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“Mitt’s Moochers”: The Dangerous Lie His Funders Love To Hear

Mitt Romney got some unwanted attention early this year when he flatly stated, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” When challenged on this remark he assured Americans that the safety net for the very poor was a given, safe from any budget and tax code tinkering in Washington. This was a sinister explanation since Romney’s tax and spending plan — or as much of it as can be deciphered — calls for further tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of social services that he claimed were safe.

Now, we see that it’s not just the “very poor” who don’t merit Romney’s “concern.” At the now-infamous $50,000-a-plate fundraiser in Florida, Romney wrote off the concerns of the 47 percent of Americans who don’t owe federal income taxes, saying that half of Americans are “dependent on government,” “believe that they are the victims,” and have the gall to “believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”

That 47 percent includes families and individuals with low incomes — about 23 percent of taxpayers, according to the Tax Policy Center. It also includes those for whom tax credits for children and working families have eliminated tax burdens — about 7 percent. It also includes seniors who have left the workforce — about 10 percent. Over half of the 47 percent pay federal payroll taxes. All are subject to state and local taxes, many of which, like sales taxes, are more regressive than federal taxes. (And if we ever see more Romney tax returns, we may find some years when the Romney’s were in that entitled 47 percent.)

As conservative writer Reihan Salam points out in the National Review, policies like the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit — responsible for much of this tax relief for working families — were conservative ideas meant to reduce the “dependency” that Romney so reviles, by “encourag[ing] people get on the first rungs of the jobs ladder, and to become less dependent over time.”

Romney was telling the well-heeled guests at this fundraising dinner that these people — middle-class parents, low-income workers, the unemployed, the elderly — aren’t interested in working hard despite the fact that most of them report to the IRS each year that they work quite a lot. This isn’t just tin-eared politics. Like Romney’s comments on the “very poor,” it represents a profound misunderstanding of how Americans’ lives work and how his policies would affect those lives.

But even talking about the “47 percent versus the 53 percent” belies the fact that nobody in America is free from at least some government “dependency.” We all rely on roads, hospitals, schools, firefighters, police officers, and our military — even Mitt Romney and his $50,000-a-plate friends. Romney himself has relied on the government’s safety net for businesses, securing a federal bailout for Bain & Company. Nobody succeeds without some help from a stable, functional government. That’s what President Obama was saying when his “you didn’t build that” comments were taken out of context.

Romney was clearly telling his funders a fantasy story that they love to hear. But that story is a lie, and we shouldn’t accept it from someone who could become a president representing 100 percent of the American people.


By: Michael B. Keegan, The Hufffington Post Blog, September 19, 2012

September 20, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Out Of Their Minds”: Senate Republicans Kill Veterans’ Jobs Bill

With a major national election just seven weeks away, senators would have to be out of their minds to reject a jobs bill for U.S. military veterans, right?

Apparently not.

Veterans won’t be getting a new, billion-dollar jobs program, not from this Senate. Republicans on Wednesday afternoon blocked a vote on the Veterans Job Corps Bill after Jeff Sessions of Alabama raised a point of order — he said the bill violated a cap on spending agreed to by Congress last year.

The bill’s sponsor, Patty Murray of Washington, said that shouldn’t matter, since the bill’s cost was fully offset by new revenues. She said Mr. Sessions and his party colleagues had been furiously generating excuses to oppose the bill, and were now exploiting a technicality to deny thousands of veterans a shot at getting hired as police officers, firefighters and parks workers, among other things.

The bill needed 60 votes to advance. The final tally was 58 to 40, and all 40 opponents of the proposal were Republicans.

As proposals go, this should have been a no-brainer. The Veterans Job Corps Act of 2012, sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), sought to lower unemployment among military veterans, giving grants to federal, state, and local agencies, which in turn would hire veterans — giving priority to those who served on or after 9/11 — to work as first-responders and in conservation jobs at national parks.

The bill was fully paid for, and entirely bipartisan — Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) had his own set of ideas for the bill, and Murray incorporated all of them into her legislation.

And yet, all but five Senate Republicans voted to kill it anyway, 48 days before a national election. Even Burr sided with his party to defeat the bill, and it was filled with his provisions.

A New York Times editorial added the other day, “It makes sense for the 99 percent of Americans to find new ways to pay their debt to the 1 percent who serve in uniform. To most people, Senator Murray’s bill would seem like one decent way to do that. But not if you’re one of those Republicans in Washington who thinks it’s more important in an election year to deny Democrats a success or accomplishment of any kind.”


By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, September 19, 2012

September 20, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Mitt’s Snake-Bit Season”: The Worst Run Of Disasters This Side Of The Mayan Calendar

Our topic for today is: When Bad Things Happen to Mitt Romney.

Really, it’s been the worst run of disasters this side of the Mayan calendar. The Republicans’ woes started last Friday, when Ann and Mitt filmed a TV interview in which they entertained the kind of personal questions that most candidates learned to avoid after Bill Clinton did that boxers-versus-briefs thing. Asked what he wears to bed, Mitt said: “I think the best answer is: as little as possible.”


Then, over the weekend, Romney aides began spilling their guts about how other staffers had screwed up the Republicans’ bounce-free convention. In an attempt to change the conversation, the campaign announced that it had just realized the nation wants Romney to say what he’d actually do as president. Voters “are eager to hear more details about policies to turn our economy around,” said an adviser, Ed Gillespie.

In search of just such specificity, the scoop-hungry Christian Broadcasting Network asked Paul Ryan if he would continue refusing to identify exactly what tax loopholes the Romney administration would close in order to turn our economy around.

“Yes,” said Ryan, who then veered into a disquisition about something that once happened to Tip O’Neill.

You may be wondering whatever became of Ryan, who was such a big sensation when Romney first picked him as a running mate. Since Tampa, he seems to have fallen off the face of the earth, resurfacing every now and then to put up another ad for re-election to his House seat in Wisconsin.

It’s not all that unusual for a vice-presidential candidate to go low-profile. And it is totally not true that Mitt Romney strapped Paul Ryan to the top of a car and drove him to Canada. Stop spreading rumors!

Next, Mother Jones published that video of the fund-raiser in Boca Raton in which Romney said that 47 percent of the country is composed of moochers who want to confiscate the earnings of hard-working stockbrokers and spend it on caviar and dialysis treatments.

“So my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” Romney decreed, undoubtedly more in sorrow than in anger.

Then, Republican Senate candidates in tight races began distancing themselves from the top of the ticket.

Ann Romney suggested Mitt was “taken out of context,” in what was undoubtedly meant as a helpful comment.

“All of us make mistakes,” said President Obama, in what probably wasn’t.

“Obviously inarticulate,” decreed Paul Ryan, popping up from a gopher hole somewhere in Nevada.

The fund-raiser, a $50,000-a-pop sit-down dinner, was hosted by Marc Leder, a financier who The New York Post reported as having a “wild party” last summer in the Hamptons “where guests cavorted nude in the pool” while “scantily dressed Russians danced on platforms.” You cannot blame Romney for that. If presidential candidates had to avoid all multimillionaires who held parties with naked guests and Russians on platforms, there would be no money for misleading TV commercials.

The video was a reminder of how ghastly this business of running for president can be. The guests seemed more interested in the breadbasket than the candidate. Romney was blathering away in the manner of somebody trying to stay awake during the 12th hour of a cross-country drive.

On Tuesday, moving to tamp down criticism that he was a conversational disaster area, Romney told Fox’s Neil Cavuto: “Well, we were, of course, talking about a campaign and how he’s going to get close to half the votes. I’m going to get half the vote, approximately. I hope — I want to get 50.1 percent or more.”

With that out of the way, Romney explained that his real point had not been to criticize people who don’t pay income taxes, but merely to point out that he wanted them to make more money. “I think people would like to be paying taxes,” added the quarter-billionaire whose own eagerness to be part of the solution is a matter of public record.

How did he let things slip out of control? Maybe the answer lies back with that Ann-and-Mitt interview, which was on “Live With Kelly and Michael.” Asked about his preferences when it came to heroines of low-end reality TV shows, the future presidential candidate enthusiastically announced: “I’m kind of a Snooki fan. Look how tiny she’s gotten. She’s lost weight and she’s energetic. I mean, just her sparkplug personality is kind of fun.”

It could be worse. He could have announced that he enjoys spending his free hours watching “Hoarders” marathons. But, still, it’s weird that Mitt Romney appears to think a lot about Snooki. Is it possible that while he’s being dragged around from one fund-raiser to the next, he spends his spare time watching “Jersey Shore” reruns in the limo?

That would explain so much.


By: Gail Collins, Op-Ed Columnist, The New York Times, September 19, 2012


September 20, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Fingerprints Of The Right Wing Media”: Mitt Romney Campaigns As The Fox News Candidate

Note to Mitt Romney: This is what happens when you run for president on the back of Fox News and embrace the dark anti-Obama conspiracies that fuel the right-wing media.

On Monday, the Republican nominee was forced to hold a rare, late-night press availibility to respond to Mother Jones’ report on a video of Romney taken surreptitiously at a closed-door Florida campaign fundraiser in May where the candidate tells donors that “there are 47 percent who are with [President Obama], who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”

The notion that Obama voters are lazy victims who rely on the government for sustenance from birth to death represents Romney’s open embrace of Fox News and the same insulting allegation that it, along with other right-wing talkers, has been making for the last four years. Here, the Republican’s long-standing caricature of the lazy welfare recipient gets dramatically expanded to include tens of millions of Americans who vote Democratic and who apparently worship big government and disdain hard work.

The sweeping generalization Romney uses to denigrate so many voters, and the fact he did it behind closed doors while speaking to wealthy donors, is what turned the comments into a significant campaign news event. Writing off nearly half the electorate as selfish dependents who refuse to take responsibilities for their own lives isn’t usually how White House candidates frame their campaigns.

What’s telling though is how, once again, the fingerprints of Fox News and the right-wing media are all over the Romney campaign and its latest misstep.

Fact: Fox and friends have been railing for years about how Obama is purposefully making more people dependent on the government (an “entitlement state“) so he can turn that dependency into votes. Obama, according to the fevered rhetoric from the far-right swamp, wants to radically extend the reach of the government in an effort to extract voter loyalty. “He’d rather you be a slave and be economically dependent upon him,” is how Fox favorite Rep. Allen West (R-FL) put it.

Remember Glenn Beck’s unhinged comparison to Obama as drug-dealer-in-chief?

If he’s not a socialist, if he’s not a Marxist, then he must be a heroin dealer. I believe our new president is pushing a much more powerful version of heroin, and he is getting people strung out.

Meanwhile, discussing welfare work requirement reform this summer (and while completely misrepresenting the changes the Obama administration implemented at the behest of Republican governors), Fox contributor Laura Ingraham claimed the changes were designed to be a “push for election turnout.” Explained Ingraham: “Give more free stuff to people and hope that they come to the polls.”

And of course Rush Limbaugh has been relentlessly promoting the unsavory talking point, claiming the Democratic president doesn’t “want people leaving the welfare rolls” because “those are voters that are getting away.”

All of this strange right-wing media rhetoric has apparently soaked in and has been embraced by the Romney campaign. In fact, just last week, an unnamed Romney adviser complained to National Review that the reason the media are allegedly rooting for Obama is because “the more Washington DC controls our economy, the more important inside-the-beltway publications are and the more money they make.”

Again, with this twisted notion that the (socialist!) Obama administration is trying to control people’s lives by expanding the size of government, and that Americans who receive government services automatically support Democrats. (No unemployment recipient has ever voted Republican?) Indeed, the Atlantic mapped out where Romney’s 47 percent of no-income-tax-paying voters live, and it turns out “those people are disproportionately in red states — that is, states that tend to vote Republican.”

This is the kind of fringe, conspiratorial rhetoric that campaigns usually leave to the periphery. And for good reason. But Mitt Romney is the Fox News candidate and apparently that means echoing every dark, incoherent attack that the talk channel can conjure up.


By: Eric Boehlert, Media Matters, September 18, 2012

September 20, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


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