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Michele Bachmann’s Views, Not Her Headaches, Make Her Unfit

There is no doubt that Michele Bachmann gives many of us a headache. But to attack her, as Tim  Pawlenty has done in such a sexist way, as unfit to be president because of  migraines is absurd.

Many of our presidents have had health problems much more  serious than headaches—Roosevelt,  Kennedy, Taft, to name a few.

The problem with Michele Bachmann is not her migraines, it’s  what is in her head. It’s her ideas that  matter.

Just as Republicans who pay attention to politics were  terrified of a possible Sarah Palin nomination, they are equally petrified that  Bachmann might catch on in Iowa, South Carolina, and among the Tea Party  wing. Could she, in fact, squeak by and  actually win the nomination? Most think  not, but they are nevertheless nervous when they watch her poll numbers rise,  her bank account fatten, and the attention she is getting from the “lame stream  media” increase.

There is no question about her misstatements and problems with facts (John Wayne’s birthplace, associating Jimmy Carter with swine flu,  Founding Fathers working “tirelessly” to end slavery, maintaining that Obama  issued “one oil drilling permit” when he issued 200, etc., etc.). Check out the Pulitzer Prize winning website Politifact for a disturbing list.

The real problems we should be focusing on are her  outlandish and dangerous views on the issues.

Some are becoming very well known. Her views on gay and lesbian rights, for  example. She believes gays and lesbians are “part of Satan.” She and her husband have mounted campaigns  against gays and lesbians, beginning in Minnesota and now on the campaign  trail.

She was against TARP and proudly proclaimed her opposition  in the New Hampshire debate. Most  economists believe that this saved the American economy from complete meltdown  and a severe depression. Plus, most of  the money is being paid back, and we have a strong American auto industry  because of the actions of President Bush and President Obama.

She believes we should not only abolish the entire tax code,  but we should abolish the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Education,  the Department of Energy and the Department of Commerce. (Politico 4/18/2011, among numerous other  sites) This is irresponsible,  shortsighted, and destructive to the United States.

I find it extraordinary that Michele Bachmann should be  even considered for the office of the presidency. Her views, her lack of competence and  experience, and her minimal leadership skills all are much more worrisome than her  headaches. Actually, just watching her out there makes my head spin.

By: Peter Fenn, U. S. News and World Report, July 25, 2011

July 27, 2011 Posted by | Conservatives, Debt Ceiling, Democracy, Economic Recovery, Economy, Education, Elections, Equal Rights, GOP, Ideologues, Ideology, Iowa Caucuses, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, Teaparty, Voters | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Timing Is Everything: Wisconsin Democrats Fret Over Strategy For Walker Recall

Timing is everything.

With the legislative recall campaigns designed to dispose of enough GOP senators to return the upper body of the Wisconsin legislature to Democratic control well underway, attention is now turning toward the future of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Certainly, should the senate recall efforts turn out well for the Democrats, the excitement will be there to continue the process and take a shot at sending Scott Walker back home to Milwaukee.

The question is when to begin that effort.

Wisconsin law requires that once a petition drive to recall an elected official begins, those engaged in the effort have just 60 days to collect enough signatures to equal 25% of the total number of votes cast in the prior gubernatorial election.

That is a tall order- which is why many Wisconsin Democrats believe that they should get the Walker recall petitioning campaign going just as soon as the senate elections are wrapped up and while passions remain high.

In a normal situation, I think these folks would be right.

The problem is that any electoral strategy of this nature must rely on the election laws of the state when contemplating moves that work to the favor of one political party or the other. Unfortunately, the application of the law in Wisconsin – thanks to one of the most bizarre State Supreme Courts one can imagine – is anything but reliable.

Because of this unusual state of legal affairs, as we will see in a moment, getting the petition drive going sooner rather than later could result in a very unfortunate ending for those who would like to see Governor Walker go away.

First, an explanation of how things are supposed to work in the state.

Under Wisconsin election rules, once the recall petitions are turned in, election officials have 31 days to issue a “certificate of sufficiency” or “certificate of insufficiency”. Assuming the petitions are deemed sufficient, the Wisconsin Constitution requires that an election be scheduled on the first Tuesday six weeks following the certification of the election.

While the law appears completely clear that the only exception to the six week period would be where the party attempting the recall requires a primary to determine who their candidate will be- in which case the primary would be held six weeks after certification with the actual recall election to take place four weeks after completion of the primary- Wisconsin, as noted, does not appear to always operate to the letter of the law.

Thus, the Democratic concern is that were their recall petitions to be delivered for certification by the end of this year, or early in 2012, the GOP would work to move the statutory date when the recall election should take place to the date of the statewide election already scheduled for just a few weeks later.

That election happens to be the Republican presidential primary which is scheduled for the first week in April.

Obviously, if you’re looking to turn out Republican voters to support Governor Walker, the day of the Republican presidential primary would be about as good as it gets.

How, you might ask, could the GOP succeed in delaying an election that should take place no later than, say, the middle of February (assuming the petitions are in by the end of this year), until April?

Assuming that the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, a non- partisan organization that oversees Wisconsin elections, would set the date for a statewide recall election according to the Constitutional requirements, the Republicans would likely engage in any number of challenges for the purpose of delay, including a court action(s) based on the argument that it is not in the best interest of the state to hold an election in February when one is already scheduled for the first week of April. After all, having to pay for two statewide elections when both could be held within a few weeks of the statutory date seems an unnecessary waste of state monies that are in short supply.

Never mind that the early April election just happens to be the GOP presidential primary.

Where would such a court action eventually be decided?

In the Wisconsin Supreme Court – the astoundingly politicized body where the friends of Scott Walker maintain a narrow majority thanks, in no small part, to the now infamous Justice David Prosser.

Maybe the Court would follow the law – maybe they would not.

Thus, were the Democrats to proceed with the recall effort shortly after the conclusion of the senate recalls next month, they may well be placing the future of Scott Walker in the hands of the Wisconsin Supreme Court – the last place they would like the matter to be decided.

The other option would be to wait until after the GOP presidential primary and try to time the recall election to take place on November 6, 2012, the day of the national elections. The strategy would be to pick that day based on the expectation that many Wisconsin Democrats will turn up to cast their vote for President Obama.

Of course, it would be impossible to pull this off given the state GOP’s willingness to get involved with dirty tricks. Were the Democrats to time things contemplating no primary election to pick the Democratic candidate, we can count on the GOP to run a ‘fake’ Democrat, as they did in numerous senatorial recall elections, to force a primary to throw off the timing. Were the Democrats to anticipate a fake primary, and time the recall election for 10 weeks following certification rather than six, the GOP would, no doubt, stay away from such a primary, resulting in the recall election happening a month before the November general elections.

Clearly, the Wisconsin Democratic Party finds itself in a very tricky position and one created by the uncertainty that comes when the state’s top judicial body cannot be counted upon to simply follow the law as written.

And therein lies the moral to the story. When we can no longer trust our judiciary to rule with fairness and according to law, democracy suffers.

While I may hold a few opinions, I really don’t know when the Wisconsin Democrats should seek to hold the recall election.

What I do know is that the Section 12 of the Wisconsin Constitution, drafted in 1926 and amended in 1981, is explicit and completely clear on the subject of how recall elections are to be handled and that no provision is made to alter the prescribed date of a recall election taking into consideration any factors other than those set forth in the state Constitution.

For Wisconsin Republicans -and supporters of Governor Walker- who would seek the political benefits of holding the election to recall Scott Walker on the day of the Republican primary rather than the day prescribed by their Constitution, I hope these people will bear in mind the deeply troubling hypocrisy of holding themselves out as ardent supporters of the Constitution only to turn their back on their own founding document when it is politically expedient to do so.

Personally, I hope the Wisconsin Democrats proceed immediately with the effort to recall Governor Walker.

If the state’s highest court -and those who believe that the Constitution trumps all- are prepared to throw their own Constitution overboard to save their governor, let them pay the price of such lawlessness that will surely come due for them.

If a Constitutional crisis is what it will take for Wisconsin citizens to understand what is happening to their state, I would also encourage Wisconsin Democrats to bet on their Constitution and see if your opposition is willing to pay the price for the sake of political expediency.

Let’s find out if Wisconsin Republicans love Scott Walker more than they love and respect their own Constitution. Let’s find out if they are willing to completely disregard the state’s moral and legal center all for the purpose of rigging an election to give the Governor the best possible chance of succeeding.

If Wisconsin Republicans wish to support their governor by coming out on whatever the legal election date works out to be, that is a valid exercise of their rights as Wisconsin citizens. But they should be willing to do it in accordance with the law of the State.

 

By: Rick Ungar, The Policy Page, Forbes, July 20, 2011

July 21, 2011 Posted by | Class Warfare, Collective Bargaining, Conservatives, Democracy, Elections, GOP, Gov Scott Walker, Governors, Ideologues, Ideology, Middle Class, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, State Legislatures, States, Union Busting, Unions, Voters, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Republicans | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Marriage Vow”: The Candidate “Pledge” To End All Pledges

So in the wake of the “Cut, Cap and Balance Pledge” signed by seven Republican presidential candidates, and the “Pro-Life Presidential Pledge” signed by five, along comes Iowa social conservative kingpin Bob Vander Plaats of the Family Leader organization with a new pledge–actually an oath–it calls “The Marriage Vow.”

You have to read this document to believe it. Styled as a “pro-family” platform, the pledge goes far beyond the usual condemnations of same-sex marriage and abortion and requires support for restrictions on divorce (hardly a federal matter), the firing of military officers who place women in forward combat roles, and “recognition of the overwhelming statistical evidence that married people enjoy better health, better sex, longer lives, [and] greater financial stability.”  If that’s not enough, it also enjoins “recognition that robust childbearing and reproduction is beneficial to U.S. demographic, economic, strategic and actuarial health and security.”  This, in case you are wondering, is a nod to the “Full Quiver (or Quiverfull) Movement” that encourages large families in a patriarchal structure as a religious obligation, not to mention to those anti-choicers who want to ban some of the most popular forms of contraception.

The preamble to the “Marriage Vow” is even weirder, asserting among other things that “faithful monogomy” was a central preoccupation of the Founding Fathers; that slaves benefitted from stronger families than African-Americans have today; and that any claims there is a genetic basis for homosexuality are “anti-scientific.”

The “Marriage Vow” seems tailor-made to feed the backlash against ever-proliferating “pledges” imposed on Republican presidential candidates by the Right.  But Vander Plaats and his group cannot be dissed without risk by anyone wanting to win the Iowa Caucuses.  A perennial statewide candidate (his 2010 primary challenge to now-Gov. Terry Branstad won a surprising 41% of the vote), Vander Plaats was co-chair of Mike Huckabee’s victorious 2008 Iowa Caucus campaign, and also spearheaded the successful 2010 effort to recall state Supreme Court judges who supported the 2009 decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

Kevin Hall of The Iowa Republican suggests that the “Vow” is a power-play by VanderPlaats to influence the outcome of the August 13 Iowa State GOP straw poll, in which The Family Leader has pledged neutrality, by separating candidates deemed acceptable from those who won’t sign the oath.  And indeed, Michele Bachmann, rumored to be Vander Plaats’ current favorite, signed it virtually before the ink dried.  What will really be interesting is whether Tim Pawlenty, who has been eagerly accepting every ideological demand made of him by the Right, signs this document.  It is certainly designed to freak out the more secular-minded Establishment Republicans he will eventually need if he is to put together a winning coalition of everyone in the party who doesn’t like Mitt Romney.  But he has to do well in Iowa for that to matter, so my guess is that he will follow Bachmann in kissing Vander Plaats’ ring and associating himself with a fresh batch of extremism.

By: Ed Kilgore, The Democratic Strategist, July 8, 2011

July 10, 2011 Posted by | Abortion, Conservatives, Elections, Equal Rights, GOP, Government, Ideologues, Ideology, Iowa Caucuses, Politics, Pro-Choice, Republicans, Right Wing, Voters | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mitt Romney: The Anti-Jobs Candidate

My friend Peter Daou had an item the other day, noting the potency of the Republican presidential frontrunner’s message: “Romney is a threat because he can focus on a dead simple message: ‘I’m a successful businessman, I’ll create jobs and fix the economy.’”

That’s exactly right. Mitt Romney, at least this latest version of him, has an entire campaign rationale that fits comfortably into a tweet. Better yet, it’s a message that voters are eager to hear.

Ed Kilgore had a related piece on this the other day, summarizing the argument that Romney and his backers are likely to push aggressively: “Romney has an extensive corporate background, looks the part of a CEO, and without question, he would prefer an issues environment focused on anything other than health care reform or the cultural issues on which he’s never inspired trust among conservatives.”

Romney doesn’t want to talk about health care or the fact that he was a pro-choice moderate who supported gay rights and gun control. Indeed, he would just as soon hope people forget he was even a governor. This is Businessman Mitt, running as a less ridiculous version of Herman Cain.

Kilgore’s argument is that this message is simple and straightforward, but it probably won’t help him in a competitive Republican primary. That’s compelling, but my take is a little different: I think Romney’s biggest problem is that the message brings to the fore his key weaknesses — Romney’s record on jobs is atrocious.

Stephen Colbert devoted a terrific segment to this the other day, highlighting Romney’s “real claim to business fame,” which is “founding a private equity company called BainCapital.” The embed won’t fit the column length of the redesigned website, but here’s heart of Colbert’s take:

“You see, Romney made a Mittload of cash using what’s known as a leveraged buyout. He’d buy a company with ‘money borrowed against their assets, groomed them to be sold off and in the interim collect huge management fees.’ Once Mitt had control of the company, he’d cut frivolous spending like jobs, workers, employees, and jobs. Just like America’s sweetheart, Gordon Gecko. […]

“Because Mitt Romney knows just how to trim the fat. He rescued businesses like Dade Behring, Stage Stories, American Pad and Paper, and GS Industries, then his company sold them for a profit of $578 million after which all of those firms declared bankruptcy. Which sounds bad, but don’t worry, almost no one worked there anymore.

“Besides, a businessman can’t be weighed down with a bleeding heart, as one former Bain employee put it, ‘It was very clinical…. Like a doctor. When the patient is dead, you just move on to the next patient.’ See? Mitt Romney is like a doctor! [On screen: Dr. Kevorkian]”

And this is the part of Romney’s record he’s most proud of. Romney slashed American jobs as if his career depended on it — and it did.

Complicating matters, during Romney’s only service in public office, his state’s record on job creation was “one of the worst in the country.” Adding insult to injury, “By the end of his four years in office, Massachusetts had squeezed out a net gain in payroll jobs of just 1 percent, compared with job growth of 5.3 percent for the nation as a whole.”

How bad is Romney’s record? During his tenure, Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 states in jobs growth.

Yes, Romney has a simple message: “I’m a successful businessman, I’ll create jobs and fix the economy.” It also comes with an equally simple response: “Mitt Romney is the anti-jobs candidate.”

 

By: Steve Benen, Contributing Writer, Washington Monthly-Political Animal, June 12, 2011

June 12, 2011 Posted by | Bankruptcy, Businesses, Conservatives, Corporations, Economy, Elections, GOP, Ideologues, Ideology, Jobs, Mitt Romney, Politics, Republicans | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Deceive, You Believe: A New Reality Show For Sarah Palin And Fox

I have a great idea for a new show on Fox. It would be  a reality comedy show with Sarah Palin as the host. It’s what Hollywood calls  “high concept.” The idea would be that all the Republican presidential  candidates would travel across America in Sarah’s RV. Hilarity follows.

Late night comic Jimmy Fallon put it best: “Obama was  in Ireland. He thought about buying a four-leaf clover for good luck, and then  he looked at the field of Republican candidates and decided it wasn’t  necessary.”

Dramatis personae include:

Gary Johnson—Ex-governor of New Mexico who  favors the legalization of pot. He didn’t get an invite to the next GOP debate,  but his hopes are high and he has grassroots support.

Herman Cain—Multi-millionaire and former CEO of  Godfather’s Pizza. He’s rolling in dough.

Newt Gingrich—Former speaker of the House. If he  really is a fiscal conservative, he would use his $500,000 revolving charge  account at Tiffany’s to make a payment on the federal debt. He is clearly the  jewel in the GOP crown. The former speaker is currently on a cruise with his  wife in the Mediterranean. He will return to the campaign trail after he  decides whether he supports or opposes the Ryan plan to gut Medicare. It might  be a long trip.

Palin—Can the former half-term and half-baked governor of Alaska see Russia from her magic bus? This trip is her  magical mystery tour because we have no idea where it will lead. She rained on Mitt Romney’s parade by showing  up in New Hampshire on the day of Romney’s formal announcement and popping him  for his support of a state run healthcare program in Massachusetts with a  personal mandate. National surveys indicate that twice as many voters dislike  her as like her. So, I don’t think she will get a mandate from Americans.

Michele Bachmann—Tea Party favorite and conservative  congresswoman from Minnesota. When baseball players have a short stay in the  majors, it’s a cup of coffee. She will have a cup of tea in the  presidential race. Last week, Representative Bachmann said she and former half-governor Palin were friends. That didn’t last long. This week, Bachmann’s  campaign manager said Palin wasn’t a “serious” candidate. At least the  Minnesotan and I agree on something.

Chris Christie—Governor of New Jersey. Teddy  Roosevelt described the presidency as a bully pulpit. Christie is just a bully.  Don’t be surprised if he helicopters into the race.

Rudy Giuliani—The former mayor of New York City. Why  not? He did so well last time. If he runs, he should borrow Donald  Trump’s toupee and MapQuest Iowa so he can find it this time.

Jon Huntsman—Ex-governor of Utah who served two years as President Barack Obama’s ambassador to China. He will charge  Obama with  incompetence. Just look at the clown the president made ambassador to China.

Bobby Jindal—The governor of Louisiana who is not  ready for prime time TV. But that hardly disqualifies him in this field.

Mitt Romney—Former governor of Massachusetts and the  father of Obamacare.  This would be the grudge match of all time. Healthcare reform 1.0 vs. 2.0. A Romney position is like the New England weather.  Don’t like it, just wait, because it changes every 15 minutes.

Ron Paul—Paul is the anti-Romney because the Texas  congressman sticks to his positions for more than 15 minutes. Actually, he  still holds Herbert Hoover’s positions. But will socially conservative voters  buy his opposition to drug laws and will the neocons accept his opposition to  the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? I don’t think so.

Tim Pawlenty—The former two-term governor of Minnesota is as  bland as his fellow charismatically challenged Minnesotan, Walter Mondale. Jay  Leno described T-Paw to a t when he joked, “You know, I don’t want to say Tim  Pawlenty is boring, but his Secret Service codename is Al Gore.” Bland is good,  though, because the other GOP candidates have enough baggage to fill a Boeing  727 headed for LAX.

Rick Perry—In 2009, the governor of Texas threatened to  secede from the union. The question is whether he wants to lead or to secede.  Too bad Jeff Davis isn’t still around to be his running mate.

Rick Santorum—Why does he torture himself with  the hope he could win? Is the GOP this desperate for a candidate? He  lost his Senate seat in a presidential battleground state, Pennsylvania, by 16 percent.

This may be  why four out of 10 Republicans in a new Pew Research Center poll say they are not  impressed with the GOP presidential candidates. But I think the reality TV show would get  good ratings hammocked between Family Guy and The Simpsons on Sunday  nights.

 

By: Brad Bannon, U. S. News and World Report, June 9, 2011

June 9, 2011 Posted by | Conservatives, Deficits, Democracy, Elections, GOP, Government, Health Reform, Ideologues, Ideology, Iowa Caucuses, Neo-Cons, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, Tea Party | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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