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Mitt Romney, the Republicans' default choice for President no one really likes, deserves to be asked the hard questions such as those directed by Jeff Daniels to the panel of GOP candidates in Adam Sorkin's "Newsroom", but
none of our supposed pundits ever ask them. So I will:

mitt romney

1. Believability. Mr. Romney, you have changed your positions so much over the past 20 years or so on the major issues, how can the average voter trying to decide whether or not to vote for you trust anything you say? You have flip-flopped so much, and even flopped back, so many times that it is almost impossible to determine where you stand on most issues of importance to the average voter. Here are a few of them:

  • You were for the stimulus package on January 4, 2009, but on September 28, 2011 you said you never supported it;
  • You stated you were pro-choice on October 29, 2002, when you were running for governor of Massachusetts, but on December 11, 2007 you said you wanted to overturn Roe v. Wade;
  • You said you were an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush when you were running against Teddy Kennedy for the Senate in 1994, but on May 25, 2010 you said that the principles of Reagan "are as true today as when he spoke it";
  • In 2009, you said that President Obama is copying your healthcare ideas and you were glad to hear that, but on October 18, 2011 you said Obamacare is bad news and you will repeal it;
  • In October 2011 you said you never hired an illegal alien, and minutes later said your lawn company did;
  • In June, 2011 you said "I believe the world is getting warmer, and humans contribute to that", but in October,
  • 2011 you said "We don't know what is causing climate change";
  • In March, 2002, you said you would not sign a "no tax" pledge, but in October, 2007, you said you were "proud to be the only candidate for President to sign the tax pledge";
  • In August, 2004, as governor, you signed legislation to extend the ban on certain assault weapons, but in January, 2012 you said "I do not support any new legislation of an assault weapon nature";
  • In December, 2009, you said TARP ought to be ended, but in June, 2010 you said "TARP got paid back and it kept the financial system from collapsing - it was the right thing to do";
  • In January, 2008, you said "I'm not willing to sit back and say too bad for Michigan, too bad for the car industry", but in June, 2011 you stated "That's exactly what I said - let Detroit go bankrupt"; and
  • In 2002, you said "Don't Ask, don't tell" was ""a step in the right direction", but today you do not support gay marriage.

2. National debt. In the 12 years of Republican Presidential Rule (Reagan and Bush I) before Bill Clinton, the national debt doubled, and in the 8 years after Clinton, Bush II more than doubled it. What confidence can the American people have that you and your Republican cohorts in Congress won't just forget about "the debt" after you become President and go back to your spendthrift ways?

3. Mormonism. As a devout Mormon, if the Twelve Apostles of the Church of the Latter Day Saints strongly urge you as President to take some action that your advisors strongly urge you not to take, because it is not in the country's interest, which position will you follow? Some people believe the Mormon Church is a cult and not a religion. In fact, non-Mormons are not allowed to enter Mormon temples, and Ann Romney's parents were not even permitted to attend your wedding to her because they were not Mormons. "Temples are considered Houses of the Lord, places we can go to commune with God, and no unclean thing can enter into the presence of God. So we preserve the sanctity of the house of God by certifying (through local bishops) that people entering in are obeying God's
commandments and living in such a way that they will not offend the Holy Spirit in the temple." As a non-Mormon, am I an "unclean thing"? Are you wearing "temple garments" or as Bill Maher calls them, "magic underwear", right now?
Your great grandfather left the United States in the late 19th Century for Mexico to continue to practice polygamy, which was outlawed in the U.S. He may have even renounced his American citizenship and became a citizen of Mexico. Your grandfather and father, George Romney, were born in Mexico, and your father ended his campaign for President in 1968 before the question of his being "a natural born citizen of the U.S." could be explored. By the way, can I please see your birth certificate, since many of your supporters continue to doubt that President Obama was born in the U.S.?

4. Poaching. At Bain Capital, you developed a strategy for companies Bain took over of outsourcing jobs to China and outer foreign countries which could produce products at a lower cost than American workers could make them. In the 1990s, you also invested several million dollars personally in a Chinese company which specialized in "poaching" jobs from American companies considering outsourcing them, thereby profiting on both sides of the deal. How much money did you make from this investment? Do you still own an interest in this Chinese company?

5. Supreme Court. As President, it is likely that you will have the opportunity to nominate one or two persons to the Supreme Court. As a Mormon, which has no women in its hierarchy, will you consider nominating a woman Supreme Court justice? A non-Mormon? Will you appoint someone committed to voting to overturning Roe v. Wade and who supports the hard line Republican position of no abortion even in the case of rape or incest? Do you believe that a human being is viable at conception?

6. Corporations. Do you really believe that corporations are "people"? Wasn't what the Supreme Court said in Citizens United was that corporations are to be considered "persons", which is not quite the same as "people"? Will you continue to urge your corporate supporters to fund your political campaigns in the future (and those of other Republicans in government)? What influence will your corporate supporters have in influencing policy in a Romney administration? Do you intend to appoint anyone from Bain Capital to your administration, Secretary of the Treasury perhaps?

7. Social Security and Medicare. If I am 54 years old on the day you are inaugurated, how will you and Paul Ryan treat my future Social Security and Medicare benefits (which I would have paid into for over 30 years at an increasing amount each year)? Is it true that under your plan, my Social Security benefits will end or be significantly reduced after 2016, and will not be available at all when I retire in 10 years or so?

8. "Brown-noser". Paul Ryan was voted "the biggest brown-noser" in his high school senior class. Were you also a "brown-noser" when you were at your Cranbrook prep school outside Detroit? Were you also a bully there, as has
been reported, cutting the hair of a gay student? If so, why don't you remember doing this, when others who were with you when you did it do remember it?

9. Balancing the budget. How do you plan to balance the budget when you won't end the war in Afghanistan and want to increase future defense spending, without increasing taxes? Isn't this just pandering to your base?

10. George W. Bush. Will you ever mention his name during the campaign? He was, i am sure you know, the last Republican President, for eight long years, whose policies (tax cuts, unfunded mandates, wars, financial meltdown, bailouts) shaped what President Obama is dealing with now. Have you forgotten, or don't you want the American people to remember your failed Republican predecessor President? In what ways is your political philosophy different from that of George W. Bush, and in what ways will your presidency be different from that of W, especially since you are currently surrounding yourself with many of his former advisors?

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11. "Mitt the Twit". I was in London at the Olympics recently, shortly after you were there and commented that you did not think the British were as well prepared for the Olympics as you were when you headed the Salt Lake City Winter
Olympics in 2002. Your comment prompted the Mayor of London to say that the 2012 Olympics were being held in a large city and not "in the middle of nowhere". The London newspapers headlined that you were "MITT THE TWIT". Are you so clueless that when you go abroad to show your foreign policy creds, you insult our closest ally, as President Obama put it in his convention speech, and then go on to Israel and do further damage to your reputation by putting your loafer in your mouth?

12. "Energy independence". How do you intend to have the U.S. obtain "energy independence" without destroying the environment and affecting global warming, which many of your fellow Republicans deny exists? Newt Gingrich
promised to get the price of gasoline down to $2.50 a gallon. Do you promise to do the same? If so, how?

13. The Dream Act. During the Republican primaries, your position on illegal immigration was to the right of Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich, leaving little room for moving toward the center after you secured the nomination. President Obama, faced with Congressional inaction, signed an Executive Order authorizing temporary application of the Dream Act to illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as young children who have done well in school, been lawabiding citizens, and are in college or are college-bound. As President, will you immediately rescind this Executive order and deport these young people?

14. Manipulating the facts. You claim that Bain Capital was a "job creator" of 90,000 jobs at Staples when only 45,000 of those jobs had been created when you supposedly left Bain Capital to head the Olympics. You also claim that you had no responsibility for Bain Capital decisions to outsource jobs at companies taken over by Bain Capital after you supposedly left the company. Isn't this hypocritical, to count the Staples jobs created to the present, and not
to count the layoffs at other Bain Capital companies after your departure? Or don't you care if you are being inconsistent, as you and your advisors are not going to be bothered by fact checking?

15. Wars. Which countries do you plan to wage war against when you are President? Iran? China? Pakistan? North Korea? Venezuela? How are you planning to pay for these wars? Will you urge your five sons to join the military to
help fight these wars, or will they rush off on Mormon missions like you did during the Vietnam War? Full disclosure: I served on active duty as a Navy Lieutenant in the Pacific during the Vietnam War, while you were in France on your Mormon mission.

16. Wine and coffee. You personally, as a Mormon, say that you do not drink alcohol or coffee. As President, at State dinners, will you serve wine and coffee to your guests, or will you impose your personal beliefs on them?

17. Gay people. Will you oppose gay marriage in all cases? In the American military, will you change the rule to "Ask and tell", and kick out persons who admit to being gay? If one of your sons decided to marry another man, could
he be married in a Mormon temple?

18. Black people. You seem to be uncomfortable around black people, who are polling zero support for you at present. As president, will you continue to support anti-discrimination laws in the U.S. or will you seek to water them down?

19. Tax returns. Is the reason you will not disclose more than the past two years of your tax returns because, unlike your father and all recent presidential candidates, you don't believe it is relevant to the decision of the average
American voter whether to vote for you or not, or because you are hiding something that will destroy your candidacy?

20. First 100 days. Which of the following actions will you take during your first 100 days as president?

  • Dismantle "Obomneycare" by exempting states from many of its requirements (by Executive Order);
  • Fast-track oil drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, and California offshore (by Executive Order);
  • Eliminate all Obama regulations that "unduly burden the economy or job creation" (by Executive Order);
  • Eliminate all regulations that favor organized labor (by Executive Order);
  • Designate China as a currency manipulator, possibly triggering a trade war with China (by Executive Order);
  • Urge Congress to pass legislation immediately to reduce the corporate income tax rate to 25%, and to reduce the capital gains tax even further;
  • Urge Congress to pass legislation immediately reinstating the president's power to fast-track trade deals;
  • Urge Congress to pass legislation immediately to return worker-retraining programs to the states;
  • Seek to cut immediately from the budget non-security spending by 5%;
  • Increase the eligibility age for new Social Security recipients beyond the current 67 years;
  • Seek to expand health savings accounts;
  • Seek repeal of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation laws;
  • Gut the new Consumer Protection Agency;
  • Initiate mass deportations of illegal immigrants, no matter how long they have lived in the U.S. or if they have family members who are citizens; and
  • Nominate anti-abortion justices pledged to vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, if a vacancy arises.

Remember that it took George W. Bush eight years to ruin the American economy, and it will take President Obama eight years to fix it.

Ted Vaill