Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ryan to the rescue?

Romney will name Paul Ryan as his vice presidential choice today.

It is being described as a bold choice -- also a risky choice.    Ryan will certainly excite the Republican base -- both the conservatives and the moderates -- because of his tax plan.

And that is exactly why the Obama campaign is said to have wanted Ryan to be the choice.  Now the tax plan will be front and center, and Romney will be forced to defend it, along with Ryan.

Non-partisan sources have confirmed that it will increase the deficit, in addition to shrinking the government by cutting programs that benefit the poor and working class.  As the Obama campaign characterized it:

Budget busting tax cuts for the wealthy and 
greater burdens for the middle class and seniors.

In addition, Ryan has said that reading Ayn Rand is what got him interested in public service.  Of course, she is the champion of the me-first, libertarian economy;  so that makes sense. Jonathan Chait has described Ayn Rand's political philosophy as:
"[A] belief that the natural market distribution of income is inherently moral, and the central struggle of politics is to free the successful from having the fruits of their superiority redistributed by looters and moochers."
As Ryan himself has said, "Almost every fight we are involved in here on Capitol Hill ... is a fight that usually comes down to one conflict--individualism versus collectivism."

But sometime last year, Ryan backed away when it was pointed out that Ayn Rand was also a self-proclaimed and militant atheist.   But at this point, the conservatives want to win so badly that they can probably swallow even that.  After all, she won't be running.

Romney-Ryan.   It's probably the dream team for Obama to run against, because it will pit one philosophy of government against another in the clearest possible way.  In Romney, we also have a personal story that exemplifies the rich-get-richer because they have all the advantages stacked in their favor.

Ryan will bring squeeky clean youthfulness, good looks, and Mid-Western freshness to the ticket, as well as his obsession with the budget.

It's going to be interesting.  But if they thought this would change the subject, it won'tIt's still going to be about whether our government is for the rich or for "the people."


PS:   In introducing his choice at the rally in Norfolk, Romney managed one of his legendary gaffes.  He introduced Ryan and "the next president of the United States."   I think this indicates Romney's inner feeling that he has abdicated, and that Ryan will be the savior of the ticket.

Romney campaign frantic?

Mitt Romney and his campaign are becoming increasingly incoherent, unfocused, and contradictory.   And might I suggest . . . frantic?

The latest is from an interview with Chuck Todd for an MSNBC report.   Romney says:
[O]ur campaign would be-- helped immensely if we had an agreement between both campaigns that we were only going to talk about issues and that attacks based upon-- business or family or taxes or things of that nature" [would be off limits].
Let's get this straight now.

Romney has touted his business record as his main qualification for president, and he's been talking about it for a year.  But now he wants it to be off limits?   Just when it starts to backfire on him.   Yep, that's about the size of it.

That quote above would be simple boilerplate if he had said ". . . talk about issues and not personal attacks."   But he says "business" first.

It sounds like the heat in the kitchen is getting a bit too much for Mittens -- what with the pressure to release his tax returns and the negative images about Bain Capital's heartlessness in closing businesses and shipping jobs overseas.

Here's the message from Romney:   "You better stop being mean to me, Barack."

Here's the real message:  "The truth is killing us.   We've got to change the subject."

Here's my question to Romney:  "Do you really think whining is a good strategy?"


Friday, August 10, 2012

Obama's lead increases

There's good news for President Obama in two new polls.

A CNN/ORC poll gives him a 52% to 45% lead over Mitt Romney.

A Fox News poll shows Obama leading by 49% to 40%.   That's up from 45% to 42% a month ago.

Poll watchers are attributing this jump to the negative ad campaign by the Obama groups.   The number of Independents who have an unfavorable opinion of Romney has climbed from 40% to 52% since May.

Pundits are attributing it to the barrage of negative ads put out by the Obama people.  The thing about Democratic negative ads, though, is that all they have to do is tell the truth about the Republicans.   The more people really know about Republican policies and plans, the less they like them.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

The kids are watching . . .

Campaigning in Connecticutt, Obama told this story, which was related to him by his campaign manager, Jim Messina.    At a similar event, Messina saw a young couple with their four year old son.

Obama himself was not present, but there was a large picture of him displayed.  The parents asked their little boy, "Who is that?"

Without hesitancy he replied, "Barack Obama."

"And what does Barack Obama do?" he was asked.

This cute little four year old paused only a moment, and then said, "Barack Obama approves this ad."


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The fun-house-mirror weirdness of Romney 2012

The pretzel twists and turns of Mitt Romney's contradictory positions are coming back to meet themselves going the other way.

It's become quite familiar now for Romney et al to criticize Obama for the same policies Romney has himself taken in the past -- or to do a complete about-face on something.

But the latest from his campaign pits one current position of his against another current position of his.   There doesn't seem to be much way out of such a morass.  Here's what happened.

An Obama-supportive SuperPAC ran an ad featuring a man who says that Bain Capital took over the company he worked for, closed it down, and he lost his health insurance as a result.  His wife later died from an illness.

A Romney spokesperson initially attacked the ad as dishonest and accused the Obama campaign of using such attacks to distract from the real economic issues.

But then the Romney spokesperson went further and said that:  ". . . if people had been in Massachusetts, under Governor Romney's health care plan, they would have had health care."

Ooops !!!!    

That's the problem with distortions and lies or, for that matter, running away from your own truth:   You have to remember what you say -- or else you'll be doubling back and contradicting yourself.   You can't be running away from a major achievement of the Governor (his health care plan for MA) one day -- and then be touting it the next day to distract from criticism over your Bain activities.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Unemployment could be down to 5% . . . if . . .

Unemployment could be down to 5% by now, if the government had spent enough to do it, according to one economist, Dean Baker, who is co-director of the left-leaning Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Here's why.   In the latest monthly job report for July, the private sector added 172,000 jobs, but the federal, state, and local governments lost 9,000 jobs.   And that's the way it's been going:  over the past 3 years, governments have eliminated 693,000 jobs.

That is of course due to reduced tax revenues and slashed spending, especially at the state and local levels.  Reduced federal grants and funding is also partly responsible for states' fiscal problems; and unlike the federal government, states have to balance their budgets.

Republicans seized the opportunity to shrink the government (their long-range goal), and they insisted on austerity to bring down the deficit.  Too many Democrats went along, and President Obama compromised.

Everyone seemed to accept the idea that it was all too complicated to explain stimulus spending to the public. 

An article by Bonnie Kavoussi on Huffington Post disagrees.   President Franklin Roosevelt managed to explain the 1930s Depression and how to get out of it with stimulus spending and government job creation -- and he had nothing but his radio fireside chats.   Now we have 24/7 television and the internet.

I agree.   Obama and the Democrats have not done a good job of explaining how stimulus spending to create jobs is more important than reducing the deficit -- in such a time.   We let the Republicans control the message.  And now we're paying the price in continued high rates of unemployment and slow recovery.