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You’re Not Under Oath: Is Gov Rick Perry Dumb?

Politico asks the question out loud.

The answer from Perry’s friends and supporters is not reassuring.

“If he should know about John Locke, he’ll know about John Locke,” said [Tex lobbyist and Perry supporter] Bill Miller. “If it’s not on his schedule, it’s irrelevant to him.”

In other words: his aides run him.

His policy focus as governor hasn’t been complex – it’s almost entirely jobs and business-focused – but that’s not where Perry’s mind is, say those who know him.

He’s a power politician and very canny one. And what seems to animate him is competition.

Whether it is winning elections, beating out other states in attracting jobs or besting them for college football recruits, Perry is ferociously single-minded.

In other words: he is keenly political, but has little policy focus – which will be some handicap for a president who will face after 2013 the toughest economic policy challenges since the 1930s.

“There were some guys we always thought were the brainiacs, the ones who got into the minutiae of legislation,” recalled Cliff Johnson, an Austin lobbyist and close Perry friend and former roommate from their days serving together as Democratic legislators. “We sought information from trusted folks.”

In other words: lobbyists will run him.

Trained as an Air Force pilot right out of A&M, Perry was “taught to trust your information,” said Johnson.

And associates say the same lessons that Perry learned when he was flying C-130s apply now.

“Pilots execute flight plans,” said Miller. “They have a plan, they fly a certain pattern and that’s the way he’s always operated — he has a flight plan for what he’s trying to do and he executes.”

That’s quite an insult to combat pilots, who must react, respond and improvise. “Executing the flight plan” seems a terrible way to approach the presidency. It’s the president’s job to write the flight plan.

Mike Baselice, Perry’s longtime pollster, said his client is of the Ronald Reagan school of management: “Trust people and manage well.”

“His job is to go meet voters,” said Baselice. “We’ll figure out the details of the messaging.”

Voters would do well to ask: Who’s this “we” that will really be running the country during a Perry presidency?

 

By: David Frum, The FrumForum, August 29, 2011

 

August 29, 2011 Posted by | Conservatives, Democracy, Economy, Elections, GOP, Governors, Ideologues, Ideology, Lobbyists, Politics, Public, Public Opinion, Republicans, Right Wing, Teaparty, Voters | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rep Peter King’s “Mockumentary”: Investigation Into Bin Laden Movie Is About 2012

The 2012 campaign is now  in full force. And it’s not because there have been several GOP primary  debates, or that a Republican candidate has already dropped out of the race, or  even because President Obama has interrupted his can’t-we-all-act-like-adults bit  to criticize Congress.

It’s because a congressman has called for an  investigation into a Hollywood movie.

Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal, the director and  screenwriter who made  the Academy Award-winning film The Hurt Locker, are now  at work on a  movie about Osama bin Laden. This is not only understandable but   predictable. Hollywood is in business to make money, and while Bigelow  and Boal  are surely many levels above the filmmakers who produce movies  with men acting  like frat boys and grown women paralyzed by  inexplicable insecurity, this movie  will certainly draw a crowd. But  what House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King  worries about is that the Obama administration is providing  the  filmmakers with classified information to help them make the film.

White House  spokesman Jay Carney dismissed the concerns  as “ridiculous,” and while  we can’t know for sure, it does seem a little  silly. The military  operation itself required intense secrecy and protection of  classified  information to be successful. Why release classified information  now?  And why would the filmmakers need classified information? We know how it   started, and we know how it ended—with bin Laden shot by a U.S. Navy  SEAL.  That’s a pretty good movie right there, and one Americans  exhausted by the toll  of two wars and a recession will likely flock to  see.

The real question here is not whether classified  information is being  given to Hollywood, but whether King’s genuine concern is  timing. The  movie is set to be released before the 2012 elections, arguably  giving  the embattled president a public relations boost right when he may need   one. But does a movie make the difference? It’s unthinkable that the  Obama  campaign will not remind people of the huge military  success of killing the  most hated man in America; they don’t need  Hollywood to do it. There may well  be many films whose sourcing and  facts are suspect—those would be the  mockumentaries undoubtedly being  created under the loose campaign finance rules  in place since the Citizens United case was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Now, that’s something worth a  congressional investigation.

By: Susan Milligan, U. S. News and World Report, August 16, 2011

August 17, 2011 Posted by | Campaign Financing, Congress, Conservatives, Democracy, Democrats, GOP, Government, Ideologues, Ideology, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, SCOTUS | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mitt Romney’s Flawed View Of Freedom

The bales of hay were stacked strategically in the hope that they’d make it into the television screen. The sturdy white barn nearby provided an image worthy of a Christmas card, the symbol of a solid, calm, industrious and confident country. The slogan behind the candidate, “Believe in America,” did not invite debate.

Whatever the punditocracy may have made of Mitt Romney’s formal announcement of his presidential candidacy last week, we could all give the guy credit for trying to reassure us that not everything in politics has changed.

In an age of media flying circuses where you never know who is running for president and who is just trying to boost book sales and speaking fees, Romney did it the old-fashioned way. He really, really wants to be president, and he offered pretty pictures to encourage us to watch him saying so. It was the venerable liturgy of our civil religion.

Unfortunately for Romney, he barely got his moment in the sun because dark clouds rolled in. Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani showed up in New Hampshire on the former Massachusetts governor’s magical day, underscoring why Romney is plagued by the word “putative,” which almost always appears before “front-runner.”

But Romney’s travails are about more than the man himself. They speak to the
condition of a party that won’t let him embrace his actual record and constantly
requires him — and all other Republicans — to say outlandish things.

Romney’s greatest political achievement, the Massachusetts health-care law, was a genuinely masterful piece of politics and policy. The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza recently wrote a superb article about how Romney got the plan passed. The campaign should be
reproducing the article in bulk. Instead, Romney’s lieutenants will pray that Republican primary voters never read the story. Working with those horrid Democrats to pass any sort of forward-looking government program is now forbidden.

When Romney spoke at Doug and Stella Scamman’s Bittersweet Farm, he was guarded in talking about his health plan, saying he “hammered out a solution that took a bad situation and made it better. Not perfect, but it was a state solution to our state’s
problem.” The crowd gave him modest cheers when he got to the part about health
care being a state problem.

But he received what was, by my reckoning, his loudest response when he pledged “a complete repeal of Obamacare.” That’s where the GOP heart is, and Palin and Giuliani both got into most of the Romney announcement stories by bashing him on health care. When you’re forced to tiptoe around your accomplishments, it’s no wonder you get accused of shifting your shape.

Yet it was Romney himself who exposed contemporary conservatism’s core flaw.
“Did you know,” he asked, “that government — federal, state and local — under
President Obama, has grown to consume almost 40 percent of our economy? We’re
only inches away from ceasing to be a free economy.”

Actually, the federal government of which Obama is in charge “consumes” about a quarter of the economy — and this after a severe recession, when government’s share
naturally goes up.

But even granting Romney his addition of spending by all levels of government, the notion that we are “inches away from ceasing to be a free economy” is worse than absurd. It suggests that the only way we measure whether an economy and a country are “free” is by toting up how much government spends.

Are we less “free” because we spend money on public schools and student loans, Medicare and Medicaid, police and firefighters, roads and transit, national defense and environmental protection? Would we be “freer” if government spent zero percent of the economy and just stopped doing things?

Romney, presumably, doesn’t think this, but the logic of what he said points
in exactly that direction. We thus confront in 2012 nothing short of a fundamental argument over what the word “freedom” means. If freedom, as the conservatives seem to insist, comes down primarily to the quantity of government spending, then a country such as Sweden, where government spends quite a lot, would be less “free” than a right-wing dictatorship that had no welfare state and no public schools — but also didn’t allow its people to speak, pray, write or organize as they wish.

Many of us “believe in America” because we believe its history shows that our
sacred liberties are compatible with a rather substantial government that invests in efforts to expand the freedom from want, the freedom from fear, the freedom from unfair treatment and the freedom to improve ourselves. That, as the politicians like to say, is what this campaign is all about.

 

By: E. J. Dionne, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, June 6, 2011

June 10, 2011 Posted by | Affordable Care Act, Conservatives, Democracy, Democrats, Economy, Elections, Freedom, GOP, Government, Health Care Costs, Ideologues, Ideology, Liberty, Media, Medicaid, Medicare, Mitt Romney, Politics, Republicans, Voters | , , , , , | Leave a comment

No Brains In The Head: Truly The Dumbest `American Exceptionalism’ Attack Yet

I didn’t think the right’s “American exceptionalism” attack on Obama could get any dumber, but Sarah Palin has now outdone them all. She’s now faulting Obama for insufficient praise for our armed forces:

She also made a slight dig at President Obama for saying Monday at Arlington National Cemetery that his “most solemn responsibility as president [is] to serve as commander in chief of one of the finest fighting forces in the world.” Answering a question about Memorial Day, Palin said, “This is the greatest fighting force in the world, the U.S. military. It’s not just one of the greatest fighting forces. And I sure hope our president recognizes that. We’re not just one of many. We are the best.”

As it happens, the reporter got Obama’s quote a bit wrong. This is what Obama actually said: “It is my most solemn responsibility as President, to serve as Commander-in-Chief of one of the finest fighting forces the world has ever known.” But this isn’t good enough for Palin: If Obama doesn’t say that our armed forces are the bestest, baddest, most ass kicking-ist fighting forces in all of human history, he’s subtly denigrating the troops.

This is a reminder, if you needed one, that the charge that Obama doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism — which has taken literally dozens of forms now — will be central to the 2012 campaign. It’s also a reminder, though, of what this attack line is really about. It’s impossible to imagine that a significant number of voters could hear Palin’s latest attack and come away thinking there’s something to it; her claim is just too dumb for people to take seriously. But these sorts of attacks aren’t about the actual claims themselves.

Rather, they are part of a much broader effort to insinuate that you should find Obama’s character, story, motives, identity, cultural instincts and intentions towards our country to be alien and fundamentally suspect. The idea is to keep piling various versions of this charge — no matter how ludicrous — on top of one another, like snow piling up on a roof.

Mitt Romney has already made it completely plain that various versions of this insinuation will be a major feature of the 2012 GOP nominee’s argument against Obama. Donald Trump’s experiment in birther hucksterism — even though it crashed and burned — confirmed this beyond any doubt. Now Palin is at it, too.

Hearing this kind of thing from Palin actually makes me want her to run. Who better than her to reveal how vacuous, childish, jingoistic and unbecoming of the presidency this sort of nonsense really is?

 

By: Greg Sargent, The Plum Line, The Washington Post, May 31, 2011

May 31, 2011 Posted by | Birthers, Conservatives, Democracy, Elections, GOP, Government, Ideologues, Ideology, Neo-Cons, Politics, President Obama, Republicans, Right Wing, Voters | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Year Of Living Adulterously: What Is It With Republicans Lately?

Nobody wants to run for the presidential nomination. Mike Huckabee said God told him to stay on Fox News. NBC told Donald Trump to stay on “Celebrity Apprentice.”

Whatever happened to putting your country first? Our forefathers would never have passed up the presidency for anything less than the Charlie Sheen role on “Two and a Half Men.”

The Republicans are terrified that they’ll wind up with Mitt Romney, who has been fund-raising like crazy and seems to be planning a campaign based on the slogan: “Money can’t buy love, but it can definitely purchase a grudging, defeatist acceptance.”

Some party leaders are looking hopefully at Mitch Daniels, the governor of Indiana, who’s promised to make up his mind this month. If he runs, one thing you are not going to get from Mitch Daniels is the politics of joy. Have you ever seen “Game of Thrones” on HBO? It’s about a mythical kingdom that sends some of its young men to the remote tundra to live in perpetual celibacy and guard a 700-foot-tall wall of ice. Their reaction is very similar to the way Mitch Daniels looks when he talks about running for president.

Daniels is apparently worried that a presidential run might prove embarrassing to his wife, who ditched him and the kids and ran off to California to marry a doctor and then later recanted everything and came back. I think it is pretty safe to say that this topic might come up.

Which brings us to sex. What is it with Republicans lately? Is there something about being a leader of the family-values party that makes you want to go out and commit adultery?

They certainly don’t have a lock on the infidelity market, and heaven knows we all remember John Edwards. But, lately, the G.O.P. has shown a genius for putting a peculiar, newsworthy spin on illicit sex. A married congressman hunting for babes is bad. A married congressman hunting for babes by posting a half-naked photo of himself on the Internet is Republican.

A married governor who fathers an illegitimate child is awful. A married governor who fathers an illegitimate child by a staff member of the family home and then fails to mention it to his wife for more than 10 years is Republican.

A married senator who has an affair with an employee is a jerk. A married senator who has an affair with an employee who is the wife of his chief of staff, and whose adultery is the subject of ongoing discussion at his Congressional prayer group, is Republican.

We haven’t even gotten to Newt Gingrich yet!

Gingrich is the best-known of the second-string Republicans who are ready, willing and eager to take on Romney for the nomination. The question is whether social conservatives will resent the fact that he was having an adulterous relationship with his current wife while she was a House of Representatives staffer and he was trying to impeach Bill Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky affair. Also, this week, Politico reported that in 2005 and 2006, Gingrich had an account with Tiffany’s that sometimes ran to $500,000 in debt.

Never have we had sex issues with so many layers. It shows you how far we have evolved as a nation. In the old days it was: Warren Harding making whoopee in the presidential coat closet: yes or no?

Really persistent sexual misbehavior says something about the character of the person involved. In Gingrich’s case, we have a failure-to-settle-down problem that extends way beyond matrimony. He can’t even hang onto a position on Medicare for an entire week. This man is a natural for an occupation that rewards attention deficit. Maybe God actually meant to tell Newt to stay on Fox News, but accidentally shipped the message to Huckabee.

As to Governor Daniels, the voters are unlikely to give a fig about the interesting past of his wife, Cheri. But if he wants to protect her from the embarrassment of being asked about it 24/7, perhaps he could just declare her off limits. The news media has generally respected those kinds of rules when it comes to presidential candidates’ children, as long as said offspring don’t show up on reality shows or as teen-abstinence ambassadors for a shoe store foundation.

Of course, a wife who is off limits would not be able to campaign for her husband. I think that would be terrific. Finally, we could end the tradition that a presidential candidate’s spouse is running for something, too. If we want a first family to obsess over, we should just hire a king and queen.

Don’t know how the social right would feel about this. But there’s always Mitt Romney.

By: Gail Collins, Op-Ed Columnist, The New York Times, May 18, 2011

May 19, 2011 Posted by | Congress, Conservatives, Donald Trump, Exploratory Presidential Committees, GOP, Governors, Lawmakers, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Politics, Republicans | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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