I keep your phone number under my pillow, George
Yesterday, Mitt Romney gave a big speech in which he accused Obama of lighting a “prairie fire of debt.” It’s a good line, and it has received widespread media coverage.
Romney’s speech has already been dissected by Jonathan Chait and Steve Benen. They note that it’s entirely at odds with conventional understanding of how deficits work, and utterly disconnected from context, rendering it almost unquantifiably misleading.
But I wanted to make another point. If you scan through all the media attention Romney’s speech received, you are hard-pressed to find any news accounts that tell readers the following rather relevant points:
1) Nonpartisan experts believe Romney’s plans would increase the deficit far more than Obama’s would.
2) George W. Bush’s policies arguably are more responsible for increasing the deficit than Obama’s are…
This shouldn’t be a matter of partisan opinion. On the first point, independent experts think an actual set of facts exists that can be used to determine what the impact of Romney’s policies on the deficit would be. And according to those experts, based on what we know now, Romney’s policies would explode the deficit far more than Obama’s would.
The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has taken a close look at this question. It has determined that relative to current policy — that is, if you keep the Bush tax cuts in place, as Romney wants to do — Romney’s tax cutting plans would increase the deficit by nearly $5 trillion over 10 years. That’s on top of keeping the Bush tax cuts for the rich. Romney has promised to close various loopholes to pay for his tax cuts, but he hasn’t specified which ones. Until he does, the Tax Policy Center concludes, his plan would cost $5 trillion — which would be added, yes, to the deficit.
By contrast, Obama’s plans would not increase the deficit by anything close to that amount. Relative to current policy, the Tax Policy Center has found, Obama’s plan would reduce the deficit by approximately $2 trillion over the next decade. Now, under Obama, the deficit would still increase. That’s because current policy means we’re forgoing the $4.5 trillion in revenues we’d gain if we let all the Bush tax cuts expire. But neither candidate is going to do that. Obama, however, would end the Bush tax cuts for the rich and bring in revenues through a variety of other tax increases. Bottom line: relative to current policy, Obama’s plan would reduce the deficit by bringing in $180 billion or more in revenues a year, or approximately $2 trillion over 10 years; Romney’s plan would increase the deficit by nearly $500 billion a year — $5 trillion over ten years…
On the second point, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has determined that the policies put in place under Bush are the main driver of the deficits that are projected over the next decade.
The only debate about Romney’s advocacy, so far, is whether he’s ignorant of how many times he’s flip-flopped on questions of policy and economics — whether he’s ignorant of real facts [which I sincerely doubt – the man is unethical not stupid] — or whether he chooses to tell the lie du jour for whichever audience he confronts.
The reason he gets away with any of this is the incompetence of the Talking Heads, the media flunkeys posing as journalists.
Republican moderates are no longer a dying breed. With Tuesday’s defeat of Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, they are dead.
Known as Richard Nixon’s favorite mayor when he ran Indianapolis back in the 1970s, this rock-solid Republican is no longer Republican enough. As defined by the Tea Party, Lugar was “Obama’s favorite senator,” a reference to Lugar’s welcome to the newbie from Illinois in 2005. Of course, Lugar voted against most of his “friend’s” agenda, including against President Barack Obama’s health-care law, but never mind.
In the Tea Party’s Republican Party, it is no longer enough to vote conservatively. You must have the demeanor of a zealot.
The man who defeated Lugar, Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, is purity itself. Not for him to dignify a Democrat by talking to him. He loves the “broken” version of Congress: ideologically extreme, scornful of compromise, unmoved by facts or evidence, dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition. Mourdock is not one to let cooperation darken his door. “I feel more frustrated with Republicans than Democrats,” he says. “It is not bipartisanship we need. It is principle.”
The Lugar-Mourdock race was the Tea Party’s marquee contest this cycle, the one that promised annihilation of an infidel. The Tea Party hoped to mount a challenge to Utah Senator Orrin Hatch’s re-election bid, but its favored candidate chose not to run and Hatch moved sharply right. Going after Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine would have been satisfying, but she decided to retire.
That left only a Republican icon from the heartland. Many of Lugar’s accomplishments required some element of that hated principle, bipartisanship. The Tea Party worked to make everything good he did look bad…
More than Lugar’s votes, there is his mild manner. Even when behaving as the Tea Party requires, Lugar did it without the requisite bombast and disdain for the other side…
…Famously frugal, Lugar stopped keeping a residence in his home state, sleeping at a hotel on trips home. He counted the family farm as his residence and didn’t bill the government for trips there…
Mocking, exaggerated, courting confrontation — Mourdock is what Republicans long for…
The language of bigotry, the ideology of hatred, foolishness as sectarian as every year’s apostle of doom predicting the end of life on Earth…these are the characteristics accepted as requisite by the Kool Aid Party – and, now, what they have kludged into the defining qualities of the GOP.
The sophisticates of the Republican Party look down their Brahmin noses upon the Tea Party types as they did on George Wallace and the John Birch Society nutballs who infested that party back in Goldwater days. And I think they’re willing to accept the same Goldwater level of defeat as an opportunity to reform the party more in the mold of Nixon and George the Elder.
Perhaps not. But, I think the Wall Street crowd, the Oil Patch Boys are too used to power and control to want to spend the time building a new traditional Republican Party. They’re willing to take a bye for four years and dribble the Tea Party leftovers out the exhaust pipe of history after this election – or the next.
“Don’t worry, George – no one really cares about honesty”
The Bush White House, particularly before the 2006 midterm elections, routinely violated a federal law that prohibits use of federal tax dollars to pay for political activities by creating a “political boiler room” that coordinated Republican campaign activities nationwide, a report issued Monday by an independent federal agency concludes.
The report by the Office of Special Counsel finds that the Bush administration’s Office of Political Affairs — overseen by Karl Rove — served almost as an extension of the Republican National Committee, developing a “target list” of Congressional races, organizing dozens of briefings for political appointees to press them to work for party candidates, and sending cabinet officials out to help these campaigns…
The Office of Special Counsel, a relatively obscure federal agency, is charged with enforcing the Hatch Act, a 1939 law that prohibits federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity. Certain members of the White House political staff — including the top aides at the Office of Political Affairs — are exempt, as are the president, vice president and members of the cabinet. But the law still prohibits the use of federal money, even by these officials, to support political causes.
The report found that during the Bush administration, senior staff members at the Office of Political Affairs violated the Hatch Act by organizing 75 political briefings from 2001 to 2007 for Republican appointees at top federal agencies in an effort to enlist them to help Republicans get elected to Congress…
“These briefings created an environment aimed at assisting Republican candidates, constituting political activity within the meaning of the Hatch Act,” the 118-page report said…
The investigators also found evidence that the Bush White House improperly classified travel by senior officials as official government business, “when it was, in fact, political,” and the costs associated with this travel were never reimbursed.
A spokesman for the Office of Special Counsel said Monday that because the administration officials had left office, it no longer has jurisdiction to file any charges. It also said that it had not made a formal referral to the Justice Department to ask it to pursue any possible charges.
Obama’s version of the same Office of Political Affairs hasn’t conducted business with federal dollars – and has been moved to Chicago to assure functioning with political party funds. Just another area of “change” Republicans hate – and would reverse if they were once again in charge of the White House.
Corruption and deceit as a lifestyle is hard to leave. Just ask Dick Armey.
“I can’t remember which key Karl told me to press to hide all this crap!”
Computer technicians have recovered about 22 million Bush administration e-mails that the Bush White House had said were missing, two watchdog groups that sued over the documents announced Monday.
The e-mails date from 2003 to 2005, and had been “mislabeled and effectively lost,” according to the National Security Archive, a research group based at George Washington University. But Melanie Sloan, executive director of the liberal-leaning Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said it could be years before most of the e-mails are made public…
The e-mail controversy dates back to the Bush administration’s 2006 firing of the top federal prosecutors in nine cities. After congressional committees demanded the administration produce documents related to the firings, the White House said millions of e-mails might have been lost from its servers. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the National Security Archive sued over the issue in 2007, arguing the Bush administration violated federal laws that require presidential records to be preserved.
Court records have shown that the Bush administration knew about the e-mail problems as far back as 2005 and did nothing to fix them, Sloan said.
Monday’s settlement allows for 94 days of e-mail traffic, scattered between January 2003 to April 2005, to be restored from backup tapes. Of those 94 days, 40 were picked by statistical sample; another 21 days were suggested by the White House; and the groups that filed suit picked 33 that seemed “historically significant,” from the months before the invasion of Iraq to the period when the firings of U.S. attorneys were being planned.
Also requested were several days surrounding the announcement that a criminal investigation was under way into the disclosure of then-CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson’s identity. That investigation led to the conviction of White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to federal agents investigating the leak.
Given a few civil libertarian geeks in the White House, we may yet learn even more about the corruption and cronyism that was part and parcel of the Bush-Cheney Administration. We know who the capos were. It would be useful to track who collaborated with their various deceits on the federal and state level.
I’m confident New Mexico’s senator-for-life, Pete Domenici – a hack whose core constituency was the Pentagon and the Oil Patch Boys – was one of the cogs in the machine.
Ben Stein says he knows how Sen. John McCain can win in November: Karl Rove.
“I don’t discount the possibility that some really smart person at the McCain campaign might go over to Karl Rove, and say ‘We will offer you all the kingdoms of the world if you will come and guide our campaign,’ ” a hopeful-sounding Stein said in a recent interview.
Stein is an actor and an author, but he is also an economist, columnist and, yes, a lawyer. And he is a Republican, making him a minority in Tinseltown political circles. Did I mention that Stein also worked as a speech writer for President Richard Nixon and President Gerald Ford? Yes, that’s right, that Richard Nixon.
“Mr. McCain is running the absolute most pathetic campaign I have ever seen in my whole life,” Stein said in his unmistakable monotone delivery. “His campaign is just heartbreakingly pathetic. He is a very impressive guy. He is a brave guy, but he is running the most lackluster campaign I have ever seen in my entire life. I would have thought Bob Dole’s campaign would have set a record for poor campaigns, but this one is even worse.
I hope he’s right. I worry enough about the idgit vote being enough to carry McBush through to four more years of Imperial Amerika marching around the world on a holy crusade.