90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Convention Kick-Off

We are in Tampa, with the GOP, raising the curtain on the Republican National Convention and the race for the White House.

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP)

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP)

Where the sun has been out today and Republicans are eager to roll.  A day late, with Isaac churning on north, the real business – convention business and show business, politics – kicks off today.  Tough speeches from Chris Christie, Nikki Haley, Rick Santorum to go after President Obama.

A warm speech from Ann Romney to warm up and humanize the country’s understanding of her husband.  And then there is Mitt Romney.  In the wings but on everybody’s mind.  Can he, could he, rally the party and country?  Around what?

This hour, On Point:  From Tampa, Mitt Romney and the Republican moment.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Michael Kranish, Washington Bureau Deputy Chief of The Boston Globe. He is co-author of The Real Romney.

Jennifer Rubin, columnist and a blogger for the Washington Post.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Republican Congressman representing Utah’s 3rd District.

David Gergen, senior political analyst for CNN and has served as an adviser to four U.S. presidents. He is a professor of public service and the director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Highlights

Americans are having to make a bad choice, said veteran political analyst David Gergen. “Between a party that got us into this mess and a party that doesn’t know how to get us out.”

On the GOP side, Mitt Romney is running as a “severe conservative.”

Political tradition holds that candidates for the White House court their bases during the primaries, then tack to the political center during the general election. Mitt Romney appears to have bucked that trend, by adding Paul Ryan to the ticket. “For those of us on the conservative side of the aisle, we loved that choice,” said Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz.

Mitt Romney’s ideological evolution is a far cry from the political trajectory of his father, Gov. George Romney, who walked out of the 1964 GOP convention as Barry Goldwater roared that “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”

“Mitt Romney doesn’t represent the Romney legacy of moderation, that people in Massachusetts know very well from his years as governor. He now represents the Goldwater wing of the party,” said Michael Kranish, a journalist with the Boston Globe who coauthored the biography, The Real Romney. Romney’s father George, famously walked out of the GOP convention in 1964, in protest of Goldwater’s extremism.

Gergen said that Goldwater’s loss in 1964 to Lyndon Johnson, coupled with Ronald Reagan’s win in 1980, setup 2012 as a “rubber match” between liberals and conservatives aiming to expand or shrink the size and scope of government. Indeed, the degree of Romney’s conservatism might be hurting him in the polls. “[Some voters] are not sure that he won’t become a hostage to the Tea Party,” he said.

“Romney is center-right candidate, the country is a center-right country,” said columnist Jennifer Rubin, adding that the GOP is a “right party.” Romney, she said, wants to go down in history as the person who pulled the country back from the fiscal cliff, a problem only solvable in a bipartisan way.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times “In interviews, Republican leaders said they were united and energized by the prospect of defeating President Obama and enacting bedrock Republican principles: shrinking the government and reducing spending and taxes.”

National Review “Mitt Romney wants this year’s election to be about jobs and the economy. Barack Obama wants it to be about fairness and the need for a more equitable relation between classes. Voters appear to favor Romney’s view. When a July USA Today/Gallup poll asked Americans to rate the importance of twelve issues in the coming election, “increasing taxes on wealthy Americans” ranked last; “creating good jobs” ranked first, followed by “reducing corruption in the federal government” and “reducing the federal budget deficit.””

The New Yorker “As fans of political sparring will recall, these two have mixed it up before—numerous times, in fact, mainly over the Obama stimulus. The cause of their latest spat: a characteristically overstated Newsweek cover story by Ferguson arguing that it’s time to replace Obama. (Headline: “Hit the Road Barack: Why We Need a New President.”) Krugman, who has been spending the last few weeks hiking through some pretty-looking hills, interrupted his vacation to accuse his old nemesis of misrepresenting the facts in claiming that Obamacare will add more than a trillion dollars to the deficit over the next ten years.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 1, 2014
Pro-democracy protesters hold umbrellas under heavy rain in a main street near the government headquarters in Hong Kong late Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. The protesters demanded that Hong Kong's top leader meet with them on Tuesday and threatened wider actions if he did not, after he said China would not budge in its decision to limit voting reforms in the Asian financial hub. (AP)

China, democracy and Hong Kong. They’re in the streets in Hong Kong with their “Umbrella Revolution.” What now?

Oct 1, 2014
Actress Eva Longoria, center, Henry R. Munoz III, co-founder of the Latino Victory Project, left, and Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, are seated at an event launching The Latino Victory Project, a Latino political action committee, at the National Press Club in Washington, Monday, May 5, 2014. (AP)

Latino America. It is very large and growing very fast. How will it move the country?

RECENT
SHOWS
Sep 30, 2014
In this Jan. 15, 2013, photo, Rosser Pryor, Co-owner and President of Factory Automation Systems, examines a new high-performance industrial robot at the company's Atlanta facility.  (AP)

Nicholas Carr says automation, all over, is turning us into zombies. Out of touch with the world. He’s with us.

 
Sep 30, 2014
St. Louis county police officers advance on protestors trying to shut down Interstate 70 in Berkeley, Mo. on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014 near the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo. where Michael Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year old was shot and killed by a white police officer on Aug. 9. (AP)

Police shootings, cop culture, body cameras. And the big debate over how to protect the public and the police.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Transcript: Peter Thiel Wants Us All To Go From ‘Zero To One’
Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014

Entrepreneur Peter Thiel on innovation, technological failure and humanity’s uncertain future.

More »
Comment
 
Transcript: Sexual Violence Under ISIS Control
Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014

A transcript from our September 25, 2014 conversation on the Islamic State and sexual violence.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: September 26, 2014
Friday, Sep 26, 2014

All of you love to listen to old broadcasts when we play them, and Taylor Swift loves the Internet.

More »
Comment