The President of the United States of America spoke to the Women’s Leadership Forum last night — you can read about it at The Hill — but here’s the gist of it:
I probably don’t need to remind you that while our own Governor did not join those offensive assaults on women, the Republicans in our state legislature did try to force women under duress to have ultrasounds, telling them they could cover their eyes but attempting to legally bind them not to shut up their ears. They ultimately lost in their mission to abuse women, but bless their hearts, they tried.
Meanwhile, Etch-a-Sketch Romney is busily trying to scrub his campaign of the conservative stances that tricked many Republicans into supporting him, which undoubtedly will anger and de-motivate the conservative pundits and the already angry yet active grassroots conservative volunteers who make up the heart of not just Freedom Works and the Tea Party but also the Republican Party. Romney will do anything and say anything and that’s going to resonate with his core and with independent voters he’s now seeking to dupe.
In addition to shifting his positions (he hasn’t gotten on board with Marco Rubio’s “amnesty” plan yet but he’s courting the Senator and toying with Hispanic voters, again enraging the racists at the base of his support), Romney is trying to reframe the Obama campaign’s message about “Fairness” — like millionaires who got a temporary tax cut ten years ago probably need to accept the “temporary”-ness of it in light of the fact that it contributes mightily to the nation’s debt crisis — by talking instead about “unfairness.”
“We will stop the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the very taxpayers they serve,” the former Massachusetts governor said. “And we will stop the unfairness of one generation passing larger and larger debts on to the next.”
First of all, the government is (and has been for a long time, edging out the dead-end jobs of the “service industry”) the nation’s largest employer. So that’s a lot of families to threaten, and a lot of votes.
Secondly, Mitt Romney’s plan for America is apparently to fix the problems by creating even more people who don’t have health care or money for retirement. Even if you want to engage in the Republican Party’s class warfare here and resent people who work for the government the benefits they have, your predatory self-interest should probably leave you wanting a little more. Mitt Romeny apparently believes that if we all have nothing then everything will be more fair. While true, the plan does positively nothing to address how people who already have nothing — no retirement, exponentially escalating family health care bills — are going to be helped by dragging more people into their world of troubles.
Thirdly, this is a really pessimistic view of America. Mitt Romney has a vision, and it is dark.
Fourthly, further destroying the already broken tax structure which delivers temporary tax cuts for the wealthy in perpetuity by increasing the debt that’s already been created by those tax cuts and making more of them… doesn’t actually “stop the unfairness of one generation passing larger debts on to the next.” In fact, it — yes — perpetuates it.
[Later this afternoon/early evening, Mitt Romney will be in Louisville for a fundraiser hosted by the Papa John's guy, and the Tea Party is rallying down the street... Sonka has a preview.]
Mitt Romney spoke at a private fundraiser in Palm Beach, Florida over the weekend and most all of what he said was overheard by reporters. Romney explained that he was going to eliminate large swaths of the government — like the Department of Housing and Urban Development — but that he wasn’t going to reveal his true plans before taking office.
Romney did allow that he wouldn’t fully demolish the Department of Education but instead would leave just enough of it standing so that he could fight the teachers who teach your kids and keep them from getting to uppity or asking for a little more money to educate America’s children.
The former governor also addressed how he might make strides toward winning back Hispanic voters, another crucial voting bloc with whom he and other Republicans lag, according to recent polls.
Predicting that immigration would become a much larger issue in the fall campaign, Romney told his audience, “We have to get Hispanic voters to vote for our party,” warning that recent polling showing Hispanics breaking in huge percentages for President Obama “spells doom for us.”
Romney said the GOP must offer its own policies to woo Hispanics, including a “Republican DREAM Act,” referring to the legislative proposal favored by Democrats that would offer illegal immigrants a limited path to citizenship, to give Hispanic voters a real choice between parties.
While Romney might be reading the set-up of the problem correctly, the idea that he’s going to lead a Republican DREAM Act to gain back Hispanic voters from the Obama campaign would be dumb enough on the surface even if you didn’t consider the wild-eyed reaction that plank in the Romney platform will inspire in the Tea Party controlling base of the Grand Ol’ Party.
Just days after the closed-door meeting with Florida fundraisers, Romney went on a conservative talk show and claimed there was a “vast left wing conspiracy” working to destroy him:
“There will be an effort by the quote vast left wing conspiracy to work together to put out their message and to attack me,” Romney said in response. “They’re going to do everything they can to divert from the message people care about, which is a growing economy that creates more jobs and rising incomes. That’s what people care about.”
Unfortunately for the directionally challenged Mitt Romney, his biggest problem clearly comes from the Right.
Romney’s “Republican DREAM Act” whisper-campaign to Florida fundraisers echoes Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s recent “Republican DREAM Act” bill… which alienates Hispanics and Republican voters alike (much more from the Right spectrum here).
Indeed, in the wake of Romney’s closed-door comments, his top immigration advisor told the Washington Post:
I just got off the phone with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, an adviser to Romney on immigration. He stated flatly that he didn’t think Republicans — or Romney — should, or would, support any version of the DREAM Act that provides undocumented immigrants with any kind of path to legal status.
If Romney sticks to this — and Kobach said he would — there’s very little room for him to moderate his approach to immigration. In addition to advising Romney on immigration, Kobach is a national GOP voice on the issue, suggesting the right would not permit any move of this kind.
“I’d absolutely reject any proposal that would give a path to legal status for illegal aliens en masse,” Kobach said. “That is what amnesty is. I do not expect [Romney] to propose or embrace amnesty.”
This all sets up an interesting electoral math equation.
Could Mitt Romney pick up enough Hispanic votes to offset the wave of lost Tea Party votes and still break even?
Where do you move when what you’re moving from
I’ve been busy so some pieces of news slip by me. Like, for instance that the President of the United States ate dog.
Scott Jennings — who worked under Karl Rove in the Bush Administration where he aided in the political assassination of US Attorneys around the country (see here) and more recently returned to his home state of Kentucky where he managed the astonishingly failed campaigns of both Trey Grayson and Williams/Farmer — apparently has much more time on his hands.
On twitter last night, Scott unleashed a series of “jokes” about #Obamadogrecipes. This was news to me so I looked it up on google.
Romney’s “dog problem” got worse the other day when he and his wife, Ann, did a joint interview and Ann really stepped in it — insisting to ABC News that the dog “loved” being strapped to the roof. (Or, as we say in Kentucky, “the ruff.”)
The Romney campaign, recognizing the problem, sought to strike back and someone went back and reread Barack Obama’s old book, Dreams from My Father, in which the now-President very candidly recalls his life journey. In it, Obama explains some of what he experienced living with his father in Indonesia as a six year old boy:
“With Lolo, I learned how to eat small green chill peppers raw with dinner (plenty of rice), and, away from the dinner table, I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy),” the president wrote. “Like many Indonesians, Lolo followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths. He explained that a man took on the powers of whatever he ate: One day soon, he promised, he would bring home a piece of tiger meat for us to share.”
If you were to spend even just a second more to better understand the tale in context, you might look at the book and find the very next paragraph begins:
That’s how things were, one long adventure, the bounty of a young boy’s life. In letters to my grandparents, I would faithfully record many of these events, confident that more civilizing packages of chocolate and peanut butter would surely follow.
Here are Scott Jenning’s tweets on the subject:
And finally this:
Now, don’t get me wrong. I appreciate a good sense of humor. I also appreciate desperation. So I can dig what Scott Jennings and the Romney campaign are experiencing here.
But the fact that Barack Obama ate dog meat as a six year old — a decision he likely had absolutely zero control over — is about as relevant to the Presidential debate as is the fact that Scott Jennings was still wetting the bed when he was 9 years old and had to sleep on plastic sheets.
More to the point, Mitt Romney’s “dog problem” resonates with people because it relates directly to his overall image problem — Mitt is an out of touch rich boy who’s way richer than most other rich boys and he doesn’t understand even the basics of everyday life, let alone how to relate to regular people.
To put it another way… the Republican Party’s attempt to out-meme the Romney “dog problem” with this tale of six year old Barry Hussein and their #obamadogrecipes twitter hashtag is as relevant to today’s debate as is the absolute and undeniable fact that Mitt Romney killed a woman.
Yes, that’s right. Mitt Romney killed a woman.
Forget your epicurean twit-jokes. #RomneyMuderAlibi is where the real fun is at, if serious reporters and political commentators want to take these two men and their youth and facts totally out of their control and make funny haha jokes about them.
Survivors recall tragic car crash in France with Romney
By Michael Paulson
Published: Sunday, June 24, 2007
BERNOS-BEAULAC, France — The mission car was packed that day.
The president of the Mormon mission to France, H. Duane Anderson, was eager to get out to visit congregations after a difficult May in which travel in France had been severely limited because a general strike had caused a gasoline shortage.
A dispute had developed in the small Mormon congregation in Pau, in southern France, and Anderson thought he should pay a call. So he took his wife and two missionaries along, and on the way they picked up a French Mormon couple in Bordeaux.
There were six people in a car that would comfortably seat five, but otherwise it was an ordinary drive that happened to turn tragic.
On the way back from Pau, the car was hit head-on and Anderson’s wife, Leola, was killed.
Anderson’s driver, a 21-year-old missionary named Mitt Romney, is now a leading candidate for the Republican nomination for president of the United States, with the June 16, 1968, accident one of his rare dark moments.
The other car, if you were wondering, was driven by a Catholic priest.
So here’s what we have…
Obama, as a little boy, lived in Indonesia from 1967 to 1971. Mitt Romney, as a 21 year old, lived in France in 1968.
One — the little boy — was fed dog meat. The other — the grown man — was the driver in a fatal car accident.
Does either fact have anything to do with who should be president?
The Republican Party’s all-out effort to alienate women voters appears to be working.
Via TP, a new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds Mitt trailing Obama by 19% among women voters.
And that’s not all. Barry Hussein is up in several key questions amongst all voters:
Beats Romney 10 points, 49 to 39 percent, on “protecting the middle class.”
Edges Romney by three points on “creating jobs” and “handling taxes.” Up two points on “supporting small business.”
Crushes Romney by 17 points, 53 to 36 percent, on “handling international affairs,” and seven points on “handling terrorism.”
Beats Romney eight points on “dealing with social issues such as abortion and gay marriage.”
Mitt Romney has a woman problem. And Mitch McConnell’s not helping.
As Joe noted yesterday, Mitch took to the radio in Louisiville to start his week by debunking the “Republican War on Women”:
“Talk about a manufactured issue — there is no issue,” he said on Louisville, Ky., radio station WHAS-AM. “Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Kelly Ayotte from New Hampshire and Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe from Maine I think would be the first to say — and Lisa Murkowski from Alaska — ‘we don’t see any evidence of this.’”
You won’t want to miss what Snow, Collins and Murkowski have to say about this particular topic — read on.
The New York Times reported yesterday that Karl Rove’s Super PAC, American Crossroads, is finally ready to launch their $200 Million campaign against President Obama, based around the notion that “that Obama just may not be up to the job.”
Yeah. Karl Rove says Barack Obama “may not be up to the job.”
The Obama campaign has already fired back, but enough cannot be said about the insane premise of Rove’s claim.
Crossroads spent $28 Million in the 2010 midterm elections. Very little information has been made available about where Crossroads’ money comes — thanks, Supreme Court! — but one past filing showed 91% of their money was chipped in by billionaires.
(The head of Restore Our Future, Carl Forti, is an advisor to Rove’s Crossroads; one of Romney’s senior advisors, Ed Gillespie, is one of the founders of American Crossroads. Read more.)
But all the money in the world wouldn’t be enough to erase the obviously failed policies of Karl Rove, the ideologically bankrupt architect of the two-term Bush Administration.
Rove brought us the war in Iraq, the Bush Tax Cuts, and presided over the collapse of the American economy, among other things.
In other words, Karl Rove is responsible for all the central challenges he now claims Barack Obama can’t solve.
Karl Rove decimated the Middle Class.
Census data revealed that during the Bush Era, middle class income actually declined:
While the earnings of middle-income Americans have barely budged since the mid 1970s, the new data showed that from 2000 to 2010, they actually regressed.
For American households in the middle of the pay scale, income fell to $49,445 last year, when adjusted for inflation, a level not seen since 1996.
And over the 10-year period, their income is down 7%.
And lest any of you Karl Rove apologists out there (really?) want to harp on the collapse of the economy in 2008 as the reason for this regression (as if that weren’t the fault of the Bush administration) and refuse these facts as “fuzzy math,” let me point out to you that the trend — decreasing middle class wages, increasing economic inequality — predated the 2008 implosion:
Work harder, take home less
From 2000 to 2007, worker productivity rose significantly in the United States, but real income fell for middle-class families, a group of economists says.
By David Goldman, CNNMoney.com staff writer
Last Updated: August 28, 2008: 7:05 AM EDT
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — For most of the past decade, the economy grew much stronger – but middle-class Americans had little to show for it.
That’s the conclusion of a trio of economists who on Thursday released a preview of their book The State of Working America in 2008/2009 due out next year.
Despite two periods of recession in the past decade, U.S. worker productivity still rose 18% in the 2000s – about 2.5% per year, according to author Jared Bernstein, a widely followed economist from the liberal-leaning Economic Policy Institute.
But inflation-adjusted income for the American middle-class family actually fell during the same period. The median real income for working-age middle-income families in the United States dropped $2,000 between 2000 and 2007, from about $58,500 to $56,500, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday.
The onset of the George W. Bush/Karl Rove Depression didn’t change the fate of America’s Middle Class, it simply further solidified its downward arc in what has been called “The Lost Decade for the Middle Class“:
During Karl Rove’s tenure in the White House — a job he was clearly “not up to” — Americans saw corporations get exorbitantly richer while regular folks made less and less money. The number of Americans living in poverty went up. The number of Americans without health insurance went up.
This is Karl Rove’s record.
This is what he stands on, this is his resume, and this is why no one — save a handful of billionaires — should ever trust him again.
ormer Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney appears on course to collect the 1,144 delegates he needs to wrap up the Republican nomination, despite the best efforts of top challenger Rick Santorum who is facing growing pressure to drop out of the race.
The candidates still have primaries in Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Indiana, North Carolina, West Virginia, Nebraska and Oregon before Kentucky voters go to the polls on May 22.
Kentucky GOP Chairman Steve Robertson said the outcome of those primaries will determine whether the voices of his state’s 1.1 million Republicans will matter.
“It’s still a question mark,” Robertson said. “It’s kind of a wait and see.”
The article goes on to explain that it’s not much of a question at all, including a positively defeatist Rand Paul who incuriously declares the race over and Romney the inevitable and glorious victor:
“There’s sort of an inevitability,” Rand Paul said. “It was that way with McCain last time. He didn’t have the exact number before Kentucky, but it was sort of on the way to becoming inevitable. And I think Romney is getting closer to that. Most of the statistics show that if Santorum was to challenge him he’d have to win like 80 percent of the remaining delegates. And that’s just not going to happen.”
In Louisville, but I guess it’s only fair that Lexington can’t have everything that’s cool. The details if you want to head over there in championship style:
Obama for America is opening a new state Headquarters in Kentucky. Come be a part of the grassroots movement for change that is growing throughout the state. Join your friends, neighbors, and other supporters at the opening of our Louisville Headquarters! Special Guest Include: Congressman John Yarmuth and Mayor Greg Fischer
Time: Saturday, April 7, 2012 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Host: OFA Kentucky
Location: Obama for America Kentucky Headquarters (Louisville, KY) 617 Baxter Ave.
Louisville, KY 40204
I’m probably the only blogger here who doesn’t care all that much about college basketball (as my bracket attests), and to me, this month is largely about drinking margaritas and discussing feminism once a week to celebrate Women’s History Month. But when March madness comes along, I usually throw my allegiances toward Western, my alma mater (go Topps!) and UofL, my adopted home team. My general disinterest in the sport has not stopped several people from sending me this Howard Fineman piece on the intrastate rivalry, however, so I thought I’d share. Frankly, I will be relieved when this is all over, so we can focus on the things that are really important, like politicalpolitics and baseball.
Nine years ago today, George W. Bush launched the invasion of Iraq.
He and his team of advisors said there were weapons of mass destruction. They said the war would be quick. They said it would be cheap. They said it was important.
The war cost the United States about $1 Trillion. It cost nearly 5,000 American lives. Over 100,000 Iraqi civilians died. Over 30,000 American soldiers were injured, with many more still fighting the mental ravages of war — ballooning the cost of the VA system, already stretched before the war.
America’s war in Iraq took three years longer than the Civil War and four months longer than World War II. We were there longer than we were in Vietnam, because apparently we don’t know how to learn from history.
Today, the 9th anniversary of this disastrous war, is the first anniversary not marked by continued war. Last December, that war was ended and troops were pulled out.
There is still that other war, and it, too, needs to end.
But let’s stop for one moment and consider history, such that we may learn from it… maybe.
The Republican primary season is increasingly chaotic. There is growing talk of a brokered convention, but many dismiss that as just talk. There are loud voices, strong ones, all lined up behind Mitt Romney and insisting that he will be the nominee. They say the delegate math is in his favor and it is only a matter of time. But that time might still get us to May 22nd, the Kentucky Primary.
If so, our Republicans friends will head to the polls with a vote in their hands.
Looking back over the Iraq war and looking forward at a Mitt Romney administration, it’s difficult for anyone to not support one without the other. If you accept the Iraq war was a success, that it was not a distrous and extremely costly mistake, then you will love a Mitt Romney presidency.
Mitt Romney has surrounded himself with some of the brightest minds of the Bush administration, some of the powerful architects of that failed and miserable war.
From the people who brought you the war in Iraq, they now offer you Mitt Romney — the pro-Obamacare, pro-Planned Parenthood, pro-Immigration faux-conservative who will do and say whatever he’s told — has set up a foreign policy team full of Iraq War masterminds and, well, they are the ones who will tell him what to do and what to say.
Which should be disconcerting to every American voter, regardless of party. Independent voters should run away. Moderate Republicans should run away. Fiscally conservative Republicans should run away.
Robert Kagan was the co-founder, with Bill Kristol of the Project for a New American Century, the think tank that spent years pushing for a return dalliance in Iraq. In October 2001, Kagan and Kristol praised President Bush for declaring his “War on Terror” was not just about finding Osama bin Laden, nor simply disrupting the al Qaeda terrorist organization. No, Kagan wrote:
Bush’s Thursday speech was significant because the president made clear that taking decisive action against Saddam does not require absolute proof linking Iraq to last week’s attack.
Kagan spent years advocating for the Iraq war, and he used September 11th to push the case still further… regardless of any link to the 9/11 attacks. With the war underway, Kagan continued his cheerleading. In early April of 2003 he called it Bush’s “brilliant military campaign.”
Giving Robert Kagan a job in foreign policy, asking him for advice on how the world works and how America should work in the world, shaping your campaign around his worldview is quite simply dangerous.
If Mitt Romney appointed Bernie Madoff to his economic advisory team, Americans would be appalled. Robert Kagan has the exact same record of success.
Cofer Black, Bush’s chief of counter-terrorism, is a former vice chairman of the reckless mercenary force Blackwater to which the Iraq war was outsourced under a series of no-bid contracts.
Michael Hayden, architect of the Bush administration’s domestic wiretapping program, was still trying in vain to tie Iraq to al Qaeda as late as 2008. That’s some solid advice for Mr. Romney.
Michael Chertoff, who famously announced on national television after Hurricane Katrina that the Superdome was secure as the split screen showed a very different view, came to Bush’s defense in 2007 as more and more Congressional Republicans called for an end to the Iraq war — claiming an al Qaeda attack would be imminent if Bush bowed to the GOP pressure.
Dan Senor was Bush’s spokesman on Iraq in both the lead-up to the war and the first year of the occupation.
Eric Edelman was a deputy to Dick Cheney, working under Lewis “Scooter” Libby – who outed a CIA agent after her diplomat husband pointed out the fallacies of the Bush administration’s War on Iraq narrative. In 2007, Edelman responded to a Congressional request for information on planning for withdrawal from Iraq by claiming the request boosted “enemy propaganda.”
Eliot Cohen was an advisor to Condoleezza Rice. In the lead up to the Iraq war he joined the “Committe for the Liberation of Iraq,” a group closely alligned with the Kagan’s Project for a New American Century and the American Enterprise Institute. In 2001, Cohen wrote in the Wall Street Journal:
After Afghanistan, what? Iraq is the big prize… One important element will be the use of the Iraqi National Congress to help foster the collapse of the regime, and to provide a replacement for it. The INC, which has received bad, and in some cases malicious treatment, from the State Department and intelligence community over the years, may not be able to do the job with U.S. air support alone.
He went on CNN and asserted that “we know” there are links between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein and he continued to cheerlead the war in the years after.
Robert Joseph, then a top aide to Condoleezza Rice, was instrumental in convincing the Bush team to use the fabricated evidence of Iraq’s purchase of uranium from Niger. The uranium claim was central to the case made by Bush and his administration to convince the American people that the invasion of Iraq was a good idea. That was Joseph’s work, and now he’s working for Mitt Romney.
The list goes on. There’s Grant Aldonas, special advisor to the Romney campaign and Bush’s undersecretary of commerce, who went around telling business leaders that war in Iraq “would open up this spigot on Iraqi oil, which certainly would have a profound effect in terms of the performance of the world economy for those countries that are manufacturers and oil consumers.”
There’s John Bolton, who has endorsed Romney in 2012. Bolton was Bush’s undersecretary for arms control from 2001 to 2005. He travelledthe world trying to convince skeptical nations to join Bush’s farcical “coalition,” and in April of 2003 when asked if the lack of weapons of mass destruction proved that Iraq was not an imminent threat to United States, Bolton responded:
I just said that it did to the extent they had WMD programs that they could have shared with terrorists or used in and of themselves — that’s a risk.
Maybe you’re willing to wait until after the weapons have been used.
I was not willing to wait and neither were the people of the United States.
And Bolton’s views haven’t changed. In 2011, he went on FOX News and argued that we should not end the war in Iraq, supporting his position by pointing out “we’re still in Germany, we’re still in Japan.” Both of which are true but demonstrate a woeful — and dangerous — misunderstanding of the nature, purpose and lessons of the Iraq War (not to mention history in general and global realities in specific).
Last December, a month before Mitt Romney proudly announced his endorsement, Bolton wrote a long column in the Guardian arguing for a continued occupation, a continued war:
America’s complete withdrawal of its troops from Iraq is a tragic mistake. It jeopardises the gains made by President Bush’s (and Tony Blair’s) eminently correct 2003 decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein, and risks the broader Middle East falling into chaos.
That’s the kind of advice Mitt Romney is getting.
It’s clear that Romney is following his leaders, whether he’s being told to pretend to eat grits or he’s being told to now be against Planned Parenthood, or he’s being told to lie and say he never advocated for Obamacare, or he’s being told that the Iraq War was righteous and good and — worse — needs to be continued… Mitt Romney surrounds himself with dangerous characters who present a disatrous track record.
If you liked the Iraq War, if you thought that was a good way to expend 9 years, 5,000 American lives and one trillion dollars, then you’ll love Mitt Romney.
On the bright side, the war is over. Happy anniversary. That was an awful, awful mistake.
Romney’s chief political strategists, Russ Schriefer and Stuart Stevens, are veterans of both Bush-Cheney campaigns. Romney campaign adviser Kevin Madden was a spokesman for the Bush-Cheney effort in 2004, then was a spokesman for Bush’s Justice Department.
Romney’s economic advisers include Glenn Hubbard, architect of the Bush-era tax cuts as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and now dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. He’s joined by Harvard’s N. Gregory Mankiw, author of a popular economics textbook and Bush’s primary economic adviser from 2003 to 2005.
Romney has named 24 “special advisers” in national security and foreign policy, 16 of whom served in diplomatic or political roles under Bush. They include Michael Chertoff, the former homeland security chief, and Dan Senor, who was an administration spokesman in Iraq.
On judicial issues, Romney is advised by at least three top veterans of Bush’s Justice Department.
Romney’s education advisers include Margaret Spellings, who was secretary of education under Bush and a chief advocate for No Child Left Behind.