This will be the week when a cross section of Americans will re-evaluate and possibly even rediscover Mitt Romney. They’ll get some Mitt nostalgia. In 24 hours, the much ballyhooed documentary “Mitt” publicly premieres on Netflix, produced and directed by one Greg Whitely, who spent much time with Mr. Romney during the best and the worst moments of the 2012 presidential race.
Pundits and critics who have seen either the whole production or mere snippets are already predicting that voters will finally get to see the “human” Mitt Romney; they have obsessed over the fact that the candidate ironed his shirt sleeve while wearing it. Yeah, well. Had the oft mocking mainstream media coverage been broader and more fair to the Republican hopeful during the election, perhaps a more authentic portrait would have emerged.
But no matter. Others are still puzzling over Mr. Romney’s loss to President Obama.
“He had that first debate and it was looking great. After that, either through advice or, maybe you get a little nervous, or maybe you do a little choking — which happens — something happened that was not good,” Donald Trump told a political audience at a New Hampshire college earlier this week. “That was a race that should have been won. It was a race that could have very easily been won.”
And while voters may have some pangs of Romney remembrance, the man in question — who still managed to accrue 11 million followers on his Facebook page — has repeatedly advised the persistent press that he won’t run again. As has his wife Ann. But what about an inevitable Trump run for the White House?
“I would certainly look at it. You know why? I’m unhappy with the way things are going in America,” the billionaire explained to Reuters following his speech.
THE MCDONNELL PRESS
The travails of Bob McDonnell and wife Maureen have brought out the melodrama in the press as his case unfolds. A few headlines since news of public corruption charges against the former Virginia governor went public late Tuesday:
“The tragedy of Bob McDonnell” (Politico), “Virginia was ripe for a scandal” (The Washington Post), “Christie and McDonnell: From stardom to scandal” (MSNBC), “The chef who brought down Bob McDonnell tells all” (Washingtonian), “Bob McDonnell defense: I’m an awful friend” (New York Daily News), “Why Bob McDonnell’s fall Is so damaging to the Republican brand” (New Republic), “Indicted McDonnell: I only did what Obama did” (NewsMax), “Bob McDonnell and the perils of being famous but not rich” (The Week), “A reminder from Bob McDonnell: Never make long bets on future presidents” (The Wire).
ZONING OUT IN VIRGINIA
The U.S. Constitution lingers on the mind of one Virginia state lawmaker.
“Local officials who abuse zoning authority powers to cower citizens into submission and deprive land owners of constitutional rights in the enjoyment of their land must be subject to fines and actual damages they cause, including attorney fees,” says Delegate Bob Marshall, who has introduced a bill before the Virginia General Assembly that asks local governments who violate “constitutional rights through zoning” to pay fines and attorney fees of the citizens involved, and possibly be held liable themselves.
Mr. Marshall introduced HB 1219 after Fauquier County officials threatened “Virginia citizen farmer” Martha Boneta, who was cited and threatened with $5,000 per-day fines for hosting “menacing activities” without obtaining a permit; those activities included a child’s birthday party and operating a farm produce stand. Her fellow Virginians rallied at two “pitchfork protests” in her support in December.
“I am convinced this harassment will continue until local officials realize they can be held liable in the form of fines and other costs,” Mr. Marshall notes.
“I would not have been bullied by my county government had this bill been in place earlier, and I ask all Virginians to contact their delegates and senators to support HB 1219, which protects all of us,” says Mrs. Boneta.
The bill also allows the Virginia Attorney General to intervene on behalf of victims and also provides whistleblower protections for government employees who expose violations of this law. The “Boneta Bill,” filed before the Assembly on Jan. 2 by Delegate Scott Lingamfelter has similar aims, and some noble language: “It will ensure that no government official, elected or appointed, will restrict the right to property that our Founding Fathers, many of whom were Virginia farmers, held as inherent and sacred.”
“Beating Obamacare 2014: Avoid the Landmines and Protect Your Health, Income and Freedom” by Betsy McCaughey, published Monday by Regnery Books.
“The law is a nearly unreadable 2,572 pages. Why so long? The framers of the U.S. Constitution created the entire federal government in just 18 pages. If only the Washington bigwigs of today showed the same restraint,” writes the author, a health care policy expert and the former lieutenant governor of New York.
BOOMERS MAY NEVER RETIRE
Baby boomers are not keen on retiring, a phenomenon which could vex younger generations who are unemployed and/or weary of their elders. But are the boomers remaining on the job because they are workaholics or for serious financial reasons?
“True to their ‘live to work’ reputation, some baby boomers are digging in their heels at the workplace as they approach the traditional retirement age of 65,” says a new Gallup analysis noting that boomers still make up a third of the workforce.
“Nearly half (49 percent) of boomers still working say they don’t expect to retire until they are 66 or older, including one in 10 who predict they will never retire,” the research says.
Popular mythology frames boomers as the “70 is the new 50” crowd who are bent on staying young and playing in a garage band until they are ancient geezers. Well, maybe. But circumstances have worked against the generation who once feared turning 30.
“Concerns about money likely play a significant role in explaining why so many baby boomers see themselves working longer,” Gallup says, citing an ill-timed “perfect storm” for boomers created by the 2008 recession, plus personal debt, plummeting home values, paltry savings accounts and so-so Social Security payments. The pollster has reasonable advice for the situation which will surely annoy young adults still seeking meaningful employment.
“As they continue to age and work, it is important that their organizations build workplaces with outstanding managers who leverage the experiences of older workers by positioning them to do what they do best — listening to their insights and opinions, and continuing to develop their talents into strengths,” Gallup says.
POLL DU JOUR
• 67 percent of U.S. voters will likely watch President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday; 53 percent of Republicans and 81 percent of Democrats agree.
• 53 percent of voters overall say the Obama administration has not been competent running the government; 86 percent of Republicans and 17 percent of Democrats agree.
• 49 percent overall say Mr. Obama is not “honest and trustworthy”; 82 percent of Republicans and 17 percent of Democrats agree.
• 46 percent overall say Mr. Obama is honest and trustworthy; 13 percent of Republicans and 85 percent of Democrats agree.
• 49 percent overall say Mr. Obama has “strong leadership qualities; 20 percent of Republicans and 80 percent of Democrats agree.
• 48 percent say Mr. Obama does not have those qualities; 76 percent of Republicans and 17 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A Quinnipiac University poll of 1,933 registered U.S. voters conducted Jan. 15-19.
• Nostalgia, wishful thinking, complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org