Happy HUMP Day, Everyone!
Teach Me Tonight
Even though 3Chics Politico is written and curated by three women: Ametia, Rikyrah, and SouthernGirl2, I must nominate this as one of the most engaging blogs I've found. Devoted to politics and culture, these three shine a light on contemporary life with humor and spirit.
|rikyrah on Weekend Open Thread|
|rikyrah on Weekend Open Thread|
|rikyrah on Weekend Open Thread|
|rikyrah on Weekend Open Thread|
|rikyrah on Open Thread | What Is Going On…|
|rikyrah on Open Thread | What Is Going On…|
thanks for this. Adding it to the thread
It’s the Lack of Respect
Wed Jul 11th, 2012 at 10:40:11 PM EST
According to the 2010 U.S. Census (.pdf, p.24), there are 8.1 million blacks in this country who have no health insurance. That’s 20.8% of the black population, or slightly more than one out of every five American blacks. The first black president signed a law to change that situation dramatically. That’s because the law required states to put people on Medicaid up to the 133% poverty rate level and then offered a sliding scale of subsidies for anyone else who might struggle to afford health insurance. The bill also created high-risk pools for people with preexisting conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, and sickle-cell anemia. These reforms have the potential to almost completely wipe out the medical crisis in the black community.
But that’s not the only reason that Mitt Romney was lustily booed today at the NAACP when he promised to eliminate the Affordable Care Act. He chose to use the word “ObamaCare” to refer to the bill. In my experience, blacks are extremely sensitive about people showing the proper respect for the Office of the Presidency now that it is occupied by a black man. They don’t like it when people fail to refer to him as “President” or “Mr. President.” And they don’t like to see his name used is a derisive and demeaning way. Mitt Romney was booed primarily because of this lack of respect, which the audience experienced as a lack of respect for them.
To make matters worse, Romney then traveled to Montana for a private fundraiser tonight and, when asked about his experience at the NAACP, he said that “they (meaning blacks) need to be reminded if they want more free stuff from the government tell them to vote for the other guy. But don’t forget nothing is really free.”
I think that’s all the proof we need to know that the NAACP audience had interpreted Romney correctly and their voiced displeasure was entirely justified. Clearly, Romney thought he was booed because the people in the audience want free health insurance for themselves and don’t think anyone has to ultimately pay for it. First of all, most of the people who attend NAACP meetings are fairly well-to-do, relatively speaking, and the percentage of uninsured in the audience was probably quite low. Second, as already mentioned, the Affordable Care Act does a lot more than simply provide Medicaid and subsidies. It helps grandpa get dialysis without having to sell his house to pay for it. It helps grandma get blood pressure medication. It helps cousin get lifetime treatment for his anemia. It helps uncle see a doctor to try to keep that cancer in remission. It helps brother stay on parents’ health care plan until he’s through with graduate school.
There are countless reasons aside from wanting free stuff for blacks to boo anyone who wants to take away the reforms of the Affordable Care Act. To suggest that everyone at today’s NAACP meeting was just looking for a handout is racist on its face. It’s not even a dog whistle. Everyone can hear what Romney is saying.
He’s rapidly becoming the most famous asshole on the planet.
Romney’s a racist prick, who is trying to DISTRACT from his BAIN CAPITAL, TAX HAVEN, OUTSOURCING ANTICS. That fool was coached to roll up in the joint and feed the rabid racist base, and have us talk about it, instead of his past business dealings.
@utaustinliberal @MittRomney at a MT fundraiser on his #NAACP speech: “If they want more free stuff from the govt, tell them to go vote for the other guy”
Mitt at the NAACP: Half-Truths and a Strange Courting
By Charles P. Pierce
If you want a president who will make things better in the African-American community, you are looking at him.”
Just, wow. Okay, give him credit. He showed up.
All right, that’s enough.
Willard Romney who, as much as it makes the editors of Politico nervous to hear anyone say it, really is more comfortable around white people, went to the NAACP convention in Houston on Wednesday morning and attempted to put the best face on, well, his face. He hammered into place all the usual boilerplate — airy generalities about charter schools and economic opportunity. He got booed when he mentioned the Affordable Care Act, a moment that I’m sure will be translated into a campaign ad about his intellectual fortitude that will run only in areas where there are a lot of white people with whom he can feel comfortable. He took a crack at using same-sex marriage as a wedge issue — “As president, I will promote strong families and I also will support traditional marriage” — even though the NAACP recently endorsed same-sex marriage. He also mentioned our old friend, the Keystone XL pipeline….
First, I will take full advantage of our energy resources, and I will approve the Keystone pipeline from Canada. Low cost, plentiful coal, natural gas, oil, and renewables will bring over a million manufacturing jobs back to the United States.
This latter figure is almost assuredly a lie. He really has become the most remarkable liar. Why he would bring this up in front of this particular audience, I have no idea. Maybe a page from another speech accidentally got collated into this one. He even mentioned at length that he once was elected governor of Massachusetts, which somehow rarely comes up when he’s talking to audiences in say, Gadsden, Alabama.
Read more: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/mitt-romney-naacp-speech-10555184#ixzz20N3tdx9K
Romney At The NAACP: A Filial Tragedy
July 11, 2012 | 12:52 pm
Mitt Romney’s appearance this morning at the NAACP convention in Houston was the occasion for much media tittering—after all, the candidate’s prior attempts to ingratiate himself with African-Americans had produced some awkward moments. The speech did not disappoint in the awkwardness department — Romney opened with a cringe-worthy line of praise for the convention’s organ music, and the same organ later tried to prematurely usher him off the stage, like a verbose Oscar recipient. All in all, though, it was hard to find the speech amusing, because when it comes down to it, there is something about Mitt Romney’s relationship with African-American voters that is just uniquely depressing.
But here’s the thing: Romney actually had something to offer his Houston audience. He could have told them about the signal accomplishment of his term as governor, a law that disproportionately benefited blacks and other minorities in Massachusetts, and that laid the groundwork for a national law that will extend health coverage to millions of African-Americans. But of course, Romney would not do that. Instead, he reiterated his intention to repeal said national law, for which he was unsurprisingly booed (an outcome that his campaign surely expected and may even have desired—a Romney adviser said today that the goal of the event was less to win over black voters than to be seen trying.) Before the speech was over, Romney was already getting media huzzahs on Twitter for standing his ground in attacking Obamacare despite the audience; but is it really standing one’s ground to disavow one’s greatest policy accomplishment? Also little-noted in the initial reaction to the speech was the utter dissonance between Romney’s decrying of high black unemployment—his main argument why his audience ought to rethink its support for Barack Obama—and his support for the public sector cuts that are disproportionately hurting black workers.
July 11, 2012 2:54 PM
By Ed Kilgore
Josh Marshall expresses exasperation today that anyone would seriously contend Mitt Romney’s wealth (not to mention his means of securing it, and of avoiding taxes on it) should not be a legitimate issue in the presidential campaign:
Having vast wealth and aggressively working the law and tax code to avoid taxes is a very different thing if your policy agenda is geared almost entirely to benefit the super wealthy. If you’re a gazillionaire and your main pitch is to cut taxes on gazillionaires that’s just gonna put a bit more emphasis on your wealth. This logic should not be difficult to grasp
Well, if your political ideology predisposes you to identify wealth with virtue and taxation with theft, I suppose any attention to a candidate’s after-tax wealth that isn’t laudatory is by definition an appeal to envy and prejudice. But I think Romney’s identification with his wealth is even more fundamental than Josh suggests: it’s not just his platform that is focused single-mindedly on increasing the share of national treasure available for the job-creating good works of rich folks and the companies they run and invest in: his message, which rarely touches on the messy details of policy, is that he knows how to “fix” the economy as attested by his business success, which in our system is measured by money.
In any event, the wailing about “class warfare” and “demagoguery” among Republicans is a sure sign they understand that Mitt’s wealth is a problem. It’s largely been forgotten that in 2008, John McCain reportedly (according to Game Change) struck Mitt from his list of possible running-mates because of his fabulous wealth, which exacerbated McCain’s own wealth issues after the embarrassing incident wherein he couldn’t remember how many houses he owned. That was before the financial crisis had fully manifested itself, demonstrating that corporate wizards like Mitt Romney weren’t exactly as smart as they were cracked up to be (other than in their ability to offload the consequences of their mistakes on others).
So of course Romney’s wealth is going to be an issue. Americans have proven repeatedly that they won’t hold a candidate’s wealth against him or her; indeed, they tend to like rich guys on one level, believing them to be less likely to take bribes. But candidates can definitely make their wealth a major liability. One way is to be like Meg Whitman and use that wealth to try to bludgeon voters into supporting them via a mind-numbing level of political advertising. And another is to be the rich guy who makes his wealth his primary qualification for office, while promising to make life easier for other rich guys. If I were a Republican I wouldn’t want that sort of candidate leading my party at a time when unemployment is high and millions of voters have watched their financial assets erode or evaporate in very recent memory. But then again, Republicans probably wouldn’t have nominated Mitt if they hadn’t wound up with the worst field of candidates a major party has had in decades.
July 11, 2012 11:45 AM
What Matters Between Now and the Election
By John Sides
The ground game. To paraphrase a comment I heard from Sasha Issenberg, the problem with horse-race journalism is that it’s watching the wrong part of the horse. It spends too much time pondering the (poorly understood) effects of messaging and not enough on the nitty-gritty activities of the campaigns on the ground. Most importantly, we know from social science that get-out-the-vote drives can really work. So if the election comes down to mobilizing supporters, the comments of Cory Booker on the Sunday morning shows will be far less important than whether Obama and Romney can use the accumulated data they have about voters to identify promising targets and then contact them in the most effective way.
Alas, this is the toughest part of the campaign to watch, since much of it is invisible except in occasional reporting like Issenberg’s or this from Alec MacGillis. But if the election is close, field operations could be more important than the ads.
Let me close with this admonition: if you want to follow races where the campaign really might matter, you should be watching the Senate, House, and Senate and state legislative races. (Why? See #1 and #2 here.) And big things are at stake in these races—whether Republicans can consolidate their 2010 gains, whether they can take the Senate, and so on. Political observers (and political scientists too) pay too much attention to presidential elections. Don’t forget that a lot of interesting action is elsewhere.
British billionaire Hans Kristian Rausing held in connection with wife’s death
An American heiress is dead, and a man matching her British husband’s description is being held on drug charges. The details are still emerging, but ABC News reports that British billionaire Hans Kristian Rausing, 49, is being held on drug charges in connection with the death of his wife, Eva Rausing.
Ms. Rausing, 48, was found dead at the couple’s five-story mansion in London by police on Monday. Reuters reported on Wednesday that British media outlets claimed Eva Rausing may have been dead in the house for a week or more before her body was discovered. And in a even more disturbing detail, that Hans Kristian Rausing may have been in the house with her the entire time.
Police have said that a postmortem held at Westminster Mortuary has not yet established a formal cause of death. Mr. Rausing was reported arrested for driving erratically and has since been questioned in connection with his wife’s death and for carrying illegal drugs.
This would not be the first drug related incident for Rausing, who is heir to his father’s $10 billion Tetra Pak food packaging business. ABC notes that Eva Rausing was arrested in 2008 after she allegedly attempted to smuggle drugs into the U.S. Embassy in London.
When police searched the Rausing’s home, they reportedly found cocaine, crack and heroin. The couple were issued a formal caution but charges were later dropped.
However, the couple appeared to have left their troubled past behind them. Rather than follow in his father’s business footsteps, Rausing has focused his adult life on philanthropic work. The couple reportedly donated large sums of money to groups combating substance abuse, including The Mentor Foundation.
22-Year-Old Gets Busted By His Own Mother During Robbery.. Orders Him out The Store
Dems hope to play offense on health care
By Steve Benen – Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:29 PM EDT.
A little later today, House Republicans will vote once again to eliminate every word of every page of the Affordable Care Act. I noted yesterday that it will be the 31st time the House GOP has voted to repeal all, part, or some of “Obamacare,” but it turns out I understated matters — I’ve since been informed by the House Republican Whip’s office that today will be the 33rd repeal vote.
Regardless, the GOP believes it has a political winner on its hands, which is why they keep going through this charade, knowing repeal will never pass the Senate. Polls show support for the law growing in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling — less than a third of Americans endorse Republicans demand for full repeal — but the House majority doesn’t care.
What this offers is an opportunity for Democrats — if they choose to take advantage of it. Greg Sargent reports today on whether the tables can be turned in advance of the election.
Today, in the wake of the House GOP vote to repeal Obamacare, the [Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee] will use the vote to attack House GOPers who are running for Senate — mostly in red states.
The DSCC will hit Rep. Rick Berg, who’s running against Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota; Rep. Denny Rehberg, who’s running to unseat Jon Tester in Montana; Rep. Connie Mack, the favorite to face Bill Nelson in Florida; and Rep. Jeff Flake, who’s running for the open seat being vacated by retiring Senator Jon Kyl in Arizona.
The details matter, of course. The message isn’t “Obamacare’s great”; the message is “Republicans are playing games when they should be focusing on jobs.” That’s not a bad campaign message, but it’s only taking advantage of the opportunity half-way.
The Democratic message doesn’t note, for example, that every Republican supporting full repeal is voting to take away health coverage for young adults staying on their family plans. They’re also voting to raise prescription drug prices for seniors, ending protections for those with pre-existing conditions, reinstating lifetime insurance caps, scrapping tax breaks for small businesses, and raising the deficit the GOP sometimes pretends to care about.
In other words, Republicans are trying to kill popular health care measures because they think it’ll help them politically. Maybe someone ought to let voters know.
Still, for Dems to get out of a defensive crouch on health care is itself a step in the right direction.
Cool DFA Effort to Empower Women
Wed Jul 11th, 2012 at 02:01:01 PM EST
By now, you are probably getting used to headlines like Report: States Enacted 39 Abortion Restrictions So Far In 2012. Even though 2012 isn’t as bad as the record-breaking 2011, they’ve advanced from enacting waiting periods to working on personhood amendments and compulsory transvaginal ultrasounds, while teaming up with the Catholic bishops to restrict access to contraception.
A look at what they haven’t passed is even more frightening. They tried to strip all funding for Planned Parenthood from the federal budget. There was a bill in Congress that would have allowed hospitals to let women die rather than perform a life-saving abortion. In South Dakota, they introduced a bill legalizing the murder of abortion providers. In Georgia, they introduced a bill that redefined victims of rape as “accusers.” In Arizona, they tried to pass a bill that would allow doctors to withhold critical information about the health of a fetus if they thought that information might lead the woman to terminate her pregnancy. Apparently, nine states already have similar laws on their books.
The Republicans are undermining women’s health, ignoring their constitutional right to privacy, passing laws with the express purpose of causing mental anguish and humiliation for women, fighting and repealing equal pay laws, downplaying domestic violence, and eliminating funding for children’s education and health.
And they’re just getting started.
That’s why I was pretty excited when I learned about Democracy for America’s new effort to train women (and men) to get organized and fight back. I do consulting work for DFA, so I got an inside peek. To fully utilize their tools, you need to register, but you can get a look at their program here. What they’re doing is interactive webinars. Last night they had their first one, which was performed by Cecile Richards and Deirdre Schifeling of Planned Parenthood. It focused on teaching people how to organize a successful house party. The idea is to get concerned citizens talking to each other so that they can come together to create political action.
Next week, the Executive Director of the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, Debby Tucker, will give a talk on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Future planned events will deal with economic disparity, women in media, women candidates, and women voters.
One nice part of the webinars is that you can ask questions and have them answered immediately. They also come with tool-kits to help you utilize the information you’ve learned.
If you’re interested, you should bookmark this link and give yourself a calendar reminder that the next webinar will air at 8pm (EST) on July 18th. If you register, you can also watch last night’s presentation, which is at the bottom of the page.
Give it a look. It’s time our side started fighting as hard to preserve women’s gains as the other side is fighting to take those gains away.
NOW Endorses Obama, Says Romney Wants to Take Us Back to 1950′s
By: Sarah Jones
This will come as no surprise to those who have followed the Republican War on Women, but for a campaign struggling to keep up with the endless war chests of corporate Republican PACs who appear to be violating the spirit and intent of the “do not coordinate” rules with the Romney campaign, it’s good to hear that the National Organization for Women’s PAC (NOW) is officially endorsing President Obama for re-election.
NOW/PAC Chair Terry O’Neill’s statement highlights the clear contrast on women’s rights between Obama and Romney this November, noting that in President Obama women have someone who listens and responds, and in Romney we have a man who not only is unresponsive but wants to turn the clock back to the 1950′s “if not the 19th century.”
Read her statement below:
NOW PAC is proud to stand behind a president who unquestionably represents the path forward to achieve equality for women. Throughout the past four years President Obama has listened to our concerns and repeatedly stood up for women’s rights against a right-wing juggernaut bent on undermining our access to reproductive health care, our economic security and even our safety from intimate partner violence and sexual assault.
The extremists’ War on Women is all too real, and in order to win this struggle we must have strong allies in the White House who will work with us to implement policies that empower the women of this country to live healthy, safe and productive lives. President Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden have shown time and again that they are our allies.
President Obama’s record on women’s issues speaks for itself:
An ‘extreme’ tax policy
By Steve Benen – Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:51 AM EDT.
President Obama is pushing a modest, popular tax plan: those making under $250,000 get to keep their tax cut for another year. The top 2% get to keep their tax cut for their first $250,000 in income, but would pay Clinton-era rates on the rest.
How will Mitt Romney fight against a middle-class tax cut in an election year? By labeling Obama’s plan “extreme.”
Mitt Romney on Tuesday branded President Obama’s tax plan as an “extreme liberal” position that would halt job creation. […]
“The very idea of raising taxes on small businesses and job creators at the time we need to create more jobs could is the sort of thing only an extreme liberal could come up with,” Romney said.
Let’s unpack this a bit because it’s a pretty important part of the presidential race.
We know, for example, that for any fair-minded person to characterize Obama’s plan as “extreme” liberalism is demonstrably ridiculous. We also know that if anyone’s plan is going to qualify as “extreme,” it’s Romney’s.
When Romney first unveiled his tax plan in the Spring, the non-partisan Tax Policy Center published a fairly detailed analysis, showing that the Republican’s proposal would raise taxes on those struggling most, while delivering more huge tax breaks for the wealthy — a Bush/Cheney plan on steroids.
Now, in fairness, Team Romney has said the TPC analysis is mistaken, because it doesn’t include various incentives and deductions that the Republican administration would support. But given that Romney refuses to tell anyone what those details might look like, we can only scrutinize the policy the way it currently looks on the page. (Derek Thompson noted a related analysis yesterday that suggests even more Americans would face a tax increase under Romney’s plan.)
What’s more, if we ignore Romney’s vague plan and look only at the Paul Ryan budget plan that Romney endorsed, the tax changes are more extreme, not less.
And what about small businesses? I’m glad you asked.
Romney told voters that the Obama agenda would “raise taxes on small businesses” because some small businesses would fall into the category of earners making more than $250,000. But how many? Fox News told viewers yesterday the change could affect “as many as half” of small businesses. To say that’s a wild exaggeration is to insult wild exaggerations.
Sahil Kapur noted that, according to Congress’s nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, only 3.5% of small business tax filers would pay a higher rate. And by most measures, that’s on the high end of recent estimates — the Treasury Department puts the figure closer to 2.5%, while the Brookings Tax Policy Center estimated it’s only 1.9%.
Taken together, somewhere between 96.5% and 98.1% of American small businesses would keep their tax cut under Obama’s plan, and wouldn’t see their taxes go up at all.
Romney appears to have overlooked this little detail — or more accurately, he’s hoping you’ll overlook this little detail.
Fighting the Wrong Battle
Wed Jul 11th, 2012 at 10:20:38 AM EST
It’s kind of stunning how much effort the Republicans are putting into making arguments in favor of repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Even the Heritage Foundation, which practically designed the health care reforms back in the early 1990’s, is getting into the act. This is such a political loser that I am ecstatic about the misallocation of time and effort. As Rick Santorum frequently pointed out, Mitt Romney is probably the worst person in the entire country to pitch the repeal of ObamaCare. Plus, this hostility to the Act is going to help drive the gender gap because women love having their kids on their health insurance until they are twenty-six and they love having all their contraceptive needs treated as preventative care that has no co-pays. Women love that they won’t be charged more for insurance just because they reproduce. And women love that they will no longer be treated as having a pre-existing condition because they’ve had a caesarian section or been the victim of domestic abuse.
So, the Republicans can stuff it. We’re going to win this election and there is no going back.
This is not the ‘Bermuda’ you’re looking for
By Steve Benen – Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:30 AM EDT.
In light of Mitt Romney’s curious shell corporation in Bermuda, quietly transferred to his wife’s name to avoid disclosure laws, ABC News ran an item yesterday with a needlessly provocative headline designed to get far-right links: “On Obama Adviser’s Disclosure Form: ‘Bermuda.'”
Naturally, it had the intended effect, with Republicans pouncing on the notion that Valerie Jarrett engages in offshore investments in Bermuda, just like the GOP presidential candidate. Hypocrisy! Scandal! OMG tweets!
Indeed, Steve M. noted, right on cue, the story was quickly picked up by National Review, Free Republic, Lucianne.com, Michelle Malkin’s Twitter feed, various talk radio Web sites, and many more.
As much as I hate to disappoint over-eager conservative media figures, they probably should have read the ABC report past the headline.
It appears that Jarrett borrowed money from JPMorgan Chase, which has a subsidiary in Bermuda — not unusual for insurance companies that want to lay off some of their risks. It doesn’t mean that Jarrett sought any sort of transaction from Bermuda, but rather that the bank could be using its Bermuda subsidiary on credit forms.
In other words, routine credit card statements can include references to Bermuda simply because insurance companies have subsidiaries there.
So, are there any similarities at all between this and Romney’s shell corporation and cash in the Caymans? Not even a little. The headline was designed to generate conservative traffic, and you might get an email about it from your crazy uncle, but there’s nothing here.
Ed Rollins: GOP Needs To Be Less Old, White And Fat (VIDEO)
.Romney’s unpleasant visit with the NAACP
By Steve Benen – Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:33 PM EDT
.It’s a mistake to assume that every prominent Republican who speaks at the NAACP’s national convention will receive a cool reception. It’s simply not the case — then-RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman’s speech in 2004 was very well received, for example.
So, when Mitt Romney agreed to speak this morning, it was hardly a foregone conclusion that his remarks would go over poorly. Sure, he antagonized the NAACP in Massachusetts during his one term as governor. And sure, Romney’s right-wing policy agenda would disproportionately hurt African Americans. And sure, Romney’s party is engaged in a systematic effort to prevent African-American voters from participating in the 2012 elections.
But Romney nevertheless could have stressed areas of agreement and made his case for why his far-right proposals would help the African-American community. Instead, the Republican chose a different path.
I’ve been following NAACP conventions for quite a while now, and I can’t recall ever hearing such a lengthy, sustained booing. (The rest of the speech received polite applause, but the booing was obviously the most notable development of the morning.)
The wonk in me feels compelled to mention that Romney’s argument wasn’t even coherent on its face — he said he wants to kill the Affordable Care Act to reduce the deficit, which is absurd since killing the Affordable Care Act would increase the deficit.
But I think it’s probably safe to say that’s not why Romney was booed. In fact, this was entirely predictable — the far-right Republican presidential candidate spoke to the NAACP and effectively proclaimed, “Vote for me and I’ll make sure 7 million African Americans lose their health insurance.”
What kind of campaign pitch is that? For crying out loud, of course Romney got booed. At the risk of being overly cynical, I can’t help but wonder if Romney did this on purpose precisely so he would be booed.
In the larger context, Jamil Smith argued there Romney really didn’t have anything to lose by giving this speech, and I wholeheartedly agree. If it went well, Romney gets a boost thanks to a warm reception from a Democratic constituency. If it went poorly, Romney gets credit for the outreach, and his base gets further motivated.
Indeed, if I had to guess, I’d say Romney will now position himself as something of a victim — he appeared in good faith, the argument goes, but that mean ol’ NAACP audience booed him for standing by his beliefs.
It’ll be nonsense, but it’s likely to become the Republican talking point.
Can you Please repost this in the romney-NAACP thread too? Thanks!
Posted at 11:11 AM ET, 07/11/2012
Yes, the Senate will vote on Obama’s tax cut extension
By Greg Sargent
One of the stories of the morning is that Senate Democrats are supposedly standing in the way of a vote on Obama’s plan to extend the tax cuts for income under $250,000.
“Senate Dems block Obama’s tax-cut bill,” Drudge blared, citing a story in the Washington Times with roughly the same headline. That seems a bit off message — isn’t Obama’s plan actually supposed to be nothing more than a tax hike? Oh well, good to see they described Obama’s plan accurately.
Here’s what happened. Mitch McConnell asked for two votes, one on the GOP’s plan to extend all the tax cuts, including for income over $250,000, and another on Obama’s plan to extend the tax cuts on income just under $250,000. Reid objected. So what actually happened is that Reid didn’t want to hold a vote on both the GOP plan and Obama’s proposal.
There will, in fact, be a vote on Obama’s plan, a Reid spokesman confirms.
“There will absolutely be a vote on President Obama’s tax plan this work period,” Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson emails.
The GOP’s #1 Senate target
By Steve Benen – Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:35 AM EDT.
Senate Democrats have held the majority now in three consecutive Congresses (the 110th through the 112th), their longest majority in about two decades. But Republicans need a net gain of just a few seats to regain control of the chamber.
To that end, the GOP is eyeing several Democratic incumbents this year, but one in particular clearly sits atop the target list.
Crossroads GPS, the advocacy group launched by Karl Rove, is coming out with a $1.1 million ad campaign against Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) on Tuesday, pushing the total amount of conservative spending in that race to more than $10 million.
According to Brown campaign spokesman Justin Barasky, $1.1 million in airtime time was reserved by Crossroads GPS beginning on July 10 and continuing for 10 days in Ohio’s major markets…. That raises spending by outside conservative groups in the Ohio contest to $10.5 million, more than any other senator or Senate candidate in the country has faced.
Keep in mind, conservative attack operations have already spent $10.5 million to destroy Brown, and it’s only July. What’s more, this doesn’t even include the millions that will be spent by official Republican committees or the senator’s far-right opponent, state Treasurer Josh Mandel (R).
But here’s the funny part: Mandel last week “decried the outside money spent on Brown’s behalf against him.” The Republican complained, “There’s no way in the world we’re going to have as much money as they are. What we have on our side is something more important: it’s called the silent majority.”
And how much outside money from the left has come into Ohio on Brown’s behalf? Around $2.5 million — roughly one-fourth the total of money from the right on Mandel’s behalf. In other words, $2.5 million to support a Democrat is an outrageous onslaught, but over $10 million to support a Republican is fine.
If Mandel is seriously worried about the role of outside money in the race, I suspect Brown and his team would welcome a conversation about how best to keep outside groups at bay.
Posted at 09:17 AM ET, 07/11/2012
The Morning Plum: Americans don’t support full repeal of Obamacare
By Greg Sargent
Today the House GOP will vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The vote is purely symbolic, but Republicans believe it will be helpful politically: It will excite the base, and drive home again that only by putting Republicans in charge can Obamacare be repealed, clarifying the stakes in this fall’s elections, as Republicans hope to define them.
But what if there’s also an opening for Democrats to make a moral issue out of repeal? Mitt Romney would not replace Obamacare with anything meaningful; he would not ban across-the-board discrimination against those with preexisting condidtions. Matt Miller says Obama should go on offense in a big way:
Here’s what you should do, Mr. President. In the debates this fall, pull out a small laminated card you’ve had made as a prop for this purpose. Then remind Mitt Romney that the ranks of the uninsured today are equal to the combined populations of Oklahoma, Connecticut, Iowa, Mississippi, Kansas, Kentucky, Arkansas, Utah, Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico, West Virginia, Nebraska, Idaho, Maine, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska, Vermont and Wyoming.
Read that list slowly, Mr. President. Then ask your opponent: Would America turn its back on the citizens of these 25 states if everyone there lacked basic health coverage? That’s what we’ve been doing for decades. You knew it was right to act when you were governor of Massachusetts, Mitt. How can you pretend we don’t need to solve this for the nation? And how can you object with a straight face when your own pioneering plan was my model?
The president should also say he’d be happy to talk reform once Republicans offer a rival plan that the CBO certifies will cover 30 million people, as the Affordable Care Act does.
Here’s another question. We know Obamacare remains unpopular. But what if full repeal — the Romney/GOP position — is actually less popular than Obamacare itself? It’s hard to answer this question, because different polling organizations poll on these issues so differently. But…
Posted at 05:19 PM ET, 07/10/2012
The strategy behind the Dem attacks on Bain
By Greg Sargent
Many commentators view the attacks on Mitt Romney’s Bain years as little more than an effort to paint him as a heartless plutocrat. But the strategy is a good deal more complex than that. The goal is twofold: First, to undermine Romney’s principle case for the presidency, i.e., that his business background makes him a “job creator” who is equipped to turn around the country’s economy. And second, to define Romney in a way that makes it easier for voters to understand his true policy goals and priorities on entitlements, taxes, and other issues.
In an interview with me just now, Geoff Garin, the pollster for the lead Obama ally Priorities USA Action, spelled this out — and insisted new polling the group has produced shows the attack is working.
Priorities will release a memo tomorrow detailing polling in the five swing states where Priorities has been running ads — Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Garin said the polling will show:
* a clear jump in the number of voters in those states who are less, rather than more, likely to vote for Romney on the basis of his business background, and
* a sizable jump in the number who believe Romney’s priority was making lots of money for himself and his investers, regardless of the impact it had on jobs and employees.
We should reserve judgment on the polling until we see the full memo. But Garin’s preview is also interesting for what it says about the two goals of this strategy.
“First, it goes to the heart of his primary rationale for being better on the economy,” Garin said. “Second, once people have learned that Romney was willing to fire workers and terminate health and pension benefits while taking tens of millions out of companies, they are much more ready to understand that Romney would indeed cut Social Security and Medicare to give tax breaks to rich people like himself. This provides a foundation to build the core policy critique against Romney.”
“We’ve firmly established that Romney’s tenure was not about creating jobs,” Garin added. “This sets the stage for what we’ll be doing later on.”
Romney claims he don’t know nothing ’bout no blind turst, eh?
Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 02:32 PM PDT.
Mitt Romney says he knows nothing about his offshore investments
There are still more questions than answers, but these occur to me: Did Mitt Romney have any of these offshore investments before he put his holdings into a blind trust? If so, that would expose his statement today as a clear effort at misleading the public.
Will Mitt Romney release records proving that he didn’t have any offshore accounts or investments prior to the establishment of his trust?
If Mitt Romney is telling the truth and even he doesn’t know about his own investments, isn’t that all the more reason he should lift the veil of secrecy?
Mitt Romney may call it a blind trust, but does that mean that he has no involvement in it? The trust is run by one of his closest friends and colleagues and has invested millions in his family’s businesses.
Posted at 03:51 PM ET, 07/10/2012
Mitt Romney’s position is weaker than it looks
By Jamelle Bouie
Lately, a whole host of Republicans have begun to fret over their candidate. Even with the favorable environment, is Romney too weak to win? Is he too cautious? Too vulnerable to the charge that he cares only about the wealthy? In The Hill, Niall Stanage aired a few of these complaints. However, for every conservative worried about Mitt Romney’s chances, there are others who see him as well positioned for victory. In the The Weekly Standard, for example, Jay Cost makes the argument that Obama is weak, unpopular, and poised for defeat:
Barack Obama is an unpopular president. You might never pick up on this if your only sources for information are NBC Nightly News and the New York Times. But that does not make it untrue. […]
Which president was the last one to win reelection with a job approval less than 50 percent among the electorate? Don’t worry if you are having trouble answering. It’s a trick question. Since they’ve been asking the question, the exit polls and the National Election Study have not found such a victor.
Actually, at this stage of the game in 2004, George W. Bush had an average approval rating of 48 percent, and trailed John Kerry in head-to-head match-ups with 45 percent of the vote. In the end, however he won a slight popular vote majority over Kerry, and a majority of the electoral college. At the moment, the 2012 election looks like a repeat performance, with Barack Obama playing the role of Bush.
To offer a stronger counterpoint, two things are true at the moment. First, Obama has mostly maintained a consistent lead in the Gallup tracking poll, and leads in every polling average. Second, his lead hasn’t diminished, and if you remove outliers, it has actually increased somewhat. His approval rating is near even — with equal amounts approval and disapproval — and as Greg noted this morning, according to the latest Post/ABC poll, his standing on the issues improves when compared directly to Romney.
Cost is right to say that attitudes about the president are nearly set in stone. But the conclusion to draw isn’t that Obama is on the way to defeat, it’s that Romney needs to do more to make himself an appealing alternative. Barring a major change in conditions, the leading candidate in the middle of the summer tends to maintain their position into the fall. In six of the last seven elections, according to Gallup, if you’re leading at the end of July — and into August — then odds are good that you’ll lead after Labor Day, up to the election. The sole exception is Michael Dukakis, who led George H.W. Bush until his support collapsed in the fall.
Why it matters when, exactly, Romney left Bain
By Steve Benen – Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:33 AM EDT.
It was easy to miss, but there was an interesting spat last week between President Obama’s campaign and the Annenberg Center’s FactCheck.org. The campaign had run an ad holding Mitt Romney responsible for a series of Bain Capital layoffs, which FactCheck.org rejected as unfair — the layoffs, the website’s editors said, occurred after Romney left Bain.
Obama’s team stood by the claim, sending a six-page letter (pdf) to the FactCheck.org editors, defending their argument in great detail. FactCheck.org was unmoved and said the campaign’s claim was still wrong — any business decisions Bain made after February 1999, when Romney stopped working at his private equity firm, can’t fairly be held against him.
Who was right, the Obama campaign or FactCheck.org? As of this week, the evidence clearly favors the former.
Mother Jones’ David Corn has done some excellent reporting of late, uncovering ample evidence that Romney didn’t leave Bain until 2002, three years after his ostensible departure date. Josh Marshall moved the ball forward yesterday, as well.
The gist of the disagreement comes down to this: There’s no question that numerous public filings and some contemporaneous press references say Romney was still running things at Bain after 1999. But his campaign insists that whatever securities filings may have said, in practice, he was so busy running the 2002 Winter Olympics that he actually had no role at Bain after early 1999. That’s possible in theory. But there’s no evidence for it besides self-interested claims by Romney. And there’s plenty of documentary evidence to the contrary. After all, what you tell the SEC is really supposed to be true.
But here’s the thing. I’ve found yet more instances where Romney made declarations to the SEC that he was still involved in running Bain after February 1999. To the best of my knowledge, no one has yet noted these.
What Josh highlighted were two SEC filings from July 2000 and February 2001 in which Romney listed his “principal occupation” as “Managing Director of Bain Capital, Inc.” At the risk of putting too fine a point on this, one cannot be gone from Bain in February 1999 and also be the managing director of Bain in February 2001.
Now, you might be thinking, “Does this really matter? What difference does it make exactly when Romney left Bain?” It matters quite a bit, actually.
For one thing, call me old fashioned, but Romney is supposed to tell the truth, both to the public and to the Securities and Exchange Commission. At this point, Romney’s claims don’t add up, and it’s not unreasonable to ask for an explanation.
On a related note, it also matters whether or not Romney told the truth on his official financial disclosure forms.
And then, of course, there’s the whole point of why Romney wants people to believe he left Bain earlier than the apparent date. The Republican candidate probably doesn’t want to be on the hook for a series of controversial Bain investments — again, see Corn’s reporting — and layoffs, which would help explain his competing explanations.
FactCheck.org’s editors appear to have accepted Romney’s claims at face value, but the documentary evidence now appears to point in the opposite direction. Here’s hoping they, and others in media, give this another look.
Mitt Romney to address NAACP
By Nia-Malika Henderson, Published: July 10
The Washington Post
Mitt Romney is set to make his most public overture to African American voters Wednesday in an address to the nation’s oldest civil rights group at an event that has become a rite of passage for presidential candidates of both parties.
In his speech to the NAACP in Houston, the Republican presidential candidate faces a daunting task as he tries to appeal to a core Democratic constituency that is largely at odds with his policy prescriptions, suspicious of his record on diversity and civil rights, and largely committed to his general-election opponent.
The NAACP visit is the former Massachusetts governor’s attempt to move beyond the traditional Republican Party base by trying to deliver a message that the GOP is serious about attracting black voters.
Critics say the effort is pointless for his chances in November. Supporters say it is important for the future of the party.
*Love this comment: Make sure Willard brings his ID. And his tax returns for more than one year. What a laugh.
Obama to extend health coverage to federal firefighters
By Steve Benen
Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.
I was surprised to learn two weeks ago that federal firefighters, including many combating brutal wildfires in Colorado, are considered temporary employees who are ineligible for health care coverage through the Forest Service. They’re working incredibly dangerous jobs under life-threatening conditions, but many go without insurance.
President Obama is poised to change that. The Denver Post reported yesterday on a shift in administration policy.
President Barack Obama has directed federal officials to offer seasonal firefighters the option of purchasing federal health insurance coverage, White House officials told The Denver Post Tuesday.
On a recent trip to Colorado Springs, the president was apparently moved by the men and women firefighters he met, senior administration officials said in an interview Tuesday. When he returned to Washington, he told his cabinet that he wanted to “find a solution” for the hundreds of workers toiling in dangerous conditions without the option to buy in to federal insurance
Mr. Romney’s Financial Black Hole
Published: July 10, 2012
Paying taxes forthrightly has long been a matter of civic pride for most American politicians, a demonstration of honesty and of a willingness to share in society’s burdens. Since the Watergate era, presidential candidates have released several years of tax returns, allowing voters to peer at their financial choices and discern their entanglements.
Mitt Romney has upended that tradition this year. He has released only one complete tax return, for 2010, along with an unfinished estimate of his 2011 taxes. What information he did release provides a fuzzy glimpse at a concerted effort to park much of his wealth in overseas tax shelters, suggesting a widespread pattern of tax avoidance unlike that of any previous candidate.
Mr. Romney has resisted all demands for more disclosure, leading to growing criticism from Democrats that he is trying to hide his fortune and his tax schemes from the public. Given the troubling suspicions about his finances, he needs to release many more returns and quickly open his books to full scrutiny.
The 2010 tax return showed that the blind trust held by his wife, Ann, included a $3 million Swiss bank account that had not been properly reported on previous financial disclosure statements. (The account was closed by the trust manager in 2010 who feared it might become embarrassing for the campaign. He was right.) It also showed that Mr. Romney had used a complex offshore tax shelter, known as a blocker corporation, to shield the investments in his I.R.A. from paying an obscure business tax.
Wednesday Morning Open Thread: It’s A Poll Tax
By Anne Laurie July 11th, 2012
Most of you have probably heard this already, but here’s a couple links to pass along. Retro being very “in” this season, Attorny General Eric Holder “vows to aggressively challenge voter ID laws“:
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Tuesday vowed to be “aggressive” in challenging voting laws that restrict minority rights, using a speech in Texas to make his case on the same day a federal court was considering the legality of the state’s new voter ID legislation.
“Let me be clear: We will not allow political pretexts to disenfranchise American citizens of their most precious rights,” Holder said in the speech to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “I can assure you that the Justice Department’s efforts to uphold and enforce voting rights will remain aggressive.”…
Attorney General Eric Holder deviated from his prepared remarks during a speech before the NAACP on Tuesday and called voter ID laws “poll taxes.”
“Under the proposed law, concealed handgun licenses would be acceptable forms of photo ID, but student IDs would not,” Holder said, referring specifically to the voter ID law passed in Texas. “Many of those without IDs would have to travel great distances to get them, and some would struggle to pay for the documents they might need to obtain them. We call those poll taxes.”
That last line was not part of Holder’s prepared remarks released to the press…
BWA HA HA HA
Good Morning, Everyone :)
Good Morning, rikyrah & Everyone! :-)