Saturday, February 11, 2012

Rachel's SCOOP: Paul's Strategy Is to Force A Brokered Convention

As the Beltway Media burrowed into their political racing forms trying to unravel the form, condition, and class analysis that will reveal the next race winner in this field of GOP candidates, Rachel was seeking her edge away from the beaten path of Idiot punditry. The Beltway Media has studiously ignored her, a function of unacceptable gender and politics with a generous coating of fear and loathing, as she was unlocking the secrets of Ron Paul's strategy and intention by delving deep into the weeds of the new GOP caucus rules which her colleague, former RNC Chairman Michael Steele, helped to craft. Amazingly, in an exchange between Lawrence and a guest pundit about this selfsame process, the pundit revealed somewhat disingenuously, that a "brokered convention" was what Steele told him he'd hope to achieve with the new rules; to which Lawrence retorted, "Thank You, Michael Steele!"

Yet Lawrence never followed up and asked the obvious, BEGGING question: "WHY"? Why would Michael Steele craft new proportional delegate caucus rules, with less winner-take-all primaries, that  increase the likelihood of a brokered convention. It's one thing for the Party to try and manage its nominating process with rules designed to prevent an 'outlier' or weak candidate (for the general election) from locking up the Republican nomination early. It's quite another to hope for a "brokered convention" which is, by definition, an expression of the Party's EPIC failure to pick a nominee before the convention rolls around, through the orderly participation of its electorate.

The advent of more primaries and caucuses are intended, particularly, to prevent the old ways and politics of smoke-filled rooms and party bosses that used to select nominees away from the public eye. Instead, the modern political convention is meant to showcase the party and candidates in an endless parade of speeches, testimonials, and political pageantry carefully choreographed by studio professionals to put their best "product" forward before the public. There is scarcely any drama or platform fights and, please, no insurgencies or coups, much to the media's chagrin. All of this so the delegates can leave the convention united behind their nominees and pumped up for November.

Not anymore, it seems.

So what's this about a brokered convention!? What was Michael Steele thinking? No wonder the Republican Party replaced him with a guy named Reince Priebus, who is notorious for this:

It should be noted that the new party bosses, of course, are the secret billionaire donors behind the SuperPacs — and the flamboyant billionaires who choose openly to flaunt their power to buy candidates and elections, proudly applauding their thoroughbreds in the winners circle as their pictures are taken. But that's oats for another story.

My initial reaction to the pregnant disclosure of Michael Steele's unfathomable stated intention to produce a "brokered convention" in crafting the new rules for caucus and primary states was, "what kind of WEED are Lawrence and his guest smoking?"... that they should so nonchalantly drop such a glaring revelation, then disregard it as one huge hanging chad question mark and mysterious unresolved issue for viewers to decode. MSNBC, here's your chance to make Steele's circus hiring partway useful: ASK HIM. In the meantime I'm left with this smooth segue pondering whether to deliberately misspell the name of Rachel's guest, a "senior adviser" to the Ron Paul campaign, who has the look of a pothead in his youth, and a name that must be a real icebreaker and conversation starter. Here's Rachel outsmarting 99% of her Beltway Media colleagues, with good deductive reasoning matched to something they're too lazy to partake in — old fashioned investigative research. Think Dr. House making the connections no one else can see, on his whiteboard. Heeere's Rachel:

Woolly Mammoth Identified: Political Animal Believed Extinct Seen Near Nation's Capital!

A prehistoric wooly mammoth once thought extinct was captured on film as it crossed the Potomac River, heading south from the Mason-Dixon line. Its identity was confirmed as the antediluvian pachyderm when closer photographic analysis of the lumbering animal revealed amazing detail of its Paleolithic herd and tribal heritage:

Here is the astounding footage of the animal’s river crossing, originating somewhere in Siberia-on-the-Potomac, lumbering relentlessly toward that pachyderm graveyard known as the CPAC Conference in Washington, D.C.:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Just For The Record ...

I'm glad Rachel was born, too; makes you think there is a god. But can't say the same for Cal Thomas, apology notwithstanding. And the rest of that FOX crowd. Even for a 'conservative' Thomas rates high on the creepy/repulsive index. Isn't the FOX echo chamber like a padded room for the insane run by Frau Greta?

I'm mean, but I mean well.

Contraception Fight 'A Win' For Obama Administration

Interesting McClatchy piece on how the dynamics of this contraception dustup is a political plus for President Obama. (And this was before the President's well received "compromise" solution.):
'Opponents say it's government overreach that tramples religious freedom for those opposed to contraception as a matter of religious principle.

However, pollsters and strategists say the controversy — and the push for contraceptive coverage for all women — is a political plus with at least one key target audience: young, female voters, a large portion of the electorate.

"Contrary to conventional wisdom, this is a good fight," said Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, whose surveys have found that voters across the board — including Catholic voters — support access to contraceptives. "It's a total win for the administration."

Lake argues that the decision benefits the White House by giving Obama a tangible benefit from his controversial health care plan and has the potential to motivate pro-choice voters.

Political analyst Charlie Cook, who in a National Journal column this week said that Obama's prospects for re-election are looking better, suggested that the contest over the contraceptive decision will be won by who can frame the issue best.

"If it is framed as a fight over contraception, President Obama wins and the Church and opponents of the rule lose," Cook said in an e-mail. "If it is perceived as a fight over religious freedom, the Church and rule opponents win and Obama loses."'

IDIOT PUNDITOCRACY "Wisdom": Luke 'The Force Is Not With Me' Russert

"Obama north of 50 for the first time in a long time, Santorum and Romney and Newt seeming to have this battle to the death that's very bloody, this was mapping out to be a good week for President Obama, and instead of the focus being there on the payroll tax battle, one that he won before, the focus is on this issue, I think it's safe to say this is a victory for the Republicans in the fact this has dominated the front pages and the President's economic policy has not." ~ Luke Russert on a faltering, substandard Martin Bashir segment.

Luke, Luke ...  one more casualty of the Beltway Media. Listen carefully, Luke:

1. Obama's poll ratings will not be negatively affected by those who already hate him, doubly hating him. They only get to vote once. The President's initial position had far more 'north of 50' support among all Americans and Catholics. His "compromise" position is off the northern exposure charts. And that's not even counting women.

2. Just a cursory look at CPAC tells us this "battle to the death that's very bloody" among the GOP candidates has gotten — YAY! — bloodier, if you can believe it. So who's your guy, Luke? We already know Romney's MSNBC 'embed' is Mark Halperin.

3. As the GOP 'battle to the death' takes shape around this fake 'war on religion' (good for Newt-Santorum; bad for Mittens), the President (and the country) have moved on as the Dark Side get mired in 'Culture Wars'. Have you seen the latest polls on the people's priorities? The economy is up around 60% while 'values/religion' are in the single digits. Oops.

4. And you say, "I think it's safe to say this is a victory for the Republicans in the fact this has dominated the front pages and the President's economic policy has not." In case you haven't noticed, Luke, women's health and free access to contraception is an economic issue. In fact, women use the health care system, by one estimate, 68% more than men, and the birth control pill is the most commonly prescribed drug for women.

Let's be clear on who the winners and losers are. The President is a winner. The women of  America are winners. Catholics of good faith are winners. Democrats are winners. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are winners. But Mittens and the Republican Party are losers ... if they want to win. Some victory for Republicans.

Oh, wait. The Idiot Punditocracy and Beltway Media are losers. Then again, y'all are perennial losers.

Republicans Were For It ...

'TILL THERE WAS YOU' ... A GOP Valentine's to President Obama:

Meanwhile, at the latest pit stop of the Idiot Punditocracy, a must-see episode of 'Dear Now Diary: The Perils of Alex Wagner' careened toward another Obama cliffhanger, as Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, schooled the POLITICO males on the panel, Ben & Thresh, Beltway Apprentice Luke 'The Force Is Not With Me' Russert ("it's not about abortion"):

"I hate to say it, but I do think there's a Beltway mentality, we think of everything in 24-hour cycles; over the long haul, women in this country now getting access to preventive care, including birth control, with no co-pay, is extremely popular."

The POLITICOs huffed indignantly, Luke knew when to shut up, and Alex as per usual tried to get her meek little voice in edgewise. And President Obama, who is a man among GOP cockroaches, offered the solution he had envisioned from the first. Churches and religious institutions will be exempt from providing free birth control coverage if it runs counter to their religious beliefs. Instead, workers at such institutions will have access to free contraception directly from health insurance companies.

Problem solved. The Idiot Punditocracy were mystified, baffled and perplexed, wondering loudly why the President didn't come out with his "compromise" to begin with, thus avoiding the Alex "kerfuffle." Because, IMBECILES, had he done so the Right would have politicized the issue anyway. What the Catholic Bishops demand is no birth control coverage in health insurance plans at all. Period. Second, the President smoked these extremists out, right on the heels of the Komen Foundation's EPIC FAIL. Hello: why do you think Cecile Richards was smiling from ear-to-ear, you Beltway Media MORONS!?

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Contraception In America: Welcome to The Brave New GOP World of The 21st Century

As Lawrence pointed out last night, the Catholic Church's ban on contraception is the most widely ignored edict of the Catholic Church in America. Rick Santorum may be the one and only holdout. Mirroring the general population, 98% of sexually active Catholic women have used birth control. Nearly six-in-ten (58%) of Catholics agree with the Obama Administration's requirement that employers, including Church-related employers, such as hospitals and teaching institutions, cover contraception. Some, like DePaul University, the nation's largest Catholic university, already do. Here, the views of Catholics are surveyed:
Amid the controversy over the Obama Administration’s mandate that employers provide health insurance covering contraception and birth control at no cost to employees, a new national survey finds that nearly six-in-ten (58 percent) Catholic Americans generally support this requirement. A majority (55 percent) of all Americans also support the requirement.

The new survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute finds that a slim majority (52 percent) of Catholics also believe that religiously affiliated colleges and hospitals should have to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception or birth control at no cost. Among Catholic voters, however, only 45 percent support this requirement, while 52 percent oppose it.

“Catholics, like other Americans, generally support requiring employers to provide health care plans that cover birth control at no cost, and they make clear distinctions between two kinds of religious exemptions that have been at the heart of the controversy,” said Dr. Robert P. Jones, PRRI CEO. “While 6-in-10 Catholics agree that churches and other places of worship who mainly employ people of their own faith should be exempt, Catholics are more divided about whether the exemption should apply more broadly to religiously-affiliated colleges and hospitals.”
There is strong support, however, for exemptions for churches and other places of worship.

— Like other religious groups, a strong majority of all Catholics (59 percent), Catholic voters (68 percent) and white Catholics (72 percent) say that churches and other places of worship should not be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception.

— Nearly 6-in-10 (57 percent) of Americans agree that churches should not be required to provide contraception coverage. Less than 4-in-10 (36 percent) say that they should be required to do so.
It should be reiterated that churches are exempt from the health care mandate. The new rule requiring coverage of contraceptives applies to Catholic-affiliated schools and hospitals. Survey shows: It has broad support among Catholics. Democrats, as is their wont, are already waffling. Democratic women, by contrast, are standing strong. Maybe they need to take colleagues like Joe Manchin out to the woodshed.

Over on the Dark Side, Mr. 1% plays the natural hypocrite while six of his GOP colleagues in the Senate co-sponsored a federal contraception mandate in 2001. The Republican Party is a one-way Time Machine — Back to The Past. Why can't they just pile in and GO — leave the rest of us ALONE (trans: our CONSTITUTIONAL right to privacy), and STOP Republican government probing of women's bodies. Here's a view from the Women's Pulpit of Living Life in The Real World.

Say what ... There's room in the Time Machine for an MSNBCer? Let's send Dylan — rage, rage against the Machine! — Ratigan. We'll keep Chris Hayes in hopes he'll be given Dylan's slot:

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Quotable: Jonathan Capehart And The Lizard King

"On the democratic side it’s the FAR LEFT and SUPER PROGRESSIVES in the Democratic Party who energize the base."

Jonathan, I thought we'd covered this territory before. Is this the Lizard King's way of generating some of those 30 million jobs, by bankrolling (through MSNBC) your trip to Texas plus expense account? Next stop the prime steakhouse, where you and the Lizard King plan to boost the economy with a probing examination of the prime beef industry? I wonder, because you have that 'I love junkets' look that's just itching to hit the links and take in a few rounds of golf. And from the size of the Lizard King's widening girth, his Magical Mystery Jobs Tour must have, at least, done wonders for his palate.

Next time you utter incendiary words, fighting words for many of us, insulting words for the comparisons they invoke, be prepared to define what exactly is it that you mean by this mythical "FAR LEFT" and "SUPER PROGRESSIVES" — I'd like to know, because I suspect it says a lot more about you than it does about the liberals and progressives you enjoy smearing.

And while we're on the topic of the bastardization of political language to reflect the ideology of the ruling corporate elites, memo to Big Eddie: Would you call FDR, Truman, JFK, RFK and Teddy a "lefty"? Then, preferably don't do it, or if you prefer, speak for yourself. Just saying.

PS — Jonathan, this is SO YOU. Where have you been hiding the bow ties?

Mr. Tough Times, Jonathan Capehart

PPS — Is Imogen part Italian or Latina? She gesticulates a lot, but I cannot detect a cultural reference. Brits aren't usually that demonstrative, are they?

Could Rick Santorum Be The Republican George McGovern?

This morning, much to the surprise of the Beltway Media and the horror of the Mitt Romney campaign, ultra-conservative insurgent Rick Santorum rolled up decisive victories in three GOP state caucuses (one, a so-called "beauty contest" because no delegates were apportioned; but it matters little in the 'Big Picture') —Colorado, Missouri, and Minnesota, by a combined vote total of 47% to distant second-place finisher Romney, with 26% of the vote, and third-place movement libertarian Ron Paul with 18%, hanging around. The Huffington Post headline says it all: "MITTASTROPHE." In the print and paper days, this would have been a "Late Edition;" the initial headline, after the results of the contests were still being tabulated and the scope of Romney's losses not fully known, the more benign headline read, "RICK NICKS MITT."

Presidential campaign politics, the so-called 'horse race', is all about momentum and expectations. Today, as a revived and re-funded Santorum campaign springs ahead after essentially running the table with three strong wins, President Obama's recent surge in the polls is the least of Romney's worries. As we speak, his campaign is furiously scrambling to tamp down expectations while struggling to regain lost momentum. Beltway Media 'analysts', the two-bit touts waving their picks, variously predicted one or two out of three for Romney, with close seconds in those contests he didn't win. Instead, for all his SuperPac millions advantage, the Romney campaign awoke to the harsh reality of the numbers and hard results: Three losses, one third-place finish. Romney is beginning to take on water. The 'presumptive nominee' is not so presumptive anymore; 'inevitability' is looking less inevitable by the hour.

Internally, the Romney campaign itself might be close to fracturing. They do not give the impression of being nimble when off-script. Where is the Karl Rove, 'Ragin' Cajun, or Steve Schmidt of the Romney campaign; who is running the show; who speaks with one voice for the candidate? So far, we've seen a candidate with chronic foot-in-mouth disease when unscripted, which is at least a couple of times daily, and a bunch of proxies — old overweight white guys of the Republican Establishment, like John Sununu and Chris Christie — playing armchair quarterback and competing for advice. On the eve of Romney's ugly loss to Newt Gingrich in South Carolina, Beltway types breathlessly announced the Romney campaign was sending in one of their principal proxies, John Sununu, to campaign for Romney. And I'm thinking, 'what the hell good is that gonna do? A long-retired, crabby New Hampshire governor these southern yahoos probably never heard of' ... Just as I thought.

The New York Times headline was just as dismal, painting a picture of a campaign on the brink — of crisis and disarray: "A Bad Night, And a Prolonged Race For Romney — Mitt Romney is not a strong enough candidate that he can afford more nights as bad as Tuesday." The Huffington Post was blunter, splashing the portrait of a near-fatally flawed candidate: "Romney Suffers Major Blow ... Loses Two States He Won in 2008 ... Loses Every County in Missouri ... Finishes Third in Minnesota." Just to illustrate how much trouble Mitt Romney — the so-called "presumptive nominee" — is in: He was expected to win Colorado, where he was ahead by 10 points in the polls and finished a well-beaten second, five points behind Rick Santorum.

Adding to the Romney campaign's woes is their Ron Paul problem, which the campaign thought they had brought under control and were managing with the "strategic alliance" between the two camps. Suddenly, it's unclear how much Paul's help keeping "the GOP electorate fractured" will redound to Romney's favor, as he finished second, ahead by double digits of a fading Mitt in Minnesota. Largely irrelevant is the Romney rationale that "accommodating [Paul] and his supporters could help unify Republican voters in the general election against President Obama." For today, the Romney campaign has more pressing concerns than looking ahead to the general election against President Obama — namely, staying alive.

Newt Gingrich, until yesterday Romney's main competitor, has emerged as the southern regional candidate, much as Romney is still an eastern 'Establishment' candidate; Romney's Florida win with barely 46% of the vote and a depressed turnout owes mainly to the votes of northern transplants. With 4 wins to Romney's 3 —in retrospect, neighboring New Hampshire where Romney garnered barely 39% of the vote, could well be the 'canary in the mine' early warning of Mitt's fatal flaws — and Gingrich's strong solo win in the ultra-conservative southern state of South Carolina, Rick Santorum is cast as the only candidate so far with broad appeal across regions.

By contrast, Mitt Romney, who is swimming in money and Republican Establishment support, lacks the one ingredient necessary to win: voter appeal beyond the loser's 45% to 47% baseline figure. Of the three contests won by Romney, only in Nevada did he barely break the 50% ceiling, with 50.1% of the vote. And this with a depressed Republican turnout of some 6,000 fewer voters than came out in 2008. Had Newt Gingrich campaigned more vigorously in the state, he may well have denied Romney even this Pyrrhic victory. More humiliating still, for Romney, was the Trump endorsement followed by the Donald taking credit for Romney's lukewarm win in Nevada.

All told, this portends more serious trouble for Romney ahead. As Super Tuesday approaches with a plucky Newt Gingrich set to make his stand with the strong showing he hopes will propel him all the way to Tampa, the dynamics of these southern primaries gain added weight and importance. Rick Santorum, the lean, mean candidate flying under the radar to deal crippling blows to his better funded competitors, particularly Mitt Romney, is no longer an asterisk in the Beltway Media's pro-Romney narrative, driven by fake "journalists" like Mark Halperin and John Harris. Only two days ago, the Idiot Punditocracy were proclaiming yesterday to be Rick Santorum's "last stand," pompously predicting with the supercilious rectitude of the Clueless Pundit that Santorum had to pick up at least one win, two if he was lucky, to keep his hopes and campaign alive. Oops.

Oh, what a difference a day makes. Especially in politics. Now, the greatest threat to Mitt Romney is the very real prospect that his stunted momentum and weak showing in the West and Midwest will manifest in equally weak third and fourth place finishes in the South, as Gingrich and Santorum duke it out for the top two spots and Ron Paul, well, he keeps hanging around. The weakness shown by Romney, the gaping holes in his SuperPac armor, coupled with the increasingly realistic prospect of wholesale rejection of him by southern Republican voters — putting meat on the bones of that old clich√©, 'they're just not that into Mitt' — could be enough to deep-six his campaign.

Speaking of strategic alliances, the early feelers between the Santorum and Gingrich camps to arrest Mitt's "inevitability" may be back on track. We're way past the "inevitable Mitt" now, and this alliance would have real rewards rather than the scraps tossed in Ron Paul's direction by the Romney campaign. A Santorum-Gingrich alliance, like the one between Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush in 1980, could be for the top two spots on the ticket: President and Vice President.

As George H. W. Bush might say: Mitt Romney is in "deep dooh-dooh."

Indeed, as this provocative heading asks the historical question, exactly 40 years after Senator George McGovern, the "true liberal" in the Democratic race, wrested the Party's nomination from "Establishment" candidate Ed Muskie, the ghost of McGovern looms large and threatening on Mitt Romney's path to the nomination. As does the specter of Ed Muskie from neighboring Vermont who, like Romney, stumbled in New Hampshire after some dirty tricks by the Manchester Union-Leader. Muskie in 1972, like Romney in 2012, won New Hampshire as expected, but not decisively — and therein lies the rub.

This year, the arch-conservative Union-Leader may well have the last laugh, as its endorsement of Newt Gingrich was scoffed at by the Idiot Punditocracy. The early dismissal of Gingrich by the Beltway Media clouded Romney's obvious weaknesses as the Idiot Punditocracy bestowed on him, with nauseating regularity, the mantle of inevitable "presumptive nominee." As the pundits were 'ooh-ing' and 'aah-ing' at the formidable evil power of Mitt's SuperPacs' carpet bombing demolition of his political opposition, mainly Newt though they are now seriously rethinking the premise, this blog wrote, following Romney's unspectacular Florida romp:
Despite Rachel's somewhat faint praise, most astute political observers (and let's be clear, they're few and far between) would come away with the impression that Mr. 1% was launching forgettable spitballs at President Obama. If this kind of strained, hollow, rich man's version of political character is their standard-bearer, the Republican Party/Establishment is in deep trouble. There's something about Mr. Molten Core that really, really rubs people the wrong way. He lacks not only a core but even that fake conviction. And the harder he tries the worse he sounds. This guy still hasn't cracked 50% of the Republican primary vote, in a state that was supposed to favor him, with literally unlimited funds to carpet-bomb Newt. Yet Mittens' geographic appeal was limited mostly to the urban/suburban rich carpetbagging Florida counties. Newt cleaned up the Tea Party vote and the "southern" panhandle.

I do not agree with Jonathan Alter that Newt prolonging this campaign will help Romney by virtue of contrast with Mittens as the "Massachusetts liberal." Inevitably, Romney's faults will expose a rift in the Republican Party with the base — more Republicans, 6 in 10, still want someone else! — that may be beyond healing. Even more important, the negative firepower needed to pulverize Newt will very likely splatter Romney and further depress his soft, unenthusiastic support. What goes around, comes around, and Mittens will sustain a lot of damage from Newt. 
By the way, Jonathan Alter is one of the few genuine historian-journalists whom I respect and whose opinion carries weight here. But we have areas of disagreement. The difference is, one cannot dismiss what Jonathan says out of hand, as is the case with most of the clowns and pundit poseurs, and not a few sacred cows, making the rounds at MSNBC.

Newt Gingrich, who is his own campaign manager and has always distinguished himself as a top-flight political strategist, may well be the best of all in this Republican race. Think of him as the player-manager who can strategize while on the field. A nimble strategic thinker, although he stumbled in the last debate, Gingrich quickly recovered with a weird but effective 'concession-acceptance' speech, and has since boxed Romney in by furiously assailing the SuperPacs, calling him a liar, and drawing him out on a religious discussion, in which Newt and Santorum position themselves always to the right of Romney, while reminding Christian Right voters of Romney's Mormonism. Far and away the most interesting candidate on the Republican side, Newt Gingrich has an evil, Machiavellian brilliance that reminds us he was the proto-mudslinger, the Founding Father of this modern era of dirty politics of personal destruction.

But Newt remains a southern candidate. The parallels between this year's Republican race and the 1972 Democratic contest are inexact in strict comparisons but broadly similar in the way in which the race shaped up for the party out of power. First in 2012 as in 1972, there is a sitting president with many advantages including the power of incumbency. The downside for Richard Nixon in 1972 was an unpopular war, a shaky but recovering economy, and as yet to metastasize, a hint of scandal. President Obama is sitting on the worst economy since 1932, which he rescued from depression, but the electorate isn't taken to making 'nuanced' decisions. Everything else is subservient to the economy. And as we have seen with the Komen Foundation's cave-in, social conservative 'wedge issues' may redound to the President's favor this year — one more reason Santorum or Gingrich are well cast to play the role of George McGovern.

A distinct difference is that the perceived 'strong bench' on the Democratic side took the plunge in 1972, notably Hubert Humphrey, 'Scoop' Jackson, and Ed Muskie. Even George Wallace, the southern segregationist candidate was a force to contend with in the South. His foray into a northern college had the look of a revivalist Nazi rally: Alabama troopers in brown uniforms flanked their governor as he spat into a white handkerchief and the jeers of "SIEG HEIL! SIEG HEIL!" from the student audience rained down, drowning out his speech. Today, the same kinds of college students are drawn to a racist Texan candidate linked to white supremacists and neo-Nazis, with a demagogic agenda to destroy all government in the cause of 'liberty'. Considering the neo-Confederate 'don't tread on me' appeal of Ron Paul, George Wallace's message was not dissimilar. As the world turns.

Even though the strong Republican bench — Mike Hucabee, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie — stayed out of the 2012 contest, perhaps hoping not to repeat a do-over of the 1972 Democratic primary battles, those who declared and remain in the race are fairly reasonable stand-ins for an off-Broadway production of 1972. Which is, essentially, as the Times resident genius-nerd (see link above) predicts, a long drawn-out contest for the nomination. Rick Santorum's profile fits more closely with George McGovern's — the 'real deal', the 'genuine article', or as Santorum likes to put it, "the only true conservative in the race." George McGovern, by way of contrast, ran as the most liberal major party candidate in American history.

Both Santorum and Gingrich could lay claim to the McGovern mantle of political purity and authenticity. At this point, Santorum is the most likely candidate. He stuck to his social conservative guns and was pummeled by the more libertarian voters in New Hampshire. But he needs a strategy. Running a so-called "low-burn" campaign and living off the land won't get him over the top in the long haul. Newt Gingrich has more possibilities. Despite his utterly fraudulent and ludicrous claims to the 'Reagan legacy' Newt is enough of a salesman to have convinced a sizable portion of the right wing Republican electorate that he is a genuine conservative — definitions will vary, depending on which state you're in — to make them forget his past woman troubles. In fact, the southern states are a perfect fit for Newt. Not only is the right wing electorate in the South ultra libidinous, but they love forgiving their pastor-candidates their falls from grace, the better to forget their own leading red states porn consumption, among other more carnal pursuits. Rick Santorum, an earnest Catholic ascetic with extremist theological views, will have a harder time connecting with southern arousal.

All of this spells big trouble for Mr. 1% in a long fight for the nomination. The venal negativity of the SuperPacs coupled with Newt, President Obama's best friend, playing the victim card so well because it taps into his redemption narrative with the voters, has had the result of spiking Romney's negatives with the voters. The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll has the President leading Romney in a head-to-head contest, 51% to 45%. But most important, perhaps, are the likability internals within the poll data:
By better than 2 to 1, Americans say the more they learn about Romney, the less they like him. Even among Republicans, as many offer negative as positive assessments of him on this question. Judgments about former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who denounced Romney on Saturday night in Nevada, are about 3 to 1 negative.
The more the public hears of Mitt Romney, the less people like him, by 52% to 24%. Not only that, but by a wide margin (findings that are not ever reported by the Beltway Media) the public disapproves by 54% to 36% of what the Republican candidates are saying. As for which candidates "best understand" your problems and values, all the candidates rated abysmally: On 'problems — Newt (26%),  Romney (30%), Paul (11%), Santorum (20%); on 'values' — Newt (21%),  Romney (23%), Paul (18%), Santorum (23%). Newt springs from the pack on experience — Newt (43%),  Romney (31%), Paul (10%), Santorum (4%). But on electability, the only glimmer for Romney and the GOP Establishment; he leads Newt 56% to 22%, with Paul and Santorum trailing far behind. So it's a mixed bag reflecting confusion and general lack of enthusiasm in the Republican electorate — none too encouraging for Republican prospects in 2012.

Perhaps the most damage done was to the Republican (I hate this Beltway buzzword, but there it is) "brand" in 2012. There is only one thing Republican voters can agree on, and that is to defeat President Obama. But even this is called into question, especially among women voters, given the Republican Party's extremist rightward tilt. And as noted above, "[e]ven more important, the negative firepower needed to pulverize Newt will very likely splatter Romney and further depress his soft, unenthusiastic support. What goes around, comes around, and Mittens will sustain a lot of damage from Newt."

In the process of destroying his opposition with the power of unlimited SuperPac money, Romney may be felled by the same sword he used to strike down his rivals. It seems we may be fast approaching a saturation point of no return at which the effectiveness of the SuperPacs is not only diminished but takes down its own candidate in a scorched earth last-person-standing (or not) campaign. Moments after resigning the presidency in disgrace, Richard Nixon warned: "Always remember that others may hate you but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself."

And he knew whereof he spoke. This race is still Romney's to lose. But it's no longer such a sure thing that he won't.


RACHEL lookin' GOOD in GIANTS quarterback Eli Manning's jersey. And now, forever immortalized in the winning colors of the 2012 SUPER BOWL Champs, BIG BLUE!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


SERIOUSLY. It took awhile, but methinks the President's team listens, at long last, to our frank advice. No sugarcoating here. We were first out of the box to declare, in no uncertain terms, that big "D" Democrats should not "unilaterally disarm." OUR PHRASE.

In the face of unlimited campaign spending by SuperPacs, only a madman, a purist loser, or someone who does not have the country's, the President's, and the Party's best interests at heart would refuse or counsel against fighting fire with fire in order to try, at least, to level the playing field. It's about winning. Period. And Jay Carney gave us, this little blog that could, a tip of the hat when he repeated our phrase, "unilaterally disarm."

Believe me, Jay wasn't crediting Newt, who had appropriated the line from us, anyway.

PS — Just trash talking Dylan to get his blood boiling; don't think he's gone insane ... yet. Nice try anyway, Karen. It's his show, he shut you down with the usual out-of-control sophistry. Nothing you could do about it. But do try to push back against this anti-government, not so secret Paulie admirer.


FULLY RECOVERED from his cry on Rachel's shoulder (or vice versa; Ed, you're one hell of a GIANTS good luck charm) ...

Big Eddie ran this probing behind-the-scenes piece on what off-the-field mystical manifestations, aka, voodoo, macumba, or BAD KARMA accounted for the Patriots' defeat. It basically comes down to two things:

(1) Hosting the PIGMAN in the Pats VIP Box, he of the RACIST football commentary and MASSIVE pushback from the players threatening rebellion should the PIGMAN acquire part ownership of any team; and (2) the fact that SuperModel multilingual curse maven Gisele Bundchen, wife of Pats quarterback Tom Brady, comes from a country that reinvented the "beautiful game" of football, in which throwing and catching the ball is.just.not.DONE.

OH, MY ... Gisele, you a BAD Brazilian Beauty:

Okay, Now Let ME Finish ...

Chris Matthews threw me a curveball last night. In his 'Let Me Finish ...' commentary he closed out that edition of Hardball with a little help from his friend: ME. Talking about the upcoming election, Chris borrowed one of my favorite sports metaphors: The pitching change in baseball.

Here's CHRIS:
"Elections are about the incumbent. Think of a Major League Baseball game and you are the manager. You keep your eye on the pitcher and see how he’s doing.

If he’s throwing hard, mixing up the pitches and getting them out, you keep him in. If he starts letting the other side scatter some hits, you get a little jittery. If he gives up some runs, you get them warming up in the bull pen. If you he looks like he just can’t get the other side out, you walk out there and take the ball from him.

And that’s what good managers do. And we American voters are good managers. We don’t keep pitchers in the game when they can’t finish the job.

Look at Gerald Ford. Look at the senior George Bush. We yanked them. We liked them. But when it came to it, we had no problem pulling them.

Why? Because it’s not about who is in the bullpen. It’s not how hard that guy out there is throwing. It’s about the guy on the mound, the pitcher in the game. If we figure he’s got the stuff to get the job done, we keep him in. If not, we don’t."

Here's ME, commenting on Anthony Weiner's travails, last year:
To use the old baseball analogy: It's Game 7, top of the fifth. You're the manager. Your team is ahead by two runs, and your ace pitcher is on the mound. Suddenly he loses it. His control is gone. Runners on second and third with no outs. What do you do?

Do you hope he gets his control back and manages to get three outs without giving up two or three runs just so he can notch that WIN on his resumé?

Or do you tell yourself: "I've got a 100 mph short reliever I was saving for the ninth, I've got a rested bullpen, AND I've got the whole DAMNED PITCHING STAFF to get the next fifteen outs, because THIS IS IT, THERE'S NO TOMORROW."

What DO YOU DO? Me, I'd yank the ACE in a NEW YORK MINUTE and never look back.

It's a team sport. No one's indispensable. Not even your ACE. And if he can't find the plate, he's OUT.
Okay, I'm like this giant Zeitgeist generator. I get it. I'm flattered, really I am. I mean it. I like Chris, I mean it. Plus he's looking ahead to a tough outing, having to defend the latest, shocking, revelations about JFK as reported by Meredith Vieira. His JFK hagiography is an enjoyable read. I'll give it a positive review and recommendation. That is, as long as Chris doesn't come back with some psycho babble about progressives being incapable of accepting Lee H. Oswald as "a man of the left." Well Chris, not to belabor the point but if you look at the best evidence, common sense dictates he probably wasn't. And whether or not there was a "lone gunman" is less relevant than the strong likelihood there was a conspiracy.

Here's a book on the topic that I can recommend: The JFK Assassination Debates: Lone Gunman Versus Conspiracy, by Michael L. Kurtz. The author is professor of history and dean of the graduate school at Southeastern Louisiana University. He isn't some conspiracy kook; he's a serious academic and a recognized expert on the Kennedy assassination. One of our favorite historians, Douglas Brinkley, had this to say about the book: "A smart, engaging history of the stormy debate surrounding the death of President John F. Kennedy. This is a book you can trust on a topic fraught with controversy."

That's it, for now.


GOOD RIDDANCE. We're FED UP with right wing ideologues telling us how to run our lives and restricting breast care services for women. (No takers on my 97-1 odds. Oh well ... WIMPS!)

Monday, February 06, 2012


DON'T MESS WITH WORKERS, Republicans, because CLINT EASTWOOD, aka, DIRTY HARRY, is in OUR CORNER. "IT'S HALFTIME, AMERICA," but we all didn't "PULL TOGETHER," CLINT, though we appreciate the all-inclusive sentiment.

This was the HEADLINE from MITT ROMNEY and the GOP to the auto industry:



And no, CLINT, we didn't ALL "RALLY AROUND WHAT WAS RIGHT AND ACTED AS ONE," but again, we appreciate the sentiment. OR, AS DIRTY HARRY might say to Republicans:


Sunday, February 05, 2012




THREE CHEERS FOR OUR main man, NEWT: "I'm not going anywhere," said the indomitable LUNAR visionary, after sustaining withering fire from the MONSTERS OF THE MITTWAY.

Mitt And His Party of Liars And Racists — Perfect Together

MITT ROMNEY has the TWO distinguishing characteristics common to most Republicans — he's a LIAR and A RACE BAITER. Mittens rephrased and reintroduced the Ku Klux Klan slogan he had floated back in Iowa the first time it emerged:
"Keep America American," was a central theme of Ku Klux Klan publications in the 1920s, and served as a rallying cry for the white supremacist group's campaign of violence and intimidation against black Americans, as well as Catholics, gay people and Jews."
Mittens gave a nod to the Tea Party — "our blueprint is the Constitution" (?), meaning ... President Obama's is not? In case it has escaped Mittens, the President, and every president before him took a constitutional oath of office; but the last presidents, (1) to have resigned in disgrace, and (2) to wage two unconstitutional wars, were Republicans. Nice try, Mr. black pot.

Then in his pean to "restoring American greatness" which was stolen from RFK's 1968 campaign slogan, "A Return to Greatness," there was a running pseudo-patriotic narrative in which "America" is mentioned more than 20 times, at last count, ending in "This election, let’s fight for the America we love. We believe in America."

Keep America American, Mr. 1%? This comes dangerously close to so-called "dog whistle" politics. Mittens spouted the usual canards, e.g., the President is "apologizing" for America (a straight-out LIE), before whistling the Big Lie: "Like his colleagues in the faculty lounge who think they know better, President Obama demonizes and denigrates almost every sector of our economy."

In a homage to his, the anti-intellectual, anti-science and anti-evolution party of Teh Stoopid, Mittens demonized and denigrated higher education and college professors, because (Brad Pitt in "Moneyball" snapping his fingers and pointing at the morons) … college professors do know better; science trumps mysticism, superstition, and the pseudo-science of creationism.

But it’s really about smearing the President with the taint of 60s radicalism (when he was eight) for sharing a faculty lounge at the University of Illinois with professor Bill Ayers and calling black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates of “Beer Summit” fame a friend. It’s an old rehashed canard that seeks to paint President Obama as “the other” and un-American. This is getting to be pathetic for the repugnant party.

Guess what: It’s racist. It’s an appeal to the controlling influence of racism in the Republican Party that Chris Matthews not-so-inexplicably dared not mention, while mealy-mouthed Chuckles Toddy finally added the drive-by caveat “Obama supporters” might find it to be so. Chuckles, ya think?

It seems Chris wanted to shut Toddy up before uttering the unspeakable four-letter word — “race” — jumping straight to the analysis of Republican strategist Steve Schmidt. At least Schmidt was honest enough to defy the Capustine, by saying Romney tossed the crowd “red meat” which is the Beltway buzzphrase euphemism (along with "dog whistle") for racism, bigotry, and xenophobia.

 And we didn’t even get to Romney’s operative LIE, the absurd claim President Obama “demonizes and denigrates almost every sector of our economy.” What’s he talking about? The exact opposite is  true. Say what you will about the President, but he’s constantly out there talking the virtues and strengths of every sector of our economy. That’s most of what he does.

Translation: Mittens wants to return, double down, to our long national nightmare when we were in the grip of oil and gas tycoons Bush-Cheney. Notice Mittens had not a single word to say about any of the serious environmental concerns surrounding the Keystone pipeline, concerns even Republican governors and politicians have voiced. The alarming environmental depredations of fracking, which the oil and gas party is seeking to cover up and the Interior Department is seeking to regulate was never mentioned.

This is yet another example of the Republican ‘Big Lie’ in which Romney attempts to neutralize the not so relevant raison d’etre for his campaign — ‘it’s the economy, stupid’ — and bad news for Republicans if the upward trend continues making steady UP progress. So Mittens is reduced to being the petulant spoiled child, bawling: “it’s not, it’s NOT, IT’S NOT!”

After complaining he's been quoted "out of context" (untrue) when he said he didn't care about "the very poor," prompting the cowed Capus clowns to read the "context" from a printout, Romney proceeded to quote President Obama grossly out of context:
Earlier this week, he spoke with a woman from Texas during an online event. She told him that her husband has been out of work for three years. President Obama said he found that “interesting.”

Interesting? Really? I’ve got a better word: tragic. America needs a President who can fix the economy because he understands the economy! 
Here's what the President actually said:
"It is interesting to me — and I meant what I said if you send me your husband's resume, I'd be interested in finding out exactly what's happening right there because the word that we're getting is that somebody in that type of high-tech field, that kind of engineer, should be able to find something right away."
Obviously, demagoguery is to be expected from Republicans, but that's no reason the mainstream/Beltway Media should be derelict in the integrity of their reporting and analysis, calling him out on it. Except for Steve Capus's charges, whose principal function is covering Mittens' ass.

In a final twist of irony, Mr. 1% was unintentionally amusing when he said, "I will not attempt to bribe the voters with promises of new programs, new subsidies, and ever-increasing checks from government. If this election is a bidding war for who can promise the most benefits, then I’m not your President. You have that President today." Really?

No, instead Mr. 1%, King of the SuperPacs and unlimited multi-billionaires' campaign funding, will attempt to buy the election with a hammerlock of negative advertising, LIES, and yes, the demonizing and denigrating of his political opposition. The politics of personal destruction on steroids, thanks to Citizens United, is Mitt Romney's unsubtle road to the nomination. As he said, if they can't take the heat of anonymous big money donors leaving no prints, stay out of Mitty's 'profile in courage'.

As for so-called "ever-increasing checks from government," by far the largest recipients are senior citizens on Social Security. It's not an entitlement; it's the world's most successful pension and retirement benefits program providing retirement income, disability income, Medicare and Medicaid, and death and survivor benefits — the latter taken full advantage of by Paul Ryan, the 'objectivist' architect of Social Security's destruction. Speaking of 'Objectivism', the queen of mean and self-reliance, Ayn Rand herself, projected the "second-rater" appellation on her followers, including of course, Paul Ryan. She was a notorious Social Security filcher. It's what is known as "rational self-interest," i.e., hypocrisy.

Elections are about choices. Elections have consequences. I hope those lessons aren't lost on the general electorate, as they were on the women of America who were "shocked, I say, shocked!" by the Komen Foundation's defunding of Planned Parenthood, but recovered in record time with an awesome display of people power through social media. Sustain and focus this power to finish the job, people. Turn these repulsive Republicans out, straight ballot, from top to bottom.

Listen to the right wing. They're literally terrified of your people power. Use it. Strike, strike. STRIKE.