Archive for category Mitt Romney
Via Media Matters.
What a shame. It was Candy Crowley who courageously committed an act of journalism in the middle of a presidential debate, daring to fact-check inveterate liar Willard (“Mitt”) Romney in real time. I suppose her standing at CNN has suffered, because truth-telling just isn’t appreciated among the DC media. On CNN right-wing talking points are better than facts, so Crowley is going with the talking points.
The hyper-partisan right-wing Benghazi witch-hunt has produced no new information after NINE congressional hearings, two full-scale investigations, and an SNL parody. Senator John McCain tried to get a select committee established just to re-hash Benghazi. If I were the Senate Majority Leader I would instead assemble a committee to thoroughly investigate the Bush administration’s record on terrorism, starting with the 9/11 attacks and the anthrax letters, and charged with examining the 31 other terrorist attacks on Bush’s watch, including 7 attacks on U.S. embassies and consulates.
Sunrise this morning at the U.S. Capitol (UPI photo)
I’m enjoying the all-day MSNBC coverage of President Obama’s second inauguration, unlike Mitt Romney who says he won’t be watching today.
So far, it has been a refreshing does of patriotism, from the emotional Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir rendition of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” to the President’s call for equality for “our gay brothers and sisters.” And he promised, “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”
I think the President’s intentions are good, even though I often disagree with his decisions. I think he wants to do his best for the voters who entrusted him with the office for another four years. From today’s reporting:
Departing the West Front of the U.S. Capitol after delivering his second inaugural address on Monday, President Obama wanted to take one last glance of the hundreds of thousands of Americans gathered to celebrate his second term. After all, it would be his last.
“I want to take a look one more time,” Obama said, lingering for a few short moments to savor the view as the crowd shuffled past him. “I’ll never see this again.”
I don’t think he was referring to Justice Scalia’s Renaissance-style hat.
Great post by Time’s Michael Grunwald (the whole thing is worth reading):
It’s really amazing to see political reporters dutifully passing along Republican complaints that President Obama’s opening offer in the fiscal cliff talks is just a recycled version of his old plan, when those same reporters spent the last year dutifully passing along Republican complaints that Obama had no plan. It’s even more amazing to see them pass along Republican outrage that Obama isn’t cutting Medicare enough, in the same matter-of-fact tone they used during the campaign to pass along Republican outrage that Obama was cutting Medicare.
This isn’t just cognitive dissonance. It’s irresponsible reporting. Mainstream media outlets don’t want to look partisan, so they ignore the BS hidden in plain sight, the hypocrisy and dishonesty that defines the modern Republican Party. I’m old enough to remember when Republicans insisted that anyone who said they wanted to cut Medicare was a demagogue, because I’m more than three weeks old.
…The next fight is likely to involve the $200 billion worth of stimulus that Obama included in his recycled fiscal cliff plan that somehow didn’t exist before Election Day. I’ve taken a rather keen interest in the topic of stimulus, so I’ll be interested to see how this is covered. Keynesian stimulus used to be uncontroversial in Washington; every 2008 presidential candidate had a stimulus plan, and Mitt Romney’s was the largest. But in early 2009, when Obama began pushing his $787 billion stimulus plan, the GOP began describing stimulus as an assault on free enterprise—even though House Republicans (including Paul Ryan) voted for a $715 billion stimulus alternative that was virtually indistinguishable from Obama’s socialist version. The current Republican position seems to be that the fiscal cliff’s instant austerity would destroy the economy, which is odd after four years of Republican clamoring for austerity, and that the cliff’s military spending cuts in particular would kill jobs, which is even odder after four years of Republican insistence that government spending can’t create jobs.
…Whatever. I realize that the GOP’s up-is-downism puts news reporters in an awkward position. It would seem tendentious to point out Republican hypocrisy on deficits and Medicare and stimulus every time it comes up, because these days it comes up almost every time a Republican leader opens his mouth. But we’re not supposed to be stenographers. As long as the media let an entire political party invent a new reality every day, it will keep on doing it. Every day.
The news media are excitedly telling us that (some) Republicans are announcing their readiness to keep all the Bush tax cuts in place in exchange for cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This has been portrayed as “a big concession,” “willingness to compromise,” and “softening their stance.”
Steve Benen points out what it really is: “[O]n the one hand, Republicans would get the tax rates they want. On the other hand, Republicans would also get the entitlement changes they want.”
House Speaker John Boehner said Republicans are interested in a deal that would include higher tax revenue “as a byproduct of a growing economy, energized by a simpler, cleaner, fairer tax code, with fewer loopholes, and lower tax rates for all.”
But this is the same as Willard (“Mitt”) Romney’s plan — cut tax rates, limit deductions and then assume that a surge in economic growth will magically produce higher revenue. A plan firmly rooted in Arthur Laffer’s fantasy land, where tax cuts pay for themselves. And Republicans think they deserve cuts to social safety net programs in exchange for agreeing to the Romney tax plan, which was just rejected by a majority of voters three weeks ago!
UPDATE: Josh Marshall:
The big ‘breakthrough’ of the day is the apparent willingness to put ‘revenue’ on the table in on-going tax, budget, fiscal cliff, whatever-the-new-name-is-today discussion. But only one caveat: they’re now willing to raise revenue, just not raise rates. This is silly.
…We’ve been doing this for a century. When you want to efficiently raise revenues, you raise rates. A major simplification of the structure, rooting out all the miscellaneous loopholes and special interest deductions, is probably also a good idea. But that’s for fairness and efficiency. Not what you do if the federal coffers simply need more money.
…President Obama holds all the cards on the Bush rates. Just let them expire. Once they do, if Republicans really want to take it that far, come back on January 3rd with the new Obama Middle Class Tax Cut bill. The House can pass it or not.
Wow. When Willard (“Mitt”) Romney thinks there are no reporters or recording devices, he says what he really thinks.
Now we know that Mitt Romney did not “misspeak” when he whined to a big-money crowd that 47 percent of Americans mooch off government and “believe they are victims.” He meant precisely what he said.
In a post-mortem call with his biggest donors on Wednesday, Mr. Romney said his team ran a “superb” campaign with “no drama” (well, yes, it was a pretty dull campaign) and that he lost because President Obama showered voters with “gifts.” By voters he meant black, Hispanic, female and young voters. And by “gifts,” he meant government money that is not spent on tax breaks and other incentives for big companies and rich people.
“What the president, president’s campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote,” Romney said in the afternoon call, according to audio aired on ABC News.
Romney is wrong. We didn’t get “free health care” or anything else for free. Nothing is free for the middle class in America.
But the rich? Their investment banks got billions in interest-free loans from the Federal Reserve. Robert Reich:
The big banks haven’t used the money to refinance mortgages – why should they when they can squeeze more money out of homeowners by keeping them at higher rates? Instead, they’ve used the almost free money to make big bets on derivatives. If the bets continue to go well, the bankers will continue to make a bundle. If the bets sour, well, you know what happens then. Watch your wallets.
Talk about “extraordinary financial gifts from the government.”
UPDATE: Josh Marshall:
It’s not too much to say that Romney is now uniting the country across party lines that he’s someone who should leave as soon as possible and not say anything publicly again. Actually scratch that. Democrats are starting to think that having Romney around and continuing to dump on a broad range of Americans might be pretty awesome.
Artist’s conception of John Boehner press conference yesterday.
Stole my headline from David Dayen on FDL.
Boehner is calling for an across the board rate cut, paid for by (and actually with a revenue gain from) closing loopholes and deductions. All the while, he wants to “reform” entitlements to reduce the cost to government.
Now where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, it’s the Mitt Romney platform. The one defeated at the polls.
…He also alludes to the idea that lowering tax rates will increase economic growth and therefore tax receipts. This is precisely the claim that was debunked by the Congressional Research Service study of 65 years of tax rates…
Time for the Dems to muster their inner Go Go Yubari: “You call that begging? You can beg better than that!”
Remember the alternative to negotiation now is to go over the oh-so-scary “Fiscal Cliff.” Which is really more of a gentle slope. Unless Boehner’s begging skills improve greatly, that’s what they ought to do.
Exit polls revealed that 60 percent of voters favor raising tax rates, which means even some people who voted for Romney want to end tax cuts for the rich.
UPDATE: Back To Work: The Big Issues Congress And Obama Have To Tackle Next – Or maybe the House of Representatives will decide to shut down the government again.
In other words, Eric Cantor believes elections have no consequences. From the comments:
The solution for Obama is simple, ruthless, risky and painful….. Do nothing. Wait until January. Don’t sign a thing, no stop-gaps, temporary extensions of the soon-to-expire tax cuts, just… WAIT.
As Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz argues in his most recent book, The Price of Ineqality, the continued redistribution of income toward the rich is not only immoral and a cause of social unrest, it is economic stupidity. The economy is weakened when people don’t have enough money in their pockets to buy what they need. To use the excuse of the recession and phony crises in order to rob Americans is nothing short of criminal. The working people who elected Obama did not cause the financial crash. They have been squeezed and squeezed in the last four decades to the point of desperation. They deserve a break.
Are you one of the many voters who feels disillusioned with the two-party system and wants to make your single, solitary voice heard by voting for a third party candidate who is possibly more aligned with your own viewpoints?
If you are, well guess what: YOU’RE AN IDIOT. Says MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.
Summary of the Matthews rant, on this afternoon’s “NOW with Alex Wagner” panel on MSNBC:
“If you vote for one of these numbskull third or fourth party candidates like [Libertarian Party candidate] Gary Johnson or [Green Party candidate] Jill Stein, and say ‘I was surprised at what happened.’ No, you shouldn’t be because idiots like you voted for third and fourth party candidates and they don’t know how the system works.”
Then, looking directly into the camera, Matthews held up his fingers and said: “You have two choices.”
…”I am really bothered by people who thought, ‘Oh, I thought I would vote for [former third party candidate] John Anderson,’ or, ‘I really like Ralph Nader and what he stands for.’ That has nothing to do with the presidency! Nothing to do with it. But it’s screwed up so many of our elections, people being so NPR, so PBS, so hoity-toity.”
Chirs Matthews present himself as someone who is a sophisticated political observer, and he must be aware that because of the winner-take-all Electoral College system our presidential election is decided in 9-10 states, at most. In the other 40 states we are free to vote for third-party candidates without affecting the outcome. It’s called strategic voting. Could it be that we DO know how the system works, and how to oppose it?
This one is a winner. This is why America is deteriorating. Republicans are uninformed, vacuous people.
Via Talking Points Memo.
In what his campaign billed as his “closing argument,” Mitt Romney warned Americans that a second term for President Obama would have apocalyptic consequences for the economy in part because his own party would force a debt ceiling disaster.
“Unless we change course, we may well be looking at another recession,” Romney told a crowd in West Allis, Wisconsin.
This is one heck of a closing argument. Steve Benen explains:
A couple of months ago, Ramesh Ponnuru made a curious case in support of Mitt Romney. As Ponnuru argued, congressional Republicans “aren’t going to change,” they’re not going to compromise, and they’ll continue to make the nation ungovernable if President Obama wins. It’s better, he said, to have Romney win so Washington can function under “unified Republican government.”
In other words, GOP policymakers will simply never work constructively or cooperatively with Democrats, so if you want to avoid “gridlock,” voters have no choice but to let Republicans control everything.
…The argument is just astounding. Inflexible Republicans, allergic to compromise and obsessed with obstructionism, would rather destroy the government than work cooperatively with Democrats, ergo, don’t elect Democrats. The hostage takers of American politics aren’t fooling around, so it’s better for everyone if they get their ransom.
We already know they are willing and able to crash the economy and try to blame Democrats. But how many times can you do that and get away with it?
UPDATE: Paul Krugman: The Blackmail Caucus: GOP
The starting point for many “vote for Romney or else” statements is the notion that a re-elected Obama wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything in his second term. What this misses is the fact that he has already accomplished a great deal, in the form of health reform and financial reform — reforms that will go into effect if, and only if, he is re-elected.
But would Obama be able to negotiate a Grand Bargain on the budget? Probably not — but so what? America isn’t facing any kind of short-run fiscal crisis, except in the fevered imagination of a few Beltway insiders. If you’re worried about the long-run imbalance between spending and revenue, well, that’s an issue that will have to be resolved eventually but not right away.
Furthermore, I’d argue that any alleged Grand Bargain would be worthless as long as the GOP remained as extreme as it is, because the next Republican president, following the lead of George W. Bush, would just squander the gains on tax cuts and unfunded wars.
Before the Supreme Court’s 5-4 Citizens United decision, it would have been illegal for a boss to tell an employee that “their job and their future” was on the ballot on Election Day. But the court now considers such electoral pressure an expression of free speech.
UPDATE: Steve Benen: The normalization of extortion politics
This is crazy. It would reward Republicans for their radicalism — which in turn only encourages more radicalism — and set a precedent for all future congressional caucuses: if you really want to get your way, be irrational, inflexible, and dangerous, threatening to do lasting damage to the country unless your unconditional demands are met.
Maybe if we pay the reckless hostage takers, they’ll be nice to us and stop taking hostages in the future? Is this what American politics has come to the 21st century?
For Romney to subtly articulate this argument out loud is breathtaking. For the political world to simply accept it at face value, as if this is routine, is depressing.
This has been a thoroughly dishonest presidential campaign in which all our politicians carefully avoided any mention of climate change, because it might offend the Koch Brothers or Exxon. Not too long ago, Mitt Romney and his speechwriters thought they’d come up with a clever new way to mock President Obama: they ridiculed his 2008 promise to “slow the rise of the oceans.” Campaigning in Minnesota yesterday, former President Bill Clinton suggested that joke is a lot less funny now, with streets flooded in New York and New Jersey.
Hurricane Sandy did an estimated $50 billion in damage, not to mention the cost of shutting down New York City and a large part of the East Coast for two days. The New York Stock Exchange closed due to weather for the first time since 1888. Because New York is a media hub, the World Wide Web and TV programming were affected by the storm.
The real world has finally intruded on our political discourse, but unfortunately it took a large-scale weather disaster to break through.
UPDATE: Post-Sandy, Rush Limbaugh still thinks climate change is a hoax.
“Neither party wants to offend the fossil fuel industry,” he told Current TV host Cenk Uygur. “They want to win the election, and they know the power of the fossil fuel industry. You can’t turn on your television without seeing these advertisements about clean coal, clean tar sands and the claim that there’s more jobs associated with fossil fuels than other industries. That’s of course not true, but they’re hammering that into the voters’ heads.”