Tag Archive: Election 2012

Jul 19 2012

“You People” Don’t Need to Know

Mitt Romney made his wealth an issue of the campaign when he touted his business acumen as head of Bain Capital where he made most of his fortune. Romney has already said that he will not release anymore returns than his 2010 tax return and an estimate for 2011. In a lame defense of this refusal, Romney has said that, “I pay all the taxes that are legally required, not a dollar more,” claiming that the problem is not him but the tax laws. But you know you have problems when you have neo-conservatives like Bill Kristol and George Will along with 18 other prominent Republicans, telling you to release the returns. Nope, Mitt is sticking with his story and sent the missus out to put her foot in her mouth down:

Mitt Romney’s wife is reinforcing her husband’s refusal to make public several years of tax returns, saying “we’ve given all you people need to know” about the family’s finances.

“You people”? A bit condescending there, Annie.

Mitt made this an issue as Eugene Robinson notes that it just makes it all that much more suspicious:

Mitt Romney has every right to cloak his personal and professional finances in secrecy-and voters have every right to assume he has something embarrassing to hide. If this seems unfair, Romney has only himself to blame. [..]

Romney has spent the better part of a decade running for president. Did it never occur to him that if he ever won the Republican nomination, surely there would come a time when he was under pressure to release multiple years’ worth of tax returns? Did he think everyone would forget that it was his own father, George Romney, who set the modern standard for financial disclosure? Did he not recall that when he was being considered for the vice presidential nod four years ago, he furnished tax returns spanning more than two decades to the John McCain campaign?

Clearly he knew the subject would come up. The only reasonable conclusion to draw is that Romney believes that while stonewalling on his taxes may cost him some support, releasing them would cost him more.

Jon Stewart added his analysis of “The Romney Returns”

May 31 2012

Another Blue Dog Bites The Dust

Good news for the real left: an eight term House Democrat in the Texas 16th Congressional District went down in flames in a primary against former El Paso City Council representative:

Former city Rep. Beto O’Rourke bucked a nationwide trend Tuesday night by ousting eight-term U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes in the 16th Congressional District race.

In the final tally, O’Rourke beat Reyes by 23,248 votes to 20,427, or 50.5 percent to 44.4 percent.

Nationally, challengers rarely defeat incumbents in primary elections, and only a few exceptions have occurred so far this election cycle.

When the first numbers were posted earlier Tuesday evening — the results of early voting — O’Rourke had a healthy 51.3 percent to 43.3 percent lead, but Reyes was closing the gap as the evening progressed. However, he was not able to garner enough votes to push the race into a runoff election.

Rep. Reyes had the blessing of President Obama and former President Bill Clinton, who personally reaffirmed an endorsement delivered earlier in a video. The voters obviously were ready for real change by voting for O’Rourke who is opposed to the war on drugs arguing that drug laws increase profits for Mexican drug cartels and increase violence, as well as, real job stimulus by supporting government sponsored projects and a full service Veterans Hospital.

Matt Stoller, writing at naked capitalism, had this to say about Reyes’ defeat:

There are many reasons to be happy that Reyes lost.  He is and was an awful Congressman, both stupid and craven.  As Democratic leader of the Intelligence Committee, Reyes did not know the group Hezbollah, and he didn’t know whether Al Qaeda was Sunni or Shia.  Reyes is a proponent of any number of authoritarian policies violating our civil liberties, and he is backed by predator drone cash.  So if you like militarizing, well, everything, then Reyes is your man.  And this has been the trend recently.

So it’s nice to see voters choose peace over war, and an end the war on drugs.  Now that a candidate won a significant race while arguing for drug decriminalization, it’s going to be increasingly more difficult for politicians to avoid debating the issue.  And that’s good.

The 16th CD is located in a heavily Democratic El Paso and since it creation in 1903 has had only one Republican representative who lasted just one term. So, in all probability Mr. O’Rourke will handily defeat his Republican Barbara Carrasco in November holding the seat and moving it left.

Take that Third Way Democrats. This is how you get real change.

Nov 07 2011

Deal with the Devil

One of the editorials that was featured today in Punting the Pundits addressed the lack of choices for the office of President of the United States that voters are facing. The author, Hadley Freeman, called the Republican field “farcically unelectable”. Barack Obama may well have made a Faustian pact considering that if faced with a reasonable opponent from the GOP, he most assuredly would be leaving office on January 20, 2013.

But then there is that word: “reasonable”.

Rachel Maddow gave her take on two of more absurd candidates, Rick Perry and Herman Cain:

A new unsettling side of Rick Perry exposed

Jon Stewart’s explanation:

Best case scenario, that dude’s hammered. Worst case scenario, that is Perry sober and every time we’vee seen him previously, he was hammered

Herman Cain, the practical joke no one is getting. It was the Pokemon moment

And then there is Mitt Romney and as Heather at Crooks and Liars points out:

I could not do a better job of summing this speech up if I tried, so I’ll just refer everyone to this post by Stephen D. Foster Jr. at Addicting Info — Mitt Romney Vows To Privatize Medicare, Raise The Retirement Age, And Fire Thousands Of Government Workers

Overall, Romney’s plan is heartless, gutless, unimaginative, and caters to the extreme right wing, the wealthy, and to corporations. It’s a blueprint for making America fail and wiping out the middle class and should automatically disqualify him from holding any office. It kills the voice of the American people and destroys the programs we hold most dear. If a Republican wins the election next year, it will be perilous for the United States and the American people. Their policies have been destructive for thirty years, and now they want apocalypse.

As Ms. Freeman said, “That sound you heard on the breeze? That was the sound of Obama laughing.

Sep 26 2011

How Not To Win Back The Left

Over the weekend President Obama was out on the campaign trail giving rousing speeches to “energize his base”. Kicking off on Satuday night, he spoke before the annual awards dinner of the Congressional Black Caucus, urging them to:

“stop complaining” and fight for jobs and opportunity. “Shake it off,” Obama said. “Stop grumbling. Stop crying. We are going to press on. We have work to do.”

Mighty words but are they good enough to shake off the apathy of the voters who contributed time and money to get him elected. While Obama’s poll number have fallen dramatically among white voters and independents, his numbers are now slipping among Black and minority voters:

A Washington Post-ABC poll published last week showed that while African Americans continue to view the president favorably in overwhelming numbers, the proportion of blacks expressing strongly positive views of Obama has dropped 25 points since mid-April – from 83 percent to 58 percent. His “favorable” rating has slipped below 50 percent among those age 18 to 29. And among all liberal Democrats, that number has dropped from 69 percent in April to 52 percent.

And his continues “bashing” of the left at a fund raiser in San Jose, California where he said this:

Mr. Obama said it’s not enough for the supporters in the audience to support him. He said if their friends and neighbors are reading the Wall Street Journal editorial page or watching Fox News the donors at this event need to talk to “push back” on their “inadequate information.”

“And in some cases I may need you to have some arguments with our progressive friends,” Mr. Obama said.

He said over the last 2.5 years even though he’s gotten a lot done a lot of Democrats “get dispirited.” He brought up the complaint about health care reform without a public option – “c’mon!” he said. He said he hasn’t got everything done on the environmental front because of the economy.

“We’re going to have a stark choice in this election. But I have to make sure that our side is as passionate and as motivated and is working just as hard as the folks on the other side because this is a contest of value. This is a choice about who we are and what we stand for and whoever wins this next election is going to set the template for this country for a long time to come.”

He told the donors if they believe in a “fact-based” America, they need to work hard for him.

POTUS also quoted “my friend Joe Biden,” who likes to say, “Don’t compare me to the almighty, compare me to the alternative.”

Oh, yea, that’ll work to overcome this problem:

Through June 30, the close of the most recent campaign reporting period, more than 552,000 people had contributed to Mr. Obama’s re-election effort, according to campaign officials. Half of them were new donors, and nearly all of them gave contributions of less than $250.

But those figures obscured another statistic: a vast majority of Mr. Obama’s past donors, who number close to four million, have not yet given him any money at all.

He doesn’t get it:.

As many of us warned, Obama’s pivot to deficit reduction proved to be devastating.  Not only did it completely undermine any ability to argue persuasively for more supportive federal spending; it poured the foundation for the right wing’s radical anti-government attacks on funding all of the beneficial public programs enacted since the New Deal.

Instead of mounting a vigorous defense of these programs and government’s role in protecting the public interest, the President’s budget rhetoric repeatedly undermined them.  In statement after statement, Obama falsely equated a household budget and the supposed need to tighten family belts with the federal budget and the need for government to cut back on spending.

Obama’s austerity message was dead wrong; every responsible economist knew that massive deficit spending was the one thing keeping the economy afloat while the private sector reduced its debts, and such deficits might be needed for years.

Obama is the one who needs to change, drastically and now.

Sep 15 2011

Legally Stealing The Election

Or how to cheat to win by rigging the system:

The GOP’s Genius Plan to Beat Obama in 2012

Republican state legislators in Pennsylvania are pushing a scheme that, if GOPers in other states follow their lead, could cause President Barack Obama to lose the 2012 election-not because of the vote count, but because of new rules. That’s not all: There’s no legal way for Democrats to stop them.

The problem for Obama, and the opportunity for Republicans, is the electoral college. Every political junkie knows that the presidential election isn’t a truly national contest; it’s a state-by-state fight, and each state is worth a number of electoral votes equal to the size of the state’s congressional delegation. (The District of Columbia also gets three votes.) There are 538 electoral votes up for grabs; win 270, and you’re the president.

Here’s the rub, though: Each state gets to determine how its electoral votes are allocated. Currently, 48 states and DC use a winner-take-all system in which the candidate who wins the popular vote in the state gets all of its electoral votes. Under the Republican plan-which has been endorsed by top GOPers in both houses of the state Legislature, as well as the governor, Tom Corbett-Pennsylvania would change from this system to one where each congressional district gets its own electoral vote. (Two electoral votes-one for each of the state’s two senators-would go to the statewide winner.)

Some Republicans in the House see a downside to this thus hitting a snag:

With next year’s presidential election expected to be hard-fought, even sapping some electoral support from Barack Obama in Pennsylvania could have a major impact on the national results. But to several Republicans in marginal districts, the plan has a catch: they’re worried that Democrats will move dollars and ground troops from solid blue districts to battlegrounds in pursuit of electoral votes – and in the process, knock off the Republicans currently in the seats.

Suburban Philadelphia Reps. Jim Gerlach, Pat Meehan and Mike Fitzpatrick have the most at stake, since all represent districts Democrats won in the last two presidential elections. They and the rest of the Republicans in the delegation are joining with National Republican Congressional Committee officials to respond and mobilize against the change.

“Any proposed change to the election laws shouldn’t be done under the radar,” Fitzpatrick told POLITICO. “If every vote matters, everyone should have a chance to discuss this.”

State GOP chairman Rob Gleason is also opposed to the plan.

As David Nir at Daily Kos points out the electoral college is unfair as it is but there is a solution:

(T)he only way to fight back is to push for the national popular vote, something which can be achieved via an interstate compact between states. The states in the compact would all award their EVs to the winner of the national vote, but the law would only take effect once enough states signed on (i.e., states with 270 electoral votes between them). Several states have already signed on (including big boppers like California and Illinois), and this way, no constitutional amendment is necessary.

If the GOP presses forward with their Pennsylvania plan, we’ll have to respond somehow, and I think the national popular vote is the best plan.

As John Aravosis at AMERICAblog notes:

If the Democrats tried this, the Republicans would be rioting in the street. They’re quite literally trying to steal the presidential election. How will the Democrats respond? The word feckless comes to mind.

Uh. Yup

Apr 06 2011

Kicked Once Too Often: I’m Out, Barack

Not that I was ever in but I was willing to give Barack Obama the benefit of the doubt once he was elected but since kicking his base supporters off the bus in the middle of the desert, I can’t even hold my nose to vote for him. As was pointed out in a Raw Story article, these are just a few of the reasons:

1. Health care for all

If you’re an American making less than $30,000 a year, chances are you still have trouble seeing a doctor, despite the passage of President Obama’s health care reform plan. In 2007, then-Senator Obama said he wanted to make sure no American is without access to vital medical attention and proposed using revenues from the soon-to-expire Bush tax cuts to fund it. When the campaign laid out their specific plans in 2008, they included a “public option” that would be paid for by the public at large and made available to anyone who could not obtain coverage through their employer or other public program.

We all know how well that turned out, a massive sell out to the health insurance  and pharmaceutical industry and a cave ro extending the Bush (er, Obama) tax cuts. Yes, the consumer is forced to buy an inadequate insurance policy and still not have access to a doctor but hey, they’re insured. Now the Republicans are attacking Medicare and Medicaid so the government can fund more imperial wars and buy bigger and better weapons while giving the wealthy even more tax cuts.

2. Close Guantanamo

As a symbol of everything that liberals thought to be wrong with the Bush-era, closing the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba should have been an easy target for the new and popular president and his Democratic super-majority in Congress — and, in fact, then-candidate Obama promised to do just that. But as he soon found out, strategic and political calculations have made it almost impossible to shuck.

Now we have even bigger and better military tribunals, no trials in civilian courts for those scary men in Guantanamo and for 47 of them, the possibility no trial ever and the rest of their lives in detention all in the name of the never ending War on Terror (On wait, we don’t call it that any more).

3. Defend labor rights

“Understand this,” Obama said during a campaign rally in 2007. “If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I’ll will walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States of America.” (Watch.)

He can’t find his comfy shoes? Michelle must have tossed them when they moved into the executive mansion. Truthfully, at this  point, it’s is best he stay away and silent.

4. Reform the Patriot Act

Contrary to popular belief, Obama has never actually argued for a repeal of the Bush administration’s sweeping, post-9/11 security initiatives, which were passed with a mandatory “sunset” clause to overrule the concerns of civil libertarians at the time. Instead, Obama has consistently said he favors enhanced judicial oversight and a pullback from some warrantless searches — like the provisions that allow the FBI to access library records without a warrant.

Obama “reformed” it all right. Besides defending it in court, he got it extended even for even longer than the Republicans wanted without any changes. This extends the governments ability to spy on every private citizen until 2013, a non-election year, when it comes up for renewal again.

5. End the wars

Even as a candidate, Obama maintained that Afghanistan should be “the focus” of Bush’s terror war, and he pledged to make it so. But the president was also swept into power on a wave of anti-war fervor behind his calls to end the occupation of Iraq. Iraq has calmed down quite a bit as U.S. troops steadily stream out of the country, but Afghanistan is more violent than ever amid Obama’s own “surge.”

The US will have troops in Iraq and Afghanistan for years. But, but, his loyalist supporters say, they aren’t “combat troops”. I hate to tell them but ALL troops are “combat troops”. Not only this, now there is the bombardment of Pakistan, Yemen and Libya.

One day after announcing his bid for reelection, Obama’s poll numbers show less than half the country believes President Obama deserves reelection, with disaffected liberals now a fast growing demographic and independents split. Would the country have been better off with McCain or Hillary as President is useless speculation. All that is important now is Dick Cheney is pleased.