1. We heard precious little about Mitt Romney’s plans for the country. By my count, Barack Obama’s 2008 convention speech spent 768 words describing his domestic and economic policies. Romney’s speech spent 260 words. There was almost no mention — and absolutely no description — of his budget, tax, health care or Medicare plans.
2. The only policy idea he described in any detail was his five-point plan “to create 12 million new jobs.” The plan is more domestic energy production, more free trade agreements, more skills development, more deficit reduction, and cutting taxes and regulations. It is difficult to see how these policies — most of which would take some time to work — would address the jobs crisis we’re in right now. But perhaps they don’t have to. Romney’s target of 12 million jobs over the next four years happens to be the same number of jobs the economic forecasting firm Moody’s Analytics expects us to add even without major policy changes.
3. Here’s Romney’s theory of why Obama failed: “The President hasn’t disappointed you because he wanted to. The President has disappointed America because he hasn’t led America in the right direction. He took office without the basic qualification that most Americans have and one that was essential to his task. He had almost no experience working in a business. Jobs to him are about government.” But if business experience is the key qualification for a president, why did Romney pick Paul Ryan, who has spent even less time in the private sector than Obama, to be his vice president?
4. The most devastating line in Romney’s speech: “If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn’t you feel that way now that he’s President Obama? You know there’s something wrong with the kind of job he’s done as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him.”
5. Perhaps it was just me, but I had trouble following the basic thread of the speech, at least during the first half of the speech. Structurally, it began with a riff on how our forefathers came to this country looking for freedom. Then there was a section on the economic pain and personal disappointment Americans are feeling. Then a quick attack on Obama. Then came a riff on Neil Armstrong. Then Romney’s biography. Then a longer attack on Obama’s record. Then a brief look at Romney’s policies. Then the final exhortation. As the line goes, it was a beginning, a muddle, and an end.
6. Romney’s speech included a number of riffs at odds with his policies. For instance: “Nearly one out of six Americans is living in poverty. Look around you. These are not strangers. These are our brothers and sisters, our fellow Americans.” There is simply no way, given the nature of Romney’s budget promises, that programs for the poor won’t be slashed to the bone. Similarly, he spent some time extolling the virtues of NASA, but it’s also hard to imagine that program surviving the 40 percent cut to all non-Medicare, non-Social Security, non-defense spending that Romney’s budget envisions.
7. The biographical portion of Romney’s speech was very strong. I’m not among those who thinks Romney needed to be “humanized.” He always struck me as a good, decent family man. But if you did think he needed to be humanized, he probably did an effective job of answering the concern.
8. But there was a glaring omission from Romney’s biography: He made almost no mention of his time as governor of Massachusetts. In fact, the only thing he said about it was: “As Governor of Massachusetts, I chose a woman Lt. Governor, a woman chief of staff, half of my cabinet and senior officials were women, and in business, I mentored and supported great women leaders who went on to run great companies.” There was nothing on his health-care bill, his budgets, his ability to work with the Democrats in the state legislature…
9. Whoever planned the convention failed Romney terribly. The first night lacked a clear case for Romney, but ended with a rousing argument for Chris Christie in 2016. The second night was better, but the case Paul Ryan made still seemed to fit Ryan better than it fit Romney. And putting Clint Eastwood in prime time to interview an empty chair on the night of Romney’s acceptance speech was an absolute disaster. That was time that could have been used to show the incredibly well-produced video about Romney’s life, or to feature a speech from someone who has known or worked with Romney.
10. Speaking of which, you should read the full transcript of Clint Eastwood’s speech. The Obama campaign’s response also deserves to be quoted. “Referring all questions on this to Salvador Dalí,” campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt e-mailed to reporters.
11. All in all, Romney’s speech was…fine. I doubt he did himself any harm. And I’m sure he’ll get some sort of a convention bump. But it felt like a missed opportunity for him to close the deal. The American people already know that they’re not happy with the economy. Tonight was Romney’s chance to persuade them that he has a better way. But his speech really didn’t even try to do that.
The full text of the speech is here. Judge for yourself.
I suspect many Republicans who continue to subscribe to the birther lunacy do so because it bothers liberals and because it’s an act of symbolic defiance of a president they dislike. The problem with birtherism, however, is that the underlying assumptions driving it have always been broader than the president. Birtherism is more than just a conspiracy theory about the president’s birth. Its underlying principle is a rejection of American racial pluralism. The refusal to believe—in the face of all evidence to the contrary—that Obama is an American reads to many as a rejection of the idea that black people really count as American, unless they talk like Herman Cain or Allen West…
The tutorial in 8th grade biology that Republicans got after one of their members of Congress went public with something from the wackosphere was instructive, and not just because it offered female anatomy lessons to those who get their science from the Bible.
Take a look around key committees of the House and you’ll find a governing body stocked with crackpots whose views on major issues are as removed from reality as Missouri’s Representative Todd Akin’s take on the sperm-killing powers of a woman who’s been raped.
On matters of basic science and peer-reviewed knowledge, from evolution to climate change to elementary fiscal math, many Republicans in power cling to a level of ignorance that would get their ears boxed even in a medieval classroom. Congress incubates and insulates these knuckle-draggers.
Let’s take a quick tour of the crazies in the House. Their war on critical thinking explains a lot about why the United States is laughed at on the global stage, and why no real solutions to our problems emerge from that broken legislative body.
We’re currently experiencing the worst drought in 60 years, a siege of wildfires, and the hottest temperatures since records were kept. But to Republicans in Congress, it’s all a big hoax. The chairman of a subcommittee that oversees issues related to climate change, Representative John Shimkus of Illinois is — you guessed it — a climate-change denier.
At a 2009 hearing, Shimkus said not to worry about a fatally dyspeptic planet: the biblical signs have yet to properly align. “The earth will end only when God declares it to be over,” he said, and then he went on to quote Genesis at some length. It’s worth repeating: This guy is the chairman.
On the same committee is an oil-company tool and 27-year veteran of Congress, Representative Joe L. Barton of Texas. You may remember Barton as the politician who apologized to the head of BP in 2010 after the government dared to insist that the company pay for those whose livelihoods were ruined by the gulf oil spill.
Barton cited the Almighty in questioning energy from wind turbines. Careful, he warned, “wind is God’s way of balancing heat.” Clean energy, he said, “would slow the winds down” and thus could make it hotter. You never know.
“You can’t regulate God!” Barton barked at the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, in the midst of discussion on measures to curb global warming.
The Catholic Church long ago made its peace with evolution, but the same cannot be said of House Republicans. Jack Kingston of Georgia, a 20-year veteran of the House, is an evolution denier, apparently because he can’t see the indent where his ancestors’ monkey tail used to be. “Where’s the missing link?” he said in 2011. “I just want to know what it is.” He serves on a committee that oversees education.
In his party, Kingston is in the mainstream. A Gallup poll in June found that 58 percent of Republicans believe God created humans in the present form just within the last 10,000 years — a wealth of anthropological evidence to the contrary.
Another Georgia congressman, Paul Broun, introduced the so-called personhood legislation in the House — backed by Akin and Representative Paul Ryan — that would have given a fertilized egg the same constitutional protections as a fully developed human being.
Broun is on the same science, space and technology committee that Akin is. Yes, science is part of their purview.
Where do they get this stuff? The Bible, yes, but much of the misinformation and the fables that inform Republican politicians comes from hearsay, often amplified by their media wing.
Remember the crazy statement that helped to kill the presidential aspirations of Michele Bachmann? A vaccine, designed to prevent a virus linked to cervical cancer, could cause mental retardation, she proclaimed. Bachmann knew this, she insisted, because some random lady told her so at a campaign event. Fearful of the genuine damage Bachmann’s assertion could do to public health, the American Academy of Pediatrics promptly rushed out a notice, saying, “there is absolutely no scientific validity to this statement.”
Nor is there is reputable scientific validity to those who deny that the globe’s climate is changing for the worst. But Bachmann calls that authoritative consensus a hoax, and faces no censure from her party.
It’s encouraging that Republican heavyweights have since told Akin that uttering scientific nonsense about sex and rape is not good for the party’s image. But where are these fact-enforcers on the other idiocies professed by elected representatives of their party?
Akin, if he stays in the race, may still win the Senate seat in Missouri. Bachmann, who makes things up on a regular basis, is a leader of the Tea Party caucus in Congress and, in an unintended joke, a member of the Committee on Intelligence. None of these folks are without power; they govern, and have significant followings.
A handful of Republicans have tried to fight the know-nothings. “I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming,” said Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor, during his ill-fated run for his party’s presidential nomination. “Call me crazy.”
And in an on-air plea for sanity, Joe Scarborough, the former G.O.P. congressman and MSNBC host, said, “I’m just tired of the Republican Party being the stupid party.” I feel for him. But don’t expect the reality chorus to grow. For if intelligence were contagious, his party would be giving out vaccines for it.
“Why should women be paid equal to men? Men have been in the working world a lot longer and deserve to be paid at a higher rate. Heck, I’m a working mom and I’m not paid a dime. I depend on my husband to provide for me and my family, as should most women… and if a woman does work, she should be happy just to be out there in the working world and quit complaining that she’s not making as much as her male counterparts. I mean really, all this wanting to be equal nonsense is going to be detrimental to the future of women everywhere. Who’s going to want to hire a woman, or for that matter, even marry a woman who thinks she is the same, if not better than a man at any job. It’s almost laughable. C’mon now ladies, are you with me on this?”—
Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney [Source]
Paul Ryan is the reverse of Sarah Palin. She was all right-wing flash without much substance. He’s all right-wing substance without much flash.
Ryan is not a firebrand. He’s not smarmy. He doesn’t ooze contempt for opponents or ridicule those who disagree with him. In style and tone, he doesn’t even sound like an ideologue – until you listen to what he has to say.
It’s here — in Ryan’s views and policy judgments — we find the true ideologue. More than any other politician today, Paul Ryan exemplifies the social Darwinism at the core of today’s Republican Party: Reward the rich, penalize the poor, let everyone else fend for themselves. Dog eat dog.
Ryan’s views are crystallized in the budget he produced for House Republicans last March as chairman of the House Budget committee. That budget would cut $3.3 trillion from low-income programs over the next decade. The biggest cuts would be in Medicaid, which provides healthcare for the nation’s poor – forcing states to drop coverage for an estimated 14 million to 28 million low-income people, according to the non-partisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.
Ryan’s budget would also reduce food stamps for poor families by 17 percent ($135 billion) over the decade, leading to a significant increase in hunger – particularly among children. It would also reduce housing assistance, job training, and Pell grants for college tuition.
In all, 62 percent of the budget cuts proposed by Ryan would come from low-income programs.
The Ryan plan would also turn Medicare into vouchers whose value won’t possibly keep up with rising health-care costs – thereby shifting those costs on to seniors.
At the same time, Ryan would provide a substantial tax cut to the very rich – who are already taking home an almost unprecedented share of the nation’s total income. Today’s 400 richest Americans have more wealth than the bottom 150 million of us put together.
Ryan’s views are pure social Darwinism. As William Graham Sumner, the progenitor of social Darwinism in America, put it in the 1880s: “Civilization has a simple choice.” It’s either “liberty, inequality, survival of the fittest” or “not-liberty, equality, survival of the unfittest. The former carries society forward and favors all its best members; the latter carries society downwards and favors all its worst members.”
Is this Mitt Romney’s view as well?
Some believe Romney chose Ryan solely in order to drum up enthusiasm on the right. Since most Americans have already made up their minds about whom they’ll vote for, and the polls show Americans highly polarized – with an almost equal number supporting Romney as Obama — the winner will be determined by how many on either side take the trouble to vote. So in picking Ryan, Romney is motivating his rightwing base to get to the polls, and pull everyone else they can along with them.
But there’s reason to believe Romney also agrees with Ryan’s social Darwinism. Romney accuses President Obama of creating an “entitlement society” and thinks government shouldn’t help distressed homeowners but instead let the market “hit the bottom.” And although Romney has carefully avoided specifics in his own economic plan, he has said he’s “very supportive” of Ryan’s budget plan. “It’s a bold and exciting effort, an excellent piece of work, very much needed … very consistent with what I put out earlier.”
Romney hasn’t put out much but the budget he’s proposed would, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, throw ten million low-income people off the benefits rolls for food stamps or cut benefits by thousands of dollars a year, or both.
At the same time, Romney wants to permanently extend the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy, reduce corporate income taxes, and eliminate the estate tax. These tax reductions would increase the incomes of people earning more than $1 million a year by an average of $295,874 annually, according to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center.
Oh, did I say that Romney and Ryan also want to repeal President Obama’s healthcare law, thereby leaving fifty million Americans without health insurance?
A century ago, social Darwinism offered a moral justification for the wild inequities and social cruelties of the late nineteenth century. It allowed John D. Rockefeller, for example, to claim the fortune he accumulated through his giant Standard Oil Trust was “merely a survival of the fittest… the working out of a law of nature and of God.”
The social Darwinism of that era also undermined all efforts to build a more broadly based prosperity and rescue our democracy from the tight grip of a very few at the top. It was used by the privileged and powerful to convince everyone else that government shouldn’t do much of anything.
Not until the twentieth century did America reject social Darwinism. We created a large middle class that became the engine of our economy and our democracy. We built safety nets to catch Americans who fell downward, often through no fault of their own.
We designed regulations to protect against the inevitable excesses of free-market greed. We taxed the rich and invested in public goods – public schools, public universities, public transportation, public parks, public health – that made us all better off.
In short, we rejected the notion that each of us is on our own in a competitive contest for survival.
But choosing Ryan, Romney has raised for the nation the starkest of choices: Do we want to return to that earlier time, or are we willing and able to move forward — toward a democracy and an economy that works for us all?
I was asked to make a previous answer to a question rebloggable. So sorry for the repeat …
Recently, I was asked the following question:
It really bothers me that scientists keep claiming that the cause of climate change is caused exclusively by humans. There is compelling evidence that exists that would prove - or at least point out - that that’s not entirely the case. Seeing as most scientists seem to lean left on this issue, do you think that scientists would leave out information in order to further an agenda?
My response was:
Well, aside from the fact that no scientist ever makes the claim that humans are the sole cause of global climate change, I do seem to recall hearing about a time when the Roman Catholic Church got really tired of hearing some guy named Galileo claim that the earth wasn’t the center of the universe. So they threw him in prison (well, a villa) and threatened to kill him unless he recanted. Alas, getting annoyed by something doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
As for the question of scientists being corrupt lefties, a few thoughts:
1. Most scientists I know, who study natural phenomena using scientific methods, are fairly apolitical. They — unlike politically-minded people — are reluctant to talk or make claims about things they don’t know anything about.
2. I assume you believe that it is safer to travel in a car with airbags, antilock brakes and crumple zones than in a car without these things. I assume you believe the best way to avoid measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox (not to mention smallpox) is to be inoculated with a weakened version of measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox that stimulates the body’s immune system. I assume you believe that the speed of light is 186,000 miles per second and that the US just landed a rover on Mars using math. I assume you believe tobacco is addictive. All of these things, of course, were proven or achieved by science. So your “worry” isn’t about “science,” it’s about climate science.
3. Science has an ultimate touchstone of right and wrong: falsifiability. If you can show that distilled water doesn’t freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit or that gravity doesn’t operate at 32 feet per second squared, then claims made based on those observations (and the theories that underlie them) are discredited. So for your “worry” to be credible, it would have to be the case that thousands of scientists, any one of whom would get famous and would score lots of funding if only he or she could disprove the notion of climate change, have in fact engaged in a vast conspiracy to lie about it … why? Because they hate capitalism? Or something?
The conservative line that climate scientists are engaged in a vast deception defies logic, common sense, and the rules of science itself.
As Bill Clinton is resurrected by the Democrats, George W. Bush is being erased by the GOP — as if an entire eight years of American history hadn’t happened.
While Bill Clinton stumps for Obama, Romney has gone out of his way not to mention the name of the president who came after Clinton and before Obama.
Clinton will have a starring role at the Democratic National Convention. George W. Bush won’t even be at the Republican one – the first time a national party has not given the stage at its convention to its most recent occupant of the Oval Office who successfully ran for reelection.
The GOP is counting on America’s notoriously short-term memory to blot out the last time the nation put a Republican into the Oval Office, on the reasonable assumption that such a memory might cause voters to avoid making the same mistake twice. As whoever-it-was once said, “fool me once …” (and then mangled the rest).
Republicans want to obliterate any trace of the administration that told America there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and led us into a devastating war; turned a $5 trillion projected budget surplus into a $6 trillion deficit; gave the largest tax cut in a generation to the richest Americans in history; handed out a mountain of corporate welfare to the oil and gas industry, pharmaceutical companies, and military contractors like Halliburton (uniquely benefiting the vice president); whose officials turned a blind eye to Wall Street shenanigans that led to the worst financial calamity since the Great Crash of 1929 and then persuaded Congress to bail out the Street with the largest taxpayer-funded giveaway of all time.
Besides, the resemblances between George W. Bush and Mitt Romney are too close for comfort. Both were born into wealth, sons of prominent politicians who themselves ran for president; both are closely tied to the nation’s corporate and financial elites, and eager to do their bidding; both are socially awkward and, as candidates, tightly scripted for fear of saying something they shouldn’t; and both presented themselves to the nation devoid of any consistent policies or principles that might give some clue as to what they actually believe.
They are both, in other words, unusually shallow, uncurious, two-dimensional men who ran or are running for the presidency for no clear reason other than to surpass their fathers or achieve the aims and ambitions of their wealthy patrons.
Small wonder the Republican Party wants us to forget our last Republican president and his administration. By contrast, the Democrats have every reason for America to recall and celebrate the Clinton years.
people keep on asking me if i really believe everything political that i reblog and i guess the best way to answer that is LOL NO WAY
obama’s more likely to actually uphold the pre-existing conditions coverage for healthcare providers (romney has said he’d strike it out, or rather, throw the baby out with the bathwater and take out the entirety of the affordable healthcare act and replace with Romneycare same-but-catered-to-my-vested-interests and that will probably not include preexisting conditions) so i support that. i don’t support drone activity, don’t like his confusing and contradictory gun policies, i don’t like his grandstanding of all the social issues he’s said he would address and hasn’t. there’s a whole lot i don’t like about obama.
but obama hasn’t wandered into israel and proclaimed that it’s america’s moral imperative to defend Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. obama doesn’t have a disturbing history of absentminded neglect for animals. obama isn’t being weird and defensive and evasive about fairly recent taxes, and he hasn’t maintained bold-faced lies about employment, income, and connections to large companies through this campaign when pressed on them. obama hasn’t tucked his tail and ran back to his constituency every time he’s booed off the stage—as far as I remember he hasn’t been booed off stage, which is even better!
everything about politics is vile and everything about romney makes him look and sound like an absolute snake, and i actually wish the GOP had fielded someone from the old guard instead of pandering to the Tea Party this election season so we would actually have a real race.
there’s a lot about obama i’m upset with and don’t want to vote for, but he’s actively pulling US military interests out of the middle east, whereas romney has already essentially pledged military support to middle eastern countries during his first presidential term. our economic problems will look shockingly foolish when we quit paying for unnecessary wars in places we aren’t wanted in and i’ll happily vote for whomever makes that happen first.
so basically im voting for obama because he might be able to do a little good towards making the united states look like less of an utter embarrassment to the rest of the world—because romney has been laughed out of three countries in the past month and he isn’t even president yet.
If you don’t remember Sophie M Herold, she is a German girl, who is extremely homophobic and transphobic. She has found out LGBTQ persons names, addresses, personal info etc. And set up her own database.
Her intentions with this are harmful.
She is sending out this information, your information, your best friends information, someone you love and care about. She’s sending it to hate groups, malicious people, people with bad intentions.
And if you think I’m blowing this out of proportion, people have been kicked out of homes, disowned by families and even MURDERED. Yes, murdered. Innocent people who have done nothing but love.
She has had numerous blogs and each have been removed. Tumblr staff are aware of her, and as far as I’m aware she currently doesn’t have a blog, but this does not mean she isn’t still on peoples tumblrs, asking via anon where you live, what your name is.
An email I received today. She’s sending out information of same sex couples with children so the children can be kidnapped. She entitled it “Time to strike back”. If that doesn’t suggest harmful intentions I don’t know what does.
Please be extremely careful what you post on tumblr, on twitter, facebook, anywhere. Do NOT give out your full name or your address, or even the town in which you live. Look out for one another, and don’t answer any suspicious anons. Especially if they use your name in quotation marks.
Sophie M Herold is still out there, she always will be, so please spead this message and warn people. She’s attacking in silence. We don’t need more people dying because of her actions.