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“The Arbiter For Women”: Todd Akin Just Can’t Seem To “Shut It Down”

Rep. Todd Akin, the controversial Missouri Republican running for the U.S. Senate this year, isn’t exactly a champion on the issue of women’s health. He is, after all, under the impression that women can magically “shut down” unwanted pregnancies caused by “legitimate” rapes.

One might think, then, that Akin would try to avoid women’s issues altogether, focusing his attention elsewhere. But it appears the right-wing congressman just can’t help himself.

Since Missouri GOP Senate nominee Todd Akin’s comments about “legitimate rape” rarely causing pregnancy, he has attempted to do damage control with women voters. he noted, in an apology ad, that he has two daughters and wants “tough justice for predators.” He trumpeted his women for Akin coalition.

But a new comment isn’t likely to help his efforts to appeal to women voters: Akin noted that his opponent, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, was more “ladylike” during the 2006 campaign.

Oh good, Todd Akin wants to present himself as the arbiter of whether women are, in his estimation, “ladylike” enough to meet his discerning standards.

In this case, Akin told the Kansas City Star that McCaskill, as far as he’s concerned, “had a confidence and was much more ladylike” six years ago.

And what do Akin’s new-found friends at the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Republican National Committee have to say about this. “Decline to comment.”

Imagine that.

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, September 27, 2012

September 28, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“A Fateful Misposition”: Romney Didn’t Change Fast Or Far Enough

If you want to understand the recent, present, and probably future direction of the conservative movement and its wholly owned subsidiary, the Republican Party, it’s important to understand how thoroughly and rapidly it has engineered a revolution in the GOP, now that dissent from The Truth is ill-tolerated. A useful way to get a grip on this phenomenon is, of course, to look at Mitt Romney’s efforts to accommodate himself to the ever-changing zeitgeist. Sometimes you get the impression that Romney was this solid moderate Republican the day before yesterday, and only became “severely conservative” in this cycle. But as Steve Kornacki reminds us today at Salon, Mitt started repositioning himself to the right a long time ago–just not fast and far enough:

Romney began making moves toward a White House run nearly a decade ago, shifting away from his moderate Massachusetts roots and positioning himself to meet the national GOP’s various ideological tests. The Massachusetts healthcare law was to play a key role in this self-reinvention. It would give Romney a major bipartisan gubernatorial achievement, burnish his credentials as a forward-looking leader (and not just a simple panderer), and give him a huge general election asset – a universal coverage law that he could use to deflate the inevitable Democratic attacks about his lack of compassion and to stir hope among voters that he knew how to accomplish Big Things.

So Romneycare was not a legacy of RINO moderate heresy (you have to look back at the things he said during his 1994 Senate race against Ted Kennedy to find a lot of items that send conservatives completely over the wall), but a token of then-prevailing conservative orthodoxy. For two interlocking reasons–the decision by conservatives that any efforts to achieve universal health coverage were inherently “socialistic,” and the strategic decision to oppose everything proposed by Barack Obama as a step down the road to totalitarianism–Romney’s positioning turned out to be wrong. It’s worth remembering that his most serious “true conservative” rivals for the nomination, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, made similar mistakes.

In Romney’s case, however, this mispositioning has been especially fateful because it knocked the props from beneath his slender record of accomplishment, as Kornacki notes:

When Obama embraced RomneyCare and the GOP embraced reflexive opposition, it left Rommney with nothing to say.

And that’s where he is today, alternating between a failing “economic referendum on Obama” message and serial broken promises to lay out a positive agenda that isn’t the Ryan Budget with a side dish of Christian Right cultural extremism. If there was a Bain Capital for politicians, it would probably tell Mitt he needs to blow it all up and start over.


By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Washington Monthly Political Animal, September 27, 2012

September 28, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Supremes Return”: Will There Be An “October Surprise” On Affirmative Action?

At The Atlantic today, Andrew Cohen has a brief preview of the upcoming session of the Supreme Court. A lot of his article revolves around the personal antagonisms that seemed to emerge strong during and after consideration of the Affordable Care Act case. But here’s what Cohen says about the Court’s caseload:

Alas, what’s on the docket today, even after the Court accepted six new cases this past Wednesday, is only about half of what the justices will decide between now and June. So previewing the Court term this year is a little like previewing a play that is only half written. Will this be a term like last term, one for the ages? It depends. It depends on how aggressive the justices are in reaching out to take big-ticket social cases.

We don’t yet know, for example, whether the justices will take the Proposition 8 case out of California to finally put to rest that state’s uncertainty with same-sex marriage. Nor do we yet know if the Court is going to take another look at the Voting Rights Act after a season marked by partisan discrimination over voter identification laws. And there is a possibility, with voting rights cases brewing in South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio and elsewhere, that the Court may be dragged into an election case before the November election.

As I write today, there is only one transcendent case on the Court’s docket this term, and it comes up early, on October 10. In Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the Court’s conservatives are poised to finish off once and for all the concept of affirmative action in academia.

Cohen goes on to note the perilous constitutional condition of affirmative action in college admissions, maintained in 2003 on a tie-breaking vote from Justice O’Conner, who has since been replaced by Samuel Alito, a confirmed enemy of affirmative action in general.

But Political Animals want to know if oral arguments on this issue right in the middle of the stretch run of the election campaign could serve as something of an “October Surprise” for Republicans who may by that time have lost whatever remaining inhibitions they have about racially tinged attacks arguing that those people and their president are systematically looting the good virtuous white people of America. I certainly think they will do whatever they can to exploit the publicity over the case, and would not be surprised at all if Mitt Romney and/or debate moderators were to pointedly challenge Obama on this subject either before (on October 3) or after (on October 16) the Court’s oral arguments.

So get ready for some race-baiting nestled in the gauzy language of constitutional law!


By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Washington Monthly Political Animal, September 27, 2012

September 28, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012, SCOTUS | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“RomneyUseToCare”: Mitt’s New “I Care” Message Makes A Pretty Good Case For Obamacare

Mitt Romney, slipping in the polls after his bizarre dismissal of 47 percent of the American people as a “dependent” class with which he would not concern himself, has come up with a new tactic to revive his ailing campaign: compassion.

His message: “I care.”

“There are so many people in our country who are hurting right now,” says the Republican nominee for president. “I want to help them.”

And how does Mitt confirm his concern?

By embracing healthcare reforms that use the power of government to assure that Americans who have no insurance protection—or inadequate insurance—are provided with access to the coverage and the care they need.

“Don’t forget—I got everybody in my state insured,” Romney told NBC News while campaigning in Toledo, Ohio. “One hundred percent of the kids in our state had health insurance. I don’t think there’s anything that shows more empathy and care about the people of this country than that kind of record.”

Give Mitt his due.

As governor of Massachusetts, he did indeed establish a statewide program to expand access to healthcare. He was so associated with the program that it’s come to be known as “Romneycare.”

Just like President Obama’s association with the reasonably similar Affordable Care Act at the federal level led to it being dubbed “Obamacare.”

Both programs are imperfect, especially in the eyes of supporters of broader reform, such as the “Medicare for All” proposals advanced by Senator Bernie Sanders and other progressives.

But let’s accept that working to enact them qualifies as evidence of at least some degree of empathy.

So Romney cares—or, at the least, he cared.

And Obama cares.

The political question that remains to be resolved is this: How does Mitt Romney argue that Americans should vote for him because he cared about those who needed healthcare in Massachusetts while Romney is, at the same time, arguing that Americans should not vote for Barack Obama because he cared about those who needed healthcare in the other forty-nine states?


By: John Nichols, The Nation, September 27, 2012

September 28, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Contemptible Creatures”: The GOP’s Self-Delusion Syndrome

What a fantastic last two weeks these have been. I don’t even mean Barack Obama solidifying his lead over Mitt Romney, although that’s perfectly fine. No, I mean the near-mathematically perfect joy of watching these smug and contemptible creatures of the right dodge and swerve and make excuses and, most of all, whine. There is no joy in the kingdom of man so great as the joy of seeing bullies and hucksters laid low, and watching people who have arrogantly spent years assuming they were right about the world living to see all those haughty assumptions die before their eyes. Watching them squirm is more fun than watching Romney and Paul Ryan flail away.

I loved the initial reaction to the famous videotape. Problem? Are you kidding? This is just what we’ve been waiting for! This will help Romney, it was said; finally, we have Mitt unchained, Mitt raw, Mitt the truth-teller. Now he can just charge out there and do more of this, and in no time the nation will be putty in our hands! And just you wait for the next polls.

Well, the polls have started to come, and they portend total disaster. Americans don’t turn out to like a heartlessly cruel Social Darwinian articulation of the national condition that by the way calls half the population worthless. Huh. Go figure.

But is this a problem? Of course not! There is an explanation for this too: The polls are wrong! All of them. Except of course Rasmussen, that rock of right-minded methodological certitude jutting out from the ocean of relativist corruption. I’d like a nickel but would settle happily for a penny for every tweet I’ve seen in the last couple of weeks from a conservative braying about a given poll’s sample.

There are loads of them but the gold medalist of this event by far is Dick Morris, who sits there on the Fox set like a betumored walrus on an ice floe assuring his viewers not to worry. His riff to Sean Hannity Monday night, a night when everyone else saw that Obama’s lead was getting comfortable-to-the-point-of-insurmountable, is worth quoting at some length: “[Romney] is at the moment in a very strong position. I believe if the election were held today Romney would win by four or five points. I believe he would carry Florida, Ohio, Virginia. I believe he would carry Nevada. I believe he would carry Pennsylvania.” Even Hannity at this point interjected, “Oh, come on.” But on Morris went. He knew of a private poll in Pennsylvania, “by a group that I’ve hired in the past,” that had Romney two points behind.

“People need to understand,” he continued, “that the polling this year is the worst it’s ever been. Because this is the first election where if I tell you who’s gonna vote, I can tell you how you’re gonna vote.” He went on to say that polls are assuming a six- or seven-point Democratic edge, and he assumes a three-point edge.

First of all, what was the Democratic edge in 2008? Uh, seven points. Second, while he is correct that the polls are showing strong Democratic advantages, they’re doing so because that’s how people are identifying themselves to pollsters. In fact, Stan Greenberg noted last Friday, Republicans lost five points in voter identification in a month. This is not bad poll sampling. It’s reality. And while it’s true that today’s numbers might overstate what will be the case on Nov. 6, the way things are going, they just might be understating them.

But no—now, the mere fact of poll-taking is “a subtle means of Republican voter suppression,” as Simon Maloy put it over at Media Matters. And the latest whine—this cupboard somehow never runs bare—is that conservatives don’t like taking polls. So said Scott Walker to Fox on Wednesday. Yes, of course! Because conservatives are people of action, busy people, who have neither the time (like the indolent 47 percenters) nor the inclination to accept phone calls from lamestream media pollsters. Honestly. Scott Walker can’t really believe this.

And finally, the last refuge of these scoundrels, bashing the librul media. Did you catch Rush Limbaugh’s pathetic rant on Tuesday after the famous blown interception call? Packer fans should just shake it off, he said, because the true aggrieved party is conservatives: “We’re lied about every day. The media gets it wrong on purpose against us every day. Now, I think it’s a good analogy.”

It’s a ridiculous analogy, and it’s not lies with which Limbaugh and Morris and their ilk are now coming face-to-face. It’s the truth. Americans like Barack Obama. They don’t like Mitt Romney. They really don’t like Paul Ryan. And they don’t want any part of the ideology of callousness and make-believe facts and pigheaded warmongering—and economic crisis and big deficits and all of that—that the Republicans are peddling. Of course these people will never come to terms with all that. But right now, boys, you’re running out of targets, and excuses.


By: Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast, September 27, 2012

September 28, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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