Back in NH, Forbes talks immigration, Romney and 2016
MANCHESTER - With immigration viewed as the next big thing to hit Capitol Hill in the coming weeks and months, publisher and former two-time Republican candidate Steve Forbes says it doesn't have to be a losing issue for his party.
Donald Trump last week called immigration reform "a suicide mission" for the GOP, but Forbes, in New Hampshire on Friday to speak to the Concord and Merrimack County Republican committees, disagreed, saying in a wide-ranging interview that thoughtful reform may not immediately gain votes for Republicans, but it "will stop losing votes" for the GOP.
"Stop the bleeding first," he said, "and then you can start appealing to voters."
Forbes, who was last in the state in May 2012 to campaign for state GOP candidates, said he was "shocked" by the results of the last election.
"For all the mistakes that Mitt Romney made, I still thought people wouldn't want another four years of this pessimism and fighting," he said.
Forbes faults Romney and his campaign for allowing themselves to be defined by President Barack Obama and the Democrats.
Yet, he is optimistic about the state of the economy and the GOP, predicting that among those who will at least consider running for President in 2016 will be Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Jeb Bush, who Forbes called "a given," and Paul Ryan, but definitely not himself.
On immigration, Forbes said the Republicans are right to insist on a "guest worker" program in which foreign workers are granted temporary entrance to the United States to do mostly difficult low-paying tasks.
"You can't pretend you don't need agricultural workers or hotel workers as the economy gets back on its feet," he said. "If you need them, have a program so you know who's here."
He said the GOP should also insist on reform of the H1-B visa, which also allows temporary admission to the country for certain occupations, "to show we're in tune with the times."
These should be available for high-tech jobs, and the number of H1-Bs should be dictated by the market "instead of putting artificial caps on them.
"This is why companies put facilities overseas; they can't bring capable people here," said Forbes. "Part of that is if you get your advance degree here, you should get a green card with your diploma. Why are we educating them and then sending them home?"
Forbes said Democrats were successful in the last campaign because "they defined all the issues. On immigration, it was, 'the GOP hates you.' We were waging 'a war against women,' and, because the Romney campaign never responded effectively, it stuck.
"Not to re-hash the past," he said, "but the idea that for three months, you could allow $300 million in trash ads run against you and not respond and not do anything," said Forbes. "At the convention, you put your five-point program at the end of your acceptance speech, looking like an after-thought. What were they thinking?"
Forbes said Romney "came off as sort of defensive" about his own success, giving an impression "that he wasn't quite savory.
"Roger Ailes has said that if you look like you're defensive about it, words don't matter," he said. "If you look like you're proud, then people say, 'Maybe there is something to that.' But he never did it."
Despite the big Democratic win, Forbes said "the country is adrift" and looking for leadership.
That is why, he said, there was positive grassroots response to Sen. Rand Paul's filibuster of the John Brennan nomination to head the CIA over the Obama administration's policy on the drones strikes within U.S. borders.
"He actually went against the grain and did something _ that's what they're yearning for," Forbes said.
On Medicare and Social Security, Forbes said the GOP should more effectively frame calls for reform as matters of personal choice.
Forbes predicted a 2014 "up-rising" similar to 2010. Within the GOP, there will be hard-fought primaries, and, "the message will be that no matter how glorified your name is, you will be challenged. I don't care if you call them coffee parties or tea parties or vodka parties, the base is ready to be roused."
Forbes, a long-time advocate of the flat tax, said he views Ryan's plan for two tax rates, 10 and 25 percent, favorably, but only as "a way-station to one rate."
"The bench of the party is good," said Forbes, citing Christie's "two-fisted" approach and soaring popularity in mostly Democratic New Jersey, Ryan's "intellectual firepower" and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker successes.
And when the GOP presidential field firms up, Forbes said, New Hampshire and Iowa will continue to play vital roles in the nominating process.
Despite the ever-increasing glut of broadcast advertising and social media campaigning, Forbes sees a continued value in retail campaigning.
"It's educational for candidates," said. "This is an under-appreciated side of American politics."
Forbes said that "in normal times," Iowans force candidates to articulate their stands on social issues, while Granite States force debate on economic issues.
"As a candidate, you get right up front a vivid lesson in American national politics in a retail way, and it's a good thing to get early on.
"It's a test of your skills," he said. "You couldn't have two better states."
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Bob Jean said:
Steve Forbes is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. On a personal level he's one of the best role models the GOP has for their up and coming talent. His flat tax idea, however, would speed up the radical redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the Romney/Walton/Forbes/Rich Democrat 1% class. We need more tax brackets, not less, and we need much higher tax rates at the top. And we need the inheritance tax to also have lots of brackets with very high rates at the top. The top 1% of our population own so much of our nation's wealth they corner our markets and control our economy. We don't need a nanny government, and we don't need nanny's at the top of our economic pie controlling it like nannies, either. This is devastating to a market economy, competition, and middle class entrepreneurs and workers. But make no mistake about it. Steve Forbes is a wonderful human being who says what he means and means what he says, even though, on the flat tax he's just flat out wrong.
March 17, 2013 10:36 am
Len Cannon said:
@Bob Jean: It is not the role of government to redistribute wealth. Every time I hear this nonsense about "protecting the middles class," I'm reminded of all the middle class wealth killing tax proposals these redistributionists always seem to propose like the gas tax. Who do you suppose buys almost all of the gasoline in this county? Answer: the middle class and the poor. Who buys almost all of the cigarettes? Answer: The middle class and the poor. Who buys almost all of the fast food (taxed at the "restaurant meals tax" level - ie. McDonald's = Hanover Chop House) in this country? Answer: the middle class and the poor. Where does the bulk of the meals tax revenue come from in NH? Bedford Village Inn & the Chop House? Or.... McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, Wendy's, Subway, Pizza Hut, Dominos, etc.? We all know what's going on here. The redistributionists talk a good game. But what they really do is tax the middle class to death every chance they get !
March 17, 2013 10:53 am
Patti Lacourse said:
The "pessimism and fighting" as he calls it is caused by the GOP fighting on every issue....I'm not sure how he can blame the Democratic Party for that....
March 17, 2013 11:43 am
Bob Jean said:
Len Cannon: It's not the role of government to redistribute the wealth? What do you think all those lobbyists that represent the top 1% do in DC, Len? You pretend that the question is whether the government redistributes wealth or not. The real question is which way is the government going to redistribute the wealth: from the middle class to the 1% or from the 1% to the middle class. And we are talking about who should pay down the deficits and debt, the people who can afford to do that, or the people who can't. This country is steeped in precedent, tradition, and law to break up monopoly and oligopoly control of our markets and our market's competitive systems. Of course that can be the role of government. Middle class people don't have to be shamed out of our right to do that or to be told it's not in our interest to do that. And yes, collectively we can protect our markets and competitive systems from wealth that is so concentrated we no longer have a real market or competitive system. Yes, Len. We can do that. And yes, it's the American way. A nanny state, either a nanny government or a nanny economic system are NOT the American way.
March 17, 2013 11:49 am
Bob Jean said:
Len, the Republicans refuse to close tax loopholes like Cayman Island tax shelters. How is that government not redistributing wealth from the middle class to the 1%?
March 17, 2013 12:14 pm
Len Cannon said:
@Bob Jean: "the Republicans refuse to close tax loopholes like Cayman Island tax shelters" Ah... would those be the same Cayman Island tax shelters that Treasury Secretary Lew (Obama's recent pcik for Tresasury) has taken advantage of also? Those tax shelters?And as for "...And we are talking about who should pay down the deficits and debt, the people who can afford to do that, or the people who can't" ... So...Is that why we tax gas and fast food? So all the middles class and the poor who can afford it are the ones paying down the debt and deficits?
March 17, 2013 4:57 pm
Bob Jean said:
Len Cannon: The Republicans refuse to close the loopholes like the Cayman Island tax shelters. Why do you and your Party support them, and want the middle class to pick up the tab instead? You want to use government to redistribute the wealth from the middle class to the 1%, Len. You are fine with that wealth redistribution, right Len?
March 17, 2013 5:44 pm
Dominic Connor said:
Socialists hate a flat tax because a large part of their base does not pay any income tax. And they love to ignore how the Kennedy fortune has been off-shore for decades. Even last week, they were quiet on Clinton's daughter buying a 10 million dollar apartment in NYC while they would be pointing to Romney if one of his children made such a purchase. Not that there is anything wrong with any of this, but the hypocrisy is stunning. The masks are off, the socialists are openly advocating seizures of rights and property.
March 17, 2013 10:15 pm
Harrison Brown said:
Why do we get the notion, temporary guest workers do the low paying hotel and agriculture jobs in our Country.When I was a young man I picked apples one year. You want appreciation for a hard job? Try doing that for a living. I think more AMERICANS should be doing the so called "low paying" jobs!
March 17, 2013 10:16 pm
Bob Jean said:
Dominic Connor: No one is talking about socialism. That's you and your Party's trick to keep the radical redistribution from the middle class to the 1% class and using government to do it. Check this video out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QPKKQnijnsM
March 17, 2013 10:59 pm
Paul Fleming said:
PSST some of obama's, kerry,s, clinton's money is where Mr. Jean? BTW Mr. Jean and you NH liberals' trick is to talk wealth redistribution and those **** 1%ers. I LMAO when that slam is only directed at Republicans, hypocrite. God forbid, OOOPS can I say that?, if everyone pays their fair share of taxes eh Mr. Jean? To me those who receive the most of the entitlements pay the least if anything in taxes. Open you eyes and try to really see what is going on, comrade.
March 18, 2013 8:27 am
Bob Lake said:
I am looking forward to the new GOP team - Rand Paul and Cruz. Just the ticket that clearly represents the new mean republican party, the party of hate.
March 18, 2013 9:32 am
Robert Hunnefield said:
Len: Great posts. Dont expect any answer from bob jean that make any sence because he is all about redistribution of wealth. You notice in every one of his posts he did not give a single answer why we are taxing the poor to death, all taxes proposed by those who want to redistribute the wealth. All he goes on with is his 1% schick. Notice he has typed 1% in every one of his posts. I get a kick out of his line that he always types: walton/romney class. He has now updated that to Walton/romneyForbes/Rich democrat. Rich democrat? Is that the best you can do bob jean? It still does not add any credibility to your argument. I know your handlers dont give you the names of any rich democrats but Len gave you one: Lew. That was a freebie. So bob, now you can type Walton/Romney/Forbes/Rich Democrat/Lew in each of your posts. and what we will do is provide you with a new Rich democrat every day so your class list can get longer and longer.
March 18, 2013 11:33 am
Trent Palmer said:
(1) There was nothing great about Len's posts. They were frankly stupid or a calculated rhetorical bait and switch. He rails about sales, cigarette and gas taxes which EVERYONE KNOWS are regressive as a counter point to Bob Jean. Not to mention that sales, cigarette and gas taxes are primarily state issues. Totally silly. (2) Progressives are against a flat tax because it is completely unworkable. If you want to crush the poor and have a small, stagnant middle class then by all means support a flat tax. (3) That anyone thinks this ridiculous talking point about wealthy Democrats is anyway meaningful blows one's mind. People obey and take advantage of whatever laws are available regardless of whether they think they are smart and should be changed. People don't drive 120 mph just because they SUPPORT driving 120 mph. And people take advantage of tax loopholes even though they think some tax loopholes are wrong. Grow up people.
March 18, 2013 5:02 pm
Trent Palmer said:
Bob Jean, Forbes may be a nice guy but he is economically clueless. His H1-B stance that "it should be left to market forces" is absolute insanity. Guess what "market forces" are? Every high tech job going to anyone willing to move here and work for 50% of what a citizen would. Genius!
March 18, 2013 5:14 pm
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