Political Gum Hockey

Political Commentary and Humor

Mitt Romney Wins Nevada Caucuses While Not Worrying About the Poor, Newt Gingrich Needs Your Prayers

Wow, what a week for Mitt Romney.  And what a week for Newt Gingrich.  Romney wins the Nevada caucuses but picks up an endorsement he might not want.

Okay, first for the wee little poor choice of words by Romney this week. And we of course mean the “poor” choice of words about not worrying about the poor.  Okay fine, the words were taken out of context and he didn’t really mean it the way it was portrayed by some.  But that doesn’t let Romney off the hook.  Not surprisingly, Romney’s intent had little to do with whom he is “concerned” about and a great deal to do with trying to convince middle class voters that he doesn’t represent exactly the kind of person/economic policy that benefits the very rich at the expense of the middle class. In short, he was trying to create a new reality to replace the one that isn’t so good for the middle class, i.e., the one that he supports.

Here are two insightful views on this topic:

Ruth Marcus: Why the poor should concern Romney

Eugene Robinson: Romney fails the empathy test

So on to the Donald Trump endorsement.  First off, Trump was “endorsing” solely and entirely as a gimmick to promote his reality TV show (is that still on the air? seriously?).  But what is really interesting about this endorsement is that Romney decided to accept it.  Mormons (Romney) have always opposed gambling, so hey, no problem accepting the endorsement in Trump’s Las Vegas casino.  I mean, that’s no bigger a stretch than Mormon’s opposing the drinking of alcohol unless, of course, you pay a $5 “membership fee” to join a “club” for “one night” (which, I’ve been told, is not a “cover charge in the local bar”).  That little detail aside, Romney’s acceptance of Donald “birther” Trump is sure to be a headline in coming months.  Already the Obama campaign has sent out an email noting:

“Yesterday, Mitt Romney said he was ‘humbled’ to accept Donald Trump’s endorsement. Seriously.”  “Yes, Donald Trump — birth certificate conspiracy leader — has decided that Mitt Romney’s his guy, and Romney has embraced him without reservation. He made a speech and even sent out a press release welcoming him.”

Good one, Mitt.  Embrace the buffoonish bigot tea party vote. That ought to help you with independents.  Especially now that the stock market is at highs not seen since before the Bush depression and the unemployment has been dropping as hundreds of thousands of jobs are being created per month.

Meanwhile, Gingrich is asking for prayers.

And he’ll need them since he is looking forward to Super Tuesday.  Yep, he’ll just skip Nevada, Maine, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Arizona, Michigan, and Washington since they don’t matter (and he can’t win) and focus on the Super Tuesday states (even though he didn’t even make the ballot in at least one of them – Virginia).  Well, that certainly is a plan.  Sort of like Rudy Giuliani waiting for Florida in 2008. That worked out well.  Oh, wait. Never mind.

 

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February 4, 2012 Posted by | Birth certificate, Birthers, Donald Trump, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Obama, Primary, Republican | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

With bin Laden Dead – The GOP Gives Credit to …Waterboarding

I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising.  For years Republicans have told anyone who would listen (and who don’t bother to check the facts) that they (the GOP) were all about national security and the Democrats were, well, not.  So when a Democratic President gives the order to take out Osama bin Laden, the natural Republican response is to congratulate…

…themselves.

Okay, so most also gave some credit to President Obama.  At least a little.  And of course they gave credit to the the pains-taking work of the intelligence community who pieced together tidbits of information and found bin Laden after nearly 10 years of looking.  And of course, and most appropriately, most gave credit to the Navy Seal special ops team that risked their lives for the daring mission.

Oh, and waterboarding.

Yep, many in the Republican party are in such agony that killing bin Laden happened on Obama’s watch and not Bush’s that they are actually rallying around the idea of torture.  Which, of course, is illegal.  But hey, they say, we tortured those guys during the Bush/Cheney years and that torture led to the finding of bin Laden and his death several years later.  Woo hoo.  Drag out the waterboards and let’s torture some more folks over some brewskies.

Notwithstanding that there is no evidence that any waterboarding was even involved in the initial gathering of intelligence that eventually, years later, after many thousands of man-hours and renewed focus on gathering and using intelligence, led to bin Laden.  Facts aren’t really important to the GOP.  As long as they get to find a way to avoid giving credit to President Obama, his national security team, and the dedicated men and women who did the hard work of tracking down bin Laden.  Nope.  It was the torture that Bush/Cheney did 7 or 8 years ago to which they want to give credit.

On top of this,  some in the GOP are clamoring for gruesome death photos of bin Laden to be released.  To “prove” bin Laden is dead, of course.  Like all the conspiracy theorists won’t just scream “PhotoShop” (one columnist even started calling these folks “deathers” to reflect the malignant irrationality and hatred shared with the “birthers”).  And like releasing gross photos won’t tick off a few al qaeda just looking for a good reason to avenge bin Laden’s death. [Abu Ghraib lost from memory, perhaps?]  Yep, gotta have some grotesque trophies to hang still bleeding over the mantle.  Just to prove you’re a man.  Or a teenager in a high school locker room.

Luckily, real men don’t have to show photos to prove how  big they are.

May 4, 2011 Posted by | 2012, 9/11, bin Laden, Obama, Republican | , , , | 1 Comment

Breaking News – Osama bin Laden is Dead

Osama bin Laden has been killed. Bin Laden was responsible for the thousands of deaths in the World Trade Towers, the Pentagon, and the field in Pennsylvania when his terrorists used four commercial airliners and their passengers as missiles on September 11, 2001.

President Obama has confirmed that bin Laden is dead in a late-Sunday night message from the White House.

Information from a variety of sources indicate that bin Laden was killed during a military operation in Afghanistan Sunday.  According to the Washington Post and the Associated Press, “U.S. forces flew to bin Laden’s hideout in helicopters. Bin Laden was shot in the head after he and his guards resisted the U.S. attackers. U.S. personnel identified him by facial recognition.”

According to CNN, “a senior U.S. official tells CNN that Osama bin Laden was killed by the U.S. forces in a mansion outside the Pakistani capital of Islamabad along with other family members.”

The US has taken possession of bin Laden’s body after a fire-fight.

Pakistan agrees that this was a necessary and good event.

Initial intelligence on the possible whereabouts was received last August and Obama and his national security team have been working to secure that intelligence.  This past week, the time had come to take action.

The Washington Post describes the hiding place as:

It was described as an extraordinary place, custom-made for him, with 12- to 18-foot security walls, multiple interior walls dividing the property and massive privacy walls blocking even a third-story balcony. The property, valued at $1 million, had no Internet or phone service, the official said.

“When we saw the compound . . . we were shocked by what we saw,” the official told reporters, describing it as “an extraordinarily unique compound,” built perhaps in 2005 and expressly for bin Laden. “Everything we saw . . . was perfectly consistent with what our experts expected bin Laden’s hideout to look like.”

[This article has been updated to include rapidly changing news as it becomes available.]

May 1, 2011 Posted by | 9/11, bin Laden, Obama | , , | Leave a comment

This is why the birthers/tea party cannot be trusted to run government

Two days ago President Obama released his “long form” birth certificate, for which the birther wing of the tea party had been screaming since then-candidate Obama released his “short form” birth certificate (i.e., the form everyone gets when they ask for an official birth certificate).  And that should have finally shut up the birthers.  And of course it did not shut up the birthers.

In fact, the birthers have just continued to invent whatever ludicrous, non-factual, bigoted, xenophobic, and just sheer mind-numbing thing that pops into their collective hate-filled heads.

PolitiFact, the independent fact checking organization run by the St. Petersburg Times, has compiled a list of their recent checking of the facts – or as the case may be, the non-facts – of the various birther/tea party claims related to Obama’s birth certificateOf the seven statements they checked, 4 received their “Pants on Fire” rating and 3 merely their “False” rating.

False means not true.  Not even close.

Pants on Fire means so not true as to suggest either a severe mental incapacity or intentional lying (or both).

So we can conclude that since none of the birther/tea party wing statements have any basis in truth, and in fact seem to suggest abject disconnect from reality and/or pathological hatred, the birther/tea party cannot be trusted in any position of authority.  Especially the critical job of governing the most powerful nation on the planet.  The nation that the birthers/tea partiers seem intent on holding back from our future while giving a leg up to China. The US of A.

Like all countries, the US has serious issues – economic, health, environmental, and future development in an increasingly competitive world.  We need serious people running the country.  With honest, serious people we can disagree on the path forward and yet find a way to move the country into the future such that we can advantage our great ability to be innovative.  We cannot do that if large proportions of the populace, and the people they elect as our representatives, can’t even tell the difference between what is true and what is false.  Or don’t care that what they say is false (or “pants on fire”).

As for the tea party and the Republican candidates for President and Congress in 2012, if you can’t come out and very publicly and adamantly denounce the birthers and the other tea party extremists and falsehood pushers, then you cannot be taken as a serious candidate.  None of this wishy-washy code words to secure the vote of the nut job base while trying not to sound too nut job yourself.  Direct denunciation.

In future posts I’ll chronicle the GOP field and let you know which ones should be relegated to the dust bin and which ones can be considered serious candidates.

[If you missed previous posts, I have already discussed two people getting a lot of attention as potential candidates for President – Sarah Palin and Donald Trump – neither of which will actually ever declare their candidacy.  The fact that they are considered by the tea party as serious possibilities highlights the point I’ve made in this post.]

April 29, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Birth certificate, Birthers, Obama, Republican, Tea Party | , , , , , | 1 Comment

President Obama Releases “Long Form” Birth Certificate – Will This Finally Shut Up the Birthers?

In a move that somehow avoided the pre-announcement leaking of the announcement to make an announcement, the White House today released President Obama’s “long form” birth certificate.  Yep, the “long form” because the “short form” that everyone else gets when they request their own birth certificate from the State of Hawai’i isn’t good enough for a not quite small proportion of the tea party that are tenderly referred to as “birthers” (or not so tenderly referred to as nut jobs, bigots, and a few other things that I wish not to print on Political Gum Hockey).  Because the law in Hawai’i forbade even the person from obtaining their own long form birth certificate, the President had to request that an exception be made, which the Hawai’i Department of Health granted in part because of the constant harassment they have received from birthers.

Of course, Obama supplied the normal birth certificate way back in 2008 when the birthers/nut jobs/bigots kept insisting that he was born in pretty much any place but the place he was born (all while somehow not thinking it important that Obama’s competitor, John McCain, was in fact born outside the USA).  As it says in the press release of this long form, the original birth certificate is the birth certificate and “This is not and should not be an open question.”  But that isn’t good enough for people looking for any excuse to attack the man who would become the first black President (of likely many future minority Presidents) .

So will this satisfy the birthers?  Before you answer, I’ll admit that this is a trick question.  The superficial answer is of course it won’t.  While some will shut up, others will find some other contrivance to attack Obama’s citizenship.  Why? Because this isn’t really about Obama’s citizenship.  It’s about fear.

When one looks at the constant drumbeat of the tea party, or at least the most extremist portions of the extremist wing of the Republican party that identifies itself as tea party, there is a pattern.  “Obama wasn’t born in the USA.” “Obama is half white.” “Obama is a socialist.” Yada yada yada.  All translate to “Obama isn’t one of us.” “Obama is foreign.” “Obama is un-American.”  Newt Gingrich, in one of his most illustrative diatribes, said (and I paraphrase) that “Obama doesn’t think like us.” All of these things are code for fear of foreign-ness, bigotry, xenophobia. They have deeper meaning than what they appear on the surface.

Keep in mind that the accusations of birthers and related contrived outrages were directed at Obama before he even was elected President, that is, long before he had any opportunity to implement any actual policies.  Just like there were contrivances by the South against Abraham Lincoln even before he was elected President.

Which is one of the reasons why there are parallels between the “tea party” movement and the onset of the Civil War, and why it could be just as dangerous.

But that will have to wait for a future PGH post.  For now, we’ll see how marginalized the birthers and their cohorts become now that one of their contrivances is no longer available to them.

April 27, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Birth certificate, Democratic, Obama, Tea Party | , , , , | 2 Comments

Quick Poll – What Republican Can Beat Obama in 2012?

April 16, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Mitt Romney, Obama, Republican, Sarah Palin | Leave a comment

PGH Quick Take – Obama does debt

As I write this President Obama is giving his address on debt and what to do about it.  The first part can be summed up by “the Republicans started it.”  The big time borrowing started in the 1980s (unspoken was “by Ronald Reagan”).  We started getting responsible in the 1990s (unspoken was “during the Clinton administration”).  Then trashed that idea again this past decade (unspoken was “by GW Bush and the Republican Congress”).  Then Obama inherited an economy in the tank that required even more borrowing (unspoken was “just to keep us from becoming a third world country”).

He actually does a good job of telling it straight – all the stuff people are talking about is only 12% of our budget.  We need to look at the other 88%.  He basically said “we have to be honest, and the proposals out there are not honest.”  They go after minimal costs that happen to be ideological red meat for the base…and ofttimes just mean.  They focus on hurting average Americans and giving all the breaks to the people who least need them.  In short, the middle class and the investments in the future are being sacrificed to give a tiny percentage of the most privileged Americans even more privilege.  We need to invest in our future…China and others certainly are investing in theirs.

The vision for the future should be on investing in education and new technologies.  Not on giving tax breaks to the wealthy. “They want people like me to get a $200,000 tax break and by asking 33 seniors to take a $6000 each tax increase.  That is not the America we want.”

Now he is getting positive – America is a great nation.  “This is the America I know. We don’t have to forfeit our future.  We all have to make sacrifices, but we don’t have to sacrifice the America we all believe in.  And as President I won’t let it happen.”

He adopts some of the provisions of the debt commission. “We will make the tough cuts we need to make, including some things that I would rather not.  But we will not sacrifice our ability to meet the future, innovate, and create jobs.”  He includes defense in the areas where cuts can be made, while maintaining the US as the best and most powerful military in the world.  He includes continuing to look for ways to lower health care costs, but chastises the mean and ineffective plan put forth by the Republicans (the Ryan plan).  He says “we will reform these programs, but we will not abandon the commitment we have made to ourselves.”

He refuses to extend the tax cuts to the wealthiest one percent again.  “We can’t afford to give million dollar tax cuts to billionaires at the expense of the middle class.”  He called for Congress to reform the tax code to simplify and make more efficient our taxes while protecting our investment for the future.

The goal is to cut the deficit by $4 trillion by 2023.

A good speech.  He drew some bright lines with the Republicans, which should satisfy liberals who have been feeling he has given too much away to the GOP.  As for the Republicans, they of course will find fault with Obama’s speech because, well, because it’s Obama’s speech.  Overall, Obama presented an honest picture of what needs to be done and how we shouldn’t be fooled by the rhetoric that avoids taking any real responsibility and/or sacrifices the future and the middle class.  “We can’t just think about ourselves, we have to think about our country and our people and our future.”

“We are in this together.  I still believe we can take responsibility and can work together to keep America great.”

*all quotes are my paraphrasing as I don’t do dictation.  But hey, they’re pretty close. 🙂

April 13, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Democratic, Obama | , , , | 2 Comments