Romney supported the bailout of the bank sector

In defense of political content in technology pieces:

Politics happens.

The above homage to the infamous, slight more obscence slang phrase, which Vic and Sade popularized on their 1940s radio show, is a fair assessment of how I regard the inevitable entrance of politics into tech articles.

Don't get me wrong, I'm with you.

Why do we need technology in politics?  Why can't tech and science news sites be nice and politically agnostic?

I feel the same way sometimes.  I like technology.  I am entertained by politics.  But writing about the two in conjunction is a sure fire formula to brew up hatorade.  And sometimes I don't want to see politics in my tech or science peices.

Unfortunately, our government friends "spending", "regulation", and "court system" have other plans.  They inject themselves everywhere in technology and science, you wish they weren't. 

So you have to choices as a journalist.  You either do your readers your disservice, by promoting willful ignorance of the reality we live in.  Or your try to cover the news, politics included as best you can, trying to avoid supporting a specific "side" in your body of work.

If you pick the latter approach (as I do), good for you, but I give you the words of Captain Picard, "Red Alert! Shields up!"

On Romney vs. Bush Spat:

In terms of technology Obama has a pretty mixed track record.  But the presumptive Republican nominee -- who has kept occupied leveling attacks against both Presidents Bush and Obama (but mostly Obama) -- is a rather interesting figure in terms of his stands on certains issues as well.

Romney has seized criticism of the automotive bailout -- a topic we covered extensively -- as a method of defending his conservative credentials.  However, many fear the candidate may have trouble drawing conservative support, given the "liberal" stands [source] he's taken on past issues -- many of which touch on science and technology topics covered by DailyTech.

On global warming, Mr. Romney has defended government funding for alternative energy, stating, "I think the global warming debate is now pretty much over and people recognize the need associated with providing sources which do not generate the heat that is currently provided by fossil fuels ..."

He also publicly endorsed embryonic stem cell (from unused or aborted fetuses) research at a major bioethics forum.  

Mr. Romney has often taken many traditionally "liberal" social stands, such as supporting rollback of the military prohibition on openly gay servicepeople, opposing gay marriage bans, supporting assault weapon bans, pushing public health-care, and defending abortion rights.

In a 2002 gubernatorial debate he commented, "I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose, and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard."

In a 1994 Senate debate, Mr. Romney explained that the death of a relative from an unsafe illegal abortion due to laws at the time made him pro-choice.  He comments, "Since that time, my mother and my family have been committed to the belief that we can believe as we want, but we will not force our beliefs on others on that matter, and you will not see me wavering on that."

"I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I'm not trying to return to Reagan- Bush," he said in that same debate, only to later turn around and in 2005 change his mind, stating, "Ronald Reagan is one of my heroes." 

Mr. Romney has since flip-flopped on all of these issues, arguing, to paraphrase, that he lied and did not reveal his true opinions as it was a necessary evil to pander to the largely liberal Massachusetts voter base.

Ask Mitt anything
Ask Mitt Romney anything -- just don't expect his answer to stay the same.
[Image Source: Iowa Republican]

The presidential hopeful has even pondered the occasional flip or flop on the issue of the auto bailouts.  Often missed in his 2008 editorial is the line, "It is not wrong to ask for government help, but the automakers should come up with a win-win proposition."

So in defense of President Bush, Mitt Romney should perhaps be reinforcing the windows of his own glass house, before throwing stones at a Republican that has attained the office that he thus far has been unable to.  It's easy to point out other's inconsistencies, when you're not the leader of the free world.  

That said, Mr. Romney is unlikely to back down from these stubborn criticisms as they're drawing support from his conservative base.  More importantly they bring his campaign attention, and the former governor thrives on attention.  His slick persona and strong war chest from two campaigns of heavy corporate funding have made him the presumptive Republican nominee, according to most experts.  

While the party nomination is his race to lose, he'll have a far harder time beating Obama, given his track record and President Obama's own massive corporate backing.  Mr. Romney and President Obama are much alike -- but the President has had the advantage of handing out grants, tax breaks, and other favors to his fortunate corporate supporters over the last four years [1][2][3][4][5].

In return the President has received $67.6M USD (54 percent of his current funds) from large special interests -- plus possibly more in untraceable small donations -- according to OpenSecret.  Of course, this all equates to involuntary funding on the part of individual taxpayers and small businesses, as the average corporation or special interest group receives $222 USD in tax breaks per $1 USD spent.  Thus President Obama will likely put American taxpayers on the hook for roughly $15B USD in trickle-down campaign funding.

Obama bribery wide
President Obama is beating Romney in the special interest cash race.
[Image Source: Politically Incorrect]

To summarize, in addition to inconsistency on topics like bailouts, Mr. Romney may be pretty good at "playing the silly game", as YouTube sensation Jimmy McMillan would say, he has to compete against a foe who has mastered it.

On Free Speech and Bribes

If I'm not supporting the (D)s or (R)s or blindly backing some third party, where am I coming from in my political perspective?  I get asked that a lot.  

Well one firm belief I have is the separation of state and special interest dollars. (Or "separation of lobbyists and state" to be a bit more catchy.)

Some legal experts and political observers on both sides of the aisle have defended special interests' right to pay candidates as "protected free speech".  

The easy line of criticism is that this raises the tricky issue of exactly how a corporation or special interet group "speak" publicly -- particularly when more often, they don't make their support public at all, but sneak around to obfuscate the benefits they garner.  If they're speaking via their donations, it's more of a sneaky whisper than a public conversation.

But I agree to some extent that it's hypocritical to ban special interests from donating money, when the public can still do so.

So let me propose a bold notion -- paying off politicians to support your idea is not free speech.

It's called a bribe plain and simple.  Perhaps it doesn't fit the U.S. court's system's current, somewhat arbitrary legal interpretation of what "bribe" means, but large, organized donations very much are a bribe in a traditional sense.

What I propose is simple:
  1. Force candidates to collect a certain number of signatures, by themselves.  The signatures will scale by the responsibilities of the office they're seeking.  The exact numbers for each office can be ironed out as things go along.
  2. Give the first _ politicians who collect signatures free funding to run campaigns.  Local politicians get local funds, state politicians get state funds, etc.
  3. Outlaw any direct contributions -- public or private -- to candidates or political parties.
Is it anti-conservative to apply taxpayer dollars to allow candidates to run for office?  Sure, on the surface in a sense.  But the alternative is to have a federal candidate typically collect half their cost of campaigning from special interests and then give those special interests a 222-fold return -- money that comes out of your taxes.  So funding candidates' runs for office would be saving taxes, by eliminating the waste of bribery and kickbacks (colloquial terms, of course).

It's not rocket science.  But it's unlikely to happen, given the deep level of corruption.  This is hardly a new problem.  As the old saying goes "money talks".  Today in America money is talking loudly, the problem is the people don't get a voice.

Enacting the above system, however, wonderful it might be, would require a massive change in political mindset.  But I'm hopeful it will one day happen.

Is bribery free speech?  No.  Is it antidemocratic?  Yes.  Is it the status quo? Yes.

On Bias and Necessity

I've been called a flaming liberal and evil arch conservative.  I'm either destined for a job as a liberal shill at MSNBC or the next talking head at FOX News, depending on who you ask.

The fact of the matter is that if there is an interesting aspect of a story with respect to politics, I absolutely will absolutely inject it, as that's part of my job.  I don't play favorites, and I don't spare any precious public figures.  But I always do source the facts involved for your benefit.

The problem with politics is that people tend to suffer from "sacred child" syndrome.  America has a hardcore two party mentality, and once you've picked your party that's it for most people.  Don't worry about the issues that effect your life, the party's got it.  Criticize the party?  Well, prepare to be flamed.

Being a journalist who does a fair amount of poking around, it is inevitable that the forum flamers will come out in mass from both sides of the fence.

Despite this, I will of course listen to your opinions and respect them.  I'm all about the free speech.  The best thing in the world is a good old fashioned, solid facts based debate.  That's what my old colleague Michael Asher, thought.  I do so miss our lengthy debates.  That was a man who showed that you don't have to resort to childish name-calling to present your case.  Sadly the Ashers of the world are a dwindling few.

I'm sorry to subject you to politics.  It's a necessary evil of dealing with business, technology, and science.  Politics is a ubiquitous monster that touches them all.  On the flip side of the coin it potentially represents great opportunity, as a healthy government is typically accompanied by a healthy private sector.

Our FAQ page clearly states:

DailyTech is the leading source of news, research and discussion for current and upcoming issues concerning science and technology.

"Issues"+"Science"||"Technology == "Politics"

... in many cases at least.  But I feel your pain, if you either don't want to be exposed to ideas different then yours, or for some reason want to put a specific article in a box it doesn't fit in.

To my political wary readers I say only this; if you don't like politics avoid the following articles:
1. Automotive policy
2. Corporate earnings
3. Anything lawsuit related
4. Any sort of foreign policy piece

Hopefully that spares you some inconvenience.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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