Category Archives: primaries

We say farewell to former Senator Arlen Specter, dead at 82.

Arlen Specter, who spent 30 years representing Pennsylvania in the Senate offended Republicans and Democrats in almost equal measures with maverick votes and a frank cockiness that finally ended his career in politics, died Sunday at his home in Philadelphia. He was 82

Specter, who had battled a number of major illnesses in recent years, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was a hard-driving former prosecutor described even by some admirers as sarcastic. But he stood well above many of his Senate colleagues in his combination of intelligence and effectiveness.

Specter won no lasting gratitude from either liberals or conservatives during his career, and he especially alienated women.

After yet another “betrayal” of Republicans on the 2009 stimulus plan, he was forced to make the most dramatic leap in a career that was full of them. But this time he did not make it across the chasm. Facing defeat in the 2010 Republican primary election, Specter surprised the nation by announcing in April 2009 that he was switching parties – for a second time. (In 1965 he switched from Democrat to Republican after winning election as Philadelphia district attorney on the Republican ticket in an end-run around the city’s Democratic machine.)

His Senate change delivered a veto-proof majority there to President Obama. But not for long. Pennsylvania Democrats, many of whom had voted against him for years, refused to accept his final conversion. The party change did not secure his position, however. He avoided the Republican primary but got smacked in the Democratic primary. His career ended.

This Debate Week… Wednesday is the Event.

 

As we get closer to the first presidential debate the news commentators are filled with comments on the pre-debate rehearsing each candidate is doing and speculation as to who is the better debater. Clips appear from Romney’s primary debates (never a 1 on 1 effort, however, always with three other candidates) and Obama‘s debates from the 2008 campaign. From what I see, they both have their strengths.

Romney says he has “zingers” ready to pull on Obama during the debate. What these are, however, is unclear… apparently written by his support staff and committed to memory by Mittens at his rehearsals. Obama is saying that he’s more interested in the seriousness of the debate as opposed to zingers, and, as far as I’m concerned, zingers are probably the best method for Romney to put his foot in his mouth once again.

Everyone seems to agree that if Romney doesn’t win this debate, he might as well give up the whole campaign effort. He needs to win it to be back as a potential winner.

 

Quote of the Day – A little peek at Romney’s finances…

Romney has said he will put out a big 2 years of his taxes – 2011 hen it is ready and 2010. No, he’s not going back far enough to show he had income from Bain Capital in 2000 and 2001 when he said he had left the company.

So here’s what he said:

“And that’s what we’re going to put out. People always want to get more and we’re putting out what is required plus more that is not required. And those are the two years that people are going to have and that’s all that’s necessary for people to understand something about my finances.”

See… that’s all we need to understand his finances, but not enough to see if he tells the truth about the lies he told about involvement with investments  as CEO of Bain after 1999.

There’s nothing like a president who has proven his honesty. I’ll bet Republicans wish he’d release the tax statements that defend his position (like Santorum and others asked him to do during the primaries.)

Quote of the Day – A campaign is suspended

“I will no longer spend resources campaigning in primaries in states that have not yet voted. Doing so with any hope of success would take many tens of millions of dollars we simply do not have.”

- Ron Paul

Although his chances of winning the Republican nomination are virtually non-existent, Paul said that he and his remaining staff will spend time gathering delegates for the Republican Convention.

The Party leaders are not trying to pull Paul out of the game altogether out of fear that he will start up a third party and cut into the Romney vote. (Personally, I’d encourage him to do just that – either he believes in what he is saying or not.)

President supports today’s leading Civil Rights issue…

In an interview on ABC Television today, President Obama has announced his personal support for same sex marriage and civil unions, something that Mitt Romney has forcefully come out against. This has been done with great political risk: Republicans will try to use this as a wedge with religious African Americans and with uneducated white voters.

This, however, stands against 30 states that have banned same sex marriage (and most of whom have banned civil unions), most recently yesterdays vote in North Carolina.

How Obama uses this position which will undoubtedly bring the worst aspects of the Republicans out of the…hmmm…closet. Romney, who lost an important staff member last week BECAUSE HE WAS GAY, has already knuckled into a minority interest in his Party.

There is so much religion involved in this issue that it makes my head swim.

Once again, I am embarrassed to live in West Virginia.

I have said many times in this blog that, with the exception of Shepherdstown and most of the Eastern Panhandle, I dislike being identified with West Virginia. Whether it is a supposedly Democratic senator who acts and votes like a Republican (Manchin) or the hillbilly stereotype other states see us as, being in West Virginia is no place for a liberal. We are victims of tons of jokes told in other states, like:

Q. Why do ducks fly over West Virginia upside down?
A. There’s nothing worth crapping on!

Well, we topped ourselves again, In yesterday’s Democratic primary, a man in prison in Texas got 4 out of 10 votes for the Presidential nomination.

Keith Judd, is serving time at the Beaumont Federal Correctional Institution in Texas for making threats at the University of New Mexico in 1999. Obama received 59 percent of the vote to Judd’s 41 percent. He got on the ballot  by paying a $2,500 fee (don’t know who paid it for him…but I am not surprised that some West Virginian did) and filing a form known as a notarized certification of announcement with the Secretary of State’s office.

Interviewing a WV resident, the AP published a statement:

“I voted against Obama,” said Ronnie Brown, a 43-year-old electrician from Cross Lanes who called himself a conservative Democrat. “I don’t like him. He didn’t carry the state before and I’m not going to let him carry it again.”

When asked which presidential candidate he voted for, Brown said, “That guy out of Texas.”

Now it’s a question whether Judd will have a representative at the Democratic National Convention (15% of the vote or more usually gets you a rep.)

So, West Virginia has embarrassed me once again. Where will it end?

Thom Hartmann reports on Wisconsin Primary to unseat Gov. Walker…

Posted yesterday:

You need to know this. Wisconsin voters hit the polls today for the first battle in a historic recall election in the state. Democrats will choose between one of four Democratic candidates – plus a Republican spoiler candidate running as a Democrat – to take on Governor Scott Walker in the June 5th recall elections. Walker himself is facing a primary challenge as well. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is the favorite among Democrats and is actually polling ahead of Scott Walker in recent polls. But, Walker has raised $21 million so far – more than any other candidate for Wisconsin Governor in history – and has spent just as much on TV advertising in Wisconsin as all the Republican presidential candidates combined. However – all that money isn’t translating into gains at the polls. Each month since January – Walker has seen his support go down. Keep an eye on Wisconsin – if people power overcomes money power in this recall election – then it could be a perfect model for progressives nationwide, heading into the general election.

- Thom Hartmann

Lots of us are watching this process closely. If he is voted out of office, Walker will only be the second governor in 50 years that this has happened to.

I encourage all Wisconsonites (my son included) to keep the pressure up there. Knowing they are fighting a lot of out of state money from the Koch brothers and others.

I haven’t seen who won the primary yesterday… hopefully NOT the Republican spoiler (although I’d be surprised if it went that way.)

Watching Mitt getting “endorsed” by Republicans who don’t really mean it.

Michelle Bachmann endorsed Mitty today… the same Michelle Bachmann who, just before she dropped out of the primaries, when asked if Romney could beat Obama, said “No.”

Then there’s Newt’s endorsement who, when asked if Romney was conservative enough, could only say “compared to Obama?”

And Santorum, who kept saying Obama needs to be beaten and was told by a reporter “That sounds like an endorsement for Romney.” Santorum said, “…if you take it that way.”

Why do the people he ran against hate him so much… why the bitterness? The main reason is that Republicans don’t really believe Mitty stands for anything. They think he’s a fake (or as Chris Matthews says “An empty suit trying to look like a conservative.”

Judging by the former Bush employees who he has lined up to work for him across the board, it’s W’s ideas he will most likely be bringing us if elected.

Gee, Another neocon-ish guy.

Let’s take us backward (hey, good slogan for Mitt, as long as Barack is using Forward.)

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Without immigration, where will we get more poor laborers?

Bruce Beattie, in the Daytona Beach News-Journal:

… see, if we just take over our own problems, immigration is unnecessary…

- and -

Jeff Danziger of the L.A.Times:

… now Arizona has the right (and I mean RIGHT) idea…

- and -

Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

… of course a stand on the immigration issue could equal lots of Hispanic votes…

- and -

Steve Breen in the San Diego Union-Tribune:

… so who are the real problem creators here?

 

Watching Romney, Boehner, Ryan and the rest of them on Television, I realize that Republicans lie.

And not just a couple of mistaken notions here and there, but outright lies…some of them so far out that I couldn’t have imagined them if I tried.

Why is it, then, that we let them keep doing it? Why do the news shows repeat these gems in their speeches without pointing out the basic lack of truth? Perhaps there is influence being peddled here.

For instance, Mitt is always saying that Obama has made the recession worse…without mentioning, of course, that the Dow hit its 4-year high and NASDAQ hit its 11-year high under the President’s time in office. Or Chrysler posted its first profit in more than a decade  and  expects those profits to continue growing. The industry has hired enough workers to make up for all those laid off during the recession, and American and foreign automakers plan to add 167,000 jobs at American plants this year. So how has he made the recession worse?

Romney, Ryan and others have said that taxes are skyrocketing under Obama.
In reality, the U.S. tax burden is not only hovering around a historical low — it’s also low compared to other advanced industrialized nations.

Boehner has said that the President has accomplished NOTHING in his first term, ignoring everything from wiping out Osama Bin Laden, saving the auto industry and getting his health care plan PASSED.

According to Romney: President Obama “went around the world and apologized for America.”  Obama, however, has never used the word ‘apologize’ in a speech about U.S. policy or history. Any assertion that he has apologized for U.S. actions rests on an intentionally misleading interpretation of the President’s words.

The Republicans lie about everything. They deny the reality of global warming and the carbon emissions crisis. They deny the responsibility of Reagan and Bush for the deficits that they caused and that Obama inherited (along with a recession). They deny Clinton the credit for the vast economic growth that took place in 1990s as a result of his economic policies and for the fiscal sanity that his policies accomplished. They blame everything on the “liberal” academia and give credit for everything to Republicans, never mind that academic science is behind everything that business sells, and without it capitalism would be nothing more than exchange of basic commodities.

And they repeat this stuff over and over… a trick that Goering used in Nazi Germany when they had control of the media: repeat a lie often enough and people start thinking it is true.

Then there are the two big ones that Republicans try hard not to deny, but continue to perpetuate: that Obama was born in another country and that Obama is a socialist/communist trying to nationalize America’s industries (evidenced in the editorial page press by cartoonists like Glenn McCoy:

…if you see what I mean.)

So dealing with Republican lies now through November’s election is going to be an ongoing headache. I’ll just have to make sure that I point them out with some regularity and hope it keeps a few people from buying into this crap.

Newt’s dropping out on May 1st…

…according to CNN. It’s expected he will formally endorse Romney on that day as well.

Having come up very low in the five primaries yesterday, Mitt is looking at no more money to survive with and no viable reason to stay in the race (even though he promised not to pull out before the convention.

According to CNN, Gingrich is likely to hold his final campaign event Tuesday in Washington, D.C., where he will make the announcement surrounded by his family and supporters.

Business Week says Newt is wasting YOUR money….

If you thought you were as important as Newt Gingrich thinks he is, you might be asking for Secret Service Protection since you were a Presidential candidate who was likely to win.

What? Newt isn’t that important? Then why does he have the Secret Service?

Let’s ask Business Week:

His think tank went bankrupt. His campaign is $4.3 million in debt. He doesn’t hold a prayer of beating Mitt Romney, something he has all but conceded. And yet since March 6th, the Secret Service has honored his request for protection at a cost to taxpayers of roughly $40,000 a day (or, to translate that into a metric Newt might favor, enough to supply 13,333 people a day with food stamps).

…..

Candidates must meet certain benchmarks earn Secret Service protection. Oddly, though, once protection has been awarded, there is no level of support beneath which it gets revoked. Newt will only stop leeching off taxpayers when Romney becomes the nominee or when he voluntarily gives up his security detail. But the latter option would be an admission that his campaign is hopeless.

It strikes me as odd that Newt campaigns on government overspending and increase of debt. Hell, he also wants to cut lots of budgeting for the poor, so if this can be shown to keep 13,333 hungry folks away from Federally funded food stamps (ah, alliteration), then his potential as a President is obvious.

Newt to NRA: Right to Bear Arms is a Human Right

Here’s why Newt isn’t going to get any farther (from the Newt Gingrich 2012 campaign site):

Appearing before the National Rifle Association annual meeting this afternoon, Newt Gingrich called for a new United Nations treaty that would give the right to bear arms to every person on the planet.  This proposed treaty would counter the United Nations Small Arms Treaty currently supported by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

After Gingrich’s speech concluded, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox came out on stage and said “The Gingrich Treaty…I like that.”

The Daily Beast noted that Newt’s reception from the crowd of 5,000 people was more enthusiastic than Governor Romney’s.

Somewhere along the line, folks are going to imagine a Newt Presidency and see themselves dead in their living rooms. Just think if every man, woman and child worldwide were armed!

Give a thought to what it would do to our legal system (of course, given the current Supreme Court, it might not make any difference.)

Bang bang Maxwell’s silver hammer…etc.

So, what is Romney planning to do if he gets elected?

Mitt Romney wants to shut down or amalgamate several US government departments if elected president, but has no plans to tell voters which ones in advance of November’s general election. However, he told some wealthy campaign donors yesterday  at a Florida fundraiser when an NBC reporter caught some live comments on tape:

“I’m going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Some eliminate, but I’m probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go.

“Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later. But I’m not going to actually go through these one by one. What I can tell you is, we’ve got far too many bureaucrats. I will send a lot of what happens in Washington back to the states.”

When he says “far too many bureaucrats” that he wants to get rid of, remember Harry Truman‘s very old comment:

“A bureaucrat is a Democrat who holds some office that a Republican wants.”

He does seem to be planning to destroy the Education Department and many of the offices that support all those things we of the middle class depend on. If this is what you are looking for in a President from the 1%, then he pretty much admits that’s what he will be.

Cartoon(s) of the Week – The politics of money…

Jim Morin in the Miami Herald:

America seems to be based on the importance of money…

- and -

Ben Sargent in the Austin American-Statesman:

…and it is easy to sell the rich folks’ budget to the candidate…

- and -

Pat Bagley in the Salt Lake Tribune:

… and money leads principle in getting the nomination…

- and -

Steve sack in the Star Tribune:

…and let’s make sure the government doesn’t get what’s due…

- and -

Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

… as long as the Middle Class gives its all.

Yesterday Romneycare was 6 Years Old in Massachusetts…

… and by all accounts it has been a success.

Massachusetts is a model for getting everybody insured,”
said Romney when the law was passed under his Governorship.

In fact, Romney also claimed at the time that his plan would be a good model for the Nation.

The fact that President Obama agreed with him and promoted what has become known as “Obamacare” –  a national duplicate of “Romneycare” – seems to be meaningless to the Republicans, to Mitt, to the Conservative side of the Supreme Court.

Why can’t we all have the successful plan that Massachusetts has? And why does Romney now say that he would repeal the law as soon as possible if elected?

Why do they play politics with our health?

 


Pathetic Quote for the Afternoon

So whose fault is it that Newt isn’t on top of the Republican pack? Fox News?

“I assume it’s because Murdoch at some point said, ‘I want Romney,’ and so ‘fair and balanced’ became ‘Romney.’ And there’s no question that Fox had a lot to do with stopping my campaign because such a high percentage of our base watches Fox.”

- Newt Gingrich

Newt’s assumption, of course, is that Fox controls the Republican campaign.

A Fox News representative said Newt was just saying this because he is angling for a post-primary broadcast position at CNN. (Gingrich has already stated that he’ll be attending the White House Correspondent‘s Dinner at the CNN table… how about that?)

Robert Reich promotes his new e-book “Beyond Outrage”

You need to be outraged, but you also need to move beyond outrage, and take action,” says Reich as he comments on what we can do to assure that the country does not fall into the hands of conservative extremists.

You can get it at Amazon… the order address is at the end of the video:

So… do we have a new McCarthy in Congress?

Suppose we had a Congressman who started accusing the representatives that didn’t agree with him as being Communists? Well, apparently we do.

Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., has said “he’s heard” that up to 80 House Democrats are members of the Communist Party, but, of course, he has denied to name names.

His office says West was referring to the Congressional Progressive Caucus when he made his remark at a town hall meeting Tuesday night.

Here’s the statement his office sent to the CBS affiliate in Miami:

The Congressman was referring to the 76 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The Communist Party has publicly referred to the Progressive Caucus as its allies. The Progressive Caucus speaks for itself. These individuals certainly aren’t proponents of free markets or individual economic freedom.

Asked to comment on these charges, Libero Della Piana, a vice chairman of the party, stated that there were no Congressional lawmakers who were party members and that West’s comment is a “sad ploy.”

And now some folks like Sarah Palin are suggesting West as a potential VP candidate. Who would have thought?

Santorum is out… does not endorse Romney.

- David Horsey in the LA Times.

 After giving Mitt Romney a serious challenge for the Republican presidential nomination, Rick Santorum suspended his campaign on Tuesday. He made one of his better speeches, but did not endorse Romney.
Santorum failed in his approach to the presidency for a number of reasons:

• Lack of money when compared to Romney.

• Not much of an organization… in some states he didn’t even get on the primary ballot.

• Competition from Newt Gingrich who split some of the far right vote.

• Romney’s habit of saying and doing anything to win – including changing his statements ton agree with Santorum’s conservative from his established centrist position.

Santorum is only 53 years old… in 2016 he will still be younger than Romney is now. If Romney loses this election to Obama, Santorum will be ready to compete in the next election… and will have four years to raise the funds and put together an organization.
Can he?
(thanks to the LA Times for this morning’s info.)

Quote of the Day – Paul Begala Predicts Romney’s VeeP Choice…

Thanks to Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire:

“You heard it here first: Mitt Romney is going to select Rob Portman, the junior senator from Ohio, to be his running mate. I have no insight into how Romney will make this decision. But I had a front-row seat at what I believe was the best veep choice of my lifetime...

…I’m betting that Romney’s choice will reflect who he is: a bloodless technocrat who wants to double down on trickle down.”

 

 

Interesting. Anyone giving odds? Not a woman, not a Hispanic.

In his “best veep choice of a lifetime” statement, Begala was, of course, referring to Al Gore. I wonder if, looking back at it, I agree with him…but he has a point.

Quote of the Day – Obama at the Center… Where did the Republicans go?

“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.”

- President Obama

Official photographic portrait of US President...

The President spoke at an Associated Press luncheon yesterday and reminded campaign journalists about the false-equivalence fallacy:

“I think that there is often times the impulse to suggest that if the two parties are disagreeing, then they’re equally at fault and the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and an equivalence is presented — which reinforces I think people’s cynicism about Washington generally.”

Note that Obama changed his position on the mandate policy, but remember that the mandate was a conservative idea, embraced by Republican policymakers for years.

Obama went from supporting a single-payer plan during the 2008 campaign to supporting a plan designed by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts and backed by moderate Republicans throughout the ’90s.

Does this strike you as Obama moving to the left? As the Republicans look to tear down the plan they had previously recommended, who is really moving away from the center?

Attorneys General in 11 States call on Congress to reverse Citizens United decision.

Yesterday, 11 state attorneys general sent a letter to Congress requesting a constitutional amendment which would reverse the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United.

This section of the letter gives the historic background that SCOTUS eliminated:

The case overturned elements of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (also known as the “McCain-Feingold Act” or “BCRA”) pertaining to the corporate financing of electioneering communications in the run-up to primary and general elections. The Supreme Court ruled that these restrictions on corporate political spending violated the First Amendment’s free speech protections, thereby allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections.
In effect, the Citizens United decision overturned a century of jurisprudence, dating back to the Tillman Act of 1907, which supported Congressional authority to restrict corporate political spending on federal elections. With respect to the BCRA, the decision directly overrules key provisions of McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, 540 U.S. 93 (2003), which upheld the BCRA provisions that prevented direct expenditures by corporate entities on electioneering communications. Importantly, Citizens United kept intact other critical rulings in McConnell regarding disclosure requirements. However, by its decision the Court gave corporations the same rights under the First Amendment as individuals, and thereby severely limited Congress’s power to regulate corporate political spending and invalidated bipartisan, democratically-enacted restrictions on corporate behavior.

Hopefully this brings a start to an action which will eventually eliminate the Super Pacs and bring our elections back to the majority voters.

Hopefully, this won’t become a political volley between Republicans and Democrats.

Hopefully.

Looks like Romney has sewn it up…

Having won in Wisconsin, Maryland and DC last night, Romney is being held up by all the pundits as the sure to be Republican Presidential nominee… even though he only has about half of the delegates for the convention.

Santorum is not a close second and would have needed Wisconsin to keep the possibility that he’d take the nomination at the convention. As for Gingrich and Paul, we have to wonder why they waste people’s money running.

We can expect Romney in the remaining primaries to ignore his competitors and focus on attacking the President.

The full scale Presidential campaign is about to have an early start.

How to let the Government know you want their hands off Social Security…

… which does not contribute to the budget deficit… in fact the Government owes Social Security the millions they have borrowed from it that they should not have.

If you want to weigh in, AARP (who have not been totally on our side to keep Social Security from being reduced…until the polls showed that this was not the position of their members) has a means of expression you should try:

For the past year, Washington has been discussing changes to Medicare and Social Security behind closed doors as part of a backroom budget deal. Throughout that debate, we heard from millions of members who said they’re tired of Washington playing politics with the benefits they’ve earned. That’s why we’ve launched ‘You’ve Earned A Say.’ We’re calling it that because Americans have earned their benefits by paying into Social Security and Medicare for years and they deserve to know what the politicians are talking about.

As AARP says on the site: Don’t let Washington decide the future of Medicare & Social Security without you.

Make sure you get your position covered.

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