All Romney/Ryan are doing is trying to hide from the American public just how badly they would shred the social safety net in order to pay for giving themselves giant tax cuts.
Ryan actually included the savings from cuts to wasteful private subsidies in the Medicare Advantage program that the ACA enacted—the same ones he now inveighs against in every speech—in his own budget. The reason he kept them in his budget, even while he votes to repeal the ACA and therefore would lose them, is because it gives him more breathing room. Take away those savings, and Ryan would have to come up with even more cuts to other popular programs.
The Obama campaign is understandably aggravated by their opponents’ cowardly refusal to stand and fight.
I’ll bet that Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party and Jill Stein, Green Party, would have a good and useful debate on Medicare.
via On the Stump, Romney and Ryan Avoid Real Medicare Debate | The Nation.
Mitt Romney’s tax and spending plans are so irresponsible, so cruel, so extreme that they are literally incredible. Voters may find it hard to believe anyone would support such things, so they are likely to discount even factual descriptions as partisan distortion.
The pro-Obama New Priorities PAC stumbled across this phenomena early in 2012 in its focus group testing. When they informed a focus group that Romney supported the budget plan by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and thus championed ending Medicare as we know it while also championing tax cuts for the wealthy, focus group participants simply didn’t believe it. No politician could be so clueless.
via Romney’s Incredible Extremes | The Nation.
It’s actually good, from a Republican point of view, that party powers like Rupert Murdoch, his Wall Street Journal and Bill Kristol are piling on Mitt Romney as a lousy candidate now, in July. And not just because it gives Romney a chance to shake up his campaign and satisfy his overlords’ demands over the summer. (He’s already begun.) But by squeezing him through the Adjustment Bureau now, the top GOPers can, by November, sing another tune: Romney is a plausible candidate, he can beat Obama. That way, if he “wins” with the help of massive voter suppression, it won’t seem so much like they’ve stolen the election.
I’m not saying Romney can’t win fair and square; sure, he could, especially if the economy spirals downward. But the Republicans won’t risk giving fair-and-square a chance. This is playing out most nakedly in Pennsylvania, where Obama is up over Romney by a Real Clear Politics average of eight points. No problem, says state House majority leader Mike Turzai. In tallying up the party’s achievements last month, he brayed, “Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”
That’s no idle boast. As the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote yesterday, “More than 758,000 registered voters in Pennsylvania do not have photo identification cards from the state Transportation Department, putting their voting rights at risk in the November election, according to data released Tuesday by state election officials.”
via By Dumping on Mitt, Is the GOP Making a Steal Plausible? | The Nation.
Writing in Salon, Steve Kornacki reported that Ron Paul picked up a lot of delegates over the weekend, in maine and Nevada. Sorta.
Of course, not all of the Paul-ites who are winning delegate slots will actually get to vote for him at the national convention, since many are filling slots that are by rule designated for Romney. For instance, Romney’s overwhelming win in the straw poll that was conducted with Nevada’s February precinct caucuses guarantees that most of the state’s national delegates will be bound to support him on the first ballot. So Paul will actually have two types of delegates in Tampa: a relatively small group of delegates pledged to him, and a potentially much bigger group that wants badly to vote for him but can’t.
It’s that second group that is starting to make Romney’s camp, which sent its top lawyer to Maine for the convention this weekend, nervous. Romney-pledged Paul backers could try to change their states’ rules (or the rules at the national convention) to allow them to support Paul. But this probably wouldn’t work; the RNC is now threatening not to seat individual delegations that try this, and to pull it off in Tampa the Paul team would need an outright convention majority, something it’s not on course to have.
They could still stir up a lot of trouble, though. Even if they’re neutralized procedurally, Paul-aligned delegates could make their hostility to the GOP establishment clear during the convention’s prime-time hours. The potential for such an embarrassing, nationally televised spectacle is probably what the Romney team is most worried about at this point.
Ah, the Emperor has no clothes, is that Ron Paul’s role in this election?
This pretty much says it all: These days, plutocrats rule!
In an election year when partisanship has burned white hot and the economy has sputtered, two presidential candidates who agree on very little, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, have reached a rare consensus: they are both determined to score the endorsement of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York, whose name is all but synonymous with Wall Street clout and nonpartisan politics.
Now, their pursuit of the billionaire mayor is headed into overdrive, with both campaigns making the kind of conspicuous ring-kissing gestures that are reserved for their most sought-after political allies, even though the candidates publicly disagree with the mayor on a range of issues.
via Obama and Romney Vie for Mayor Bloomberg’s Endorsement – NYTimes.com.
People are what they do, and part of what presidential candidates must do is project a fully integrated depth of being before multiple audiences. Romney’s political problem—his poor job performance as a professional politician—is that he has an almost poignant difficulty in managing to do that. His inability to merely fake the “realness” that people hunger for reminds me of what was once said about former Texas Governor, and Democrat turned Republican John Connally: he is the only man in the world whose real hair makes people think he’s wearing a toupee.
What is relevant is that if the Democrats somehow retain the Senate and even return to a House majority and the country elects Romney, President Romney will talk a lot about “working together with the Democratic party.” And he’ll probably cut some deals pretty similar to those that he made when he was the Republican governor of a Democratic state. He will support a lot of terrible public policy, but he won’t swerve entirely into Jim DeMint country. But if Romney increasingly worries that he could lose the nomination to a rage generating fifth tier candidate like Rick Santorum, he’s going to lambast the poor-coddling, religion hating “Democrat party” over and over again. And if he survives Santorum, and he and a Republican Congress sweep to victory in November, he will use his majorities to roll thru an ultra-right program of tax cuts for the rich, and reductions in government transfer payments for everybody else, and he will appear to be deeply alarmed about gay marriage and the federal funding that goes to Planned Parenthood.
via Mitt Romney and the Fallacy of Political “Authenticity” — Crooked Timber.
It’s astonishing that a party with nearly limitless financial resources has such paltry human resources. New York Times columnist Ross Douthat recently wrote a column titled, “A Good Candidate is Hard to Find,” in which he did his best to come up with excuses for this sorry state of affairs: “The problem, perhaps, is that a successful presidential campaign calls on a trio of talents that only rarely overlap. Being a master politician in a mass democracy, in this sense, is a bit like being a brilliant filmmaker who’s somehow also a great economist, or a Nobel-winning scientist who writes best-selling novels on the side.” Which is, at best, a generous metaphor to use in reference to the two candidates leading the Republican pack today. It also evades the key issue, which is that the party has lurched so far to the right that a candidate like Romney, with some moderate positions on his record, must become a shape-shifter to survive the primary, leaving him badly compromised for the general election.
via Newt vs. Mitt | The Nation.
The Republican Party is split between its two personalities: Predatory finance capital and angry white male faux-populism. That’s trouble enough. Add to that Gingrich’s fury at Romney’s bottomless pockets full of nasty ads, and this is a party headed for a crack-up.
November’s still a long way away, but it’s hard to imagine President Obama losing Florida after the slime-fest we’ve just witnessed. Both Gingrich and Romney are seeing their negatives go up as the campaign goes on, while Obama’s approval rating continues to climb. I think the president is largely responsible for his ratings rise, because he’s brought the fight to the GOP since the debt-ceiling debacle.
via The GOP hate-off continues – Mitt Romney – Salon.com.
Just as Mr. Romney and his advisers are defending his work at Bain, the industry is also trying to blunt some of the attacks. For a group of Wall Street executives who prefer to operate out of the spotlight, the repercussions could be considerable. Among the things the industry wants to preserve is favorable tax treatment for profits on private equity deals.
via As Romney Advances, Private Equity Becomes Part of the Debate – NYTimes.com.
Three factors are considered:
• The first factor, Americans’ performance reviews of Obama, can be measured through his approval ratings.
• The second factor, economic performance, can be measured through statistics like G.D.P.
• The third factor — essentially, the ideological positioning of the Republican candidate — is sometimes thought of as an “intangible.” But it can be measured too, and it matters a great deal.
Four scenarios: 2 Obama vs. Romney, 2 Obama vs. Perry; for each paring, one where the economy stagnates, one where it’s improving. If the economy is improving, Obama wins against each, otherwise he loses. But the loss against Perry is worse.
Average these four scenarios together and the probabilities come out to almost exactly 50-50. A month or two ago, when Perry and Romney appeared about equally likely to be the Republican nominee, it would therefore have been proper to think of the election as a toss-up.
With Perry having slumped in the polls, however, and Romney the more likely nominee, the odds tilt slightly toward Obama joining the list of one-termers. It is early, and almost no matter what, the election will be a losable one for Republicans. But Obama’s position is tenuous enough that it might not be a winnable one for him.
via Is Obama Toast? Handicapping the 2012 Election – NYTimes.com.