Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sizzle or substance ?

An old advertising adage says:  "Don't sell the steak;  sell the sizzle."

That's what the Republicans are trying to do.

First of all, they see the election as a manipulative selling job.  Second, they dare not present the substance of their policies, because they would lose the election.   When presented with what the policies would actually do in people's lives, as opposed to just talking points and slogans, people don't want what they're sellilng.

They also dare not let everybody vote, because they would lose the elections.  Thus, the spate of voter ID laws, registration list purges, and shortening of early voting periods -- all of which affect likely Democratic votes more than Republican.

So they've got to count on the sizzle, on demonizing their opponent, and manipulating the vote.   That's the only way they can win, not on substance.

In Ryan, they've got some sizzle -- at least for a while.  He's young, attractive, vigorous, manly but gives the appearance of being sensitive as well.   He's also a policy wonk when it comes to budgetary matters (he's dead wrong about some things, but that's a different discussion).   And he has a compelling life story -- admirable and honorable.   It's just that he's bought into the wrong-headed ideas about economics and budgets.

So the Democrats' task is to fizzle the sizzle by exposing the spoiled meat they're trying to sell.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Ryan attacks Ryan

Romney supposedly chose Paul Ryan as his running mate partly because of his persona of boldness and forthrightness about budget matters.   The exact opposite of Romney's obscure and obdurate persona.

But in less than a week, Ryan has begun attacking his own positions -- and undermining the very quality that made him shine.

The issue of the moment is Medicare.   The "Ryan budget" continues the same savings of $716 billion that ObamaCare does -- achieved by eliminating the waste, fraud, and abuse in the Bush-backed boondoggle of Medicare Advantage plans.   It does not cut benefits to seniors;  it makes reforms and reduces unnecessary expenses on the suppliers' side.

But now Ryan has chimed in with Romney, decrying the savings as Obama's "gutting Medicare," implying that he's cutting $700 billion from seniors' benefits, then bragging that he and Romney will rescue Medicare and "preserve it for future generations."

They are actually trying the audacious strategy of grabbing the "save Medicare" when, in fact, they would do the exact opposite and "end Medicare as we know it."  The Obama plan saves it for seniors, both now and later.  Ryan's plan saves it for now by not applying the vouchers to anyone over 55 -- and saves no money for now;   but it does affect the coverage for seniors in the future.  They will get vouchers to buy private insurance, but the amount will not keep up with rising costs, so it will begin to cost seniors more and more out of their own pockets.   They're hoping it's too complicated for people to understand their con game and just believe their rhetoric.

Their rhetoric is outright lying. 

Romney has chosen a running mate for certain qualities -- honesty and integrity -- and then forced him to change those qualities.    Isn't this exactly what people don't like about Romney?   His chameleon-ness?

Well, I guess that's good for the Democrats -- as long as the people see through it and don't get fooled by the massive false advertising the GOP-favoring SuperPACs will be able to pay for.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

This horse refuses to open it's mouth

I never understood, in the cowboy movies of my childhood, why someone would look in a horse's mouth to decide whether he wanted to buy the horse.   I assume it has something to do the teeth and gums as signs of age or health of the horse.

Well, now we have a Republican ticket that wants us to buy them without looking in their mouths.   Or as used to be said in the South:   they want to sell us a "pig in a poke" -- a poke being a rough sack, the metaphor meaning buy something that is concealed, not open for inspection.

Of course, Romney has been refusing to come forth with his tax plan or his own tax returns.  And now his sidekick is saying "no" when asked to open his mouth for inspection.

Paul Ryan told Brit Hume on Fox News that they would pay for the tax cuts by closing loopholes.   But when asked what loopholes, he would not say -- only that it should be discussed "in the light of day" by Congress.

Of course, this means not until  >>>>After the Election<<<<.

Romney -- who never took a position he was unwilling to change if politically necessary -- says  "Trust Me."   And he'll tell us after the election what his tax proposals are.

That's not going to work, guys.

Not even the spineless journalists working the daily news shows are going to let you get away with that.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"Voter fraud" fraud #3

The court challenge to the Pennsylvania voter ID law has ended with the judge refusing to grant an injunction to prevent the law going into effect.

This, despite the state acknowledging they had no evidence of voter ID fraud and despite unchallenged estimates of millions of people who do not have the required government issued photo ID.

It will now be appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

The re-election of Barack Obama may very well hinge on this decision.


From the horse's mouth

Ronald Reagen's one-time budget director, David Stockman, has weighed in on the Paul Ryan budget plan in an op-ed in the New York Times (Aug 14).
Mr. Ryan’s sonorous campaign rhetoric about shrinking Big Government and giving tax cuts to 'job creators' (read: the top 2 percent) will do nothing to reverse the nation’s economic decline and arrest its fiscal collapse. . . .  Mr. Ryan’s plan is devoid of credible math or hard policy choices.
According to the Huffington Post business page, after Stockman's years in government service he made a killing in corporate buyouts (sounds just like the Bain Capital plan).  But apparently he later had a change of heart -- and now does not own any stocks personally.

He continues in his op-ed:
"Forget about 'too big to fail.'  These banks are too big to exist — too big to manage internally and to regulate externally. They need to be broken up by regulatory decree. Instead, the Romney-Ryan ticket attacks the pointless Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul, when what’s needed is a restoration of Glass-Steagall, the Depression-era legislation that separated commercial and investment banking."
So there you have it from the horse's mouth.  Or at least a former White House budget director under a Republican president -- the hero of the supply-siders.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

"Voter fraud" fraud #2

It is a well known truth that the so-called national crisis in voter fraud is non-existent and that voter ID laws recently passed by many states have the primary purpose (and effect) of suppressing voters who tend to vote Democratic.

Now we have some facts to back up the assertion that this supposed "crisis" is a distortion of the truth, manufactured by conservatives.  It has Karl Rove's fingerprints all over it.

News21 is an non-partisan initiative of the Future of Journalism Education program that is supported by non-profit foundations and located in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

In a major investigative project, faculty and students of journalism from many universities have examined all the claims of election fraud in the U.S. since 2000.  Here are some of their findings.

1.  The number of in-person voter impersonations on election day is virtually non-existant.  Only 10 valid cases were found since 2000.

2.  Not only is the actual number small, it shrinks to infinitesimal when you consider that, since 2000, more than 600 million votes have been cast in presidential elections alone.  That comes to 1 in 60 million.   You're more likely to be bitten by a pit viper while attending a production of "The Marriage of Figaro" at the Metropolitan Opera on a Tuesday night in February.

3.  Yet to combat this non-existent problem, 37 states have passed laws requiring a government issued, photo ID to be presented in order to vote in person -- but not in order to vote by absentee ballot, where demonstrable cases of fraud do happen.

4.  An estimated 11% (21 million people) do not have the required photo ID.  An estimated 3 our of 4 of these are in demographic groups that tend to vote Democratic.

5.  Defending their voter ID law in a court case, Pennsylvania state officials conceded that they have no evidence of any prior in-person voter fraud.  Yet they have also said that as many as 8 million voters in the state may lack the proper ID to vote as a result of the law.

Now here is the scandalous part.   

In a close election, this could be the decisive factor.
The Republicans could once again steal the election
and set our country on a disastrous course.

And it would be through manipulation and deceipt -- not through true voter preference.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Let's bring back Newt

When Newt finally dropped out of the Republican primary, I was hoping never to have to see his self-worshiping face again.

But now, I want to bring him back one last time.

Let's see a Democratic ad, with a video clip of Newt in his now-infamous declaration that the Paul Ryan budget plan is "right-wing social engineering."

He actually did say that about a year ago.  Of course, Newt had to apologize.  And he kept on apologizing, but the party never quite forgave him for what amounted to farting at the tea party.

Wouldn't you like to see that quote used in a political ad against the Romney/Ryan ticket?


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Why Romney chose Ryan

This is only my own speculation, but here's why I think Romney chose Paul Ryan as his running mate.

1.  Ryan will fire up the ultra-conservative base like no one else.   The only others who could create such excitement among the extreme right wing would lose the moderates and independents (Bachmann, Santorum, etc).

2.  Romney either has to embrace and defend the Ryan budget, which has already been passed by the Republican controlled House, or he has to fight Ryan and the deficit and small-government hawks he represents.  So he might as well put Ryan himself in the spotlight to defend the budget himself.  He'll do it more effectively than Romney could.

3.  The hope is that this will take the heat off Romney's personal wealth management and put it on the policy itself.

4.  Ryan is attractive, young, and fresh.  He will create a whole media frenzy that will take the focus off Romney, and that is what they need right now. why is this the same choice that the Obama campaign would have made?

BUT:  Why is the same choice the one the Obama campaign was hoping for?

1.  It shifts the focus from a referendum on Obama's performance to the policy differences between the two parties.

2.  Even Romney cannot now disavow ownership of the Ryan budget -- and it can easily be fought as taking from the poor to give to the rich.   And besides that, the CBO says it will increase the deficit.

3.  The Romney-Ryan ticket cannot by any stretch pretend to have the slightest credentials on foreign policy or commander-in-chief readiness.    True, neither did Obama.  But then he picked Joe Biden as his VP, and that is Biden's strong suit.

So . . . Game on !!!