Daily Archives: August 15, 2011

Michele Bachmann: Gay Families Are Not ‘Families’

I feel like Alice when she fell through the rabbit hole.  Everything in the current GOP presidential campaigns appear to be getting  curioser and curioser…

Think Progress

On yesterday’s Meet The Press, host David Gregory challenged Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann on some of her anti-gay views. After grilling her about whether sexual orientation would be a factor she’d consider in making presidential appointments, he asked whether a same-sex couple raising children constitutes a “family.” She doesn’t:

GREGORY: Can a gay couple who adopt children, in your mind, be considered a “family”?

BACHMANN: When it comes to marriage, and family, my opinion is that marriage is between a man and a woman. And I think that’s been my view —

GREGORY: So a gay couple with kids would not be considered a “family” to you?

BACHMANN: You know, all of these kind of questions really aren’t about what people are concerned about right now.

Bachmann then tried to downplay the importance of the question, even though, as Gregory pointed out, Bachmann has said that same-sex marriage is a “defining political issue of our time.” Bachmann simply responded, “I think my views are clear.”

Watch it (starting at 2:45):

The 2010 Census shows that there are at least 13,718 same-sex couples living in Bachmann’s home state of Minnesota, and 2,372 of those couples report raising children. If those are not “families,” it’s unclear what Bachmann thinks they might be.

(HT: LGBTQ Nation.)

 

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Perry Reveals Plan For Total U.S. Anarchy: ‘Put A Moratorium On All Regulations’

The proposal by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, now officially a GOP presidential candidate, for President Obama to “put a moratorium on all regulations” seems like pure, unadulterated insanity.

That would mean no food inspections; no clean air; Wall Street repeating the same horrible things that nearly brought us to the brink of an economic disaster which was averted by a bail out.  Perry wants to try no regulations at all…for a while!

This kind of talk is insanity!

Think Progress

Today, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) issued the first policy position of his presidential campaign by asking the White House to issue a “moratorium on regulations across this country”:

 We’re calling today on the president of the United States to put a moratorium on regulations across this country, because his regulations, his EPA regulations are killing jobs all across America.

Watch it:

“We’re sending out a request today asking President Obama to put a moratorium on all regulations,” Perry said on WHO radio in Iowa, recorded live by ThinkProgress.

Under such a moratorium, the Food and Drug Administration would stop approving new drugsand preventing human experimentation; the USDA would stop checking for food safety; the EPA would stop monitoring for poisons in drinking water; the Library of Congress would stoploaning materials to blind people; the NTSB would stop investigating airplane accidents; HHS would end Medicare payments; no more patents, copyrights, or trademarks would be issued; DHS would stop protecting chemical facilities from terrorist attacks; the Treasury would stopprinting currency; financial sanctions on hostile nations like North Korea and Iran would end; and the Federal Reserve System would shut down.

Perry’s “moratorium on regulations” would mean a literal end to the rules of law in the United States. At least it would also mean that all of President George W. Bush’s midnight regulationsfavoring polluters and industry abuses would also be lifted.

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Why Rick Perry Won’t Win

There is an ongoing battle where a certain segment of the population compares Texas Governor Rick Perry to former President George W. Bush while another faction claims that Rick Perry is nothing like “W”.

Mother JonesKevin Drum gives his point of view and then references another point of view at the end of this piece.

I’m leaning toward the Bush comparison, but admittedly, I don’t know enough about Perry to give a personal analysis of the Governor, but in time, I intend to.  Until such time, I will rely on the wisdom of some well respected journalists…

Mother Jones - Kevin Drum

A few days ago I rashly said, “For the record, I don’t think Rick Perry can win the Republican nomination, and I know that he can’t beat Obama in a general election.” Unsurprisingly, a lot of people wanted to know just what made me so sure of that. So with Perry now officially in the race, I guess it’s time to explain myself.

Before I get to that, though, I have a mealymouthed caveat or three. First, if the economy is bad enough, anyone can win. And right now, the odds of the economy being bad enough are a little too close for comfort. Second, in recent years you could lose a lot of money continually underestimating the lemming-like power of the Republican Party to dive off ever-higher cliffs. Third, it’s absolutely true that you can make a pretty good case that none of the current GOP candidates can possibly win the nomination. And yet, someone will.

And there’s more. Perry is unquestionably a very good, very shrewd politician. He has access to lots of money. And he can deliver a pretty good speech. My beloved wife just finished listening to his announcement speech and told me, “He’s my favorite Republican right now.” When I grimaced, she just gave me a scary look. Scary because it’s the look that means she sees something that’s invisible to a committed partisan like me.

But enough of that. I’ve covered my ass enough. Here are the top ten reasons why, despite all this, I think Perry is a weaker candidate than he’s being made out to be:

  1. Everyone looks good before they get into the race. Remember how great Tim Pawlenty was supposed to be? But just wait a few months for Perry to get beat up by his opponents, for the oppo research to kick in, for all the big profiles to start appearing, and for a gaffe or two to get some play. He’ll start to look distinctly more human then.
  2. He’s too Texan. Sorry. Maybe that’s fair, maybe it’s not. But even in the Republican Party, not everyone is from the South and not everyone is bowled over by a Texas drawl. Perry is, by a fair amount, more Texan than George W. Bush, and an awful lot of people are still suffering from Bush fatigue.
  3. He’s too mean. He’ll have a hard time pretending he’s any kind of compassionate conservative, and outside of Texas you still need a bit of that. Aside from being politically ruthless and famous for holding grudges, Perry’s the kind of guy who almost certainly executed an innocent man, never pretended to care about it, and brazenly disbanded a commission investigating it. This famously produced the following quote in a 2010 focus group: “It takes balls to execute an innocent man.” In Texas, maybe that works. In the rest of the country, not so much.
  4. He’s too dumb. Go ahead, call me an elitist. I’m keenly aware that Americans don’t vote for presidents based on their SAT scores, but everything I’ve read about Perry suggests that he’s a genuinely dim kind of guy. Not just incurious or too sure about his gut feelings, like George Bush, but simply not bright enough to handle the demands of the Oval Office. Americans might not care if their presidents are geniuses, but there’s a limit to how doltish they can be too.
  5. He’s too smarmy. He might be fine one-on-one, but on a national stage Perry looks like a tent revival preacher or a used car salesman. Again: this might play OK in Texas and a few other places, but it will wear thin quickly in most of the country.
  6. He’s too overtly religious. Even Bush soft pedaled his religious side for the masses during his first campaign and did most of his outreach to the evangelical community quietly. Outside the Bible Belt, Perry’s fire-and-brimstone act is going to be hard to take.
  7. Policywise, he’s too radical, even for Republicans. “Social Security is a Ponzi scheme” goes over well with a certain segment of the tea party, but not with most of the country. Nor does most of the country want to get rid of Medicare and turn it over to the states. Nor do they think global warming is a hoax, and they don’t really think all that kindly of people who muse publicly about seceding from the union. Bush was able to soften his hard Texas edge with a genuine passion for education. I’m not sure Perry can do that.
  8. Despite conventional wisdom, about half of the GOP rank-and-file aren’t tea party sympathizers (see Question 3G here). Of the half who are, Perry is going to have to compete with Michele Bachmann and possibly with Sarah Palin. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has the non-crazy half of the party almost to himself. Huntsman isn’t going to provide him with any serious competition there, and Pawlenty is rapidly becoming a non-factor too. I think this is an extremely underappreciated dynamic right now. Yes, Republican primary voters tend to be more conservative than the party as a whole, but there are still going to be a lot of non-tea partiers who vote, and they don’t have a lot of good choices other than Romney. What’s more, a fair number of tea partiers like Romney too (see Question 19 here). This is a pretty good base to work from.
  9. Perry’s campaign is going to be heavily based on the “Texas miracle.” But this looksa lot less miraculous once you put it under a microscope — and pretty soon it won’t just be churlish lefties pointing this out. You can be sure that the rest of the Republican field will be hauling out their own microscopes before long.
  10. Republicans want to beat Obama. They really, really want to beat Obama. Romney is still their best chance, and down deep I think they know it.

All that said, I might be wrong. But I’d still advise everyone to take Perry with a few more grains of salt than they have been. It’s easy for us urban liberals to just cynically assume that the tea party-ized GOP will nominate whoever’s the dumbest, toughest, meanest, godliest sonofabitch in the field, but I’m not so sure. Perry may come out of the gate strong, but he might not wear well once the national spotlight is on him.

UPDATE: Why Rick Perry Can Win.

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Bill Clinton Scoffs At Rick Perry’s Platform: ‘I Mean, This Is Crazy’ (VIDEO)

The “Big Dog” speaks…

TPMDC

Former President Bill Clinton spoke Monday morning to the International Association of Fire Fighters conference in Manhattan, The New York Observer’s PolitickerNY reports — and he had some tough words for the newest entrant into the GOP race for president, Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

“I got tickled by watching Governor Perry announce for governor, for president,” Clinton said — perhaps stumbling a bit in the wind-up of a joke. “He’s a good looking rascal.”

The former president elaborated: “And he’s saying ‘Oh, I’m going to Washington to make sure that the federal government stays as far away from you as possible — while I ride on Air Force One and that Marine One helicopter and go to Camp David and travel around the world and have a good time.’ I mean, this is crazy.”

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FYI: Rick Perry Is Big Oil’s $11 Million Man

I fear that a Rick Perry presidency will look  like a  George W. Bush presidency exponentially increased to the 10th power.

Think Progress

Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), even before establishing super PACs to rake in unlimited contributions from Texas billionaires in his presidential run, has been one of the best funded politicians in history. Since his 1998 candidacy to be George W. Bush’s lieutenant governor, Perry has raked in$117,091,642 in campaign contributions, with the oil and gas industry the top contributor. Big oil has fueled Rick Perry’s career, the top industry contributor at $11,189,103, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics:

Top oil company contributions include $189,188 from Exxon Mobil, $147,895 from Valero Energy, and $116,000 from Koch Industries.

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GOP Rep. Louie (“Terror Babies”) Gohmert: Pelosi’s face on golf balls will put `oomph’ into your game

GOP Representative Louie Gohmert, the man who went around inventing “terror babies” stories, until Anderson Cooper eviscerated him on national TV for making such an absurd statement, has now focused his insanity on House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi.

This guy is a prominent member of the Tea Party Caucus and he’s a real piece of work…

The Plum Line

GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert told a conservative talk show host earlier this week that having Nancy Pelosi’s face on golf balls would put “oomph” into your game, and joked with the host that he would help him find a sleeve of Pelosi-stamped balls.

Earlier this week, Politico reported that a fundraiser attended by House Speaker John Boehner had featured golf balls with Pelosi’s face stamped on them.  After Boehner’s office denied the story, Politico retracted the claim.

Gohmert, however, appears not to have heard about the retraction. Here’s the exchange he had with conservative host Lars Larson on Tuesday:

LARSON: My producer is from Ohio. He noticed that John Boehner was apparently using Nancy Pelosi golf balls at a recent fundraiser, and my producer wants to get a whole sleeve of those things. He thinks it might make him hit better.

GOHMERT: [laughs] I’ll bet you it’ll put a little extra oomph in it. No kidding, yeah. Well, I’ll have to check on that. I’ll have to see where we get those.

The exchange was first flagged by TruthTicker.com, which posted audio:

Continue reading here…

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Super Committee Owned By The Super Rich

I’ve been wondering, given the partisan nature in the House and Senate these days, shouldn’t there have been thirteenth person on the “Super Committee” in case they are  deadlocked on an issue?  After all, that’s the reason we have nine Justices on the Supreme Court isn’t it?

News Corpse

The so-called Super Committee created by congress to dodge responsibility for …um… I mean to craft legislation for deficit reduction, has not been been particularly well received by anyone.

Newt Gingrich: I think this super-committee is about as dumb an idea as Washington has come up with in my lifetime.

Dennis Kucinich: It’s like, “Honey, I shrunk the Congress.” Congress is now reduced to a majority of seven members on a committee … Everything about this deal is wrong.

They are both right. It’s a dumb idea that puts way too much power in the hands of too small a group. It seems virtually designed to fail. The alleged incentive for the participants to reach an agreement is the threat of draconian cuts to social services and defense. But since the purpose of the committee is to make draconian, unpopular cuts anyway, why wouldn’t the members prefer to decline compromise and let the process take the blame?

What isn’t getting much attention, however, is that the members of the committee have vested interests in the affairs of the programs they are overseeing. In the 2010 election cycle members received combined over $122 million from the very industries and corporations whose budgets they must now slash. Those industries represent the most powerful sectors of the American economy including defense, health care, energy, and banking. The list of the biggest contributors to the committee members tells us a lot about what to expect from their deliberations:

Donor Amount
Club for Growth 993,394
Microsoft Corp 243,625
Elliott Management 233,704
EMILY’s List 202,656
Squire, Sanders & Dempsey 156,350
New York Life Insurance 139,850
General Electric 138,610
Boeing Co 135,910
JPMorgan Chase & Co 133,399
Amgen Inc 131,150
American Financial Group 125,652
DaVita Inc 118,200
Goldman Sachs 114,700
University of Washington 110,164
Comcast Corp 103,465
Blue Cross/Blue Shield 100,100
Citigroup Inc 95,599
Schering-Plough Corp 91,200
Denny Miller Assoc 90,900
[Source: OpenSecrets.org]

The pressure on these committee members to placate their benefactors will be enormous. And these wealthy special interests will certainly unleash their army of lobbyists to keep the federal funds flowing. With all the focus on just a dozen legislators it actually makes it easier to manipulate the outcome because lobbyists don’t have to spread the wealth, and their time, to the other 523 members of congress.

It’s notable that the conservative, anti-tax, Club for Growth so far outpaces the other heavy hitters on the list. Committee member Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) is their former president, but John Kyl (R-AZ) also got a generous gift. Many of the donors contributed to multiple members of the committee, i.e. Comcast, GE, and hedge fund company, Elliott Management.

There is one ray of hope and that is for the Super Committee members to demonstrate the famous cowardice of American lawmakers. They could actually deliver a balanced bill that makes targeted cuts and raises revenues from the rich and through the elimination of subsidies and loopholes. By doing so they would throw the ball back to the full congress and make them vote on it. After all, why should the super dozen take all the heat?

In any event, it is imperative that we have an accounting of the financial associations between the committee and their big contributors. In pursuit of that, Common Cause has initiated a campaign to support the Super Committee Sunshine Act (S. 1498), a bill requiring that all campaign and PAC contributions to Super Committee members are disclosed within 48 hours. That’s something all sides of this highly charged process should support.

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Rick Perry’s Coveted Endorsement

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Top 10 Things Texas Gov. Rick Perry Doesn’t Want You To Know About Him

Think Progress

[...]

(1) PERRY ALLOWED THE EXECUTION OF A LIKELY INNOCENT MAN, THEN IMPEDED AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE MATTER: In 2004, Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in Huntsville, Texas after being convicted of arson and the murder of his three children. Even after significant evidence emerged showing that arson had not caused the fire (thus exonerating Willingham), Perry refused to grant a stay of execution. Five years after Willingham was executed, a report from a Texas Forensic Science Commission investigator found that the fire could not have been arson. As the commission prepared to hear testimony from the investigator in October 2009, Perry quickly fired and replaced three of its members, forcing an indefinite delay in the hearing.
(2) PERRY WANTS TO REPEAL THE 16th AND 17th AMENDMENTS, ENDING DIRECT ELECTION OF U.S. SENATORS AND THE FEDERAL INCOME TAX: In his 2010 book Fed Up!, Perry called the 16th and 17th Amendments “mistaken” and said they resulted from “a fit of populist rage.” The 16th Amendment allows the federal government to collect income taxes, which is the single biggest source of revenue, accounting for 45 percent of all receipts. The 17th Amendment took electing U.S. senators out of the hands of political insiders and allowed the American public to decide their representation instead. If Perry had his way, the federal government would be stripped of its current ability to fund highway construction projects, food inspectors, and the military, and the American public would not even be permitted to elect their own senators.
(3) PERRY PROPOSED LETTING STATES DROP OUT OF SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICAID: Despite the programs’ importance and popularity, Perry has argued that states like Texas should be allowed to opt out of Social Security and Medicaid. Were Perry to have his way on Social Security, “the entire system would collapse under the weight of too many Social Security beneficiaries who had not paid into the system,” notes Ian Millhiser. On Medicaid, in addition to stripping 3.6 million low-income Texans of their health care, Perry’s proposal would actually hurt, not help, the state’s budget deficit. This is because, as Igor Volsky writes, opting out of Medicaid would take “billions out of the state economy that goes on to support hospitals and other providers,” while forcing hospitals “to swallow the costs of caring for uninsured individuals who will continue to use the emergency room as their primary source of care.”
(4) TEXAS IS THE COUNTRY’S BIGGEST POLLUTER, BUT PERRY SUED THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FOR DISAPPROVING OF THE STATE’S AIR QUALITY STANDARDS: Texas is the biggest polluter in the country, leading the nation in carbon dioxide emissions. However, when the EPA published its “disapproval” of the state’s air quality standards for falling short of the Clean Air Act’s requirements, Perry sued the federal government to challenge the ruling. Perry’s environmental record doesn’t end there. He is a global warming denier who called the 2010 BP oil spill an “act of God” while speaking at a trade association funded by BP.
(5) PERRY DESIGNATED AS “EMERGENCY LEGISLATION” A BILL REQUIRING ALL WOMEN SEEKING ABORTIONS TO HAVE SONOGRAMS FIRST: In January, Perry proposed requiring all women seeking abortions to have a sonogram at least 24 hours before the procedure. Under the bill, doctors would be required to “tell a woman the size of her fetus’ limbs and organs, even if she does not want to know.” Before a woman is permitted to have an abortion, physicians are also forced to provide an image of the fetus and make the woman listen to the sound of its heartbeat. Perry designated his proposal as “emergency legislation,” allowing the bill to be rushed through the legislature. He signed it into law last month.
(6) PERRY GUTTED CHILDCARE SERVICES EVEN AS TEXAS CHILDHOOD POVERTY HIT 25 PERCENT: Facing a $27 billion budget deficit this year, Perry decided to gut child support services, despite a report from the Center for Public Policy Priorities that found nearly one in four Texas children lived beneath the poverty line. Instead of raising revenue like California, a state facing a similarly sized deficit, Perry scaled back more than $10 billion of child support over two years. As Think Progress’ Pat Garofalo noted, these cuts were proposed despite Texas’ possession of a $8.2 billion rainy day fund.
(7) PERRY WAS A STRONG SUPPORTER OF TEXAS’S ANTI-SODOMY LAWS: Perry was a strong proponent of Texas’s anti-sodomy law that was struck down in 2003 by the Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas. Calling the law “appropriate,” Perry dismissed the Court decision as the result of “nine oligarchs in robes.” Even after being struck down, Perry supported the Texas legislature’s refusal to remove the law from its books.
(8) PERRY IS A STIMULUS HYPOCRITE WHO LOUDLY CRITICIZED FEDERAL RECOVERY MONEY BUT USED IT TO BALANCE HIS STATE’S BUDGET: As the nation struggled to avoid economic collapse in 2009, Perry was a vocal critic of Congress’s recovery package, even advocating that Texas reject the money because “we can take care of ourselves.” Months later, after Perry was able to balance the state’s budget only with the aid of billions in federal stimulus dollars, Perry again repeated that he would reject federal funding, arguing that the government “spends money they don’t have.” Five months later, Perry again took advantage of federal funding to issue $2 billion in bonds for highway improvements in Texas. Even so, the state faces a $27 billion budget deficit.
(9) PERRY SAID THAT TEXAS MIGHT HAVE TO SECEDE FROM THE UNITED STATES: One hundred and fifty years ago, Texas and other southern states seceded from the Union, resulting in a bloody Civil War. 148 years later, Perry floated the idea that Texas may again have to secede because of a federal government that “continues to thumb their nose at the American people.” Perry was roundly criticized for his proposal, yet he repeated his threat the next month on Fox News, telling host Neil Cavuto, “If Washington continues to force these programs on the states, if Washington continues to disregard the tenth amendment, who knows what happens.”
(10) DESPITE HAVING THE WORST UNINSURED RATE IN THE COUNTRY, PERRY CLAIMS THAT TEXAS HAS “THE BEST HEALTH CARE IN THE COUNTRY” : On Bill Bennett’s radio show last year, Perry claimed that “Texas has the best health care in the country.” In reality, Texas has the highest rate of uninsured residents of any state. More than one in four Texans lack coverage; the national average is just 15.4 percent. As such, there are more uninsured residents in Texas than there are people in 33 states. Despite Texas’s low coverage rates, the state has some of the most restrictive Medicaid eligibility thresholds, and Perry has even proposed dropping out of the program. Texas also has an inordinately high percentage of impoverished children, yet Perry opposed expanding the successful State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

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