Attempting to create political leverage wherever they can find it rather than put work into getting America back on track, McConnell and Boner sent a letter to the President of the United States demanding he not do what George W. Bush did:
Republican leaders in Congress have warned President Obama against any attempts to pass last-minute regulations if he loses reelection this year.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) sent a letter to Obama Wednesday urging him not to pass any “midnight regulations.”
Outgoing presidents typically leave some of their most controversial executive orders until the final days of their term to avoid an expected public backlash.
Something tells me Mitch and Boehn might be getting a bit ahead of themselves.
From WaPo — one wonders where Mitch’s concern was when his own wife was doing the deed:
The letter did not refer to any such regulatory changes made by previous presidents, but McConnell’s wife, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, was accused of moving with unusual speed in the final months of George W. Bush’s presidency to push through a rule making it tougher to regulate workers’ on-the-job exposure to chemicals and toxins.
The Labor Department quietly posted the proposal in July 2008, before Obama’s eventual victory, and the move angered workplace-safety advocates, labor unions and congressional Democrats, who accused the Bush administration of doing exactly what Republicans now hope Obama will avoid repeating.
In the final months of Bush’s term, federal worker union leaders also pushed to ensure that the White House was not improperly awarding political appointees with senior career government positions at the expense of more qualified workers. But at least 20 Bush-era appointees successfully bypassed the normal federal hiring process and “burrowed in” to career jobs.
After spending eight years at the helm of one of the most ideologically driven administrations in American history, George W. Bush is ending his presidency in characteristically aggressive fashion, with a swath of controversial measures designed to reward supporters and enrage opponents.
By the time he vacates the White House, he will have issued a record number of so-called ‘midnight regulations’ – so called because of the stealthy way they appear on the rule books – to undermine the administration of Barack Obama, many of which could take years to undo.
Dozens of new rules have already been introduced which critics say will diminish worker safety, pollute the environment, promote gun use and curtail abortion rights. Many rules promote the interests of large industries, such as coal mining or energy, which have energetically supported Bush during his two terms as president. More are expected this week.
America’s attention is focused on the fate of the beleaguered car industry, still seeking backing in Washington for a multi-billion-dollar bail-out. But behind the scenes, the ‘midnight’ rules are being rushed through with little fanfare and minimal media attention. None of them would be likely to appeal to the incoming Obama team.
The regulations cover a vast policy area, ranging from healthcare to car safety to civil liberties. Many are focused on the environment and seek to ease regulations that limit pollution or restrict harmful industrial practices, such as dumping strip-mining waste.
All Americans — Republican and Democrat alike — are likely shocked by the hypocrisy of Mitch McConnell and John Boehner.
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.
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.
Here at home, the coming months will be another season of homecomings. Across America, our servicemen and women will be reunited with their families. Today, I can say that our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays.
This December will be a time to reflect on all that we’ve been though in this war. I’ll join the American people in paying tribute to the more than 1 million Americans who have served in Iraq. We’ll honor our many wounded warriors and the nearly 4,500 American patriots — and their Iraqi and coalition partners — who gave their lives to this effort.
And finally, I would note that the end of war in Iraq reflects a larger transition. The tide of war is receding. The drawdown in Iraq allowed us to refocus our fight against al Qaeda and achieve major victories against its leadership — including Osama bin Laden. Now, even as we remove our last troops from Iraq, we’re beginning to bring our troops home from Afghanistan, where we’ve begun a transition to Afghan security in leadership. When I took office, roughly 180,000 troops were deployed in both these wars. And by the end of this year that number will be cut in half, and make no mistake: It will continue to go down.
Meanwhile, yesterday marked the definitive end of the Qaddafi regime in Libya. And there, too, our military played a critical role in shaping a situation on the ground in which the Libyan people can build their own future. Today, NATO is working to bring this successful mission to a close.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld yesterday carried his battle to reform the military from the field to the bureaucracy, saying he has ordered commanders to reduce headquarters staff by 15 percent next year.
If, on the other hand, you took the Washington Post in those olden days before the war, you would have been met by this front page headline:
Majority Hold Bush Responsible For Dwindling Budget Surplus
By Dan Balz and Richard Morin
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, September 11, 2001; Page A01
And that article would have begun:
A majority of Americans say they are prepared to roll back President Bush’s $1.35 trillion tax cut to help deal with the shrinking federal budget surplus and say Bush more than congressional Democrats bears responsibility for a problem that has suddenly put him on the defensive, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News national survey.
The poll also offered a clear warning to Bush and Congress as they move toward dipping into the Social Security surplus to fund other programs this year and next, despite earlier promises not to do so. An overwhelming 92 percent of those surveyed said they opposed using Social Security funds for other purposes — with 81 percent saying they are strongly opposed.
Shortly after the tax legislation became law in June, a majority of Americans (52%) predicted that the tax cuts were likely to stimulate the economy, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey. Yet comparable percentages said the tax cut also was likely to return the country to deficit spending (55%) and make less money available for domestic programs such as education and Social Security (53%).
The public’s belief that deficits would return was understandable, given recent history. The country had been running substantial annual deficits since the early 1980s and Americans were having trouble truly believing that their country’s balance sheet was in the black.
In March, Newsweek asked if it was “pretty safe” to rely on surplus projections – then estimated at a staggering $6 trillion over 10 years – or whether there was a “good chance” that the surplus would be a lot lower. Fewer than a quarter (22%) said it was safe to rely on budget surplus projections, while three times as many (67%) expected the surplus to be lot lower.
Reflecting the doubts about future surpluses, there was broad support across the ideological spectrum for limiting the size of the tax cuts if, as expected, the surplus projections proved too optimistic. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey in March found that 73% favored automatically scaling back the tax cuts if the surplus turned out to be much smaller than projected. Comparable percentages of liberals (76%), moderates (76%) and conservatives (71%) supported automatically scaling back the tax cuts in this circumstance.
By limiting the tax cuts to a decade, Congress ensured that the tax cut would be reviewed, though there was no provision to automatically limit the tax cuts if the nation’s fiscal situation worsened.
The public’s skepticism about future surpluses – like its prediction about the coming recession– was well founded. By fiscal year 2003, the country was already facing a $300 billion annual deficit, amid surging military expenses in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, according to the Congressional Budget Office. In March of this year, the CBO estimated the budget deficit at $1.5 trillion.
And next you’re going to tell us the Medicare Drug Benefit was a racket, the war in Iraq was insane, the one in Afghanistan was mismanaged (no, wait, non-managed, right), and the Bush Tax Cuts unnecessarily drained money from the country’s economy.
When unemployment was low, wages were rising, and the economy was on the move.
Here’s the State of the Union from January 2007, where George presciently claims he will balance the budget without raising taxes. He’s cut the defecit in half… and will eliminate the federal deficit in the next five years!
As mentioned yesterday, the PAC that defiles the word “super” has targeted Ben Chandler for elimination despite Chandler’s repeated attempts to endear himself to Republicans. Apparently it doesn’t work.
Here’s the ad from Crossroads GPS:
1. You’re watching this video on your computer and the video is of someone else watching the video on their iPad. Even cooler if you’re watching that video on your own iPad — I hear there’s a secret Easter Egg if you play along and run your finger across your iPad screen in the exact same movements as the animated hand. Give it a shot, iPadders. All in all, a neat effect that makes one wonder if this was made for television or just for you, my internet-bound friends.
2. OMFG! There’s Quiet Ben Chandler — the quietest Congressman! — on the House floor saying stuff. And not just any stuff, but the same generic tripe every single lame-brained politician and highly paid pundit has been saying for the past three years. What a liar, right? And where is our “Fiscal House”? Can we sell it? Is it worth a lot? Does it have a “great room”?
3. “Oh really?” — Concerned disembodied woman voice is concerned.
4. “You voted for skyrocketing debt.” There’s something strangely… I don’t know… the hand, the rocket ship. Oh Karl Rove, you and your dad get me every time. Or maybe it’s about NASA?
Or… maybe it’s about Mitch McConnell who has voted for skyrocketing debt and almost single-handedly increased the debt $8.6 trillion dollars since 2002. (And before.) I say almost single-handedly because of course other Republicans in leadership positions — Boner, Cantor, etc — did exactly the same thing. In 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007. Why in the world did we have to expand the… oh, riiiight, Karl Rove and George Bush were doing that whole Iraq thing. If Ben Chandler had balls, he’d be making a commercial right now about Andy Barr.
5. The “failed” bailout that’s kept the economy thrashing around in the water about to drown. As opposed to the successful bailout that kept the too big to fail banks too big to fail. Okay.
6. “Chandler voted for: Healthcare Takeover: $1 Trillion.” Poor Ben Chandler. He’s sitting at home watching this being all “I didn’t vote for that! I not only didn’t vote for it, I also watered it down by voting for the woman-hating Stupak amendment before not voting for the watered down version!” Apparently Republicans will stab you in the back, Ben. So sorry.
7. “Reckless spending.” Okay. But why not just say he voted to bankrupt America. Or kill your dog?
8. “Raise the debt limit five times.” Just like Boner and McConnell and the Republican Party and Karl Rove. Shameless? Shameful? Let’s just settle on shamesome.
9. “No more reckless spending, no new taxes, no more blank checks.” He voted to kill your dog, the Rove/Bush tax cuts wrecked the economy and the Iraq War was one giant blank check.
All in all, a good video that fairly and accurately represents Ben Chandler’s record because who can you trust to tell you the truth if you can’t trust the architect of the Bush administration?
When will Ben learn that there’s no point casting votes to appease the unappeasable party? When will he fight back?
Since Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, is ducking President Obama today as Obama meets with the soldiers at Ft. Campbell and the Navy SEALs who put an end to Osama bin Laden… it’s worth noting that the Governor hasn’t always been so President-shy.
Back in 2008, George W. Bush blew into town for an early Thanksgiving day meal with the troops and, even though it was a very busy time of year — the Holiday, the family, the shopping — Beshear made time in his hectic schedule to be there to talk turkey with the “War President.”
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Please be seated — unless, of course, you don’t have a seat. (Laughter.) I am honored to be here at Fort Campbell. (Applause.) I’m honored to be with the Screaming Eagles of the 101st Airborne — (applause) — the Night Stalkers of the 160th — (applause) — the Green Berets of the 5th Special Forces Group — (applause) — all members of the Fort Campbell community. (Applause.) You are part of the finest military in the world. I have one word for you: Hooah! (Applause.)
I also bring greetings — I also bring greetings from another man named Bush — America’s only skydiving President. (Laughter.) He said, pass on these two words: Air Assault! (Applause.)
….I want to thank General Townsend for his service. I’m proud to be with his wife, Melissa. I thank General Schloesser’s wife, Patty. I appreciate Maria McConville. I want to thank Theresa Vail. These women represent the military families who have sacrificed just like our military has. On behalf of an incredibly grateful nation, I extend our heartfelt thanks and our respect to the military families here on Fort Campbell. (Applause.)
I thank Governor Beshear, who is with us, the Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
What does it say about Beshear that he’s willing to share face-time with President George W. Bush, one of the least popular Presidents in America’s history, but not with Barry Hussein Obama?
Yes, it’s difficult for most folks who don’t know Mitch McConnell as well as we do to fully wrap their head around the fact that he was calling Democrats al-Qaeda appeasing cut and runners for advocating the same position that Mitch was advocating himself to President Bush. At the same exact time.
Here’s Rachel Maddow with the video evidence, laying out the case that Mitch McConnell is so… (earmuffs)… Mitch McConnell. Pardon me for salty language.