Mitt Romney

GOP’s ’16 consolation vanishes: Suddenly, Democrats have the deep bench!

GOP's '16 consolation vanishes: Suddenly, Democrats have the deep bench!

Elizabeth Warren, Ted Cruz (Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts/AP)

Salon

After Romney’s 2012 loss, pundits raved about the GOP’s new leaders. But two years later, Democrats have the edge

In the wake of President Obama’s re-election in 2012, reporters found one soothing source of solace for the GOP. “One race the Republicans appear to be winning is the one for the deepest bench of rising stars,” wrote the Washington Post, and plenty of folks followed up. Democrats, meanwhile, had nobody on the bench but Hillary Clinton – a formidable candidate if she were to run, but that wasn’t even certain.

Beyond Clinton, there seemed to be a wasteland populated by ambitious governors no one had ever heard of (Martin O’Malley), some who were well known but not widely liked (Andrew Cuomo). Oh, and Brian Schweitzer.

The Republican list, meanwhile, seemed almost infinite: blue and purple state governors like New Jersey’s Chris Christie, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Ohio’s John Kasich and Virginia’s Bob McConnell, and Tea Party senators like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Romney’s ambitious, “wonky” running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, had his fans, as did former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Even Texas Gov. Rick Perry, recovered from back surgery and sporting hot new glasses, could have another life in 2016.

But in two years, the situation has almost reversed itself. Promising GOP governors – McDonnell, Christie, Walker – find themselves dogged by scandal. The Tea Party trio of Paul, Cruz and Rubio still vies for media attention and right wing adoration, but Rubio’s immigration reform work doomed him on the right. Unbelievably, Paul is widely labeled the frontrunner (but don’t tell that to Cruz), while the party establishment and neocon hawks search for an alternative. Despite all that impressive talent, Mitt Romney leads the pack in New Hampshire.

Meanwhile, in what’s widely being reported as trouble for Hillary Clinton, because that’s the narrative the media know best, it turns out there are a bunch of popular and maybe even formidable Democrats. Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren wowed the crowd at Netroots Nation. (Check out this great New Yorker Biden profile if you want to know how the VP is keeping his options open). The Netroots buzz inspired the Washington Post’s Phillip Rucker and Robert Costa to survey the landscape of Democrats who’ve put a toe or more in the water for 2016.

We learned that Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is visiting Iowa (it is only one state away), while New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has a book coming out. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is said to be huddling with donors, believing the party could use a dose of red state common sense.

This is all framed as mildly ominous news for Hillary Clinton – the headline is “With liberals pining for a Clinton challenger, ambitious Democrats get in position” — but Klobuchar, Gillibrand and Nixon have all endorsed Clinton, and Warren has encouraged Clinton to run while insisting she won’t do so herself. The only Democrats listed who may still run even if Clinton does too are O’Malley and Vermont’s Bernie Sanders.

Regardless of the intent of the framing, the Rucker-Costa story actually pointed up the vitality in the Democratic Party, where lively debates over income inequality and foreign policy have so far fallen short of creating bitter divisions and factions, at least so far. Again, contrast that with the GOP, where Ted Cruz seems to be staking his 2016 hopes on his ability to humiliate every party leader and make sure Republicans will never make inroads with the Latino population. He’s blocking bipartisan emergency legislation to deal with the border crisis, and pushing to reverse President Obama’s deferred action on deportation for young people brought here by their parents.

Meanwhile Warren, the progressive elected the same time as Cruz, is touring the country campaigning for Democratic Senate candidates, even some who are more centrist than she is, like Kentucky’s Alison Lundergan Grimes and West Virginia’s Natalie Tennant.  She’s focused on growing the Democratic Party, not cutting down colleagues who are less progressive.

So: the GOP’s right wing firebrand is a loose cannon who is completely out for himself, while the Democrats’ left wing firebrand is working amiably with party leaders and deflecting talk of a primary challenge to Clinton. In the end, the rising number of possible alternatives to Hillary Clinton is a sign of Democratic strength, even if the media tends to bill it as weakness.

Mitt Romney is tan, rested, and ready to lose again, so let’s do this thing

Mitt Romney in the hills by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

Mitt Romney in the hills by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

Looks like that bogus Quinnipiac poll may be forcing Romney to come out into the spotlight…

The Raw Story

In a move that can be seen as either desperation or ‘we’re all gonna die anyway, so what the hell?’ conservatives are casting their eyes westward to a man — a stoic man, an honest and true man of values, standing knee deep  in the Pacific Ocean watching the sun go down on America — as their savior in 2016.

That man is a man called Mitt. Family man, businessman, gentle and attentive lover, and owner of both a car elevator and a losing career in elections.

Surveying the 2016 GOP field and falling into a pit of existential dread and despair where there is no light, no hope, no exit, nothing but a  bleak meaningless abyss of wretchedness and desolation, Republicans see hope in the sparkle of Mitt Romney’s eyes and the Earth-mother joy in life his wife Ann brings to the party.

So the ‘Why not Mitt?’ crowd is going to throw some shit against the wall and see what sticks. After all, that is what fan-mag Politico does.

In an article subheaded, “I’m absolutely serious,” a former George W Bush White House person you have never heard of states his case.

Pointing to a recent poll stating 45 percent [or 3 percent less than voted for him in 2012] of voters polled said the United States would be better off today with Romney as president, Emil Henry says that Mitt Romney was very well received indeed at a rave he threw for a bunch of his pals in Utah:

That was also the question on not just the minds but the lips of many at a recent private gathering in Utah known as the E2 Summit, Romney’s now-annual retreat for high-profile politicians, policymakers, innovators, entrepreneurs, business leaders, top bundlers and, of course, a core group of long-time Romney loyalists.

Cancel the convention location search, nobody has to go to Cleveland, we have a winner!

Noting that the GOP field is “fractured” and filled with loons, untested loons, corrupt loons, and loser loons, Henry suggests that Romney is better than nothing and, besides, Morning  Caffeinated Anger Dad Joe Scarborough — who may or may not have had a hand in a rage-filled  explosion of lust and betrayal resulting  in a staffer’s death – says Romney is ‘da bomb,’ which is a phrase popular with middle-aged white men who consider themselves ‘hip to the kids lingo, yo.’

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, who opened the conference in Utah, said it best: There is no Republican who can “fill the stage” better than Mitt Romney.

Again: YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO TO CLEVELAND IN THE SUMMER, REPUBLICANS. DO YOU WANT THIS GIFT-WRAPPED?

Lastly Henry notes that all the other Presidential failures (George McGovern, Michael Dukakis, Bob Dole, Al Gore, John Kerry and John McCain) were “career politicians.”

Where Romney stands out versus every failed nominee of the last half century is that he, a lifelong businessman with just one successful four-year stint as governor of Massachusetts, is not a career politician.

This is true. Romney ran against Ted Kennedy for a Senate seat and lost in 1994. He then licked his wounds, saved the Olympics,  and came back and was elected governor of Massachusetts  in 2002.  Then he ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, only to lose to shouty Palin-annointer John McCain.  And most recently he ran against Barack Obama in 2012  and lost again giving him a career record of 1-3.

So while it is true that he is not a “career politician,” that might have something to do with the fact that people who vote cooperated and kept him that way by giving him a helping hand.

With one finger extended.

So, yeah, he’s your guy. His record speaks for itself and he’s totally due so you guys should do this thing.

After the last two elections, we expect nothing less.

‘Obviously blessed’ Hillary Clinton has released 30 years of tax returns. Romney? McCain?

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) (L) and former U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney | Reuters

Daily Kos

Republicans have their queen of the 1 percent. In the wake of her flip comments about having been “dead broke” and not “truly well off,” the GOP and its conservative echo chamber are portraying Hillary Clinton as the reincarnation of Leona Helmsley. Hoping to provide additional fodder for the right, Bloomberg News suggested estate tax supporter Hillary is a hypocrite because of the ways the Clintons manage their finances to reduce their estate tax exposure. The right-wing research group America Rising notified its email list that Secretary Clinton “might be advised to take a lengthy sabbatical from her $200k per pop speaking tour and private shopping sprees at Bergdorfs to try and reconnect with what’s happening back here on Earth.”

Of course, it is the GOP hoping the American people slept through the last decade here on planet Earth. After all, it was President George W. Bush, then worth $21 million, who described his plan for life after the White House, “I’ll give some speeches, just to replenish the ol’ coffers.” And as it turns out, the Clintons have released more than 30 years of tax returns, which means their finances—unlike those of the Romneys and McCains—are no secret.

To be sure, Hillary and Bill Clinton are “obviously blessed.” As the New York Times reported during the 2008 presidential primaries, between 2001 and 2008 the Clintons earned a whopping $109 million, almost all of it from speaking fees and book royalties. But because almost all of their earnings are taxed as regular income, the Clintons disproved Leona Helmsley’s motto that “only the little people pay taxes.”

During that time, theClintons paid $33.8 million in federal taxes and claimed deductions for $10.2 million in charitable contributions…In releasing seven years of tax returns, plus a summary of income for last year, the Clinton campaign noted that the couple had disclosed all their income tax records since Mr. Clinton was governor of Arkansas…”The Clintons have now made public 30 years of tax returns, a record matched by few people in public service,” said Jay Carson, a campaign spokesman. “None of Hillary Clinton’s presidential opponents have revealed anything close to this amount of personal financial information.”

Certainly not John McCain or Mitt Romney. And while the details of their finances remained secret, their plans to dramatically slash their own tax bills were quite public, as you’ll see below.

Thanks to the wealth of his beer heiress wife Cindy, John McCain had the luxury to forget how many homes he owns. But with his proposals to cut income tax rates for the wealthy, slash the capital gains tax rate in half and eliminate the estate tax, President McCain would have delivered a massive windfall to his family for years to come.

Then, of course, there was Mitt Romney, the GOP’s once and possibly future White House hopeful. Worth at least a quarter of a billion dollars, the son of an auto company magnate ran on a platform of keeping as much of it away from Uncle Sam as possible.

Thanks to lax campaign laws that tilt the playing field in favor of the rich, Mitt was able to spend $45 million of his own money in his losing effort to secure the GOP nomination in 2008. Hoping to become John McCain’s running mate, he parts with the loss of a fifth of his net worth and over two decades of tax returns. As Brian Williams pointed out during a January 2012 debate, “You said during the McCain vetting process you turned over 23 years which you had at the ready because, to quote you, you`re something of a packrat.” But in 2012, the American people only get two because, as Mitt helpfully explained two years ago:

“I don’t put out which tooth paste I use either. It’s not that I have something to hide.”

Of course, Mitt Romney had a lot to hide. For starters, few Americans would describe themselves as “part of the 80 to 90 percent of us” who are middle class, when just the “not very much” $374,000 he earned in speaking fees in 2011 put him in the top one percent of income earners. As I noted back in 2012:

It’s bad enough that the $250 million man Romney pays less than 15 percent of his income to Uncle Sam each year, a rate well below most middle class families. Worse still, the notorious “carried interest” exemption for private equity managers Romney wants to preserve taxes him not at the ordinary income rate of 35 percent but at the capital gains rate now half of what it was only 15 years ago. (As it turns out, most of Mitt’s millions each year come from his controversial former employer, Bain Capital.) On top of his Cayman Island investments and past Swiss bank accounts, Romney has created a $100 million trust fund for his sons – tax free. Thanks to some (apparently legal) chicanery on the part of his former employer, Mitt has also accumulated an IRA worth a reported $100 million. (The Romney camp even complained about that, worrying that recent tax code changes has “created a tax problem” for the former Massachusetts governor and asking, “Who wants to have $100 million in an IRA?”) And largely unmentioned, Mitt wants to eliminate the estate tax, a change that would not only save his clan over $80 million, but more than pay for the $45 million of his own money he spent on his 2008 campaign.

Neither McCain nor Romney paid anywhere near the Clintons’ 30 percent tax rate from 2001 to 2008. For his part, in 2012 Romney boasted that over the previous decade, “Every year, I’ve paid at least 13 percent, and if you add, in addition, the amount that goes to charity, why the number gets well above 20 percent.” Of course, if you added the Clintons’ $10 million in contributions to their own and other charities, why the number gets well above 20 percent—times two.As the Washington Post reported, in 2000 the Clintons were in debt to the tune of $10 million. Thanks in part to those stratospheric speaking fees, by 2004 those debts were paid off. Regardless, Hillary Clinton is going to need a better approach to putting her newfound status as “truly well-off” if she wants to succeed her husband in the Oval Office. She might start by borrowing from Bill’s script. As he put it in 2004:

“You might remember that when I was in office, on occasion, the Republicans were kind of mean to me. But soon as I got out and made money, I began part of the most important group in the world to them. It was amazing. I never thought I’d be so well cared for by the president and the Republicans in Congress. I almost sent them a thank-you note for my tax cuts – until I realized that the rest of you were paying for the bill for it, and then I thought better of it.”

Republicans trying to paint any Democratic presidential candidate as “out of touch” with every day Americans should think the better of it, too.

Absolutely Nothing

Tragically, all we’ve fought for in Iraq, all that 4,500 American lives were shed to gain, is on the cusp, potentially, of vanishing.
Mitt Romney, “Ideas Summit,” 6/13/2014

mission accomplished banner 23423423.jpg

Larry Downing/Reuters|

This retired US Navy Chief Warrant Officer has a lot to say to the folks beating the Iraq war drums once again.  The language is that of a military man…you can pass or you can read it.  It’s entirely up to you TFC friends…

Stonekettle Station

All we fought for in Iraq.

All we fought for in Iraq is on the cusp of vanishing.

That’s what Mitt Romney says.

We fought for. We fought for. We.

Oh, so it’s we now, is it, Mitt?

We.

I must have missed you over there, but it was a busy place. We. The guy who helped set up “pro-draft” rallies and yet somehow managed to avoid service in Vietnam is upset about losing what “we” fought for? We.

Yeah, fuck you, Mitt.

And you’re all welcome to quote me on that.

Somebody stepped into my office yesterday and asked how I felt about it.  He wanted to know how I felt about “losing” Iraq.

How do I feel about losing all we fought for?

I don’t know.

First, I’m going to need somebody to explain to me exactly what it was that we were fighting for.

What was it? What is it that we gained, according to Mitt Romney? And what is on the cusp of vanishing? What is that? No, really, somebody please explain it to me.

Because I’d love to know.

The Wikipedia says Operation Iraqi Freedom started on the 20th of March, 2003, which is just another reason why you shouldn’t believe anything you read in the Wikipedia (don’t, just don’t).  That’s not correct, the war began a day earlier.  See, I was there on the night the war reallystarted, at precisely 2200 hours, on the 19th of March in the Northern Arabian Gulf.  I was there when US Navy SEALs and Polish GROM stormed the MABOT and KAAOT oil terminals a full day before Saddam Hussein discovered that his time was finally up.  In point of fact, I had arrived there four months before, a few days before Christmas in December of 2002. From the day of my arrival (and before that really) to the day the war started, and for months after, I was a Navy intelligence officer working in support of the invasion force.  There’s not much I don’t know about the events leading up to war and the aftermath of the invasion.

Well, not much except for that one little detail.

Why.

All these years later, and I still don’t know why.

Oh, I mean, I know what they told us, sure, Saddam Hussein attacked America on 9-11.  Right? That’s what they said, that’s what the Commander in Chief told us. Saddam Hussein was in league with Al Qaida, remember? The son of a bitch and his stinking nation of terrorists attacked us. The Iraqis had it coming. And Georgie Boy was going to finish what his daddy started. Hooray! Right? That’s what they said.

Except those of us in the professional intelligence community looked at each other and thought, wait, what? How the hell did we miss that? Saddam and Osama bin Laden are working together?Buwah? But Rumsfeld, he had his own little extra-constitutional intelligence outfit staffed with his simpering cronies who he paid to blow smoke up his pinched grey ass until his colon resembled beef jerky and he sure didn’t have much use for us – after all, we were just the military he had.

Ours, as they say, is not to reason why, ours is to but do and die, right? At least that’s what Rummy told us and you know, you go into war with the Secretary of Defense you have, not the one you’d like to have. And if Rumsfeld says he’s got the real scoop, it must be true? Right? Sure, that justifies his contempt for us, sure it does.

Except, Rumsfeld’s little masturbation fantasy turned out not to be the case.

But hey, never mind that, Saddam Hussein was threatening us anyway, wasn’t he? Sure he was, in fact, that’s the first time you heard the phrase “Weapons of Mass Destruction” isn’t it? The bastard had nukes and germs and war gas and he was just itching to use them on America, wasn’t he?  Heck we even had pictures of “mobile weapons labs” to prove it, isn’t that what Colin Powell told the UN and the world? And by damn Saddam had been buying Yellow Cake uranium from Niger, right? Colin Powell wouldn’t lie to us, would he? He was a hero, a general, he wouldn’t send his comrades into war on a lie now would he?

Except all that turned out to be bullshit too, and Colin Powell was either a dupe of staggering proportions or he was the kind of Soldier who would fuck his buddy right in the ass without so much as a reach-around and I’ll leave it up to you to figure which one is worse.

But by the time we figured out we’d been ass-raped by Colin Powell, we were shoulder deep in Iraq, Baghdad was burning, Iraq’s army had thrown down their weapons and taken off their uniforms and had melted into the population, Saddam had vanished and his sons were dead, and the President of the United States had already declared victory from the deck of an American aircraft carrier.

And so, the objective became … what?

Hearts and minds and freedom and democracy and nation building and magic bunnies who fart sunshine and rainbows.

Unfortunately, it turns out we’re real good at the blowing shit up part, not so good at the magic bunnies part.

Which in retrospect, shouldn’t be all that surprising – given that in order to build a civilization it helps if you actually have some vague familiarity with the people involved.  Needless to say, we didn’t. And we didn’t care. To America, they were all little brown towelheads, sand niggers, raggedy-assed camel jockeys who ought to be grateful to America for burning down their shitty country.  Sunni? Shia? Turkman? Baathists? What’s that? What do you mean they hate each other? They’re all Muslims aren’t they? They’re all Aayrabs, right? What do you mean they hate each other? And it all fell apart, disintegrating into insurgency and murder and bloody civil war – just exactly as anybody who actually knew something about the region and its people and its history could have told you it would.  We lost less than a hundred soldiers in the actual war, the “peace” cost us nearly 5000 more.  And the Iraqis? Who the hell knows? A hundred thousand? A million? It’s impossible to tell.

And it turns out that freedom and democracy and magic flying bunnies were as elusive as Iraq’s supposed WMDs – or Colin Powell’s honor.

So, what was it again that we were fighting for?

They had no idea what we were fighting for, those saber-rattling Chicken Hawks, the cowardly connected wealthy weasels who’d managed to avoid serving in their own war, who kept theirchildren out of uniform, but just couldn’t wait to send us into one of their own making. They sent us off with parades and marching bands and cheering crowds … and brought the bodies home in secret, hidden away from the TV cameras and the public.

They had no plan and no idea what we were dying for, but they assured us what the war wasn’t about – it wasn’t about religion.

Oh no, sir, we weren’t fighting to eradicate Muslims, it wasn’t about Islam.

The Evangelical Christian religious extremists who started this war told us it wasn’t about religion.

Heh heh, riiiiiight. And Vietnam was really about containing communism. Sure.

Maybe they should have had Colin Powell tell that whopper to the UN, but he’d quit by then and was suddenly as invisible to America as those flag draped metal boxes arriving at Dover Air Force base in the middle of the night.

Americans who a few years before had been proudly waving their little flags as Johnny marched off to war were suddenly all shifty-eyed, they slapped a $5 dollar made in China magnet on the bumper of their giant gas-sucking SUVs, Support Our Troops, and with sardonically raised eyebrows complained to each other over the pumps about the immorality of a war fought for oil.

But that wasn’t true either, was it?

Iraq’s oil fields, the ones we fought and died to preserve on orders from the White House, the off-shore terminals the SEALs and the GROM risked their lives to save on that night back in 2003, the precious Iraqi oil that was going to pay for the war and pay to rebuild the country we’d blown up, well, that oil is nowhere to be found today, is it?

So, tell me again, what exactly is it that’s on the “cusp of vanishing?”

I mean it sure isn’t peace.

It’s not freedom for the Iraqi people, despite the war’s idiotic name.

It sure isn’t regional stability.

It’s not the end of terrorism or the near universal hatred of America in the Middle East.

And now that Halliburton and KBR and Blackwater and Dick Cheney have made their billions and cashed out, it isn’t even about long term economic investments and American business.

Hell, it’s not even about cheap gas.

So, go on, enlighten me. Because even though I was there, I’ve got no goddamned idea what it is that we’ve lost in Iraq beyond the 4,487 men and women we shipped home in metal boxes, beyond the 32,223 wounded and maimed, beyond the trillions of dollars we spent in our rage and our drive for revenge and our lust for blood.

Today, John McCain and Mitt Romney and the rest of the conservative war machine are railing against the President.

McCain stirred from the yellow fog of his bamboo cage and proclaimed in his best Old Man Yelling At Clouds voice, “We won Iraq! Obama lost it!”

Really Johnny Walnuts? Tell me, what did we win? And what have we lost? Please be specific, because I’d really like to know.

We no more “won” Iraq than McCain’s own father “won” Vietnam.

McCain claims he “predicted” the sectarian violence now tearing Iraq apart. Really? Where the hell was clairvoyant John McCain back in 2003 when he voted along with the rest of them to send us into war? And later, where was his great predictive ability when Iraq began tearing itself apart? I guess he was at a Dixie Chicks concert, he must have been out in the lobby ordering a plate of Freedom Fries when his pal George W. Bush let Iraq disintegrate into civil war.

And so here we are.

The same old motley cast of characters, the warhawks and the chickenhawks and the billionaires and the simple-minded saber-rattlers and the same old hate-filled pundits, they just can’t wait to jump back into Iraq.

Mitt Romney, John McCain, one who never served and one who damned well ought to know better, men who both wanted to be President of the United States and who both lost to Barack Obama, they just can’t wait to send other people’s kids back into the meat grinder.

Here’s my question.

Why?

Why, John McCain?

Why, Mitt Romney?

Why, conservatives?

This time you fuckers goddamned well tell me why.

What’s the goal? What’s the objective? Is it to end terrorism? Is it to enforce peace at the muzzle of a gun? Is it it to make defense contractors rich? Is it for jobs? Or is it for magic flying bunnies who shoot rainbows and cheap gasoline out of their little assholes to the sound of Yankee Doodle Dandy?

Or, or, is it just because you hate Barack Obama?

That’s it, isn’t it?

It is.

You sons of bitches one and all, you simpering capering madmen, this time at least have the courage to face the cameras, to look into America’s eyes, and tell them that their sons and daughters will be dying because you John McCain, because you Mitt Romney, because you Dick Cheney, because you Donald Rumsfeld, because you George W. Bush you lying bastard, because you conservatives hate Barack Obama and for no other reason. Go on, tell us, go on. Wave your little flags and beat your fleshy chests, roll out the marching bands and tell us just how many more American soldiers should die. Go on, put a number on it. Ten? A hundred? Fifty four thousand? How many of us have to die? How many more bodies will it take to satiate your mindless hunger for blood and revenge? How many more American lives are worth your insane hatred of the president? How many? How much further into debt should we drive our nation, another trillion dollars? Two? Ten? A hundred? Put a price on it you insane sons of bitches, go on, give me a number, write me a check. Tell me how much you’re willing to pay, show me the goddamned money. How many more years? How many? One? Five? Another decade? Fifty? What is it? Don’t wave your hands and make some vague prognostication, give me a number, how many lives, how much money, how many years? You look us in the eye and you fucking tell us.

Sure, let’s go back to Iraq.

Oh, yes, let us do that.

I’ll dig out my uniform and strap on my pistol and gird up my sword and ride into battle yet again.

Just so long as Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Paul Ryan, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, and every single one of those powdered, Botoxed talking heads at Fox News are in the vanguard. That’s right, you cowards, you put on a uniform and you lead the charge this time around. The Koch brothers and Mitt Romney can pay for it, every goddamned penny, we’ll bleed them until they’re dry and then we’ll pull the gold fillings from their teeth to pay for it right along with the rest of their Wall Street cronies. You fuckers got rich off the last one, you can damned well pay for this one. And when you run out of money, we’ll take your blood, fair’s fair.

Strap John McCain into the cockpit of an A-4 Skyhawk and let him fly air cover.

If he gets himself shot down and taken prisoner again, well, you know what? Fuck him, leave him to the enemy because frankly his hate and bile and raging insanity have done more damage to this country than Bowe Bergdahl ever did.

The terrorists can keep him.

You want to go to back to war? No problem, this time, you go first.

Back then, as an officer, mine was not to reason why.

But this time, well, this time I’m a civilian. And as a citizen of the United States, this time I demand to know why.

So, you saber-rattling sons of bitches, you look me in the eye, and you tell me.

Peace love and understanding tell me
Is there no place for them today
They say we must fight to keep our freedom
But Lord knows there’s got to be a better way

War what is it good for
Absolutely nothing…

Edwin Starr, “War” 1969

 

 

Romney Still Isn’t Over That Benghazi Debate

TPM LiveWire

He may have suffered a resounding defeat to President Obama in 2012, but Mitt Romney still can’t quite get over a debate in which he says the moderator improperly fact checked one his statements about the Sept. 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya.

Appearing on the Hugh Hewitt radio show Monday, the former governor of Massachusetts said that CNN’s Candy Crowley shouldn’t have waded into an exchange about whether the President called the attack an act of terror the following morning in a statement in the White House Rose Garden.

“Well, I don’t think it’s the role of the moderator in a debate to insert themselves into the debate and to declare a winner or a loser on a particular point,” Romney said of the October, 2012 debate, as quoted by Mediaite. “And I must admit that, at that stage, I was getting a little upset at Candy, because in a prior setting where I was to have had the last word, she decided that Barack Obama was to get the last word despite the rules that we had.”

While Obama did refer to “acts of terror” in the statement, his administration later attributed the attack to a spontaneous protest against an inflammatory video.

“Please proceed, governor,” is how Obama put it at the time, before Crowley interjected.

“So, she obviously thought it was her job to play a more active role in the debate than was agreed upon by the two candidates,” Romney added, “and I thought her jumping into the interaction I was having with the president was also a mistake on her part and one I would have preferred to carry out between the two of us, because I was prepared to go after him for misrepresenting to the American people that the nature of the attack.”

Crowley drew heavy fire from conservatives in the immediate aftermath, and a co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates subsequently called her selection as a moderator a “mistake.”

Watch the moment below:

H/t: DB

“Mitt” the Movie: What’s Not There

Mitt Romney – Netflix/YouTube

Mother Jones – David Corn

No 47-percent reaction? Far more is missing than present in the new Netflix documentary on Romney.

Forgive me for being parochial, but I was looking for a specific piece of footage in the new Netflix behind-the-scenes documentary on Mitt Romney—simply titled Mitt—that was made by Greg Whiteley, who trailed the GOP candidate for six years through Election Night 2012. I yearned to see Romney’s response to the release of the 47-percent video: how he personally reacted to this revelation and how his campaign planned its public reply. This was a significant moment in Romney’s political life. How he handled it could be quite enlightening. After all, the film does record how Romney dealt with his 2008 loss in the GOP presidential primaries. (In conversations with his family, Romney acknowledges he was branded “the flippin’ Mormon,” and says, “I think I’m a flawed candidate.”) But Whiteley offers us no peek at how the former CEO processed the historic 47-percent moment that did much to define him—or reinforce an existing definition.

In fact, for all the access Whiteley obtained, he serves up little material that will alter the basic story of Mitt. Sure, the viewer will learn that Romney likes to romp in the snow with his grandkids, that he’s happier with a pair of duct-taped gloves than a new set, that he has a somewhat dark sense of humor, that he often thinks of his father, that wife Ann is tightly strung, and that Romney likes to pick up trash from the floors or balconies of hotel rooms during tense moments (say, before he hits the stage for a debate or prior to the announcement of election results). Certainly, Romney comes across as less robotic in these 90-minutes of home-movie-like scenes. But the film offers no insights about the fellow. His faults as a presidential candidate are not examined. What he really believes—other than the notion that the nation is heading off a cliff due to too much taxation and regulation—is left on the cutting room floor. That is, if it was ever captured.

The documentary, in a way, is anti-matter, shaped by what it does not cover. Campaign deliberations are not chronicled. Critical decisions are barely detailed. The film tracks Romney during the 2008 primaries; it ignores the 2012 GOP contests (picking up the narrative at the 2012 convention). Grandchildren get more screen time than key aides. It’s as if the movie was produced in a bubble—actually, a bubble within a bubble.

Mitt appears to be an effort to rehab Romney’s image—to show the real family guy, not the 1-percent caricature. Yet there’s not much here to prompt a serious reconsideration. And the documentary answers no questions that linger after Romney’s two failed expeditions toward the White House. Perhaps most Americans are not craving such answers. But Romney and his campaign did leave behind material that should be explored. The list below of moments and matters that do not appear in Whiteley’s narrow version of RomneyWorld show that there is not much to miss in Mitt.

Glenn Beck: Chris Christie a ‘fat nightmare’

Is there a full moon or something?  Weirdness is in the air…

Politico

Glenn Beck is slamming New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for his record — and his weight — calling the governor a “fat nightmare.”

“Chris Christie is a fat nightmare. He is a nightmare,” Beck said in an interview with CNN’s S.E. Cupp that is set to air on Friday’s “Piers Morgan Live.”

Cupp, who is guest hosting Morgan’s program, noted Christie will likely run for president in 2016 and is polling as the strongest Republican potential candidate against Hillary Clinton.

(QUIZ: How well do you know Chris Christie?)

“Don’t care. Don’t care. Don’t care. Don’t care,” Beck responded.

Cupp called Christie “the real world,” but Beck continued his attack, hitting Christie for his stance on gun control, global warming and unions — saying the New Jersey governor is a progressive, not a conservative.

“I’m done playing the game of, ‘Well, that means if we don’t vote for that guy, we‘re gonna get this guy.’ We played that with [Sen.] John McCain. We played that with Mitt Romney,” Beck said.

(PHOTOS: Chris Christie’s career)

When asked who he’d like to see on the ticket in 2016, Beck said he “I don’t know because I don’t trust any of them.”

“I’m not going to sell my principles out anymore,” Beck said.

 

Chris Christie Is Quickly Becoming The New Mitt Romney

National Memo

Republicans spent most of 2011 pretending that Mitt Romney wouldn’t be their nominee for president. And when the 2012 primaries began, they did everything they could to damage their nominee before he could get to the general election.

The race for the 2016 GOP nomination is starting to hint at a remarkably similar shape.

Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ), fresh off his landslide re-election, is leading the pack of contenders to represent the Republican Party in the next presidential election. With 24 percent of the vote, he’s ahead of Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) at 13 percent, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) at 11 percent and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) with 10 percent in a new CNN poll. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) round out the frontrunners.

Like Romney and unlike his competitors, Christie has never been “a Tea Party favorite.” And with a little less than half of Republican primary voters not identifying with that movement, the governor is fighting for one half of the base as his several opponents wrestle for the other.

Like Romney and unlike his competitors, Christie has never been “a Tea Party favorite.” And with a little less than half of Republican primary voters not identifying with that movement, the governor is fighting for one half of the base as his several opponents wrestle for the other.

The Tea Party’s big mistake was not uniting behind any one candidate after Rick Perry’s debate performances disqualified him. Instead, they fled from Not-Romney to Not-Romney, disparaging their eventual nominee’s key legislative accomplishment and business record as one candidate after another failed to dethrone him.

With so many heroes of the Tea Party movement in the running, it appears that history could be on repeat. The New Republic‘s Nate Cohn suggests that Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) could be the candidate to unite the party — even if he isn’t even cracking the top six in the CNN poll. Much of Walker’s appeal will depend on how badly the GOP wants a Non-Christie.

The current governor of New Jersey has some decided advantages over the former governor of Massachusetts, even if their first terms were both marked by marginal economic gains.

First of all, Christie was re-elected in a blue state — a feat that Romney didn’t even attempt to complete, after winning election with less than 50 percent of the vote.

The Garden State’s governor is a natural, possibly even a Clinton-esque, campaigner who knows when to triangulate against both sides of the aisle. He — like George W. Bush before him — feels confident in running against an unpopular Congress, even if his party controls the bottom house. And he has never been pro-abortion rights, though his dabbling in gun control may put a similar crack in his conservative credibility.

Christie wasn’t the godfather of Obamacare — but he did split the health reform baby by accepting Medicaid expansion while refusing to build a health care exchange for his state.

As the governor’s frontrunner stance firms, the attacks on him will grow more severe. Already he’s facing questions about his lobbying activities, which include slight connections to Bernie Madoff, and conservatives are blasting him for “bizarre behavior,” such as possibly not supporting the opponent of Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) even as Christie serves as the chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

Republicans only united around Mitt Romney after they failed to destroy him. The question now is whether they’ll make the same mistake twice.  And if Christie succeeds in uniting the party, then the question becomes if he’ll continue to follow Romney’s flip-flopping path of not revealing what he actually feels about immigration reform until he loses the presidency.

Saturday Blog Roundup 11-30-2013

Black Friday Questions.

Church Of England Proposes Gay Marriage ‘Blessings’

Mitt Romney’s Son Helped Rescue Four People After Car Crash

After years on the sidelines, New York’s liberals retaking control

Obama to issue a new statement of U.S. national security strategy

Syrian chemical arms ‘to be destroyed on US Navy ship’ – BBC News

Dems should not hesitate to further streamline the Senate rulebook

President Obama Visits Immigration Advocates Fasting For Reform

Conservatives live in a different reality from us, ‘history book’ edition

Former KKK Leader And His Mother Indicted After Alabama Cross Burning

 

It’s “Paul Ryan is a serious wonk” season again!

Paul Ryan (Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

Salon – Alex Pareene

The Washington Post admires Paul Ryan’s very bold plan to fight poverty by replacing food stamps with dreams

Wow, is it “Paul Ryan is a serious, brilliant, policy-focused wonk with a dynamic and inclusive vision for the future of the Republican Party” season again already? It comes earlier every year. Thanks, Washington Post, for this brilliant example of the genre.
Paul Ryan is ready to move beyond last year’s failed presidential campaign and the budget committee chairmanship that has defined him to embark on an ambitious new project: Steering Republicans away from the angry, nativist inclinations of the tea party movement and toward the more inclusive vision of his mentor, the late Jack Kemp.

I guess it’s nice that Paul Ryan is going to help lead the Republicans away from those crazy Tea Partyers just one short year after Mitt Romney named him his running mate in part because, as the Times said at the time, “Ryan Brings the Tea Party to the Ticket.” So, what is the new focus?

Since February, Ryan (R-Wis.) has been quietly visiting inner-city neighborhoods with another old Kemp ally, Bob Woodson, the 76-year-old civil rights activist and anti-poverty crusader, to talk to ex-convicts and recovering addicts about the means of their salvation.

Oh, good, Paul Ryan is parachuting into “inner-city neighborhoods” to bring back compassionate conservatism. Tell us more about the sober, admirable seriousness of the endeavor that is Paul Ryan solves poverty.

Continue reading here…

H/t: DB

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