Friday, September 30, 2011

Waiting to Fill The Clown Car

We have a few hours left until the clock hits the hour that signals the end of the day Sarah Palin was to announce her intentions for 2012. You can wait up for it. I don't have the patience nor do I really care at this point. But remember people actually sent money to SarahPac expect this announcement. Will she return the loot?

Now we have news that Mike Huckabee may reconsider taking a shot at the nomination. I understand the Christianist vote in Iowa is very concerned that Michelle Bachmann isn't going to pull it off and they aren't in love with Rick Perry. But why am I so cynical as to believe that Huckabee is doing this simply to build up ratings for his upcoming interview with Mitt Romney on Fox News? The timing is too strange.

Willard is trying to show he's a macho man by airing his "Thank You, Rick Perry" ad. The ad takes on Perry for providing in-state tuition to the children of illegal immigrants. The ad features the always sinister sounding President of Mexico, Vicente Fox, telling Perry "Thank you" for signing the bill that passed the Texas legislature. Since President Obama seems to be cleaning up Al Qaeda, I guess Romney's big national security issue is fighting Mexicans. Somehow the President of a neighboring country is the next Ahmanijad?

Writing in the Washington Post, Michael Gerson, George W. Bush's old speechwriter, cried foul at this ad, saying it showed the bad side of Romney. More to the point, he quoted all the times Romney spoke on behalf of George W's immigration reform programs and sees this as an act of regression. Well, Willard is taking no chances this year . But what is he going to say in the general election to attract Hispanics? Is he going to remind the voters how many of his family currently live in Mexico? Or that his Dad was born there?

I know the economy is going to determine this election and that the Republican scream machine is pumping story after story minute by minute that President Obama is road kill. But I want to know why any woman in her right mind, any senior, any Hispanic, any African-American, any Gay or Lesbian, or any union member could possibly think about voting Republican after what we have seen and are seeing? Republicans already have a lock on white males. They need someone else to vote for them. What is the nominee going to say, "I didn't mean it. I had to say all those things to win the primary. Now trust me."

If you are wealthy, vote for Mitt Romney. The only thing he believes in is wealth and he will guard yours. Other than that,all bets are off.

Random Thoughts On A Fall Day

FRAUD ALERT: You know about the Nigerian e-mail scams promising you a legacy of a few million euros if you forward your bank account number. Well,now they're doing it by telephone. The same scam. But there is a new scam besides the tried and true money abroad, it's you've won a sweepstakes or a lottery. I have won over $51 million in three lotteries and sweepstakes over the last few days. A cashier check will be hand-delivered to your address. You need a valid photo ID and a bank account. When will you be there? A representative is in your state right now and wants to drive to you with the cashier check. Fine, just come. Well, there is the matter of the slight insurance payment to protect your check. I'll give them a check when you deliver the cashier check. No, our representative is not authorized to accept payment. So you are supposed to go to Western Union and send a money order or in one of the scams where I won $880,000, I was to go to WalMart and buy a green money pak and call a number and read the number on the back. The target for these scams are the retired and the elderly because I was asked on all three occasions when did I retire. The bottom line is that this is a symptom of our desparate economy and our delusionary thinking that a lottery will solve our problems. Tonight is Moneyball, I can't wait.

Talking about scams, Willard Romney has launched a full-scale assault on Rick Perry, accusing the governor of being weak on immigration and too liberal. Wow. Willard keeps calling President Obama "clueless" on the economy. Now,let's walk that statement back. Here is a man, who was a founder of a hedge fund, a member of the very class who brought America to its knees and he says Obama is clueless. The biggest fraud being perpetrated right now aren't my Nigerians, it's the Republicans who claim that Wall Street, the banks and the large corporations, the people who singlehandedly crashed the global economy, got bailed out and keep getting rich, are the very people who we should hand over control of the economy back to? That is real hubris. It's just mind-boogling. But if you keep repeating it enough,people will believe it.

One little trivia item about Willard. He is related to the founder of the Mormon cult, Joseph Smith, who also declared he was running for President but was gunned down. Mormons like to talk about their history of being discriminated against. But Smith seemed to have other problems--he was hunted down for bank and financial fraud throughout the Midwest. Maybe it runs in Willard's genes.

But ,alas, a CNN poll still has the American people by 55% blaming Bush for our current economic woes, and now about 32% Obama and the Democrats. has a compendium of recent polls showing President Obama beats all declared GOP candidates except Generic Republican. Maybe that's why the GOP is panicking about its roster and trying to recruit Chris Christie. But over 30% of the GOP don't want Christie to run. Aside from acting as a bully, the new teabagger style, Christie is actually unacceptable to the base because he favored gun control, appointed a Muslim to the Jersey courts, doesn't think illegal immigration is a big problem and believes any deficit reduction has to be accompanied by revenues. He's out of there, my friends.

Oh, by the way, Ricky Cantor is wrong--Warren Buffett did not come out and oppose the Buffett Rule proposed by President Obama. The rightwing blogosphere has been reporting this with the usual spin all day long. But does it matter? Rick Perry told CNBC that Warren Buffett doesn't know anything about the economy or job creation.

Today is the Red Banner day for Sister Sarah. Red State reports that she will announce today whether she will run for President.

Michelle Bachmann may not make it to Iowa as her campaign is holding its breath that she is out of funds and even the vendors are knocking at her door for payments.

The great Rudy Guiliani has sent emissaries to New Hampshire to scout out possibilities for a run. He'll run into Jon Huntsman there because the other Mormon has moved his headquarters to the Granite state.

Why do these people waste their breath? The Newt and his lovely bride Callista released the first part of his new Contract on America. The Newt says he is waging a "cultural campaign."

Rachel Maddow got it right the other night when she said that this time President Obama is running the values campaign, contrasting his vision of America with the mean and small vision of the Republicans. There is alot of truth there. The New York Times printed a lengthy editorial about this icy vision today.

Which brings me to the cosmically important issue--Why do House Republicans really want to kill Elmo? The House GOP is gearing up for their insane budget, which is Paul Ryan's bill on steroids. Yes, they want to eliminate NPR and Public Telvision and Juan Williams already has a new job and a new book out, so they really are just fixated on Elmo. Then the teabaggers hate Barry Goldwater because they want to eliminate one of his favorite organizations--Planned Parenthood. So dimbulb wants to hold hearing on Planned Parenthood to determine whether they misused federal funds for abortions. Planned Parenthood has filed tax returns from their founding and are subject to government audits for any funds received from the federal government. As everyone knows federal funds, whether it's Planned Parenthood or Obamacare, can't be used for abortions and only 3% of Planned Parenthood's funding goes to this procedure, which when I last looked was legal.

These are all job creating measures as the House GOP can tell you. But more importantly, Alaskan congressman Don Young wants to rescind all federal regulations of business created since 1991--why? I have no idea. Maybe the Koch Brothers have a fiendish scheme about a regulation created in 1992. But not all businesses are thrilled by total de-regulation. The natural gas industry actually wants new safety regulations on gas pipelines because they are exploding all around the country, blowing up houses and killing people. They are actually lobbying for these regulations but Senator Rand Paul is putting a hold on them for ideological reasons.

"Ideology before Country" is the motto of the New GOP. I keep reading all these hairbrain schemes and I am not convinced the intended beneficiary of these efforts really want them either. I know K Street Lobbyists spend billions upon billions on crafting bills to their liking. But does anyone want to ask,"Whether they even know what they are doing?" If the captains of industry and banking did not know anything about what they were doing in 2008, why do you believe their minions, who have no experience either, know what they are doing? We don't call this stoogeland for nothing.

I would feel more comfortable if what the lobbyists tell people about these new laws were actually true. Then the tax cuts for the wealthy, deregulation and all the rest would create a huge boost for the economy. But we already did that stuff and the whole world collapsed.

Meanwhile, liberals are throwing hissyfits over this or that betrayal by President Obama. President Obama is going to address the Human Rights Caucus, the gay, lesbian and transgender group, about what steps he has taken on behalf of the gay community. So this morning I read a nasty condemnation of the Obama Administration's policies toward gays and the affront this person feels about him speaking there. Now, let's see: Repeal of DADT, a policy created by Bill Clinton, the Hate Crimes Bill, the domestic partners benefit ruling,the allowing military chaplains to marry gays, the refusal to defend DOMA. The appointment of the first transgender person to the Administration. What does this person want: Obama to marry Rahm Emmnauel? It's crazy.

Meanwhile David Axelrod is suggesting there are multiple ways President Obama will get to 270 electoral votes. Last time I really liked the campaign's gaming how many ways you can win. Oh and yes, Obama's small donor effort only has 250,000 new donors even though it hasn't reached the 2008 peak yet.

If you haven't donated to your favorite politicians, today is the last day of the quarter. Give early and often.

In Case You Miss Foreign Policy

Steve Benen at Washington Monthly and Andrew Sullivan of the Daily Dish note today that with the killing of Anwar al-Awalaki, the American leader of Al Qaeda in Yemen, that President Obama has been relentlessly conducting a war against the jihadis and with far greater success than his predecessor. The Americans also killed the American editor of Al Qaeda's magazine Aspire. MSNBC notes that no American president has as many foreign policy successes since President George H.W. Bush. Of course, that didn't do him much good either.

Hamstrung by an obstructionist Republican Congress, President Obama has restored both the credibility of both America's soft power and the effectiveness of its military power. But you would never know it. Today, former Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton downplayed the meaning of killing al-Awalaki, the instigator of the Fort Hood massacre, and said we should read much into this. It's useful to remember that the House of Representatives could not bring itself to have a congratulatory proclamation on the successful mission to kill Osama bin Laden because they would have had to mention President Obama.

I would put up there with the successes the ratification of the New Start Treaty, solely negotiated by this administration with Russia, the nuclear proliferation summit and its aftermath of securing loose nuclear materials around the world, and the three Trade Treaties negotiated by the Administration, despite the fair objections to them.

President Obama has overseen the dismantling of Al Qaeda, the death of bin Laden and the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi. How much of the Arab Spring should be credited to the Administration, not all but a great deal. And President Obama has ended our military operations in Iraq. And by the way also ended the new American tradition of torture.

You might add a few more like the successful sabotage of Iran's nuclear program and the strengthening of sanctions against Tehran.

Some of this can be undone by recent House actions to try to cut foreign assistance funding, especially to the new regimes in the Arab World, the Palestinian Authority and the astonishing vote to cut off funding for the Organization of American States (OAS), the only regional organization outside of NATO where you must be a democracy to belong.

Will any of this matter come 2012? Does President Obama want it to matter? Can you trust national security to the present line-up of Republicans?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bosox Fold, Romney Next?

So what's happening?

Nate the Great Silver in the NYT today notes that with Perry collapsing, the other Republican candidates are picking up in the polls but that Romney remains more or less constant.

Steve Benen nailed Romney today on the former Governor's new explanation about his flip-flopping. Romney says that in business you have to change your opinions if the facts change or else you get fired. Benen says now that Romney is even flip-flopping on flip-flopping.

Mitt Romney finally told the truth on Fox News about the individual mandate. This is the hallmark of the GOP's charge that the Affordable Care Act is socialized medicine. Romney pointed out that originally it was a conservative idea developed by the Heritage Foundation, who helped him out with Romneycare. He also pointed out that New Gingrich had been a big supporter of the individual mandate.

The Obama Administration has asked the Supreme Court to rule as soon as possible on the merits of the ACA after an appeals court ruled that the individual mandate was unconstitutional. There must be something in that ruling that the Obama Administration likes that they didn't appeal the decision. Despite the flood of e-mails from my conservative friends that this spells the end of Obamacare, I'm not so sure and neither are some legal writers. The Washington Post had a piece last night that suggested that the law will be upheld with more than the usual 5-4 decision. I also read a long piece that argued that given Anthony Scalia's past decisions based on the Commerce Clause he would vote to uphold the law. Here I'm dubious. But the calmness of the Administration and some of the early comments make me more optimistic than before.

Well, if you have been like me wondering where Carl Hiassen has been while his state has been ruled by coconuts like Rick Scott, look no further. He was on Rachel Maddow last night about his offer to pay for the drug testing of all Florida legislators. Carl was on because of the enthusiasm in Florida about drug-testing welfare recipients,, even though their failure rate is about 2.5% now, making the program more expensive than the savings from the culprits.

Kudos to Ed Schultz for exposing the new scam here in D.C. concerning the US Postal Service. On the surface, the USPS is losing billions a year, even though they are America's largest employer with the largest private fleet of vehicles in the world. The USPS processes 40% of the world's mail and packages, including a sizeable portion of FEDEX and UPS because they are mandated to go to every community and house. Schultz explained how they began to lose money. As a farewell gift in 2006 before the new Democratic Congress, the GOP in a lame duck session passed a law that the USPS had to keep 75 years of pensions in escrow. The net effect of this is that the Postal Service will lose money ad infinitum unless this rule is reversed. Over 100,000 jobs are at stake and the whole Postal System is under attack, even though it is a $65 billion business that gets no taxpayer funds. Complain all you want but rural America and the rest of us depend on USPS as do all those little magazines you like. Keep it up, Ed.

Lawrence O'Donnell has been on a tear about the police crackdowns on the Occupy Wall Street Demonstrations. You would think that after the teabaggers generate so much television time and even now co-sponsor with CNN debates that a larger crowd would get attention. While I'm not all that clear what the political point is of the demonstrations, O'Donnell is right to condemn the police brutality and the strange incident of a police officer gratuitously pepper-spraying demonstrators just minding their own business.

If you've lost interest in whether the government will close down, so have I. The new GOP majority in the House have used this gambit too many times already and now they just look like the kooks they are. It is no wonder only 9% believe they should be re-elected.

Read an interesting op-ed in the Huffington Post by an Hispanic political activist who wondered why the GOP is so overtly against immigrants and why none of the candidates make any attempt at all about addressing their concerns of the Hispanics. The author pointed out that the George W. Bush campaign said they needed 40% of the Hispanic vote to beat John Kerry in 2004 and they made it. But now only 19% of Hispanics say they will vote for the GOP. Obama has also had to two-step on the Hispanic vote because of his failure to deliver on immigration reform, which he still supports. But his record number of deportations has dampered Hispanic enthusiasm.

President Obama's approval ratings have now balanced out at about 42% so all he needs to do for an uptick is kill another terrorist.

The market is taking off today because new unemployment figures dipped below 400,000 for the first time since April and the Germans look like they may or may not save the Eurozone. Boy, it doesn't take much to keep these guys happy.

The GOP is now trying to say that Obama tax policy would represent the "largest tax increase in American history". They have been asserting this about Obama from the beginning even though he has cut taxes the most of any history. The attacked is aimed at the Buffett millionaire tax, meaning that the GOP is banking their whole campaign on a tax increase for .3% of our population. Even 66% of Republicans agree with President Obama and some 77% of all Americans. This will be an interesting case study whether the GOP message machine can really reverse the popular opinion of the entire country.

Let's hear for Emmy-winner Rachel Maddow, who keeps plugging away at the voter suppression efforts in various states. The one problem the United States has is people not voting. Efforts were made over the 2006 and 2008 season to facilitate voting with early voting and same day registration. Just a FYI, there have been no serious studies or even complaints that these new procedures led to any voter fraud. But what they did do is increase Democratic turnout and therefore, even Maine, which has had early voting for years, has reversed its policy. The whole idea is to suppress groups that would tend to vote Democratic--minorities and students.

While the Romney camp has been fooling around with the primary schedule, others seem to be playing the same game. Now Florida, Missouri and Arizona want to move up in line. This is a slow-motion car crash waiting to happen.

What is it with Ralph Nader? The man who write "Not Safe At Any Speed" has praised Sarah Palin and now embraced Ron Paul, a man who would not support any safety regulations for cars. Nader has threatened to primary Obama and we remember his last quixotic presidential campaign in 2000 that shaved points off Al Gore. Is his Republican funders coming through like the past?

Sarah Palin re-appeared to say that she might feel "shackled" if she ran for President. She likened the current debates as a reality show--since she has one of her own. This is another person people are ceasing to care about. Joe McGinnis better sell the paperback rights to his book now before he is remaindered. The good news is that the Palin family lawyer has threatened to sue McGinnis for using anonymous sources. McGinnis and Random House responded that they reviewed all the sources for the book. But Joe's missing a great opportunity--through the discovery process he can unearth more dirt. But by that time no one will care.

My regret that Chris Christie isn't running is that he is the person who can finally say during a debate that Herman Cain's Godfather Pizza is terrible. Some one from Jersey has to say it.

No, Barack Obama is not the anti-Christ. This blog has gone into this too many time to repeat. The anti-Christ is Nero.

Could we recognize Lady Ga-Ga. Lady Ga-Ga's collaboration with Tony Bennett on his Duets II album brought the 85-year old jazz great his first #1 album--ever. Lady Ga-Ga also dedicated a song to a 14-year old gay boy who killed himself and vowed to bring the subject of gay bullying up with President Obama. True to her word, she paid the bill for a fund-raiser and did ask President Obama about further efforts to stop bullying of gays. She's been there on DADT and on same-sex marriage. And she's a job creator.

And speaking of the exotic, Muammar Gaddafi is alleged to be hiding on the Algerian border protected by the Tuaregs. The fact that one of my favorite nomadic tribes is protecting him breaks my heart. I remember vividly the Tuaregs riding their camels and appearing over the dunes in the Sahara.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Searching For The Great White Hope

The triumph of Herman Cain in the Florida Straw Poll and Mitt Romney's in Michigan has triggered a frantic search among Republican donors to find the perfect Great White Hope. Time is running out and conservatives and the base are in a meltdown that they might have to accept Willard Romney as the nominee.

The latest name being put forth is New Jersey's governor Chris Christie who has a 50/50 split in approval/ disapproval ratings. Over the weekend, mysterious TV ads started showing up in the New York metro area in support of Christie. The New York Post editorialized that he should run and Fox News' own Roger Ailes has been pressing Christie for about a year to run. His aides again said yesterday that he wasn't running but former Governor Tom Kean claimed he was seriously thinking about it. Incredibly wealthy donors are now coming out of the closet to say they will financially back Christie.

Rumors have been circulating galore for the past few days. A speech at the Reagan Library on real American Exceptionalism is supposed to be some indicator of intent. Christie's travel calender to Missouri is another.

The fact of the matter is that it is getting down to the wire for Christie, Palin, Daniels to make up their mind. Just as a warning to these folks is Rick Perry's late entry and the immediate problems he faces before he can get his sea-legs. You have to have an organization, a huge war chest and the stamina to run. Perry's fatigue in the debates is now seen as a result of back surgery this summer. So what happens to an obese candidate with serious asthma problems? Chris Christie is a heart attack waiting to happen.

It's not like Chris Christie is going to last as the darling of conservatives, despite his bullying manner and his support from the Tea Party crowd. Even the Freepers are saying that he's just another Christy Whitman with a sex change.

The real problem for Republicans is the notion that Willard "Mitt" Romney would be the "leader" of the Republican Party let alone the President of the United States. Rick Perry was sort of right that the loser of the Florida Straw Poll was Mitt Romney, who has built an organization in Florida for five years and been campaigning there as long and after a strong debate came in third.

It is almost dizzying to consider the shape shifting techniques of Romney over the last few days. Someone will have to be designated the Romney watcher to mark down his various incarnations, let alone policy positions. So here is a candidate with two graduate degrees from Harvard, sons who graduated from Harvard and someone who accepts large donations from Harvard's faculty attacking President Obama for "laying about the Harvard faculty lounge", wherever that is. It's phony. Also Romney watcher Steve Benen of has noted that Republicans successfully attacked John Kerry in 2004 for speaking French but haven't attacked Romney for being fluent in French from his missionary days. And then we have Romney tweeting all the things he loves like Subway, Quiznos and Southwest airlines as if he is just a regular guy. After his pitch as just a conservative businessman flopped, he had to pull out his wife Ann in a display of family pancake making for breakfast. Even his poaching former Obama Wall Street donors only reinforces for Republicans that he is Obama-lite.

I thought the heckler attacking Obama as the Anti-Christ now opens the gate for attacks on Romney's religion and its peculiar stance on Lucifer.

But you know what? After several debates, no one really cares about the Republican candidates. This should be the most alarming thing for the GOP. Herman Cain gets publicity but has as much chance of getting the nomination as Harold Stassen. The lower string of candidates are now along for the ride over the next several months and will only muddy the waters more. The anti-gay folks on the Religious Right are all up in arms over the Google search for Rick Santorum, who also shouldn't be competing. We are going to go through this for months with a dwindling television audience.

By all objective political standards, President Obama is the underdog going into 2012. But as he is rallying the base with eloquent and strong speeches, there is nothing of substance coming from the Republicans. All polls show the public hates Congress, hates the media, hates businessmen, hates Republicans in Congress and has a lower but not completely irrelevant approval rating for the President. If the American people continue to hate everything by 2012, it's anybody's election.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Clean Up

Sorry about the spacing of the previous post but Google must have hit Santorum.

++We got to see Florida's Governor Rick Scott over the last few days. He said the next president would be the winner of the Straw Poll so I guess that means it's Herman Cain, who has an 8% chance of living another 5 years. But Rick is embroiled in another controversy--the drug testing of people receiving unemployment benefits. 93% of the first batch passed the test. But now it's come to the attention of the state that the drug testing alone costs more than they would save if they suspended payment to those who failed the test.

++If I have refrained from my Israel-Palestine post because I was stunned by Rick perry's invasion of the UN turf to argue that the American position should be for a Greater Israel, making him more Zionist than the Israelis. Bill Clinton opined that Perry's position was in harmony with the Bible Belt. Perry also appeared at the UN with two members of the Knesset, who represent the settlers. Not to be outdone, Romney said that there could be not an inch separating the United States and Israel. Meanwhile, President Obama was trying to bail out Bibi, who got himself into a terrible mess. Obama said the United States would veto the Palestinian state at the Security Council but Abbas' speech at the UN drew cheers on the West Bank. Netanyahu claimed to want talks and, if course, attacked the United Nations. But, all is not lost, the United States and the EU have been working behind the scenes to hammer out a plan for renewed talks and a deadline for completion of a deal. Hopefully, something will be agreed to or else Israel and the United States will stand isolated in the time of the Arab Spring.

++Much has been made out of flagging Jewish support for Obama. It's hard to believe it could come from not backing Israel, despite all the propaganda. Obama gave Israel the highest increase in military assistance in decades, provided the new missile defense system,allowed the Army Corps of Engineers to work along the Gaza border to build structure to prevent further tunneling and it was revealed last week provided Israel with bunker-busting bombs, something the Bush Administration wouldn't do. The reason the Bush Adinistration won't do it was because of their fear that the technology would end up in China. Parse that one out.

++ Color me cynical but I can't seem to get worked up about the possibility that there might be a government shut-down this week. Talk about cynics, the House GOP passed a continuing resolution needed to keep the government open but with cuts to the auto industry to offset FEMA funding. Talk about the original job killers! And the Senate Democrats didn't fall for it. So the mud-wrestling continues tomorrow.

++The Telegraph (U.K.) reported that Europe is preparing a multi-trillion dollar package to save the Euro and create a firewall around Greece, Portugal and Ireland. The United States has been pleading with Angela Merkel to finally step up to the plate, warning her about the collapse of the stock market. One commentator noted that for all the parochial issues being debated in the United States, this will result in something bigger than Pearl Harbor and make all the nonsense here moot. Remember the Great Depression started in the U.K. The World Bank and the IMF is warning almost on an hourly basis that the world stands on the edge of the abyss.

++While President Obama continues his campaign for the American Jobs Bill, Republicans on the Hill are saying nothing is going to happen for 14 months. They are just running out the clock. It is a stunning lack of responsibility. But so far Republicans have not been penalized for their obstructionism. And polling for the House shows that 2012 will be a tough time for Democrats trying to get back on top. The Greenberg poll shows that Democrats are being hit with the negative approval of Congress as well and that while their chances are better than the Republicans in the 60 swing districts it's not a slam dunk.

++Yes, the great Mariano Rivera did save the game that clinched the Division Title for the Yankees. But now that he's broken the record and become immortal, I will wait until the championship series to tune in again.

Herman Cain Wins Florida Straw Poll

Teabagger favorite, the founder of Godfather Pizza, Herman Cain romped to victory in the meaningless Florida strawpoll with over 37%, Perry was a distant second and Romney third. That a man with Stage 4 Colon Cancer is running for President is amazing, let alone garnering votes. On a personal note, in my quest to win something, I actually won coupons for free Godfather pizza yesterday--fate is laughing at me. It's still bad pizza.

Most observers see this as a body blow to Rick Perry after his poor debate performance. Once cheered for executing people in Texas, the teabaggers turned on their favorite when he doubled down and defended giving illegal immigrant kids an in-state tuition rate for college. Conservatives went into a full blown panic after the last debate and have been trying to muscle Chris Christie to run as the anti-Romney.

Mike Huckabee says that Perry is not ready for the pressures of a presidential campaign.

While conservatives froth about the need to beat Obama in 2012 and usher in the Kingdom of Heaven, the RNC has been playing fast and loose with the primary schedule. Michigan, Romney's home state, has been pushed up earlier and Florida, which tried to go first, is being moved back.

The view of the Republican establishment is that they want this thing wrapped up early before it gets out of hand and a prolonged contest would sap the party of the money to beat Obama. Yesterday, 10 superdelegates have come out for Romney. As a member of the RNC said, in these tough economic times, we need someone who is "global"--wink, wink, Romney.

It is thought, despite his weirdness, that Romney will win over the independent vote that is necessary to win. You almost feel sorry for Rick Perry as the fickle conservatives abandoned him the first sign of trouble. Watch the corporate media and Fox destroy him like they did to Howard Dean in the old days. You can't afford to have someone who has actually been poor run for President. The establishment is also concerned that Rick Perry might have a populist side to him that doesn't obey the rules.

I've already made plain my objections to Rick Perry but you can sense there is another game here.

What strikes me about Romney's last debate performance has been noted by Kevin Drum and Steve Benen, the amazing way Romney can flat out lie and not be called out on it. For example, Rick Perry clumsily tried to score off Romney's last book, which differed in the hard copy and the paperback. Romney in the hard copy supported Race for the Top, Obama's educational effort, praised the stimulus package and had circumscribed objections to the Affordable Healthcare Act. All that evaporated in the paperback. This has led many Romney observers--conservatives and liberals alike--to note the man has no firm political beliefs.

If you follow the new primary schedule, Rick Perry or another conservative will not be able to break through until Super Tuesday next year. South Carolina, the old bellwhether for the GOP nomination, will have been buried by the change with Michigan.

Perry or a conservative's only option is the Iowa Caucus, which is dominated by the Religious Right. Here I suggest the gaffe-prone Perry commit a deliberate gaffe to send a dog-whistle to the evangelicals. He should saay," I know what I believe and know. I believe in Jesus Christ and I know he is not the brother of Lucifer." Then Romney's Mormon faith becomes front and center for examination. If Obama's relationship with Jeremiah Wright was fair game, why not Mitt Romney's position in the Mormon Church and their religious beliefs? And we are told Perry likes to play dirty. This would be his chance and a way to slow the Romney momentum.

What has been amazing so far has been none of the Republicans have laid a glove on Romney's very checkered life-long career of changing political positions. For example, Perry and Paul got into a fight over who backed Reagan. But no one mentioned that Romney didn't vote for Reagan and ,in fact, made a point of saying so when he ran against Ted Kennedy for the Senate in Massachusetts. He also was not a Republican until that time. None of this have you heard. Instead, I get e-mails from conservatives uneasy about Romney but none of them have paid any attention to his career.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Next Candidate--Sarah Palin

The rightwing blogosphere is in revolt against Rick Perry because of his stance on in-state tuition to illegals and his vaccine mandate for young women. The chant is near universal that only one person can save the conservatives--Sarah Palin. (not Chris Christie as Bill Kristol wants). SarahPac yesterday teased that Sister Sarah was about to make a big decision and if you wanted her to run than send her money. This morning Sarahphiles tweeted their disappointment with Rick Perry.

So it may not be bad timing for Joe McGinnis The Rogue after all. McGinnis has appeared on several morning shows talking about his book and the campaign against him when he rented a house next to the Palins in Wasilla. You've already heard about the affair with Todd' business partner, the relationship with the Los Angeles Laker and the snorting of coke on top of oil drums.

McGinnis's book has been roundly criticized in the Washington Post, New York Times and by David Corn in Mother Jones. Corn felt that McGuinness editorialized too much after he reported an incident and he showed his distaste for Palin too openly. Serious political journalism should not be so biased.

But McGinnis' book reveals much more than tidbits about the Palins as an utterly dysfunctional family and a bunch of grifters. Without probably intending to, McGinnis captured perfectly the grassroots aspects of the tea party movement--the blend between libertarianism and religious fundamentalism. To intellectuals, the two seem incapable but in reality they reinforce each other through their mutual hatred of our government.

Sarah Palin got her start by forming a funky coalition of dopers,boozers and fundamentalist Christians to become mayor of Wasilla. She ousted the former Mayor by an innuendo campaign that suggested he was Jewish--actually Lutheran--and he really wasn't married to his wife, which he was. Palin was the first to launch the notorious Republican gambit of demanding documents like Obama's birth certificate and Warren Buffett's tax return. She demanded her opponent release his marriage certificate.

The Mayor had alienated people in Wasilla because of cracking down on DUIs and getting saloons to close earlier as well as busting the dopers. Wasilla had become the transit point for drugs in that part of Alaska. He also implemented a sales tax and produced a surplus, which Sarah promptly spent. Ostensibly campaigning on getting mre bike paths, Wasilla citizens were slow to realize her far-reaching political agenda. She let the saloons stay open to 5am, tried to close down the local museum,and launched an effort by fundamentalists to censor books in the library. She started to employ fundamentalists in political positions and fired anyone who was not absolutely loyal to her and in fact fired those who were.

Joe McGinnis does capture Palin when she became a phenomenon taking on the establishment of the Alaskan Republican Party. She maneuvered her way on to the board overseeing oil production in Alaska by forcing a sitting member into an ugly ethics scandal, which cost the man his job. Her campaign to clean up that sector garnered her the reputation as a maverick that John McCain fell for.

It was only natural that Palin would challenge the Murowski family for top dog of the state's Republican party, a story McGinnis tells well. Think of it this way--Alaska is for Republicans, what Louisiana used to be for Democrats. A place where oil corrupts and corrupts absolutely.

Palin had an approval rating in the 90s when she first took office as Governor. She had enormous support from Democrats, who expected her to continue to reform the state. But dark clouds were on the horizon. She wanted to work from her home, which she billed the state. Todd Palin ended up making many of the most important decisions. And critics faced reprisals, sometimes physical ones. By the time she resigned, she was under seige by dozens of ethics complaints and lawsuits. During the 2008 campaign, these were spun as partisan attempts to embarrass her but once the campaign ended there remained real.

If you want to learn about Alaska, read McGinnis' "Going To Extreme" or watch DVDs of Northern Exposure. This is a book about real small-time politics and the personalities involved in a state with the population of a small city. And like small towns, when it gets mean, it really gets mean. During his stay in Alaska, citizens offered McGinnis use of their guns and warned him about retaliation. If you recall, his stay next to the Palins was accompanied by a campaign in the right-wing media suggesting he was a stalker, a pedophile, a peeping tom. Todd Palin actually built a larger fence on his property to hide the family from view.

What almost all reviews of this book miss is McGinnis' detailed explanation of Sarah Palin's religious beliefs and her relationship to the New Apostolic Movement. We remember the YouTube videos of the Kenyan pastor exorcising her and praying that God would show her the way. But McGinnis goes deeper into the pathology of this form of fundamentalism and shows it is integral to her appeal to people in the Republican base. Either the subject is too estoteric or reporters don't think it is important, this aspect of Sarah Palin rarely gets coverage in the MSM. McGinnis writes about how the network of journalists who were for Obama overtly warned their colleagues off this subject because they feared a negative backlash against Obama's race.

If she does become a presidential candidate, it is vital to understanding her worldview. As a less than rightwing evangelical preacher told McGinnis, her religious faith is central to who Sarah Palin thinks she is. As he explained, she doesn't believe you have to study to have good policy, you just have to pray for it. The pastor also explained that if you disagree,you are more than an opponent, you are evil.

The theological worldview of the Dominionists is too bizarre to be believed. They have mapped out the world in terms of demons. You are not trying to convert souls but are fighting demons. One of the groups affiliated with Palin in Alaska bragged that one of Sarah's critics, a conservative evangelical, died in a tragic car wreck because they prayed it would happen. The group also claims credit for the deaths of Mother Teresa because she had an incorrect understanding of the Virgin Mary and Princess Di because of her lifestyle. The purpose of these prayer warriors is to "weaken the Great Harlot of Babylon" who is secure in a block of ice hidden in a cave near Mount Everest. By praying for natural disasters and such, the prayer warriors will weaken the Harlot so Jesus Christ can return to earth. I know it sounds ike a computer game.

From people who know Sarah Palin religiously, she has been devout from an early age and has moved from one extreme form of Christianity to another during the years. She really does believe like most of these people that we live in the end times and that one of her God-given purposes is to hasten that end. During the campaign, one of the faithful approached her to say that she was Esther and Sarah Palin said that she felt it was true.

This part of McGinnis' book critics seem to avoid and it is also relevant to Rick Perry's Prayer-A-thon since many of the same people participated there. This is not the Religious Right but the Religious Far,Far,Far Out Right.

McGinnis says he doesn't believe Sarah Palin will run but just sit back and enjoy the money she makes from her reality show and as a Fox News commentator. I'm not so sure. You know she's watching the debates and she knows fellow Christianist Michelle Bachmann is going down and Rick Perry has violated the new conservative orthodoxy. If you've followed her steps the past year, you notice she has stepped on everyone's toes and upstaged even the announcements of candidates like Mitt Romney. Joe McGinnis says these moves are only to reinforce the media's co-dependency on Palin. I hope he's right but I'm not so sure.

Critics have complained that McGinnis uses too many anonymous sources in the book but I don't think so. Hundreds of people are directly quoted. The anonymous ones are those who feel threatened by possible retaliation by Todd Palin, the number is far less than those named.

This isn't one of McGinnis' best. And it will not exhaust the subject of Sarah Palin. But he does portray how fundamentalism came to libertarian Alaska and how toxic a brew it is. For that we owe him.

The Morning After the Debate

President Obama is sure to lose says George the Steph, the old Clinton hand. The latest Greenberg poll shows Obama losing to both Romney and Perry. The New York Times is preparing an article speculating whether Obama is clinically depressed. Dick Morris says that Obama is not having fun anymore and that he might not run in 2012 because Republicans will have both houses of Congress. Ralph Nader and Cornell West claim they are trying to recruit a challenger in the Democratic primaries to run against Obama. Polls show slightly erosion in support for Obama among his base--whatever that is. HE's DOOMED.

Then we see the old Barack Obama having a blast in Cincinnati urging Boehner and Mitch McConnell to rebuild the Brent Spence Bridge connecting Ohio to Kentucky. He was joined there with Rand Paul, who was booed but President Obama intervened to say,"No, on infrastructure he's with us." Except for his greying hair, this was the man we saw in 2008 bouncing on stage. Maybe, he's bipolar--who knows. But kudos to Rachel Maddow for pointing out that the man who excited people in 2008 was back. And she noted that he didn't stop the boos for Boehner and McConnell and that the Republicans are whining that Obama is campaigning. And as Chris Hayes noted, no one seems to give the American Jobs Act any chance on the Hill but that President Obama is setting up the debate for the 2012 election.

If anyone is demoralized this morning, it's the Republicans after the performance last night. Bill Kristol in the Weekly Standard headlined his piece "Yikes" because conservatives were flooding e-mails complaining about the debate. One young conservative said,"We come across as being too crazzzy." Indeed. Red State, which backed Rick Perry, was disappointed by his performance. The Washington Punditry claimed Romney won the debate and was the only one who looked sort of like a presidential candidate--that's not saying he looked Presidential. Democrats worried that Romney actually looked better in debate than in the past two years. But the teaparty head Judson Phillips is concerned that Romney really doesn't believe anything. The whole affair set off waves of panic among Republicans who are now asking whether anyone else will enter the fray. Almost all the media commented how the bloodthirsty audiences are stealing the show. Last night, none of the candidates lamented the booing of the gay serviceman in Iraq. Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist, said he had never seen someone who is risking his life for the United States being boo'd.

The Romney team is trying now to tighten up the primary schedule to get a few he will win inserted earlier in the schedule such as Michigan and Arizona. The RNC is totally at wits ends about the primary schedule now. The betting line is Romney-Rubio for the general election.

After Iowa, Michelle Bachmann is history so says her old campaign manager. the reason she is out of money. Ron Paul is having a blast and netted $1 million in a moneybomb last night. He's moved up to third in the polling.

David Weigel said that Rick Perry looked like George Foreman at the end of his bout with Mohammed Ali in Zaire, all punched out. Conservatives are now re-assessing their suport for Perry . But it's probably nothing more than Perry not giving a long speech the day of a debate. He was at Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom freakathon where the speakers spoke in front of a backdrop of the American flag, the Florida flag and the flag of the state of Israel. Conservatives were thrilled by Rick Perry's pro-greater Israel stance on the Middle East but disappointed that he failed to mention it last night.

The fact checkers are having a field day today nailing both Perry and Romney for almost anything they said. But it's unlikely to matter. It's not like the Republican primaries are reality-based.

What came across last night was that the policies of the Scott Walkers, Rick Scotts and John Kasichs of the world are now the ideology of the Republican Party. So you are gearing your appeal on the ideas of the governors with the lowest approval ratings in the country. And in foreign policy, all the candidates were illiterate.

If the nominee is Willard "Mitt" Romney, you have a man that is a large Achilles Heel. Conservatives have often complained that Romney doesn't have any core beliefs. Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly has made a hobby from a liberal point of view documenting the different versions of Romney and he has lost count. Romney is a shape-shifter. yesterday he was Middle Class, which he has never been in his life; previous he was the Unemployed, which he has never been, and last night he was just a conservative businessman if you believe a venture capitalist is a real type of businessman in the sense of managing an enterprise. Oh, and he wasn't a politician, only for a short stint as Governor of Massachusetts. Romney has exudes the type of hubris you find among the truly wealthy and that did in John Kerry and Al Gore.

The Obama campaign from Day 1 has believed they will go up against Mitt Romney. I'm not so sure. Some Republican, knowing how controlling the Religious Right is in the party, will have to raise the nature of Romney's Mormon beliefs. If you think Romney is weird now, any discussion of those beliefs will only confirm it. He basically subscribes to a 19th century form of Dianetics. "Do you believe as your religion teaches,Mr. Romney, you can become a God?" This will go over real swell in the Bible Belt. The Southern Baptists have already said they will only vote for a Mormon as a last resort.

So if Willard is the nominee, a few things happen. The Tea Party and the New Republican Base must decide whether their hate for Obama is so overwhelming that they bite their tongue and vote for Romney or will they be demoralized and not mobilize their followers. I think they will be split like the New Left was in its day. I think they will opt to work on local elections. The antipathy to Romney among the Republican base is very, very strong. Romney has a very-well oiled political machine and will have endless pots of money from the corporate donors of the party but generating enthusiasm will be a problem--a much bigger problem for him than Obama trying to ignite his base.

Forget the economy for a moment. Compare Romney on the stump to Barack Obama. Romney can't do retail politics. You can't try to relate your experiences in Detroit to a Ford dealer and brag about how many Cadillacs you own. Whatever doubts people have about Barack Obama, they disappear when he shows up. He has the touch and people go away inspired or at least liking the man. After meeting Romney, you go away scratching your head. Obama still has great reservoirs of good will left, while Romney has none.

If I were still a Republican, I would be as alarmed as the political operatives are this morning.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Republican Debate

I know I vowed not to watch it. Talkingpointsmemo and Dailykos have a blow by blow recount of the debate but you can tell their hearts weren't in it.

The New Republican Party has fine-tuned their message but I don't get a sense they can take the show to Broadway yet. The audience as far as I could make out was completely white. The show was somewhat spoiled by the felon governor Rick Scott,he of a $2.1 billion fine for theft of Medicare fees,had an address to the crowd. Fox News and Google sponsored this debate and basically Fox kept it on track and actually had follow ups from past debates, questioning some of the candidates' statements. This night was for all the minor candidates, whom I felt did better than the fighters in the main bout. Frank Luntz' focus group gave the win to Mitt Romney. Apparently,the Google audience loved Ron Paul and Herman Cain. Rick Perry, despite commentary later, did himself no harm and it was his homecourt as polls showed he has moved ahead of Romney in Florida.

The leftwing blogs gave the debate to Romney believing Perry blew his chance to tag Romney as flip-flopper and that Romney came out strong on the issue of social security. If you are a disillusioned Democrat or liberal, I would really think hard again about President Obama because this party we saw tonight is hard-right with a patina of libertarianism. Like past cheering of Rick Perry executing several hundred people, the audience crying out let the young man without health insurance die, this crowd did not disappoint. Live from Iraq, an openly gay soldier asked the candidates what they would do with DADT. A serving member of our armed forces was booed.

The first thing that came across after the first volleys between Romney and Perry was that all the candidates hated unions. Rick Santorum argued against any public sector unions. This was a great applause line. Mitt Romney said he would stand up to the Teachers Unions. Remember in 2008, the firemen and policeman unions voted for McCain and there are 1 million Republicans in the NEA.

Newt was against people receiving unemployment benefits because that's why we reformed welfare. You pay for your unemployment. Newt wants states to experiment on how the unemployed should be retrained by corporations.

Jon Hunstman, who got enormous airtime tonight, was better than his last debate. He still can't tell a joke. Huntsman was asked about the Solyandra issue which he changed into subsidies. He said he is against subsidies for alternative energies, except for natural gas. He mentioned T. Boone Pickens plan for natural gas , which the billionaire has shelved because the price for natural gas is too low.

Herman Cain got buzzes again tonight. No one asked him why his pizza sucks. But he mentioned his 9-9-9 plan to restart the economy. If we had Rudy, we would have 9-9-9 and 9-1-1. He said the economy was on life support and that he would treat all corporations the same.

A google question asked,"What would you do to get us back to the Tenth Amendment?" This amendment has been little used in our history but has become now the rallying cry for States'Rights. Ron Paul drew the biggest buzz by saying he would veto every single bill that violated the 10th amendment. He also emphasized that the federal government had no authority over education. This was once the rallying cry of Republicans in 1980 and apparently all the candidates agree to this now.

Greg Johnson , the former governor of New Mexico, showed up tonight. He said the biggest national secruty threat was our national debt and that he would balance the budget in 2113. He would veto all bills that went beyond government revenues and he would institute the Flat Tax and eliminate the income tax.

Mitt Romney, who earlier in the day claimed he was Middle Class,said he would eliminate the capital gains tax for everyone earning less than $200,000 per year.

Rick Perry vowed for everyone on Social Security and those soon to go on Social Security that the system would stay the same. He said that for younger people states could have the option of people opting out of the system. Mitt Romney took this as his opening and quoted Perry's book and asked how a 50-state social security system would work.

Perry rejoined about Romney supporting Obamacare in his book and then editing it out of the paperback. Romney lied about this. Perry could have also said that Romney backed the stimulus package and he did mentioned his support for Obama's educational program. Romney in Richie Rich fashion snidely said, "Nice Try."

Romney keeps trying to explain the Massachusetts healthcare system and also claims on Day 1 he would sign an executive order rescinding the program. Later, a student asked whether the candidates would allow his parents to still carrying him until age 25 and whether health insurance companies would be able to refuse him for a pre-existing condition. Everyone avoided the question. It was Jon Huntsman who tried to answer by saying that our economy is being held up by the reluctance of companies to invest because of Obamacare.

The moderator asked the candidates whether they agreed with President Obama on the millionaire tax which, he said, was supported by 2/3rds of the American people. Jon Huntsman spoke for the candidates saying there would not be any new taxes and that you had to deal with the structural elements in the economy so you needed tax reform that got rid of all the loopholes. It turns out that Huntsman's plan would increase taxes on the middle class. He then echoed everyone else saying he would repeal Obamacare.

A Viewert Question asked which Department of government would you eliminate?
Herman Cain reiterated he would eliminate the ERA. Several others would eliminate the Department of Education.

On Education, the canidates really were suggesting a Voucher system but knowing how Paul Ryan was crucified about this they worded it differently. All of them said the federal government should get out of education. This comes at a time when we are losing our competitive edge in every discipline to the rest of the planet. Newt said he would eliminate the Department of Education and provide Pell Grants for K-12 for parents to send their children to any school. Ron Paul said he would end Leave No Child Behind and would give tax credits to parents so they could opt-out of public education. Rick Perry would have voucher system for education. He's the only one who said it outload. Romney said all education was local and state and that he would encourage school choice and stand up to the NEA. Michelle Bachmann, who was largely absent tonight, emphasized parental control and the repeal of all federal regulations on education. Herman Can would have the federal government out of education and end all federal programs in this area. Huntsman actually said the voucher word and that he would localize education and end all federal mandates.

On immigration, the candidates sort of ignored the reality of Hispanic voters and pandered to the all-white audience. Michelle Bachmann said she would build a fence the entire border with Mexico and make sure illegals got no benefits. She didn't mention a fence with Canada. Earlier in the day Andy Borowitz wrote a column suggesting Canada build a fence to keep us out.

A question from a viewer asked whether employers should use E-Verify to prove employees were legal. Newt said he would outsource it to Fedex to avoid corruption. He wasd for 100% control of the border, English as the official language of government and modernizing the legal system so tourist visas would be more available.

Romney tries to score off Rick Perry and show he i s a tough guy by saying he vetoed giving illegal kids in-state tuition in Massachusetts but Rick Perry did not. Also, he said he would build a fence and endorse E-Verify. He claimed that Rick Perry did not stop illegal immigration and gave 16,000 illegal students in-state tuition.

Rick Perry's answer was that the federal government hasn't done anything. He would use drones and boots on the ground. It was unrealistic to erect a fence along the border. He supported the Arizona law suit on their bill and that he wanted the children not to be a burden on society. He also said the legislature overwhelmingly voted for the tutition plan. Romney kept saying it was a $100,000 subsidy for illegals.

Rick Santorum said that Perry was soft of American soveirgnty and that he was a Big Government Moderate. He said that Perry gave privileges to illegals. and even advocated a binational health insurance scheme with Mexico, which even Obama would not do.

Rick Perry defended himself and committed he would defeat the Mexican drug cartels.

Ron Paul defended his previous remarks that border controls also are used to control people inside. He said that there was over $1 trillion overseas taken out by Americans and that the federal database should be of concern to everyone because it doesn't just track illegals but every American.

Earlier Michelle Bachmann, New Gingrich and Santorum had called Obama a "socialist". Romney preferred to call him a Big Spending Liberal who was influenced by the Social Democrat parties in Europe. This was a test for Romney because conservatives complained he was not toeing the line.

Foreign Policy was a disaster. Mitt Romney vowed that there would not be an inch between the United States and Israel and that he would prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear country. He said it was unacceptable for the United States to negotiate on behalf of Israel. Herman Cain said that Israel will defend itself and that America should say that if you mess with Israel, you mess with the U.S.

Rick Perry was asked what he would do if he was called at 3AM and told a radical group grabbed ahold of the nukes in Pakistan . He said he would build relations in the area and provide India and Taiwan with F-16s. He said we had no allies in that part of the world like Musharref, the former Pakistani military leader who was replaced by an elected President.

Rick Santorum was asked about Iraq. He said we had to stay there with 30,000 troops to stablize the situation. And that we must remain engaged in Afghanistan to win a "victory". And that we needed to establish a relationship with Pakistan.

Newt was asked about foreign assistance and he said that no one who votes against us at the UN should receive a dime. He would encourage foreign aid be delivered not by our government but corporations. He said the world was even more dangerous today than before Obama.

Governor Johnson said the biggest national security threat was our debt and he would cut our military budget by 43%. He believed that trade makes friends.

Michelle Bachmann said that she opposed charter flights to Cuba, which have started, because Cuba was a state sponsor of terrorism.

Huntsman said why we don't have a foreign policy is that our Core is broken and that we must fix it. He said as 25% of the world's GDP we should be an example to the world. But we must bring our troops home. Only Iraq can fix Iraq and only Pakistan can fix Pakistan.

Rick Santorum said because our country is sick, our values are not weak.

Michelle Bachmann was given the question on religion and state. She answered that the state can't be a religion but everyone should be able to express their faith in public places.

A Gay soldier from Iraq asked the question a bout DADT. He was booed from the audience. Rick Santorum said that he would re-instate DADT but it wouldn't affect the gays who have come out of the closet now because that would penalize them for Obama's policy. He said that sex has no place in our armed services and that gays were being given a special privilege.

On exceptions of abortion for rape, Ron Paul dodged the issue but did say he could not regulate for the Day After pill.

Rick Perry was asked about his disputes with George W. He played it safe by saying they talked but he disagreed with the Medicare Plan D and Leave No Child Behind.

Questions on Obamacare. Herman Cain claimed he would be dead on it. Huntsman claimed it would cost a $1 trillion over 10 years. No one mentions the cut in healthcare costs.

Michelle Bachman was again asked about the HPU Vaccine for young women. She again accused Perry of doing this because he received campaign donations and on and on. The Governor responded he will always err on the side of life. Not mentioning executing several hundred people.

Rick Perry fumbled around on questions why there were so many uninsured people in Texas. Then he just blurted out everyone was coming to Texas because of oppportunity.

Then Mitt Romney tried to explain his plan in Massachusetts but that he would immediately sign a waiver for all 50 states because Obamacare was unconsitutional.

Then we had a series of questions on job creation. All said get rid of regulations, lower taxes, eliminate Obamacare and get rid of Dodd-Franks regulations on the banks and become energy independent.

Then everyone invoked Reagan and claimed Obama doesn't understand America. Then we got a goofy question about who on the stage would you choose as Vice President.

Quick take-away--I didn't see a President of the United States on stage. Michelle Bachmann is history. She was not sharp and was simply not even wacky. Ron Paul is the biggest gainer. It's still a two-way race--Romney and Perry. The verbals gave it to Romney but the visuals gave it to Perry. Romney came across as...well...weird. I do not find him as Michael Gerson does as calming and reassuring in times of economic troubles.

More importantly, I did not hear a single idea that made any sense. Also, I did not get any sense that the candidates connect with the reality of today's American. They also have an antiquated view of America's current position in the world. That doesn't mean that one of them can't win. We have had a population drilled with lies from the GOP for the last several years. In some ways, this has been a successful campaign to depress Obama's base and condition people to accept one of these people as President.

But my gut says they have a ways to go to convince people outside the party of their worthiness.
Personally, I didn't believe a word that said about anything. It's quite clear to me that no one has the energy in this country to re-fight the healthcare issue, that everything they said about education was a non-starter and that none of them knew anything about foreign policy. Ironically, the only neo-conservatives remaining is old Frothy Mix Santorum. It was ironic the debate was sponsored by Google--Google his name--and that he had to answer a question about gays.

Monday, September 19, 2011

This Is Not Class Warfare. It's Math*

*President Barack Obama

President Obama outlined his deficit reduction plan this morning. The details of which we posted last night. It seems Democrats have responded enthusiastically to it and the threat of a veto over a package that does not include revenues. Later in the day the White House also threatened a Veto on a House bill to eviscerate pollution regulations at the EPA.

Progressives and liberals are applauding,saying the President now is standing for something. Now, wait a minute. In roughly three hours, Don't Ask, Don't Tell will be history. I was frustrated by President Obama's dance on this and concerned by his desire to get it withdrawn by Congress. But he stuck it out and worked on getting it appealed. And we could work down through his administration. No, the Affordable Healthcare Act did not have a single payer option but Obama achieved what no President had done by passing a national healthcare bill. The stimulus bill was too small but all his critics said that would not pass either.

What has changed are his tactics. He is no longer hoping for a compromise from congressional Repoublicans. He returning to defining the political debate and not reacting as he did after the 2010 elections. Even then, he squeezed out a deal with the GOP, which they thought reduced government funding but which instead increased it. He could have continued to finesse such deals except for the debacle over the debt ceiling issue. This single event destroyed the trust of the American people both in Congress and in the President. Congressional approval ratings don't exist anymore and the President's took a major hit. So the President decided to specifically declare his version of an American Jobs Act and his own Debt Reduction Act.

Gop-leaning Politico claimed today's speech was a sop to his base in an attempt to solidfy his fracturing support. But the analysis doesn't add up. Sure, it was that. But everything he asked for was supported by over 60% of all Americans, and the majority of all independents. The President is--to say the least--getting his mojo back.

Now we have Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune calling for Obama to step aside for Hillary Clinton. We have James Carville saying President Obama should panic and fire everyone. Mark Penn, Hillary's campaign manager, lamenting that President Obama has gone left when he should be in tghe center and should not invoke class warfare. Ralph Nader is trying to recruit someone to primary President Obama to keep him honest.

To his credit, President Clinton defended President Obama in a way where he avoided all of the questions that could be misconstrued as soliciting critical answers. Clinton gave a full-throated endorsement of the Jobs Plan and the Deficit Reduction program. Likewise, so did Howard Dean and other ranking Democrats.

What has been most impressive on the Democratic side has been a unity of messaging that has been sorely lacking throughout the whole Obama presidency.

So how are the prospects for the Presidency in 2012? His approval rating for this far in his Presidency run above the average for Ronald Reagan's first term. As he has flirted with the high 30s in recent weeks, he should be significantly behind the GOP frontrunners. Instead, according to a variety of polls, he is either tied, slightly ahead, or only slightly behind Mitt Romney, and in all polls significantly beating Perry by over the margin of error. This shouldn't be. Except the Republican field is so weak and I would also add the abysmal approval rating of the Republican House as a major factor.

In Pennsylvania, President Obama has a 44% approval rating. However, he beats both Romney by 10% and Perry by 15%. This might explain why the Governor wants to change the way the electoral votes will be divided. As projected, if Obama won, he would end up with 12 less electoral votes than in 2008.

The Republican strategy from Day 1 of the Obama Presidency was to turn him into Jimmy Carter. So far, he hasn't complied. On national security, there are no flies on this man. And now with his economic plan, there is no indication he is succumbing to a national malaise. In fact, Jimmy Carter himself believes President Obama will be re-elected as does President Clinton. They say this with an eerie sense of confidence, which no one else I know has.

For the past two weeks, I have been swamped by a flood of e-mails from conservatives who are riding a triumphalist tide believing Obama is going to be crushed. And all these people are supporters of Rick Perry because we need a "real conservative" in the White House. George W.,according to these people, was not a true conservative.

It would be easy to dismiss these as partisan rantings but the polling of the American people on the issues did not show up in the 2010 elections so I'm hesitant in believing they will in 2012. There is no polling to back up the view that a conservative is what the American people want. In fact, the extreme positions of the GOP candidates are not mirrored by any popular opinion. Instead, they seem to be alienating the people who might want an alternative to President Obama.

While Republican reaction to the President's deficit reduction plan is predictable. It is all geared to make him look impotent in the face of glacial opposition. But their own positions on these matters are incoherent and obvious to anyone. If the survival of America depended on a $1 surtax on everyone, they would let the country die instead of passing the tax. Since the 2010 election, there has been no bills from the House, which would create 1 job even with the wildest imagination possible. Even the deregulation of the Burmese python trade. In fact, the Republicans frankly do not care about employment and never have, except their own and that isn't very clear either.

What President Obama has done with both his Jobs Act and the Deficit-Reduction Plan has drawn a clear line between two opposing views of government. What we should be concerned about is that almost all the economic plans put forward by the Republicans from Paul Ryan's budget plan to Mitt Romney's would vastly increase the country's debt without even the side benefit of creating jobs. Perhaps, we have been too conditioned by the Republicans in believing deficits don't matter. In the latest poll, only 6% of Americans believe the deficit is an important issue. So flip forward and one can readily imagine a new Republican President simply forgetting the whole thing as with Reagan and George W. Bush. Except we can't.

At least President Obama has placed a coherent plan on the table and given it some muscle by threatening to veto any nonsense that neglects additional revenues. He has about three more days of time to carry his messge forth before we are forced to listen to the next Republican debate.

Mariano at 602--The Greatest of All Time!

Thought to have the day off, Mariano Rivera came in and saved the Yankees' win over the Twins 4-2. And he picked up the last out with his trademark cutter striking out the batter.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Brief Word From The Rational

Tomorrow President Obama announces his debt reduction program and will send this to the Super Committee. During the negotiations with John Boehner for the grand bargain, the President had proposed a deal to cut the national debt by $4 trillion through a combination of cuts and tax increases. Boehner walked away. The proposal being put forth tomorrow will call for a reduction of the national debt by $3 trillion.

Most importantly for all the Democrats screaming about President Obama negotiating in secret with Boehner wiuthout the consultation of congressional Democrats, there will be no proposal to change Social Security (because the President agrees with this blog) and no calls to raise the age for Medicare to 67 as speculated.

If you take the $917 billion saved in the tortuous August debt ceiling talks with the President's new proposal, you are pretty muich where the White House was in the beginning. The Super Committee is mandated to cut $1.2 trillion from the debt or else automatic triggers kick in to reduce the debt by $1.5 trillion through cuts to Defense and Medicare.

The President will announce that he will veto any proposal from the Super Commitee that doesn't include revenues.

The President will call for a minimum income tax on those earning $1 million a year--or on 0.3% of the population. He will call for a repeal or the expiration of the Bush tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 per year. He will also call for the end of subsidies to the olil industry, tax breaks on corporate jets and new taxes on hedge fund managers. Despite screams you can anticipate, these taxes don't begin until 2013.

Paul Ryan, the father of Vouchercare, has already denounced the Buffett Tax, the millionaire minimum alternative tax, as "class warfare".

Let's be clear--nothing substantive will occur with this Congress. The President may get some of this plan because Republicans are in panic about defense spending. But both his jobs plan and this deficit reduction plan taken together are excellent proposals for moving the country forward. One wonders what America would have looked like if the Republican Party had not taken a blood oath to oppose President Obama one month before he took the oath of office. We could have debated in 2012 about policy differences and not be given a choice between democracy and a fascist state.

President Obama's speeches present a plan and a direction. By the time the election rolls around, he will have presented something to deal with every major problem facing the country. That is quite an achievement. His fate will ultimately lie with various games being set up now to alter the 2012 election and with the economy in general. But at the end of the day, he will have at least argued for a change someone could believe in.

It has been the position of this blog that almost every problem facing the country has a solution and ideas to solve those problems have already been formulated. But the challenge is whether the country can deal with that. So far, the country looks and acts like a mentally ill patient.

The Caravan Moves On

++The great Mariano Rivera tied the all-time save record, saying it was just another save. For one brief moment, the New York Times actually impressed me with its reporting on Rivera's cutter, showing how to throw it in an animated short.

++My favorite candidate, Elizabeth Warren, said she may be outspent but not outworked. Teabag favorite Scott Brown has a bank of $10 million ,virtually all from Wall Street and bankers. the first attack ad against her accused Warren of being a "liberal from Harvard". I thought she handled that well but saying her position at Harvard was earned and that she worked her way hard to her position. The more she talks about her personal study, the more she is compelling. Baby-sitter at 9, a waitress and then married at 19. She worked her way through Tufts and Boston College Law School. She talks about growing up in an abusive home with an alcoholic father and how her family hung on by their nails to keeping lower middle-class. The problem brown is going to have is that by the end of the campaign it looks like Warren will have met every living voter in the state. Her first two days of campaigning took her to dozens of stops--all captured by citizens on cellphones.

++In Wisconsin, FBI agents raided the home of a former Scott Walker employee and carted away several cartons of documents. They later admitted they are investigating corruption by Scott Walker in the last campaign.

++President Obama continued on his magical mystery tour trying to sell his American Jobs Act to enthusiastic audiences. Polling on the individual parts of the bill--like the Healthcare Bill--hits 60% or above approval. The President is supposed to release his debt reduction plan tomorrow. The big news item is that he will propose a minimum tax on those earning $1 million a year. Paul Ryan screamed this was class warfare. OK, 99% against 1%. It's about time we reverse the bullying. But like most of the President's proposals, this will go nowhere.

++Leon Panetta is getting nervous because if the Super Committee doesn't work, then the Pentagon budget will be dramatically cut. I've heard former high-ranking officers speak openly about the national debt as our number 1 national security issue but they claim it would be counter-productive to cut defense spending.

++President Obama will be out in Ohio again advocating spending money on rebuilding our infrastructure in John Boehner's district where a decrepit bridge crosses to Kentucky. Boehner and his sidekick Ricky Cantor are against infrastructure spending for reasons I couldn't decipher or remember.

++Both Boehner and McConnell are repeating their mantra about no new taxes, even though all the rating agencies say that you need a mixture of cuts and revenues to cope with the debt issue.
Both men know that only 6% of Americans believe congress deserve re-election but their goal is ousting Obama and taking over the instruments of power so the final looting of America can begin.

++In a rare spasm of rationality, the Senate rejected Rand Paul's proposal that emergency aid for national disasters should be offset by massive cuts in foreign assistance. Little Ricky proposed to offset disaster aid with cuts to the loans to the auto industry--the only sector generating jobs.

++The New York Times opined today that President Obama has done so much for the country but no one seems to know. I agree. I also blame the White House messaging on this. The healthcare bill has kicked in on key parts and is making a world of difference to people--like me. For example, because a colonscopy is now considered preventive medicine, the cost to me was the $30 co-pay. The actual bill topped out at $5,000. In the past, insurance would pick up a great part of this but it would still cost over $1,000. Kathleen Sibelius sent out a message when the latest poverty figures came out that children in poverty now at least were showing they were getting healthcare.

++The Center for American Progress put out a report this past week that showed President Obama was a greater tax-cutter than George W. Bush. This is true even though most Americans have been conditioned to believe he has raised taxes.

++Oh by the way, Pat Boone still believes Obama was born in Kenya. Queen Birther Orly Taitz has anounced she will have a syndicated radio show originating from Atlanta. The World Nut Daily continues to fly banners outside the GOP debates asking 'Where's the real birth certificate?"

++75% of Republicans really believe Obama is a socialist. But Mitt Romney won't call Obama a socialist--yet.

++We really will have another GOP debate this week. A couple more and I hope someone will take me out of my misery.

++The new Perry campaign slogan,"if you have to ask, you can't afford him."

++Rick Perry showed up in Virginia to talk to Liberty University about why dumb people can make a difference. This occurs at a time when student scores on SATs are plummeting and there are people arguing that young people shouldn't go to college. Well, if you get Cs and Ds, you can run for President like Rick Perry. If you get As and are black, you can run for President like President Obama. Sadly, the equation tilts to Perry because of the strange desire to hold on to white privilege.

++Speakling of mentally challenged, the new book on Sarah Palin is out. Joe McGinnis, the author of "The Selling of the President" and countless other political books, is being panned by reviewers--almost all of them conservatives or libertarians--for descending into political gossip. David Corn writing in Mother Jones also panned it because he felt that McGinnis' bias against Palin came through all the time. Corn suggested the book would have been better if Joe had not editorialized after each Palin affront to human decency. I'll be reading it this week and post a review.

++Ron Paul and his Love Revolution won the California Straw Poll with nearly a majority, second was Rick Perry and a lonesome third was Willard Romney.

++Tom Ridge endorsed Jon Huntsman. Rachel Maddow wondered aloud and often on her show why Huntsman is still in the race since he has a -1 enthusiasm gap and only about 5% in Republican polls. And then why did Tom Ridge endorse him and now? Huntsman is banking on breaking through in New Hampshire? I think Huntsman should take Maddow up on the invitation to appear on her show. He is, after all, not Rand Paul, who ended up like a gutted fish on the show.

++Rick Perry's Texas now enjoys an unemployment rate of 8.6%, the highest in 25 years. Boy, I would like to trade Texas for where I live. And I live where the Cooch was severely limited a woman's right to choose.

++America has not lost its collective mind, it just seems that way. For the past year, we have seen the intense war against women's reproductive rights, a war that is the most intense in my life time. Heartbeat Bills, Personhood Bills, new architectural regulations for clinics that may or may not provide abortion services. next we will have a constitutional amendment that will allow fetuses to vote. But with this intense barrage of attacks, the American people still favor a woman's right to choose by 78%. Apparently, this has been fairly consistent for the past five years. You would never know it with the defunding of Planned Parenthood and the prosecution of doctors in the Midwest.

++While it's true that the House GOP doesn't really want to create a job. Their view of job creation is to eliminate all regulations and corporate taxes so we would have the same propserous economy like Somalia. But they did have one great idea for creating jobs--de-regulating the importation and breeding and the sake of pythons. The federal government has been trying to curtail invasive species such as those populating the Everglades. Over 110,000 Burmese pythons are thought to be alive and well in the Everglades having been dumped there by their previous owners. But snake sellers would be hurt by the regulations.

++This might conflict in an amusing way with the idea put forth by Michelle Bachmann to drill for oil in the Everglades. Can you imagine oil workers being swallowed by pythons or squeezed to death by anacondas?

++After our economy lost 14% in the last two quarters of 2008, Republicans have returned to the idea that was routed in 2005--the privatization of Social Security. It's amazing that this ideas hangs on. Newt Gingrich in one of his more sane moments in the race for the nomination sounded the alarm about the coming epidemic in this country of Alzheimer's. Now imagine a nation of the elderly Alzheimer patients trying to contact their stockbroker about their Social Security accounts. It's bad enough that privatization would vastly increase the programs overhead and allow stockbrokers to wrack up the commissions. But really, do we want this. And yes it would hurt present Social Security recpients.

++About that balanced budget amenment to the consitution, all the budget plans submitted by the GOP presidential candidates and Paul Ryan would not meet the criteria of a balanced budget. In fact, as we should have expected, all would continue to wrack up deficits, far greater than the Obama Administration.

++The Right is positively cheering with the bankruptcy of Solyandra, the solar panel manufacturer which was given stimulus funding. This is of course evidence that the stimulus package didn't work and that Obama is corrupt because the loan was to a company, partially owned by a donor to his campaign--and also another person who had been a donor to George W. Bush's campaign. This is bigger than the Whitewater scandal and the suicide of Vin Foster. And Fox News is pounding the drums on this one. And , of course, it is an argument for not developing alternative energy supplies. It's a three-fer.

++The Left is demonstrating on Wall Street and vowing to occupy it through the week. C'mon, they should go to the homes of hedge fund managers and harass them there. I never get these things. If you are against the Koch Brothers, then go after them where they live and if they are not there wreck their homes. This isn't acting like the vanguard of the working class.

++The Three Amigos--McCain, Lieberman and Graham--claim that our military want to stay in Iraq. I say those that want to stay, should do so. We just can't pay them.

++If I get the energy, I'll write about the absolute debacle coming this week at the United Nations on the issue of Palestine. An Israeli wrote in the New York Times about the difference in worldview between Bibi and his Foreign Minister Lieberman. It was an important article because it raises the specter of elements in the ruling coalition preparing for the day the West will be irrelevant to the region. Lieberman is betting on Russia and China as major forces and hence his bizarre behavior should be read in this light. The gratuitous slaps last year at Turkey were not because of some Islamist threat as we have been told in our press but because Turkey is a NATO ally and considered Western. And Bibi doesn't have the gumption to slap down his Foreign Minister because he needs him in the coalition. What is taking place is an existential debate in Israel about the nature of the state. This is becoming apparent in a number of laws being pushed in the Knesset and is one of the motivating factors behind the week-long demonstrations of some 500,000 Israelis against their own government. So when we look at the coming UN debate, it's important to realize how fractured Israel itself is.

++Of course, the UN is lose-lose for the United States. We have to veto the Palestinian state but acquiesce to its approval as an observer passed by the General Assembly. We lose our hard-won street cred in the Arab Spring and President Obama gains nothing from Israel in return. The whole enterprise will leave Israel even more isolated in the world and the United States will become neutralized as a power in the Middle East.

++Meanwhile Ahmadinejad, the Iranian President, is coming to New York City. Iran these days is actively suppressing the demonstrators in Syria, a practice round for upcoming unrest in Iran. They have also started suppressing the Sufis again, arresting and killing dervishes. A few years ago young Iranians, who wanted to embrace their Islamic heritage without the oppressive religion of the regime, started taking up studying Sufism, which produced their great poet Remi. Sensing this pocket of dissidence, the regime cracked down on the Sufis and have begun again.

++The new Libyan government is still having trouble cleaning up the Gaddafi loyalists in Sirte. Gaddafi is still nowhere to be found. His gold and entourage were picked up leaving the country going to Niger. Human rights observers have been alarmed by the abandoned camps of African migrants and the suggestion that the revolutionaries engaged in mass human rights violations. The new Libyan government welcomed Sarkozy and david Cameron to Tripoli--as liberators.

++Which finally brings me to the Cheney family legacy tour. Liz Cheney has been visible getting into fights on Fox News when she asserted we were welcomed as liberators in Iraq. Dick appeared with his wife on The View and supported gay marriage. He also said he was ashamed for the United States that our credit rating was lowered. And at AEI, he gave an enthusiastic endorsement of torture. The response of former CIA personnel to this was virtually unprintable. Torture stopped because the CIA officers involved mounted vocal opposition, petitioning the CIA's Inspector General that there was nothing valuable gained by these procedures and only war crimes to be held accountable for.

++But Willard "Mitt" Romney says he would choose a Vice President like Dick Cheney.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Sweetheart of the Rodeo for Senate

Elizabeth Warren has announced her candidacy for the Senate in Massachusetts. The video announcement of Dr. Warren shows she's rested and relaxed and looks less haggard than she did in her last days here in Washington fighting for the Consumer Protection Agency.

I saw Elizabeth Warren's Labor Day speech to the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. It was clear she doesn't have her timing down yet. She stepped on her applause lines and her timing was off for such a gathering. But the content of her message brought standing ovations.

This is a person who "loves teaching contract law." The daughter of a janitor, she has spent her whole professional life studying how the middle-class was made and how it has been destroyed. Before being in charge of the TARP oversight for Congress and her stint lobbying for the Consumer Protection Agency and then designing it, she travelled around the country speaking to any group who would have her about the economic challenges facing the middle class. By the time she came to the attention of Washington, she had already gained a devoted following, including me, who marveled at this brave, honest and frank woman. Later President Obama would reach out to her during his 2008 campaign.

The minute she announced the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee started receiving enormous money. She was their version of a Ron Paul Money Bomb. At the same time, the banks, the Wall Street firms and the Koch brothers continued their attack on her. The Scott Brown campaign started by suggesting she really wasn't a person from Massachusetts but someone who is a carpetbagger from Oklahoma. And today she is a "liberal" from Harvard.

To the credit of progressives, they adopted her early and gave her the audience at meetings such as Netroots. I never could see what is liberal or progressive in what she says. I always found what she says simply common sense that used to be accepted as what is necessary for the common good.

When the large banks went after her and started pressuring Geitner to do something about her, she went to gatherings of small banks, which had first been suspicious of her. They ended up supporting her for the Consumer Protection Agency.

The problem of Elizabeth Warren is the problem with our political system. She is the female Jimmy Stewart figure in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. The honest, open, frank citizen who thinks common decency should triumph. I wish these things happened in real life. And I hope millions contribute to her campaign. She's the candidate of civics lessons. To her credit, she proved tenacious in fighting here in Washington without losing her composure or her honesty.

I hope she prevails. Good luck, Elizabeth.

Political Detritus

After the Jobs speech, 9-11 commemoration and the Republican debate, our national dialogue hasn't improved much. The Tan Man appears to have reneged on his budget deal from the debt ceiling fiasco. The Republicans are complaining that the socialist President Obama wants to cut the deficit more than they want. And the President has taken his show on the road, hinting at a campaign like "Give 'em Hell, Harry" in 1948. Little Ricky Cantor has sent word out to House Republicans to keep the tone down about the jobs bill and the President because the President is using their language on the stump. One House member said,"We have him on the ropes, so why should we help him now."

Obama has packaged the Jobs plan as a sandwich of job creation ideas, which are supported by the American people, paid for by tax increases on those families earning over $250,000 and cutting corporate loopholes, also supported by the American people. Republicans are not saying it is dead on arrival but will be picking and choosing what they like. What they like are the Free Trade Treaties and some of the tax cuts but not the payroll tax cuts. What they don't like is the infrastructure spending because socialists like Dwight Eisenhower liked those things.

The infrastructure argument to me has always been a no-brainer whether we are in a Depression or in Boom times. Thousands of bridges in the United States are structurally unsound. Thousands of schools are decrepit. We have spent almost a generation since we modernized our infrastructure. And, no, it will not result in the jobs like the Conservation Corps during the Depression because of the efficiency of work and the technology. But it has to be done.

President Obama actually believes that generating public pressure on the House GOP will produce results. Congress now stands at a 13% approval rating , the worst in the history of polling. And 60 Republicans will be running in districts won by Obama last election. The GOP can lose the House, even with their gerrymandering. But, do I believe they will pass something. No. I believe the GOP is now totally subservient to ideology and lacks any identification with national interest. They believe they have done mortal damage to President Obama through their obstructionism and have planted the seeds for the total rejection of government by the population.

While the most recent polls still show President Obama beating the Republican field, the seeds have been laid by the GOP for his defeat. The voter ID laws being enacted in dozens of states by GOP governor is deliberately aimed at suppressing all the constituencies that have no say in Washington. The voter suppression may make the difference in key swing states. Then, we have the overt attempt by the Pennsylvania GOP to deprive Obama of a victory in the electoral college. They are now contemplating dividing their electoral votes up according to proportion. That means that the winner of the state would have about 11 less electoral votes. Then we have Nebraska rescinding its electoral division because Obama won 1 of its votes. Without any votes cast, Obama will be 12 electoral votes less than last time.

This is the slow motion school of rigging an election. It can't be as dramatic or shocking as 2000. So our Washington punditry will say it was "The economy which killed the beast."

Washington still believes that it will be Romney as the Republican nominee. He had his best debate in his career and yet his approval ratings in the GOP polls only rose a smidgin. No one is tuned into him.

The good news is that it looks like the GOP fight for the nomination will be protracted. And I think we have not seen the last of the new candidates. There might be one more seemingly establishment type and ,I believe, Sarah Palin will enter the fray because she seems to have turned against Perry. All eyes now are on the Florida primary, believing that no one will have delivered the knockout blow in the first three primaries and caucus.

The report that poverty has risen to a greater degree than in the last 75 years really hasn't affected anyone in Washington. Rand Paul and other teabaggers argue the poor never had it so good. Besides the GOP plans to pick up the white poor with wedge issues like gay marriage,abortion and gun rights. They figure they never have voted their economic interest and they won't now.

Newt has opened an office in Iowa and believes he still is a candidate. Newt feels that charities should pick up the slack with health care for the uninsured. This was Ron Paul's line in the last debate. Evangelical Christians, who are supposed to tithe, only give 3.75% to charities. Sorry, it won't make up the difference.

There was some buzz about the death of Ron Paul's campaign manager from the 2008 elections. His campaign manager was not insured by Ron Paul and died leaving his family with $400,000 in medical bills. I'm sure the charities will pick that up.

Jon Huntsman has picked up the endorsement of Nirvana's bassist for his mention of Kurt Cobain in the debate. It seems Huntsman is a fan of the rock immortal, the one and only Captain Beefheart. Who knew Mormons liked such things? The libertarians should counter Huntsman with the last great libertarian candidate, Frank Zappa. But they have been eating too many Burnt Weenie Sandwiches to even remember.

Speaking of which, will Rick Perry lose the New Apostolic Reformation vote when they learn he had a vasectomy? Doesn't that disturb the "elements" as much as adultery and homosexuality? To have your bulls neutered is not conducive to breeding and may "bring a curse on the land."

What will they say at Liberty University when Rick Perry speaks? Maybe he can promise to reverse it to be more in line with nature.

A Pennsylvania judge appointed by W has ruled the indivdual mandate as well as the provision prohibiting the discrimination by health companies on people with prior conditions unconstitutional. What I don't get is why the Heritage Foundation doesn't appeal? The great socialist medical idea of the Affordable Healthcare Act was first made public by the conservative think-tank. The reasoning was that it was a conservative idea to have citizens take responsibilty for their own health. Well, that was then.

We are heading to a major diplomatic disaster that President Obama warned about when Bibi Netanyahu was in Washington. Obama wanted Bibi and Abbas to get back to the negotiating table. Obama reiterated American policy since time immemorium, prior to Rev. Hagee, that Israel must return to its 1967 boundaries with modfications. Little Ricky Cantor pledged his allegiance--it is on tape to Bibi--and we had that congressional orgy at Bibi's speech. On Obama's trip to Europe, European leaders supported Obama on this and said that the Palestinians would go to the UN for recognition and even Tony Blair said that Obama's efforts with Netanyahu were meant to forestall this.

Now we are rapidly approaching that day at the United Nations. The Israeli Ambassador wired home that only a handful of countries will vote against recognizing Palestine. Meanwhile our House has vowed to cut off all UN funding if the General Assembly proceeds. Now President Obama has sent a team of envoys to try and persuade the Palestinians not to go through with this. The likelihood is that this effort will fail.

Now the United States has actively supported the Arab Spring--a phenomenon that has vastly undercut Al Qaeda and the radical Islamists--all that goodwill will dissipate. Our NATO ally, Turkey, is now touring the region strengthening its relationship with the new Arab states and condemning Israel. The United States will publically veto the recognition of the Palestinians State. Russia, China and many of our European allies will vote for the Palestianians. In one fell swoop, the goodwill restored by our support for the Arab Spring will disappear and ,most importantly, our perception as an honest broker between Israel and the Palestinians will too.

Virtually no Republicans care a wit about this but if I were the head of Mossad I would be terrified. In other words, you ask your only ally in the world to openly veto and destroy its credibility as the moderator of the dispute. This leaves you further alone and Israel now has virtually no allies in the Arab world. Egypt, Jordan and Turkey are gone. On top of this, about a half a million Israelis are marching in the streets demanding a more equitable economic system and better housing.

What a way to run a railroad. And Americans will avoid any self-reflection.