites the GOP base and engenders support from people who want to win. However, Mr. Romney is no slouch against Clinton either . . . one online poll at CNBC showed Mr. Romney smoking Clinton in a head to head race (74% to 26%). Once this kind of polling is confirmed, those "wanting to win" could easily switch camps.

Well, I don't mean this to be an attack on McCain . . . I just wanted to point out to Romney supporters that there is not only "hope" but a strong chance that McCain can and will be beat.

So don't be scared to support Mitt Romney because you don't think he has a chance. He is the horse that will pull away from the rest near the finish line!

Latest Romney news out of Boston . . . Job growth up again!


Mr. Romney's ability to turnaround messes is simply amazing!

Massachusetts had been hemorrhaging jobs since it hit an employment peak in 2001. They lost over 200,000 jobs between 2001 and early 2004. (Romney took control in 2003 and the slope of the curve started to even out pretty quickly). Granted, much of this is out of any politicians' control as so much is based on the economy . . . but under his watch the job losses lessened through 2003 and started to recover in 2004. They have added nearly 51,000 jobs since the nadir in early 2004 and are now in the net positive since he's been governor. The numbers should countinue to improve thoughout the rest of the year until his term ends . . . yet another accomplishment to add to his list for the campaign trail.

Once again, Romney comes into a mess and things "magically" get better under his watch(see SLC Olympics, Bain Capital's history of turning around struggling companies, Mass huge budget defecit etc . . .) Either he is the luckiest man alive . . . or he's just a skilled and capable leader/manager. He may well earn the nickname "Midas Mitt" since he sure seems to have the "Midas Touch"

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A Positive Piece about Romney in the Boston Globe?

This article in today's Boston Globe actually had some nice things to say about Romney's message and reception at the 44th annual Governor's Prayer Breakfast. I had to post it since it is such a rare occurrence.

Some notable excerpts:

Romney said: ''I think sometimes we think that because we're this high-tech state . . . that we somehow have everything under control. But all that rain from the sky reminds us that that's not the case at all. It can bring us to our knees and bring us up short."

And later he queried: "'What is it about America's culture and values that makes us such a successful nation and society? Part of that is we love liberty, we love our country . . . I believe it's also because we are a people who love God and look for a purpose greater than ourselves in life."

One Rabbi in attendance said: "'I actually thought the point about addressing the nobler and more generous side of people and human nature was very inspiring."

Another of today's articles from the Globe reviews the Mass Senates' new proposal for the budget plan. The democratic senators had a heyday planning ways to spend the "extra cash" that Mitt's balancing of the budget provided. They ignored Romneys' repeated requests to decrease the Mass. state income tax to 6% lower than it's current level (a modest and deserved reward for Mitt and the tax payers--from 5.3% to 5.0%) . They have a different concept altogether of taxes and stewardship than does Mitt. The article states: "Murray defended the decision to ignore Romney's proposal to cut the state income tax rate from 5.3 percent to 5 percent. ''We felt we would rather invest the money in education and higher education and health," she said."

If I lived in Mass., I would be livid that the lawmakers were planning how to "invest" my surplus tax dollars rather than planning how to get that surplus back to me via a tax cut.

Romney Responds to Rains Remarkably


Governor Romney has shown strong and responsive leadership throughout the "state of emergency" induced by the recent record-setting rainfall om Massachusetts. He has detailed a plan called "Operation Lifeline" to assist those affected by the flooding. This link reviews some of his response and in the right sidebar there is a viewable video link called "Web Extra: Gov Romney Announces Operation Lifeline" (if it's not in the right sidebar then you can "Browse" to it or hit the "Search" tab and enter "Romney" which will produce hundreds of viewable video clips that the CBS affiliate in Boston has archived. Of course, bear in mind that the Boston press has never been too kind to Romney . . . and it's worsened greatly since he announced he would not be seeking re-election)

Speaking of media bias, Gov. Romney's comment on the Good Morning America show: “We’re continuing to be very, very careful and going through our neighborhoods, securing them, and making sure there is no looting of any kind” was taken by this Boston Herald article and blasted as political grandstanding. An associate dean at Boston Univ was quoted in the article stating that Romney's comment was "unnecessary and uncalled for . . . a mistake . . . and a stupid strategy”--talk about overreacting!

Fortunately, this intelligent blog (by a PhD in New Testament Exegesis who is on faculty @ Cincinnati Christian University) calls the Boston MSM (mainstream media) on the carpet as an organized effort to demonize a strong GOP presidential candidate.

To quote a few highlights: "Too bad Mitt didn't do what the MSM expects, which is to fail to patrol, allow looting (which creates great video for the MSM), and then blame Bush for the floods created by global warming created by . . . (the) failure to ratify Kyoto. . . . What the MSM won't do is contrast the very competent response of a well-governed state like Massachusetts with the chaos in the People's Republic of Huey Long. It remains to be seen whether this is just an opportunistic shot at Romney or the MSM is determined to undermine any national appeal that this polished, accomplished, conservative Mormon Republican might have by doing this all the time."

Romney is firm, calm, clear, and direct in his leadership. He is the man our country needs at the helm!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Secret Weapon--Napoleon Dynamite!



Teenage cult favorite (and already "cult classic"?) film Napoleon Dynamite (2004) was one of the most quotable movies in the last decade (you've probably heard plenty of teenagers throwing around: "Lucky!" or "Gosh!" quite a bit more in the last couple of years). And, as an aside, thoughtful parents should like a film like this too . . . when was the last time that a popular teenager movie contained ZERO swear words and no sexual content?

When I first watched Napoleon Dynamite I never dreamed that it would be the deciding factor in Mitt acheiving the presidency. But here's how it could really be a factor:

Why, you may ask, would Napoleon (Jon Heder) support Mitt? First off, I expect that some, if not most, candidates will have the idea to play off this teenage cult film (the "Vote for Pedro" T-shirts are just too popular to ignore). Capturing votes out of the "pop culture" crowd can be difficult (especially for republicans). The teenage crowd that loved and quoted the movie will be 4 years older in 2008 than when the movie came out. That means that most of them will be first time voters and most will not be too up on the complexities of the issues. But they may think that it's so cool that Napoleon would support a candidate that they might just vote for that candidate.

The key may be in the connections . . . both Napoleon and the movies' director Jared Hess are BYU alumns like Mitt. I honestly cannot say where they stand politically, but, playing the odds, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints they are most likely to be fairly conservative and republican in their leanings. Plus, this would give them a resurgent national interest in their film and merchandise, with the finiancial benefits that would follow.

So, here's hoping that Napoleon Dynamite changes his political support from "Vote for Pedro" to "Vote for Mitt"

To quote the movie:

Pedro: Do you think people will vote for me?

Napoleon Dynamite: Heck yes! I'd vote for you.

Pedro: Like what are my skills?

Napoleon Dynamite: Well, you have a sweet bike. And you're really good at hooking up with chicks. Plus you're like the only guy at school who has a mustache.


Surely, if Napoleon could rally his whole school to vote for Pedro with those skills . . . just think what an easy task he would have at rallying the nation when he has Mitt's skills to tout!

Imagine Napoleon on the nightshow circuit voicing his support for Romney or doing his dance at the 2008 Republican National Convention when Mitt accepts the GOP nomination for the presidency! OK, I've gotten a little carried away here . . . but don't be surprised when you see the "Vote for Mitt" shirts!

Romney to Headline Wisc GOP Convention Next Weekend . . . as well as addressing Mainstream Republicans of Washington at SEA-TAC airport hotel

Update 5/19/06 . . . ROMNEY HAS CANCELLED BOTH OF THESE PLANNED VISITS DUE TO THE "STATE OF EMERGENCY" IN MASS FROM FLOODING . . . I GUESS THIS IS THE TRUE DEFINITION OF A "RAINCHECK"

ORIGINAL POST BELOW:
It looks like Mitt will be a keynote speaker at the Wisc. GOP convention (at a reception the night before and at the convention itself Sat-Sun) this upcoming weekend in Appleton, Wisconsin along with RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman (the head guy for the Repulican party nationally--AKA the GOPs Howard Dean). Not only is Wisconsin a battleground state, Mehlman is obviously a power player in setting up support for 2008 GOP presidential hopefuls. Looks like he's a fellow Harvard Law guy like Mitt (that can't hurt!)

This upcoming weekend looks to be a productive one for Gov. Romney. Let any friends or family in the area know about his visit so that they can see and hear the man in person . . . I've yet to meet the person who has come away unimpressed!

Text from the flyer (in case you have trouble viewing the PDF):

"The Banquet Honoring County Chairmen: Featuring guest speaker Governor Mitt Romney, this year’s banquet will be one of the most exciting yet! As Chairman Rick Graber said, “Mitt Romney has shown brave and principled leadership in a state where Republicans are vastly outnumbered by Democrats
and despite a hostile political environment, Governor Romney has stood up for socially conservative values and fought to lower taxes and control state spending. He is a dynamic leader for our party and we are excited he is coming to Wisconsin.” Be sure to register today to attend the banquet and the VIP cocktail reception for a chance to meet Governor Romney and have your photo taken with one of the GOPs rising stars! "

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It actually looks like the weekend will be split up for Mitt as Washintonians for Mitt reminds us:

"This is a perfect opportunity to see Mitt Romney at his best. He is the featured speaker at the Mainstream Republicans of Washington's "Cascade Conference" on Saturday May 20th at 6pm. You can sign up for the entire conference or just for the banquet. Here is the full agenda. Here is the registration form."

A local paper previews the event:

"no one disputes its (Mainstream Rep of Wash) coup in securing Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, a potential 2008 presidential candidate, to speak Saturday night. His legislative success, such as a law mandating health insurance, in a Democrat-dominated Massachusetts Legislature exemplifies the group's pursuit of policy-makers as politicians.

"As long as you're willing to share the credit, a lot can get done," Romney said in a telephone interview."

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He must be leaving Wisc mid-day (morning Convention speech?) to get to the Seattle-Tacoma area (at SEA-TAC airport is where the conference will be held) for the evening speech and banquet. Again, let your family and friends in the Seattle-Tacoma area of Washington know about the visit and chance to see and hear Mitt.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Will "Romneycare" Survive?


A couple of weeks ago, I blogged my opinion of Romney's innovative healthcare initiative signed into Mass law last month. I'm still high on the program, but a few things have me worried as I've continued to follow this evolving saga of state politics . . . one upon which everyone in the nation seems to have an opinion (see the litany of op/ed pieces the day after the bill was signed).

One threat to its success is federal intrusion into state regulation of healthcare insurers. As E.J. Dione Jr. opines in the Washington Post this could seriously sidetrack the Mass plan. This columnist really wants to give the states a chance to work out healthcare solutions--since the federal government has been so weak on the issue for so long.

But what really has me worried about the sustainability of the plan is the fact that the Senate overrode Romney's vetoes in the bill. The veto that gets all the press is the $295 per employee fee for employers that don't provide coverage. That being overridden bothers me on philosophical grounds . . . but doesn't worry me about the long term success of the program--it actually will be another source of funding the plan . . . and it looks like it's gonna need it (keep reading to see why)

The veto override by the Mass Legislature that really worries me is the inclusion of free dental and eyeglass coverage to certain recipients. This is estimated by one source to cost an extra $75 million annually and could be a major drag on the success and sustainability of the whole program. I'm all for good teeth (an obvious sign that I'm American . . . and not European) and seeing well (heck, I'm an ophthalmologist), but come on!

Even as an "Eye M.D." (currently a vitreoretinal fellow supporting family of six . . . so money is tight) who works for a major university system and prescribes eyeglasses on a routine basis, I DON'T EVEN HAVE EYEGLASS COVERAGE! I have been wearing the same eyeglasses for 3.5 years now and the frames were given to me . . . so who knows how old they are. I don't say this to pride myself on frugality, but to prove a point: that I probably would have gotten new glasses every year or so if they had been covered by some plan; but instead, I've made due because it saves me money.

Also, as the prior article says, 60% of employers in Mass don't provide a dental benefit. If the MAJORITY of working people don't have it covered, why should the government feel beholden to provide it? Maybe that's just how things work in that democratic legislature in Massachusetts.

All that being said, I am still optimistic about the potential savings created by keeping people out of expensive ERs and hospitals by earlier intervention and preventative care. Hopefully, this innovative program will save enough money to cover the costs that the Democrats have already added onto it.

Michigan Stop

Saul Anuzis Red State Diaries briefly reviews Gov Romney's visit in Michigan Friday night.

Another source states that he also addressed the "salute to west Michigan Business awards luncheon'' in Grand Rapids earlier that day.

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The Muskegon County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner, which was MC'd by state committee member Kyle Olson, was a great success. Governor Mitt Romney gave a great speech at the dinner, talking about the challenges American faces and then optimism and hope he sees ahead for our country as we face these challenges.

Governor Romney spent almost an hour before the dinner with grassroots GOP activists sharing his views, answering questions and then later taking pictures. Based on the comments I heard on the way out...folks were very impressed and thankful he was there.

Chuck and Holly organized a series of meetings before the event to introduced Governor Romney to local community leaders. Holly made a point that the Governor was "on their short list" of possible candidates they might support for President.

This was Muskegon county's largest Lincoln Dinner ever...as one woman said to me on the way out..."I came to see the next President of the United States"...well, maybe a bit early for that, but Mitt clearly helped bring out a record crowd.
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Friday, May 12, 2006

An outside view of Yepsen's article from Power Line

A D.C. Lawyer blogs at Power Line:

"In many respects, Gov. Mitt Romney is the most attractive potential presidential nominee the Republicans have. He is bright, good-looking, articulate, and conservative. But he is also a Mormon."

"Romney contends that the small number of Christian conservatives irrevocably put off by his religion will be offset by Mormons who rally to his support. This may be true in a few states, and Yepsen thinks Iowa may be one of them. But that's mostly because Iowa has a caucus system (as opposed to a primary like virtually every other state), which means that a highly motivated group can have extra influence on the outcome."

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Once again, sounds like a "call to action" for Iowan Romney supporters to me! E-mail me at jjfuller72@yahoo.com to help me build a grassroots network that we can hand over to Romney once he announces his candidacy!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Krusty's Opinion of Yepsen's Article (and comments)

Over at the Krusty Konservative (an EXCELLENT Iowa Blog) they are discussing the Yepsen article now that I linked to below. These issues get a lot of play and discussion (which is good for Romney's still poor name recognition factor), but it is important for us to convince the nation that we are not voting for or against a religion. We are voting for a leader. Mitt Romney is a strong leader who happens to be Mormon. His religion has not impaired him in running asuccessful venture capital company, in running the Olympics, nor in running Massachusetts. Why would it impair him from running our country? This is the message that we need to try to promulgate far and wide!

David Yepsen: Out front about his faith, Romney scoring points

My Ethanol/Mormon comment also made the Des Moines Register article by David Yepsen yesterday:

In the end of the article it states:

"Unlike Hatch, Romney's off to an early start, knocking down any problems his faith causes. He even uses a little self-deprecating humor. When asked about a report that he once wavered in his support for ethanol because of the anti-alcohol tenets of his faith, Romney said no, he was all for it."I don't drink the ethanol," he quipped. "I put it where it belongs - in the gas tank."

Some other interesting points:

"Steve Scheffler, head of the alliance, said following the meeting that Romney "did well and is hitting all the right notes. He was pretty candid. To most people in our movement, (his faith) is not a problem. There shouldn't be a religious test, like Jack Kennedy said. I don't think it will be a big issue" for Romney."

"But privately others in the group said it might be a deal-breaker for some. "It depends on who else is in the race," said one."

Later on it states:

". . . there could be an upside to Romney's faith. He could use it to attract fellow church members in Iowa to participate in the caucuses on his behalf. Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch tried to do that in the 2000 GOP race. In 1999 there were an estimated 16,000 Latter-day Saints members in Iowa, and Hatch thought they could be helpful. But he was a late entrant, and he just didn't have time to make the strategy work.

"But he had the right idea. There will be only about 125,000 likely GOP caucus-goers in 2008, divided among a half-dozen candidates. Anyone who can turn out even a few thousand newcomers will add to his slice of a closely cut pie. Throughout the history of the caucuses, candidates who do well are often those who can inspire new people to show up."

***So, let's go fellow Iowans for Romney . . . prepare to be a caucus goer and prepare to get your friends and family to do the same.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Nightly Dose



This picture is already outdated! Mitt and Ann welcomed grandchild #9 yesterday. Congrats to them!


In a related vein . . . a poster named NewYorkCougar @ CougarBoard (no, it's not me . . . I go by BamaCoug) had a great impression of Gov & Mrs. Romney earlier today (must have been flying there to see #9.) To lift the text from his post:

"Earlier today I took a Jet Blue shuttle from Boston's Logan airport to New York's JFK coming home from a business meeting. I was one of the first to board the plane, so as I'm getting situated in my seat, I notice Ann and Mitt Romney in line to get to their seats further back in the plane. So here's the governor of Massachussets, who, I believe, is a billionaire, taking an economy flight from Boston to NYC. No first class. No special treatment. Just getting an economical flight from Boston to NYC. Now that's the kind of fiscal responsibility we need in Washington!"

Here here NewYorkCougar!

Someone on the trail with Romney

At The Krusty Konservative (a great Iowa blogsite) there is a nice review of Romney's visit start to finish (obviously from someone who is on the trail with him). Check it out.


Some highlights:


From the Gazette’s James Lynch: “Romney ‘hit all the right chords,’ Christian Alliance President Steve Scheffler said.” He was asked the Mormon question a few times and handled it very well. [Romney] is really an amazing guy in the living room, and Mrs. Romney is at least his equal – attractive, intelligent, genuine and charismatic, both of them.

I think, to a person, you’d find that Mitt exceeded their expectations. One ICA board member said “he’s the best we’ve had at one of these”, including Huckabee.

****DISCLAIMER: The Iowa Christian Alliance does not endorse specific candidates for political office. The comments above should not be construed as "an endorsement" of Mitt Romney by the ICA. *********

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Iowa Christian Alliance House Party--No "Grilling Out" at This Party


Romney's last stop here in Iowa was at a house party in Cedar Rapids hosted by the Iowa Christian Alliance (formerly affiliated with the Christian Coalition).

I took my wife to the party and we arrived a little late to find that it was difficult to make our way into the house. The crowd far overwhelmed the capacity of the moderately-sized home.

Of course, Romney was the headliner, but Lt. Gov candidate Bob Vander Plaats (also pictured--running with gubernatorial hopeful Jim Nussle) was present and seemed like a dynamic and capable individual.

Romney's comments to the group focused on keeping America strong in a changing international landscape. He touched on the threat of the Jihadists around the world and how we must stay proactive against this real and imminent threat (he also mentioned that he had been at the Cedar Rapids Gazette where they had a workshop with middle-eastern journalists in teaching them how to adjust to reporting in a "free-speech" climate. He talked about the threat of Aisa's educational & economic emergence onto the world scene and how he believes that Americans are hardworking and innovative people who will overcome these challenges. He also confirmed his strong opposition to gay marriage, the creation of embryos for research purposes, and abortion.

Then came the reference to Ezra Zilkha (see in a previous blog)

He then introduced Ann who was quite impressive. An article from a few months ago touted the beneficial effect that Ann could have on Mitt's candidacy. I must say that I strongly agree--Teresa Heinz she IS NOT. Ann expressed her impression that she was among friends and "good people" here in Iowa. She states that their hectic schedule is not difficult on her because of the energy and excitement of those she meets on a daily basis--that she taps into and feeds off of this infectious energy from the people she encounters. She also mentioned that both she and Mitt have agreed that despite all that they have accomplished and all that they may accomplish, their greatest ongoing achievement has been a wonderful marriage and raising their five sons.

The question session then began. There was a reminder to keep all questions "tactful." Despite the "tease" from Hotline (above) , there was absolutely no "grilling" of Gov. Romney (indeed, he seems so cool and collected, I'm not sure he could get "grilled" so to say) The only question regarding religion was raised by yours truly (but more on that in a minute).

My comment to the crowd as a segue into my question for Gov. Romney drew the biggest laugh of the night. One man asked Romney why he was against ethanol (alternative fuel topic being huge here in Iowa as a major potential source of the stuff) Mitt politely mentioned that he must have heard an incorrect rumor because he's all for the development of alternative fuel and energy sources . . . Including ethanol. My comment to the group was that the rumor of Gov. Romney being against ethanol must have come from the fact that he's Mormon and therefore does not imbibe the stuff. Through the laughter Gov. Romney said: "That's right, I don't drink ethanol . . . I put it in the tank where it belongs"

That was a nice segue into my question which started with the comment that prominent journalists, including Novak, had heard that many Evangelical "would never vote for a Mormon" and that strong whisper campaigns would develop against his bid. I asked him if he decided to run for the presidency, what kind of impact he thought that might have.

His answer included a reference to Article 6 about the religious test as well as a reference to the quote from Abraham Lincoln stating the duty of the President in regards to religious matters. While I knew Romney's answer beforehand, I asked the question for two reasons. 1) To inform my non-LDS friend among the Christian right that they should be alerted to possible "whisper campaigns" and see them for what the are, and 2) To let this audience hear Romney's convincing answer to this ever-plaguing questions.

The question session ended and the photo-ops with state and local politicians began. While this was going on, I spoke with one of his local "point people" working for a private firm in Des Moines to help coordinate his visits to Iowa (if you're reading this, please email me jjfuller72@yahoo.com ). She said that this amazing reaction he's been getting has been par for the course on his Iowa stops and that he's generating a lot of "buzz" amongst the locals.

As I was waiting in line to speak with and get a picture with Gov. Romney one of his guards came up and said that they had to leave immediately to catch their plane. It truly seemed that Mitt and Ann felt bad that they couldn't stay and talk longer . . . but off they went. Despite their hurried rush, Mitt opened Ann's car door for her before closing it going around to get in the other side. Nice to see that chivalry is not dead.

Romney speaks to Univ of Iowa Students


Mitt Romney visited my campus yesterday. Although I was busy seeing patients in clinic . . . I was able to break away for a 25 minute late lunch break to see him tie up his Q & A session. I arrived to see that every single seat was filled and several people were standing in the back. I also noticed that his wife, Ann, was in attendance.

The Johnson County GOP blogsite (from where I "lifted" the photo above) had an excellent write-up with photos to boot. Some interesting tidbits from one of their bloggers named "Cornfield Commentator" include:

"His speech was good -- actually very similar to Pataki's in talking about his unexpected election in a Majority-Democrat state and his record of accomplishments in bringing about conservative change in three main areas -- cutting spending, improving education, and health care. I think he did a better job than Pataki, however, in pointing to concrete things that he's done, which is particularly notable given that he's been in office for all of three years, versus Pataki's twelve."

"Overall, I would say that my impression of Romney was improved quite a bit by the visit -- he definitely deserves his slot in the list of top contenders, but I still wonder with the importance of foreign affairs right now whether he would really be able to go toe-to-toe with McCain. "

"the elevator talk after the speech was generally positive -- people thought he was genuine, knowledgeable, and credible as a potential President."

Looks like Mitt continues to impress!

***************

A write-up in the college paper highlights other points of interest (and, it must be remembered, is written for a student body that is largely independent/democratic leaning)

Some quotes:

Romney "spoke about his work to improve education, provide universal health-insurance in his state, and strive toward energy independence - issues that he said can be achieved through small government and low taxes." Romney said "Unlike the Democrats, we can actually solve problems in those areas," he said. "We can improve education, we can improve health care, and they can't." Romney contended that Democrats were ineffectual on these issues because "they are tied to special interests in those areas," citing the teachers' union as one such special-interest organization.

Further in the article it states: "Responding to a question from the audience about how he would curb rising gas prices, he offered boosting domestic use and production of nuclear power to free up oil for transportation use.He noted France derives 70 to 80 percent of its power from nuclear sources and said following suit here would offset the demand for such fuels as coal and oil.

He also supports agriculturally based energy sources, such as ethanol but said he wanted to see drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge."I'd open different sources of oil, not because I want to suck all of the oil out of our continent, but because if we have additional sources of oil here, we will be able to do a better job moderating world prices on oil," he said.

************

I spoke with a couple of friends who were able to be there for the entire address. They were impressed at Gov. Romney's ability to field difficult questions with direct and optimistic answers. They felt he was very charismatic and a "gifted orator." One of them spent some time afterward doing some internet research about Romney's answer to the being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and how that might affect his potential electability. This point is being philosophically discussed in depth by an Evangelical blogger and a Mormon blogger @ Article 6 Blog on a daily basis.

Gov. Romney closed with a gracious "thank-you for having me here" line and immediately received an enthusiastic standing ovation from the entire crowd. I agree with the Cornfield Commentator about the "elevator buzz" being positive. I rode down in the elevator with a tall, thin, red-headed sophomore @ UI who voiced how impressed he was with Romney's verbal and mental skills in convincing the crowd and fielding questions. When I mentioned that he was a likely candidate for the '08 WH he responded, "Well, he's got my vote!"

I think Romney could claim "Mission Accomplished" for this stop on this Iowa trail.

"Romney Gets It . . . Giuliani Doesn't"

A recent political blurb here in Iowa praises Romney (& Pataki) for their understaning of Iowa politics.

Speaking of Giuliani: "His trip illustrates he's got a few things to learn about presidential campaigning in Iowa. We do small-state, retail politics here, not the big-city stuff. His five-SUV caravan, security guards and staged media events for his national press entourage bring to mind other big-state politicians — like then-California Gov. Pete Wilson — who misfired in Iowa because they didn't understand the need to do one-on-one, grassroots work. Out here on the prairie, campaigns are more than money and media. They're about key people. George Pataki and Mitt Romney get it. Giuliani doesn't."

Keynote Speech--Coe College Graduation

Mitt Romney recently visited Coe College to deliver the keynote speech at their commencement and to receive an honorary doctor of public service degree.

Two news reports of the address can be found here & here

Some highlights from these articles:

>>>>>"Coe College graduates were challenged to jump into the deep waters of life, to live a purpose-driven life beyond the borders of their wants and desires. ``Our nation needs people who will launch themselves into the deep waters, who will get out of the shallows, -- who will push the boundaries of learning and profession, who will love their country enough to serve it and participate in the principles of democracy,''

>>>>>Romney encouraged graduates to be selfless. ``Get out of the shallow waters of selfishness and give yourself to causes greater than yourself,'' Romney said. ``Launch yourself into the deep waters of great causes.'' Romney said those causes include helping others and growing in faith — a theme he said resonates in the nation's heartland even as polls show cynicism about politics and government in the rest of the country.

>>>>>"Romney, who is not seeking re-election, vowed to return often to Iowa in his post as head of the Republican Governor's Association."

Looks like we'll be seeing plenty more of Mitt around here! An e-mail from a staff member @ Coe stated that his address was "very well-received."

I'm trying to find out if I can get a transcript of his speech to post here.

Local Politician Update.

This is to call attention to a promising candidate for the Iowa City State Senate seat--Jay Christensen-Szalanski (I). I know him personally as an intelligent and insightful person with strong moral fiber. His website is very informative and he gets a nice-plug at the Johnson County GOP Blogsite (as did this site). He is running against the Dem incumbent and there is no GOP candidate in the race.

I say . . . Go Jay!

Mystery Solved?

A few days ago I ran into the following speculative blub by Adam Reilly in Boston called Romney's secret NYC mission . Speculation follows in the comments there . . . but tonight, I think I figured it out.

I was at the Iowa Christian Alliance house party in Cedar Rapids tonight (more on my experience there to come) and Romney mentioned that he was in NYC recently for a dinner with a Jew who grew up in Baghdad named Ezra Zilkha. So, that must be it, a meeting with "big money" to shore up some support . . . either for the RGA or (more likely) for his Commonwealth PAC.

Some background research on Zilkha reveals that he has a strong history of political donations (mostly to republicans) and that he's a power player with the Brookings Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations. Here is another link about Zilkha and the New York Scene (he's the 10th person listed). Again, more info to follow about Romney here in Iowa.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Pre-Iowa Blog--Misc Info

Well, Romney should arrive here in Iowa tonight or early tomorrow morning (see his planned stops below).

Some interesting tidbits in the meantime:

He was in attendance at the Kentucky Derby earlier today.

Speaking of the Derby, another Derby (The Political Derby) ranks Romney among the top 3 GOP contenders again (of the four handicappers I've seen recently, three of them have Romney in 2nd place and one has him in 3rd place--- the others are here, here, and here for interest sake) It's still very early, but Romney has had an impressive qualifying lap.

Charlie Cook in The Washington Post gave a short blurb on each of the possible GOP and Dem contenders for '08 white house. He states that Romney is “probably the brightest and most talented candidate in the GOP field.” When will the nation take notice?

And, as an FYI, I ran into another Romney State Blogsite, Washingtonians for Mitt, and it looks like Romney will be in the Seattle/Tacoma area on May 20th . . .so get the word out to family/friends in that area.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Religion Test--Article6blog

A great new blogsite has been created this last week to explore the discussion of a politician's religion and the "test" that some are tempted to apply for the "weirder" religions such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It looks like it will be a really active site as it is being run by two already prominent bloggers (one LDS and one Evangelical Christian). The new blog was suggested by none other than Hugh Hewitt. I will place a permanent link to this site on the right.

Romney again listed in Top Tier . . . But Rudy on the Rise?

Now three political handicappers (here, here, and here) are placing Romney up with McCain and Allen as the only GOPers with a shot at the nomination. Those rankings combined with how well Mitt did in the Memphis, TN straw poll seem to indicate that Mitt is definitely on the map. However, the wildcard of Guliani looks to be more in the mix than ever before. Personally, I think that if Guliani runs that would be a big hit to Romney's chances because he would divide up the moderate GOP vote as well as the northeastern vote. Ideally, Guliani makes a push and garners some early support . . . then throws his backing behind Romney (admittedly this is pure fanciful speculation)

P.S. Wouldn't it be wild to have a "First Family" like that pictured above?

Romney's Commonwealth PAC site is up and running


Romney's "Commonwealth Political Action Committee" site has been launched. There's a wonderful bio, great photos, and even a couple of video links. Of course, they've made it easy to donate since that is the whole purpose of the PAC. They've also added a function where anyone can subscribe to eNews about Romney and his PAC .

Romney Coming to Iowa Shortly

He's going to be here for 3 days it looks like. I'll try to catch him at a venue or two. The Johnson County GOP blog looks like a good one and has further details of his visit.

Sunday Morning he looks like he'll be speaking at the Coe College (a well-respected liberal arts school) commencement--as well as receiving an honorary degree.

On Monday he'll be speaking @ the Univ of Iowa Campus:

Monday, May 8, 2006
12:30-1:30
Room S-401,
Pappajohn Business Building
Downtown Iowa City

Later that evening he'll be at a house party hosted by the Iowa Christian Alliance Monday PM(http://www.iowachristian.com/events.htm)

Cedar Rapids Area House Party
Hosted by Bob & Patti Klaus
3523 Lochwood Drive N.E.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Monday, May 8, 2006
TIME: 5:30 - 7:30 P.M.
With Special Guest Governor Mitt Romney (R-Massachusetts)

I called them @ 515-971-7363 and was able to RSVP for 3 or 4. They seemed quite receptive. I'll definitely be posting after the event with my experience and impressions.

Seems like he'll be helping Jim Leach with a fundraiser and maybe catching a Kernels baseball game while he's here.

Massachusetts Health-Care Law Launches Romney into GOP’s Top Tier

As a physician, I feel I have a few insights to share about Mitt Romney’s “Universal Health Care Plan” signed into Massachusetts law on April 12th, 2006 (which some have dubbed: “RomneyCare”). By way of background see the following links:

Those “in the know” see the potential of Romney . . . this is the second round that he’s held the #2 spot at The National Journal.

The Heritage Foundation’s take is quite supportive (granted, they have a vested interest)

Here is a link that links to several other op-ed pieces and are generally favorable (if not celebratory)

If you’ve got time . . . you can watch Mitt himself giving a 25 minute speech/PowerPoint with a 15 min Q&A session following about his plan (given at The HeritageFoundation)

First off, I preface my remarks by stating that the United States medical care is the best in the world. This is largely because of our free-market system in both clinical care and biomedical research. People are living longer and healthier lives because of innovation, dedication, and the “desire for wealth” which spurs individual and corporate enterprises. I am proud to be part of this system which is unparalleled worldwide.

Romney’s plan does not represent “socialized medicine” or even a step down the slippery slope that could lead there . . . no, this is not the road to HillaryCare. Every physician I know cringes at the idea of socialized medicine (for the negative effect it would have on us and our patients—a true “lose-lose”). On the flip side, every physician I’ve spoken to lately seems very supportive and intrigued by Romney’s plan. This is significant, and should allay any fears of this being a stepping stone toward socialized medicine.

The plan is not even a “government takeover” of medicine as some are claiming. There are no new “government insurance plans” to sign up for. The government’s involvement is mainly in oversight to ensure that everyone is insured (just like the good old car insurance analogy . . . by the way, is anyone complaining of a “government take over” of the car insurance industry?)

Romney recently rebuffed such claims of “big government” by responding that "making the individual responsible for his own health coverage is a lot more conservative than a permanent program of government handouts to hospitals." Edmund F. Haislmaier stated that “those who want to create a consumer-based health system and deregulate health insurance should view Romney's plan as one of the most promising strategies out there.”

Although libertarians may cringe at the government "mandate” that this law institutes what they must realize is that this simply supplants previous mandates. This law appropriately shifts the burden of the uninsured away from the Emergency rooms and hospitals (who under COBRA and EMTALA federal laws, ARE CURRENTLY MANDATED to treat all comers for emergency services regardless of their insurance—or lack thereof) to the individuals . . . exactly where it should be (hey, most people don’t flinch one bit about plopping down several hundred dollars to have their teeth worked or to get glasses/contacts . . . so why does almost everyone seem convinced that medical care should not have any out-of-pocket expenses?)

Another great aspect of this plan is that it requires even the poor to pay at least something for their healthcare (excluding Medicaid recipients). Romney keeps saying that this plan will eliminate the “free lunch” mentality toward healthcare that most low-incomers have. This will also build self-worth and individual accountability as the self-defeating hand-out system will diminish greatly. The private insurance premiums will be subsidized by the government on a sliding-scale for lower-income individuals and the very poorest will still be captured and covered, at least in part, by federal Medicaid funding.

A fascinating component of the Mass. plan is “The Connector” which came about through Romney’s reaching out to the conservative think tank “The Heritage Foundation.” This entity will allow the self-employed or part-time workers to obtain the benefit of pre-tax dollar utilization for insurance premiums (a benefit currently reserved for those whose health care coverage is provided by their employers.) In effect, this amounts to a tax-cut/tax-break (true to Republican principles . . . even in the Bluest of Blue states . . . how did Gov. Romney get this done?). In addition, “The Connector” will allow portability of insurance plans as individuals change their employment as well as allowing folks with multiple jobs to pay pre-tax off of multiple paychecks. Slick and practical stuff.

“Where is the accountability built into this system?” you may ask. Those who do not obtain insurance will lose out on their state personal tax exemption (among other penalties for individuals and businesses). This straightforward enforcement/incentive program will yield results quickly. People will also be blocked from obtaining/renewing driver’s licenses if they cannot provide proof of healthcare insurance.

Some have criticized Governor Romney’s veto of the $295/employee fee (per annum) for employers who do not offer insurance for full-time employees. Everyone knew that his veto would be overturned by the legislature and this play of events ended up being a “win-win” for Romney. He can claim to be business friendly and for smaller government (which he honestly is)—while inclusion of the fee gives the plan itself an even better chance of being fiscally successful. If this plan is successful it will bode very well for Romney in 2008.

Will it work? I predict that since people will have insurance they will seek outpatient primary (preventative) care early in their disease course instead of stumbling into emergency rooms on death’s door. If this helps keep people out of emergency rooms and hospitals where costs are massive then this will work AND improve the general public health.

The bigger money-saver, however, will be in getting non-emergent patients out of emergency rooms for their primary care. Uninsured and poor people know that, by law (COBRA & EMTALA) emergency rooms have to see and evaluate them for ANY complaint they may have. My brother is an ER physician and is constantly amazed how the ER system is abused by so many patients . . . like coming in at 3 AM because they’ve had “the sniffles” for a week.

Governor Romney’s response when asked by Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball if such a plan could work for the nation highlights many of these points:

“Well, it will work for Massachusetts, and that’s of course the thing that I had to focus on. There are certain aspects of it that I think would work across the country, perhaps better in some states than others. Of course the great thing about federalism is you let a state try it and see how it works before you spread it out.

“But there’s some key features and I think this is one of them, which is that we are already spending billions of dollars in our country and in my state, about a billion dollars, giving free care to people who don’t have insurance. And the question was, if we took that money and helped them buy insurance, could we have everybody insured and the answer is yes.

“We don’t need new money. We don’t need new taxes. We could use the money we’re currently spending and get people better health care without having the burden and the cost of the uninsured being borne by everybody else.”

By the end of this interview Chris Matthews exclaimed: “God, it sounds wonderful. I’m not supposed to cheer here, but I mean, I think it’s wonderful.” This is what happens when you mix a good plan with the right man. I’m pretty sure that this is the right plan . . . but everything I’ve seen so far tells me that Romney is definitely the right man.

Shifting Gears -- A new Iowa Romney Blog

Since my personal blogsite was gravitating toward announcements and links revolving around Mitt Romney I decided to join the state blog sites movement. I am trying to do this synergistically with the other Iowa-Romney blogsite (Romney for Iowa) and wanted the name to conform to the format most state blogsites have seem to taken (will be easier to find when every state has a blogsite for Romney here in a few months.) I will continue to post the more in depth commentaries at personal blogsite as well as here (dual posting), but the links to current articles and information will be focused at this blogsite.

Mitts Minions are Mounting!