"Do or Do not. There is no try."

Mitt Romney And The Challenge Of Making Ridiculous Numbers Add Up

Mitt Romney has an interesting budget challenge. He wants to eliminate a large deficit entirely, but he also wants to increase defense spending and cut taxes on the wealthy by trillions of dollars. It’s the sort of plan that would make balancing the budget sort of tricky, in much the same way putting out a fire with lighter fluid would be difficult.

But don’t worry, the former Massachusetts governor’s platform now includes a spending-cut plan. In the latest in a voluminous series of op-eds, which previewed a speech he delivered this afternoon, Romney explained:

The federal government should stop doing things we don’t need or can’t afford. For example:

* Repeal ObamaCare, which would save $95 billion in 2016.

* Eliminate subsidies for the unprofitable Amtrak, saving $1.6 billion a year.

* Enact deep reductions in the subsidies for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Legal Services Corporation.

* Eliminate Title X family planning programs benefiting abortion groups like Planned Parenthood.

* End foreign aid to countries that oppose America’s interests.

That’s not the totality of the plan — Romney also has some thoughts on entitlements that we’ll get to later — but in terms of discretionary spending, this is the gist of his spending-cut agenda.

There are a few key takeaways to keep in mind. The first is that repealing the entirely of the Affordable Care Act would make the deficit much worse, not better. Romney has this precisely backwards, and the fact that he doesn’t understand this is disconcerting.

Second, if Romney thinks he can take a $1.3 trillion deficit, increase spending on the Pentagon, cut taxes on the wealthy, and pay balance the budget by going after foreign aid and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, he’s an even bigger fool than I’d feared.

And third, Planned Parenthood? Seriously? Mitt Romney thinks he can bring the budget closer to balance by increasing military spending, while blocking working-class and low-income women from accessing contraception, family planning services, pap smears, cancer screenings, and tests for sexually-transmitted diseases?

That’s just sad.

For nearly a half-century, Republican support for Planned Parenthood was the norm. Barry Goldwater and George H.W. Bush championed the health organization, and it wasn’t deemed the least bit controversial.

And yet, now we have Mitt Romney — ostensibly one of the sane GOP presidential candidates — vowing to eliminate funding for this preventive health care for women altogether.

Romney was far less offensive when he was a moderate attending Planned Parenthood fundraisers. This latest incarnation appears to have a real problem with women’s rights and interests.


By: Steve Benen, Contributing Writer, Washington Monthly Political Animal, November 4, 2011

November 5, 2011 Posted by | Budget, Conservatives, Deficits, Womens Rights | , , , | Leave a comment

Will The GOP Field Ignore Another Pastor Who Says God Sent Hitler To ‘Hunt’ Jews?

Has the GOP primary gone off the rails before the first vote has even been cast?

In 2008, Sen. John McCain rejected the endorsement of John Hagee, a far-right pastor who had called the Catholic Church the “Great Whore” and said that Hitler was sent by God to be a “hunter” of Jews who had not yet moved to the land that would become Israel. McCain wasn’t exactly running as a moderate – look who he chose to be his vice president – but he knew, at least this time, that a line had been crossed.

Today’s GOP presidential candidates seem to have no such scruples.

Compare Hagee’s statements to this passage from a 2004 sermon by Mike Bickle, megachurch pastor, big-time evangelical, and star speaker at Rick Perry‘s August prayer rally-cum-campaign launch. In a video found by Brian Wilson of Talk to Action, Bickle prophesies that in the End Times  2/3 of all Jews “will die in the rage of Satan and in the judgments of God.” He goes on to discuss a disturbing and ultimately dangerous theory of the Holocaust even more outrageous than that pushed by Hagee:

The Lord says, “I’m going to offer two strategies to Israel, to these 20 million.” He says, “First, I am going to offer them grace, I am going to send the fisherman.” Do you know how a fisherman lures? I mean do you know how a fisherman does their thing? They have the bait in front, luring the fish. It’s a picture of grace.  … And he says, “And if they don’t respond to grace, I’m going to raise up the hunters.” And the most famous hunter in recent history is a man named Adolf Hitler. He drove them from the hiding places, he drove them out of the land.

Mike Bickle is not just any radical pastor preaching End Times scripture. He was a key organizer of Perry’s The Response rally this summer, lending a number of staff members of his International House of Prayer (yes, IHOP) to the event and emceeing the proceedings himself.

Bickle has a history of outrageous claims. In the lead-up to The Response , for instance, People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch reported Bickle’s theory that Oprah Winfrey is the precursor to the Antichrist. Asked about the extremism of Bickle and other The Response leaders before the rally, Gov. Perry said, “I appreciate anyone who’s going to endorse me, whether it’s on The Response, or whether it’s on a potential run for the presidency of the United States. Just because you endorse me doesn’t mean I endorse everything that you say or do.” That’s true. But Perry did more than accept Bickle’s help: he trotted him out to promote the event that served as a de facto launch of his presidential campaign.

Asked about Bickle’s more recently uncovered anti-Semitic rant, a Perry spokesperson performed a similar dodge:

Gov. Perry initiated the Response event for the sole purpose of bringing our nation together for the common cause of praying about the challenges confronting us. Those participating did so because of that common cause, and the issue you refer to has nothing to do with the goal and purpose of that event.

Only in today’s GOP does “bringing our nation together” entail hosting an event for the nation’s most vitriolic opponents of pluralism.

We need not even go as far as Bickle to see how much the GOP has changed in just a few years. Invited to speak alongside the controversial pastor at Perry’s marquee event was Hagee himself.

Neither Bickle nor Hagee has officially endorsed Perry. In fact, it’s the other way around: by placing them on the stage at a nationally televised event, you could say that Perry endorsed Bickle and Hagee. While McCain rejected the endorsement of someone who demonized people of other faiths, Perry is actively working to throw such people into the spotlight.

As Perry has embraced and promoted these proponents of religious prejudice, his fellow candidates have stood by in silence. Even when Perry endorser Robert Jeffress repeatedly called Mitt Romney‘s Mormon religion a “cult” and called Catholicism a “counterfeit religion” created by “Satan,” only one candidate (Jon Huntsman, a Mormon himself) challenged him directly — and Perry kept the endorsement.  Even Mitt Romney, who tries to come across as the most reasonable of the bunch, has accepted the endorsement of prominent anti-Muslim advocate Jay Sekulow.

These candidates, of course, are entitled to their personal religious beliefs. But they are running to be the president of all Americans. If they stand by silently while people like Bickle, Hagee and Jeffress peddle bigotry against non-Christian religions, and even against other types of Christians, they’re giving us a hint of how they would approach their presidencies. It’s a frightening vision, and one that the American people are smart enough to see before they go to the polls.

Whatever our differences we should all, at least, be able to agree that Hitler was not sent by God to convert Jews to Christianity; that Catholicism, Mormonism and Islam like all religions are protected by the Constitution; and that Oprah Winfrey is not the Antichrist.  Will Perry or any of his fellow candidates stand up and contradict Bickle, Hagee and Jeffress? Can’t we at least start there?


By: Michael B. Keegan, President, People For The American Way, Published in The Huffington Post, November 4, 2011



November 5, 2011 Posted by | GOP Presidential Candidates | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


%d bloggers like this: