Keeping In Touch with politics and other issues in Central Virginia .....The Virginia 22nd Senate District and The 6th Congressional District......Vote Democratic for a Better Future....Protect Your Benefits

Democratic Committee Meeting

Friday, August 31, 2012

Clint Eastwood Made Mitt's Night With Great Republican Speech

Clint Eastwood came onstage with an empty chair as a prop which he claimed could be Obama and asked the imaginary Obama questions.

The following is a transcript of actor Clint Eastwood’s speech at the Republican National Convention on Aug. 30, 2012. 

EASTWOOD:  Thank you very much.   Thank you.  Thank you
very much.  Save a little for Mitt.

I know what you are thinking.  You are thinking, what’s a

movie tradesman doing out here?  You know they are all left
wingers out there, left of Lenin.  At least that is what people
think.  That is not really the case.  There are a lot of
conservative people, a lot of moderate people, Republicans,
Democrats, in Hollywood.  It is just that the conservative
people by the nature of the word itself play closer to the vest.
They do not go around hot dogging it.

So — but they are there, believe me, they are there.  I

just think, in fact, some of them around town, I saw John Voigt,
a lot of people around.

Clint engaged in conversation with a chair.

John’s here, an academy award winner.  A terrific guy.

These people are all like-minded, like all of us.
So I — so I’ve got Mr. Obama sitting here.  And he’s — I
was going to ask him a couple of questions.  But — you know
about — I remember three and a half years ago, when Mr. Obama
won the election. And though I was not a big supporter, I was
watching that night when he was having that thing and they were
talking about hope and change and they were talking about, yes
we can, and it was dark outdoors, and it was nice, and people
were lighting candles.

They were saying, I just thought, this was great.

Everybody is trying, Oprah was crying.

I was even crying.  And then finally — and I

haven’tcried that hard since I found out that there is 23 million
unemployedpeople in this country.

Now that is something to cry for because that is a disgrace, a

national disgrace, and we haven’t done enough, obviously — this
administration hasn’t done enough to cure that.  Whenever
interestthey have is not strong enough, and I think possibly now it maybetime for somebody else to come along and solve the problem.

So, Mr. President, how do you handle promises that you have

madewhen you were running for election, and how do you handle them?      I mean, what do you say to people?     Do you just — you know – I  know — people were wondering — you don’t — handle that OK.

Well, Iknow even people in your own party were very disappointed whenyoudidn’t close Gitmo.  And I thought, well closing Gitmo — whyclosethat, we spent so much money on it.  But, I thought maybe as anexcuse– what do you mean shut up?


OK, I thought maybe it was just because somebody had the

stupididea of trying terrorists in downtown New York City.

I’ve got to to hand it to you.  I have to give credit where credit is due.  You did finally overrule that finally.  And that’s – now we are moving onward.  I know you were against the war in Iraq, and that’s okay.  But you thought the war in Afghanistan was OK.   You know, I mean — you thought that was something worth doing.  We didn’t check with the Russians to see how did it — they did there for


But we did it, and it is something to be thought about, and

think that, when we get to maybe — I think you’ve  mentioned
something about having a target date for bringing everybody
home.  You gave that target date, and I think Mr. Romney asked the only sensible question, you know, he says, “Why are you giving the date out now?    Why don’t you just bring them home tomorrow morning?”

And I thought — I thought, yeah — I am not going to shut up, it is my turn.


So anyway, we’re going to have — we’re going to have to have a

little chat about that.  And then, I just wondered, all these promises
– I wondered about when the — what do you want me to tell
Romney?     I can’t tell him to do that.     I can’t tell him to do that to himself.

You’re crazy, you’re absolutely crazy.  You’re getting as bad as


Of course we all now Biden is the intellect of the Democratic party.


Kind of a grin with a body behind it.


But I just think that there is so much to be done, and I think that Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan are two guys that can come along.    See, I never thought it was a good idea for attorneys to the president, anyway.


I think attorneys are so busy — you know they’re always taught to argue everything, and always weight everything — weigh both

sides…  MORE

XXX     I think attorneys are so busy — you know they’re always taught to argue everything, always weigh everything, weigh both sides.

EASTWOOD:     They are always devil’s advocating this and

bifurcating this and bifurcating that.  You know all that stuff.
But, I think it is maybe time — what do you think — for maybe
a businessman.  How about that?

A stellar businessman.  Quote, unquote, “a stellar businessman.”

And I think it’s that time.  And I think if you just step aside and Mr. Romney can kind of take over.  You can maybe still use a plane.

Though maybe a smaller one.  Not that big gas guzzler you are going around to colleges and talking about student loans and stuff like that.


You are an — an ecological man.  Why would you want to drive that around?    OK, well anyway.   All right, I’m sorry.   I can’t do that tomyself either.


I would just like to say something, ladies and gentlemen.

Something that I think is very important.  It is that, you, we – we own this country.

We — we own it.    It is not you owning it, and not  politicians owning it.  Politicians are employees of ours.


And  – so — they are just going to come around and beg for votes every few years.  It is the same old deal.  But I just think it is important that you realize , that you’re the best in the world. Whether you are a Democrat or Republican or whether you’re libertarian or whatever, you are the best.   And we should not ever forget that.   And when somebody does not do the job, we got to let them go.


Okay, just remember that.  And I’m speaking out for

everybody out there.  It doesn’t hurt, we don’t have to be

(AUDIENCE MEMBER):   (make my day)


I do not say that word anymore.  Well, maybe one last time.


We don’t have to be — what I’m saying, we do not have to be metal (ph) masochists and vote for somebody that we don’t really even want in office just because they seem to be nice guys or maybe not so nice guys, if you look at some of the recent ads going out there, I don’t know.


But OK.  You want to make my day?


All right.  I started, you finish it.  Go ahead.

AUDIENCE:  Make my day!

EASTWOOD:  Thank you.  Thank you very much.

Out of respect for Clint Eastwood his speech is presented word for word and not commented on.

Does America Need a Vice President Who Openly Skirts The Truth?

Do we the American voter have the right to expect politicians to tell us the truth?   At one point the things politicians said had some relation to the truth but those days seem to be long gone. 

Politicians are rated on a truth meter and none tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.   President Obama has the best ranking 

for most honest with a score of 1.71 on the most statements of any of those rated.   President Obama makes a lot of concrete statements and they are mostly true.   Mitt Romney comes in second on a lessor number of statements with a 2.51.   In other words Mitt says fewer concrete things but distorts the truth more often.   

At the bottom is Michelle Bachmann who says very few concrete things but scores over 3.00 meaning that if her lips are forming words there is a high likelyhood that she is not speaking the truth.

All of the above being said lets look at Paul Ryan and the truth contained in his speech to the republican convention.

The highlight of the second night of the Republican National Convention was Rep. Paul Ryan’s speech accepting the vice presidential nomination.    Most of this column is devoted to analyzing claims in Ryan’s speech (low hanging fruit), but at the end we will also assess a few other interesting claims made by other speakers.

“Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said:   ‘I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.’    That’s what he said in 2008.    Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year.    It is locked up and empty to this day.” 

In his acceptance speech, GOP Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan appeared to suggest that President Obama was responsible for the closing of a GM plant in Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Wis. 

Obama gave his speech in February, 2008, and he did say those words.    But Ryan’s phrasing, referring to the fact the plant did not last another year, certainly suggests it was shut down in 2009, when Obama was president. 

Ryan, in fact, issued a news release, urging the plant stay open, in June 2008 when GM announced it would close it.

The plant was largely closed in December 2008 when production of General Motors SUVs was ceased — before Obama was sworn in.   A small crew of about 100 workers completed a contract for production of medium-duty trucks for Isuzu Motors, which ended in April 2009. 

Note that Ryan called the plant  “locked up”  rather than  “shut down.”    That’s because the plant has not been completely shut down;   it remains on   “standby”   and could reopen if GM production reaches the right level, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“The plant in Janesville remains in  ‘standby’  status waiting for the recovery – and jobs – President Obama said would come with his bailout of the auto industry,”  said Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck. “When the president picked his winners and losers, Janesville lost.”

Buck also pointed to a campaign statement by Obama in late 2008, when it was announced production would end, that he would “lead an effort to retool plants like the GM facility in Janesville.”

“What did the taxpayers get out of the Obama stimulus?   More debt.   That money wasn’t just spent and wasted — it was borrowed, spent, and wasted.     It went to companies like Solyndra, with their gold-plated connections, subsidized jobs, and make-believe markets. The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare, 

and cronyism at their worst.    You, the working men and women of this country, were cut out of the deal.” 

There is a lot to unpack in this paragraph.    First of all, people will forever debate whether the stimulus was effective, but a survey of 15 studies by our colleagues at WonkBlog found that most studies (12 out of 15) concluded that it did have a positive effect, while only two definitively concluded it did not.   So Ryan’s statement is much too sweeping to be very credible.

Ryan, who as a congressman requested stimulus funding for his state, gets a bit closer to the mark when he raises the specific case of Solyndra, a failed solar-panel manufacturer that received $535 million as part of the president’s $80 billion clean-energy initiative, which was part of the 2009 stimulus. 

As we wrote in a lengthy look at Solyndra,  “overall, the facts of the Solyndra matter represent a strong case for Romney’s claims of crony capitalism, but they don’t provide conclusive evidence.”   But some other charges of crony capitalism are overblown, and it is a stretch to portray the whole stimulus bill (which was about one-

third tax cuts) as political payoff scheme.

“After all that work, and in a bad economy, it sure doesn’t help [businesses] to hear from their president that government gets the credit.    What they deserve to hear is the truth:   Yes, you did build that.” 

This old saw again.    As we have previously noted, Republicans have repeatedly mischaracterized Obama’s rhetorical point.    He certainly did not say the  “government gets the credit”  for business success.   He was arguing that society, including taxpayer-funded education and infrastructure spending, plays a role in every person’s success.

“They needed hundreds of billions more.   So, they just took it all away from Medicare.   Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama.   An obligation we have to our parents and grandparents is being sacrificed, all to pay for a new entitlement [Obamacare] we didn’t even ask for.” 

Ryan, as House Budget Committee chairman, probably knows he’s playing a rhetorical game here.    Federal budget accounting is so complex that it is easy to mislead ordinary Americans — a tactic used by both parties.

Ryan is correct that in the health care bill, the anticipated savings from Medicare were used to help offset some of the anticipated costs of expanding health care for all Americans.    But all government money is fungible.

Under the concept of the unified budget, money that is collected by the federal government for whatever purpose (such as Medicare and Social Security payroll taxes) is spent on whatever bills are coming due at that time. 

Social Security and Medicare will get a credit for taxes collected that are not immediately spent on Social Security, but those taxes are quickly devoted to other federal spending.

Under the health care law, spending does not decrease in Medicare year after year; the reduction is from anticipated levels of spending in future years.    Moreover, the  “cuts”  did not come at the expense of seniors. 

The savings mostly are wrung from health-care providers, not Medicare beneficiaries—who, as a result of the health care law, ended up with new benefits for preventive care and prescription drugs. 

The House Republican budget plan crafted by Ryan retains virtually of the Medicare  “cuts”  contained in the health care law, but diverts it instead to his Medicare overhaul.    Republicans argue that that is a more effective use of the savings. 

“He created a bipartisan debt commission.    They came back with an urgent report.    He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.” 

Ryan is referring to the Simpson-Bowles Commission, and he is correct that Obama did not act on its report.    But Ryan left out the fact that he served on the commission and voted against the final “urgent"  report, largely because he believed it did not do enough to overhaul health care entitlements such as Medicare.

David Brooks, a New York Times columnist sympathetic to Republicans, recently labeled Ryan’s  “no”  vote as “Ryan’s biggest mistake,”  because gave up “significant debt progress for a political fantasy” — that a Republican victory in 2012 would allow for real reforms without Democratic support. 

Ryan spokesman Buck said that  “Paul Ryan worked in a bipartisan manner in the commission and has worked tirelessly since then to solve these big challenges.”

The whole comvention has been a fountain of mis-truth so lets look at other speakers.

“The big-government bureaucrats of the Obama administration have set their sights on our way of life.   Instead of preserving family farms and ranches, President Obama’s policies are effectively regulating them out of business.    His administration even proposed banning farm kids from doing basic chores!” 
— Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) 

It’s a striking charge, but an exaggeration that, when we first looked at the issue, earned a Republican lawmaker Two Pinocchios.    But Thune ups the ante even more with his rhetoric.

What happened?   Last year, the Department of Labor proposed revisions to child labor rules that apply to the agricultural sector. Among the most significant changes:    banning children under age 16 from operating power-driven equipment such as tractors and prohibiting people under the age of 18 from working in grain silos, feed lots and stockyards.

The Labor Department tried to avoid controversy by emphasizing that children working on their parents’ farms would be excluded from the proposals.    That exemption is actually a matter of federal statute under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.    The Labor Department lacked the authority to change it.

Indeed, a Labor Department summary of the proposed changes stated clearly that the parental exemption “allows  the child of a farmer to perform any task, even hazardous tasks, at any age on a farm owned or operated by the parent.”

Nevertheless, the Labor Department announced in April that it was abandoning its proposals altogether.   A press release from the department said,  “to be clear, this regulation will not be pursued for the duration of the Obama administration.”

“Then you have Barack Obama, who never started a business — never even worked in business.” 

— Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio 

“For four years, we’ve given a chance to a man with very limited experience in governing, no experience in business whatsoever and since taking office, mostly interested in campaigning, blaming and aiming excuses at his predecessor, the Republicans and people in business.” 

— Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee 

We are not sure why Republicans would emphasize Obama’s lack of business experience on a night when they nominate a vice presidential running mate (Ryan) who has worked in government his entire life. 

But it’s going too far to say Obama never worked in business.   He worked briefly at Business International Corp. in New York after college, and then also was an associate and a partner at a law firm for 11 years.    That’s not a lot of private sector experience, but it’s more than none whatsoever.

Paul Ryan: Marathon Time Claim Not True 

Paul Ryan's campaign walked back comments the VP nominee made about running a marathon.    "I had a two hour and fifty-something"  marathon, Ryan said last week an interview.     "I hurt a disc in my back, so I don’t run marathons anymore." 

But the Ryan campaign confirmed to Runner's World that he has only run one marathon, the 1990 Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota, which he finished in just over 4 hours.     Ryan distorted his time by just over 30%  (one and a quarter hours shaved off reality) and would not have corrected the record except he got caught telling a false story.

"The race was more than 20 years ago, but my brother Tobin—who ran Boston last year—reminds me that he is the owner of the fastest marathon in the family and has never himself ran a sub-three,    " Ryan said in a prepared statement.    "If I were to do any rounding, it would certainly be to four hours, not three.     He gave me a good 
ribbing over this at dinner tonight.    I mis-spoke."

The admission comes after wide speculation that Ryan had exaggerated his marathon time.   Running a sub-3 hour 
marathon means averaging under 7 minutes per mile for the entire race, a possible but extremely impressive feat.  As the New Yorker's Nicholas Thompson put it,   "It’s the difference between racing and running."   Ryan has a reputation for exaggeration and distortion.

This isn't the first time Ryan has come under fire this week for stretching the truth.   His RNC speech was chastised for misleading claims about Medicare and the 2008 closing of a Wisconsin plant.   Ryan has yet to walk back those distortions of the truth.   Ryan is running for Vice President and also running to retain his Congressional seat so he has two chances to stay on the government pay roles.

The running fib  "sounds trivial,"  wrote the New York Times' Paul Krugman.    "But I remember the 2000 campaign, when Al Gore was constantly hounded by claims of fibbing on trivial issues — claims that, by the way, were all, as far as I could tell, fabricated.    These alleged fibs supposedly showed some deep defect in his character. So if Ryan is making false claims about his physical prowess, this is absolutely fair game."     Each time Ryan speaks he tallies up more false statements and all the bending of the truth are on items that are easily checked.    Paul Ryan might just be a big fish in a small pond who is out of his element on the national scene.     As a congressman he got  comfortable with bending the truth and no one checked his stories at that level.    He's playing by different rules now.

Add to this the dozen outright lies Ryan told in his Convention speech and anything he says must now be taken with a grain of salt.   It may turn out that Paul Ryan is the Janesville Village Idiot and the town doesn't want him back.   If a man will stretch the truth about small trivial things he will create world class fiction over matters of merit.


Amherst Virginia Headlines

Lynchburg Headlines

Monroe Virginia Headlines

Madison Heights Headlines

Todd Akin Office Angered By Reported Karl Rove Murder Quip

Republican strategist Karl Rove has apologized to Congressman Todd Akin after joking about the Missouri Senate candidate being murdered.

Akin campaign adviser Rick Tyler told The Associated Press that Akin accepted Rove's apology during a phone call Friday.   A Rove spokesman didn't return messages Friday from the AP.

Bloomberg Businessweek's website had quoted Rove as telling GOP donors in Florida:    "We should sink Todd Akin.    If he's found mysteriously murdered, don't look for my whereabouts!"

Rove and other top Republicans have urged Akin to drop his challenge to Democratic Sen. McCaskill and let GOP leaders pick a replacement candidate after Akin's remarks about women's bodies being able to avoid pregnancy in cases of what he called  "legitimate rape."

Akin has since publicly apologized and vowed to remain in the race.

Todd Akin’s Office ‘Disturbed’ by Karl Rove’s Joke

The Republican Party may want Todd Akin to disappear, but a dark joke made by GOP strategist Karl Rove has hit a nerve with the congressman’s office.

“We should sink Todd Akin,”   Rove said at a fundraiser during the Republican National Convention, according to a Bloomberg News report.    “If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts!”

The congressional office of the six-term congressman and Senate candidate from Missouri responded Friday afternoon, suggesting the joke was in dangerously bad taste, given recent threats against Akin and his family.

Akin drew national attention to the Missouri race after his controversial comments about rape and abortion, when he said,   “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”

“Given the current FBI investigation of threats against Congressman Akin and calls for acts of violence and rape against his family and staff, joking as to the potential murder of Congressman Akin is deeply disturbing.     I am certain he misspoke,” Akin’s district director, Steve Taylor, said in a written statement released on Friday.

Soon after Akin’s remarks about rape and pregnancy, Capitol Police acknowledged an investigation into threats against Akin, and in a press conference last week, his first since making the remarks about rape, Akin said threats had been made against him and his family, including threats of rape.

Karl Rove: Todd Akin Will Suffer 'Biggest Loss' Of Any GOP Senate Candidate In Modern History

GOP strategist Karl Rove spoke out on the Senate candidacy of Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) on Monday, predicting that his decision to stay in the race despite controversy over his recent remarks about rape would lead to an embarrassing defeat.

“I know Todd.   He’s a good man.   He has a good heart,”   Rove said at a Politico Playbook Breakfast at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.   “But he said a real stupid, indefensible thing from which there’s no recovery.    And if he really cares about the values of conservatism and pro-life, then he will not go down in defeat with the biggest loss of any Republican candidate for Senate in the modern history.”

Akin's campaign against Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire
McCaskill became much more difficult over the past week, following comments Akin made about  "legitimate rape." 

In an interview that aired last Sunday, Akin claimed rape victims couldn't get pregnant because of some biological impulse that would allow them to prevent conception.    The statement has no medical basis, and Republicans and Democrats alike came out against Akin's remarks, for which he later apologized.    Despite pressure from all sides, including from GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Akin announced late last week that he would remain in the race.

The Rove-backed non-profit Crossroads GPS had earlier severed its financial support for Akin in the Senate race, pulling a round of ads that were set to hit the airwaves last week.    The group has kept its reservations on airtime in the event that Akin does step aside, however, still a potential option for the embattled congressman.

How Karl Rove Propped Up Todd Akin With Millions, Then Immediately Cut Ties Over Rape Comment 

Republican Rep. Todd Akin has refused to drop out of Missouri's Senate race, defying calls from leaders of his own party who say he could hurt Republican chances this November. 

Akin sparked a national controversy over the weekend after he told an interviewer that women are somehow capable of blocking pregnancy during what he called a  "legitimate rape,"  a comment he later apologized over. 

Republicans, from presidential candidate Mitt Romney to Karl Rove to Senate leaders, urged Akin to withdraw before a Tuesday deadline for Missouri candidates.    But Akin has pressed ahead with his campaign, tweeting to supporters:    "Donations are pouring in. Thank you for standing up against the liberal elite." 

Rove's super PAC  "had put in more than $5 million into the Akin campaign, which was twice as much as the Akin campaign itself had put in. So he was responsible for Akin's lead over McCaskill more than anyone."     However, on the Akin controversy, Unger says,   "This is [Rove's] nightmare.    And he was doing everything he could to pull the plug immediately. ... This is not the conversation [the Republicans] want to have." 

While Rove was almost indicted for the Valerie Plame Wilson affair, he has reinvented himself to become the most powerful political operative in America.    Heading up the American Crossroads super PAC and the affiliated non-profit Crossroads GPS, Rove has built up a war chest that has given Mitt Romney a significant cash 
advantage in the fundraising race with President Obama

Missouri Senate Race:  Top Republicans, State GOP Engaged In Standoff 

Main Stream Republican, Todd Akin shares the views of Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney.     His mistake was telling the truth about what the GOP stands for.     Read the GOP platform if you want to see their views in print.     Akin has served 6 terms in Congress and supported the same republican values for all of that time.     Akin has worked closely with Paul Ryan for the whole time they shared in Washington.    Who do the GOP think they are fooling?    Republicans let nut jobs take over their party and it's too late to complain.

A game of political chicken is playing out among the nation's top Republicans and Missouri's embattled GOP nominee for the Senate.

Will Rep. Todd Akin eventually cave to party leaders' demands and drop his challenge to Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill?    Or will the Republican establishment conclude that their effort to take control of the Senate is too important and reluctantly support him, despite his inflammatory remarks about rape and pregnancy?

Two weeks after the remarks, each side remains stubbornly insistent that the other should blink.

If Akin refuses to quit, and deep-pocketed Republicans refuse to finance him,   "it's pretty much a done deal that we have given this race to Claire McCaskill,"   said Carol Thomas, one of many Missouri Republicans who backed Akin in an August primary but now bemoan the party's predicament.

The GOP quandary is this:   Party leaders no longer believe Akin can win, so they have abandoned him and vowed to pull millions of dollars of planned advertising.     But Akin, who still thinks he can unseat McCaskill, will have a much harder time doing so without their help.

In an interview with conservative activists this past week at the Republican National Convention, party Chairman Reince Priebus remained firmly against Akin – even if Akin is locked in a close race as the Nov. 6 election draws near.

"He could be tied. We're not going to send him a penny,"  Priebus said in the videotaped interview that was publicized by Akin's campaign.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee and the conservative Crossroads group have insisted they're not bluffing about revoking the money for anti-McCaskill ads.

Akin has been equally firm in his commitment to stay in the race.   He believes Republican leaders need to change their minds and says many voters are welcoming him back as he resumes campaigning.

"I'm sensing, as I'm on the road, a deep resentment of the people at the grassroots level of Missouri of being pushed aside and the party bosses wanting to appoint their own person,"    Akin told The Associated Press.     "There is an increasingly coalescing base of support for my race in Missouri."

Public opinion polls have varied, with some showing Akin still roughly even with McCaskill and others indicating he now trails.

Missouri's Senate race had been considered vital to the Republicans' goal of picking up the four seats necessary to regain control of the Senate.    But those chances diminished after Akin remarked in an interview that aired Aug. 19 on St. Louis television station KTVI that women's bodies have ways of avoiding pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape."      He repeatedly apologized, but many Republicans urged him to quit so the party could pick a replacement candidate.

"I think he's selfish. If he cared about his party, I think he would have dropped out,"  Thomas said.Akin denies any selfish ambitions.

"This decision is not about me at all,"  he told KTVI this past week. "America faces a choice of two entirely different futures.    This is about our country, and doing the right thing for our county.    And that has been the only thing that I've considered."

Stephen Nowels, a member of the Republican committee in St. Louis, said he will probably leave the Senate box blank or vote for a third-party candidate because of Akin's comments.

"Voters tend to forget stuff,"  said Nowels, who runs a violin store. But  "I don't think they're going to forget this one."

As Election Day approaches, it's more likely that Republican powerbrokers will give in than it is that Akin will budge, said longtime political scientist Richard Fulton, a professor at Northwest Missouri State University.

If Akin is within 5 percentage points in the polls in October,  "I think the big-money conservative PACS will find a way to get him some money,"  Fulton said.

But if top Republicans want to double-down on their opposition to Akin, there is another alternative.    Missouri law allows write-in candidates to file for office until Oct. 26.    That possibility gained steam last weekend when Republican strategist Mary Matalin suggested the GOP could field former state party Chairwoman Ann Wagner as a Senate write-in candidate.

Waging a write-in campaign would require Wagner to drop her bid to succeed Akin in his suburban St. Louis district, something that Wagner's campaign manager flatly rejected.

Missouri law prohibits the losers of party primaries from later filing as write-in candidates for the same office.    That means the Republican candidates who lost to Akin last month can't resume their campaigns.

Saint Louis University political scientist Ken Warren said it is "virtually impossible"  for write-in candidates to win.    Strom Thurmond did it in South Carolina in 1954.     But since then, only one Senate candidate has done so:     Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski won re-election as a write-in two years ago after losing in the Republican primary.

A write-in campaign would also carry a distinct risk:   In a three-way Senate race, another Republican could split the vote with Akin, allowing for an easy McCaskill win, Warren said.

Ohio Early Voting Ruling: Court Orders State To Restore 3 Days Of Voting Before Election Day

A federal judge sided with the Obama campaign and ruled Friday to order Ohio to restore three days of early voting before Election Day, a decision that could affect the outcome of the 2012 election in a key battleground state.

Judge Peter C. Economus of the Southern District Court of Ohio granted an injunction in favor of Obama For America, the Democratic National Committee and the Ohio Democratic Party, which sued Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to restore in-person voting in the last weekend before the election.

"On balance, the right of Ohio voters to vote in person during the last three days prior to Election Day -- a right previously conferred to all voters by the State -- outweighs the State's interest in setting the 6 p.m. Friday deadline," ruled the court.    "The burden on Ohio voters' right to participate in the national and statewide election is great, as evidenced by the statistical analysis offered by Plaintiffs and not disputed by Defendants.     Moreover, the State fails to articulate a precise, compelling interest in establishing the 6 p.m. 
Friday deadline as applied to non-UOCAVA [Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act] voters and has failed to evidence any commitment to the 'exception' it rhetorically extended to UOCAVA voters." 

The dispute over military voting spilled into the presidential campaign earlier this month, when the Mitt Romney campaign falsely accused the Obama campaign of trying to curtail rights for military voters, characterizing the lawsuit as an "outrage" and an effort to deprive military voters of extra days to vote.

The Obama campaign lawsuit seeks to expand the voting period for all voters, not to deprive military voters of that opportunity. The judge sided with the Obama camp, calling the early voting restrictions "arbitrary."

The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

After a chaotic 2004 election, Ohio passed a law allowing early in-person voting on the weekend before the election.    In 2008, some 93,000 Ohioans cast votes in that period.    Those who did so were more likely to be African-American. A study by Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates found blacks accounted for 56 percent of all in-
person early votes in Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, while they accounted for 26 percent of votes overall.    In Franklin County, which includes Columbus, African Americans cast 31 percent of early votes and 21 percent of votes overall.

The court ruled that the plaintiffs would suffer "irreparable injury" if early voting was not restored in the three days before election day. The judge also noted the plaintiffs' statistical evidence that low-income and minority voters would be disproportionately affected, which the defense did not counter.

Early voting was curtailed in 2011, when Ohio passed H.B. 194, cutting the number of early voting days and disallowing weekend voting except for military voters.    (Subsequent legislative actions have left the weekend voting restrictions in place.)    Husted ordered all Ohio counties to allow early voting during weekdays until 7 
p.m. in the last two days before the election, but not over the preceding weekend.    All voters were given the option of sending in an absentee ballot.

The Ohio Secretary of State's office said it was still reviewing the decision, and the Obama campaign has said that it intends to issue a statement.

University of California of Irvine Professor Rick Hasen wrote on his blog that the case could wind up before the Supreme Court.

This post has been updated to include previous comments by the Romney campaign on the lawsuit and further summary of the ruling.

Where is George W. Bush????

The curious and studied absence of the last Republican president from this year’s convention.

The name  “George W. Bush”  has not appeared in any convention speeches.    Absolutely, there were years between 2000 and 2009, and someone was in charge, but we are never told who.    We’re just told that it was lousy.    The election, said Paul Ryan, will not be fought over  “the economy as Barack Obama inherited it.”     The president, said Mike Huckabee, was  “aiming excuses at his predecessor,”  whatever his name was.

GW Knows where his heart is

Republican delegates aren’t stupid.    Unless they’re for Ron Paul, they probably liked Bush.     Some of them bought copies of Rebel-in-Chief and prayed for the president’s family and worked in GOP offices with pictures of Bush throwing the first pitch at a post-9/11 Yankees game.    And hey, Jeb Bush is here, flitting around to various education-themed and corporate-sponsored luncheons, speaking from the stage tonight.    But George Bush isn’t popular anymore, and hasn’t been popular in years.

“It’s a pragmatic approach,”  said North Dakota delegate Clare Carlson, shrugging.     “Obviously, his popularity wasn’t real high when he left office.    He seems to be comfortable with how he did as president, under difficult circumstances.”     To be more specific:     “Things went well for his presidency right up until the day the planes hit the twin towers.     It was downhill from there.     Then voters gave control of Congress to the Democrats.      As always things fall apart when the voters vote for  democrats.”

You hear this often from the ground-level Republicans, especially the Texas delegates.    They worked hard for the guy, and the media smeared him unfairly.     In 2007, as his approval ratings fell through floor after floor, Bush said that “history [was] going to have to judge” him.    That’s what everybody here expects.    History’s just not fair, yet.    Someday people will forget that GW and Chaney did a pretty lousy job and just remember that he was president.

“The smart thing to do is focus on here and now and not give President Obama an opportunity to bring up George Bush’s presidency,”  said Ari Fleischer, Bush’s first spokesman. “Obviously, I’m sorrowful about it.     I’m still who I was.”   But the offstage strategy would work.    “You create things that drive the news, and typically people ignore the things that aren’t in front of them.   If George Bush walked onstage, he’d get a huge ovation.    But people aren’t going to walk out of here wishing he was onstage.   Most of the delegates wished he had never been president at all.    Popularity won't come to him in his lifetime.”

Maybe not, but it’s a strange feeling to pretend that eight years of policymaking never happened.    “It’s too bad,”   said former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, who retired in 2006.    “He should be here.    We should celebrate with him.    That’s my feeling.    The first two years I was speaker, we paid down public debt.    Then we had 9/11.    Suddenly the huge Clinton surplus was gone and we didn't pay for the wars.     It just sort of fell apart.     We were not creating any jobs and the country was heading downhill.    Still I hope history will treat him well.    He was just in over his head.    We had an increase in spending, a steep increase, but it was almost all homeland security and national security spending and the war costs were huge.”

But what about the reasons Republicans distanced themselves from Bush?    The Tea Party movement, in its infancy, was framed up as a rebellion against both parties.    Yes, we screwed up, too.    The most effective Tea Party spokespeople corrected for Bush’s unpopularity by denouncing Medicare Part D and TARP—one popular program, one mess.    The movement—grassroots and donors and groups like the Club for Growth—tomahawked a couple of Republican incumbents, which had the long-term effect of changing everybody’s image.    That’s how Rep. Paul Ryan can say he was  “miserable during the last majority,”   when he was voting for the bills FreedomWorks hated.

“There’s no doubt that Mitt Romney and George W. Bush are very different men,”  said Ted Cruz, a former Bush lawyer who’s now a Tea Party-branded Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Texas.    “I think George W. Bush has made a decision to retire from public life, and not to intrude.    President Obama is not blamed for the things Bush did,  Bush has to carry the whole load, and I think that most people blame Bush.”

Polling supports that.    More people blame Bush for the recession—still, after three years—than Obama.    And that’s why the Bush name will make its first non-canned-video appearance at the start of Jeb’s speech.    He has to defend his brother even though doing so drags my image down, he told Fox News. “That’s kind of my role in life now, trying to cover for him and improve his image.    After the September 11 attacks he did do a very good job of keeping us safe.   We were not hit a second time.”

Vote Democratic

Register and Vote


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Platform Republicans Don't Want You To See, HERE At ACVDN

10 Odd Items in the GOP Platform

The Platform Represents 10 Good Reasons to Re-Elect President Obama

Any party platform is necessarily a compromise between a number of different interest groups.    Inevitably, there are always some odd or puzzling policy planks that make it in.   

Here are 10 strange items from this year’s Republican platform:

1)     Repeal the Sixteenth Amendment! Maybe… “In any restructuring of federal taxation, to guard against hypertaxation of the American people, any value added tax or national sales tax must be tied to the simultaneous repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment, which established the federal income tax.”

2)     Police the universities for liberal bias.   “Ideological bias is deeply entrenched within the current university system.   Whatever the solution in private institutions may be, in State institutions the trustees have a responsibility to the public to ensure that their enormous investment is not abused for political indoctrination.   We call on State officials to ensure that our public colleges and universities be places of learning and the exchange of ideas, not zones of intellectual intolerance favoring the Left.”

3)     Defend the Electoral College at all costs.    “We oppose the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact or any other scheme to abolish or distort the procedures of the Electoral College.” (See here for an explanation of the National Popular Vote compact.)

4)     End our dependence on foreign… fertilizer?  “Our dependence on foreign imports of fertilizer could threaten our food supply, and we support the development of domestic production of fertilizer.” (For those curious, here’s a longer analysis of America’s potential fertilizer woes.)

5)     Affirmative action for Republican officials inside the District of Columbia.   “D.C.’s Republicans have been in the forefront of exposing and combating the chronic corruption among the city’s top Democratic officials.   We join their call for a non-partisan elected Attorney General to clean up the city’s political culture and for 
congressional action to enforce the spirit of the Home Rule Act assuring minority representation on the City Council.    After decades of inept one-party rule, the city’s structural deficit demands congressional attention.”

6)     Selective statehood.   “We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state if they freely so determine.” So, good news for Puerto Rico.    But don’t get too excited, D.C.:    “We oppose statehood for the District of Columbia.”

7)     Step up the war against pornography. “Current laws on all forms of pornography and obscenity need to be vigorously enforced.”

8)     Innovation is all about freedom.    “Liberty alone fosters scientific inquiry, technological innovation, entrepreneurship, and information exchange.    Liberty must remain the core energy behind America’s environmental improvement.”

9)     Reconsider the gold standard. “Determined to crush the double-digit inflation that was part of the Carter Administration’s economic legacy, President Reagan, shortly after his inauguration, established a commission to consider the feasibility of a metallic basis for U.S. currency.    The commission advised against such a move.    Now, three decades later, as we face the task of cleaning up the wreckage of the current Administration’s policies, we propose a similar commission to investigate possible ways to set a fixed value for the dollar.”

10)     No minimum wage for the Mariana Islands.    “The Pacific territories should have flexibility to determine the minimum wage, which has seriously restricted progress in the private sector.”

This is hopeless.    I'm glad I am also running to keep my Congressional seat.    At least I'll have a job after the election.

Two Platforms, Then and Now

One party platform stated that Hispanics and others should not “be barred from education or employment opportunities because English is not their first language.”   It highlighted the need for “dependable and affordable” mass transit in cities, noting that “mass transportation offers the prospect for significant energy conservation.”    And it prefaced its plank on abortion by saying that “we recognize differing views on this question among Americans in general — and in our own party.”

The other party platform said that “we support English as the nation’s official language.”    It chided the Democratic administration for “replacing civil engineering with social engineering as it pursues an exclusively urban vision of dense housing and government transit.”    And its abortion plank recognized no dissent, taking the position that  “the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.”

No, they are not the platforms of the Democratic and Republican Parties. They are both Republican platforms: 
the first from 1980, at the dawn of the Reagan revolution, and the second the 2012 Republican platform that was approved on Tuesday afternoon in Tampa, Fla.   The Platform’s Sharp Turn to Right has the Nut-Jobs jumping for joy.

The new platform — with its call to reshape Medicare to give fixed amounts of money to future beneficiaries so they can buy their own coverage, its tough stance on illegal immigration and its many calls to shrink the size and scope of government — shows just how far rightward the party has shifted in both tone and substance in the decades since it adopted the 1980 platform, which was considered a triumph for conservatives at the time.

Subtitled  “We Believe in America,”  the platform keeps its focus on the party’s traditional support for low taxes, national security and social conservatism.   And it delves into a number of politically charged issues.   It calls state court decisions recognizing same-sex marriage  “an assault on the foundations of our society,”  opposes gun legislation that would limit “the capacity of clips or magazines,” supports the  “public display of the Ten Commandments,”  calls on the federal government to drop its lawsuits challenging state laws adopted to combat illegal immigration, and salutes the Republican governors and lawmakers who “saved their states from fiscal disaster by reforming their laws governing public employee unions.”

Gov. Bob (Vaginal Probe) McDonnell of Virginia, the chairman of the party’s platform committee, described it as 
“a conservative vision of governance” in his speech at the convention.

Platforms are often mocked as unread and unimportant. Both parties have seen their platforms shaped over the years by special-interest groups, or in the hopes of appealing to single-issue voters, in ways that appealed to their bases but at times took them outside mainstream political opinion.

Mitt Romney, like most recent Republican nominees, has noted that he supports certain exceptions to his party’s 
proposed sweeping ban on abortion: he told CBS News that he favors exceptions in cases of rape, incest and when 
the health or life of the mother is endangered. And this week the House speaker, John A. Boehner, pointedly asked,  “Have you ever met anybody who has read the party platform?”

Well John that is about to change.   Plenty of Americans are reading the GOP Platform in 2012 and 65% don't like or agree with the hard right conservative language and wing nut religiousity.

But some political scientists say that party platforms do matter. Gerald M. Pomper, a professor emeritus of political science at Rutgers University, studied meaningful platform pledges from 1944 to 1976 — and later updated his work by looking at the 1990s — and found that winning political parties try to redeem roughly 70 percent of their concrete platform pledges.   Mr. Pomper said his work found that contrary to popular belief, party platforms should not be casually dismissed as meaningless.

“It seemed strange to me that people would have fights over platforms and would put in a lot of effort to try to influence them if they didn’t mean anything,” he said in an interview.   “If they didn’t, why were practical people fighting over this? Putting something into the party platform is a pledge that you’re going to do something about it.”

Several prominent conservatives and conservative groups praised the new platform.    FreedomWorks, an advocacy 
group associated with the Tea Party movement, applauded the Republican Party for adopting much of what it called “the Tea Party’s ‘Freedom Platform.’    ” Phyllis Schlafly, a longtime conservative icon, wrote in The Washington Times that this year’s Republican platform “may be the best one ever adopted.”   And the platform’s gun-rights section — which included the party’s support for “the fundamental right to self-defense wherever a law-abiding citizen has a legal right to be” — drew strong praise from the National Rifle Association.

David Keene, president of the association, said on the group’s Web site that  “the 2008 platform of the Republican Party was perhaps the most gun-friendly platform that any party had ever adopted, and I’m happy to be able to report that this year’s Republican platform is even stronger in terms of dedicating a major party to the protection of the Second Amendment.”

This year’s Republican platform contains several planks that were sought by supporters of Representative Ron Paul of Texas, whose insurgent Republican presidential campaign energized a new generation of libertarians.   It calls for an annual audit of the Federal Reserve, and for forming a commission to “investigate possible ways to set a fixed value for the dollar”  along the lines of a commission that was established three decades ago to study — and wound up opposing — a return to the gold standard.

The proposal to reshape Medicare, as Mr. Romney and his running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, 
have proposed, is now enshrined in the party platform.

Their plan would change the program for those under 55 so that they would receive a fixed amount of money to purchase health coverage from private insurers, or a traditional Medicare plan.    “While retaining the option of traditional Medicare in competition with private plans, we call for a transition to a premium-support model for Medicare, with an income-adjusted contribution toward a health plan of the enrollee’s choice,”  that platform states.

The platform also suggests raising the age at which people can receive Medicare.    “Without disadvantaging retirees or those nearing retirement, the age eligibility for Medicare must be made more realistic in terms of today’s longer life span,” it says.

President Obama and his policies are critiqued at length in the platform, which calls for repealing his health care law and criticizes his administration for leaking details of the operation that killed Osama bin Laden.

“We give the current president credit for maintaining his predecessor’s quiet determination and planning to bring to justice the man behind the 9/11 attack on America, but he has tolerated publicizing the details of the operation to kill the leader of Al Qaeda,” the platform reads.

The people who wrote the Republican Party Platform are nut jobs and they have taken over control of the party from its previous semi-sensible owners.   How much farther right can this party swing and how long can the madness continue?

2012 Republican Platform To Advocate Abortion Ban Without Rape Exception

Republican politicians have been falling over themselves to condemn from Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican Senate candidate in Missouri, who said Sunday that women who have experienced “legitimate rape” don’t get pregnant because  “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”     The Romney-Ryan campaign called Akin’s comments  “insulting, inexcusable and frankly wrong,”  in spite of Ryan’s close working relationship with 
Akin on a number of radical anti-abortion and contraception bills.    A Romney spokesperson added that the  “Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.”

Todd Akin, Famous Republican Ultra Conservative Idiot and virtual twin to Paul Ryan.    This dynamic duo has written more anti-abortion bills than they care to explain.

But embracing a rape exception for abortion rights would put the campaign at odds with the Republican Party’s longstanding platform, the newest iteration of which will be officially unveiled at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.   In spite of the massive public outcry from the right over Akin’s comments, the official GOP platform committee drafted a provision Monday supporting a “human life amendment”  that would outlaw abortion without specifying exemptions for rape or incest.    The platform reads:

Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.    We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.

Heading the committee is Gov. Bob "Vaginal Probe" McDonnell (R-VA), best known for his  “mandatory ultrasound”   law requiring any woman getting an abortion to undergo an unnecessary ultrasound.    McDonnell also revealed his regressive position on women’s rights in his college thesis, which slandered working women, contraception, and  “fornicators.”     It’s no surprise, then, that under his guidance, the Republican Party will reaffirm its support for a constitutional amendment that would outlaw abortion and likely many forms of contraception.

In saying they would not oppose a rape exception, Romney and Ryan are both changing their tune.     Romney said in 2007 he would be  “delighted”  to sign a bill banning all abortions, and Ryan has been staunchly anti-abortion in all cases, even attempting to restrict abortion access to victims of  “forcible rape”  only.

The human life amendment has been a tenet of the Republican Party platform since the dawn of the Reagan era in 1980.    It has survived for 32 years and nine presidential elections, even after former presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) pushed hard in 2000 for an explicit exception for rape and incest.    McCain ceded the language to party officials during his own run in 2008.





Pennsylvania GOP Senate Candidate Tom Smith says "Getting Pregnant From Rape Is ‘Similar’ To Having A Baby Out Of Wedlock".

Once again republicans show they don't know squat about women's issues.

Tom Smith, a Tea Party-endorsed candidate running against Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA).   Sensible people everywhere are pulling for a Bob Casey Victory.

In the aftermath of Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) offensive and medically inaccurate comments that  “legitimate rape” doesn’t often lead to pregnancy, Republicans have been scrambling to distance themselves from Akin.    However, in addition to pushing policies that are very much in line with Akin’s anti-choice views, some GOP candidates have similar ignorance about the nature of sexual assault.

Tom Smith, the Republican challenging Sen. Bob Casey’s (D-PA) seat, suggested that having a child out of wedlock was analogous to rape during an interview with a reporter at a press club this afternoon, claiming that it would have a  “similar”  effect on a father:

MARK SCOLFORO, ASSOCIATED PRESS:    How would you tell a daughter or a granddaughter who, God forbid, would be the victim of a rape, to keep the child against her own will?     Do you have a way to explain that?

SMITH:    I lived something similar to that with my own family.   She chose life, and I commend her for that.   She knew my views.  But, fortunately for me, I didn’t have to.. she chose they way I thought.  No don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t rape.

SCOLFORO:   Similar how?

SMITH:   Uh, having a baby out of wedlock.

SCOLFORO:   That’s similar to rape?

SMITH:    No, no, no, but… put yourself in a father’s situation, yes. It is similar.    But, back to the original, I’m pro-life, period.

After the reporter pressed Smith on his comments, he tried to backtrack by saying,   “I didn’t say that”  and reiterating that he doesn’t condone rape.    Despite Smith’s condemnation of rape, however, his harmful comparison only serves to diminish the seriousness of rape’s impact on its victims.   Clearly, it is impossible 
to equate women who have a child out wedlock from consensual sex with women who become impregnated by a rapist following a sexual assault.   Smith’s paternalistic sentiment fails to recognize the weight of the crime of sexual assault, just as Akin’s outrageous comments did.

Republicans lack common sense and make up things to support their positions.

Abortions Drop When Number of Insured Residents Goes Up.

Mitt did a good thing when he created Romney Care but the right wing elements of his chosen party made him hide from it.

Mitt Romney’s home state of Massachusetts — where Romney enacted a health care reform initiative that President Obama later drew on as inspiration for his own Obamacare policies — is somewhat of a test case for national health care reform, as researchers examine the impact that increased accessed to insurance has had on the state’s residents.    And if Massachusetts is any indication, the Republicans who have already spent 89 hours and 
$51 million dollars attempting to repeal Obama’s health care law have been concentrating their efforts on rolling back pro-life policies.

A 2010 Harvard study on the first two years of Romneycare’s implementation found that as the numbers of insured residents went up between 2007 and 2009, the numbers of abortions in the state went down.    And new data reveals that the abortion rate declined even more sharply after 2009, something the Harvard study couldn’t have predicted at the time:

As the number of people with insurance goes up the number of abortions goes down.

In a recent interview with the Atlantic, the Harvard specialist who authored the 2010 study said he believes the improved health insurance services under Romneycare led to the continuing decrease in abortion rates after his study’s conclusion.    “When women have more stable access to medical care, they’re more likely to see 
doctors, they’re more likely to have somebody inquiring about their sexual health,”   he said.    “The fact that you have somebody who cares about you results in people being healthier, and that includes not getting pregnant if they don’t want to be.”

Thanks to Obamacare’s unpopularity among Republicans, Romney doesn’t take credit for first implementing the health care policies that provided the foundation for Obama’s health care law.   However, considering the fact that health reform helps prevent abortions — even Romney himself once rightfully described Massachusetts’ health reform as  “the ultimate pro-life policy” — he might not want to keep pushing to reverse it.


Register and Vote
If You Don't Vote You Don't Matter


Blog Archive