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Author Topic: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY  (Read 19043 times)
Steve
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« Reply #45 on: May 10, 2012, 10:45 AM »

Mitt Romney’s prep school classmates recall pranks, but also troubling incidents

Mitt Romney returned from a three-week spring break in 1965 to resume his studies as a high school senior at the prestigious Cranbrook School. Back on the handsome campus, studded with Tudor brick buildings and manicured fields, he spotted something he thought did not belong at a school where the boys wore ties and carried briefcases. John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it.

“He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection. Mitt, the teenaged son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled.

A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.

The incident was recalled similarly by five students, who gave their accounts independently of one another. Four of them — Friedemann, now a dentist; Phillip Maxwell, a lawyer; Thomas Buford, a retired prosecutor; and David Seed, a retired principal — spoke on the record. Another former student who witnessed the incident asked not to be named. The men have differing political affiliations, although they mostly lean Democratic. Buford volunteered for Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008. Seed, a registered independent, has served as a Republican county chairman in Michigan. All of them said that politics in no way colored their recollections.

“It happened very quickly, and to this day it troubles me,” said Buford, the school’s wrestling champion, who said he joined Romney in restraining Lauber. Buford subsequently apologized to Lauber, who was “terrified,” he said. “What a senseless, stupid, idiotic thing to do.”

“It was a hack job,” recalled Maxwell, a childhood friend of Romney who was in the dorm room when the incident occurred. “It was vicious.”

“He was just easy pickins,” said Friedemann, then the student prefect, or student authority leader of Stevens Hall, expressing remorse about his failure to stop it.

The incident transpired in a flash, and Friedemann said Romney then led his cheering schoolmates back to his bay-windowed room in Stevens Hall.

Friedemann, guilt ridden, made a point of not talking about it with his friend and waited to see what form of discipline would befall Romney at the famously strict institution. Nothing happened.

(What’s your opinion: Are Romney’s high school actions relevant to his campaign?)

Romney is now the presumed Republican presidential nominee. In a radio interview Thursday morning, Romney said he didn’t remember the incident but apologized for pranks he helped orchestrate that he said “might have gone too far.”

His campaign spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, said in a statement that “anyone who knows Mitt Romney knows that he doesn’t have a mean-spirited bone in his body. The stories of fifty years ago seem exaggerated and off base and Governor Romney has no memory of participating in these incidents.”

Campaign officials denied a request for an interview with Romney. They also declined to comment further about his years at Cranbrook.

After the incident, Lauber seemed to disappear. He returned days later with his shortened hair back to its natural brown. He finished the year, but ultimately left the school before graduation — thrown out for smoking a cigarette.

Sometime in the mid-1990s, David Seed noticed a familiar face at the end of a bar at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

“Hey, you’re John Lauber,” Seed recalled saying at the start of a brief conversation. Seed, also among those who witnessed the Romney-led incident, had gone on to a career as a teacher and principal. Now he had something to get off his chest.

“I’m sorry that I didn’t do more to help in the situation,” he said.

Lauber paused, then responded, “It was horrible.” He went on to explain how frightened he was during the incident, and acknowledged to Seed, “It’s something I have thought about a lot since then.”

Lauber died in 2004, according to his three sisters.

Romney came of age during his six years at Cranbrook. First as a day student and later as a full-time boarder, he embraced and became emblematic of the Cranbrook way — a strict disciplinary code and academic rigor that governed the school by day and a free-wheeling unofficial boys code of “Crannies” at night. Wherever the action was, so was Romney. He wrote the most letters to the girls at the sister school across the lake and successfully petitioned to get placed in the top classes. He was not a natural athlete, but found his place among the jocks by managing the hockey team and leading megaphone cheers for the football team. Although a devout Mormon, one of the few at the school, he was less defined by his faith than at any other time in his life. He was a member of 11 school organizations, including the Spectator’s Club and the homecoming committee, and started the school’s booster outfit, the Blue Key Club.

It was at Cranbrook where he first lived on his own, found his future wife and made his own decisions. One can see the institution’s influence on his demeanor and actions during those years, but also how it helped form the clubbiness and earnestness, the sense of leadership and enthusiasm, apparent in his careers as a businessman and a politician. “He strongly bought in to community service,” said Richard Moon, a schoolmate at the time. “That hard work was its own reward.” What is less visible today is what was most apparent to his prep-school peers: his jocularity.

Now, nearly half a century later, Romney’s presidential campaign has turned to the candidate’s youthful antics as evidence of his capacity for harmless, humanizing pranks and as an indication of his looser, less wooden self.

“There’s a wild and crazy man inside of there just waiting to come out,” Romney’s wife, Ann — a graduate of Cranbrook’s sister school, Kingswood — attested in a television interview this month, evoking what she saw as his endearing and fun-loving prep-school persona. Many of Romney’s peers from his high school days echo that version of the candidate, describing him as the humble son of an automobile executive-turned-governor who volunteered at the nearby mental hospital. They recall an infectious laugh, a characterization first documented in his senior yearbook.

“If you should ever by chance be walking down the [Stevens Hall] corridor at 2:00 a.m. and hear rising tones of boisterous, exuberant laughter, you are almost sure to find its source is Mitt Romney,” the yearbook reported. “A quiet joke, a panicky laughter and another of the Friedemann-Romney all-night marathon contests has begun.”

But Friedemann and several people closest to Romney in those formative years say there was a sharp edge to him. In an English class, Gary Hummel, who was a closeted gay student at the time, recalled that his efforts to speak out in class were punctuated with Romney shouting, “Atta girl!” In the culture of that time and place, that was not entirely out of the norm. Hummel recalled some teachers using similar language.

Saul, Romney’s campaign spokeswoman, said the candidate has no recollection of the incident.

Teachers were also the butt of Romney’s brand of humor.

One venerable English teacher, Carl G. Wonnberger, nicknamed “the Bat” for his diminished eyesight, was known to walk into the trophy case and apologize, step into wastepaper baskets and stare blindly as students slipped out the back of the room to smoke by the open windows. Once, several students remembered the time pranksters propped up the back axle of Wonnberger’s Volkswagen Beetle with two-by-fours and watched, laughing from the windows, as the unwitting teacher slammed the gas pedal with his wheels spinning in the air.

As an underclassman, Romney accompanied Wonnberger and Pierce Getsinger, another student, from the second floor of the main academic building to the library to retrieve a book the two boys needed. According to Getsinger, Romney opened a first set of doors for Wonnberger, but then at the next set, with other students around, he swept his hand forward, bidding the teacher into a closed door. Wonnberger walked right into it and Getsinger said Romney giggled hysterically as the teacher shrugged it off as another of life’s indignities.

“I always enjoyed his pranks,” said Stu White, a popular friend of Romney’s who went on to a career as a public school teacher and has long been bothered by the Lauber incident. “But I was not the brunt of any of his pranks.”

In later years, after Romney went on a Mormon mission, married and raised five sons, he seemed a different person to some old classmates. “Mitt began to change as a person when he met Ann Davies. He gradually became a more serious person. She was part of the process of him maturing and becoming more of the person he is today,” said Jim Bailey, who was a classmate of Romney’s at Cranbrook and later at Harvard.

* * *

By the 1950s, George and Lenore Romney had cracked the Motor City firmament and made their home in the exclusive enclave of Bloomfield Hills. When it came to educating their children, the clear choice was Cranbrook.

Built in 1927 by George Booth, publisher of the Detroit News, and named after his father’s alma mater in Kent, England, Cranbrook stood out as an architectural gem in the Michigan woods. Modeled on British boarding schools with “forms” instead of grades, “prefects” instead of RAs, “masters” instead of teachers, it also boasted the work of famed Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen. Cranbrook had all the trappings of an elite school where kids walked around like junior executives and, as Tom Elliott, Class of 1966, recalled, learned mantras such as, “Remember who you are, and what you represent.”

“If you went to Cranbrook,” said a classmate, Peter “the Bird” Werbel. “You were crème de la crème.”

The Romney children walked under arches reading “A Life Without Beauty Is Only Half Lived”; past a field overlooked by Greek-style sculptures where the Detroit Lions practiced; and then a statuette of the school’s symbol, the archer from Book V of Virgil’s “Aeneid,” who “aimed an arrow high.” (In the mug honoring Romney’s Class of 1965, a naked woman replaced the aiming archer.) They looked out of leaded-glass windows in the academic buildings, crossed the spruce-spotted quad lined with modernist fountains and sleek statues of coursing hounds. They studied in reading rooms featuring frescoes and marble friezes. In the chandeliered dining room, students waited on fellow students and sat on straight-backed spindle chairs bearing the school’s insignia of a proud crane. After dinner, they wiped their mouths with cloth napkins.

In 1959, Mitt Romney enrolled at Cranbrook as a 12-year-old seventh-grader.

For the most part, the school broke down along the usual lines of jocks and brains, popular kids and introverts, all trained with the expectation of joining the next generation’s elite. The students gave one another chummy nicknames. There was Moonie and Butch, the Kraut and Flip. Romney, his name short to begin with, was playfully teased with chants of Wiiillard, Wiiillard by his friends.

Ron Sill, a Romney classmate especially attuned to the counter-culture of the 1960s, rolled his eyes at the dance instruction and lessons on how to hold a teacup and properly shake a man’s hand. He preferred to listen to folk music in the coffee shops of neighboring Birmingham. Taro Yamasaki, the son of the architect of the World Trade Center and several Bloomfield Hills houses, then went by the name Michael and encountered what he called a “veiled racism.” “I was a linebacker in football,” said Yamasaki, who went on to become a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer. “And the coaches would call me Kamikaze.” Sidney Barthwell, the son of a prominent Detroit pharmacist, was the only African American student in Romney’s class from the seventh through 12th grades. Now a Detroit magistrate, he said he tried to introduce some west Detroit swagger to the school, but it was, he said, “pretty Republican and pretty waspy.”

There was a significant Jewish contingent, and several of those students said they never sensed any obvious prejudice. During Romney’s tenure, there were also Middle Eastern exchange students, usually from Kuwait.

Abdulhadi M. al-Awadi, a Kuwaiti student, had fond memories of the school and the respect and special attention he received from teachers. He recalled Romney as the “son of Governor Romney” who was “very sociable.” When some students put up pictures of Israeli statesman David Ben-Gurion in the hallway near his room, he did not believe it was meant intentionally to offend him, but he was bothered by it. “It’s human nature. But they did it. That’s their right.”

Faisel F. al-Abduljadir, a Kuwaiti student spending his senior year at Cranbrook in part to improve his English, said the teachers and students went out of their way to treat him with respect, showing consideration for his celebration of Ramadan and bathing requirements. But he acknowledged being “angry” about a caption under his picture in the senior yearbook that read, “Take a left at the next Synagogue.”

Religion was not much of an issue for the students. There was mandatory chapel time on Tuesdays and Thursdays when they sang Episcopalian hymns and the school song, “Forty Years On,” but it was studiously nondenominational. The campus’s elegant Christ Church had a Star of David, an Islamic crescent, and Yin and Yang sign above its wooden door. The Mormon Romney joined Jews and Protestants on Cranbrook’s Church Cabinet, which focused on community service.

Some students admired Romney for what they saw as his lack of airs, saying he did not trade on his father’s status as an auto executive and governor. Romney even came in for teasing because American Motors, the company his father ran, was considered at the bottom rung of the big auto hierarchy, below General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.

“Boys in a boys’ school can tease and make fun of almost anything,” said Bailey, a scholarship student and head prefect of the school who described Romney at the time as an awkward adolescent with a penchant for practical jokes. The children of other auto executives would taunt Romney for the Ramblers he and his father drove. “That’s not a car, that’s a bicycle with a dishwasher for an engine,” Bailey recalled them saying.

Others noticed a distance between themselves and Romney. “I was a scholarship student and he was the son of the governor,” said Lance Leithauser, now a doctor, who attended the school with his brother, Brad, now a noted poet. “There was a bit of a gulf.” Even a close pal like Friedemann felt that distance; their friendship was confined to the dorms. When Romney left the campus on weekends, he never invited him. “I didn’t quite fit into the social circle. I didn’t have a car when I was 16,” Friedemann said. “I couldn’t go skiing or whatever they did.”

Lou Vierling, a scholarship student who boarded at Cranbrook for the 1960 and 1961 academic years, was struck by a question Romney asked them when they first met. “He wanted to know what my father did for a living,” Vierling recalled. “He wanted to know if my mother worked. He wanted to know what town I lived in.” As Vierling explained that his father taught school, that he commuted from east Detroit, he noticed a souring of Romney’s demeanor.

Romney was bowled over by the wealth of some of his friends. He briefly dated Mary Fisher, the daughter of the philanthropist and diplomat Max Fisher, who acted as a finance chairman to George Romney’s political campaigns. At her house, he watched the James Bond film “Goldfinger” in the family’s private theater before it was widely released. He reported excitedly back to Friedemann about the theater, noting that the seats even had numbers.

The largest chasm of all at Cranbrook was between the boarders and the “day boys.” Students within the limits of Detroit’s Eight Mile Road had the option to attend the school without boarding. The requirements for enrollment as a day student were generally tougher, leading day boys to consider themselves academically superior. Day boys also had the freedom to leave campus when school let out late in the afternoon. Often those with cars would gas up at nearby service stations, cruise Woodward Avenue and plot “how and where we could get some beer,” said Gregg Dearth, who went by the nickname Daiquiri Dearth. Drugs were generally unheard of, but day boy parties often included someone downing beers or toting bottles of scotch.

Romney began his Cranbrook career as a day boy and quickly adapted to the school’s unofficial code. He was prohibited by his religion from drinking alcohol but excelled at elaborate practical jokes.

During spring break of his senior year, when most of his friends went to Florida for vacation, Romney stayed behind to make movies for an upcoming Cranbrook talent show. For one, he filmed his friends Stu White and Judy Sherman seated at a table to dine on fine china on a Woodward Avenue median as their friend Pike John, now deceased, acted as the waiter. Romney filmed the luncheon until a police officer pulled up. “And that was it,” Sherman said.

But in a well-known prank in which Romney flashed a police siren and, bearing a fake badge and cap, approached two friends and their dates parked on a dark country road, there was a stronger undercurrent of fear to the incident than commonly conveyed. Candy Porter, a Kingswood boarder from a small town in Ohio, had a strict 11 p.m. curfew. As Romney and his Cranbrook pals played out the joke, pretending to be shocked over empty bourbon bottles in the trunk, Porter thought of the dorm mothers waiting at the door and the threat of expulsion. “I just remember being like a deer in headlights,” she said. “I just remember being terrified.” Once she realized it was all a prank, and was safely back at her dorm, Porter joined in the laughter.

Romney’s sense of humor ran through his family.

Sherman, a friend of the Romneys from high school, recalled Ann telling her about the time Romney and his older brother, Scott, dressed up in white coats and wheeled a gurney up to the Birmingham train station to meet their aunt. When she got off the train, they rushed her away as if to a madhouse.

* * *

By the time Romney started dating Ann in his senior year, he had immersed himself into the Cranbrook culture. In 1962, when his father won the governorship and his parents moved to Lansing, he entered the boarding life as a resident of Stevens Hall, named after the school’s first headmaster. From the inside, Cranbrook was an entirely different place.

“The day students,” said Steph Lady, a boarder and now a screenwriter in Hollywood, “it was like they didn’t even go there.”

Romney breathed Cranbrook day and night.

He met the Kingswood girls at the Get Acquainted Dance in the school gym. There was the Chateau de Noel girl-ask-boy dance at Christmas, and the World A-Fair, in which students dressed up in the garb of other nations. He sang in the Glee Club and started the Blue Key Club, an organization of students who “know the campus and Cranbrook traditions well” and served as ambassador to parents and prospective students. The school newspaper noted that his “diligent and capable leadership” of the homecoming weekend, where he delivered a “brilliantly hilarious monologue,” earned him a citation reserved for “students whose contributions to school life are often not fully recognized through already existing channels.” He was co-chairman of the Speculators Club and played a leading role in the American Field Service, which helped bring foreign students to the campus. He also served a leadership role on a student cabinet organization and during his senior year took a bus with some Kingswood girls to volunteer at the nearby state mental hospital. There, he danced to spinning 45s and talked and ate chips with the young patients.

“His altruism was apparent then and is apparent now,” said Candy Porter, who volunteered with Romney at the hospital. “I just remember him being really nice,” said Mary Fisher.

Romney also found time to contribute to the school paper as a special correspondent at the funeral of President John F. Kennedy. “Mitt Romney Comments on Kennedy Funeral,” read the front page headline on the Dec. 17, 1963, edition of the Crane. “Note: Personal comments and observations made by Mitt Romney in Washington, Nov. 25, 1963.”

“The old Washington theory of relativity, briefly: one is important only until a bigger brass appears, was blatently [sic] obvious for whenever before have we had the top potentates of the world here to outrank our dignitaries? We all recall the day when we saw a senator of the like in some big, black limosine [sic] drive through our town. Most likely our mouths were hanging wide open as our Mommies and Daddies told us the man out there was a very important person who worked in Washington.”

* * *

Even without extracurricular activities, Cranbrook demanded long days. The morning bell rang at 7 and breakfast was served in the dining hall at 7:30, coat and tie required. After breakfast, students returned to clean their rooms in anticipation of white-gloved senior prefects who scoured the bed frames for dust. After classes and study hall at 9:30, students could go beneath Stevens Hall to the school store, where the boys received letters, via an inter-school postal service, from the girls at Kingswood. Some were perfumed.

The letters Romney wrote were delivered to the Green Lobby in Kingswood. Around 10:15 every morning, the girls, all wearing saddle shoes, hoped to hear their names called amid walls of rich green tile, and banisters, benches and clocks all in the art deco style.

“The person who wrote the most consistently was Mitt,” said Lyn Moon Shields, who dated Romney in the fall semester of 1964. Gentlemanly and fun, Romney was her best date in her six years at school. He called every evening and picked her up in his powder blue Rambler and drove her up and down Woodward Avenue on weekends, and to school dances where she wore blue-green formal dresses and he a dark suit and tie. “Things were so innocent,” she said. “We kissed each other, I think Mitt would admit to that.” One day, she said, Romney just stopped calling. He had taken an interest in a Kingswood sophomore. “They got intentional about their relationship very soon,” Shields said of Mitt and Ann.

Like every other student, Romney completed a rigorous workload that made most college requirements seem easy by comparison. Between the seventh and eighth grades, the faculty selected a dozen or so students to enter an advanced-placement program. Romney at first was not among the chosen, and he objected. “He went into the headmaster and convinced him that ‘I should be in this,’ ” John French, who had been friends with Romney since they served together as Cub Scouts, recalled Romney telling him. “He had gumption. He had his sights on what he wanted to achieve.”

The time after class was set aside for sports. Romney was not a natural athlete, according to classmates. He wore the Cranbrook “C” on his white tank top as a cross-country runner, but the greatest impression he made in that pursuit was collapsing near the finish line during a meet — although his perseverance won him admiration and applause. He was more at home on the sidelines, cheering the football team on as a member of the Pep Club, chanting such cheers into a megaphone as “Iron them out. Iron them out. Smooooth.”

He participated on the school’s hockey team as its manager, lugging a duffle bag full of pucks and sticks. Dressed in suit and tie and three-quarter coat, he rode the bus with the uniformed players and kept stats in the coach’s box at the cold outdoor rink. The team’s senior year began with promise, but ended badly. The players took out their frustration on the ice, getting into brawls with Lakeview and Catholic Central. During one fight, Maxwell pulled the jersey over the head of an opposing player and pummeled away. Romney dashed onto the ice, slipping and sliding in his Brogan wingtips in an apparent attempt to break up the fight.

During the winter of Romney’s sophomore year, the faculty assigned him and Maxwell to mop the floors of the academic halls, part of a World War II-era program meant to instill a work ethic in the students. During their six-week detail, the two old friends had long, rambling conversations about religion, and Maxwell pressed Romney on how he could believe in Mormonism.

As Maxwell later recalled their discussion, he asked Romney, “How can you believe that thing about the tablets?” referring to the divine gold tablets Mormons believe were discovered in New York and translated by Joseph Smith.

Romney, he said, responded, “What about the Virgin birth and the holy trinity?”

“I don’t believe that either,” Maxwell responded. The discussions ultimately came down to a faith vs. reason equation.

“You simply have to have faith,” Romney concluded.

“That’s a cop-out,” Maxwell said.

While there were seeds of Romney’s future devoutness at Cranbrook, he was then more interested in goofing off. In the evenings, he cut loose with Friedemann, a scholarship kid from the small town of Romeo, dubbed the Kraut. The two boys stayed up late, joking around and racing mops like racehorses up and down the hallway.

One regular in the Stevens Hall revelry was the school’s security guard, Chester. In police uniform, chubby and middle-aged, Chester would let Romney and Friedemann examine and play with his gun. In the student yearbook, Romney posed with his arm around Chester wearing thick black glasses, similar to those the guard wore, but also a ski hat and a silly Jerry Lewis expression. At the Swingin’ Sweeney Dance, Romney pointed a toy gun under his chin as two girls shook hands in front of him. A photo of the pose ran in the yearbook above the caption, “Give a guy enough rope and he’ll hang himself.”

Romney spent months trying to convert Friedemann, the son of New Deal-worshiping Democrats, to the Republican Party. He asked to meet his friend’s grandmother, so that he could convert her, too. “He talked politics all the time,” Friedemann said. “It was more big government versus small government. He was a business guy back then.”

Romney’s political and personal idol, George Romney, was never far away. Once Crawford Elder, a student a year behind Romney, saw the governor in the basement under Stevens Hall getting a haircut from Everett Arthurs, the school barber and part-time bartender at faculty cocktail parties. When Ev, as he was widely known, dropped dead after a round of golf, Gov. Romney eulogized him at a tree dedication ceremony on the quad, a few steps away from his son’s room.

* * *

After lights out, John Lauber often left his door open. Larry Olson and some other boarders would check for the hall monitor they called Sneaky Pete and slip into Lauber’s room. From there, they would crawl out his window, climb over the bushes and scurry off campus to Lone Pine Road, where a pizza truck regularly parked. Sated, they would climb back through the window and check on the bottles of apple juice that they hoped fermenting grapes would turn into hard cider. Then Lauber and his friends played poker until the early morning.

When Lauber’s younger sister, Betsy, visited the campus, she said she found him happy and sporting a preppy look. He took her to an off-campus party at a fellow student’s house where they danced to Motown records and laughed.

But he was always a bit different from the rest. During breaks from school, he worked as a mortician’s assistant. He spent more time devouring books than making friends in clubs.

“He was very quiet, not a jock,” said Steph Lady. “Very soft-spoken. I know nothing, probably gay, but who knows. We were so stupid and naïve. I know there was homosexuality there but we didn’t even have a word for it. And there was homophobia then, too.”

On an overcast Saturday, David Craig, a senior prefect and day student, drove his car down Martell Drive along the school grounds and saw a figure duck into the hedges. He thought the person might be trespassing and stopped, only to find Lauber puffing on a cigarette. In a move that he said he later regretted as an excess of the “dorm trooper” mentality instilled by Cranbrook, Craig reported Lauber to the headmaster. Soon after, Lauber was expelled.

“He just disappeared,” Lady said.

Sudden disappearances at Cranbrook were not unheard of. Students might pass a dorm neighbor on the way to class and come back hours later, with all their belongings gone and their beds stripped by maintenance staff. Bad behavior and bad grades were not tolerated.

Ben Snyder, who as an assistant headmaster later spearheaded the school’s effort to recruit inner-city students, said Cranbrook in Romney’s time “had its standards and applied them briskly when needed.” As chairman of a group of faculty members and students who were in charge of discipline, he described a strict school in which offenders could be “dismissed, period.” Snyder could not recall dealing with any transgressions involving Romney. “I wouldn’t expect to see him,” Snyder said of the disciplinary tribunals. “The family was so straight, they don’t do those types of things.”

On June 12, 1965, Romney concluded his Cranbrook career at a commencement ceremony at the Christ Church, in which his father delivered a keynote address reported on by the local papers.

“This is a special occasion for us as a family,” George Romney told the gathered boys before emphasizing that religion and “the one girlfriend whom you finally take the greatest interest in” and good health habits were critical for a successful life. So, he said, was character. “Developing character is going to be more important than your education from now on.” The ceremony concluded with all the boys singing a final rendition of their school song, “Forty years on.”

“Forty years on, when afar and asunder

Parted are those who are singing today,

When you look back, and forgetfully wonder

What you were like in your work and your play,

Then, it may be, there will often come o’er you,

Glimpses of notes like the catch of a song –

Visions of boyhood shall float them before you,

Echoes of dreamland shall bear them along,

Follow up! Follow up! Follow up!”

Forty years on, Mitt Romney accepted the school’s 2005 Distinguished Alumni Award.

A year earlier, John Joseph Lauber died at a Seattle hospital.

The boy few at Cranbrook knew or remember was born in Chicago, grew up in South Bend, Ind., and had a hard time fitting in. He liked to wander and “had a glorious sense of the absurd,” according to his sister Betsy. When the chance to get out of Indiana presented itself, he jumped at it, and enrolled at Cranbrook. He never uttered a word about Mitt Romney or the haircut incident to his sisters. After Cranbrook asked him to leave, he finished high school, attended the University of the Seven Seas for two semesters, then graduated in 1970 from Vanderbilt, where he majored in English.

He came out as gay to his family and close friends and led a vagabond life, taking dressage lessons in England and touring with the Royal Lipizzaner Stallion riders. After an extreme fit of temper in front of his mother and sister at home in South Bend, he checked into the Menninger Clinic psychiatric hospital in Topeka, Kan. Later he received his embalmer’s license, worked as a chef aboard big freighters and fishing trawlers, and cooked for civilian contractors during the war in Bosnia and then, a decade later, in Iraq. His hair thinned as he aged, and in the winter of 2004 he returned to Seattle, the closest thing he had to a base. He died there of liver cancer that December.

He kept his hair blond until he died, said his sister Chris. “He never stopped bleaching it.”

Researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.
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« Reply #46 on: May 10, 2012, 10:46 AM »

May 10, 2012 08:00 AM

Former Classmates Recall Romney Attack on Gay Student

By Diane Sweet


Wow. Here I thought Mitt Romney's cruel streak was in that he likes to fire people. Five of Romney's former classmates from a prestigious all-boys college prep school recall a "vicious" attack on a new student who Romney and others believed to be gay.

The Washington Post reports:

    Mitt Romney returned from a three-week spring break in 1965 to resume his studies as a high school senior at the prestigious Cranbrook School. Back on the handsome campus, studded with Tudor brick buildings and manicured fields, he spotted something he thought did not belong at a school where the boys wore ties and carried briefcases. John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it.

    “He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection. Mitt, the teenaged son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled.

    A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.

Romney never received any punishment for his actions.

Lauber was expelled from the school after being caught smoking on school grounds. He "came out" to family and close friends. Among other jobs, he later worked as a civilian contractor in Bosnia and Iraq. He died of liver cancer in 2004, according to his sisters.


* romney3.jpg (26.38 KB, 171x240 - viewed 85 times.)
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« Reply #47 on: May 11, 2012, 07:33 AM »

Mother of murdered gay son: Romney’s prank was ‘an act of torment’

By Eric W. Dolan
Thursday, May 10, 2012 17:40 EDT

Judy Shepard, whose son was murdered for being gay, blasted Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for allegedly harassing prep school classmates he judged to be too effeminate.

“While this may seem like an innocent prank to some, it was an act of torment against a child for being different,” Shepard said. Her son Matthew was kidnapped and brutally murdered in 1998. “We expect the people we elect to be leaders in the charge against bullying so that all students are afforded the right to learn and grow in an environment free of fear. This incident calls into question whether Mitt Romney can be an advocate for the nation’s most vulnerable children.”

A Washington Post article published on Thursday described how Romney and his friends pinned down a fellow classmate, John Lauber, and cut his hair with scissors. Romney had complained that it was “wrong” for the boy, who was often teased and accused of being gay, to have such long hair.

Responding to the story, Romney said at the time he had “no idea what that individual’s sexual orientation might be.”

“I don’t recall the incident myself but I’ve seen the reports and not going argue with that,” he told Fox News host Neil Cavuto. “There’s no question that I did some stupid things in high school and, obviously, if I hurt anyone by virtue of that I would be very sorry for it and apologize for it.”

According to the Washington Post, Romney also used to shout “atta girl!” at a classmate who was a closeted homosexual. Romney said he had no recollection of the event.

News of Romney’s prep school pranks came just one day after President Barack Obama endorsed same sex marriage.

“We cannot look past this incident now that Romney is the presumptive Republican nominee for president,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “Mitt Romney’s unwillingness to understand or acknowledge the gravity of his actions and sincerely apologize is a troubling suggestion of a lack of character.”
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« Reply #48 on: May 11, 2012, 07:36 AM »

Former Governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm Takes Mitt Romney to Task for Claim of Saving Detroit

Dear Mitt Romney:

There are politics, there are lies, and then there's you. You take it to a whole 'nother level.

OK, I admit that I have a particular animus toward you, as a guy that knifed us in the back when Michigan was on its knees, but you simply cannot be our president. It cannot happen.

As you know, Mitt, I was governor of Michigan during that horrible time, when the financial industry was melting down and the auto industry was in free fall. And you were running for president. You saw the polls about the unpopularity of bailouts and you lumped the auto industry in with the bank industry -- the auto industry, where your father and so many of your family members had worked.


You raised your finger into the air, saw which way the wind was blowing, and followed it. Way to lead, Mitt.

You weren't looking into the eyes of autoworkers getting laid off as factory after factory closed.

In the six month period surrounding the president's inauguration, more than 1,018 Michigan companies had announced mass layoffs in response to the crash.

Our unemployment office was receiving more than 800,000 calls per day from people desperate for help. The auto industry was heading over the cliff, we were begging for help, and you were coolly standing behind us giving your home state a shove over the ledge. And now you have the nerve to claim credit for the auto industry's rebound? It's a joke, right?

Steve Rattner, who headed the president's auto task force said it succinctly today when he said, "Mitt Romney is nuts." If only that's all it was.

So Mitt, here's my request: Just stop it. Stop denying that you were pandering to a national audience when you wrote that Detroit should "go bankrupt" and then stop taking credit for the success of the Obama administration's intervention to save the auto industry and more than a million jobs that went with it.

The Obama team wasn't taking advice from you. So just. Stop. Talking. Just stop.

And to you, reading this in The Huffington Post -- let's be honest, most Democrats aren't going to vote for Mitt Romney anyway. This latest example of his deception and distortion is just that, the latest example.

But to the Republicans and Independents who are reading this: Could you honestly see George H.W. Bush, or John McCain or Bob Dole, or even George W. Bush, demeaning the intelligence of the American people like this? Acting in a way so devoid of integrity?

It's ironic that on a day in which we focus on the auto industry, we're debating the merits of a guy who exhibits all the clichés we unfairly assign to used car salesmen.

America is not a business. It's not about ROI. It's not a trophy to mount on your wall.

America is an idea. And it's the solemn responsibility of each "temporary" president to protect and nurture that noblest of all ideas -- with integrity.

This man, Mitt Romney, has shown -- not through his experience, but through his actions and words -- that he is unqualified to carry out that responsibility.Jennifer Granholm Takes Mitt Romney to Task for Claim of Saving Detroit
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« Reply #49 on: May 12, 2012, 07:10 AM »

From the American magazine "Perspectives"
May 11, 2012 06:00 PM

Romney's Strategy? Call the Kettle Black

Two funny things happened this week on Mitt Romney's way to the White House. First, the man who cried "let Detroit go bankrupt" announced "I'll take a lot of credit" for President Obama's million-job saving rescue of the American auto industry. But just as telling was the Republican's claim that, despite Obama's "Forward" campaign slogan, it was the President who was "looking backward." After all, Mitt Romney isn't merely offering an even more reactionary resurrection of George W. Bush's failed policies. As it turns out, from his charges on immigration reform and women's issues to labeling Obama an out of touch "Marie Antoinette" and so much else, Romney's strategy is call to the kettle black.

(Click a link below for the details on each.)

    "Looking Backward"
    "Fairness"
    "Out of Touch"
    "Spent Too Much Time at Harvard"
    "Hide-and-Seek Campaign"
    "Broke His Promise to Hispanics"
    "Respect Women in All Those Choices That They Make"

"Looking Backward"

In April, the RNC's Alexandra Franceschi gave away the game when she explained that even after the calamitous Bush recession which began over four years ago, the2012 GOP economic platform would be the Bush program, "just updated." As a quick glance at Mitt Romney's proposals shows, Franceschi has a gift for understatement.

Romney, after all, is promising massive tax cuts which would deliver the lion's share of their winnings to the very richest Americans, his family included. (His 20 percent across-the-board tax cut is simply a tired retread of Bob Dole's failed 1996 plan, one that nevertheless steers a third of its benefits to the wealthiest one-tenth of one percent of Americans.) He nevertheless pledges to balance the budget even while boosting defense spending. And this latest scion of a proud Republican family would like to privatize Social Security and leave Americans to fend for themselves in the private health insurance marketplace.

Undaunted, Romney slammed the President this week in East Lansing, Michigan:

    "Looking backward won't solve the problems of today, nor will it take advantage of the opportunities of tomorrow," Romney said. "His are the policies of the past. The challenges of the present and the promise of tomorrow must be met by a new and bold vision for the future, and I will bring it."

Despite the conclusion of the nonpartisan CBO and the overwhelming consensus of economists that Obama's actions saved the U.S. from "Great Depression 2.0," Romney has insisted for months that the President "made the economy worse." Unfortunately for Mitt, "we are not stupid."

"Fairness"

Barack Obama has made "fairness" a central theme of his reelection campaign. And with good reason. After all, at a time of record income inequality and the lowest federal tax burden since 1950, Both Mitt Romney and his budgetary twin Paul Ryan would deliver a massive tax cut windfall for the rich, paying for it by gutting the social safety net each pretends to protect. Each would end Medicare as we know it with a premium support gambit that would dramatically shift health care costs to America's seniors. While increasing defense spending, the House Budget Chairman and the GOP frontrunner would repeal the Affordable Care and leave at least 30 million people without insurance. And despite their mutual pledges to end many tax loopholes and deductions to fund their gilded-class giveaway, neither Paul Ryan nor Mitt Romney has the courage to say which ones. As a result, these supposed deficit hawks would actually add trillions more in red ink to the national debt.

Nevertheless, Romney used the occasion of his Northeast primary sweep three weeks ago to portray himself as the crusader for fairness:

    "We will stop the unfairness of urban children being denied access to the good schools of their choice; we will stop the unfairness of politicians giving taxpayer money to their friends' businesses; we will stop the unfairness of requiring union workers to contribute to politicians not of their choosing; we will stop the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the taxpayers they serve; and we will stop the unfairness of one generation passing larger and larger debts on to the next."

Afterwards, The Democratic Strategist translated Romney's cynically transparent gimmick, "We will twist and distort the concept of fairness to justify bashing government workers, crushing labor unions and privatizing public schools."

"Out of Touch"

Four years ago, the campaign of John McCain - a hundred-millionaire who literally lost count of how many homes he owned - unsuccessfully tried to portray Barack Obama as an out-of-touch, arugula-eating elitist who vacationed in exotic Hawaii. Now Mitt Romney has branded President Obama a modern day Marie Antoinette, an "out of touch" occupant of the White House whose message to financially struggling Americans is "let them eat cake."

That might not be the wisest strategy.

To be sure, Romney's repeated and comical failures to present himself as a "man of the people" have only deepened his yawning empathy gap. Romney, who explained that over the last decade "my income comes overwhelmingly from some investments made in the past," joked with jobless voters that "I'm also unemployed." The $250 million man similarly declared himself part of "the 80 to 90 percent of us" who are middle class, when just the "not very much" $374,000 he earned in speaking fees last year puts him in the top one percent of income earners. Whether or not he really enjoys firing people, Mitt Romney almost certainly never pooped in a bucket during his time as a missionary at a toney Paris mansion. (Who else would lecture a child about his plans to divvy up his estate among his 16 grandchildren or endorse rooftop canine waterboarding?) And there's no doubt that the man who spent $12 million to buy his third home (none of which are located on "the real streets of America") didn't win any friends when he offered this prescription for the housing market crisis:

    "Don't try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom, allow investors to buy homes, put renters in them, fix the homes up and let it turn around and come back up."

It's no surprise Mitt Romney believes income inequality should only be discussed in "quiet rooms." But it certainly didn't help matters when his wife Ann joked "Mitt doesn't even know the answer to that" when asked how many dressage horses she owns while her husband slanders Democrats as "the party of monarchists." It's no wonder his ally and Massachusetts GOP Senator Scott Brown urged Romney to release his tax returns:

    "He's in a category, a lot of those folks are in categories that we don't really understand."

Brown was only saying what most Americans were thinking when he acknowledged that Romney is living in "a different world from me."

"Spent Too Much Time at Harvard"

Part of Romney's different world centered on Harvard. In 1971, Ann and Mitt Romney headed to Cambridge, Massachusetts. There, Mitt completed a "terrific" four year program to get his JD and MBA at Harvard Business School.

Thirty seven years later, Romney continues to claim Barack Obama "spent too much time at Harvard" learned what he knows about the economy by "hearing about it at the faculty lounge at Harvard."

Ironically, even with small children and Mitt in school, Ann avoided the "dignity of work" because "Mitt had enough of an investment from stock that we could sell off a little at a time. The stock came from Mitt's father." That history might explain why Romney offered this advice in March to college students struggling to pay for his education:

    "If you can't afford it, scholarships are available, shop around for loans, make sure you go to a place that's reasonably priced, and if you can, think about serving the country 'cause that's a way to get all that education for free."

Pell grants, schmell grants.

Later, Mitt told college students to borrow money from their parents to start a business, advice his son Tagg took to the tune of $10 million.

"Hide-and-Seek Campaign"

Following the dust-up over Obama's open mic comments to former Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, Mitt Romney accused the President of running a "hide-and-seek campaign."

    "He does not want to share his real plans before the election, either with the public or with the press," Romney said. "By flexibility, he means that 'what the American public doesn't know won't hurt him.' He is intent on hiding. You and I will have to do the seeking."

Romney must have been looking in the mirror. Because hiding his past record and future plans is a cornerstone of the Romney 2012 campaign.

Mitt didn't merely arrange for his computers in the Massachusetts governor's office to be scrubbed. After delivering 23 years of tax returns to John McCain in the vain hope of securing the number two slot on the ticket four years ago, so far Romney has only released two to the American public. And as he and his wife Ann ("unfortunately" the world now knows how "successful in business" Mitt has been.) made clear, even that limited disclosure was done grudgingly:

    "I don't put out which tooth paste I use either. It's not that I have something to hide."

Romney's penchant for withholding vital information from voters is no accident. As the former Massachusetts Governor inadvertently revealed in an interview with the Weekly Standard, his opacity is by design, a lesson learned from losing the 1994 Senate race:

    "One of the things I found in a short campaign against Ted Kennedy was that when I said, for instance, that I wanted to eliminate the Department of Education, that was used to suggest I don't care about education," Romney recalled. "So I think it's important for me to point out that I anticipate that there will be departments and agencies that will either be eliminated or combined with other agencies. So for instance, I anticipate that housing vouchers will be turned over to the states rather than be administered at the federal level, and so at this point I think of the programs to be eliminated or to be returned to the states, and we'll see what consolidation opportunities exist as a result of those program eliminations. So will there be some that get eliminated or combined? The answer is yes, but I'm not going to give you a list right now."

Asked to get specific about his self-proclaimed "bold" tax plan, Mitt Romney decided discretion is the better part of valor. As he explained earlier this month, Romney in essence responded, "I'm not going to tell you":

    "So I haven't laid out all of the details about how we're going to deal with each deduction, so I think it's kind of interesting for the groups to try and score it, because frankly it can't be scored, because those kinds of details will have to be worked out with Congress, and we have a wide array of options."

Mitt revealed why he was refusing to lay out "all of the details" during a very revealing December interview with the Wall Street Journal:

    "I happen to also recognize," he says, "that if you go out with a tax proposal which conforms to your philosophy but it hasn't been thoroughly analyzed, vetted, put through models and calculated in detail, that you're gonna get hit by the demagogues in the general election."

Unfortunately, what Mitt Romney branded "demagogues" most Americans call "voters."

"Broke His Promise to Hispanics"

"We're going to be able to get Hispanic voters," Mitt Romney assured big-dollars donors last month, adding, "We're going to overcome the issue of immigration." How the Republican presidential nominee plans to do that is another matter.

After all, John McCain captured only 31 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2008. A recent Pew Research poll shows Democrats enjoy a three-fold (and growing) advantage among registered Latino voters. As it turns out, the GOP's list of Republican Latino candidates includes some who are neither. Worse still, Mitt's high-profile backing by SB 1070 author Russell Pearce may put GOP stronghold Arizona in play. And on top of it, Romney is rapidly alienating Hispanics with his hardline rhetoric on immigration, talking points that include vetoing the DREAM Act and encouraging even long-time illegal immigrants to "self-deport."

But Mitt Romney may still have one or two more cards up his sleeve.

The first approach is to blame President Obama for failing to pass comprehensive immigration reform in the face of total Republican opposition. As MNSBC reported in April:

    Romney nonetheless predicted that, by November, the economy would trump immigration as a driving issue for Hispanic voters, and he vowed also to remind the Hispanic community that, despite promises of comprehensive immigration reform by Obama, Democrats ultimately fell short in passing legislation in their two years in control of Congress and the White House at the start of the president's term.

The second gambit is for Mitt Romney to simply do what he does best: change positions. As conservative columnist Fred Barnes explained, that's part of the plan:

    According to a Romney adviser, his private view of immigration isn't as anti-immigrant as he often sounded.

Bettina Inclan, the Republican National Committee's Hispanic outreach director, confirmed that a Romney turnabout is imminent:

    "I think as a candidate, to my understanding, he's still deciding what his position on immigration is. I can't talk about what his position is going to be."

It will be whatever it needs to be. After all, he's running for office, for Pete's sake.

"Respect Women in All Those Choices That They Make"

For months, the now pro-life Mitt Romney has trailed President Obama by large margins among women voters. Seeking to capitalize on the manufactured flap over Hilary Rosen's offhand remark last month that Ann Romney "has actually never worked a day in her life," Mitt proclaimed that "all mothers are working mothers." As it turns out, Romney's Rule is means-tested. Put another way, on Mitt's Animal Farm, some mothers are more equal than others. As he explained during his 1994 Senate run against Ted Kennedy:

    "This is a different world than it was in the 1960s when I was growing up, when you used to be able to have mom at home and dad at work. Now mom and dad both have to work."

Now, as the severely conservative and severely condescending Romney insisted in January, women who receive welfare must work outside the home, even if their children are very young:

    "I wanted to increase the work requirement," said Romney. "I said, for instance, that even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, 'Well that's heartless.' And I said, 'No, no, I'm willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It'll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work."

Just not if the individual is his wife.

As Ann Romney explained in an October 1994 interview, their dignity was provided by Mitt's father George:

    "Neither one of us had a job, because Mitt had enough of an investment from stock that we could sell off a little at a time.

    The stock came from Mitt's father. When he took over American Motors, the stock was worth nothing. But he invested Mitt's birthday money year to year -- it wasn't much, a few thousand, but he put it into American Motors because he believed in himself. Five years later, stock that had been $6 a share was $96 and Mitt cashed it so we could live and pay for education."

$250 million dollars later, the dignified Mrs. Romney now claims their wealth can't be quantified. As she lectured voters in January:

    "I understand Mitt's going to release his tax forms this week. I want to remind you where our riches are: our riches are with our families," Ann Romney said. "Our riches, you can value them, in the children we have and in the grandchildren we have. So that's where our values are and that's where our heart is -- and that's where we measure our wealth."

As Rosengate reached its crescendo, Ann Romney explained, "My career choice was to be a mother." She then added:

    "We have to respect women in all those choices that they make."

Just not when those choices involve their own bodies and their own health. And that message to the women of America is the exact opposite of the one Mr. and Mrs. Romney sold to the women of Massachusetts.

In March, Governor Romney caused a firestorm when he casually announced, "Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that." While he later clarified that "what I want to get rid of is the federal funding of Planned Parenthood," he shouldn't have stopped there. After all, Mitt Romney wants to end all funding for Title X, the only federal program devoted to family planning. But as Ruth Marcus documented last year, that's only a small part of the health care services Title X provides for lower-income American women:

    The inevitable result of eliminating Title X funding would not only be more abortions - it would also be higher bills for taxpayers footing Medicaid and welfare costs for poor children. Guttmacher found that every public dollar invested in family planning care saves $3.74 in Medicaid expenditures for pregnant women and their babies during the first year of care. Imagine the lifetime savings.

    And then there is the other "important work" that Pence cited: 2.2 million Pap smears, 2.3 million breast exams, nearly 6 million tests for sexually transmitted infections.

Mitt's positions on Planned Parenthood, women's health care and reproductive rights have always depended on whether he was running for office inside or outside of liberal Massachusetts. Now, they happen to be the opposite of Barack Obama's - and the opposite of respecting all the choices women make.


* mitt_barack.png (131.14 KB, 271x198 - viewed 77 times.)
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« Reply #50 on: May 12, 2012, 07:53 AM »

Top Romney aide outed transgender woman in political smear

By David Ferguson
Friday, May 11, 2012 15:20 EDT

Eric Fehrnstrom, a top aide and political strategist to presumptive Republican presidential candidate former Gov. Mitt Romney (MA), made headlines earlier this year with a gaffe comparing Romney in the primary fight to an “Etch a Sketch” that you can flip over and shake and start over with as a blank slate in the general election. Before he was an adviser to Romney, Fehrnstrom was a political columnist for the Boston Herald. According to a profile in GQ, in 1992, he outed recently-elected Massachusetts Rep. Althea Garrison (R) as a transgender woman, effectively ending her political career.

To Mara Keisling, director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, the malicious outing and the presence of Fehrnstrom on Romney’s staff is simply unacceptable.

“Privacy for transgender people is a matter of survival, physical and economic survival,” Keisling told Raw Story, “Once you out a trans person, you can’t just ‘Etch a Sketch’ it away.”

Fehrnstrom made his name in Boston as a “blue-collar conservative” columnist whose hard-hitting style got him moved from sports reporting to the political beat at the Rupert Murdoch-owned Herald, which was the splashy, tabloid-style counterpart to the more staid Boston Globe. He and his fellow reporter Howie Carr brought what GQ called a “nasty and resentful” tone to the paper’s political reportage, making the Herald a kind of perfect weapon against the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee, gormless former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis.

It was for a local official, however, that Fehrnstrom reserved one of his nastiest political hits. Althea Garrison was a Boston politician and activist who was elected as a Republican to the Massachusetts state House in 1992. Two days after her election victory, Fehrnstrom published an article in the Herald announcing that Garrison had been born male.

“I can remember his glee when he found the birth certificate,” said a former Herald reporter named Robert Connolly.

Garrison’s career in politics was over. Speculation had previously gone around the community about Garrison’s gender status, but after Fehrnstrom’s story, it became her defining characteristic to the media. In every mention of her name in the press, her performance as a House member was overshadowed by her gender identity. Howie Carr, who is now a conservative talk show host, wrote in the Herald not long after the outing, “I’ve always liked Althea. She has a big heart. Not to mention big feet. And very, very big hands.”

The outing of Althea Garrison raises serious questions about the culture of the Romney campaign, where Fehrnstrom operates as a privileged member of the command team and as Romney’s longest-serving, most-trusted political strategist. It has been said that if Karl Rove was “Bush’s brain,” then Fehrnstrom is “Romney’s balls.”

Mara Keisling told Raw Story that Ferhnstrom’s campaign against Garrison is “just more bullying. It’s an invasion of privacy. We’ve had five or six hate murders of trans people across the U.S. just in the last six weeks.” She said that these kinds of tactics represent the worst form of transphobia, describing it as “putting people at risk just because you get your jollies from it.”

Also, in recent days, stories of violent, homophobic “pranks” during Romney’s prep school years have come to light, incidents which the candidate claims not to remember, but for which he issued a shallow, blanket apology, “There’s no question that I did some stupid things in high school and, obviously, if I hurt anyone by virtue of that I would be very sorry for it and apologize for it.”

To Fehrnstrom, on the other hand, the careers and reputations he savaged were of little consequence. In a 1999 article he wrote for Boston magazine, he said, “In my trade, politics was never personal. Hell, people were rarely people — they were ducks in a shooting gallery.”

Althea Garrison herself refuses to speak about the experience of being outed by Fernstrom. Raw Story reached her by telephone, but when the former state representative realized that the person on the phone was a reporter asking about Fehrnstrom, she ended the discussion.

“I don’t have time for this today,” she said, and hung up.
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« Reply #51 on: May 12, 2012, 08:03 AM »

You can't make this stuff up ........

Romney challenges Obama to waterskiing

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, May 10, 2012 22:52 EDT

WASHINGTON — Republican Mitt Romney took the White House race into uncharted waters, suggesting he would like to challenge President Barack Obama to a bit of waterskiing.

“I don’t think I’ll play the president a round of golf but I’ll be happy to take him through a waterski course,” the presumptive presidential nominee said on Fox News on Thursday when asked whether he was as “hip” as the commander-in-chief.

“We have different skills and different interests and different hobbies,” said the former Massachusetts governor and multimillionaire venture capitalist.

The comments were the latest in a series of tone-deaf remarks made by Romney in which his cheery honesty has only pushed his immense wealth further into the spotlight, leading some to question if he can relate to everyday Americans.

During a televised presidential debate in December, he challenged rival Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, to a “$10,000 bet” to settle a dispute over Romney’s position on health care reform.

In February in Michigan, he spoke of his wife driving “a couple of Cadillacs,” and then told a reporter at NASCAR’s Daytona 500 race that he has “some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.”

Romney has consistently insisted that the state of the economy and its wobbly recovery is the main issue of the 2012 campaign. But his deep pockets have become an issue at a time when millions of American families are struggling.

Obama last week branded Romney a corporate raider who outsourced American jobs overseas and piled up cash in offshore havens and a Swiss bank account.
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« Reply #52 on: May 18, 2012, 10:14 PM »

I'm curious...

I've been reading over the threads here to gain more information. I noticed that when speaking of Mitt's Mars in Pisces it was referred to as a "skipped step". What does that mean? I would like to understand not only what a skipped step is, but why Mars in Pisces specifically represents that?

I imagine that a complete "understanding" wont happen solely through the response I recieve on this post, but I would be willing to read anything in depth on the subject suggested. In January I recieved both Pluto books and the Uranus book, I've read through them all, front to back, and am slowly picking through them all again to catch what I missed the first time (as I will my 3rd, 4th, 5th time through...etc. etc. etc...). If I need to reference those books again I'd love to! But anything else I need to read I'm more than eager to get my hands on.
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« Reply #53 on: May 18, 2012, 10:39 PM »

http://schoolofevolutionaryastrology.com/forum/index.php/topic,653.0.html


Planets square the Nodes. His Mars is square his Nodes.
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« Reply #54 on: May 18, 2012, 11:32 PM »

I'll read it in the morning. Thank you astroguru.
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« Reply #55 on: May 19, 2012, 08:14 AM »

Hi Cypress,

In Wolf's first book this starts on page 18 or 19. You can also click the link below which will access many posts on this message board about skipped steps.


http://schoolofevolutionaryastrology.com/forum/index.php?action=search2

God Bless, Rad
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« Reply #56 on: May 19, 2012, 09:58 AM »

Thank You Rad. When Astroguru mentioned the squaring of the nodes I remembered and suddenly the Virgo/Pisces to Gemini/Sagittarius square clicked. I have Sagittarius in my own chart but none of the others. I'm more familiar with Cardinal Squares and so I missed the connection. I did go back to the first Pluto book last night (books are easier on the eyes for me late at night) and I will now go over both the links you two have shared.
Thanks again! I enjoy the study.
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« Reply #57 on: May 22, 2012, 08:15 AM »

May 22, 2012 07:00 AM

Mitt Romney's Latest Video Ignores the Fact That He Wasn't A Job Creator In the Private Sector

By Kenneth Quinnell

The latest web video from the Mitt Romney campaign attacks President Barack Obama's comments about Romney's time at Bain Capital. The video asks if viewers are tired of Obama's attacks on 'free enterprise' and says that his 'key supporters' are, then trots out Corey Booker, Harold Ford Jr. and Steven Rattner as Obama's 'key supporters'. While these obviously aren't Obama's key supporters, the ad is also an attempt to change the topic from Romney's time at Bain, which was more about hurting working families than it was about 'free enterprise'. Ford is notorious for his right-wing positions and Booker took numerous contributions to his 2002 campaign from Bain executives.

Lis Smith, an Obama campaign spokeswoman responded to the video:

    Mitt Romney’s partners, employees, and top supporters have all been clear: his tenure at Bain Capital was about creating wealth for himself and his investors, not creating jobs. Mitt Romney’s focus has always been getting a high return on his investments, no matter the cost to workers, companies or communities. That’s what Romney did at Ampad when he and his partners drove the company into bankruptcy after loading it with debt, firing 250 Indiana workers, and extracting $100 million for themselves. And those are the very same economic values he’d bring to the presidency – America can’t afford Romney Economics.

Despite Romney's claims to the contrary, his time at Bain was about making money, not about creating jobs. From Bloomberg:

    A top surrogate to Mitt Romney said making money—rather than creating jobs—was the primary goal of the presumed Republican Party presidential nominee when he was running Bain Capital LLC, saying he ‘acted responsibly’ as chief executive officer of the private-equity firm. ‘The role of private equity as fiduciaries is certainly to make money,’ said Tom Stemberg, the founder of Staples Inc. (SPLS), in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s ‘Political Capital,’ airing this weekend.

And...

    A Bloomberg review of several Bain deals during Romney’s tenure showed that workers in some firms had indications their jobs might be in jeopardy soon after Bain moved into management. In other cases, pink slips arrived after Bain and its investors had collected their profits and left debts behind.

    ...

    Interviews with former employees and executives at Bain and companies it controlled, along with a review of Bain’s activities described in public documents and news accounts, paint a picture of an operation that wasn’t focused on expanding employment. Instead, Bain’s mission, like most private equity firms, was to generate gains for its investors.

From the Boston Globe:

    In assessing deals, Romney and partners didn’t consider whether they saved or created jobs, according to a former Bain employee who requested anonymity, citing confidentiality guidelines. When Bain partners discussed shutting down failing businesses in which they invested, Romney never suggested they had to do something to save workers’ jobs. ‘It was very clinical,’ the former employee said. ‘Like a doctor. When the patient is dead, you just move on to the next patient.’

The Los Angeles Times:

    Some of Romney’s colleagues recall him as vain, however, and focused only on the bottom line. They saw him as impatient and unconcerned about those affected by his decisions. ‘They’re whitewashing his career now,’ said Marc B. Wolpow, a former managing director at Bain Capital who opposes Romney’s White House bid. ‘We had a scheme where the rich got richer. I did it, and I feel good about it. But I’m not planning to run for office.’

From the Boston Globe:

    Throughout his 15-year career at Bain Capital, which bought, sold, and merged dozens of companies, Romney had other chances to fight to save jobs, but didn’t. His ultimate responsibility was to make money for Bain’s investors, former partners said.

From the New York Post:

    However, the former private equity firm chief’s fortune -- which has funded his political ambitions from the Massachusetts statehouse to his unsuccessful run for the White House in 2008 -- was made on the backs of companies that ultimately collapsed, putting thousands of ordinary Americans out on the street.

Take Romney's own words for it (KMOV (St. Louis, MO), 3/13/12):

    And when you ask the question, how many jobs did you create at Bain Capital, the truth is we invested in businesses that created the jobs. We didn’t create them ourselves. They did but I’m proud of the fact that businesses we invested in collectively created amongst themselves well-over a hundred thousand jobs.

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« Reply #58 on: May 24, 2012, 07:35 AM »

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Romney will promise anything to be president

By Michael J.W. Stickings

The Shyster

As The Hill reports, Mitt Romney is pledging to bring the unemployment rate below six percent by the end of his first term -- and of course in so pledging is once more sinking back to his default position of smearing President Obama:

    "I can tell you that over a period of four years, by virtue of the policies that we'd put in place, we’d get the unemployment rate down to 6 percent, and perhaps a little lower," Romney says in a Time magazine interview...

    "This is a President who spends his time blaming other people for the fact that he has been unsuccessful in turning around this economy," Romney says in the Time interview. "And I think the reason you're seeing across the country, people saying they'd like to try someone new, is because they believe this President, while he may be a nice guy, is simply not up to the task of helping guide an economy."


We've heard this sort of crap from Romney so often before. He won't just say and do anything for votes, he'll promise anything as well. (And, of course, he has some rather significant problems with the truth.)

First, assuming Romney wins, if the unemployment rate is that low by the end of his first term, it won't be because of anything he's done. It would only be because a) the global economy has improved significantly enough to pull the U.S. along for the ride; b) there has been a significant enough domestic stimulus to create a huge number of jobs; c) the U.S. is embroiled in a massive foreign war; or d) pigs fly, hell freezes over, the Cubs win the World Series, and nothing makes any rational sense whatsoever.

It could be a), and we're already seeing signs of sustainable recovery, including domestic job growth, but the president has very little impact on the global economy, and so that wouldn't be Romney's doing at all.

Romney isn't about to embrace demand-side Keynesianism, whatever his former inclinations (back when he was something other than the suck-up to the far right he is now), not with his party so firmly entrenched against government spending, and so isn't about to push a major stimulus package, so forget b).

With all the saber-rattling among Republicans, a war is possible (like with, say, Iran), but it would likely not be enough of one to stimulate the economy enough to create widespread employment, so forget c). Although I must at least acknowledge the possibility of an alternative c), which would be conscription. You never know.

I have nothing to say about d) other than that Romney would take credit for any of those things and say he was for it all along, no matter what he may have said in the past, back before all the sucking up.

I suppose e) would be a redefinition of unemployment altogether, also possible given Romney's penchant for blatant dishonesty. (This is the man, remember, who recently took "a lot of credit", utterly without merit, for General Motors's success despite having previously called, more or less, for its obliteration, and explicitly for Detroit's bankruptcy, yet another "Etch a Sketch" moment.)

In any event, to repeat, it wouldn't be Romney's doing.

Second, it's ridiculous (and incredibly unrealistic) to blame the president for not "turning around the economy," as if turning it around means not just fixing it but making it the dominant global force it once was. (Note to my dear American friends: It never will be. Ever. Ever. Again. Sorry.) Against all manner of ugly Republican obstructionism, Obama succeeded in slowing and then reversing the downward spiral in which he found the economy upon taking office. If not for the Republicans, the stimulus would have been larger, and hence the recovery quicker and greater. If not for the Republicans, the U.S. wouldn't have the mass of debt it has today, largely as a result of Republican militarism and the Bush tax cuts. And so on and so on...

Basically, there wasn't much Obama could do, and in fact, in retrospect, it's amazing he got done what he did -- stabilizing the economy and unemployment and putting in place the tools for recovery, including the Wall Street and auto industry bailouts (whatever else you might think of them, especially the former). So the question isn't what Obama should have done but didn't but what the economy would look like had he not been president, or, more to the point, if the Republicans had held the White House along with Congress and imposed their destructive policies on the country -- the ones Romney is pushing now.

Third, unemployment is already coming down... under Obama:

    When Obama took office in January 2009, unemployment stood at 7.8 percent and rose throughout the year, peaking at 10 percent in October. It's been slowly declining since, hitting 8.1 percent in April, although job growth has slowed in recent months.


In other words, he's actually presided over significant job growth, including notably in the private sector. Is it moving in the right direction? Yes. Is it moving quickly enough? No. But, again, there's only so much Obama can do, not just because of Republican obstructionism but because he only has so much control -- and really not very much at all -- over the U.S. labor market. He can't force employers to hire, after all, and there isn't much he can do about U.S. corporations sitting on massive amounts of cash and profit.

Third, what has Romney ever done to create jobs? And why should anyone trust a shameless vulture capitalist to guide the economy to the promised land and bring the bounty of mass employment to the American people?

As the Trojans might have said, beware of people named Mitt Romney making promises they cannot possibly keep.


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« Reply #59 on: May 24, 2012, 07:52 AM »

Published on The New Republic (http://www.tnr.com)

On Health Care, Romney Goes Retro

    Jonathan Cohn
    May 23, 2012 | 11:47 pm

Editor's Note: After looking at the economic platform of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, this installment of our series on his policy plans examines the details of his health care agenda.

The gist: Repeal the Affordable Care Act; end Medicare and Medicaid as we know it, by turning the former into a voucher program and the latter into a block grant scheme; unravel private insurance, by changing the tax treatment of benefits and undermining state regulation.

The good. Not much. Once in a while he talks up worthwhile reforms designed to improve the quality of care. He also endorses malpractice reform, which is a worthy idea, although his approach would do in a way that reduced damage awards without improving compensation for actual medical errors.

The bad: Changing the tax treatment of health insurance makes sense if you do it alongside other reforms. But if you do it without those reforms, it undermines employer-sponsored coverage without providing adequate alternatives.

The ugly: Up to 58 million more people could end up without health insurance, relative to what will happen if current law stays in place, according to one credible estimate drawn from the things he's said so far.

They said it: “Never before in history has a candidate run for President with the idea that too many people have insurance coverage.” – David Cutler, economist at Harvard and 2008 campaign adviser to President Obama.

* * *

Mitt Romney’s big campaign moment on health care came a little over a year ago, when he gave a speech at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Reporters from around the country came, eager to hear Romney’s official explanation for why, as governor of Massachusetts, he’d signed that state’s reforms into law—and why, having done so, he opposed President Obama’s effort to create a similar scheme for the nation as a whole.

Romney did not disappoint, offering a list of distinctions—some sensical, some nonsensical—between Romneycare and Obamacare. The next day’s headlines reported them faithfully. But substantively, at least, the real thrust of Romney’s speech was the part the reporters didn’t emphasize: His vision for what an ideal health care system would look like.

Of course, Romney’s plan on that day was not terribly specific. And he hasn’t added many specifics since, although a series of upcoming policy speeches could change that. This aversion to detail has been Romney’s signature approach to policy and you can understand why. Providing details about his policy proposals would mean owning up to difficult, but inevitable trade-offs—for example, the trade-off government spending and health insurance coverage. Reduce the first, as Romney proposes, and you’ll inevitably end up reducing the second.

But, as with the economic plan, it’s possible to perceive Romney’s general approach to health care: He wants to scale back health insurance, so that it reaches less people and provides less protection from medical bills. In theory, this transformation will unleash market forces that restrain the cost of medical care. In practice, it will cause serious hardship, by exposing tens of millions of Americans to crushing medical bills or forcing some of them to go without necessary, even life-saving care.

That sounds awfully harsh, I know. But it's a fair interpretation once you examine the four main ideas Romney has embraced so far:

Repeal the Affordable Care Act: Projections suggest more than 30 million additional people would get insurance from the Affordable Care Act, some through Medicaid and some through subsidized private insurance. If Romney repeals the law, these people would be uninsured. Millions of others stand to get better insurance because of the law. That's particularly true of those with pre-existing conditions who buy coverage on their own. The coverage available to them now is typically very expensive, not very protective, or some combination of the two. The Affordable Care Act will allow these people to buy the same policies as healthy people, at the same prices. Take away the law and they’re back to the same, vulnerable position they occupy today.

The law’s other benefits would vanish, too. Letting young adults enroll in their parents’ policies? Gone. Free preventative care? Gone. Enhanced state authority to regulate insurance rates? Gone. Yes, it’s possible Romney could embrace some of these smaller reforms—and, if I had to bet, he probably will at some point. The young adult provision, for example, seems to be awfully popular. But these concessions are likely to achieve only a small fraction of what the Affordable Care Act would.

Change the tax and regulatory treatment of private insurance: This is probably the least understood part of Romney’s plan. Romney has endorsed a familiar set of conservative ideas that would affect private insurance, directly and indirectly. Some of these ideas, like malpractice reform, make sense in certain contexts. But Romney’s versions of them are unhelpful at best and dangerous at worst.

The most important of these is a proposal to change the tax treatment of private health insurance. Ever since the 1940s, the federal government has treated employer-provided insurance as distinct from wages, exempting it from income taxes. This makes employer-sponsored insurance more valuable and, for much of American history, it made employer insurance a stable source of health coverage for the majority of working-age people. But it's become less reliable in the last two decades or so, as medicine has become more expensive and companies have tried to squeeze their labor costs. In addition, economists agree almost universally that the tax break distorts the health insurance market, by making benefits more valuable than wages. The existing tax break also penalizes people without access to employer insurance, since there’s no equivalent tax break for people who buy coverage on their own.

Romney proposes to get rid of those distortions, which is a perfectly fine idea in theory. In fact, the Affordable Care Act includes an effort to do just that, albeit gradually, by limiting the current exemption to a fixed amount and then letting that limit rise slower than the price of insurance (so that it gradually declines in value). But precisely because reducing the tax break would reduce the incentives for employer-sponsored insurance, it’s important to discourage employers from dropping coverage and/or to create alternative ways for people to find affordable, comprehensive benefits.

The Affordable Care Act does this, by penalizing employers that don’t offer insurance to employees and by making insurance available to all people, at uniform rates, regardless of pre-existing condition. Romney wouldn’t take those additional steps or anything like them. Romney promises that the tax (and regulatory) changes he envisions will cause more consumers to shop for insurance, producing more vibrant competition and bringing down the price of medical care. That may be true, to a point—even liberals like me agree that market forces in health care can be constructive. But the market Romney envisions simply won't work for a lot of people, because insurers will be able to exclude all but the safest medical risks.

David Cutler, the Harvard economist and former Obama campaign adviser, explained the situation at the new blog for the Journal of the American Medical Association:

    Letting people roam free to make purchasing decisions on their own is fine if markets work well. But health insurance markets don’t, as any economist (or consumer!) knows. In the individual market Romney envisions, people will not be guaranteed coverage; insurance premiums can increase without limit when a person gets sick; and basic benefits for mental health care, maternity care, and countless other services will be eliminated.

That last part, about the elimination of benefits, is a reference to Romney's wish to allow cross-state insurance sales. Most experts believe this would render most existing state regulations on benefits worthless, since insurers would gravitate to the states with the least requirements, just like credit card companies have. If prices came down, it'd only be because insurance was covering less.

One way to assess the impact of a Romney-like plan is to examine the impact of John McCain’s 2008 plan, which called for nearly the same set of changes. Here’s what one paper in the journal Health Affairs predicted would happen: "Moving toward a relatively unregulated nongroup market will tend to raise costs, reduce the generosity of benefits, and leave people with fewer consumer protections." An analysis by Linda Blumberg of the Urban Institute, came to essentially the same conclusion and suggested the result might even be fewer people with insurance.

The one, crucial unknown here is whether Romney would provide a refundable tax credit for health insurance, which means even poorer people could benefit from it, rather than a tax deduction. If so, it's possible more people would get insurance; at least one estimate of McCain's plan, which had a refundable credit, suggested it'd even approach, although not meet, the coverage expansion of what eventually became the Affordable Care Act. But that estimate was something of an outlier. More important, as Ramesh Ponnuru reported in his Bloomberg View column this week, the Romney campaign is leanng against doing so—most likely, I expect, because refundable tax credits cost a lot more money than tax deductions.

Republicans like Romney say they wish to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. But, as my friend Ed Kilgore observed recently at the Washington Monthly, these sorts of changes suggest their agenda is a lot more ambitious: It’s “repeal and reverse.”

Turn Medicare into a voucher scheme: Romney has been characteristically vague about this element, too, but he’s made plain his intention to adopt a scheme like the one House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan has proposed. Today Medicare guarantees a set of benefits to all seniors, by providing a government-run insurance plan with the option to enroll in a private alternative. Romney would instead opt to create a “premium support” plan, which basically means giving seniors vouchers and having them use it to get insurance. (Romney would preserve traditional, government-run Medicare as an option, but many experts question whether it would survive for long.

The premium support idea has been kicking around a long time and there are versions of it that even liberals can support. The Affordable Care Act’s scheme for covering non-elderly Americans might fairly be described as one. But applying vouchers to the Medicare population, with its higher medical needs, would be inherently risky—something govenrmetn should do only with careful regulation and with guarantees of adequate funding. Romney and his Republican allies have indicated virtually no interest in doing this. On the contrary, they’ve indicated they want to squeeze Medicare for even more savings than the Affordable Care Care would (which hasn’t stopped Romney, or any other Republican, for criticizing the Affordable Care Act’s cuts as stealing from seniors).

These are the main reasons why Henry Aaron, the Brookings economist who helped develop andp promote the idea of premium support for Medicare, has warned against recent Republican versions of it.

Transform Medicaid into a block grant: The changes Romney envisions for Medicaid are, if anything, more profound. Today, Medicaid is an entitlement program. And that has as much significance for government as it does for individual beneficiaries.

As a condition for participating in the program, states must make Medicaid coverage available to everybody who meets the program’s eligibility guidelines—and provide a comprehensive set of benefits. States have authority to offer coverage to more people or to offer greater benefits to those who get it, if they choose. But they may not do less than the law requires. In exchange, the federal government agrees to cover a large share of the costs, even if swelling enrollment—the kind, for example, we typically see during economic downturns—makes the program a lot more expensive.

Romney would take away Medicaid’s entitlement status and turn Medicaid into a so-called block grant. Under such an arrangement, the federal government would basically cut the states a check, based on a fixed formula, and let them spend Medicaid money however they see fit. Block granting Medicaid has been a Republican cause at least since the early 1980s, when the Reagan Administration nearly pushed such a proposal through Congress, and it’s a prominent (if under-appreciated) feature of Ryan’s House budget. The theory is that states could provide better, broader coverage through innovation, if only they had more freedom.

But Medicaid already pays very little for services. While there are surely innovations that could make the program better, do you trust Rick Scott to make sure changes improve life for poor, vulnerable people in Florida? What about Rick Perry in Texas? It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see how that could go horribly wrong.

And the structural changes to the program are only part of the problem. Republican block grant proposals typically envision massive spending cuts to the program. Romney hasn’t been as specific about this, naturally. But if he were true to his vow to cap federal spending at 20 percent of gross domestic product while setting aside 4 percent for defense spending, it’s virtually certain he’d end up cutting Medicaid by as much if not more than Ryan would.

It’s not possible to say exactly what this would mean in practice. But it’s possible to get a sense of scale. A report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, citing estimates from researchers at the Urban Institute, said that Ryan’s proposal would mean between 14 million and 27 million people would lose Medicaid coverage. That’s above and beyond those who would lose Medicaid coverage because the Affordable Care Act, which expands Medicaid to more people, wouldn’t take effect under the Ryan-Romney plan.

Throw in the more than 30 million who wouldn't get insurance once the Affordable Care Act came off the books, plus those who'd lose coverage because of Romney's changes to private insurance, and you end up with between 45 and 58 million fewer people with health insurance, as Cutler first observed. (The damage would be less severe if Romney went with a refundable tax credit, but it'd still be more people uninsured than under current law and probably more people uninsured than today.) And, again, that doesn't include the many other people with insurance who will end up with weaker coverage.

* * *

Those are a lot of policy details, I know. But here’s a (relatively) simple way to think about it. Since modern health insurance first came to the United States in the 1930s, coverage has expanded, albeit fitfully, through a combination of private and public sector efforts. These efforts culminated in the Affordable Care Act, which, whatever it flaws, put in place a system that could eventually make affordable, decent coverage available to all Americans. Romney would run this process in reverse.

He and his supporters call that progress. Would you?

follow me on twitter @CitizenCohn


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