Almost a year after the 47% failed to elect its standard-bearer, Mitt Romney, Congressional Republicans are still trying to implement his platform. In what the New York Times editorial board calls a "ransom note," GOP representatives presented its list of demands yesterday.
Surprise! It's the failed 2012 Republican Platform that includes the Paul Ryan budget, delaying Obamacare for a year (conveniently putting implementation off until after the 2014 midterms), means-testing Medicare, repealing Wall Street reforms, and gutting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
No millionaire gets left behind, but the rest of us are left in the dust.
As we sit transfixed by the slow progress of Hurricane Sandy up the east coast, a huge relief operation is mobilizing to help those affected. First responders, national guard troops, the Red Cross.... and FEMA - the government agency the do-nothing Republican Congress has tried to kill.
Alabama's GOP senators and representatives have been leaders in that effort and we've chronicled their antics here at LIA:
Having received federal FEMA funds for Alabama, in September 2011, Brooks was happy to cut FEMA funding because... well... we got ours! U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R) said most of the FEMA money for north Alabama storm victims had already been distributed, minimizing the local impact of any potential shutdown.
And that's just on the state level. National Republicans have been just as hostile from Congresscritters to the top of the GOP ticket.
We cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we'll all be dead and gone before it's paid off. It makes no sense at all.
"FEMA also helps states and local governments repair or replace public facilities and infrastructure, which often is not insured," the CBPP report explained. "This form of discretionary federal aid would be subject to cuts under the Ryan budget. If it were scaled back substantially, states and localities would need to bear a larger share of the costs of disaster response and recovery, or attempt to make do with less during difficult times."
Though we’d rather she not, Hurricane Sandy offers an object lesson just in time for Election Day. The Tea Party and its favorite politicians dream of a federal government stripped down to next to nothing. They would slash the budget, meaning quick and efficient response to a multi-state natural disaster would be impossible. Grover Norquist, the anti-tax zealot Republicans must obey, sums up the logic better than we can: “My goal is to cut government in half in 25 years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”
For some, those are comforting words. At least they are until the flood waters and high winds have damaged your home, your family, your school, your ability to make a living and so on. Then that much-despised government can mean the difference in recovery time.
Now, let's cue the Republican whining about Democrats "playing politics" with a disaster. You know it's coming: they enjoy it so much that they make up stuff to whine about (Google "War on Christmas" for an example). But just remind them of those pesky facts.
The GOP was willing to hold FEMA emergency disaster relief aid hostage during the debt ceiling debate. It's the Paul Ryan budget - passed by the House of Representative - that would have made this large-scale disaster response well nigh impossible. Democrats stood in the way and it's not "playing politics" to point out the obvious.
The election is just 7 days away and the choice is clear. An effective government that works for the benefit of all citizens... or a government structure that's totally beholden to Grover Norquist & company.
Here's conservative darlingPaul Ryan in action -- washing clean dishes at a soup kitchen. Ryan got there too late for a photo op with the down on their luck folks who rely on the soup kitchen for hot meals, so he pretended to help clean up the already cleaned kitchen.
Brian J. Antal, president of the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society, said that he was not contacted by the Romney campaign ahead of the Saturday morning visit by Ryan, who stopped by the soup kitchen after a town hall at Youngstown State University.
“We’re a faith-based organization; we are apolitical because the majority of our funding is from private donations,” Antal said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. “It’s strictly in our bylaws not to do it. They showed up there, and they did not have permission. They got one of the volunteers to open up the doors.”
He added: “The photo-op they did wasn’t even accurate. He did nothing. He just came in here to get his picture taken at the dining hall.”
“Had they asked for permission, it wouldn’t have been granted. … But I certainly wouldn’t have let him wash clean pans, and then take a picture,” Antal said.
Seriously, next time a conservative starts in about the importance of voting for the candidate with character, ask if he or she supports Ryan and his fellow liar, Mitt Romney. If the answer is yes, ask where they found a clothespin big enough to hold their nose enough to vote for these two do-anything, say-anything, character-free, lying politicians.
It doesn't add up. Even Republicans agree. Here's Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist and former McCain adviser Mark Zandi on CNN today saying that, despite Congressman Ryan’s claims in last night’s debate, Mitt Romney’s tax math does not add up. The independent, non-partisan Tax Policy Center’s analysis, which Zandi called “the definitive study” on the Romney tax plan, concluded that it would be impossible to put in place the $5 trillion in specific tax cuts Romney has proposed without raising taxes on middle class families by cutting deductions they rely on (like the mortgage deduction, which Ryan specifically ducked) or exploding the deficit.
ZANDI: Yeah, I think the Tax Policy Center study is the definitive study. They're non-partisan, they're very good. They say given the numbers that they've been provided by the Romney campaign, no, it will not add up. Now, the Romney campaign could adjust their plan. They could say okay I'm not going to lower tax rates as much as I'm saying right now and they could make the arithmetic work. But under the current plan, with the current numbers, no it doesn't. I’ll say one other thing, though. I think it is important that we do focus on the so-called tax expenditures in the tax code. Those are the deductions, and credits, and loopholes in the code. We need to reduce those, because if we do we're going to make the tax system fairer, easier to understand and ultimately lead to stronger growth. So that's the right place to focus. But, no, the arithmetic doesn't work as it is right now.
I was thrilled to see moderator Martha Raddatz push Ryan for "specifics" and "math" about those tax claims he and Mitt Romney have been making. Of course, Ryan could provide neither.
RYAN: We want to work with the congress and help us to achieve this. That means successful.
RADDATZ: With no specifics?
RYAN: What we're saying is lower tax rates 20 percent, start with the wealthy, work with congress --
RADDATZ: can you guarantee this math will add up?
RYAN: Absolutely. Six studies have guaranteed. Six studies have verified that this math adds up.
And those "six studies" Ryan cites? They don't exist. Even five studies don't exist. What exists are some rightwing opinion pieces and a blog post which Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney choose to cite -- repeatedly -- as nonpartisan "studies."
When pressed last night on the home mortgage deduction, which the Tax Policy Center's analysis indicates would have to be on the cutting table under the Romney/Ryan "math," Paul Ryan squirmed and dodged:
RYAN: Yeah, we're saying close loopholes...
RADDATZ: Home mortgage deduction?
RYAN: ... on high-interest people.
RADDATZ: Home mortgage deduction?
RYAN: For higher-income people. Here...
BIDEN: Can you guarantee that no one making less than $100,000 will have a mortgage -- their mortgage deduction impacted? Guarantee?
RYAN: This taxes a million small businesses. He keeps trying to make you think that it's just some movie star or hedge fund guy or an actor...
Me and Barack or this used car salesman and his boss with the Swiss bank account?
A CBS snap poll of uncommitted voters last night found that 50% of them said Joe Biden won the debate vs. just 31% who say Paul Ryan did. Here's a key take-away from that snap poll:
Following the debate, more uncommitted voters think Vice President Biden shares their positions on issues than think Ryan does.
That's a product of moments like this, where Biden pointedly asked viewers "Who do you trust on this?":
Quickly. The bottom line here is that all the studies show that if we went with Social Security proposal made by Mitt Romney, if you're 40 -- in your 40s now you will pay $2,600 a year -- you get $2,600 a year less in Social Security. If you're in your 20s now, you get $4,700 (inaudible) less. The idea of changing, and change being in this case to cut the benefits for people without taking other action you could do to make it work is absolutely the wrong way.
These -- look, these guys haven't been big on Medicare from the beginning. Their party's not been big on Medicare from the beginning. And they've always been about Social Security as little as you can do.
Yes, conservatives have hated Social Security and Medicare from Day 1. They want to end both programs, plus anything else that helps working people get a hand up or a fair shake. Kudos to Biden for being forthright enough to mention that on national television. This is from Charles Pierce's excellent and entertaining commentary on the Biden-Ryan debate...
...the battering that Biden gave Ryan brought something into sharp relief that the Republican party has been fudging ever since Romney put the zombie-eyed granny-starver on the ticket — that, for his entire political career up to that point, on critical economic issues, Paul Ryan was an extremist even by the standards of the modern Republican party, which are considerably high indeed. He was for full privatization of Social Security. He was for the absolute elimination of the defined-benefit Medicare and Medicaid programs. Since being selected, it has become clear that the Romney people have forced him to soften these positions. (His stance on Medicare, for example, has evolved from Kill It Now to Arrange for Its Slow Death Later.) On Thursday night, Biden dragged out the old Paul Ryan — and, I would argue, the real Paul Ryan — and put him on display, and he made the new Paul Ryan own him. For one brief moment, he almost got Ryan to commit to Social Security privatization again. You could hear the screams from Romney headquarters all the way up the Charles to where I was watching.
Biden also "savaged" Ryan-Romney on the 47% crap and with a single throw hit Republicans on both their pledge to Grover Norquist and their disrespect toward American troops:
Accusing Romney of criticizing the non-tax-paying soldiers “who are fighting in Afghanistan right now,” Biden continued: “It’s about time they take some responsibility here and instead of signing pledges to Grover Norquist … they should be signing a pledge to the middle class saying they’re going to level the playing field.”
Since the Republican convention, Ryan has been buried in a pair of debate-prep binders – one for foreign issues, one for domestic. As Ryan rewrote and edited his responses, the drafts were sent to Boston for fact-checking, then added to the binders. Ryan plans to call out the President and Vice President for what he considers mischaracterizations of GOP positions ...
And did you get that last line? Paul Ryan, who has lied about everything from his marathon time to asking for Stimulus money to his plan to end Social Security as we know it, is going to accuse Joe Biden and President Obama of lying. It's the time-honored "you are what I am" strategy.
Here's a refresher on Paul Ryan's lying ways, The 7 Habits of Highly Misleading People, courtesy of OFA:
Most serial liars have "tells," some little involuntary tic they do just before they tell a whopper. I used to work with a guy who always made this little throat-clearing noise before embarking on an embellishment. Watching that video, I think Paul Ryan's "tell" is a funny little movement he makes with his chin. Watch him tonight and tell me if I'm right.
Given that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan still poll better with senior citizens than any other age group (over 65 is the only group they're winning now) maybe they should stop explaining their plan for gutting Medicare to older Americans. The more seniors hear of Romney & Ryan, the less they like them.
One of our political parties used to preach a lot about character. That's fine. All of us applaud honesty and integrity on the part of public servants ... but the party of character, the same party that impeached Bill Clinton for lying about an affair, has put forth some pretty damned characterless standard bearers in 2012.
Mitt Romney has held at least two different positions on every major issue of of our time -- from women's health to gay marriage to climate change to Romneycare. He's running for flip-flopper in chief, apparently, so we can forget about knowing where he really stands on an issue. He's liable to stand somewhere completely different tomorrow.
Then there's VP nominee, Paul Ryan. Not only did he give one of the most "breathtakingly dishonest" addresses ever heard at a party convention (and seriously, that covers a lot of territory), he even lies about small personal issues like running marathons.
A spokesman confirmed late Friday that the Republican vice presidential candidate has run one marathon. That was the 1990 Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota, where Ryan, then 20, is listed as having finished in 4 hours, 1 minute, and 25 seconds.
So Ryan shaved roughly 25% off his time -- and claimed to have run multiple marathons, not just one. A man who casually lies about something that doesn't matter, like his marathon time, will also lie as a matter of course about truly important things, like his plans for Medicare, Social Security and the rest of the social safety net. Paul Ryan simply can't be trusted to be straight with the public about either the big stuff or the small stuff.
GOP: Party of Liars
As Maureen Dowd states, the whole Republican convention was a "colossal hoax" intended to make us believe these people care about ordinary mortals.
Republicans care deeply. They really do.
They care deeply about making us think that they care deeply.
"We are in the persuasion business, the propaganda business…. [Ads] are manipulative pieces of persuasive art.”
By their own actions, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and the people surrounding them have failed to display the character and moral fiber that would fit them for high public office. It's shocking that the party which used to claim character is everything has now become the party of no deception is too great, as long as it helps us win.
Laying out the first plans for his party's presidential ticket, GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan took some factual shortcuts Wednesday night when he attacked President Barack Obama's policies on Medicare, the economic stimulus and the budget deficit.
The Anniston Star dissects the grammatical error Republicans used as their theme Tuesday, "you didn't build that."
Many a proud Alabama conservative walks around sputtering about “you didn’t build that” while depending on handouts from the federal government that have long propped up the state’s schools, roads and bridges, aid to the poor and public-safety efforts.
Paul Ryan's speech last night is taking a lot of hits on the dishonesty front:
It's being billed as his reintroduction to America but Ryan is expected to say nice things about his boss, Mitt Romney, and kind of gloss over his plans to take America back to, roughly, the 1920s. You know, ending Medicare as we know it, privatizing Social Security, cutting food stamps & Pell grants, "catch and release for immigrants" and his truly nineteenth century views on women. Here's a better introduction to Paul Ryan than you're likely to hear tonight.
Q: Would you support or oppose a constitutional amendment banning all abortions without any exceptions, even in case of rape, incest, or where the life of the mother is threatened?
Support: 13 Oppose: 75 Not sure: 12
The official position of the Republican Party -- as written in their party platform -- is exactly the same as Todd Akin's. It is out of step, and unpopular, with real Americans ... like these Raging Grannies. [Note, the last little bit of their song is not safe for work.]
I can't wait to see what the Grannies have to say about Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Tom Smith who says rape is just like an unintended pregnancy. Like Akin, he was just telling the reporter what he really believes, completely oblivious that his view is miles apart from that of most Americans.
Even Republican women find the radical personhood agenda too extreme -- not to mention hypocritical and outright anti-woman. GOP candidates seeking election in moderate states are running away from their party's position on abortion and rape. The no exceptions, no matter what, abortion plank is so radical unpopular that even Mitt Romney is trying to flip-flop away from it.
No can do. Mitt Romney bought this platform, his people were in the room when the language was approved, he's made a deal with the most extreme elements of a very extreme political party -- Mitt now owns their radical views. If he wins, Romney would owe his election to the ultraconservatives. They'll call the shots; no way he would be able buck those extreme elements and govern as a moderate.
If you like the Republican platform, you'll love a Mitt Romney presidency. The other 75% of us will hate it. This is why it's important to vote.
"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," the draft platform declares. "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."
And remember how Mitt Romney promised that a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose a woman's right to choose an abortion in cases of rape? That is in direct conflict with Paul Ryan's views (honestly, Mitt Romney's views don't matter since he doesn't have any honest personal views left) that all abortion should be outlawed. Ryan even goes further than outlawing abortion in cases of rape or incest. He co-sponsored with Todd Akin the Sanctity of Life Act which would confer personhood status on fertilized eggs. Bye-bye in vitro fertilization. Bye-bye many forms of contraception. Hello, Dark Ages.
“What it says is that a single cell can achieve all the protections the Constitution of the United States bestows on persons,” [Rep. Louise] Slaughter said of the bill. “Scientifically the law is crazy.”
Clearly, the Romney-Ryan ticket is much, much closer to Todd Akin's position than Mitt Romney wants the public to see, as the Republican party platform reveals. Women's health advocate Sandra Fluke said the following in an email yesterday. I can't improve upon her words.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan tried to distance themselves from the remark -- but the fact is they're in lockstep with Akin on the major women's health issues of our time. Just this morning, the Republican Party voted to include the "Human Life Amendment" in their platform, calling for a constitutional ban on abortions nationwide, even for rape victims. Several Romney supporters and advisers stood silently by while this vote took place, and the Los Angeles Times reports that the platform "was written at the direction of Romney's campaign."
CNN's Peter Hamby reported that top Romney advisers stood silently by as the Akin amendment banning abortion even in the cases of rape and incest was incorporated into the Republican Party’s platform. They could have stopped it, they could have changed it, but they chose not to -- notwithstanding Romney's statements on Monday.
MALVEAUX: How do you square this - Mitt Romney said he would allow abortions in cases of rape. How does he square that with the party's platform?
HAMBY: Yeah, you're right. This might be the most important point of contention today. In the wake of those Todd Akin comments about “legitimate rape” and abortion, Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, who is an ally on issues like this with Paul -- excuse me, with Todd Akin in the house, Romney came out and said that under a Romney presidential administration they would allow exceptions for rape. However, the party that he is going to officially assume control of next week in Tampa is saying that there is no official exemptions. They're not going to put it in the platform. Social conservatives that I have talked to said it would be a mistake for Romney to do that, it would only aggravate the Republican base. So it is somewhat at odds of what the base of his party did here today in Tampa, Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: I know there's a process where the party has to officially adopt its platform. There's going to be the convention coming up, of course, in less than a week or so. Was there any way they could have avoided this from happening, that they would have to adopt this today? Could they have put it off for another couple days or not possible?
HAMBY: I mean, this was always on the schedule. Monday and Tuesday was when the Republican Party Platform Committee, which is charged with drafting the party's official positions, was supposed to meet. The Romney campaign was in the room for this. There were several top Romney advisers in the back of the room. Romney ally Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell chaired the committee. Romney advisers like Jim Bopp and Jim Talent were on the committee. They effectively had a lot of control over this process but at the same time they let this language go through. As the same time, again, they'd rather not be talking about abortion. But they’re making a choice here. Do they want to unnecessarily aggravate the Republican base and also drag this story out for another few days?
What do you believe about Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan? Their actions or their words? Todd Akin drew unwelcome attention to the extreme position of the Republican party. Romney and Ryan have addressed that as a PR problem, attempting to distance themselves from Akins words, but they have made no attempt to walk away from Akin's policies. Nor will they, because Paul Ryan actually agrees with Akin and Mitt Romney ... well Romney agrees with whatever GOP extremists tell him he does.
Well, let me first of all say the views expressed were offensive.
Rape is rape.
And the idea that we should be parsing, and qualifying, and slicing what types of rape we’re talking about, doesn’t make sense to the American people. And certainly doesn’t make sense to me.
So, what I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women.
And although these particular comments have led Governor Romney and other Republicans to distance themselves, I think the underlying notion that we should be making decisions on behalf of women for their healthcare decisions, or qualifying forcible rape versus non-forcible rape, I think those are broader issues, and that is a significant difference in approach between me and the other party.
Thank you, Mr. President. Rape is rape.
There is no "legitimate" rape. Whether a woman is physically battered, drugged, mentally coerced or simply too young to consent, sexual intercourse without a woman's consent is rape. Period. The mindset that conceives of "legitimate rape" or draws a distinction between "forcible rape" and any other kind of rape is on a dangerously slippery slope to a -- thankfully - bygone era.
This would have sent women back to the bad old days, where a broken jaw or other obvious injury was required to “prove’’ a rape. The reality is that most rapes are not committed by total strangers, and drugs, alcohol, and power relationships are the weapons of choice.
If you've wondered why so many Republicans are bent on criminalizing abortion -- both for women and for physicians -- and refuse to include an exception for rape or incest, wonder no more. Enter US Senate candidate Todd Akin (R) to explain that women don't get pregnant as a result of "legitimate rape."
"If it is a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down.
Akin's claim that "legitimate rape" miraculously includes contraception is hogwash, of course. We should have known the Republican War on Science would eventually join hands with the Republican War on Women, but who could have predicted their offspring would be so willfully and offensively stupid?
The implication of his position is that if you were raped and became pregnant, you must have actually wanted it—it wasn't really rape.
This isn't the first time Akin has expressed fringe views about rape in the context of the abortion debate. Last year, Akin, vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and most of the House GOP co-sponsored a bill that would have narrowed the already-narrow exceptions to the laws banning federal funding for abortion—from all cases of rape to cases of "forcible rape."
Does GOP vice-presidential nominee-to-be Paul Ryan also believe "legitimate rape" provides protection from pregnancy? Do Alabama Republicans Robert Aderholt, Spencer Bachus, Jo Bonner, Mo Brooks, Martha Roby and Mike Rogers? They all signed onto the "forcible rape" language in HR3 last year.
Attempting to head off awkward questions, the Romney-Ryan campaign has issued a statement distancing themselves from Akins' boneheaded statement:
"Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape," Andrea Saul, a Romney spokesperson, told The Huffington Post.
Has Ryan really changed his long-held belief, or can we look for another Romney flip-flop to the Ryan (and Akin) position? There's not much discernable daylight between Romney and Ryan on women's issues ... and that's evidence of just how far to the right Mitt Romney has been willing to move. I suspect he'll move right again as soon as it's politically expedient.
According to Roger Stone, a (former) Republican political hack:
My sources tell me David Koch played a key role in Ryan's selection and that Koch's wife Julia had been quietly lobbying for Ryan. The selection was cemented at the July 22nd fundraiser Koch held for Romney at the former's sumptuous Hamptons estate.
Koch pledged $100 million more to C-4 and Super PAC efforts for Romney for Ryan's selection.
I don't know anyone over 50 who wants to trade the guaranteed coverage of Medicare -- whether they already have it or ar just looking forward to getting it -- to take a chance hunting private insurance with a 'coupon.' And paying an ever increasing share of the insurance cost out of their own (shrinking) retirement funds.
Medicare is a program that works -- if you have family with Medicare coverage you probably know that. We don't need to end Medicare, we need to expand it.
For weeks we've been asking what's hiding in Mitt Romney's tax returns, now we must also ask what is Mitt Romney hiding in Paul Ryan's tax returns? Did they both use tax avoidance schemes to reduce their tax bills -- maybe all the way to ZERO some years? Did Paul Ryan take advantage of inside information available to members of Congress, the accusation that got Spencer Bachus into so much trouble? Does Ryan maybe use the very tax loopholes he claims to despise?
What in those tax returns could be so bad it's worth the price of continuing expanding the cover-up?
Okay there was a huge reaction - on network news, cable news, Facebook, Twitter, and even LIA - to the selection of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's running mate. Everyone has his/her opinion as to why this choice was made, and everyone has a guess as to what the net effect will be.
In a comment on another diary, I suggested that this may be another attempt on Romney's part to create a large enough distraction to take our collective minds off his refusal to release tax returns. I seriously think this is a possiblity, since the dialogue of the past two weeks has been dragging the Mittster's poll numbers steadily down. The kerfuffle in England didn't hold the public's attention as long as Mitt may have hoped, and maybe he hopes the Ryan selection will be the talk of the nation going into the GOP convention.
If there is validity to my theory, it would seem that Mitt again fails to get it. Does he think we will not notice the news item that says he required everyone on his short list to submit several years of income tax returns as part of the vetting process? Does he think we will miss the irony in this? It is important for a presidential candidate to know the background of his VP choice, but the electorate has no right to the same information about a POTUS candidate?
MSNBC is all a twitter with the news that Romney will announce Paul Ryan as his veep choice. Announcement is scheduled for this morning. The past being prologue, I think it's swell for a "too moderate" candidate to pick a Tea Bagger to shore up his base. Worked well for McCain.
And picking a Catholic would help with some voters, but maybe not one who is under attack from "Nuns on a Bus" and his own bishop for his "immoral and un-Catholic" budget plan.
What think you peeps? Nate Silver doubts Ryan can deliver Wisconsin, so what the hell? Does this help or hurt Romney?