Archive for the ‘republicans’ tag
even FOX News won’t pony up the money to retain you:
(Sarah) Palin was a hot property when Roger Ailes landed her in 2009, fresh off her colorful run for vice president, and paid her an annual salary of $1 million. Fox even built Palin a studio at her Wasilla home.
But relations cooled between the two sides, and Palin was appearing on Fox less often—complaining on Facebook one night during the Republican convention that the network had canceled her appearances.
The new contract offered by Fox, say people familiar with the situation, would have provided only a fraction of the million-dollar-a-year salary. It was then, they say, that Palin turned it down and both sides agreed to call it quits.
A friendly announcement was planned for Friday, but a source close to Palin leaked the news in the afternoon to Real Clear Politics, saying the former Alaska governor “decided not to renew the arrangement” and “remains focused on broadening her message of common-sense conservatism.”
Mitt Romney seems to be resolute in his delusion about the election and why he really lost.
This week during a conference call with some big-money supporters, he threw plenty of blame around, most of it involving charges that Barack Obama offered various “gifts” for certain segments of voters, like women, blacks and Hispanics.
According to this New York Times article:
“In each case, they were very generous in what they gave to those groups,” Mr. Romney said, contrasting Mr. Obama’s strategy to his own of “talking about big issues for the whole country: military strategy, foreign policy, a strong economy, creating jobs and so forth.”
This statement is contemptible for numerous reasons.
First, rather than Obama’s policies being viewed through a lens of necessity and obligation to move civil rights ever forward in order to actually help people — rather than, you know, merely giving lip service to the idea that you care about average Americans — Romney casts Obama as some kind of political profiteer, and indeed the whole election as just one big sales pitch. This approach not only dehumanizes politics; it dehumanizes and trivializes the candidates as well as the voters.
Romney’s statement above also happens to be a wild misrepresentation of what really happened. Obama didn’t just focus on civil rights and immigration during the debates and speeches leading up to the election, and Romney didn’t have anything new to offer on jobs, foreign policy or military strategy. Regarding employment, he said that he would create 12 million jobs in four years, true. But Moody’s Analytics has estimated that 12 million jobs will be created through 2016 regardless of who is president. Job creation estimates are based on policies that have already been implemented. This was Romney’s only substantive claim about job growth.
Further, during the final debate, other than the obligatory Republican call to expand the military, we couldn’t really tell how Romney was any different than Obama on foreign policy and the military. According to this Reuters article:
Monday night’s foreign policy debate between the Republican presidential nominee and the Democratic president was striking for the frequency with which Romney aligned himself with Obama’s strategies rather than distancing himself from them.
So, what was this “strategy” Romney was talking about that was focused on the big issues? On most of the big issues other than health care, he more closely aligned or even agreed with Obama’s policies.
I don’t make a practice of watching a lot of MSNBC because I think that would make me no better than FOX News viewers who tune in every day to have their own views confirmed, but Al Sharpton (He should not be a TV host for many reasons) did have an interesting segment tonight in which he featured a previously unreleased audio recording of Lee Atwater outlining what he thought should be the more modern GOP strategy for taking advantage of white bigotry in the early 1980s. Here is one of the more offensive parts:
You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”
Romney, Bill O’Reilly, Paul Ryan and others within the GOP have essentially used this strategy to cater to the uneducated, white vote in the South and other rural parts of the nation. While they can’t say anything approaching the offensiveness of “nigger” anymore, they can play on the same white fears that they have for the better part of a century. It’s a hideous but effective strategy.
I believe you grow the economy from the middle out. — Barack Obama, 2012 election ad
Michael Tomasky with The Daily Beast argues that supply-side economics, as well as its ugly stepsister, Reaganomics, died on Election Day when Americans largely rejected the general economic platform of Mitt Romney in favor of a “middle-out” philosophy trumpeted by Barack Obama.
Tomasky makes a good case, but I would suggest that Americans began pulling the curtain on Reaganomics earlier in 2008. There was no secret at the time that the McCain/Palin ticket supported a policy of tax cuts for the rich and deregulation, while Obama wanted to go in a different direction. Even during the Clinton years, I don’t think Americans were completely convinced that Reaganomics was indeed suffering slow entropy. While the Gore/Bush race in 2000 was close — remember that Gore actually won the popular vote — a general ideological shift had yet to occur, as Bush was still commanding a lead in key states like Virginia, Ohio and Illinois. Judging by the votes Bush got in those states between 2000 and 2008, plenty of people still bought into the old guard strain of economic thought.
Here are the last four Electoral College maps from 2000-2012
By 2008, the shift had seemingly already begun, and the Democratic Party’s renewed influence in pockets of the nation that previously went for Bush two elections prior was built on three foundations: disdain and weariness about the Bush years, enthusiasm surrounding Obama himself and, most importantly, a collective realization that America’s focus should no longer be on propping up the wealthy, but bolstering the middle class, indeed, that economic growth flourished alongside middle class success. While the shift may have come full circle this election year, a case can be made that it definitely found its impetus in the 2008 election.
I call this growing up. Understanding that many pockets of America are still clinging to the former ideology, the majority of the nation has come of age and, at least in some measure, has recognized that Reaganomics was not tenable in the 1980s — Tomasky calls it “at best half a success” — and it’s certainly not tenable now.
Tomasky sums it up this way:
Supply side was rejected. And in its place, voters went for an economic vision that says: don’t invest in the wealthy in the hope that they’ll decide to spread the wealth around; invest in the middle class, because it’s demand from a prosperous middle class that ultimately creates more jobs, and because doing that makes for a healthier society all the way around.
Bill Maher and Chris Matthews make a related point in this video, that the election was not necessarily about Obama for a lot of people but about continuing on the path that we have been on that will put the middle class and civil rights in the forefront (See 3:45-5:00):
While I don’t agree with Sullivan on everything, I certainly appreciate his writing style and his ability to articulate a unique point of view:
The president’s oration (during his acceptance speech) was almost a summation of his core belief: that against the odds, human beings can actually better ourselves, morally, ethically, materially, and we can do so more powerfully together than alone, and that nowhere exemplifies that endeavor more than America. It was Lincolnian in its cadences, and in some ways, was the final, impassioned, heart-felt rebuke to all those, including his opponent, who tried to portray him as somehow un-American. How deeply that must have cut. How emphatically did he rebut the charge.
What he reminded me of was how deeply American he actually is – how this country’s experiment truly is in diversity as well as democracy. And his diversity is not some cringe-worthy 1990s variety. It is about being both white and black, both mid-Westernand Hawaiian, both proudly American and yet also attuned to the opinion of mankind.
As for the next four years, there is time enough for that. But I stand by these words. And one felt something tectonic shift tonight. America crossed the Rubicon of every citizen’s access to healthcare, and re-elected a black president in a truly tough economic climate. The shift toward gay equality is now irreversible. The end of prohibition of marijuana is in sight. Women, in particular, moved this nation forward – pragmatically, provisionally, sensibly. They did so alongside the young whose dedication to voting was actually greater this time than in 2008, the Latino voters who have made the current GOP irrelevant, and African-Americans, who turned up in vast numbers, as in 2008, to put a period at the end of an important sentence.
That sentence will never now be unwritten. By anyone.
If Democrats had doubts about the outcome of the presidential race before Election Day or if the Republicans held any optimism that it would go in their man’s favor, both were about as deluded as Karl Rove proved himself to be late Tuesday night when he was refused to believe that Obama had won in Ohio:
When it became clear about midnight that President Barack Obama was safely on the way to re-election, a handful of cranky and inebriated Republican donors wandered about Romney’s election night headquarters, angrily demanding that the giant television screens inside the ballroom be switched from CNN to Fox News, where Republican strategist Karl Rove was making frantic, face-saving pronouncements about how Ohio was not yet lost.
Back in reality, where fewer of the Republicans seem to be living these days, no comfort zone existed with regards to Election 2012. Here was a president who took the reins of leadership as the economy was on the path toward fast-track, financial entropy. Call it economic heat death. The real estate heyday was over. Bank executives had made millions in bonuses without having to be held accountable for speculative loan practices. In response to the recession, Obama passed the most expansive piece of financial regulation reform since the Great Depression, as well as an $800 billion stimulus plan to try to kick start the economy. Economists have said that even amid these sweeping reforms, it was not enough (and here) and that we could have done even more:
Nonetheless, it worked. In addition to all that, we finally got a sweeping health care reform bill that had been a vision of progressives for at least 40 years, if not more. Oh and by the way, Osama bin Laden is no more.
So, I would like to meet a Republican who seriously — seriously — thought that Romney had a legitimate shot of winning this election. Yes, the GOP made inroads in certain pockets of the country, but couple a dull candidate who mostly failed to portray himself as someone who had everyday Americans’ best interests at heart with an incumbent who accomplished more in his first year than most get done in four, and Romney didn’t have a chance in blue hell.
Andrew Sullivan wrote a blog post recently outlining what he feels is the “moral case” for Barack Obama versus Mitt Romney based on Obama’s stance on health care, and Romney’s apparent position on torture and what he may do (We don’t really know) regarding the potential for a nuclear Iran. Based on these issues, as well as the GOP‘s “institutional bigotry” toward the LGBT community, Sullivan, a well-known conservative on most issues, announced that he was withholding his support for Romney. Much of his argument in the post hinges around health care. He concludes:
On the universality of access to healthcare, on torture, and on pre-emptive war, my conscience therefore requires me to withhold support for the Republican candidate. I disagree with him on many prudential policy grounds – but none reach the level of moral seriousness of the above. Yes, a lot of this comes from my faith in the teachings of Jesus and the social teaching of the Catholic tradition in its primary concern for the poor and weak and the sick – rather than praising, as Romney and Ryan do, the superior morality of the prosperous and strong and healthy. But on all three topics, a purely secular argument also applies, simply based on the core dignity and equality of the human person, and the fragile advances we have made as a civilization against barbarism like torture.
That matters. It matters in a way that nothing else does.
I was particularly struck by the lines I have italicized above. First, the argument that Christianity is a religion for the “poor,” “weak” and “sick” is bullocks. No one denies that the church, for all of the spiritual and physical harm it has caused humanity in 2,000 years, has contributed its fair share of charities and needy causes. But the central doctrine, that we have a loving father in heaven who will nonetheless exercise his absolute power and sit as a judge on the entire world does not exactly denote a meek and mild deity. Nor will this god exercise his absolute power to heal anyone’s sickness, hunger or poverty. The problem with the entire GOP program is that it assumes that people generally want to be and should be left to their own devices and that God and/or or the church or other nonprofit organizations will come along and meet the needs of local communities. Many churches do help, but they help in spite of their god’s utter silence and impotence: the god that wasn’t there and never will be.
In the above passage, Sullivan appeals to his church’s and his god’s apparently benevolent view of humanity to inform his political stance during this election. I don’t see it that way, but he nonetheless goes on to say that the same position could be held based on a “purely secular argument.” So, I must ask: if a person can arrive at the same conclusion, that the principles for which Obama stands are basically moral independent of religion, what’s stopping him from abandoning religion and embracing those principles, as he says, “based on the core dignity and equality of the human person?” Why drag dogma and doctrine into the equation when he admits that in theory, one could just as well arrive at the same conclusion without assuming at god at all? Sullivan is a sharp guy. I fail to understand how a person of his intelligence and insight finds the need (Perhaps it’s more like a desperate desire) to cling to religion like he does.
Rather than, you know, do anything constructive in Washington, health care reform repeal-obsessed Republicans in the House yet again — for the 33rd time today … 33 times! — symbolically voted to repeal Obamacare.
The Washington Post has compiled a handy list of the other 32 meaningless, wastes of time, effort and public dollars. If you are keeping tabs, that means we are paying Republicans members of the House $174,000 per year to effectively do nothing. It’s funny how the Tea Party crowd and Republicans harp on fiscal responsibility, when, by wasting time on these useless votes, House Republicans are basically robbing the government’s coffers. That’s a pretty large, hypocritical disgrace.
Here’s the list of previous votes:
1.) Jan. 19, 2011: The Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act: A measure to repeal the health law in its entirety. (Measure passed 245 to 184, according to The Washington Post Congressional Votes Database.)
2.) Feb. 19, 2011: The Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011: The House passed the spending measure, which included amendments that would curtail the reach and funding of the health law.Votes 3 through 11 in the GOP vote tally were on amendments that stripped away specific funding for parts of the law. (See the vote count.)
12.) March 3, 2011: The Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy Overpayments Act: This measure repealed Form 1099 reporting requirements that were added to help finance the health law. (See the vote count.)
13.) April 13, 2011: A vote to repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund: The fund is administered by the secretary of health and human services for various public health services. Republicans argue the “slush fund” would be used to fund jungle gyms, bike paths, and some lobbying activities. (See the vote count.)
14.) April 14, 2011: The Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011: The measure repealed the free choice voucher program and reduced funding for the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan. It also barred increasing Internal Revenue Service funding to hire additional agents to enforce the health law’s individual mandate. (See the vote count.)
15.) April 14, 2011: The House directed the Senate to hold votes on defunding all mandatory and discretionary spending established by the law. (See the vote count)
16.) April 15, 2011: Fiscal 2012 Federal Budget: This spending proposal repealed and defunded the health-care law. (See the vote count.)
17.) May 3, 2011:H.R 1213: This measure repealed mandatory funding provided to state governments to establish health benefits exchanges. (See the vote count.)
18.) May 4, 2011:H.R 1214: The measure repealed mandatory funding to build “school-based health centers.”(See vote count)
19.) May 24, 2011: H.R. 1216: The measure converted $230 million in mandatory spending for graduate medical education programs to discretionary spending. The conversion would have allowed teaching health centers to receive funding through the regular appropriations process and with congressional oversight. (See the vote count.)
20.) Aug. 1, 2011: The Budget Control Act of 2011: President Obama signed this bill, which curtailed some funding for the health law. (See the vote count.)
21.) Oct. 13, 2011: The Protect Life Act: This bill prevented barred money from the health law to be used to pay for abortion procedures or abortion coverage. (See the vote count)
22.) Nov. 16, 2011: The bill required that certain benefits be included in the calculation of modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) for purposes of determining eligibility for certain programs established by the law. (See the vote count.)
23.) Dec. 13, 2011: The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011: This bill offset the cost of extending the payroll tax reduction, unemployment insurance, and the “doc fix” by cutting funding to the public prevention fund, among other provisions. (See the vote count)
24.) Dec. 16, 2011: The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012:This measure rescinded $400 million from the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan and $10 million in funds for the Independent Patient Advisory Board (IPAB). It also cut IRS’s enforcement budget and tightened restrictions on using federal CDC grant money for lobbying purposes. (See the vote count)
25.) Feb. 1, 2012: The Fiscal Responsibility and Retirement Security Act of 2011: This bill repealed the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act, a long-term care program established by the law. (See the vote count)
26.) Feb. 17, 2012: The Conference Report to the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012: The bill cut a total of $11.6 billion from the law. (See the vote count)
27.) March 22, 2012: The Protecting Access to Healthcare Act (PATH): The measure repealed the IPAB and reformed medical liability insurance, which Republicans argued would save money for the Medicare program.(See the vote count)
28.) March 29, 2012: The Fiscal 2013 Federal Budget: This spending proposal also repealed and defunded the health law. (See the vote count)
29.) April 27, 2012: The Interest Rate Reduction Act: This measure froze federally-subsidized student loan rates at 3.4 percent for another year by repealing the Prevention and Public Health Fund established by the law. (See the vote count)
30.) May 10, 2012: The Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012:The bill replaced across-the-board cuts in defense and non-defense discretionary spending by, among other things, cutting funding for elements of the health law. (See the vote count)
31.) June 7, 2012: The Health Care Cost Reduction Act of 2012:This measure repealed the medical device tax, one of the law’s key funding mechanisms, and limitations on reimbursements for certain over-the-counter medications. (See the vote count)
32.) June 29, 2012: As part of a bill establishing federal transportation funding and freezing federally-subsidized student loan rates for another year, the House also voted to save $670 million by recalculating the amount of money Louisiana gets from Medicaid. — House has voted 32 times to repeal all or part of health-care reform law
Just how out of touch is John Boehner anyway?
Last year, he nearly caused the United States to default on its debt, and this year, he’s whistling the same tune, refusing to raise the debt ceiling and calling for spending cuts.
We shouldn’t dread the debt limit. As a matter of fact, I think we should welcome it. It’s an action-forcing event in a town that has become infamous for inaction.
A town “infamous for inaction?” Doesn’t he means a party infamous for inaction?
The GOP unanimously said “no” to the health care reform bill. “No” to the $787 billion stimulus package, which, by the way, is responsible for many job-creating infrastructural improvements across the nation, and “no” to nearly everything else Obama has put on the table.
The GOP has languished in Washington the last four years and has been little more than dead weight, unceasingly complaining about Obama, yet accomplishing next to nothing, unless pushing the party even further to the right, “symbolically” passing votes and “symbolically” reading the Constitution counts for accomplishing something.
And at a time when we can clearly witness austerity cuts in Europe failing miserably, Boehner is calling for — wait for it — more austerity cuts. Lucid as ever, Fareed Zakaria identifies the problem with spending cuts in already sagging economy:
The problem is that as these governments cut spending in very depressed economies, it has caused growth to slow even further — you see government workers who have been fired tend to buy fewer goods and services, for example — and all this means falling tax receipts and thus even bigger deficits.
Spending cuts don’t just affect government workers. That’s just one obvious example. If the government starts hacking away at services that improve people’s lives, their quality of life diminishes, thus, not only are they less happy, more apathetic and more likely to hoard what little savings they do have, but they are less likely to turn around and invigorate the economy with new consumer-side spending.
I’m reminded of two memorable lines from Tony Benn, who was interviewed for the 2007 movie, “Sicko:”
Keeping people hopeless and pessimistic – see I think there are two ways in which people are controlled — first of all frighten people and secondly demoralize them.
An educated, healthy and confident nation is harder to govern.
So, let’s look at the other side. What about people that make more than $250,000 per year? When government hands them tax breaks, do they help stimulate the economy? Not so much. Sure, they spend some, but I would wager that rich people are not primarily concerned with consumer spending, but with saving and investing. After all, there is a reason some people are able to accumulate mass amounts of wealth. They happen to be good with managing money and have some smart investment sense. Good for them. But that doesn’t help the national economy or the American public.
It is also brings to light, yet again, the inconsistent Republican stance on the use of federal funds, that is, it’s almost always OK to pony up money and increase the deficit for military reasons or to go to war, but when it comes to services at home, like public transportation, no dice.
Kruman’s concluding paragraph hits the mark:
America used to be a country that thought big about the future. Major public projects, from the Erie Canal to the interstate highway system, used to be a well-understood component of our national greatness. Nowadays, however, the only big projects politicians are willing to undertake — with expense no object — seem to be wars. Funny how that works.
One of the highlights:
[Y]ou would think that after the results of this experiment in trickle-down economics, after the results were made painfully clear, that the proponents of this theory might show some humility, might moderate their views a bit. You’d think they’d say, you know what, maybe some rules and regulations are necessary to protect the economy and prevent people from being taken advantage of by insurance companies or credit card companies or mortgage lenders. Maybe, just maybe, at a time of growing debt and widening inequality, we should hold off on giving the wealthiest Americans another round of big tax cuts. Maybe when we know that most of today’s middle-class jobs require more than a high school degree, we shouldn’t gut education, or lay off thousands of teachers, or raise interest rates on college loans, or take away people’s financial aid.
But that’s exactly the opposite of what they’ve done. Instead of moderating their views even slightly, the Republicans running Congress right now have doubled down, and proposed a budget so far to the right it makes the Contract with America look like the New Deal.”
Ronald Reagan, who, as I recall, is not accused of being a tax-and-spend socialist, understood repeatedly that when the deficit started to get out of control, that for him to make a deal he would have to propose both spending cuts and tax increases. Did it multiple times. He could not get through a Republican primary today. [...]
Cap and trade was originally proposed by conservatives and Republicans as a market-based solution to solving environmental problems. The first President to talk about cap and trade was George H.W. Bush. Now you’ve got the other party essentially saying we shouldn’t even be thinking about environmental protection; let’s gut the EPA.
Health care, which is in the news right now — there’s a reason why there’s a little bit of confusion in the Republican primary about health care and the individual mandate since it originated as a conservative idea to preserve the private marketplace in health care while still assuring that everybody got covered, in contrast to a single-payer plan. Now, suddenly, this is some socialist overreach.
So as all of you are doing your reporting, I think it’s important to remember that the positions I’m taking now on the budget and a host of other issues, if we had been having this discussion 20 years ago, or even 15 years ago, would have been considered squarely centrist positions. What’s changed is the center of the Republican Party.