Archive for the 'Mitt Romney' Category



A Middle East Foreign Policy for the 21st Century

BY Glen Tschirgi
2 years ago

After watching the third and final presidential debate on Monday night, I was disturbed to hear the two candidates talk about foreign policy with such lack of focus or context.   Admittedly, Obama was intent on baiting Romney into a game-changing gaffe and Romney was intent on not committing any, such error.   Presidential debates, ironically enough, are the last place to hear what a candidate actually thinks about any particular subject.

Both candidates, for example, endorsed the comic notion that the Afghan Army will be able to take over the fight against the Taliban by 2014 as the precursor to an American retreat.  Both candidates vowed that Iran will not be allowed to field a nuclear weapon (Romney actually drew the line at “nuclear capability” which is better), but neither one mentioned that the deeper problem with Iran is its current, Islamist government and not their pursuit of nuclear weapons per se.    So, for instance, Romney seemed to accept the continuation of the Iranian Regime so long as it did not have nukes.

Reflecting on this event further I am reminded of  a post by Walter Russel Mead which is an excellent springboard, summarizing all that is wrong with the current American approach to the Middle East:

The anti-American riots that have been rocking the Muslim world since 9/11 have shaken the establishment out of its complacency. Increasingly, even those who sympathize with the basic elements of the administration’s Middle East policy are connecting the dots. What they are seeing isn’t pretty. It’s not just that the US remains widely disliked and distrusted in the region. It’s not just that the radicals and the jihadis have demonstrated more political sophistication and a greater ability to organize and strike than expected and that the struggle against radical terror looks longer lasting and more dangerous than thought; it’s that the strategic underpinnings of the administration’s Middle East policy seem to be falling apart. A series of crises is sweeping through the region, and the US does not—at least not yet—seem to have a clue what to do.

***

The Israeli-Palestinian problem, for example, cannot be settled quickly; the consequence of the region’s lack of democratic traditions and liberal institutions cannot be overcome in four or eight years; the underdevelopment and mass unemployment afflicting so many countries has no known cure; the ethnic and sectarian hatreds that poison the region will not soon be tamed; the deep sense of grievance and injustice that shapes the attitudes of so many toward the Christian or post-Christian West will not soon fade away; the radical and terror groups now roaming the region cannot be easily stopped or mollified; the resource curse will continue to corrupt and poison large parts of the region; the resurgence of Islam, even in less radical forms, inevitably heightens a sense of confrontation with the US and its western allies; and Iran’s ambitions are hard to tame and impossible to accept.

Mr. Mead challenged both Obama and Mitt Romney to articulate a policy or at least initiatives that might address these problems.  Neither has done so.

At the risk of being what Mr. Mead terms “an armchair strategist” offering simple solutions, I believe that the U.S. needs to fundamentally reconsider its approach to foreign policy and the methods and tools used to pursue that policy.

First, it is not enough, unfortunately, for the United States to be in favor of “democracy” or “freedom” for those around the world.  These terms are simply too amorphous and chameleon to be useful in building a coherent foreign policy.   Instead, the U.S. should be an ardent advocate for the foundations of civil society:  respect for individual rights;  free exercise of religion; freedom of speech; respect for the rule of law rather than resort to rioting and violence; the orderly transition of political power free from intimidation.   This is a sampling of the bedrock, Anglo-American traditions that are prerequisites  for a democratic republic.    As Mark Levin argues in his latest book, Ameritopia, you cannot hope to have a real democracy without the foundations of a civil society.

The Middle East is bereft of genuine democracies (with the notable exception of Israel) because it is bereft of the foundational traditions of a civil society.   That is why it was unforgivably foolish of George W. Bush to insist on the hasty installation of a “democracy” in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Neither of these societies had the foundations needed for democracy to take root.   Yes, Iraq and Afghanistan may have the outer trappings of democracy with parliaments and elections, but form is not substance.  Iraq is headed back towards civil war as the ethnic and sectarian factions escalate violence against one another.   Afghanistan is a cardboard cut-out of democracy propped up with billions of dollars of U.S. aid and military assistance.   Once the props are removed in 2014 (or sooner), the facade will collapse.

So then, it is a tragic and self-defeating mistake for the U.S. to blindly push for elections.   In Gaza, for example, such elections mean nothing.    They mean less than nothing since they serve to legitimate blood-thirsty ideologues, putting the U.S. in the untenable position of undermining what we previously declared to be a “freely elected” government.    No matter that said government throws its political opponents off of rooftops.

Rather, the U.S. must be very specific, unapologetic and insistent about the type of democracy and “freedom” we are talking about– an Anglo-American civil society that can support the pressures of representative government and tolerate religious diversity and dissenting opinions.

Furthermore, the U.S. must take a hard look at the nations as they are and not how we wish them to be.   It took hundreds of years for civil traditions to develop in the West.   It may take much longer in the Middle East, burdened as it is with Islamic notions of subjugation, subservience and nihilism.

As an example of this, consider this piece by Robert Kagan in The Washington Post.   Kagan argues in favor of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt mainly because it was “democratically” elected:

The Obama administration has not been wrong to reach out to the popularly elected government in Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood won that election, and no one doubts that it did so fairly. We either support democracy or we don’t. But the administration has not been forthright enough in making clear, publicly as well as privately, what it expects of that government.  (Emphasis added)

First, it is not beyond dispute that the Muslim Brotherhood won the election “fairly” when it is essentially the only, organized political party in the country.   There is evidence that a sizable number of Egyptians do not support the Muslim Brotherhood but no, unified opposition party could be organized in the relatively short time allowed before the vote.    In any event, to say that an Islamist party received the most number of votes in an election does not lead ineluctably to the conclusion that it is a “democracy” that we are obligated to support.   In fact, Kagan goes on to point out that the U.S. must make it clear what a “democracy” entails:

Out of fear of making the United States the issue in Egyptian politics, the Obama administration, like past administrations, has been too reticent about stating clearly the expectations that we and the democratic world have for Egyptian democracy: a sound constitution that protects the rights of all individuals, an open press, a free and vital opposition, an independent judiciary and a thriving civil society. President Obama owes it to the Egyptian people to stand up for these principles. Congress needs to support democracy in Egypt by providing aid that ensures it advances those principles and, therefore, U.S. interests.

I would differ with Kagan to the extent that U.S. aid money is provided directly and up front to an Egyptian government that is showing every indication that it intends to implement its Islamist beliefs.  Egyptians must see that voting in an Islamist government will have certain and severe consequences.   In any event, the United States cannot be in the business of funding our enemies and, regardless of Kagan’s view that the Muslim Brotherhood is not clearly against us, a weak or failing Islamist regime in Egypt is better than one that is buying up the latest weapons systems (e.g., German submarines for example) with U.S. tax dollars.   Kagan and those like him are desperate to see a civil society where none exists and, so, are easily taken in by democratic happy talk that Egyptian President Morsi (and other Islamists in the region) are all too adept at feeding to willing dupes.

The second, radical change to U.S. foreign policy must be to view everything in terms of U.S. national interests and the tactics and lines of effort that best advance those interests.

For example, for the better part of four years, the Obama Administration has confused the agenda of the United Nations with that of the United States of America.   While it would be hoped that the international body that the U.S. founded at the end of World War II and funds disproportionately would be at least sympathetic to U.S. national interests, this is decidedly not the case.  The U.N. has largely been subverted and overrun by authoritarian member states with interests that directly conflict with those of the U.S.   In an ideal world, the U.S. would explicitly repudiate the U.N., evict it from its expensive quarters in Manhattan and rent out the space to a new organization made up of democratic U.S. allies.   Alas, the best we can hope for is to limit the damage of the U.N. by ignoring it, working around it and forging coalitions of allies to negate the U.N.’s malign influence in the world.

In the Middle East and around the globe, the U.S. needs to re-evaluate its position in the light of our national interest.  We must, for example, reconsider our relationship with Saudi Arabia in light of their unrelenting funding of Salafist and Wahhabist ideologies directly hostile to the U.S. and the West in general.   We cannot elevate the Saudis to the high status of ally or even “friend” when they are bankrolling our enemies.   This need not mean open conflict with them, but it surely must mean a reduction in relations.  (The fact that the U.S. is set to soon surpass the Saudis as the world’s largest oil producer should translate into tangible, state leverage).

Syria is another example where the U.S. must evaluate the opportunities and risks for involvement based primarily upon national interest rather than the threat of a “humanitarian crisis” or “instability.”  Even a Syria riven by civil war and instability will stalemate Iran’s ability to fund and support Hezbollah and bring greater opportunities for U.S. influence in the region as a whole.   The U.S. has been at war with Iran since 1979 and rarely have we had an opportunity to deal the regime in Tehran such a critical blow as exists in Syria.

Throughout the Middle East U.S. policy is plagued by a lack of a driving force.  The U.S. intervened in Libya under the pretext of potential civilian casualties but recoils from Syria with actual casualties.    The U.S. dithers over supporting former President Mubarak in Egypt while supporting the  no-less tyrannical Saudi royal family.   The U.S. spends tens of billions of dollars on a corrupt government in Kabul but argues whether to pull funding from Israel if it does not halt new housing settlements or show enough “flexibility” on Arab demands for land.   It is high time to clarify who our friends and enemies are and why.  Israel is not merely a kindred democracy, for example.   They are a vital ally because they directly serve U.S. interests in the region as a bulwark against Islamists.  There is, perhaps, no greater return on U.S. investments than Israel given the plethora of hostile, Islamist states in the region.   But here again, the U.S. policy is to adopt the hectoring, self-righteous tone of the international community, treating Israel and the Palestinians on equal terms for no good reason.

It is my hope that Mitt Romney wins the election and does so in convincing fashion.   The next four years could be pivotal as a showdown with Iran cannot be delayed beyond the next term in office.  War is everywhere in the Middle East and the next President will need to have a clear-eyed view of what America’s interests are and how to achieve them.   The last 11 years have certainly taught us that “nation building” and “elections” are not effective tools of American power.   May President Romney absorb the lessons and chart a better course in 2013.

Deceptive Political Polling: Masking An Obama Re-Election Collapse?

BY Glen Tschirgi
2 years, 2 months ago

(H/T Drudge Report)

This post will require a bit of set up, so a little patience, please.

Historically, political polling originated as a means for the public to gauge which candidate was winning at various stages of a political race.   These early polls were crude efforts at asking gathered crowds which candidate they preferred with predictably poor results.   The consensus seems to be that modern polling started with George Gallup in 1935 as an effort to apply a more scientific approach with random sampling involving personal interviews with voters in 300 cities.   Because of the cost involved, newspapers and politicians did not conduct their own polls but relied upon the polling companies to inform them of public opinion.  In other words, the purpose of the polls, according to Gallup himself, was to help politicians figure out what the public wanted in order to be more responsive representatives.

This approach continued until a major shift to the use of telephone polling in the 1950′s.    The drastically reduced cost of telephone polling (which has its own inherent bias problems) enabled newspapers and politicians to conduct their own polls.   It did not take long until the purpose of polling in the hands of the media and politicians evolved into an attempt to influence the attitudes and opinions of the public.

With this background in mind, consider the explosion of political opinion polls.   The list of polling organizations– private, public and partisan– is long indeed.  With this plethora of polling groups there is a similar variety of methods used to garner opinion:  general adult population, registered voters, likely voters, sampling by partisan affiliation, automated polling, land-line polling, cell phone polling, internet polling, personal survey, and so on.   The decision by the pollster on which methods to employ, the framing of the questions, the order of the questions, the choices in the demographics and sampling size… all of these and more factors can greatly affect the results of any given poll.

So last week we had a poll released by NBC/Wall Street Journal that purported to show President Obama with a six percentage point lead over Romney in the general election.   Shortly after the poll was released, several bloggers did the necessary work to examine the choices that the pollsters made and how that affected the results.    Here is just one of those take-downs from Hot Air:

The 2008 national exit poll sample, taken when Hopenchange fever was at its zenith, was 39D/32R/29I, or D+7. This one, after three years of Obamanomics dreck, is somehow D+11 if you include leaners and D+12(!) if you don’t. Anyone feel like taking these results seriously?

In other words, the pollsters decided to radically over-sample Democrats in their poll for no, apparent good reason.   By comparison, the national party registration for Democrats and Republicans is now about even or slightly favoring Republicans.   Add to that the recent Gallup poll that found a huge lead for Republicans in voter enthusiasm which would drive proportionately more Republicans to the polls and you can only conclude that this is a poll designed to influence public opinion rather than report it.

And this is not the only, such skewed poll.   If you look at most of the polling being featured at Real Clear Politics (a purportedly neutral website for conservative and liberal news/opinion), most of the polls feature a similar, biased party sample, or sample only the general population or registered voters rather than likely voters.   All of these polls show Obama and Romney either at a dead heat or Obama with a small lead.

Add to this a report in The Weekly Standard from last week that the Obama Campaign spent over $2.6 million on polling just in the month of June (compared with just $460,000 in April) and a pattern seems to be emerging:  Obama is losing the voters and losing them badly.   Unless he takes some dramatic action or events intercede to change public opinion, he is headed toward a sizable, electoral collapse.

Despite everything that most pundits– conservative and liberal— are telling you, I believe that Obama is headed for a resounding defeat.   The spending by Obama’s campaign on polling is the result of panic.   They cannot believe the numbers they are getting and they are polling and re-polling for any and every conceivable angle that would turn opinion in favor of El Presidente.   Nothing is working, so far.

The hyper-skewed polling by NBC/WSJ is also telling.   Clearly this poll was designed to push public opinion in the direction of Obama by giving the impression that he is pulling away from Romney in voter preference.  This is not surprising in itself.  What is shocking is that NBC/WSJ had to resort to a sampling that favors Democrats by 12 points over Republicans in order to get the numbers that they wanted.

Contrast this with the daily tracking polls of likely voters from Rasmussen Reports that had Romney ahead of Obama by 5% last week.   For an incumbent like Obama to be trailing the challenger at this point in the election– before the public has focused on the race and before the convention and debates– is an indication that Obama is getting all the support he is going to get.   He is already maxed out and there is nowhere to go but down.

Obama’s only hope right now is to conceal his tenuous position from the public in order to avoid the “Bandwagon Effect.”     This is a well-known phenomenon in polling in which voters who have not yet decided or are not strongly committed to either candidate are strongly influenced by polling which indicates that one of the candidates is pulling far ahead in the race.   These voters want to be part of the winning team, so to speak, and throw their vote in with the majority.   So long as Obama and his allies in the Statist Media can manipulate the polling to maintain the appearance of viability, they can hope for a Romney implosion or some, other intervening event to save the election.

Along, then, comes an article in The Hill that attempts to do this very thing.   Using the ridiculously skewed demographics, the article makes use of the NBC/WSJ poll as follows:

Despite voters’ worries about the economy, they continue to give Obama the edge on personal popularity. In a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, Obama led Romney by 20 points on the question of whether voters liked each of them on an individual level. Two thirds said they liked Obama, whether or not they disagreed with his policies, while just 47 percent said the same about Romney.

Just 35 percent of voters held a positive opinion of Romney overall, with 40 percent negative, while 49 percent had positive opinions of Obama and 43 percent felt negatively about him. Both candidates saw slight upticks in their negative numbers since the ad onslaught began.

The article also mentions the Real Clear Politics average of polls for the idea that the candidates are locked in a statistical tie, a tie that is only made possible by the inclusion of polls that use unreliable or skewed data to give Obama a lead.

But even these partisan polls can only mask the reality for a limited amount of time.    If Obama’s numbers continue to slide and it becomes too obvious to skew the numbers in order to make the race look competitive, expect to see even Leftist polling groups grudgingly showing a Romney lead.   My personal prediction is that by September, absent an unlikely implosion by Romney, we will start to see a snow-balling of public opinion where the public has finally tuned in to the race and begins breaking for Romney.   Once that starts to happen the Bandwagon Effect will take hold and the bottom for Obama will fall out with only the hard-core, 35% of Democrats voting for him.  At that point we could be looking at a rout similar to the 2010 Elections, thus ending our national experiment in Mass Insanity.

Mitt Romney on Gun Control

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 10 months ago

As an editorial remark before beginning our journey through Mitt Romney’s views on the second amendment and gun control, I cannot promise the reader that this article will be easy to read, nor that the various videos and sources won’t be more time consuming than you would otherwise wish.  However, I can promise you that after studying the sources I cite, you will understand enough about Mitt Romney’s views to categorize and understand what he believes and see how his record matches what he believes.

To begin our journey, take a moment and view Romney’s position on the federal assault weapons ban that had a sunset provision at 0001 hours on September 13, 2004.

Take careful note.  Romney is referring to the federal assault weapons ban, not the assault weapons ban he signed into law in Massachusetts.  Along with Obama, he would have signed an extension of this ban.  But this is only the beginning of the maneuvering concerning the portrayal of his views.  The Gun Owners Action League attempts to defend Romney’s having signed the pertinent bill banning assault weapons.

The bill was the greatest victory for gun owners since the passage of the gun control laws in 1998 (Chapter 180 of the Acts of 1998). It was a reform bill totally supported by GOAL. Press and media stories around the country got it completely wrong when claimed the bill was an extension of the “assault weapon” ban that had sunset at the federal level. They could not have been more wrong … [the bill]

Permanently attached the federal language concerning assault weapon exemptions in 18 USC 922 Appendix A to the Massachusetts assault weapons laws. This is the part that the media misrepresented.

In 1998 the Massachusetts legislature passed its own assault weapons ban (MGL Chapter 140, Section 131M). This ban did not rely on the federal language and contained no sunset clause. Knowing that we did not have the votes in 2004 to get rid of the state law, we did not want to loose all of the federal exemptions that were not in the state law so this new bill was amended to include them.

GOAL is dancing on the head of a pin.  For those people who claimed that the particular bill was an “extension of the federal assault weapons ban,” that’s a bit of a misnomer.  I have never made that claim.  Romney signed an assault weapons ban in Massachusetts, and that’s the long and short of it, whether it was precisely an extension of the federal ban or not.  The other crumbs that “fell from the master’s table,” as it were, included a reversal of prior Massachusetts law that banned certain versions of certain pistols that were considered competition weapons (“bull” barrels, modified trigger pull force, etc.).  The concessions given by the Democrats were not very significant, and the assault weapons ban was continued into the foreseeable future for Massachusetts.

What is more troubling, however, is Romney’s defense of the bill.  Assessing a DNC ad criticizing Romney’s flip-flop on assault weapons, Politifact.com weighs in with this citation from 2004.

“It very well may be. In our state what we did is we got both sides of this issue to come together, because we relaxed a number of things, allowing people who hadn’t been able to get weapons in the past to be able to purchase those. … There are hunters in the NRA and the gun owners’ action league (who) backed the legislation that said, ‘Look, let’s protect our citizens from dangerous assault weapons, but let’s also make … regular weapons more available to our citizens.’ And we made a compromise that works.”

Our takeaway is that Romney, at that moment, was arguing that ordinary Americans have the right to bear some types of arms but not assault weapons. He said it “very well may be necessary” to extend the federal assault-weapons ban, while adding that he acted on the state ban because it also included expansions on other types of gun ownership rules.

And then in 2008 they have this from Romney.

“I do support the Second Amendment. And I believe that this is an individual right of citizens and not a right of government. And I hope the Supreme Court reaches that same conclusion.

“I also, like the president, would have signed the assault weapon ban that came to his desk. I said I would have supported that and signed a similar bill in our state. It was a bill worked out, by the way, between pro-gun lobby and anti-gun lobby individuals. Both sides of the issue came together and found a way to provide relaxation in licensing requirements and allow more people to have guns for their own legal purposes. And so we signed that in Massachusetts, and I said I would support that at the federal level, just as the president said he would. It did not pass at the federal level. I do not believe we need new legislation.

“I do not support any new legislation of an assault weapon ban nature, including that against semiautomatic weapons. I instead believe that we have laws in place that if they’re implemented and enforced, will provide the protection and the safety of the American people. But I do not support any new legislation, and I do support the right of individuals to bear arms, whether for hunting purposes or for protection purposes or any other reason. That’s the right that people have.”

[ ... ]

The reality is that Romney’s answer in the debate was unfocused, even self-contradictory. He said that he would have signed a federal assault ban extension — but he added that after it failed on the federal level, he felt he did not believe new legislation was necessary.

Romney is dancing on the head of the same pin that GOAL is on.  His position is logically incoherent because he is attempting to appeal to multiple (and diametrically opposed) constituencies.  In fact, the language he used to defend the bill is as troubling as his having signed it.

“These guns are not made for recreation or self-defense. They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people.”

Of course, these guns are indeed used for home defense, and modern sporting rifles of the AR design are used for hunting, target shooting and competition in the .223 / 5.56 mm, .243, and .308 / 7.62 mm calibers.  Hear the same sentiments in the video below.

These same words could have been spoken by Dennis Henigan of the Brady Campaign.  If these sentiments seem conflicted between supporting the second amendment and finding room for gun control, Alex Kauffman writing for Conservative Daily News explains why as he analyzes similarities between Romney and his father on three different fronts.

Handgun Ownership: In order to understand Mitt Romney’s actions here, it is necessary to give a little background information about Massachusetts gun control laws: In 1998, Massachusetts established a list of “safety” criteria for handguns sold in the state. The criteria were designed to disqualify most handguns. The Roster is the list of those few makes and models which have passed the testing requirements.

Mitt Romney created two exemptions: One for handguns already licensed in the state prior to October 21, 1998, and one for “match-grade” pistols (high-dollar handguns purpose-built for shooting competitions).

The 1998 exemption is significant when one understand the “preban effect”: Some gun laws are written with an effective date, where firearms sold after the date are subject to the law, while those sold before the date are “grandfathered”. Since there is a limited supply of grandfathered items, the sale price of those items skyrockets.

The net effect of Mitt Romney’s exemptions was this: In Massachusetts, a person now has three options for legally owning a handgun: 1) an expensive pre-1998 handgun; 2) an expensive “safety-approved” handgun; 3) an expensive match-grade handgun.

Compare this to George Romney’s “safety” law- Public Acts 215 and 216 of 1964- which required all handguns to be submitted, within ten days of purchase, for inspection by a law enforcement officer in order to obtain a “safety certificate”. “Safety”, however, was undefined, and determining that a handgun was “safe” was left entirely to the discretion of the officer conducting the inspection. In effect, law enforcement could determine any handgun to be “unsafe”, and confiscate the handgun on the spot, without compensating the buyer for his loss. This provided a disincentive for unpopular persons and minorities to attempt to lawfully buy handguns, knowing their handguns would be confiscated. Likewise, a lower-income person would not want to take the risk of saving money to buy a handgun, only to have their investment confiscated in this manner.

Like father, like son: Both Romneys used the guise of “safety” to deny the right to own a handgun to lower-income persons and “undesireables“.

Next, Kauffman turns to carrying handguns.

Before George Romney became governor, Michigan had created a very restrictive licensing law for carrying a concealed handgun: License applicants had to prove an immediate physical risk to a county license board consisting of representatives of the county prosecuting attorney, county sheriff, and the commissioner of state police. Needless to say, many applications for a carry license were rejected (and this state of affairs led to concealed carry reforms decades later). A concealed carry license was also required if a person wanted to transport a loaded handgun in an automobile, whether or not the handgun was concealed. Open (visible) carry of a handgun was technically legal (outside of an automobile), but in practice, doing it would usually lead to arrest for a “disturbing the peace” type of charge.

So, what was one to do if they wanted to carry a handgun, but weren’t politically connected enough to get a concealed carry license? Answer: Get a private security guard license. Said license authorized a person to carry a handgun openly without fear of arrest, carry a loaded handgun in an automobile, and was issued to virtually anyone who applied.

George Romney, however, made that practice illegal. Public Act 100 of 1966 made it a misdemeanor for a licensed security guard to carry a handgun except during work; Public Act 49 of 1967 made it a felony.

Romney did, however, extend concealed carry privileges in Michigan to licensees from other states- understanding that, in the 1960s, almost all states had similarly-restrictive processes for issuing a license to carry concealed. Romney did little more than extend a privilege given to an “elite few” in his state, to the similar “elite few” of other states.

By comparison, Mitt Romney had little work to do in this regard: By the time he took office, Massachusetts already had a two-tiered carry law: Persons with a “Class B” license could “carry” (transport in a box) an unloaded firearm to and from hunting areas and target ranges; the “elite few” granted a “Class A” license (issued to those who could prove a “need” to local law enforcement, as in Michigan in the 1960s) were entitled to carry a concealed handgun for self-defense.

While running for Governor in 2002, Mitt Romney infamously said: “I won’t chip away at them; I believe they protect us and provide for our safety.” And he didn’t.

Like father, like son: Both Romneys supported restricting the carrying of handguns for self-defense to an “elite few” of police and politically-connected businessmen.

Kauffman’s discussion on Romney and assault weapons is a recapitulation of what we already know.  Summarizing his analysis, Kaufmann says:

It is fair to say that Mitt is an elitist on the subject of firearms. His record demonstrates a WASP-y, 1950′s view of gun ownership: “Decent” people own guns for hunting and sporting, and protecting their homes. “Decent” people don’t “need” to carry guns for self-defense. Preventing people who aren’t “decent” from owning guns is a good idea.

I have spent some time studying the firearms laws in Massachusetts, and find them to be some of the most draconian of any state.  There are also odd and inexplicable statutes such as this one:

Such club shall not permit shooting at targets that depict human figures, human effigies, human silhouettes or any human images thereof, except by public safety personnel performing in line with their official duties.

Presumably this is part of that elitist culture in Massachusetts, where LEOs can train on silhouettes but other shooters can’t.  My state, on the other hand, sees the common sense in requiring CHP holders to be qualified on their weapons.  I filled out paperwork for the County Sheriff attesting that I had been tested placing so many rounds on target at 7 yards using silhouettes.  It’s better, in the state’s opinion, if I am going to carry a weapon, to ensure to the extent possible that my rounds impact their intended target if I ever have to use my weapon.

As best as publicly contradictory views can be assessed and summarized, Romney wants firearms only in the hands of sportsmen who hunt, and then only transported to hunting lands in certain ways (I would point out that the second amendment has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with hunting).  Only LEOs have the right to carry, along with a certain small number of other “approved” people.  You have the right to own a handgun in your own home, but only under certain circumstances, and only if you can afford the high price.  If you want to carry that weapon outside the home, you’re a creepy person, perhaps even poorly bred, uncouth and ill mannered.  You’re even more creepy if you want one of those awful assault weapons.  You just want to kill lots of people.

In a nutshell, Romney is a consistent Northeastern elitist concerning his views on the second amendment, smokescreens notwithstanding.  He and the Brady campaign got along just fine while he was governor of Massachusetts.


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