Archive for the ‘Romney’ Category
It’s impossible to gather into one blog post all the idiocy from all of the Neocons, Teabaggers and nut jobs at CPAC and elsewhere. All WC can do is touch on some of the
highlights lowlights examples:
Think Progress documented 30-year-old Scott Terry of North Carolina, who asked whether Republicans could endorse races remaining separate but equal. The presenter, a K. Carl Smith of the Frederick Douglass Republicans, answered by describing a letter from Frederick Douglass forgiving his former master. Mr. Terry responded, “For what? For feeding him and housing him?” Several people in the audience cheered and applauded Mr. Terry’s statement. After the exchange, Mr. Terry muttered, “Why can’t we just have segregation?”
The audience cheered and applauded. WC knew that the Teabaggers wanted to turn back the clock. WC didn’t think they wanted to turn it back to 1850.
The Republican Party recently released a self-analysis undertaken in the wake of The Mitt’s defeat in November. Think Progress called it an “autopsy” but WC thinks that’s premature. The GOP is still kicking. Amongst all the blather, the self-analysis called for the Party “in fact and deed be welcoming and inclusive.” Report, page 8, Recommendation 3. The next day the Republican-controlled Arkansas Legislature adopted a law requiring a photo ID from voters. Doh.
Senator Jeff Sessions (R, KKK) has introduced an amendment to the Senate immigration reform bill that would permanently deny even lawful immigrants any federal benefits, including health care benefits. Senator Sessions must have skipped over the “welcoming and inclusive” part, too.
After a careful review of the Republican’s Report, WC cannot find any recommendation that Republicans stop lying. Too bad. Because Rep. Michele “Crazy Eyes” Bachman (R. Minn) was merely lying again and not engaging in outright sabotage of the Republican Big Plan when she claimed Obamacare will soon be “literally killing people.” WC is pretty sure she wasn’t talking about herself and her fellow Neocons, who can’t let go of the three year-old, SCOTUS-endorsed law.
That’s why we’re here because we’re saying let’s repeal this failure before it literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens. Let’s not do that. Let’s love people, let’s care about people. Let’s repeal it now while we can.
As Think Progress notes:
While the main coverage expansion provisions will go into effect in 2014, the ACA has so far saved seniors over $6 billion on prescription drugs, reduced administrative overhead, deterred private insurers from requesting double digit premium increases, kept millions of young people on their parents’ health care plans, and provided 34.1 million people with Medicare preventive services without additional cost-sharing.
Moments after calling for the complete repeal of a law that will extend health care coverage to 30 million Americans, Bachmann claimed that her belief in Christ inspires her to care “for the least of those who are in our midst.”
There is no law requiring politicians to be consistent. Nor is there a law forbidding them from being religious hypocrites. But WC does expect them to make sense, and tell the truth. The voters in the 6th District of Minnesota have some ‘splaining to do.
But from these few examples, WC thinks we can conclude that it is very, very hard for elephants to learn new tricks. They remain stuck in the early Reagan years – well, except for the ones who want to revert to the 1850s. And with the bellicose, uncompromising and anarchic Teabaggers hanging around the fringes of the GOP, and the Christianist core and its treatment of gays as anathema, it’s hard to see how the GOP digs itself out of its current hole.
Which is just fine with WC. These folks are responsible for a substantial portion of the problems facing the country today. Up to and including sequestration. They shouldn’t be trusted with any more power than they have.
But still, this is ugly.
Once again, WC opened the year with wishes for the upcoming months. And once again, WC’s wishes and hopes were mostly dashed. But with just a week or so left in 2012, let’s look at the specifics (Predictions in bold face; outcomes indented below):
1. Overpopulation. Among the crises facing the planet is human overpopulation. During 2011, we rolled the odometer over to an estimated 7 billion. To a deplorable extent, especially in the Western world, the rate of population growth is a function of religious teachings. The Catholic church’s and the Latter Day Saints’ crazed obsession with large families would be two examples. When religious dogma have counter-survival effects, it’s past time to change them. WC calls on those latter day saints and infallible pontiffs to have a revelation: that further growth of human populations is terrible, and must be controlled, that more than two chldren is a sin by whatever definitions they use.
Not. Zilch, zero, nothing. Another 180,000,000 babies were born in 2012, more or less. More than half of them will never have enough food to eat. The closest thing to good news is that we didn’t elect as president someone who thinks their god wants them to breed big families.
2. A second great crisis facing humanity is anthropocentric climate change. The way things are going, to paraphrase Pratchett and Gaiman, we are going to scourge all intelligent life from the planet, leaving nothing but dust, cockroaches and fundamentalists. The time for denying man-caused climate change is past. Can we at least shift the debate about how to deal with it? And can all the global warming-denying politicians who have sold their small, dark, crabbed souls to the fossil fuels industry have a look in the mirror and ask themselves, “Do I care about my gtandchildren?” There will come a day when fossil fuel lobbyists and the politicians they have purchased will be held in the same contempt as Congressmen who defended slavery, or claimed tobacco was harmless. Why not now?
Not. Zilch, zero, nothing. The single glimmer of good news was some movement by U.S. energy consumers from coal to natural gas, an accident of the fracking epidemic. But fracking carries its own, very serious environmental consequences. Some wind turbines are installed, but the tax credit that encouraged them appears to be a victim of the fiscal cliff. More importantly, the climate change deniers haven’t shut up. Did WC mention we set a new record for minimal sea ice in the Arctic Ocean in 2012?
3. The health care crisis facing facing America threatens to sink the economy of our country. The Affordable Care Act remains the only half-way comprehensive solution presented. The need for health care is not going to magically vanish if Medicare and Medicaid are repealed. Passing a reduced amount of money out as vouchers isn’t going to reduce spending or lower costs. It is absolutely clear that traditional capitalist solutions are an abject failure in controlling costs. We’ve been trying it for the last 50 years and it has gotten us where we are. The neocons have to come up with specific, functional proposals to fix a real crisis, or shut up. Not more of the same. Real solutions.
Maybe. A mixed result. The Affordable Care Act was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, to the horror of the Act’s critics and gnashing and wailing of Fox News. But the SCOTUS gutted some critical Medicaid provisions, and the largely Republican governors are slow-rolling the health care exchanges that would help implement the law. They don’t have a good reason. They just don’t want President Obama’s law to work.
4. Despite the Republican presidential wannabes’ lies, distortions and self-deception, President Barack Obama as a national leader is vastly superior to Mitt Romney and all the Not-Mitts. Despite the protracted and concerted efforts of the Republicans to blow up the economy rather than allow him to effect reasonable repairs, the economy has improved. He has done more to slap down Islamofacsist terrorism than his predecessor managed with two land wars in Asia, up to and including the assassination of bin Laden and the liberation of Libya. He has gotten us out of George W. Bush’s disastrous, ill-conceived and unnecessary war in Iraq. He has stopped and repudiated the use of torture as an instrument of national policy. He has enacted the first real health care reform in the United States since Medicare. He has saved the plutocrats from their own greed and folly. And he has done all this is the face of an unscrupulous U.S. House that would tear the country to shreds if it had its way. Re-elect him. And while we are at it, pitch the Teabaggers out of the U.S House.
Maybe. President Obama was re-elected, whatever Dick Morris may think. Integrity still matters. Yes, the House is still dominated by teabaggers who refuse to come to grips with reality. Or learn from their mistakes.
So it’s another disappointing year. As was the case for 2011, none of WC’s wishes came completely true, but as of year end perhaps two are partially so. Two failed completely. Better than 2010, but still a disappointment to WC. Maybe next year.
You remember Dick Morris. He was The Clinton campaign advisor who, to impress prostitute Sherry Rowlands, invited her to listen in on his telephone conversations with President Clinton. He was
fired resigned and has hated the Clintons since.
He’s worked –for a given definition of “work” – for the right wing elements of the Republican party since, most recent embarrassing himself during the denouement of the presidential election in November.
But WC wants to share with his readers the news that Morris isn’t just a figurative con man; he’s literally a con man. Watch this interesting bit of Find the Lady:
- Work for Fox News for a generous salary, and spend most of your air time flogging your own Political Action Committee, Super PAC for America. Instead of paying for advertising, you are getting paid to advertise. Sweet. And because it is Fox News, you can say anything you want, however outrageous, because it’s you know, Fox News.
- And double-dip by drawing a salary from your tame Super PAC. That’s right, you pay yourself to, among other agreeable duties, appear on Fox News for a salaried job to raise money to pay yourself. Sweet.
- And then triple-dip by causing your tame Super PAC to pay a mess of money to Newsmax for “ad placement.” And a big part of that “ad placement” is renting the donor email list from … wait for it … your tame Super PAC. As best WC can tell from filed Federal Election Commission reports, Morris’s Super PAC for America was paid more than $150,000 by Newsmax to rent its email list.
And what was the “ad placement” used by Newsmax, sent to the expensively rented email list?
Solicitations for more contributions to Super PAC for America, of course. After all, it has to pay Dick Morris.
It’s every con man’s dream: persuading the marks to pay you money to pay yourself money. And it’s perfectly legal.
In a moment of uncharacteristic candor, Morris has since admitted that advertising is ineffective. Of course, the anti-Obama hog trough is empty now. And the poor neocon voters are too dumb to know that they’ve not only been conned, they’ve had their noses rubbed in it afterwards.
Morris said that he would leave the United States if Hillary Clinton were elected president in 2008. If she wins in 2016, will he follow through on that promise? Please?
In a sick sort of way, it is interesting watching the Republicans and their right wing hangers-on react to the re-election of President Obama.
Paul Ryan blamed “urban voters,” as if it was somehow wrong for them to have voted. Of course, there were a lot of non-urban states like Iowa and New Hampshire that voted Obama/Biden. And Paul Ryan’s own suburban House district in Wisconsin. To the extent Ryan was using “urban voter” as code for “person of color,” he’s flirting with racism, as well as being a sore loser.
The Mitt, on the other hand, claims that the voters were bribed. The Affordable Care Act, in The Mitt’s view, was a bribe to voters – presumably, the middle class – to vote for President Obama. No, Mitt, it’s not a bribe. It’s how a democracy works. Your ideas – tax cuts for the rich, invading Iran – weren’t as popular as the President’s. It’s insulting to thoughtful Americans, and a reversion to your 47% position, to even suggest otherwise. Even your fellow Republicans are appalled. Your comments make me even more grateful American voters were able to see through your façade and turn you away.
Captain Zero, our very own Governor Parnell, has caused the State of Alaska to fail to set up its own health care exchange, or participate in one of the regional health care exchanges. The deadline for action is Friday. Remember, Alaska has one of the highest rates of uninsured citizens. The Captain, disappointed that his health care views were rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court and now by the voters in the presidential election, continues to pout. His tantrum is costing Alaskans local control and an unknown amount of future health insurance premiums. Lisa Murkowski’s disingenuous approval of the Captain’s hissy fit is equally discouraging.
Some of the Teabagger crowd are calling for secession, although characteristically, they can’t agree on who should secede, why or where. Dudes, WC is used to appalling levels of ignorance from Teabaggers, but did you know there was a war about this? Did you know that the secessionists lost? Please grow up.
And then there are the impeachment nuts, the same folks that brought us the absurdist street theater that was the Clinton impeachment. At least in the case of President Clinton, there was evidence.
And finally there is Donald Trump, who is calling for revolution. But that’s just the ravings of a clown.
As WC surfs through the right-wing websites, the sound and the fury are generally at the grade school playground level. But WC has one particular gripe he will air. Many of these posts mis-attribute one of their favorite aphorisms, “A democracy can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury,” to Alexis de Tocqueville.
While the grotesque misquote in the sign at left is laughable, Alexis de Tocqeville never said anything of the kind. It’s a misattribution. David Wagner, in an essay in The Atlantic, thoroughly debunks this old chestnut. If an author can be found, it may have been Alexander Fraser Tytler, a Scottish Lord and Royalist, who disapproved of democracies in general and the upstart colonies in particular. But even that’s doubtful; Fred Shapiro, the Editor of the Yale Book of Quotations, implies the quote may have been invented by a nameless editor of The Daily Oklahoman back in 1951.
WC is a bit of a fan the de Tocqueville, and unlike the Neocons who misquote him and attribute to him things would never have said, WC was actually forced to read both volumes of Democracy in America, de Tocqueville’s critique of American government and culture, written in 1835. If the Neocons had actually read the two volumes, they might not be quite so … enthusiastic about he French aristocrat and his views.
But that’s a subject for a future post. For now, WC will only note that among the GOP, any sane voices are being drowned out by noisy emotional infants who want to take their marbles and go home. Which doesn’t bode well for a government which relies upon compromise for progress.
Note: The truly bizarre presentation to the Republican caucus of the Georgia State Senate was on October 11, before the election. So while it provides some useful insight into the mindset of our conservative friends, it cannot count as post-election pouting. WC will grant that it is a frightening insight. Apparently, a Georgia republican senator is required to check his or her skepticism and critical thinking at the door.
What of The Mitt? As usual, Andrew Sullivan describes the defeated candidate near-perfectly:
Romney’s was, I thought, one of the most graceful and gracious concession speeches I can recall. I thought for a split-second: what if this Romney had run? And then I realized that his party would never have nominated that Romney and his ambition had trumped his integrity long ago anyway. But there was still a poignancy to that moment – the gap between what a human being can be (or still is, as a father or husband or friend) and what politics and wealth and power can do to someone.
Not all decisions are so clean and easy. A major Republican tactic to defeat President Obama was to unrelentingly obstruct every effort by the President. Including any effort to increase revenues by raising taxes. The tactic failed; the President was re-elected. Will the Republicans now compromise? There are True Believers among the tea party zealots in the U.S. House. Many of them were re-elected on platforms of no compromise. As WC has noted before, the combination of sequestration and expiration of the Bush tax cuts have created a fiscal cliff on January 1. We should know quite soon how the U.S. House, in particular, will behave.
There are faint signs that the U.S. is moving away from some of the bigotry and idiocy that has afflicted it, although the Republicans do continue to wrap themselves in those particular bloody flags.
Bigotry against gays is waning. Same sex marriage is legal in a couple more states, and Minnesota defeated a constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage. The first openly gay woman was elected to Congress, to the U.S. Senate, no less.
The idiocy of marijuana prohibition is in retreat. Two more states have effectively legalized dope. Perhaps the federal government will act. Thousands of American are in prison for selling marijuana. Dope fuels the appallingly violent drug wars in Mexico. History will view marijuana prohibition as a horrible, failed experiment, analogous to prohibition of alcohol. In fact, it’s easier to buy a lid of dope in Fairbanks than it was to buy bathtub gin in the 1920s.
And the glass ceiling on American politics continues to shatter. New Hampshire’s entire congressional delegation is women; both senators, both house members. So is the Governor. A positive sign, more than enough to outweigh Minnesota’s decision to narrowly re-elect Michele Bachman.
Sure, the knuckle-dragging neanderthals of Alaskan politics, and their campaign of fear and irrationality, have set Alaskan politics back ten years. But WC is still naive enough to believe that over the next four years the voters will see the Pete Kellys of the state legislature for what they are, and turn them out. It’s hope. It’s something to work towards.
When WC was a law student in Chicago, The Boss, Richard J. Daley, was still mayor and ran the Chicago political machine. When he was elected for yet another three year term, he always said the same thing: “The Peepul has spoke.” Beyond all the corruption, chicanery, bribery and threats, the people have spoken.
We move on from here.
We have most of the election results. Some races may not be decided for days. Weeks. But some results are clear.
President Obama has won re-election. Among certain ultra-conservatives WC knows, this means that the apocalypse is imminent or that a revolution will begin tomorrow. WC’s message to those far-righters: the country survived two terms with President George W. Bush; it will handily and happily survive two terms by President Obama. Remarkably, the President carried most of the states he carried in 2008. Given the U.S. House’s unrelenting efforts to defeat every one of his proposals, and then to blame him for inaction, that’s an astonishing feat.
The U.S. Senate remains in control of Democrats, possibly with one or two additional seats. The Democrats had far more seats at risk than the Republicans. So that outcome is moderately surprising as well.
The U.S. House remains firmly in Republican control. In particular, the noisy Teabaggers will continue to have an out-sized, divisive voice in national affairs.
Whether the impasse of the last two years will continue is another question. The President has a modest amount of momentum, and the Romney-Ryan proposed tax changes can be viewed as firmly rejected. And President Obama need do nothing for the Bush tax cuts to expire. That gives him considerable leverage, particularly during the lame duck session starting in a few days.
Listening to Alaska’s Embarrassment, Don Young, bloviate on APRN, impasse will remain the name of the game in D.C. WC hopes that cooler heads – heads with brains, for example – will carry the day.
At the Alaska level, for WC the results aren’t looking nearly so good. For WC, this is more or less normal. But it’s past WC’s bed time, so this post will get updated tomorrow when the rest of the results come in.
UPDATE. The good news: no Alaska Constitutional Convention. The rest of the news is bad. The Senate Coalition is almost certainly history. A sensible person would invest in BP and Conoco-Phillips. Those Big Oil companies are going to enjoy a risk-free $2 billion a year spike in revenues. With no requirement that they do anything to earn it. Shareholders will see bigger dividends. Alaskans will see lower revenues and no increased TAPS throughput. The Republican-dominated Alaska Redistricting Board is going to have a lot to answer for in years to come.
Right now, though, it’s -22 F, WC has a ton of work to do and is more than a little sick of politics. Forward.
This past fall at the Tanana Valley State Fair, WC was accosted by the folks staffing the Interior Taxpayers Association booth, and invited to join. WC declined the invitation, explaining that he would rather eat broken glass than join the ITA. The staffers seemed taken aback, and asked why WC felt so strongly. WC explained that he thought they were the worst thing to happen to Interior politics since Jay Hammond died.
But on reflection, that’s an overstatement. The ITA does serve a useful purpose, and not just as a horrible example for others.
For some years now, WC has relied upon the ITA to tell him how to vote where WC didn’t think he knew enough about a candidate to make an informed decision. Here’s how it works:
- Carefully remove and keep the ITA voter’s guide advertisement from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
- Take the advertisement with you to the voting booth (being careful not to display it in public)
- In the privacy of the voting booth, remove and examine the advertisement.
- Then – and this is the important part – do exactly the opposite of what ITA instructs.
When ITA recommends Tammie Wilson, vote for Bob Miller. When ITA recommends Pete Kelly, vote for Joe Paskvan. It’s just that simple, and the ITA is just that reliable.
Now so far this year, ITA hasn’t updated its website for the 2012 general election, but you can see ITA’s recommendations for the Borough election back in October and observe for yourself just how well this approach works. It’s too much to hope that the ITA has died or crawled back under whatever rock it had emerged from. Doubtlessly the ITA will buy its usual full page advertisement. But in case the ITA lets us all down, WC offers the following cheat sheet:
|U.S. President||Barack Obama||Here, here and here. If you disagree, you may be reading the wrong blog|
|U.S. House of Representatives||Sharon Cissna||Anybody But Don™|
|State Senator, District A||Joe Thomas||Here|
|State Senator, District B||Joe Paskvan||Here|
|State Senator, District C||Anne Sudkamp||While WC gives credit to Click Bishop for icing Ralph Seekins, we don’t need two former union bosses in the Senate. WC knows, respects and likes Anne Sudkamp.|
|State Representative, District 1||Janice Golub||Issacson was not a successful North Pole Mayor|
|State Representative, District 2||Bob Miller||Here, here and here|
|State Representative, District 3||Write-in your mother||Steve Thompson is unopposed, but doesn’t deserve your vote|
|State Representative, District 4||Scott Kawasaki||Reward competence|
|State Representative, District 5||David Watts||Beware of anyone boasting of “conservative values”|
|State Representative, District 38||David Guttenberg||Reward competence|
|State Judges||Retain them all||The Judicial Council’s recommendations|
|Proposition A||No||A close question, but see here|
|Ballot Measure 1: Constitutional Convention||No||Would you let the partisan wretches who brought us redistricting re-write your fundamental rights? Neither would WC.|
If you are sensibly concerned about being caught with a copy of the ITA advertisement in your possession (The horror! The horror!) then you will have to carefully commit your choices to memory. Carefully. Some of the races in this election may be close.
Updated to add Senate District C.
The opinions in this post are solely those of WC. This post has not been approved by the candidate. No expenses were incurred in creating this post. No electrons were harmed in creating this post.
Any charitable organization, including churches, as a condition of receiving charitable status, must refrain for taking positions in political campaigns. ”It should be noted that the [charitable] exemption is lost . . . by participation in any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.” United States v. Dykema, 666 F.2d 1096, 1101 (7th Cir. 1981) (cert. den., 456 U.S. 983 (1982) (emphasis in original).
Bishop Daniel Jenky ordered his priests to read a letter to their congregations this weekend. “By virtue of your vow of obedience to me as your Bishop, I require that this letter be personally read by each celebrating priest at each Weekend Mass, November 3/4.” (Bold face in original). This is the same man who compared President Obama to Hitler and Stalin.
The first paragraph castigates President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, grossly misstating the law and its impact on the Catholic Church. The second paragraph compares anyone supporting abortion to a member of the mob calling for Jesus’ death. The third paragraph threatens anyone voting for President Obama with eternal damnation. The fourth paragraph orders parishioners to vote.
If the prohibition on churches and charities involving themselves in political campaigns still means anything, the IRS will be acting to revokes the charitable exemption of the Bishopric of Peoria very shortly. Bishop Jenky’s letter will be Exhibit A.
George Romney, in a December 1964 letter to failed presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, after the 1964 presidential election, wrote:
First, as to your remarks in Jamaica concerning the possible realignment of the Republican and Democratic parties into “conservative” and “liberal” parties. Whatever the circumstances of the statement, you have indicated that you believe that might be “a happy thing.” I disagree.
We need only look at the experience of some ideologically oriented parties in Europe to realize that chaos can result. Dogmatic ideological parties tend to splinter the political and social fabric of a nation, lead to governmental crises and deadlock, and stymie the compromises so often necessary to preserve freedom and achieve progress. A broad based two party structure produces a degree of political stability and viability not otherwise attainable.
Crises and deadlock – check.
Splintered political and social fabric – check.
Stymied compromises – check.
Yet this is the party and these are the tactics that George Romney’s son, The Mitt, zealously and shamelessly embraces. It’s the party and tactics to which he relentlessly panders. This is The Mitt’s strategy.
The key difference between George Romney and his kid is that George Romney cared about this country and the Republican Party. The Mitt only cares about getting elected. Price – in dollars, in damage to our economy or damage to our nation – is no object.
In Douglas Brinkley’s fine story and interview of President Obama in the current issue of Rolling Stone, Brinkley tells this story:
Over the summer, I brought my wife and kids to an Obama rally in the Ohio town of Maumee, not far from where I grew up. The president delivered a speech about how bailing out GM and Chrysler saved thousands of jobs in Ohio. When he started working the rope line, two young African-American girls began squealing with joy. Playing the good Samaritan, I escorted them to the front of the line so they would be sure to meet the president. The younger girl asked Obama to sign her T-shirt with a Sharpie.
“How old are you?” he asked.
He gladly obliged.
The older girl had the same request. Obama, however, eyed her with warm parental disapproval. “How old are you?” he asked.
“Fourteen,” she replied. The same age as Malia Obama.
“Oh, no,” the president said with a broad smile, crouching down to make eye contact. “You’re too old to have someone writing on your clothes. Do you understand? That’s a nice shirt you have. Take care of it. I’ll give you a fist-bump instead.”
It was a wonderful moment to witness. This wasn’t a president who merely kissed babies for votes. Even though the commotion all around him was louder than a Sousa band, Obama was able to differentiate the ages of the two girls, and then offer the older one a lesson about being a young woman and having self respect.
Now, as a mental exercise, try to imagine The Mitt doing something like that.
It is difficult but not impossible to conduct strictly honest business. What is true is that honesty is incompatible with the amassing of a large fortune.
— Mahatma Gandhi
WC has written before about The Mitt’s ongoing problem with the truth. Or even simple consistency. It’s increasingly apparent that The Mitt has only one principle that guides him: he is prepared to do and say whatever it takes to get elected. The truth doesn’t matter. The facts don’t matter. Consistency its irrelevant. All that matters to him is that he is elected president. WC truly believes The Mitt would sell his wife and children if he thought it would make him president of the United States.
WC has no way of knowing if The Mitt’s problem with the truth is a result of Ghandi’s aphorism. Certainly The Mitt became very wealthy through a fundamentally dishonest, if lawful, means: Bain Capital’s use of leveraged buyouts. Stealing balance sheet equity through LBOs is ethically dubious, at best.
But The Mitt’s willingness to do and say anything necessary to get himself elected goes far beyond being ethically dubious. What does the candidate actually stand for? What are his core principles? Other than getting elected?
WC has met members of the LDS church who have testified, under oath, that in their judgment it was okay for members of the church to lie to gentiles like WC because they were, in fact, gentiles. Elders of the LDS church have told WC that’s just not church doctrine. And WC is inclined to believe them. But it would explain so much about The Mitt.
Abortion. For it, then against it. Mandatory health insurance. For it, then against it. A fixed date for withdrawal from Afghanistan. He was against it and now he is for it. Military action against Iran? He’s for it and against it. Climate change is and isn’t happening, is and isn’t caused by humans. Carbon taxes are and aren’t a good idea. Sometimes WC gets dizzy as The Mitt switches positions to suit the moment.
He vetoed 800 bills from a Democratic Massachusetts legislature in his four years as governor – and spent his final year out of state boasting about them to right-wing audiences. But now he claims to be bipartisan.
The Mitt’s hair color is fake, and so is his tan.
He even flip-flops on flip-flopping.
Paul Waldman says,
As the end of this election approaches, it’s worth taking a step back and asking this question: In the entire history of the United States of America, from George Washington’s election in 1789 on down, has there been a single candidate as unmoored from ideological principle or belief as Mitt Romney? I’m not just throwing an insult here, I ask this question sincerely. Because I can’t think of any.
Andrew Sullivan says,
Romney is a chilling shape-shifter who played a far right candidate for nine months and Mr Rogers for one. Can you trust such a man in the Oval Office? How do we have any idea what he’d do? His refusal to provide the math on how his budget plans work, and his endorsement of Obama’s foreign policy the other night while retaining all the war-mongers for the Israeli right among his advisers, completes the picture.
Yes, he wants as badly as anyone in American history to be elected president. But what does he stand for? What are his core values? More importantly, how can anyone possibly know for certain?
The Mitt famously proposes to cut taxes by 20%, and to avoid increasing the deficit by closing “tax loopholes” to increase revenue. Equally famously, The Mitt refuses to describe exactly which “tax loopholes” will be closed. A lot of professional tax and economic analysts don’t think it can be done.
In fact, no fewer than six independent studies have confirmed the soundness of the Governor’s tax plan. Rather than wasting time trying to discredit the proposals of the Republican nominee, perhaps Mr. Barro and other journalists should investigate President Obama’s tax reform package. Or, more accurately, his lack of one.
Deputy Policy Director
Romney for President
And Mr. Burks was kind enough to forward links to the “six independent studies.” Josh Barro’s review and analysis of the “six independent studies” is roughly what a Cuisinart™ does to cheese. It’s worth a read, but here’s the short version.
We’ll start with the conclusion that sparked all of the excitement. The Brookings Institute back in August published an analysis of The mitt’s tax plan, concluding
Our major conclusion is that a revenue-neutral individual income tax change that incorporates the features Governor Romney has proposed – including reducing marginal tax rates substantially, eliminating the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT) and maintaining all tax breaks for saving and investment – would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers.
That’s how an economist says “won’t work.” Josh Barro reported all this, leading to his receipt of The Mitt’s “six independent studies.”
It turns out there aren’t any studies. There are four blog posts, a Wall Street Journal opinion piece and a paper from The Heritage Foundation.
Now WC likes to think he is a reasonably careful blogger but never, not on his smuggest day, has WC ever regarded his blog posts as “studies.” A study implies something besides an opinion and, as Barro points out, that’s really all those four blog posts offer. And as Barro demonstrates, the opinions are not well-informed.
For example, under current law interest earned on municipal and state bonds isn’t subject to federal income tax. Viewed in one way, that’s a “tax loophole.” It could certainly be terminated. But if local and state bonds were taxable, they’d have to pay a higher rate of return to attract investors. Probably about 25 – 30% higher. That would mean higher debt service – bond payments. Those payments are made by us. If the bonds went to a new water treatment plant, that would mean higher costs for water. If the bonds were for a bridge, it would mean higher tolls to pay for the bridge. The point is that closing that “tax loophole” doesn’t save the voters any money. It just forces them to pay more elsewhere.
Another example: under current federal tax law, mortgage interest is deductible to folks like you and WC. That reduces the amount of each mortgage payment by the product of your marginal tax rate multiplied by the interest you paid. Unless you are like The Mitt and only pay 13% tax rates, it’s going to be 20 – 30% saved. That allows you to buy a nicer home, because your payments are reduced by the tax savings. It’s a “tax loophole.” Congress could close that loophole. But the effect would be to sharply reduce the price of the average home the average Joe or Jane could afford to buy. By about 20 – 30%. That would echo and re-echo through the already beleaguered housing industry.
The point here is that important sectors of our economy are built around the “tax loopholes” that are in the current tax laws. The loopholes can’t be “closed” to accomplish The Mitt’s claimed goal without serious, unintended side effects.
One of Josh Barro’s key points is that The Mitt’s “studies” fail to consider those unintended consequences. And, he points out, they also fail to acknowledge that you can’t inflict those kinds of massive shocks all at once; you have to phase them in over a few years.
Another of those key points is that The Mitt has seriously boxed himself in by promising that he won’t raise taxes on persons earning $200,000 or less. The higher the income bracket protected from a tax increase, the harder it is to explain. So hard, in fact, that two of the six “studies” set the line at $100,000. Oops.
It can’t be done. That’s the bottom line. There’s not enough tax revenue in the “loopholes” available to The Mitt under The mitt’s standards to make up for the revenue loss from the 20% tax cut. And that’s before you take into account the indirect effects described earlier.
And that’s the reason The Mitt refuses to identify specific tax loopholes. If he does, the conclusion would be obvious.
It isn’t just that The Mitt is playing high stakes poker with a busted flush. He doesn’t even have any cards. And yet there’s a serious risk this congenital liar and unprincipled robber baron will be elected president. As Adlai Stevenson reportedly said, “In America, anyone can be elected president. That’s just the chance you take.”
With abject apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, here’s an adapted, abridged version of the classic poem:
The Rhyme of the Ancient Politician
“I’m going to make sure you get a job. Thanks Jeremy. Yeah, you bet,” - Mitt Romney, October 16.
“As president, I will create 12 million new jobs,” - Mitt Romney, October 16.
“The government doesn’t create jobs,” - Mitt Romney, October 16.
Sure, a spurious consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds. But history? History is always instructive.
During the Great Depression, Congress and President Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps. From 1933-1942, the CCC provided young men with some 2.5 million jobs. When The Mitt says “The Government doesn’t create jobs,” he’s either lying or betraying an abysmal ignorance of recent U.S. history. Of course the government can create jobs; all it takes is an act of Congress. In the CCC, enrollment peaked at some 505,000 jobs.
Fairly primitive field conditions? Yep.
But jobs? Most definitely.
Even though it’s gotten to the point where you need a minute-by-minute roundup to keep track of The Mitt’s latest falsehoods, confabulations, distortions, misrepresentations and outright lies, WC will undertake a kind of snapshot of the whoopers de jour to assist readers. WC cautions that if you are easily inclined to either rage or despair, you may not want to read further.
In the second debate on Tuesday night, The Mitt said President Obama had quadrupled regulations on small businesses.
A lie by any measure. According Bloomberg, Obama’s White House approved 613 federal rules during the first 33 months of his term, 4.7 percent fewer than the 643 cleared by President George W. Bush’s administration in the same time frame, according to an Office of Management and Budget statistical database.
If you measure by the cost of regulations, the number of significant federal rules, defined as those costing more than $100 million, has gone up under Obama, with 129 approved so far, compared with 90 for Bush, 115 for President Bill Clinton and 127 for the first President Bush over the same period in their first terms. In part that’s because $100 million in past years was worth more than it is now due to inflation.
But quadrupled? Ridiculous.
Also in the second debate, The Mitt described a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of his cabinet.
in 2002 — prior to the election, not even knowing yet whether it would be a Republican or Democratic administration — a bipartisan group of women in Massachusetts formed MassGAP to address the problem of few women in senior leadership positions in state government. There were more than 40 organizations involved with the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (also bipartisan) as the lead sponsor.
They did the research and put together the binder full of women qualified for all the different cabinet positions, agency heads, and authorities and commissions. They presented this binder to Governor Romney when he was elected.
The Mitt is taking credit for a bipartisan effort that occurred long before he was elected. So The Mitt is fibbing about this. But it’s worse. The Mittster did appoint 14 women out of his first 33 senior-level appointments, which is an okay but not outstanding 42 percent. But there’s much less there than meets the eye:
However, those were almost all to head departments and agencies that The Mitt didn’t care about — and in some cases, that he quite specifically wanted to not really do anything. None of the senior positions Romney cared about — budget, business development, etc. — went to women.
Secondly, a UMass-Boston study found that the percentage of senior-level appointed positions held by women actually declined throughout the Romney administration, from 30.0% prior to his taking office, to 29.7% in July 2004, to 27.6% near the end of his term in November 2006. (It then began rapidly rising when Deval Patrick took office.)
Finally, how is it that The Mitt, this alleged human being who claims to have led and consulted for businesses for 25 years, didn’t know any qualified women, or know where to find any qualified women. So what does that say?
In the second debate, The Mitt claimed President Obama waited two weeks to admit the murder of Ambassador Stevens in Benghazi, Libya was terrorism.
As a threshold matter, WC agrees with Josh Marshall’s summary:
It’s been a nonsensical proposition from the start to imagine that foreign policy seriousness is defined by being the first one to hit the ‘terror’ buzzer like you’re a contestant on Jeopardy. But the Romney camp laid the trap. And tonight Mitt walked right into it. Live by the buzzword, die by the buzzword.
But yes, On September 11 and September 12, President Obama used the phrase, “act of terror” in relation to the murder of embassy staff. He also quite sensibly said that investigations were continuing, that the culprits would be run down and that the culprits would be punished. You can bet that if the President hadn’t said there was an investigation, The Mitt would be accusing the President of jumping to conclusions. WC supposes that if this is the best The Mitt can do attacking the foreign policy of the President, the outcome of the election should be a foregone conclusion.
A final distortion, The Mitt claimed oil production is down 14 percent this year on federal land, and gas production was down 9 percent. Why? Because the president cut in half the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands, and in federal waters.
Looking at any single year is nearly meaningless. A catastrophic accident like the Deepwater Horizon disaster, or a decision by the major oil companies to invest in private land in any given year, can result in fewer competitive leases being granted. If you look across three years, instead of a single year, oil production from federal leases is actually up under President Obama:
• From 2004-08, well into Bush’s tenure, oil production on federal lands and waters fell in four of five years, for a net decrease of 16.8 percent.
• From 2009-11, the Obama years, oil production rose two of three years, for a net increase of 10.6 percent.
Moreover, there are more federal leases in place in 2011 than in 2007, 50,444 in 2011 and 48,933 in 2007. The Mitt knows all this. He just chose to cherry-pick his facts, and to lie by omission.
So The Mitt Fib Index – the ratio of truth to lies – remains appallingly high. No surprise there. But that’s all WC can stomach for now. It’s probably just as well WC missed the debate, or his television might not have survived the experience.
Postscript: In Iain M. Banks’ latest Culture novel, The Hydrogen Sonata, one of the characters (an artificial intelligence that is also quite a powerful spaceship) has given itself the name Refreshingly Unconcerned with the Vulgar Exigencies of Veracity. Many of Banks’ Ships have euphemistic names. None of the others, though, is quite so close to current American events.
A lot of email piled up while WC was photographing birds. Without much enthusiasm, WC will sort through the missives from the digital illiterati, wing-nuts and assorted True Believers.
There were three emails from folks who claim to have inferred WC is an atheist. Well, they didn’t use the word “inferred” but it’s what they meant. The letters warn that we are in the End Times, that the Apocalypse is coming Very Soon and that if WC doesn’t get his act together, he will not be Saved. One of the few advantages of six decades is a bit of perspective. The Christianists have been claiming the immediately impending End Times WC’s whole life. Hasn’t happened. Remember the pre-millenial hysteria in late 1999? The two (three? four?) failed predictions by Rev. Harold Camping? And when the Christianists bring this apocalyptic world view to politics, the results are even worse. Read Libby Anne’s recent take-down of the Christianist Focus on the Family’s 2008 sixteen page predictions of horror called “Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America.” The Christianists were 0-34 in predicting the consequences of an Obama presidency. So please leave WC’s soul alone, friends, until your predictions get better than 50%.
Then were the seven emails from folks touting the value and reliability of off-shore pharmacies they had used, and asking WC to endorse them in this blog. Those same emails said that the recent FDA warning against online pharmaceuticals was just a conspiracy between the Federal government and the national drug manufacturers to protect their turf and keep prices high. WC’s college chemistry is insufficient and rusty. WC has no way to determine if pharmaceuticals contain what they are supposed to, and free of contaminants. For better or worse, WC relies upon the Food & Drug Administration to do thattesting. The FDA has something other than a profit motive to keep themselves in line. It’s imperfect. It’s admittedly imperfect. But better than an unregulated free market. Are you listening Paul Ryan? Mitt? Besides, WC isn’t looking for viagra just now.
Reader Ken P. wrote to remind WC of Howard Phillips Lovecraft’s cynical and pessimistic take on the universe and suggested it explains part of the mindset of conservatives:
The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
- H.P. Lovecraft, ”The Call of Cthulhu“
When you consider the Bible’s view of mankind as present from the creation at the center of the universe, and what astronomy and physics have shown to be the truth – that mankind are arrivistes, located in a remote arm of a mid-sized galaxy in a sea of galaxies large beyond our understanding – you can see what Lovecraft is saying. And it’s scarier than any ghost, vampire or werewolf.
But still more frightening, scarier than any Apocalypse, more terrifying than grey market pharma, and more horrifying even than eldritch Lovecraftian horrors is the prospect of The Mitt becoming President.
WC’s mongrel pedigree includes a fair amount of Swedish blood, and when WC’s family made it back stateside we usually had at least one meal at an all-you-can eat Swedish smorgasbord restaurant. While the dessert buffet always appealed to WC, the lutfisk, smoked eel and head cheese, not so much.
As the U.S presidential election lurches through the final weeks, it seem to WC that the neocons have little left on the smorgasbord besides mouldering eel, head cheese and lutfisk. All fine, ethnic dishes but not exactly suitable to the task of electing Republican candidates. Consider:
- Head cheese, anyone? On September 30, the hierarchy of the Mormon church will consider whether to excommunicate blogger David Twede for the apostasy of criticizing The Mitt. So much for the First Amendment. Is WC the only one who thinks this episode, if true, would have frightening implications for a President Romney? Or that the elders of the LDS church are fulfilling the worst expectations of gentiles.
- How about some more lutfisk? Then there’s U.S. Representative Todd Akin (R. MO), who’s running against U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D. MO). You remember Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin. Astonishingly, he is still in the race and the race remains improbably close. Perhaps Missouri is stranger than WC’s birding buddies led him to expect. Well, Rep. Akin put his foot in it again, this time accusing Senator McCaskill of being “more ladylike” in his previous effort to unseat her. First he plays doctor; now he plays Miss Manners. How is this guy has credibility with Missouri voters? Doesn’t a road-killed frog have more appeal?
- Finally, a dish that’s been on the buffet so long it’s turned in to a science project. The Mitt for months now has been running a political ad grossly distorting something President Obama said. Yes, there have been lots, but this one is egregious. In the 2008 campaign, then-candidate Obama said, ”Sen. McCain’s campaign actually said, and I quote, ‘If we keep talking about the economy, we are going to lose.’” The Mitt took McCain’s statement, attributed it to President Obama, as “If we keep talking about the economy, we are going to lose.” The ad is still on The Mitt’s YouTube channel. Earlier this week, Romney told a CNN reporter that, when it comes to using accurate facts and figures, his campaign has “been absolutely spot on.” He added, “And anytime there’s anything that’s been amiss, we correct it or remove it.” Right. WC has very, very low expectations of The mitt, but he still manages to consistently fail to meet them.
WC will stop now. Can’t be putting folks off their meals.
It appears that The Mitt’s campaign is indeed doomed. The Quitter, Caribou Barbie herself, is starting to offer The Mitt her advice on how to revive his hypocrisy-swaddled presidential campaign.
With so much at stake in this election, both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan should ’go rogue’ and not hold back from telling the American people the true state of our economy and national security. They need to continue to find ways to break through the filter of the liberal media to communicate their message of reform.
Does anyone have any idea what Alaska’s Shame is saying here?
Wait. Does anyone care?
Rush Limbaugh continues to prove the Rick Santorum (R, PA) was right.
Santorum told the Values Voters recently that they weren’t smart. They applauded the line. Which pretty much proved Santorum’s point, even if it wasn’t the point he intended.
Rush Limbaugh also corroborated Santorum’s claim. He announced a new theory – “Wild theory, picking it off the wall.” – that al Qaeda allowed the Obama Administration to kill Osama bin Laden because al Qaeda wants President Obama to be re-elected. Because it increases the chances that al Qaeda can obliterate Israel.
Now WC has resisted picking on Limbaugh lately. It’s WC’s theory – Wild theory, picking it off the wall – that Limbaugh suffers from brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation. He chronically has his head in the nether regions of his anatomy. You know, where the sun doesn’t shine. WC supposes there’s not much oxygen in there.
WC has other theories, too, but they are to vulgar for this blog.
But back to Limbaugh’s wacko theory de jour. His idea is that Osama bin Laden was expendable, and had so little value that the organization he founded and funded would sacrifice him in an effort to get Barack Obama re-elected. Because President Obama would be less zealous in defending Israel. Now there are some folks who are more rational and lucid than Limbaugh who might note that a President Romney would likely involve us in a third land war in Asia. This time in Iran. If you want to make Muslims hate the United States more, increase moderate Muslim donations to terrorist organizations and improve recruitment of jihadists, wouldn’t a U.S. invasion of the most prominent Muslim theocracy on the planet be just the ticket? So wouldn’t al Qaeda support the Mitt?
So Limbaugh remains a poster child for Santorum’s surprising admission:
We will never have the media on our side, ever, in this country. We will never have the elite, smart people on our side, because they believe they should have the power to tell you
what to do.
Limbaugh, of course, isn’t interested in anything except pandering to his audience. This is an alleged human being who makes his living by pandering. Santorum, with a dual post-graduate degree in business administration and law, is the very essence of the intellectual elite he mocks. And both of them are tireless in telling people what to do. So we can add hypocrisy to the list of reasons to distrust the neo-conservatives.
How is it that Limbaugh has an audience? That Santorum gets elected? How is it that the clowns are running the circus?