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What Was Romney Planning? (His transition team was planning an impressive ship-of-state had he won)
National Review ^ | 01/21/2013 | John Fund

Posted on 01/21/2013 5:50:25 AM PST by SeekAndFind

President Obama is beginning his second term today, and while Democrats are celebrating, there are some Republicans and conservatives who are viewing the festivities with more than the usual regret. Until just after the November election, they were among the 300 Washington-based members of Mitt Romney’s transition team, known internally as the “Readiness Project.”

No, hiring such a large staff to prepare plans for a Romney presidency didn’t represent an egotistical measuring of the drapes by the candidate. It was mandated by a new federal law, the Presidential Transition Act, which a Democratic Congress passed in 2010 to ensure that any newly elected president would be able to use the 77 days between election and inauguration to ensure he’d hit the ground running and have a smooth transition of power.

Michael Leavitt, the former Utah governor and Health and Human Services secretary, headed the Romney transition team. Shortly after the election, he told Time magazine, “Doing things on Day One takes activity on Day minus-90.” He was wistful about the Romney administration that might have been: “We built a great ship, but it just didn’t sail.” In part because the team’s bills were picked up by the federal government (to the final tune of $8.9 million), we can learn a fair bit about what the Romney people were up to, despite the confidentiality agreements all team members had to sign.

The “ship” was indeed impressive. The General Services Administration lent the Romney team three floors of a government office building at the corner of Third Street and C Street SW in Washington. The first staffers moved in at the beginning of September and were issued desks, government e-mails and phone numbers, security clearances, and access badges. Workers were assigned to one of more than 30 federal departments and agencies, each of which had its own office space.

“It was impressively organized, and I’ve worked in three administrations,” one member of the transition team tells me. Each team, he says, had to identify the twelve most important people in a department or agency, prepare a list of candidates for the most important jobs, link Romney’s campaign promises to specific actions to take early in the administration, and come up with five recommendations for quick action in each office.

Everyone was on a strict timetable, with “red,” “yellow,” and “green” deadlines for the delivery of policy papers and task-force reports. All were due in final form on Tuesday, November 7 — Election Day. Everyone was ready for the next step, in the event Romney won. “We had parachute teams selected that would have landed to debrief the bureaucrats everywhere right after the election,” the transition staffer tells me.

As team leader, Leavitt enjoyed complete authority to design an administration in waiting. He met with Romney himself every Monday, wherever he was campaigning, to update him on the team’s progress. Leavitt had a four-phase plan: The “readiness phase” lasted until the GOP convention in August; the “planning phase” went up to the election and frequently required transition-team staffers to coordinate with members of Congress on how to get things done. The two phases that were aborted for obvious reasons were the “transition phase” and the “hand-off phase” — these would have culminated in a “200-day plan” that encapsulated everything Romney wanted to accomplish early in his term.

By any measure, the transition team was organizationally impressive, but Republicans and conservatives have a deeper concern about what the transition staffers were up to: What kind of administration were they preparing?

The evidence on this is both mixed and murky. One transition-team member tells me he was thrilled by the recommendations for his agency that were given a “green” light. “The people I worked with knew the importance of de-funding the Left. Sometimes when it looked like the Senate was going Republican, I felt we were going to get the third Reagan term we never got with Bush Senior — at least in my area.”

Another key transition-team member gave Politico a somewhat different impression. Romney wasn’t planning “an ideological crusade,” he said. “He wants to come across as a problem solver, primarily on the economic side.” Everything that was planned appeared to revolve around pragmatic, rather than ideological, goals: “bringing down barriers to economic growth and providing certainty to businesses.”

As for personnel, again the picture was mixed. Defense hawks would have been cheered by the fact that Mike Chertoff, former Bush Department of Homeland Security secretary, was a key player in the transition team and a leading candidate to become attorney general. Ditto with former Missouri senator Jim Talent, currently a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, who was one of three co-chairs of the Romney transition team for the Pentagon and a top candidate to become defense secretary. On the other hand, an overall coordinator of the national-security transition was former World Bank president Robert Zoellick, who has often drawn the ire of conservatives.

On the domestic side, conservatives would have been generally pleased with the two domestic-policy coordinators on the transition team: Glenn Hubbard, a former chairman of George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers, and Al Hubbard, director of Bush’s National Economic Council. John Taylor, a Stanford University professor and a noted free-market scholar, was a top candidate to replace the interventionist Ben Bernanke as head of the Federal Reserve. But one transition-team member makes it clear that Romney’s economic conservatism had clear limits: “You wouldn’t have seen wild-eyed supply-siders or privatization advocates being appointed. A Romney administration would have seen old hands and graybeards in charge.”

We will never know exactly what course a Romney administration would have steered or exactly whom it would have placed in every staff and cabinet position. One thing is clear: The Romney transition team was much better run and more focused than the often chaotic Romney campaign, with its clash of consultant egos and its happy talk about internal polls that featured questionable turnout models, not to mention the epic failure of ORCA, the campaign’s computer-driven Election Day get-out-the-vote effort.

Many people have already said this: Mitt Romney may be the presidential candidate who ran the least effective of campaigns but who would have made the best-organized chief executive in history. Different roles require starkly different skill sets.

The Romney transition team closed up shop just as quietly and professionally as it opened for business. Mike Leavitt, the transition-team leader, is proud that they cleared out of their offices within three days. “We were efficient,” he told Time. Indeed — but, sadly, not winners.

— John Fund is a national-affairs columnist for NRO.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: inauguration; rino; romney; romney2012; transition

1 posted on 01/21/2013 5:50:36 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Who gives a red rats patoot what Romney had planned?

He never planned to win anyway,He worked hard in the Primary’s and folded in the General. He hurt his Republican opponents folded and bowed to Obama.

Romney to me is just another name to despise, for his Massachusetts version of Obamacare and his run for President he gave up on in the final months.


2 posted on 01/21/2013 5:58:15 AM PST by Venturer
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To: SeekAndFind

Next article:
“Strategies the Chiefs would employ against the 49ers in the Super Bowl.”


3 posted on 01/21/2013 6:00:34 AM PST by TruthShallSetYouFree (July 4, 1776: Declaration of Independence. Nov 6, 2012: Declaration of Dependence. R.I.P. America.)
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To: Venturer

Those thoughts and 3 bucks will get you a cup of bitter tasting coffee. Does he know how much of your mind he continues to occupy?


4 posted on 01/21/2013 6:00:47 AM PST by trebb (Allies no longer trust us. Enemies no longer fear us.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Interesting read. Even with faults, it would have been light years better than what we are about to face.


5 posted on 01/21/2013 6:01:23 AM PST by SueRae (It isn't over. In God We Trust.)
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To: SeekAndFind

It sounds to me like Romney and his team spent a lot of time and effort in putting the cart before the horse.


6 posted on 01/21/2013 6:05:25 AM PST by FamiliarFace
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To: SeekAndFind

Sounds to me like just another expensive Wonk Factory operation. Only coming from the Right and not the Left.


7 posted on 01/21/2013 6:09:10 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: trebb

He sure doesn’t and he probably doesn’t care.

No more than I care what he would have done as President.

Screw him


8 posted on 01/21/2013 6:09:39 AM PST by Venturer
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To: SueRae
I'm still waiting for the purists to tell us what to do. I mean they got what they wanted after Romney was nominated with Obama's win. How does this fit into their plans?

Step 1: Ensure Romney loses the General to stick it to the GOPe Step 2: ? Step 3: Profits!

9 posted on 01/21/2013 6:10:36 AM PST by chargers fan
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To: Venturer

I disagree...well, somewhat. I am was an ‘anybody but Romney’, and he lost for the reasons we all feared/expected. I do believe Romney as a man performed as well as anything I expected from a candidate. As a candidate, he prepared and executed extremely well. I was pleasantly surprised. His speeches, his debates (the first two), etc were very good. I commended him at the time, and won’t second guess now.

What lost this was the strategy team and underlying beliefs and skills. Romney as a man deserves a big part of this because it ultimately is his belief set that drove how the team was built. This is the problem we all had with Romney as a candidate. He is a moderate who fell for the age old myths about moderate Republicans. Their team assumed Obama would remain unpopular, and all they had to do was present a viable alternative. Everything was done to make Romney look presidential. They needed to build an undeniable case why Obama had failed, and did not do that. In essence, they let him off the ropes. The political team Reagan built for 1980 and 1984 would have eviscerated Obama.

That’s where I agree. I am pissed that the idiot consultancy class sunk this ship. I was upset during the convention when I heard a high ranking official say ‘we aren’t going to hammer on Obama failures because people already know about them’. The campaign apparatus failed dramatically, but this article and Romney preparation show they did a number of things well, at the same time. This team was simply build with the wrong people, and was outmatched in organization.


10 posted on 01/21/2013 6:12:58 AM PST by ilgipper (Obama supporters are comprised of the uninformed & the ill-informed)
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To: Venturer

Yeah, because what we have to face over the next 4 years is soooooo much better knowing this RINO didn’t get elected.


11 posted on 01/21/2013 6:15:06 AM PST by MDspinboyredux
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To: FamiliarFace

Yep. No federal funding unspent in the process, either.


12 posted on 01/21/2013 6:16:57 AM PST by 9YearLurker
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To: chargers fan

Which ‘purists’ are you referring to? Name names.


13 posted on 01/21/2013 6:19:35 AM PST by skeeter
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To: Venturer

Woulda, shoulda, coulda. Who cares is right.


14 posted on 01/21/2013 6:30:15 AM PST by albie
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To: MDspinboyredux

Your sarcasm is misdirected, but that’s fine.


15 posted on 01/21/2013 6:30:37 AM PST by Venturer
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To: skeeter

One thing I’ve learned is that there is nothing lower than a bottom feeding scumbag moderate who spews crap about “purists”. They spend so much time on their knees servicing their liberal friends that they think its mother’s milk.


16 posted on 01/21/2013 6:31:18 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: chargers fan

I’ll consider myself a purist- I despise Romney as a Northeastern gun-grabbing leftwing fag-supporting RINO. I voted for him anyway, although I won’t do anything like that again, because his winning would have been pointless, and only emboldens the leftists in the GOP.

“I’m still waiting for the purists to tell us what to do.”

Ok. Take your left-wingers and ESAD. Get out of the Republican party, go join the democommies and quit trying to sell moderate socialism to conservatives.


17 posted on 01/21/2013 6:36:51 AM PST by GenXteacher (You have chosen dishonor to avoid war; you shall have war also.)
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To: GenXteacher
Ok. Take your left-wingers and ESAD. Get out of the Republican party, go join the democommies and quit trying to sell moderate socialism to conservatives.

I'll second that. The GOP has been moderated into a coma and its about time the "moderates" hike up their big girl panties and moderate the party that actually needs it.
18 posted on 01/21/2013 6:40:13 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: SeekAndFind

He should have been planning how to keep Obama’s henchmen form hacking into voting machines and stealing the election. Until Republicans figure that out, they will never win again.

A wise solution would be to abolish all voting except voting in person on election day. Ideally, voters should be required to put their index finger into indelible ink, Iraqi-style. These simple fixes would keep felons, illegals, multiple voters, and the dead out of the count, so Democrats would never agree to it.


19 posted on 01/21/2013 6:42:09 AM PST by txrefugee
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To: SeekAndFind

I believe their plan-after-winning reflects their plan-to-win. RINO losers. It really took some incompetence to lose to nobama and his commie friends.


20 posted on 01/21/2013 6:44:18 AM PST by hal ogen (First Amendment or Reeducation Camp?)
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To: SeekAndFind

What Fund should have listed were the first 100 major things Romney would have done on the first day. Then compare them to golf and vacation boy.


21 posted on 01/21/2013 6:58:10 AM PST by Doc Savage ("I've shot people I like a lot more,...for a lot less!" Raylan Givins)
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To: txrefugee

“He should have been planning how to keep Obama’s henchmen form hacking into voting machines and stealing the election. Until Republicans figure that out, they will never win again.”

This is all that matters. Romney could have stood on his head and whistled Dixie and it wouldn’t have made any difference.


22 posted on 01/21/2013 7:00:26 AM PST by Batman11 (We came for the chicken sandwiches and a Sweet Tea Party broke out!)
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To: Doc Savage

We know one thing Romney said he would do...

He would sign an Executive Order giving WAIVERS to every state in the union for Obamacare on his first week in office.

Thank you folks for sitting this election out (You know who you are). I hope you’re happy with Obamacare.


23 posted on 01/21/2013 7:02:30 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: TruthShallSetYouFree
Next article: “Strategies the Chiefs would employ against the 49ers in the Super Bowl.”


24 posted on 01/21/2013 7:05:42 AM PST by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: hal ogen

He ran an urban centered democrat style primary race and I wasn’t the only one to notice it. Rush Limbaugh pointed it out after Michigan where Santorum won 57 of our 83 counties and a 50/50 split of the congressional districts with Romney winning the Detroit centered districts.

He wasn’t worried about winning over voters, he was worried about pure numbers. If he had run a more traditional GOP style race it could have been a landslide in the general election but I’m not sure he could have won the primary by conventional means.


25 posted on 01/21/2013 7:09:57 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: SeekAndFind

“Defense hawks would have been cheered by the fact that Mike Chertoff, former Bush Department of Homeland Security secretary, was a key player in the transition team and a leading candidate to become attorney general.”


26 posted on 01/21/2013 7:12:26 AM PST by headstamp 2 (What would Scooby do?)
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To: SeekAndFind

Good article. Head and shoulders above the clown show we have now. Romney would have been a good President for this time in history.


27 posted on 01/21/2013 7:12:44 AM PST by martiangohome
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To: Batman11

The GOP is about 10-15 years behind the tech and social media curve.

The GOP is thinking pagers while the rest of the planet is on smart phones and beyond.


28 posted on 01/21/2013 7:18:03 AM PST by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: FamiliarFace
"It sounds to me like Romney and his team spent a lot of time and effort in putting the cart before the horse."

Yes. He thought he could win because he wasn't Obama.

29 posted on 01/21/2013 7:27:28 AM PST by CatherineofAragon (Support Christian white males---the architects of the jewel known as Western Civilization)
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To: ilgipper

Romney failed largely in part because he allowed the democrat slime machine to define him. And define him they did. To the low-information crowd, Romney was not only going to lower the taxes of the very rich to zero, he was this anti-abortion fanatic who would literally remove not just abortion, but all birth control from the landscape.

Romney did not effectively counter this assault.

You do not know how this galvanized ignorant women against him.


30 posted on 01/21/2013 7:29:56 AM PST by Darnright ("I don't trust liberals, I trust conservatives." - Lucius Annaeus Seneca)
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To: SeekAndFind
Defense hawks would have been cheered by the fact that Mike Chertoff, former Bush Department of Homeland Security secretary, was a key player in the transition team and a leading candidate to become attorney general.

If this is true, then I'm glad Romney lost. At least Holder's corruption is out in the open, and easier to identify.

31 posted on 01/21/2013 7:30:06 AM PST by Mr. Jeeves (CTRL-GALT-DELETE)
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To: chargers fan
I agree with your post. The last election was between a dangerous know-nothing socialist and a very competent GOPe.

Romney was not on my top 10 list, or even my top 100 list. But for me it all boiled down to this: who would I rather have appointing Federal judges?

Too many conservatives (”purists” as you called them) refused to support Romney. Big mistake. As Rumsfeld said, “You go to war with the Army you have.”

None of this excuses Romney. He ran a pathetically weak campaign.

32 posted on 01/21/2013 7:37:33 AM PST by Leaning Right
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To: Venturer
Do not ever NOT EVER post anything critical of Romney because every time I am reminded of that phony goodie-two shoes in the weird underwear I am required by the court to undergo Anger Management Classes.

From a medical POV, I simply could never figure out whether this Romney geek was among the quick or the dead. "Quick ... put a mirror under his nose ... he might be alive!"

Plan? This loozaguy NEVA talked about a plan while he was wasting about a Billion of GOP funds in a campaign that made Viagra Dole look dynamic. As far as I could see, it was Pat Boone vs. Little Richard. Artificial lo-fat vanilla vs. Pepperoni Pizza. The Mormon Milquetoast couldn't sell a blanket to an Eskimo. The Mombasa MF rope-a-doped him, class warfared him, .... kept the whole campaign OFF policy ... and Mitt (WTF Kinda name is MITT?)just played along ... tried to be a nice guy. "Vote for me. I am a nice guy!" Then, after that first debate, he backed off ... a drop-kick to the Gay Kenyan's gonads woulda done the trick....Ryan was worse. Imagine letting Joey Plugs claim that he and the Soetoro Boy "knew nothing about Benghazi" when Obama watched the whole thing happening live!

Yeah, I voted for him. But next time, one of two things has to happen: (A) the Republican Party must die, or (B) its axis must shift over to the right. The Two-Party "System" is a bitch. In fact, it is more or less a one-party system with the only ideological difference being Socialism now, or Fabian Socialism, i.e., Socialism tomorrow.

33 posted on 01/21/2013 7:56:13 AM PST by Kenny Bunk (Say, what the hell happened to Reggie Love? Who's in the playroom with Barry now?)
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To: Kenny Bunk

My FRiend you and I are of the same mind.

I agree with every word you posted.

Many here don’t, but certainly I do.


34 posted on 01/21/2013 8:01:08 AM PST by Venturer
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To: headstamp 2
“Defense hawks would have been cheered by the fact that Mike Chertoff, former Bush Department of Homeland Security secretary, was a key player in the transition team and a leading candidate to become attorney general.”

Oh, joy! That would have meant nudie scanners at the ballpark, the mall, the supermarket, the gym...

After Romney's first term he could have then retired to his own private Caribbean island (or chain of them).


35 posted on 01/21/2013 8:06:06 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Leaning Right
Too many conservatives (”purists” as you called them) refused to support Romney. Big mistake.

We "purists" did our duty. Romney didn't. His massively incompetent campaign proves his oft-claimed "competence" is apparently a myth.

36 posted on 01/21/2013 8:10:11 AM PST by Kenny Bunk (Say, what the hell happened to Reggie Love? Who's in the playroom with Barry now?)
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To: SeekAndFind

Romney’s ship of state ran aground in the harbor
Why We Lost http://www.theusmat.com/


37 posted on 01/21/2013 8:15:35 AM PST by mosesdapoet (Should the "mechanic" from Chicago come out of retirement ?)
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To: Venturer

Exactly.

I could have saved them a TON of time and money (but I repeat myself), by handing the lot of ‘em a pocket-size copy of the Constitution and said, “Get to work dismantling everything that isn’t spelled out in Art 1 Sect. 8.”


38 posted on 01/21/2013 8:43:07 AM PST by i_robot73
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To: GenXteacher
Ok. Take your left-wingers and ESAD. Get out of the Republican party, go join the democommies and quit trying to sell moderate socialism to conservatives.

You know nothing about me to make charges like that. To accuse me of being a leftist or for any form of socialism shows you to be a fool. Thanks for the language you chose to use though which allows us to see the waste of a mind you are that you have to go to such a base level. I will now go on with my life glad I never have to see you. I can assume you are such a coward you would never say such a thing to my face. Come on now, be happy.

39 posted on 01/21/2013 2:09:58 PM PST by chargers fan
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To: txrefugee
Abolish all voting
except voting
in person
on election day.

WITH PICTURE ID

40 posted on 01/21/2013 3:46:38 PM PST by Kenny Bunk (Say, what the hell happened to Reggie Love? Who's in the playroom with Barry now?)
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To: chargers fan

Don’t ask for instructions if you don’t really want any.


41 posted on 01/21/2013 4:56:47 PM PST by GenXteacher (You have chosen dishonor to avoid war; you shall have war also.)
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To: FamiliarFace
It sounds to me like Romney and his team spent a lot of time and effort in putting the cart before the horse.

It does to me as well.

Can we finally dispense now with the reassuring fiction that Romney was some sort of great businessman? He is very good at buying and selling businesses, but that doesn't mean he can actually run one.

He spent his campaign ignoring news he didn't like, listening to cronies and yes-men, lying to anyone who would listen, and then handing out huge bonuses to people who hadn't finished the jobs they were hired to do.

Now we hear all about this amazing transition team and their grand plans. Yeah, right. Just like he had the best GOTV organization in history.

Romney was the perfect Wall Street candidate. Paper profits but real losses. And this was the best we could do?
42 posted on 01/23/2013 6:11:25 PM PST by highball ("I never should have switched from scotch to martinis." -- the last words of Humphrey Bogart)
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