Tag Archives: Santorum

Republican National Convention Day One: One Little Lie & Two Big Lies…

“We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.”

Ashley O’Connor, Romney TV Advertising Strategist

Ohio Governor John Kasich’s Little Lie

In his address to the Republican National Convention tonight, John Kasich stretched the truth like well-chewed taffy by claiming that President Obama’s policies haven’t helped Ohio’s economy rebound in the past two years. But, by ignoring the positive boost that Obama gave Ohio by bailing out the auto industry and providing much-needed transportation funding and dollars for teachers, firefighters, and cops, etc. through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (AKA “The Stimulus”), Kasich was telling a lie of omission. It was a big lie, but a subtle one.

But there was another lie that Kasich told toward the end of his speech – a little lie, an unnecessary lie, an easily debunked lie – that shows how little he regards the truth when he’s looking to score a point or belittle an opponent.

After having made his case for what he’s done to fix Ohio’s economy, and therefore what the GOP can do for the nation, Kasich took on Vice President Joe Biden. “Folks, let me tell you this,” he said, “Joe Biden disputes a lot of those facts, but Joe Biden told me that he was a good golfer. And I’ve played golf with Joe Biden, I can tell you that’s not true, as well as all of the other things that he says.”

But how good a golfer is Joe Biden really? In a recent Golf Digest ranking of 150 prominent Washington golfers, House Speaker John Boehner was ranked 43rd, President Obama was 108th – and Joe Biden was ranked 29th. Kasich, who doesn’t live in Washington, didn’t make the list. But, as a golfer, Kasich is no Joe Biden. And as an honest politician, he’s even worse.

So what about the facts? Republicans just say what they want to say – the facts be damned — even when it comes to little things.

Former GOP Candidate Rick Santorum’s Big Lie

In his speech, Rick Santorum built upon the Romney campaign’s Big Lie about Obama gutting the welfare work rules. In a loud dog whistle to low information white working class voters, Santorum continued to peddle the nonsense that Obama has unilaterally waived work rules to make it easier for (we presume the shiftless minority poor folk) to collect welfare money for nothing.

By waiving the work requirement, Santorum accused Obama of “acting as if he’s above the law.” But the fact is that President Obama HAS NOT done what Santorum and the Romney campaign have charged. What the President DID DO is, at the request of a bipartisan group of state governors, give those state more flexibility in interpreting the work requirements so that they can get people placed in jobs faster and more efficiently: the very opposite of the GOP Big Lie.

But don’t take my word for it. The fact-checking website PolitiFact says Romney’s claims are “pants on fire” bogus and The Washington Post’s fact checker awarded the Romney campaigns welfare attack on Obama  four Pinocchios, its highest rating. And Annenberg Public Policy Center’s FactCheck.org agreed that the claims are false.

FactCheck.org explains:

“A Mitt Romney TV ad claims the Obama administration has adopted ‘a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements.’ The plan does neither of those things.”

“Work requirements are not simply being ‘dropped.’ States may now change the requirements — revising, adding or eliminating them — as part of a federally approved state-specific plan to increase job placement.”

“And it won’t ‘gut’ the 1996 law to ease the requirement. Benefits still won’t be paid beyond an allotted time, whether the recipient is working or not.”

Even a Republican architect of the law, Ron Haskins, told NPR: “There’s no plausible scenario under which it really constitutes a serious attack on welfare reform.”

But the GOP’s Big Lie beat goes on…

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s Big Lie

The “you didn’t build that” canard is alive and well – and bigger than ever. In her convention speech, Nikki Haley amplified the utterly bogus assertion that President Obama said that American business people didn’t build their own businesses.

Let’s make this perfectly clear. Here’s what President Obama really said:

“There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.”

 (Applause.)

 “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

The Romney campaign pulled one line out of context – “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that” – and ignores the context to create a Big Lie. No matter that Obama’s whole speech is on video, no matter that I was able to Google it for this article in a matter of seconds. Say a lie loud enough and long enough – with all that billionaire super pac money to broasdcast that lie – and the truth no longer matters.

But, here again, don’t take my word for it. Here’s the word from the Romney campaign itself:

“Our most effective ad is our welfare ad,” Romney pollster Neil Newhouse said at a forum hosted by ABC News and Yahoo! News. “Fact checkers come to this with their own sets of thoughts and beliefs, and we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.”

Caveat emptor my fellow Americans.

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Victory in the Land of Lincoln?

So, Mitt Romney won the GOP Primary in the great Midwest state of Illinois. He clobbered the prudish religious zealot Rick Santorum and probably assured his nomination as the Republican candidate for the Presidency. But what does Mitt’s victory in the Land of Lincoln really mean?

Not much.

First of all, let’s look at Illinois Republican Primary voter enthusiasm in 2012. Were this year’s GOP voters in Illinois more psyched up to vote than they were when they lost the Presidency to the state’s favorite son Barack Obama in 2008?

Not really.

About 902,214 Republicans cast their votes in this year’s GOP primary. That’s less than a million votes in a state with more than 7 million registered voters: so much for enthusiasm.

A total of 899,422 Illinois Republicans voted in 2008. So, four years after living through President Obama’s first term, less than 3,000 more Republicans statewide went to the polls to help kick Obama out of office. Not exactly a groundswell of opposition.

This year’s Illinois Republican Primary saw an even greater level of indifference than four years ago – when McCain wound up losing Illinois in a landslide.

In 2008, John McCain won 426,777 GOP votes in my wife’s beloved home state. In 2012, Romney won 427,911. So, Mitt won just 1,200 votes more than McCain did – in a year with 80,000 more registered voters in play statewide.  That’s some victory, huh?

So, how do you think President Obama is reacting to Romney’s “victory” in Illinois? Probably something like this…

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A Heavenly Two Minute Brain Cleanse

Looking to take a brief break from the GOP war against modern civilization and women’s rights? Do you envision a government that has better things to do than to poke its head into your bedroom to see whether or not you’re using — egad! — contraception? Then, here’s a little more than two minutes of glorious, awe-inspiring brain food, courtesy of your Federal tax dollars, well spent!

Thanks to our good friend and fellow NU alum, Jim McCutchen, for making me aware of this stunning video.

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Fantasy Politics & The Election of 2012

The Iowa Caucuses are over and the New Hampshire Primary is upon us. The Presidential election of 2012 is already well underway. Given that President Obama is unlikely to encounter any serious primary challenge on his open road to the Democratic Party’s nomination in Charlotte, North Carolina in the first week of September – the media focus has been squarely on the Republican contenders vying for the chance to deny Barak Obama re-election on the first Tuesday in November.

Of course, it’s a long, long time until November 6, 2012. We’ll know the winner of the Super Bowl, the NBA Championship, and the World Series before Election Day. And we’ll know the winner of American Idol, The Biggest Loser, Survivor, and who gets the guy on The Bachelor long before we know if any of the GOP field was able to take down Obama. A lot can happen between now and then. But looking at the Republican contenders arrayed against Obama (and each other) it’s hard not to feel the odds are in favor of the World’s Most Famous Former Community Organizer.

Much has been written (on the Right and Left) about the lackluster GOP hopefuls and the lack of party popularity enjoyed by the “inevitable” frontrunner Mitt Romney. You’d have to be living in a cave (which Osama bin Laden evidently wasn’t) not to have heard about how Mitt’s Mormonism, flip-flopping, and career as a multi-millionaire corporate raider make him a poor fit with this era’s angry, populist, anti Wall Street, Tea Party GOP electorate.

This schism between Main Street Republican voters and Wall Street has rank political opportunists like Newt Gingrich attacking Romney for his role as a profit-worshipping venture capitalist.

Strange days, indeed.

Each month (and sometimes each week) brings a new “anyone but Mitt” candidate surging into contention. As if to prove there’s no limit to the GOP’s anti-Romney anxiety, we’ve been treated to the entertaining rise and unsurprising fall of the scandalous blowhard Herman Cain, cute but crazy Michelle Bachmann, and rejected Republican re-treads like Newt Gingrich and Rick “Please don’t Google me” Santorum.

Trying to temper my disdain for these apparently preposterous Republican Presidential candidates, I remind myself that, back in 1980, we all thought Ronnie “Raygun” Reagan was an unelectable right wing nut job. Progressives cannot afford to gloat or get comfortable. However, if the GOP has any chance of winning the White House, the U.S. economy must go into free fall. But with the Dow Jones Average above 12,000 and unemployment falling steadily, the Republicans are forced into rooting for America to fail in order to win an election. Not a good bet.

So, in order to make the Presidential Election of 2012 interesting, I suggest participating in a game that keeps even lackluster NFL, NBA and MLB seasons interesting: a fantasy league.

Introducing FANTASY POLITICS…

FANTASY POLITICS

In fantasy politics, you are the campaign manager of your own team of two Republican Presidential candidates. You need to know how the daily news cycle, the primaries and caucuses affect the two candidates on your roster and how to minimize their gaffes, maximize their endorsements, and collect delegates through the long primary season on the road to the GOP nomination. Here’s how the candidates on your roster are impacted by the rules of fantasy politics.

FANTASY SCORING

Fantasy points are generated from the action on the campaign trail. When a GOP candidate on your team avoids a dangerously quotable gaffe during a debate, earns a newspaper endorsement, or wins a state primary, your fantasy team earns points for the week. The sum of your two candidates’ points combine to compete against the total for your opponent’s team for the week.

Sample Scoring:

Newspaper Endorsement +1

John McCain Endorsement -1

Debate Victory +1

Debate Gaffe -1

Positive News Story +1

Embarrassing YouTube Moment -1

Primary Delegates (1 point per delegate)

Really Good Concession Speech Upon Withdrawal (10 bonus points)

CANDIDATE ELIGIBILITY

Campaign managers can choose any two GOP candidates in the field as of Tuesday, January 10th, the day of the New Hampshire Primary. I’d say the Virginia Primary – but, of course, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry failed to qualify for the ballot in Virginia – and our fantasy game would simply not be as much fun without them.

Candidates who are still in the race on Super Tuesday, March 6, 2012, earn 100 bonus points, in addition to any delegates they pick up that night in the collection of primaries and caucuses in Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia. If neither of your candidates made it to Super Tuesday, you’re out of luck. And out of your misery.

DROP AND SWAP

On the day after Super Tuesday, campaign managers will have 24 hours to “drop and swap” candidates. This may not be fair – but it’s politically expedient: a chance for the rats to escape the sinking ships. However, if a candidate you dropped after Super Tuesday manages to make it to the Republican Convention in Tampa, Florida in late August with even a handful of delegates – you will be deducted one point for every delegate who votes in the Convention to nominate the candidate you dropped.

INJURY DESIGNATIONS

Sorry, unlike in the football, basketball, and baseball fantasy leagues, all of your GOP candidates must play hurt. Politics is not a game for sissies. There is no disabled list. If there was, a mentally disabled candidate like Rick “Frothy” Santorum, or an emotionally disabled candidate like Mitt “I like being able to fire people” Romney would not be on the roster. Instead, they’re leading GOP contenders. Suit up, shut up, and get up for the game.

SCORING CORRECTIONS

Occasionally the official elections returns from a particular state may be recounted and changed to accurately reflect what happened at the ballot box. In such circumstances, campaign managers may block a recount by making an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. (See “Bush v. Gore”)

THE WINNER

The winning campaign manager is the political genius that managed to back the two GOP candidates who got the furthest down the road on the way to winning their party’s nomination – and earned the right to lose to President Obama by a landslide on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

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