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“Went Straight For The Billionaire’s Jugular”: John Kasich Doesn’t Want To Play Nice Anymore

John Kasich had a clear plan in the third GOP presidential debate: Attack Donald Trump.

As the curtain rose and the 10 candidates took their podiums, the Ohio governor started out aggressively, as if already planning to lob whatever he could at Trump, no matter the question. CNBC moderator John Harwood asked Kasich to explain his comments Tuesday at a rally, where he said “I’ve had it” with candidates like Trump and Ben Carson. Kasich elaborated on his assault, saying: “This stuff is fantasy.”

“Well, right here they’re talking about, ‘We’ll just have a 10 percent tithe and that is how we’ll fund the government,’” Kasich said Wednesday night, clearly taking a jab at Carson. “‘We’ll just fix everything with waste, fraud, and abuse. Oh, we’re just going to be great, and we’ll ship 10 million people out of this country, leaving their children here in this country and dividing families,’” he added, taking a shot at Trump.

“Folks, we’ve got to wake up. We cannot elect somebody that doesn’t know how to do the job. You have to pick somebody who has experience, somebody that has the know-how, the discipline, and I spent my entire lifetime balancing federal budgets, flowing jobs, same in Ohio. I will go back within 100 days, it will pass, and we’ll be strong again.”

Trump, of course, leapt in, saying Ohio turned around economically because Kasich got “lucky with fracking.”

“First of all, John got lucky with a thing called fracking, OK?” Trump said, striking a typically defiant tone. “He hit oil, he got lucky with fracking, that is why Ohio is doing really well. That is important for you to know. No. 2, this was the man who was a managing general partner at Lehman Brothers and almost took us down with it, too. Lehman Brothers, they managed it all. Thirdly, he was such a nice guy, his poll numbers tanked. That is why he is on the end. He got nasty, so you know what? You can have him.”

Kasich shot back by saying he traveled around the country learning about how jobs work while he was at Lehman Brothers, giving him the economic chops to be the leader of the free world.

This “nasty” approach from Kasich was calculated, and one that many other GOP candidates, including Bobby Jindal have tried: Fight fire with fire against Trump.

“Part of being president is speaking the truth to the American people. That’s what Governor Kasich did today,” Kasich’s communications director Chris Schrimpf told The Daily Beast on Tuesday of Kasich’s newly aggressive strategy.

The governor of Ohio doesn’t want to play nice anymore.

 

By: Gideon Resnick, The Daily Beast, October 29, 2015

October 30, 2015 Posted by | Ben Carson, Donald Trump, John Kasich | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Sheep In Sheep’s Clothing”: After The Third Republican Debate, Is Jeb Bush Finished?

Jeb Bush deserves headlines from Wednesday’s anarchic GOP debate, but not the good kind. Something like: “Is Bush Finished?”

The evening in Boulder, Colo., will be remembered for interruptions, non sequiturs, mangled facts and general chaos. But the most significant impact may have been to dramatically lengthen the odds that Bush, the dutiful scion, will follow his father and brother into the White House.

The key moment came fairly early in the debate when Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) — considered Bush’s biggest rival for consolidating the support of the GOP establishment — was asked about having missed so many Senate votes while out on the campaign trail. Rubio responded by attacking “the bias that exists in the American media today,” claiming there is a double standard and that Republicans are judged more harshly than Democrats.

Bush sallied forth. “I’m a constituent of the senator,” he said, “and I helped him and I expected that he would do constituent service, which means that he shows up to work.” In his characteristic look-here-old-boy sort of way, Bush told Rubio he should either perform his duties or “just resign and let someone else take the job.”

Rubio shot back that Bush never complained about all the votes missed in 2008 by Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), to whose campaign Bush has compared his own. Then Rubio gave his one-time mentor the back of his hand: “The only reason why you’re doing it now is because we’re running for the same position, and someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you.”

The crowd cheered. Bush made no retort. Rubio had made him appear, in Winston Churchill’s memorable phrase, “a sheep in sheep’s clothing.”

Bush had spent the past week trying to assure donors and supporters that he had the drive, desire and political skill to fight with no holds barred for the nomination. Wednesday’s performance was woefully unconvincing.

Rubio, by contrast, had his best outing thus far. He was sharp and aggressive throughout, deflecting any question he didn’t want to answer with a fresh round of media-bashing.

If I were a would-be Republican kingmaker of the establishment persuasion, I’d invite Rubio for lunch — and remind Bush of his recent declaration that there are “really cool things I could do other than sit around, be miserable, listening to people demonize me and me feeling compelled to demonize them.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) was at the top of his game, showing he can be more clever and eloquent than Rubio in attacking perceived — or imagined — media bias. “This is not a cage match,” he pronounced. “And, you look at the questions — ‘Donald Trump, are you a comic-book villain?’ ‘Ben Carson, can you do math?’ ‘John Kasich, will you insult two people over here?’ ‘Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign?’ ‘Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?’ How about talking about the substantive issues the people care about?”

That peroration drew one of the night’s biggest ovations. But it came in response to a question about Cruz’s position on the budget deal between President Obama and outgoing House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). Somehow, that didn’t fit Cruz’s definition of substance?

The battle among Rubio, Cruz and Bush was amusing, but it was for primacy among also-rans. The two leaders — billionaire Donald Trump and Ben Carson — went unscathed, generally managing to stay out of the fray.

Not that Ohio Gov. John Kasich didn’t try to make their lack of experience an issue. Kasich opened the debate with a screed: “My great concern is that we are on the verge, perhaps, of picking someone who cannot do this job.” He went on to mention Carson’s proposal to replace Medicare and Trump’s vow to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants as examples of “fantasy.”

But nobody wanted to join Kasich in ganging up on the improbable front-runners. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was eager to get in on the blame-the-media action that seemed to be working so well for the others. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee seemed to want to show that he has found his missing sense of humor. Businesswoman Carly Fiorina pushed “play” on a recording of her previous debate performances. Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) was present.

Trump was brassy, Carson was serene. Neither said or did anything to dissuade their legions of followers. When pressed on glaring contradictions, they simply denied saying or proposing things they said and proposed. All the politicians are still playing second fiddle to a real estate mogul and a retired neurosurgeon who somehow have stolen the Republican Party.

 

By: Eugene Robinson, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, October 29, 2015

October 30, 2015 Posted by | GOP Primary Debates, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“How A President Paul Would Remake Society”: Rand Paul Is Building A Bridge — To The Early 1800s

The official launch of Rand Paul’s presidential campaign this week showcased an interesting blend of proposals, with the junior senator from Kentucky agitating against the forthcoming Iran deal, racially unjust incarceration, and NSA surveillance. The bulk of it, however, was dedicated to a libertarian vision of government — one drastically at odds with the last century of American governance and more.

This vision isn’t just contained to his speeches. Paul’s budget proposals provide a blueprint for how a President Paul would remake society, and the result is eyewateringly radical. When it comes to domestic policy, his views are far to the right even of Paul Ryan, whose budgets would decimate the legacy of the New Deal. It’s a vision of government from the age of Thomas Jefferson, and ludicrously unsuited to the 21st century.

And yet Paul, despite fashioning himself as an outsider, will likely be a contender in the Republican primary, which means his ideas deserve close scrutiny.

Dylan Matthews has done a deep dive into the various Paul budgets of the last three years, and the findings are jarring. “The gap between Paul’s budget and Ryan’s,” he writes, “is nearly as big as the gap between Ryan’s and Democrats.”

On one occasion or another, Paul has proposed completely abolishing the Departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, and Energy; the Bureaus of Reclamation and Indian Affairs; all foreign aid; and the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. On the tax side, he proposes a flat income tax and scrapping the tax on estates, capital gains, dividends, large gifts, as well as the Alternative Minimum Tax.

As Matt Bruenig concludes, this would amount to a stupendous redistribution of income from poor to rich, likely unprecedented in American history. The poor would see their taxes massively increased, while the rich would enjoy a corresponding decrease.

In Paul’s dream world, other government departments get merely eviscerated. The Interior Department is cut by 78 percent, State by 71 percent, the General Services Administration by 85 percent, and the Transportation and Agriculture departments by a comparatively modest 49 percent cut each. The military was cut by 30 percent in early budgets, though Paul has since reversed himself on that.

But wait, there’s more! Science gets gored by Paul, with 20 percent of funding taken from the National Institutes of Health, 25 percent from NASA, 20 percent from the U.S. Geological Survey, 62 percent from the National Science Foundation, and even 20 percent from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (which, you may recall, recently prevented an outbreak of Ebola in the U.S.).

These aggressive cuts to discretionary spending are the simple result of huge tax reductions combined with a balanced budget. But Paul also appears to be groping as far towards the libertarian “night watchman state” — limited to the police, military, and courts — as he dares. Though Paul’s views, tainted by roots in his father’s very long history of bigoted conspiracy nutbaggery, are far from the austere purity of Robert Nozick, it’s clear Paul thinks most of what the government has done since the 1930s is illegitimate.

He’s a supporter of the Lochner doctrine, named after a 1905 Supreme Court case that conveniently discovered an unwritten “liberty of contract” in the 14th Amendment and thus abolished most laws regulating working conditions. He’s a fan of the Supreme Court decisions against the New Deal. His latest budget argues that anything but a flat tax is likely unconstitutional. It seems clear that if he had his druthers, he really would abolish everything but the police, the military, and the courts.

This extreme suspicion of federal government is only matched by his reverence for rich people and businesses; Paul does not touch property law, special legal protections for corporations, or even the wretched mortgage interest deduction. His position would fit reasonably well in the Gilded Age or the pre-World War I era, when “due process” for workers was often non-existent.

But it was Thomas Jefferson who made the most sustained effort to bring the libertarian utopia into being. Fighting against Alexander Hamilton and his allies, Jefferson did about all he could, especially early in his first term, to implement the night watchman state. It didn’t work very well, and he began abandoning the effort by the end of his term — and he was living in an agrarian slave society. Trying it in 2016 is patently preposterous.

 

By: Ryan Cooper, The Week, April 8, 2015

April 10, 2015 Posted by | Domestic Policy, Libertarians, Rand Paul | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Laying It All Out On Medicare”: No Mistaking Paul Ryan’s Policy

The release of a new Paul Ryan budget plan is always the occasion for a lot of ridicule from liberals, for a whole bunch of reasons, and this year’s will be no different. Ryan’s budgets always manage to combine a remarkable cruelty toward poor people with a sunny optimism that draconian cuts to social services will result in a veritable explosion of economic growth, allowing us to balance the budget without taking anything away from the truly important priorities (like military spending) or, heaven forbid, forcing wealthy people to pay more in taxes.

I’m sure there are other people preparing detailed critiques of the Ryan budget, but I want to focus on one thing this brings up: the question of how we talk about Medicare. As he has before in his budgets, Ryan proposes to repeal the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, like subsidies for middle-class people to buy insurance and the expansion of Medicaid, but he’d keep the tax increases and Medicare cuts that the bill included in order to pay for it all, which helps him achieve his “balanced” budget.

Yes, it’s true that when Ryan was running for vice president, he joined Mitt Romney in condemning those very Medicare savings. But nobody really believed he was doing anything at the time but being a team player. So we can give him credit for taking at least a step toward putting his money where his mouth is on Medicare. Sure, it may be couched in some misleading words (the document refers to “strengthening Medicare” no fewer than ten times), but there’s no mistaking the policy.

Because the rest of his party is, to put it kindly, of two minds when it comes to the program. On one hand, they will tell you, Medicare is unsustainable, a ravenous beast that will devour the entire nation’s financial well-being if we don’t find a way to suppress its appetite. In Washington-speak, this is translated as “doing something about entitlements.” We have to Do Something About Entitlements! If you don’t want to Do Something About Entitlements, you’re just not serious about our nation’s fiscal challenges.

On the other hand, Republicans believe that Medicare is utterly sacrosanct, a jewel whose every facet is so perfect that even the most modest attempt to curtail its costs should be met with howls of anguish and outrage. Or at least that’s what they believe at election time, when they’ll air one ad after another condemning Democrats for cutting the Medicare seniors so desperately need. Democrats all over the country have been subjected to ads saying, “Congressman Fnurbler voted to cut $716 billion from Medicare!” over a picture of an elderly couple sitting at the kitchen table, looking over their bills with an engulfing despair, then meeting each other’s eyes in a tragic look that says, “Thanks to Congressman Fnurbler, all is lost. If only we had been able to pay our gas bill so we could stick our heads in the oven and end it all right now.”

Republicans are so deeply opposed to the idea of cutting Medicare that they can’t even stomach anyone trying to see if Medicare is spending its money wisely. Mention the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a component of the ACA that was designed to restrain Medicare costs if they rose too fast, and steam will come out of their ears. (The IPAB would make recommendations to Congress on ways to save money, and Congress would have to act on them. But since Medicare spending has slowed dramatically in the last couple of years, the requirement has yet to kick in, and President Obama hasn’t bothered to appoint anyone to what is still a theoretical board.) They waged a virtual war on comparative effectiveness research, effectively saying that it was dangerous to even ask which competing treatments work well and which don’t.

In other words, most Republicans believe we must, must, must reduce the cost of Medicare—excuse me, Do Something About Entitlements—but are adamantly opposed to every step that has been taken to reduce the cost of Medicare. I’m sure that lots of them are sympathetic to Ryan’s vision, which is to essentially turn the program into a voucher system, in which the government helps you buy private insurance, and over time costs magically go down (and if you’re thinking that sounds a lot like what people are getting on the Obamacare exchanges, any Republican will tell you that it’s totally different because freedom).

So let’s give Paul Ryan some credit. Sure, his numbers might not add up. But when he puts out a budget, there’s no mystery about where he’s coming from and what he wants to do.

 

By: Paul Waldman, Contributing Editor, The American Prospect, April 1, 2014

April 2, 2014 Posted by | Medicare, Ryan Budget Plan | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“And Here We Go Again”: Republicans Are Really, Really Bad At Hostage Negotiations

For some time, I’ve been arguing that we should not just extend the debt ceiling but get rid of it altogether. It’s a weird historical anomaly that serves no practical purpose other than allowing the opposition party, should it be sufficiently reckless, to threaten global economic catastrophe if it doesn’t get its way. I assumed that your average Washington Democrat would share this view, but now I’m beginning to think that if you’re someone like Nancy Pelosi or Barack Obama, the debt ceiling is actually quite helpful, and you’d be sorry to see it go.

Because here’s what keeps happening: The debt ceiling approaches. Republicans begin making threats to torpedo the country’s economy by not raising it, and thereby sending the United States government into default, if their demands aren’t met. We then have a couple of weeks of debate, disagreement, and hand-wringing. Republican infighting grows more intense, and their reputation as a bunch of radicals who are willing to burn down the country to serve their extreme ideology is reinforced. At the end of it, the Republicans cave, the ceiling is raised for some period, and we do it all again in a few months.

And here we go again. The debt ceiling is going to have to be raised in the next month or so. Since the deficit is now at its lowest point since Barack Obama took office, it’s hard for Republicans to say that slashing the budget is so urgent that it justifies threatening to send America off an economic cliff. So what will they demand as their price for assenting to a debt ceiling increase? The answer is…they can’t decide. Yesterday, the House leadership proposed that they demand either a repeal of the “risk corridor” provision in the Affordable Care Act, which protects against a “death spiral” in the individual insurance market (here’s a good explainer on that), or approval of the Keystone pipeline. As Jonathan Chait pointed out, “Republicans have decided that one of these policy demands is so vital that they can insist its fulfillment justifies the threat of global economic calamity. They’re just not sure yet which one.” But it turned out that they couldn’t even unite around one of those two things, and that proposal of the leadership’s is now dead.

So here’s where we are. The Republican position is that something or other, let’s call it the Policy Change To Be Named Later, is so urgent, so pressing, so essential to the future of this great nation that if they don’t get it, whatever it turns out to be, they will force the government into default. And as soon as they figure out what the PCTBNL is, they’ll let us know.

Meanwhile, the Democrats’ position is simple: the debt ceiling needs to be raised, without conditions. Period. And that’s just what’s going to happen. There’ll be some hemming and hawing between now and then, but Democrats are going to win this, and Republicans are going to lose, and look like fools. Given that, if you were Barack Obama, wouldn’t you be perfectly happy to go through this routine a few more times?

 

By: Paul Waldman, Contributing Editor, The American Prospect, February 5, 2014

February 7, 2014 Posted by | Debt Ceiling, Republicans | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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