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March 12, 2012

Romney Channels His Inner Tom Friedman

You know how they keep going back in the archives and finding things Mitt Romney said in the past that aren't consistent with his current positions? Well check out this gem:

I got the chance after I lost to John McCain last time, to go over to -- that was the good part of losing -- I got to go to the Olympic Games in China. It's pretty impressive over there how quickly they can build things, how productive they are as a society. You should see their airport compared to our airports, their highways, their train systems. They're moving quickly in part because the regulators see their job as encouraging private people. It's amazing. The head of Coca-Cola said the business environment is friendlier in China than in America. And that's because of the regulators. That's because of government.

If you had elided out the part about losing to McCain, I'd have sworn that was one of Tom Friedman's recurring pieces of bilge extolling the wonders of China. Example (safe link to Reason):

There is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today.

One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century.

Another great lover of the Chinese "enlightened autocracy" is, of course, the SCOAMF:

“Mr. Obama has told people that it would be so much easier to be the president of China. As one official put it, ‘No one is scrutinizing Hu Jintao’s words in Tahrir Square.’”

Awww, poor Barry.

Oh, well. At least Mitt has done a 180 since making that statement and changed his stance on China to branding them a currency manipulator on day one of his administration. I mean, it's not like he said this yesterday or something.

Oh, wait, that quote is from last Friday Apologies for the HuffPo link, but note that even they found his statement odd:

They're also moving quickly, of course, because China's communist government can seize property by fiat and marshal state-owned industries to build large projects. While much of China's economy is capitalist, Romney's praise of infrastructure projects like roads and airports seemed to be an odd defense of centrally directed economics.

Perhaps someone should show the presumptive nominee this article entitled "Beijing Games make millions homeless". It begins with the story of Wang Baoguan, a man who thought the Chinese respect for property rights was so awesome he immolated himself. I guess Suzette Kelo got off easy.

But, hey, what's a little thing like property rights when there's an Olympics to win? Here's Bela Karolyi on the Chinese gymnastics program:

These people think we are stupid...We are in the business of gymnastics. We know what a kid of 14 or 15 or 16 looks like. What kind of slap in the face is this? They are 12, 14 years old and they get lined up and the government backs them and the federation runs away. There is an age limit and it can't be controlled.

Yes, Mitt, this was a fine event to hitch your wagon to.

Chinese highways were certainly in the news recently: Epic Traffic Jam Snarls Chinese Highway

As to the favorite Friedman/Obama fetish, the trains, well other than the corruption involved in their construction and the fact that they're bankrupting the country, they're just peachy.

The numbers for ******* relentless push for a high-speed rail network are impressive -- in terms of debt, not passengers.

The argument in support of the vast project -- with many lines connecting to more sparsely populated inland regions -- is that they are a strategic investment that will link markets across the country.

Detractors counter that while high-speed rail may suit the densely populated eastern corridor, investment is wasted on inland projects which are better served, and more cheaply, by short flights and slow trains.

The deleted text is "China's" but you could substitute "America's" just as well.

And as far as the head of Coca-Cola's comments on the business environment in China go, I'd imagine the crony socialist heads of GE and Berkshire Hathaway would make similar statements about the U.S. under Obama.

What happened here is that Mitt went to China's Potemkin Olympic Village and was impressed. It was designed to be an impressive display, so we know they got a bit of their money's worth in this case.

Also impressive: Ghost cities.

Somehow, in this bizarro world we find ourselves in, we're on the cusp of nominating a guy who just extolled the virtues of China's command economy. Faster please, SMOD.

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posted by Andy at 08:42 AM

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