Arthur Lezin

The governor maintains corporations are people. If so, The Bulletin will have to retake Civics 101 based on its endorsement of the governor — long on assertions and short on facts.

The editorial charges President Barack Obama with advancing his liberal agenda (the dreaded “L” word) and ramming through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. At the same time, he is responsible for a range of failures: He failed to address the problem of excessive regulation; he failed, most critically, to create new jobs and bring down the unemployment rate; and he failed to face fiscal reality. Overall, he resorted to “class warfare” in an effort to sell his policies to the nation.

Gov. Mitt Romney, by contrast, understands the economy and how jobs are created in a free enterprise system. He has demonstrated an ability to work across the aisle, and he is a problem solver, focusing on results.

The editorial offers few facts or details to back up these assertions. Just stating them doesn’t make it so. Also, a number of issues critical to supporting or rejecting each of the candidates are nowhere to be found in the editorial.

First, some relevant facts. Enactment of the Affordable Care Act is the most significant expansion of the social safety net since Medicare was passed. With regard to government regulation, Republican dogma is that unnecessary rules and standards are holding back the economy. A more widely held belief is that the lack of regulations and oversight was a major factor in the collapse of the financial sector. Passage of the financial reform act, despite determined Republican opposition, should go a long way to minimize the severity of a recurrence.

On the job front, administration policies (the stimulus, and guarantees to the auto industry) have resulted in a steady, albeit slow growth in jobs since shortly after Obama took office. Further, his proposal to utilize unemployed workers and historically low interest rates to repair and upgrade aging infrastructure was rejected by Republicans in both House and Senate. It was called “Dead on Arrival” and no hearings, much less a vote, have been held.

The editorial may be right in claiming that the governor has the necessary skills to grow the economy. Still, his extremely successful years in capital equity were designed to create profits, not jobs. And his much vaunted ability to work with Democrats as governor of Massachusetts is tempered by the fact that there were a record number of vetoes by the governor of legislative initiatives. And a record number were overridden.

Mitt Romney 2002: “I think people realize that I’m not a partisan Republican, that I’m someone who is moderate and my views are progressive.” Backing up this claim, he ran for governor as a strong supporter of abortion rights, gay rights, cap and trade (climate change), progressive taxation, and gun control. He signed a ban on assault weapons.

Perhaps the most egregious omission in the editorial is a defense of the Romney/Ryan budget — what we know and what we don’t know. Changes in entitlements are in order. What is not so evident (the Romney budget) is that Medicare will have to be replaced with a voucher reimbursement for services, and Medicaid — the most efficient part of our health care delivery system — slashed (e.g., transferred to the states). The governor may understand the economy, but it appears he does not understand the plight of the disadvantaged when it comes to health care. “They can always go to the emergency room,” he declared.

Which Romney will show up on Inauguration Day? The Massachusetts pragmatist (on full display recently), or the president-elect beholden to the “legitimate rape” wing of his party. If for no other reason than the appointment of Supreme Court justices, this is a risk the nation cannot take.