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

“Let Them Eat Broccoli”: Mitt Romney Doesn’t Have A Health Care “Replace” Plan

Congressional Republicans aren’t the only ones who don’t have a health care plan to comprise the “replace” part of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. Mitt Romney doesn’t either, despite his protestations to the contrary. Here he is last week:

“It’s critical that we repeal Obamacare and, by the way, also replace it,” he said. “I think I’m the only person in this race who’s laid out what I would replace it with.”Romney said he plans to give a waiver to all 50 states discontinuing the president’s plan—known formally as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—and returning healthcare responsibilities to the states. He wants to take Medicaid money administered by the federal government and give it to states as block grants. His plan also includes giving individuals the same tax break that companies get when they buy insurance for their employees, allowing individuals to buy insurance across state lines, and encouraging consumers to shop around for the least expensive medical services, creating competition among healthcare providers.

None of these proposals are actually health care reform. They don’t get at spiraling health care costs, at best they just shift costs on to states and consumers. The idea that a patient is going to shop around for the least expensive medical service is utterly laughable. “So, Regional Medical Center Y says they’ll do my chemo treatments for $120K. Can you beat that price, Regional Medical Center X?”

Of course, Romney has a more comprehensive reform plan in his back pocket, the one he invented for Massachusetts that provided the template for Obamacare. But he can’t trot that out, since it’s his biggest liability with his base. So he happily pretends that bankrupting Medicaid and telling people to negotiate the cost of their care is reform, hoping that the lack of a plan will make people think he’s a real Republican. In other words, he’s a fraud, too.


By: Joan McCarter, Daily Kos< April 3, 2012

April 4, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012, Health Reform | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The New Nixon”: Nobody Really Believes Mitt Romney

Roll Call‘s Stu Rothenberg is not someone often accused of “liberal bias” or a thumb-on-the-scales in favor of Democrats. So his latest column, illustrating Mitt Romney’s chronic credibility problem as a product of his supporters as well as his detractors, is especially interesting. Perhaps I like it because he’s making a point I tend to obsess about but that is rarely made in bland assessments of Romney: the candidate has been moving as rapidly to the right as he can even as his image within the GOP has moved left. That shows the rightward velocity of the GOP, particularly since 2008. But it is also means that GOP voters are constantly aware of Mitt’s endless repositioning efforts, including moderate Republicans who happily vote for him because they assume he’s lying to the hard-core conservatives who increasingly dominate their party:

For years, ever since he started running against Sen. John McCain for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, Romney has tried to position himself to the right. In fact, four years ago, he succeeded in positioning himself as one of two conservative alternatives (the other being former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee) to the Arizona Senator.

The exit poll from the Florida GOP primary on Jan. 29, 2008, when McCain narrowly beat Romney, 36 percent to 31 percent, and Huckabee came in a weak fourth, showed Romney rallying Republican conservatives who could not accept McCain…..

This cycle, Romney has run right again, to establish his conservative credentials, but he has not been successful. Instead, each and every week, he has performed best among the same voters who chose McCain over him four years ago — and he has done least well among those demographic groups that supported him in 2008.

Romney’s great problem in the GOP race, as pretty much everyone has already observed, is that conservatives don’t really believe that he is one of them….

What’s interesting about Romney and his supporters is that, despite his conservative rhetoric, moderates and country club conservatives continue to support his candidacy.

Think about it. Romney, who stresses his opposition to abortion, talks tough on immigration and rules out a tax increase even to help cut the deficit, continues to get the support of pragmatic conservatives who reject former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s ideological rigidity, thought Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) was too conservative and viewed Texas Gov. Rick Perry as a bomb thrower.

Clearly, establishment Republicans also don’t believe Romney when he talks about his views and his agenda. If they did, they probably would feel about him the same way they feel about Santorum or Bachmann.

Romney’s great asset is that these voters figure he is merely pandering to evangelicals and the most conservative element of the GOP when he talks about cultural issues, immigration and taxes.

The bottom line, of course, is that nobody — not his critics and not his allies — really believes Mitt Romney.

And that’s among Republicans.

For all the differences in personality and background, that’s why I’ve always thought of Mitt as the New Nixon. He may succeed politically because people with money figure he’ll do what it takes for him–and them–to win, because he’s a safer bet than his opponents, and even because people are cynical enough about him to assume he won’t let principles get in the way of doing things the country obviously needs. But (with the obvious exception of LDS folk) he’s not going to inspire much of anybody, and can ascend to a victory over Barack Obama only on the dark wings of an exceptionally nasty negative campaign reinforced by disheartening external events.


By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Washington Monthly Political Animal, April 3, 2012

April 4, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Dangerously Unmoored From The American Consensus”: The GOP Is Crazier Than You Thought

In his latest speech, the president presents the modern Republican Party as a radical aberration from the American consensus.

If there was a question President Obama tried to answer with his speech this afternoon to the Associated Press, it was this—“what happened to the Republican Party?” And to that end, he marshaled evidence from a century of political history to show that today’s Grand Old Party is dangerously unmoored from the American consensus, with a budget proposal that amounts to “thinly veiled social Darwinism.”

To a large degree, Obama’s speech was filled with the frustration of liberals who see the extent to which the Republican Party has rejected the notion of a government that works positively within the economy. “It was Dwight Eisenhower who launched the interstate highway system and made investments in scientific research … Reagan worked with Democrats to save Social Security … It was George W. Bush who expanded Medicare to include prescription drug coverage,” he said, citing Republican presidents who worked to strengthen the social safety net over the course of the last century. “What leaders in both parties have traditionally understood,” he declared, “is that these programs aren’t schemes to redistribute wealth … they are signs that we are one nation.”

Today’s Republican Party, Obama argued, has abandoned this traditional understanding, in favor of a “failed approach” of trickle-down economics. “In this country, broad-based prosperity has never come from the success of a wealthy few,” he said.

Case in point is Paul Ryan’s latest budget, which—like his Roadmap released last year—would require massive cuts to existing social spending and destroy any semblance of fairness in the economy, as the rich received huge benefits from an economy slanted in their favor. As Obama described it, “The Republicans have doubled down and proposed a budget so far to the right that it makes the Contract for America look like the New Deal.”

Indeed, Obama took the time to illustrate the extent to which the Ryan budget would demolish the federal government as we know it, citing the millions of people who would lose health care coverage with Medicaid cuts, the millions of children who would lose access to healthy food with WIC cuts, and the millions of students who would lose a shot at college because of cuts to Pell Grants and other programs designed to make school more affordable.

He pointed out that while Republicans refuse to say where they would make cuts, cuts have to happen if we adopt their budget, “Perhaps they will never tell us where the knife will fall, but you can be sure that with cuts this deep, there will never be a secret plan to protect the investments we need for our economy to grow. This is not conjecture, I am not exaggerating, these are facts.”

From his aggressive tone to his sharp and clear language, this was a campaign speech, and he took care to tie his likely competitor—former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney—to the policies pushed by congressional Republicans. “He called it ‘marvelous’,” said Obama, highlighting the degree to which the “Path to Prosperity” is the Republican Party platform for 2012.

I said this morning that thanks to the short-sighted ideological fervor of Paul Ryan, Obama can make a strong and clear case against the Republican Party. I didn’t realize that this would also be a brutal indictment of the party’s priorities. With his speech, Obama presented the GOP as the defenders of a failed ideology that would leave most Americans trapped in their station, struggling in a hostile economy. If this sounds far-fetched, look no further than the last three years—Republicans have either pushed to eliminate regulations and cut taxes on the rich, or they have stood against any effort to make the economy more fair, or put some restraints on those who caused the financial crisis.

Obama’s challenge is to convince the public that Republicans would continue on that path if elected to office. At the risk of sounding too certain, I think he can do it.


By: Jamelle Bouie, The American Prospect, April 3, 2012

April 4, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A “Star Wars Bar Scene”: Mitt Romney’s Troubles Will Follow Him to the Convention

The train has left the station. The fat lady is about to sing. It is all over but the cheering. Any more trite phrases, as former Gov. Mitt Romney is about to wrap this nomination up?

On Tuesday, he should win Maryland, D.C., and Wisconsin. And some say former Sen. Rick Santorum is behind in the April 24 Pennsylvania primary.

But think about this: How does Romney manage the convention in Tampa with the likes of Rick Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Rep. Ron Paul, not to mention Rep. Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain wanting their moment in the sun?

Can you see this crowd clearing their speeches with the Romney high command?

Or imagine this, former Gov. Sarah Palin, fresh off the Today show and more time as Fox News diva, begins to insist on a prime time slot. She got shoved off the stage on election night 2008, you don’t think she’ll let it happen again do you?

This could be one rough convention, one strange cast of characters. Bar scene from Star Wars, anyone?

Clearly, Mitt Romney needs to unite the party, play to the hard conservatives, make sure his base is smiling and happy. But, at what cost? By showcasing this crowd? Reminding voters of all those lovely debates? Bringing up Newt Gingrich or Sarah Palin to the stage to infuriate the undecided voters and the independents? Letting Santorum further alienate women and give a culture war speech?

My guess is that Romney would rather pretend that the last year never happened or at least that he put this away by New Hampshire. Sorry, you may have to play it again, Mitt!

Sure, he will have to figure out the vice presidential pick first but this convention could be one “really big show!”


By: Peter Fenn, U. s. News and World report, April 4, 2012

April 4, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Republicans “Inconvenient Truth”: Why Romney Is Attacking Obama For Comments To Medvedev

Republicans and conservatives are determined to turn an unremarkable off the record comment by President Obama into a major campaign issue. Last week Obama was caught on an open mic telling Russian President Dmitri Medvedev that he would have more “flexibility” after the November election. “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved, but it’s important for [incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin] to give me space,” Obama told Medvedev.

Romney pounced. He immediately issued a statement complaining that Obama is going to cave to Russia on missile defense.” Later he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, “Russia is not a friendly character on the world stage and for this president to be looking for greater flexibility where he doesn’t have to answer to the American people in his relations with Russia is very, very troubling, very alarming…. This is without question our number one geopolitical foe.” The Republican National Committee released a statement and video criticizing Obama’s comments to Medvedev as well.

Why is Romney making such a major issue out of such a minor gaffe? The conventional explanation is that he is pivoting towards attacking Obama on foreign policy. Romney is trailing Obama in matchup polls and watching the issue he has made the centerpiece of his campaign–the weak economy–disappearing as employment picks up. So he may be seeking a new campaign strategy. As The Washington Post reported “Advisers say Romney intends to deliver a major foreign policy address in April or May, depending on the status of the primary contest, and create what one adviser described as a series of ‘platforms’ to highlight the differences between the two candidates…. The political opportunity Romney sees in foreign policy was reflected this week when he seized on Obama’s open-mike conversation with his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev.”

To Democrats this might seem odd. Obama has ended the unpopular Iraq War, decimated Al Qaeda’s leadership and overseen the killings of Osama bin Laden and Muammar Qaddafi. To a liberal, if Obama has made any mistakes in the foreign policy realm they would be ones of excessive rather than insufficient militarism.

But that is not the critique that Romney or any other Republican is making. Rather, they say that Obama shows weakness in negotiations with our adversaries. China, Iran and Venezuela are frequently invoked by Republican foreign policy figures such as John Bolton. Specific actions by Obama to bolster this sentiment can be hard to come by, so his comments to Medvedev provide a perfect opportunity. “Obama will have a good gut-check response with bin Laden, but there will be plenty to work with for a broader critique of the foreign policy of this administration,” says Republican consultant Soren Dayton regarding the political saliency of foreign policy attacks on Obama. “The Russia exchange could end up being a powerful example of how Obama offers concessions to enemies but pressures our allies, like Israel and Canada.”

This is good for stirring up the Republican base, but is unlikely to sway many swing voters. “It is a rare election that is decided on foreign policy,” says Dayton. “In all likelihood, instability in the Middle East will have an impact through things like the price of crude oil and gas at the pump.”

But perhaps the Republican political calculation is not about foreign policy. The average swing voter may not care much about U.S. policy on European missile defense but they often do care about the president’s character. “[Republicans] are just trying to neutralize the ‘etch-a-sketch’ criticisms that Democrats are lobbing at Romney,” says Darrell West, director of the Governance Studies program at the Brookings Institution. “They want voters to see Obama as just another politician to delegitimize him. They’re playing to public cynicism: it’s easy to portray politicians as willing to say anything.”

Leonardo Alcivar, a national Republican political consultant with Hynes Communications, agrees. “Romney was right to criticize the President’s gaffe, for both tactical and strategic reasons,” says Alcivar. “The Romney team well understands the need to position the President as a typical Washington politician whose failed economic policy is compounded by a rudderless foreign policy. The open mike gaffe supports a widely held, and largely correct, view that the President has been campaigning, not leading.”

From Obama’s perspective, trying to improve relations with Russia is leading, or at least governing. Nation contributor and Russia expert Stephen F. Cohen writes that “the United States is farther from a partnership with Russia today than it was more than twenty years ago.” As Cohen explains, partnership with Russia is essential for U.S. objectives such as preventing nuclear proliferation and access to Russia’s vast natural resources. But, as Cohen notes, the Obama administration is “refusing to respond to Moscow’s concessions on Afghanistan and Iran with reciprocal agreements on Russia’s top priorities, NATO expansion and missile defense.” That is the crucial context for Obama’s remarks. Moscow sees us placing missile defense installations near Russia’s border as a provocation.

Election year politicking such as Romney’s can make relations between the U.S. and Russia even more fraught. As Vice-President Joe Biden pointed out on Sunday, Romney’s characterization of Russia as “our number one geopolitical foe” is outdated and unhelpful. “He acts like he thinks the Cold War is still on [and] Russia is still our major adversary,” said Biden to Bob Schieffer on CBS’ Face the Nation. “I don’t know where he has been.” Back in February Cohen predicted that the election could exacerbate tensions with Russia, writing, “recent developments, including presidential campaigns and other political changes under way in both countries, may soon make relations even worse.” Obama was merely stating the truth when speaking to Medvedev. And nothing upsets Republicans like an inconvenient truth.


By: Ben Adler, The Nation, April 3, 2012

April 4, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment


%d bloggers like this: