Friday, September 28, 2012

The Wizard of Republi-CONism Strikes Again!

UPDATE VII:  His job is not to worry about 'those people'.  From the Washington Post, Brutal new Obama ad features Mitt Romney and the 47 percenters:

"The Obama campaign has not sent this ad to national reporters, but I’m told it will air in the seven key swing states. It is a brutal shot at Mitt Romney’s videotaped remarks about the freeloading 47 percent — it features nothing but audio of Romney’s own words, accompanied by pictures of veterans, workers, families with children, and other 47 percenters:

The ad concludes on these words: 'My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.'"

And he needn't worry that it will be his job not to worry about 'those people'. 

UPDATE VI:  Willard "Mitt Romney stands by his secretly taped stance that half of Americans are mindless moochers who don't pay income tax"  Watch The Colbert Report, Mitt Romney's Secret Video, as he shows Obamney how to deliver his message to the freeloaders and moachers with a little more penache:

UPDATE V:  The Republi-con Party "has been taken over by an Ayn Rand-type vision of society, in which a handful of heroic businessmen are responsible for all economic good, while the rest of us are just along for the ride."  Read The New York Times, Disdain for Workers.

UPDATE IV:  And just who are those '47 per-centers'?  More likely than not, Republi-cons.  Read the Washington Post, Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” problem — in 2 maps.  

UPDATE III:  "The candidate needs to stop talking.

Talking includes 'issuing statements' and 'approving this message.' Talking includes making faces that could be interpreted as expressing an opinion. This extends to talking at fundraisers and talking in private and reading books to your grandchildren. This includes making remarks that you thought were off the record. There is no longer any such thing as off the record. You are a candidate for public office. If it were possible, your thoughts and your eerie clown-dreams and the rare occasions when you lusted in your heart would be on the record. If you ever open your mouth, you must assume that everyone who disagrees with you is listening. So avoid the problem altogether. Don’t open your mouth.

This will create a few problems, sure, but it will solve more. Yes, the debates will be a little awkward, as President Obama speaks candidly and at length on a variety of subjects, and Mitt Romney just stands there silently looking presidential and occasionally making a hand gesture of polite disagreement. But it cannot possibly be worse than the present state of affairs."

Read the Washington Post, Mitt Romney needs to stop talking

UPDATE II:  "Mitt Romney’s comments on the 47 percent of Americans who make too little to pay income tax and 'will vote for this president no matter what' are causing him some political problems this morning. But could they cause him any electoral problems? Is he really insulting anyone who would already be willing to vote for him?

Actually, yes. The Tax Foundation put out this helpful map of the states with the highest and lowest percentage of people who don’t file income tax returns. The biggest non-filing states are — except Florida and New Mexico — solid red states:


Three of the states with the lowest number of non-filers are solidly conservative: Alaska, North Dakota and Wyoming. Two, New Hampshire and Virginia, are swing states. All the rest are solidly Democratic, including half of New England. All told, Obama gets 50 electoral votes from the 'maker' states to Romney’s 9 — 17 are tossups — while Romney gets 96 electoral votes from the 'taker' states to Obama’s 5, with 29 as tossups.

Read the Washington Post, Mitt Romney will probably get 95 electoral votes from ‘moocher’ states. Obama will probably get 5.

UPDATE:  "For what it’s worth, this division of “makers” and “takers” isn’t true. Among the Americans who paid no federal income taxes in 2011, 61 percent paid payroll taxes — which means they have jobs and, when you account for both sides of the payroll tax, they paid 15.3 percent of their income in taxes, which is higher than the 13.9 percent that Romney paid. Another 22 percent were elderly.

So 83 percent of those not paying federal income taxes are either working and paying payroll taxes or they’re elderly and Romney is promising to protect their benefits because they’ve earned them. The remainder, by and large, aren’t paying federal income or payroll taxes because they’re unemployed. But that’s a small fraction of the country."

Read the Washington Post, Romney’s theory of the “taker class,” and why it matters.

"Who are these [so-called Republi-con] freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security or Medicare?

It suggests that Romney doesn’t know much about the culture of America. Yes, the entitlement state has expanded, but America remains one of the hardest-working nations on earth. Americans work longer hours than just about anyone else. Americans believe in work more than almost any other people. Ninety-two percent say that hard work is the key to success, according to a 2009 Pew Research Survey.

It says that Romney doesn’t know much about the political culture. Americans haven’t become childlike worshipers of big government. On the contrary, trust in government has declined. The number of people who think government spending promotes social mobility has fallen.

The people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are not big-government lovers. They are Republicans. They are senior citizens. They are white men with high school degrees. As Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution has noted, the people who have benefited from the entitlements explosion are middle-class workers, more so than the dependent poor.

Romney’s comments also reveal that he has lost any sense of the social compact."

Read The New York Times, Thurston Howell Romney.  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Anybody But Obamney

"There is no love for Mitt Romney in today’s papers. Both The Post and the New York Times have polls showing the Republican presidential nominee trailing President Obama in Florida and Ohio. And there appears to be no love for Romney out on the hustings.

As the clip from 'Morning Joe' shows, after Romney thanked his running mate Paul Ryan for a rousing introduction in Ohio, the crowd started chanting 'Ryan! Ryan!' And then the unfortunate happened. 'Wait a second,' Romney said turning to the crowd before directing them with his hands. 'Romney-Ryan! Romney-Ryan! Romney-Ryan! There we go. All right.' The scene was so painful, 'Morning Joe' host Joe Scarborough muttered, 'Sweet Jesus' through his face-covering hands."

Read the Washington Post, No love from polls or people for Mitt Romney.  

Or watch the clip,

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Save Us, Sarah, Save Us!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Obamney's Dilemma: Damned If He Doesn't Explain, Damned If He Does

"Mitt Romney might still win this election, but he’s now stuck in a trap that will be difficult to escape. Americans are rejecting his argument that they should view their choice mostly as a referendum on Obama’s economic performance, because they blame the sluggish recovery on the magnitude of the mess Obama inherited from George W. Bush, and believe things will get better in Obama’s second term. That is putting pressure on Romney to be more specific about why his alternative, such as it is, would spark a faster recovery than is occurring under Obama.

But Romney can’t be too much more specific about that alternative, because it risks reminding voters of the degree to which his policies resemble those of the aforementioned George W. Bush, under whom the meltdown happened in the first place."

Read the Washington Post, The trap that has ensnared Mitt Romney

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Are You a Moocher?

"[A]ccording to 2008 data from the Cornell Survey Research Institute reported Monday in a Times opinion piece, that 96 percent of Americans have taken part in government benefit programs in one form or another."

Read The New York Times, How Many Government Programs Have You Benefited From?

The Obamney Welfare Hypocrisy

Obamney's father was an illegal Mexican immigrant who received public assistance.  Read NPR, Welfare Wasn't Always A Dirty Word In The Romney Family

Thursday, September 20, 2012

How Do You Know When a Politician is Lying?

UPDATE:   Democrats "suffer from self-deception (such as a reluctance to credit improvements under a Republican president), but today’s Republicans seem disproportionately untethered to reality."

Read The New York Times, It Takes One to Know One.  

His lips are moving:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Who Will Win, Continued

Obamney is "behind in most election-forecasting models. Political scientist James Campbell rounded up 13 of the most credible efforts to predict the election outcome: Romney trails in eight of them. He’s also behind in Nate Silver’s election model, the Princeton Election Consortium’s meta-analysis, Drew Linzer’s Votamatic model and the Wonkblog election model.
But I didn’t realize quite how dire Romney’s situation was until I began reading 'The Timeline of Presidential Elections: How Campaigns Do and Don’t Matter,' a new book from political scientists Robert Erikson and Christopher Wlezien.

What Erikson and Wlezien did is rather remarkable: They collected pretty much every publicly available poll conducted during the last 200 days of the past 15 presidential elections and then ran test after test on the data to see what we could say about the trajectory of presidential elections. Their results make Romney’s situation look very dire."

Read the Washington Post, The Romney campaign is in trouble.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The So-Called Tea Party Has Been Co-Opted by the Republi-CON Establishment

"It’s a story as old as time: two opposing families are brought together when members of each are married.

The Capulets and the Montagues, Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, the Hatfields and the McCoys (oh, wait…).

Today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has arranged one hell of a political marriage. And in the process, he has cemented his own status as one of the preeminent political survivors of our time.

McConnell announced Thursday that his 2014 Senate campaign will be run by Jesse Benton, who just happens to be a former top aide to Ron Paul — the libertarian congressman that has tangled with the Republican Party establishment for years — and his son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who trounced a McConnell-endorsed candidate in a primary just two short years ago."

Read the Washington Post, Mitch McConnell + the Pauls = A political marriage made in heaven?

They have been assimilated by the Republi-con collective.  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Obama Calls the Republi-CON Bluff to Balance the Budget

UPDATE V:  The only thing holding Obama back is a lack of will to confront the Republi-cons.  Read the Washington Post, The Green Lantern theory of the fiscal cliff.  

UPDATE IV:  Did you know that the Ryan budget would cut $897 billion from the federal government budget?

Since Obamney "has committed himself to keeping the Pentagon budget (Function 050) at 4 percent of G.D.P. By 2050, that would leave zilch under the Ryan plan for such separately funded programs as Veterans Benefits (Function 700); the administration of justice, including the F.B.I. (Function 750); Education, Train and Social Services (Function 500), and pretty much anything else."

Read The New York Times, The Ryan Sinkhole.  

UPDATE III:  The Naive-ocrats have finally gotten the chance to call the Republi-con budget bluff, and they are all-in.

"[T]o paraphrase H.L. Mencken, is that the Obama administration knew the fight they wanted, and now they’re going to get it good and hard.

Putting the Ryan budget at the center of the 2012 election has the tactical benefit of forcing Republicans to defend an unpopular proposal; more important, it has the long-term strategic benefit of potentially discrediting the Ryan budget as a political document. Prior to Ryan joining the ticket, a Romney loss seemed likely to strengthen the Republican Party’s conservative wing, because the defeat would be blamed on Romney’s moderate past. Now, if the Romney-Ryan ticket loses, it will vindicate skeptics of the party’s rightward shift, potentially strengthening the party’s moderates. That could produce a more cooperative opposition for Obama to work with in a second term.

But if Obama loses, Republicans will have won the presidency with a mandate to enact a deeply conservative agenda. Left to his own devices, Romney might have been a relatively pragmatic and cautious president. Instead, the Obama administration’s three-year effort to enshrine the Ryan budget at the heart of the Republican Party would prove to have been a crucial push toward enacting that budget into law."

Read the Washington Post, The White House’s huge gamble on Paul Ryan.

Actually, I bet that even if the Republi-cons win they won't even try to balance the budget, proving my theory it is all a con job.

UPDATE II:  It is "impossible to overstate how central the unjustified label of 'fiscal conservative' is to the Ryan brand and the GOP’s strategy."  Read the Washington Post, Recognizing Paul Ryan’s ‘tell’ when he is trying to avoid something.  

UPDATE:  "[H]ow will a Romney administration make its budget math add up? . .

[Obamney made] outlandish budget promises in order to win a Republican primary, . . . [and now he] is disavowing Ryan’s Medicare cuts mere days after naming him to the ticket?

This is simply not a credible budget plan, and Romney’s fast retreat from Ryan’s most unpopular cuts makes it even less credible. And yet Romney, who has never released the specific cuts that would make his numbers add up, repeatedly touts it on the campaign trail, and the media dutifully reports his promises to cut federal spending by more than $500 billion in 2016, and in fact to balance the budget by the end of his second term, which would require far larger cuts than what I’ve outlined here, despite the fact that everyone basically knows these cuts aren’t credible and will never happen.

I’m not sure what alternative there is, exactly, except to say, as clearly as possible, Romney’s budget plan is a fantasy, and it will never happen."

Read the Washington Post, Romney’s budget plan is a fantasy.  

I've been challenging Naive-ocrats to call the Republi-con bluff and balance the budget with tax cuts, a delusional fantasy of made-up facts and figures. 

You may remember, in 2003 the "prescription drug bill, creating a new federal entitlement that eased the financial burden on seniors while securing drug industry profits at taxpayer expense, with the legislation’s cost – $62 billion in 2010 alone, 12 percent of the federal government's Medicare's costs – covered by the same device used in the Romney and Ryan tax plans: a magic asterisk promising that somehow the numbers would work out.

The vote was contentious, with many conservatives voting against it. Ryan voted in favor. In doing so, he announced that he was a player. . .

The appetite for fantasy – the will to believe the magic asterisks really work – will be enormous. Ryan, the conservative icon, is the ideal emissary to inform the party's true believers that not everyone in this large, pluralistic, complex nation wants to dismantle the federal government at this particular moment. When you wish upon a magic asterisk, not all your dreams come true."

Now we'll get to see if the public really wants to dismantle the federal government.

But if "the [Romney-Ryan] ticket loses, the loss will discredit the Ryan budget, and empower those in the Republican Party who want to pivot back to the center."  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Are You Better Off? You Betcha!

From Bloomberg, Are You Better Off? Take a Look at the Stock Market:

"Do you remember the news four years ago? Banks collapsed, markets cratered, companies struggled to make payroll and millions of people lost their jobs. Your retirement savings were decimated, the value of your house plunged, credit was unobtainable. Politicians dithered and economists argued. Only confusion prospered.

Against this background, it’s surprising to hear Republicans returning to Ronald Reagan’s classic debate question: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” To anyone whose memory extends a full electoral cycle, the answer is clearly yes. . .

When assessing our politicians, what matters isn’t just the here and now. It’s at least as important to consider how well we are set up for tomorrow, next year and the decades that follow.

This distinction is particularly important in assessing the aftermath of the last recession. The anxiety that gripped us in late 2008 wasn’t born out of a typical cyclical decline that hurts for a year or two before the economy returns to growth. Rather, it was a fear that something more fundamental had changed, altering our whole economic trajectory.

Only a forward-looking indicator can pick up both this fear and its ultimate resolution. Unfortunately, most economic statistics tell us only what happened last month, last quarter or last year.

The stock market, by contrast, is obsessively focused on the future. When investors decide whether to buy a company’s stock, they aren’t just thinking about its current earnings (if they were, a company like Twitter Inc. would be worthless). They are trying to figure out what its future earnings will be, and what that stream of income should be worth today. Their collective judgment, while far from perfect, tells a compelling story about how America’s prospects have changed over the past four years." 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Rosie Ruiz Republicans

UPDATE:  Lyin Ryan "has always resided in a counter-factual universe. He is a product of the hermetically sealed right-wing subculture. Many of the facts taken for granted by mainstream economists have never penetrated his brain. Ryan burst onto the national scene with a dense, fact-laden attack on the financing of Obama’s health-care bill that was essentially a series of hallucinations, pseudo-facts cooked up and recirculated by conservative apparatchiks who didn’t know what they were talking about or didn’t care. His big-think speeches reflect the influence of fact-free conservatives and collapse under scrutiny."  Read New York Magazine, Since When Did Paul Ryan Become a Liar?  

Another great op-ed from an economist and professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University, and the winner of the 2008 the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, Paul Krugman.  Read The New York Times, Rosie Ruiz Republicans, which states:

"Remember Rosie Ruiz? In 1980 she was the first woman to cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon — except it turned out that she hadn’t actually run most of the race, that she sneaked onto the course around a mile from the end. Ever since, she has symbolized a particular kind of fraud, in which people claim credit for achieving things they have not, in fact, achieved.

And these days Paul Ryan is the Rosie Ruiz of American politics.

This would have been an apt comparison even before the curious story of Mr. Ryan’s own marathon came to light. Still, that’s quite a story, so let’s talk about it first.

It started when Hugh Hewitt, a right-wing talk-radio host, interviewed Mr. Ryan. In that interview, the vice-presidential candidate boasted about his fitness, declaring that he had once run a marathon in less than three hours.

This claim piqued the interest of Runner’s World magazine, which noted that marathon times are recorded — and that it was unable to find any evidence of Mr. Ryan’s accomplishment. It eventually transpired that Mr. Ryan had indeed once run a marathon, but that his time was actually more than four hours.

In a statement issued by a spokesman, Mr. Ryan tried to laugh the whole thing off as a simple error. But serious runners find that implausible: the difference between sub-three and over-four is the difference between extraordinary and perfectly ordinary, and it’s not something a runner could get wrong, unless he’s a fabulist who imagines his own reality. And does suggesting that Mr. Ryan is delusional rather than dishonest actually make the situation any better?

Which brings us back to the real issues of this presidential campaign.

Obviously nobody cares how fast Mr. Ryan can run, and even his strange marathon misstatement wouldn’t be worth talking about in isolation. What makes this incident so striking is, instead, the way it resonates with the essential Rosie-Ruizness of Mr. Ryan’s whole political persona, which is built around big boasts about accomplishments he hasn’t accomplished.

For Mr. Ryan, as you may recall, has positioned himself as an icon of truth-telling and fiscal responsibility, while offering policy proposals that are neither honest nor responsible. . . "