What issues drove the GOP grinches out of their lairs in the middle of the holiday season? Oh, the usual suspects: abortion, euthanasia, God, and national sovereignty. Oh, and because describing our efforts to the rest of the would would be, in the words of the National Review, self-abasement:
And we haven’t even started on how self-abasing it would be for the U.S. to comply with the treaty. Every four years, we would be required to put together an interagency report on our disability-rights record (a project that would cost millions), and also to send a delegation (usually of at least 20 people) to Geneva to appear before a panel of international disability-rights experts. Panels of this sort often vilify our country’s human-rights record, according to Groves. “I’ve attended these sessions,” he says. “They’re absolutely insulting.”
Holy Buckets Of Bunk Batman!
But the scary thing is that this "anti" screed is the sane one. At Wing Nut Daily (no link, y'all - use "the Google" if you're that curious), none other than GOP 2nd place finisher (and winner of the 2012 AL GOP presidential primary) Rick Santorum, was spreading the cockamamie conspiracy theory that the treaty would require medical personnel to let his 4 year old daughter, Bella, die because she's battling a rare genetic disorder.
Senator Mike Lee declared on the floor of the Senate that because the treaty says that those with disabilities should have "equal access to reproductive health care," then it will inexorably lead to .... abortion! Because every road on the GOP legislative map leads straight to our magic ladyparts, I guess.
Ahem... what is actually in the treaty?
Article 16: Protection from exploitation, violence, & abuse.
Article 19: Right to live independently and be included in the life of the community.
Article 21: Freedom of expression, opinion, and access to information.
Article 23: Respect for home and family.
Well. No wonder the GOP is opposed..... snark.....
The treaty was supported by a group of GOP stalwarts. Former Senator Bob Dole (who led the fight for the Americans with Disabilities Act) was on hand for the vote. Other supporters included Senator John McCain and the both Presidents Bush.
Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid issued this statement after the vote:
“It is a sad day when we cannot pass a treaty that simply brings the world up to the American standard for protecting people with disabilities because the Republican party is in thrall to extremists and ideologues. The United States is seen as a leader around the world. Today, we had a chance to lead, and we failed because a small group of Republican senators fear the Tea Party more than they care about equality for people with disabilities.
“Today’s vote wasn’t about Republicans or Democrats. It was about standing up for our heroes – men and women who risked their lives on the battlefield for the United States of America. This treaty was about 57 million Americans who live with a disability.
Republicans such as former President George H.W. Bush, Senator McCain and former Senator Bob Dole called on their Republican colleagues to support these Americans. I am saddened those Senators did not listen. Their arguments against the treaty had no basis in fact – the treaty does not change United States law. That is why I plan to bring this treaty up for a vote again in the next Congress. Our wounded veterans and millions more around the world deserve better.”
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Nobody thinks Romney's going to win. Let's just be honest. Can we just say this for everybody at home? Let me just say this for everybody at home. The Republican establishment--I've yet to meet a single person in the Republican establishment that thinks Mitt Romney is going to win the general election this year. They won't say it on TV because they've got to go on TV and they don't want people writing them nasty emails. I obviously don't care. But I have yet to meet anybody in the Republican establishment that worked for George W. Bush, that works in the Republican congress, that worked for Ronald Reagan that thinks Mitt Romney is going to win the general election.
The "moderate" image comes about because Romney once took some moderate social positions (which he has since recanted) and because the media simply doesn't recognize economic extremism.
There is a terrible bias in the mainstream media that judges “moderation” almost entirely in relation to positions on social issues such as abortion or gay marriage. The media love these issues because they often involve sex, which everyone likes to read about, and do not demand elaborate explanations, charts or tables.
Go right on social issues, and the extremist charge can’t be far behind. But the media rarely peg an extreme economic conservative as “extreme” because doing so requires tedious math-laden paragraphs. Besides, people in pinstriped suits who are driven by money don’t seem “extreme.”
Romney even bragged that he is more of an economic conservative than Rick Santorum:
Even on social issues, Romney has now moved further to the extreme right than Santorum -- yes, there is room to the right of Rick Santorum. Romney would eliminate funding for family planning and he's the most extreme of the GOP field on the subject of immigration policy.
Don't get fooled again; Mitt Romney is no moderate.
Romney television spending in Alabama is over 3 times as much as for Gingrich and over 5 times as much as for Santorum. With that much money poured into the state on his behalf, Romney should win the Republican primary in a landslide. Instead, he's expected to lose or possibly just squeak out a win.
It takes a lot of advertising to make people -- even Republicans -- vote for such an unpalatable candidate as Mitt Romney.
Rick got too crazy, too early, even for the Republican electorate. Too many truth attacks: Going to college indoctrinates kids and turns them into "snobs," JFK makes him want to throw up, birth control is dangerous, and so on.
Santorum as the GOP nominee would have set up a stark debate over the future of this country, one I believe would be cathartic. You see, Rick Santorum is the essence of a Kool-aid drunk, totally unafraid to articulate radical conservative goals .. well, most of them.
Here's what the debate is really about ...
The hardcore conservative base wants to turn the clock back to at least 1950 in all areas except tax rates for millionaires. Those were 91% in the 50's, but today's conservatives would never ask millionaires to pay more than 15% or so. However, every bit of social progress would be rolled back. What would Rick Santorum's America look like?
Religion is OK in the public arena, as long as it's Rick's religion.
Birth control is illegal.
Abortion is illegal.
Gay marriage? Forget it.
"Entitlement programs" like Social Security and Medicare are ended (Santorum actually promised this in his non-victory speech last night.)
College really is reserved for the elites snobs.
There's no need to look any further than fossil fuel for our energy needs.
Health care? You're on your own, literally. He even calls his plan YouCare.
There's more, including a few things even Santorum hasn't been wild enough to mention publicly (segregation was still the law in the 50's, you know) but that's enough to give the flavor of radical conservatism. I'd love to see a months long debate between Santorum's back to the good old days vision for America and Barack Obama's reality based, progressive vision, and I have no doubt which one America would choose.
A Santorum win would have put us in the road to four more years for Obama and a crushing defeat for the extreme wing of the Republican party. That would do America a lot of good.
"I was so astounded at how dangerously close Santorum treaded to his Google neologism namesake," Douglas says, "that I had to whip up a quick parody. Luckily, all the video I needed was already supplied by his advertising firm so I just had to slightly alter the audio…"
Consider this your Friday afternoon smile. It's is mostly work safe ...
IF General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.
By funding General Motors and Chrysler Group as they worked their way through bankruptcy, and providing needed cash to auto parts suppliers and finance companies, the Obama administration saved an estimated 1.5 million jobs, according to a study by the Center for Automotive Research, a Michigan think tank.
Without the bailout, GM and Chrysler could have been forced out of business. Other automakers, including Ford Motor and even some foreign automakers with significant operations in the U.S., could have been forced to shut some operations due to failures across the supplier base.
How does Mitt Romney respond to success? By continuing to criticize the bailout in - of all places - The Detroit News, just days before the Michigan presidential primary. What a gift to Rick Santorum.
This was crony capitalism on a grand scale. The president tells us that without his intervention things in Detroit would be worse. I believe that without his intervention things there would be better. [...] Health and retirement benefits alone amounted to an extra $2,000 baked into the price of every car they produced.Shorn of those excess costs, and shorn of the bungling management that had driven them into a deep rut, they could re-emerge as vibrant and competitive companies.
So workers' health care costs and older peoples' retirement benefits are "excess costs" that need to be "shorn" from the company books? Welcome to Mitt Romney's Vulture Capitalist world, folks!
Perception is reality, Conservative columnist (and former Bush II speechwriter) David Frum notes. All week, the GOP has been busy reassuring itself (and all those birth control using gals) that the current fight is about supporting "religious freedom," not opposing birth control. They might want to refine that message, Frum says, because the facts don't support it:
If the audience is paying attention, for example, it will notice that Republicans are not proposing to allow employers and plans to refuse to cover blood transfusions if they conscientiously object to them (although there are religious groups that do). Or vaccinations (although there are individuals who conscientiously object to those as well). Or medicines derived from animal experimentation. (Ditto.)
Which means it will be very hard if not impossible to persuade the target audience that this debate is not in fact about contraception. Everybody quite sure that's a wise debate to have?
This whole issue has annoyed me for quite some time. Why do Catholic bishops think they get special dispensation when it comes to issues involving women's health? This fixation on controlling women's reproduction is just creepy. Jennifer Johnson noted on Twitter that the bishops might feel differently if altar boys could get pregnant.
One of my closest high school friends was a Jehovah's Witness who was quite prepared to refuse a blood transfusion - even in an emergency situation. Suppose Regina became a doctor or nurse. Should she have the right to refuse to provide that life-saving treatment to a patient?
And Christian Scientists really get taken when you look at how their tax money is spent! Look at the cost of Medicare, Medicaid, medical research, support for medical schools, etc. Why aren't we debating the ethics of requiring them to support activities that go against their religious beliefs?
We all know the answer. There are a heck of a lot more Catholic voters than Jehovah's Witnesses (who don't vote at all) or Christian Scientists.
That means removing the provision from the health care law altogether, he said, not simply changing it for Catholic employers and their insurers. He cited the problem that would create for "good Catholic business people who can't in good conscience cooperate with this."
Good heavens, it's like negotiating with the House GOP. Give a little and they always want more.
The media's all abuzz this morning, wondering how many clowns will get kicked out of the GOP car tonight. Iowa has already knocked off one - Tim Pawlenty - and that was due to a poor showing in a straw poll! Undoubtedly, at least a couple will be exiting "stage right" tonight, so let's have a final look at the field before they say goodbye we say good riddance.
At a time when many people are chuckling about the cult of personality that surrounds North Korean leaders and decrying the megalomania of Iran's political & religious culture, it's worth remembering this about the GOP field. At least three Republican candidates have bragged that God told them to run:
However, if you look at polling data, it appears that God told a bunch of Iowa Republicans to vote for someone else. These three stand a good chance of being prophets without honor, money, or voters after tonight's caucuses.
Follow on the flip for a recap the candidates - and a very appropriate soundtrack to accompany your reading.
Answering a question about the uninsured, Santorum explained that health care, like a car, is a luxury resource that is rationed by society and recalled the story of a woman who said she was spending $200 a month on life-saving prescriptions. Santorum told her to stop complaining and instead lower her cable and cell phone bills.
So health care is a "luxury resource" that we have to ration? Then why is Santorum so upset about President Obama's health reform bill? In August 2009, a Wall Street Journal writer proclaimed that the bill was "all about rationing." And, in the final analysis, wasn't that the basic complaint in the GOP's "death panel" lies? There's not enough money to pay for everyone, so Grandma bites it....
Now, let's move along to the video of Santorum ridiculing a woman who tried to tell him about her problems paying her medical bills. She's hardly alone: bankruptcy rates are high for cancer patients not covered by Medicare (the program the GOP voted to dismantle earlier this year):
Even people with health insurance struggle with the bills. A study from Duke and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute found that out-of-pocket drug copayments and other costs of care not picked up by insurance caused patients to scrimp.
To cope with those costs, more than half the people spent less on food and clothing. Nearly half used all or part of their savings, and almost one-third didn't fill prescriptions. "People still couldn't afford groceries and were spending life savings on cancer care," Duke's Dr. Yousuf Zafar told Reuters.
Well heck.... Rick Santorum has the solution! Cancel your cable TV and toss that cell phone in the trash.