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“Tasteless Craziness”: Gun In Campaign Ad For Gabby Giffords’s Seat Is Unconscionable

It was a little too close for comfort when the political action committee of former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin used crosshairs in ads to “target” Democrats for defeat. A number of lawmakers had received death threats during and after the vote on healthcare overhaul, and when Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head while she was meeting constituents at a shopping center, the threats became scarier. While it appears that Giffords’s shooter was motivated not by ideology but simple craziness, the episode doesn’t excuse the tastelessness of using gun-related imagery in connection with the democratic elections process.

Palin’s ads, however, were done before Giffords was shot. What can explain the judgment of the Move America Forward Freedom PAC, which sent out an E-mail depicting the district’s GOP contender holding an assault rifle?

According to NPR, which broke the story, the PAC said, in backing Republican Jesse Kelly:

While we applaud the former Congresswoman’s recovery, this race is not about Gabby Giffords. We want to give the people of Arizona a new voice that reflects their values.

What values are those—that guns are the way to resolve conflicts and win elections? That if the Democrat, Ron Barber, wins the race, he better watch his back? The E-mail is even more offensive because Barber, who was an aide to the former congresswoman, was injured as well in the January 2011 assault.

Kelly, who faces Barber in a special election Tuesday for the seat, is complaining, too, about having the assassination attempt used against him for political purposes. Democrats have been showing a tape of Kelly calling Giffords “a hero of nothing,” a comment that sounds horrific when heard in the context of her near-death from the shooting. But the comments were made before Giffords was shot.

Said Kelly to reporters:

To try to exploit a tragedy to win a special election is one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s exactly what they’re doing.

Point taken. But using an image of a candidate with an assault weapon is distasteful in any campaign. In the race to succeed Giffords, it is unconscionable.

 

By: Susan Milligan, U. S. Newss and World Report, June 11, 2012

June 11, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Mouth Open, Brain Dead”: Mitt Romney Looks A ‘Gaffehorse’ In The Mouth

When Republicans propose cuts to essential public services, Democrats generally respond by accusing their GOP opponents of wanting to fire teachers, police officers, and fire fighters.

These public servants are cherished members of their communities. Anyone who would denigrate them must want a dumber, scarier, and more dangerous society. In other words, as the great Admiral Ackbar once said: “It’s a trap!”

Usually Republicans tend to skip over that particular trap, retreating into blather about debt for the grandkids or overbearing union bosses. What they never do is confess to wanting fewer firemen, policemen and teachers, at least not in public—until Mitt Romney came along.

It all began last Friday, when Romney advisers decided that President Obama had blunderingly delivered a gift to them during a White House press conference. “The private sector is doing fine,” the president had said. Of course he meant that the private sector is doing much better than the public sector – not going as far as many, including Business Insider’s Joe Weisenthal, who argue that the private sector actually is doing fine.

Still, Romney’s team practically ignited with glee. They pounced on May’s 69,000 jobs report, although that’s 58,000 more than Bush created on average. (And never mind that economists think Mitt’s plan won’t help and could make things worse.)

So Romney blurted an attack, shouting angrily: ”He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”

Now we all know that Mitt wants fewer firemen, fewer policemen, fewer teacher. This will help the American people? And this was the lesson of Wisconsin? That’s like being born on third base and thinking the lesson is you hit a triple.

Here are the real lessons of Wisconsin:

  • Don’t get outspent 10-to-1
  • Start attacking early
  • Don’t initiate a recall without a charismatic alternative
  • Move to the center

Scott Walker wasn’t only helped by the Citizens United ruling. A loophole in Wisconsin law allowed the challenged governor to raise unlimited donations from individuals. Meanwhile, his Democratic opponent only had two months to raise funds and — despite winning most late-deciding voters — he got creamed. Nearly 20 per cent of Obama supporters voted for Walker simply because they disliked the idea of a recall. And Democrats won at least a symbolic victory by taking back the State Senate.

According to Mitt, however, Wisconsin means people don’t want more firefighters, cops, or teachers — an argument too ridiculous even for Walker to endorse. No, Mitt thinks they want more tax breaks for investment bankers and oil barons.

The Republican candidate answered a “gaffe” with a big, loud GAFFE. The President’s campaign should be very grateful.

 

By: The National Memo, June 11, 2012, @LOLGOP

June 11, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Government Is The Solution”: Healing The Economy For The Common Good

Why don’t Democrats just say it? They really believe in active government and think it does good and valuable things. One of those valuable things is that government creates jobs — yes, really — and also the conditions under which more jobs can be created.

You probably read that and thought: But don’t Democrats and liberals say this all the time? Actually, the answer is no. It’s Republicans and conservatives who usually say that Democrats and liberals believe in government. Progressive politicians often respond by apologizing for their view of government, or qualifying it, or shifting as fast as the speed of light from mumbled support for government to robust affirmations of their faith in the private sector.

This is beginning to change, but not fast enough. And the events of recent weeks suggest that if progressives do not speak out plainly on behalf of government, they will be disadvantaged throughout the election-year debate. Gov. Scott Walker’s victory in the Wisconsin recall election owed to many factors, including his overwhelming financial edge. But he was also helped by the continuing power of the conservative anti-government idea in our discourse. An energetic argument on one side will be defeated only by an energetic argument on the other.

The case for government’s role in our country’s growth and financial success goes back to the very beginning. One of the reasons I wrote my bookOur Divided Political Heart” was to show that, from Alexander Hamilton and Henry Clay forward, farsighted American leaders understood that action by the federal government was essential to ensuring the country’s prosperity, developing our economy, promoting the arts and sciences and building large projects: the roads and canals, and later, under Abraham Lincoln, the institutions of higher learning, that bound a growing nation together.

Both Clay and Lincoln battled those who used states’ rights slogans to crimp federal authority and who tried to use the Constitution to handcuff anyone who would use the federal government creatively. Both read the Constitution’s commerce clause as Franklin Roosevelt and progressives who followed him did, as permitting federal action to serve the common good. A belief in government’s constructive capacities is not some recent ultra-liberal invention.

Decades of anti-government rhetoric have made liberals wary of claiming their legacy as supporters of the state’s positive role. That’s why they have had so much trouble making the case for President Obama’s stimulus program passed by Congress in 2009. It ought to be perfectly obvious: When the private sector is no longer investing, the economy will spin downward unless the government takes on the task of investing. And such investments — in transportation and clean energy, refurbished schools and the education of the next generation — can prime future growth.

Yet the drumbeat of propaganda against government has made it impossible for the plain truth about the stimulus to break through. It was thus salutary that Douglas Elmendorf, the widely respected director of the Congressional Budget Office, told a congressional hearing last week that 80 percent of economic experts surveyed by the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business agreed that the stimulus got the unemployment rate lower at the end of 2010 than it would have been otherwise. Only 4 percent disagreed. The stimulus, CBO concluded, added as many as 3.3 million jobs during the second quarter of 2010, and it may have kept us from lapsing back into recession.

So when conservatives say, as they regularly do, that “government doesn’t create jobs,” the riposte should be quick and emphatic: “Yes it has, and yes, it does!”

Indeed, our unemployment rate is higher today than it should be because conservatives blocked additional federal spending to prevent layoffs by state and local governments — and because progressives, including Obama, took too long to propose more federal help. Obama’s jobs program would be a step in the right direction, and he’s right to tout it now. But he should have pushed for a bigger stimulus from the beginning. The anti-government disposition has so much power that Democrats and moderate Republicans allowed themselves to be intimidated into keeping it too small.

Let’s turn Ronald Reagan’s declaration on its head: Opposition to government isn’t the solution. Opposition to government was and remains the problem. It is past time that we affirm government’s ability to heal the economy, and its responsibility for doing so.

 

By: E’ J’ Dionne, Jr., Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, June 10, 2012

June 11, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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