Mitt Romney’s aim for the Republican Convention may be unification but, thanks to Team Romney over-reach, that may be a tall order. A convention floor fight is brewing, for Tuesday, and, given the storm delay, party minority forces—which include supporters of Ron Paul and Rick Santorum, as well as some top state party officials who back Romney—have an extra day to strategize and mount an attack on changes to the Party rules regarding delegates to the national convention.
Convention floor fights are rare and can be noisy and distracting—and the last thing Mitt Romney needs right now.
The trouble started on Friday when Ben Ginsberg, Team Romney’s top lawyer, took control of the powerful Convention Rules Committee and forced through changes “to correct what we saw as a damaging flaw in the presidential election process in 2012.”
Ginsberg had spent six hours successfully putting through his amendments, but when he proposed raising the threshold required for minority reports from 25% of a committee to 40%, the members rebelled.
He is systematically trying to prevent minorities from having even any remote opportunity of being heard,” longtime GOP operative Morton Blackwell objected. “This is wrong, it’s gonna hurt us, it’s gonna hurt our presidential candidate.”
That particular amendment was withdrawn, to cheers from the committee, but the others stood. According to a source who described the meeting to Business Insider, “the saga ended with former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, the committee chair, hightailing it out of the building before committee members could submit dissenting minority opinions, or ‘minority reports.
Ginsberg is, and has been for some time, the Republican Party’s all-round “go-to” guy in legal matters. He is a partner in the law firm of Patton Boggs, one of the premier DC lobbying firms and is a specialist in elections and campaign finance law.
According to Buzzfeed, the Romney birth certificate joke was totally unplanned. There goes my theory that Donald Trump bet him $10,000 that he wouldn’t say it. The crowd laughed because it’s true; people don’t ask to see Romney’s birth certificate, they just ask to see his product registration and warranty.
This has prompted some discussion about whether Romney actually is giving credence to the “birther” theory that the president wasn’t born in the US—I don’t actually think Romney believes many of the words coming out of his own mouth, so I don’t think he’s actually “gone birther”. I do think he may have made a calculation that it doesn’t hurt to remind white people that he is the white guy, though—that’s kind of gross. Also, he must realize he needs to call in all the corners of wingnut world: the black helicopter folks, the gun nuts, the Swiftboat jokers, you know—the base.
I take the campaign at their word that it wasn’t planned—being a jerk just comes naturally to him, I guess.
Todd Akin is hours away from having to walk the GOP plank. No amount of apology, retraction, defiance or support from social conservatives can help him now. The Republican political machine is poised to flatten him and try to change the subject.
According to Missouri election law, Akin has until Tuesday evening to drop out of the race with little difficulty. He can choose to withdraw at a later date, but such an exit would require more paperwork and involve a court order. It would also give Republicans less time to build a campaign for the new nominee against McCaskill, a Democrat the GOP deems vulnerable in this year’s election.
Upper echelon Republicans are tripping over each other to get to the microphone and urge Akin to withdraw from the senate race and Reince Priebus, Republican National Committee chairman, has not only called for Akin to stand down in the Missouri Senate race but, also, that he not even attend the Republican Convention in Tampa, next week. (Reince really knows how to hurt a guy.) Karl Rove has pulled his final Crossroads Pac ads for Akin and so have many other smaller PACs that were contributing to his campaign.
—What’s that you say? You’re only about as old as Granny Palin? We’re sorry, but we’re all out of the good stuff that little Paul’s Mom got, but please accept this voucher, good for the second-cheapest insurance plan you can wrap your future sixty-seven-year-old head around! Yes, the Ryomney VoucherCare program is so good, there’s an extra two-year wait. And please take note, all you physically-challenged folks out there: Ryomney VoucherCare will make sure you will have even more challenges than you did!
And for you Ryomney VoucherCare fans who just can’t get enough of “what the Doctor (Paul has an honorary doctorate from his Alma Mater, Miami U! In Ohio! And a lot of snappy patter!) ordered,” little Paul and his big head, ol’ what’sis position, will restore 716 billion dollars in inefficiencies and cost overruns that President Oblacula took out~~~because nothing puts the “Ouch” in VoucherCare like a hot,ripped Aynist.**
You’ll know we’ve been playing around with the parallels (for both GOP candidates) between the 2012 election and the 2008 one for a while now—partly tongue in cheek for the snark value, but some of them are real, and they’re not getting less apparent.
OK, Palin’s background and policy stances were a lot sketchier than Ryan’s, but it’s maybe hard now to recall what a phenomenon she was hailed as when she first appeared on the scene (before she opened her trap in interviews and got stumped by bland conversational openers)—stellar approval ratings back home, a reputation for base-pleasing fiscal probity (that didn’t stand up to scrutiny when it came to the old pork barrel), a reputed hotshot “energy policy expert” whose only prescription was the calculatedly shorts-stiffening “Drill, baby, drill,” and a steady and often ruthless rise through the ranks to the point where she was considered worth a shot at VP.
Books and quasi-documentaries have dwelled on the processes and tensions that converted that rising star into the plummeting smoking relic from a far-off galaxy that thudded anticlimactically and tearfully to Earth in November ‘08. One complaint the Quitter from Wasilla’s fans and she herself have made on numerous occasions is that they wouldn’t let her be herself, forced to ignore administrative and policy specifics in favor of crude sloganeering and buzzwordsalads, to spit what she felt would be the crowd-pleasing bile that would somehow magically transform the majority of the electorate into raging acolytes fearful of the terrorist-pallin’ inexperienced fraud from the wrong side of the tracks and propel her and her running mate to power.
The spin we’re getting from the Romney camp is that, like McCain, Mitt is wagging his tail like an old dog paired with a new puppy at the moment, relieved to be sharing the burden of the path he’s chosen with someone who’s portrayed as a game-changing soul mate, a doe-eyed mancrush who can serve as both shield and bolster on the stump. But you do have to wonder what tensions have already emerged, and how the next few months are going to pan out, then the next few years as Ryan returns to the life he once had, I’m assuming a valiant (or disgraced) but vanquished campaigner, with possibilities stretching before him if he doesn’t blow it and retire to become another wingnut welfare Fox drone.
In terms of the most trivial and superficial parallels, there’s the alleged HAWTness and faux-macho backwoods cred I covered the other day down yonder. Again superficial, there was even comment that Ryan looked a bit scruffy on the stump, and I’m not going to enquire what the hell’s going on with his trousers here, but we’ve no doubt all had problems with overenthusiastic bathroom faucets in our time, so I’ll go with that explanation.
He’s looked a little sharper in the more recent pics I’ve seen. At least, in this sexist world in which we’re living, you can kit a male candidate out credibly without conducting a midnight raid on Nieman Marcus, which will no doubt relieve Mr. Adelson et al.
In explaining his refusal to release more of his tax returns than he already has (an incomplete return for 2010* and an estimate for 2011) Romney and his surrogates (including his wife) have stated that no matter how many years he releases, the Obama campaign will just ask for more. In fact Ann sounded a little, ahem, unhinged about the issue when she basically equated calls for release of the returns to “attacks” on them.
So Obama campaign manager, Jim Messina, sent a letter to Matt Rhoades, the Romney campaign manager, suggesting a deal. If Romney would release a total of 5 years’ worth of returns, which includes the 2010 returns previously released and the 2011 return when complete, so we’re looking at 2007 - 2009, then the Obama campaign will declare itself satisfied and will not request any further disclosures.**
The Romney camp wasted no time in stomping their feet and declaring “NO”. It’s not clear whether they also stuck out their tongues. Mitt Romney said he always paid at least 13% in taxes and that should be good enough for You People!
So rather than speculate about what could be in unreleased returns I decided to take a closer look at what is actually in the 2010 return that was released, along with the 3 related “blind trust” returns and the return for the Romneys’ family foundation. (And I do have some qualifications for this as I’ve been a practicing CPA with a Masters of Taxation for the last 30 years. We don’t have a lot of clients in Mittster’s income levels but we do have a few and I have a passing familiarity with the tax dodges advantaged planning they use.)
If you have any interest in looking at the Romneys’ actual returns (and really, why would most of you if you didn’t have to? ;-) ) pdf copies can be found here.
One thing that has annoyed me is their claim to give 10% of their income to “charity”. In fact Romney declared that his actual tax rate was closer to 20% because of all the money he gives to charity. Because, um, that’s just like paying taxes or something. However a closer look at the return reveals that they make all of their direct cash donations to “Church of Latter Day Saints” commonly known as the Mormon Church. This is on page 140 of the pdf file. Aside from minor amounts passing through from partnerships all of their $1.5 M in cash charitable contributions were made to their church.
In 2008, John McCain provoked much hilarity by cavorting in front of a green screen, thereby enabling the more technically adept to virtually relocate him to more appropriate environs in a legendary series of YouTubes.
This year, Mittens, ironically, has a similar problem with the color white. In February, his ever-adept campaign staff didn’t foresee the anagrammatic possibilities of parading his name on individually lettered white T-shirts (right-click on any of these smaller pics and left-click on “View Image” to see them full-size).
There are few more belters at the link, and no doubt in the fulness of time going viral across the intertubes. Here’s my own humble effort:
There’s a blank version after the fold if you want to join in the fun (link us up if you can save a version somewhere, and I’ll add them to the post). Or you could just suggest content in the comments.
Finally. Someone has said it out loud. Mitt Romney’s big talk about preserving Medicare is hot air. And the “someone” is none other than fiscal conservative deficit hawk David Walker a former US Comptroller General who now heads up the Comeback America Initiative. Here’s what Walker thinks about Romney’s “save Medicare” plan:
If you are going to restore (Obama’s cuts), then what it’s going to do is complicate the financial condition of Medicare. It’s going to affect your long-term plan to reform Medicare and reduce the deficit and mounting debt burdens. If you are going to put that back, then how are you going to pay for it?
One might well ask . . .
Republican conventional wisdom stressed going on the offensive about Medicare and robbing President Obama of “first strike” kudos. Unfortunately, as most of us sporting fans know, “the best offense is a good defense.” And that’s where Team Romney made their big mistake . . .
See, in a nutshell, Romney’s plan to give Obama’s $716 billion in savings “back” to Medicare will actually hasten its demise. Instead of running out of money in 2024, Medicare says its trust fund for inpatient care would go broke in 2016 without Obama’s cuts. Leaving a President Romney with egg on his face and a collossal problem on his hands . . .
Marilyn Moon, a former trustee overseeing Social Security and Medicare finances and currently director of the health program at the nonpartisan American Institutes for Research agrees:
These (Obama cuts) were all on service providers. Romney would have three options: either cut it out of providers in a different way, ask beneficiaries to pay higher premiums in various ways, or raise taxes in order to pay for it.
Hell, even Paul Ryan liked Obama’s cuts and included them in his plan. Seriously.
Not to worry, though, erstwhile Team Romney spokeswoman, Andrea “RomneyCare” Saul has pronounced the whole business “absurd”—take that Mr. Former US Comptroller General!
The idea that restoring funding to Medicare could somehow hasten its bankruptcy is on its face absurd.
Ms. Saul, who seems to have more than a passing relationship with absurdity, went on to explain:
Gov. Romney’s plan is to repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered reforms that control cost throughout the health care system and extend the solvency of Medicare. He will then implement real entitlement reform that places Medicare on a sustainable long-term footing so that future generations of Americans will not have to worry whether the program will be there for them.
Aaaah, the “devil’s in the details” once again. I guess we, the people, will know more about those at the same time that we get the details on Romney’s tax plan—in the “light of day.” Someday, postelection-ish . . .
Exhausted Presumptive Whiner-in-Chief Mitt Romney has had JUST AS MUCH AS HE’S GOING TO TAKE of this gloves-off campaigning lark.
You impudent uppity people won’t shut the fuck up about his tax returns as if that had anything to do with how he’s conducted his finances and as if his and his spousebot’s word that there’s nothing to see here and anyway Blind Trust bitchez!!!!, honest, isn’t gold-plated 100 percent take-it-to-the bank Gospel.
You won’t give him the RESPECT he deserves, dangnabbit. Now you’ve got him REALLY riled.
And as numerous dusky garden hands have learned to their cost in the past, YOU WON’T LIKE MITT WHEN HE’S REALLY RILED. Why, he oughtta ... he oughtta ... RAISE A PETITION!!!!
President Obama’s campaign and his surrogates have made wild and reckless accusations that disgrace the office of the Presidency. Another outrageous charge came yesterday in Virginia. And the White House sinks a little bit lower.
This is what an angry and desperate Presidency looks like.
President Obama knows better and promised better; and America deserves better.
Sign the petition if you agree President Obama should take his campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago.
It would be A Sad Day For Democracy if this sacred document of avowed blind trust were to be sullied by the likes of Richie McRichballs and Donald T. Wherethefucksyertaxreturns chiming in with their support.
Basically, to cleanse the palette from the bullshit and brie flavor of the Bully/Brown-nose ticket, I simply intend to remind that, OMFG, this the kind of thing the fucknuts say out loud, anymore.
So you don’t have to click on the above to get to the wanton death-fantasy of Joe the Plumber:
“For years I’ve said, you know, put a damn fence on the border going to Mexico and start shooting. I’m running for Congress and that should be a bad thing to say. But you know what, it’s how I feel…I want my borders protected, I’m very very adamant about that.”
That’s about 28 minutes in.
You know, when Joe the Plumber became the accidental McCampaign 2008 mascot, I wondered what would become of him. I kind of thought that he’d become some kind of reality show star or something, but apparently he got the politics bug, and that’s cool. Regular people shouldn’t be afraid to get involved in politics. Goldie Hawn’s character in Protocol ran for office after becoming a celebrated regular Jane Q Public figure, so why not have a voice like Sam Wurzelbacher’s in the….
Oh fuck it. Just a minute after he stepped down from endorsing wholesale murder of people who want to participate in the American economy, some jackass steps up and talks about Ronald Reagan, who actually had an immigration amnesty during his administration. Ronald Reagan, who might have been a world-class hippie-punching gay-ignoring Philadelphia, Mississippi campaign-announcing racist dog-whistling example of all the grandstanding bullshit that the modern GOP aspires to, but at least he was too concerned with selling weapons to Middle Eastern terrorists to fund a black ops war in Central America to worry overmuch about killing people who just want to pick the lettuce that makes our affordable Big Macs possible.
This guy makes me pine for Reagan. Screw you and the plunger you rode in on, Sam.
I know “Some wingnut running for congress said X” is just about the laziest of all left-bloggery, but what he said is just so much part of the over the-top, build a fence, dig a moat, stock it with alligators, erect an electrified fence, RFID-chip the illegals, and so forth kind of outlandish stuff that gets said—with a straight face. Then, when someone like Joe Biden suggests that a runaway Wall Street pillaging pensions and looting retirement savings “shackles” regular Americans, which, no doubt, it would—forcing people into jobs and choices they can’t help but have to make to stay afloat—why, the wingnuts scream bloody murder!
You know what? I’m beginning to think there may just be a rhetorical double-standard. (I am not thinking there is a rhetorical double-standard.)
Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Obama’s 2008 opponent weighed in on an ad by the pro-Obama Priorities USA that implies Romney was responsible for the death of a cancer-stricken woman after his company took steps that cost her her job and health insurance.
“In 2008, this president and the people around him promised hope and change, a new environment in Washington,” McCain said. “And now it’s probably deteriorated into the most negative, most unpleasant, most disgraceful campaign that I have ever observed, and I’ve been intimately involved in them since 1984.”
“I’ve got to give them credit, they have succeeded to a certain degree, of painting — with nothing but attack ads — Mitt Romney into something that’s not an acceptable alternative, because he can’t run on his record,” McCain continued.
But….but….if Governor Romney was really, really proud of his record, and it showed that he was actually better than President Obama, why wouldn’t he run on the strength of his resume? I mean, otherwise, all he has is attack ads that make up stuff about Obama’s record, right? After all, the “you didn’t built that” and the welfare work waiver things are patently bullshit attacks, so, um, what is the real complaint about negativity here? And yet, this is uniformly what the GOP is whining about. Like Reince Preibus with his “blood on Obama’s hands” nonsense, and the “stealing” of $700K (or was it $500K) in Medicare funds that had nothing to do with effecting anyone’s coverage.
As we all know, Romney really wished Obama would stop talking about his tax returns and start talking about issues. Well, I don’t know if the Obama campaign really should go that far, but in the interest of good will, they could preface the negative things they say about the Bully/Brown-noser ticket with something nice. You know, just a little compliment. Like saying, well, “I think you are a couple of very handsome guys….who want to destroy the middle class”. Or, you know, “Here are some fellows with great families…..but they have in for your grandparents.” “I’ve seen their front yards, and yes, the trees are the right height….but they’ll probably get us involved in a pointless war because they know fuck-all about foreign policy and all their advisers sound like John McCain.”
From talking points given to reporters after the announcement that Paul Ryan was Romney’s vice presidential pick:
Does this mean Mitt Romney is adopting the Paul Ryan plan?
• Gov. Romney applauds Paul Ryan for going in the right direction with his budget, and as president he will be putting together his own plan for cutting the deficit and putting the budget on a path to balance.
• Romney’s administration will go through the budget line by line and ask two questions: Can we afford it? And, if not, should we borrow money from China to pay for it?
• Mitt Romney will start with the easiest cut of all: Obamacare, a trillion-dollar entitlement we don’t want and can’t afford.
Good luck with that Willard. Because you have already owned Ryan’s budget, time after time and have not put up anything substantial of your own. Not to mention that the Rethuglicans are going to demand that you continue to own that budget because it makes them see more starbursts than Sarah Palin did. Check out the RedState blog. Nasty, suspicious conservative person, Erick Erickson does not trust you. He is watching you, Willard, to make sure you do just as you are told. Just picking Ryan, he tells you, is not enough.
Today, the Romney camp sent out a talking points sheet claiming that while picking Paul Ryan, Romney had his own budget plans. This is delusional and not credible spin. You pick Paul Ryan, you defend his budget. It is that simple.
Yes, Willard. Simple. Just do as you are told and remember that all they want you to be is a signing pen for Rethuglican granny starving, middle class reaming, poor stomping legislation.
Then the base may really love you as all the dupes at The Corner and other wingnutty sites are pretending to. Too bad you lost the state of Florida and will massively turn off independents and moderates who thought that Medicare was, well, kind of a good thing and that maybe all the poors shouldn’t die of disease and starvation and even that middle class people should, someday, be able to get mortgages again in our vastly damaged economic system.
And they will never be able to say that you lost the election because you weren’t far enough to the right.
*Remarkably accurate Zombie Eyed Granny Starver description of Paul Ryan via Charlie Pierce.
Can it be true that Romney will announce Paul Ryan as his VP pick in a couple of hours? Let’s pretend it is, friends, and bust out the spiked eggnog, for though it is 76 degrees outside before sun-up, it is Christmas morning!
This is Romney’s Palin moment—a desperate Hail Mary pass from a campaign that must be in deeper shit than even we suspect. Here’s an excerpt from an NBC interview with Romney that positively reeks of flop-sweat:
Romney also said in the interview he would like a pledge (of sorts) with Obama that there be no “personal” attack ads. “[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.”
Did he just ask Obama to help his campaign? Yes, he did. Romney’s entire candidacy is premised on his business experience, but now mentioning it is a personal attack. Oh, and taxes. Thank you, Mr. Reid, for driving Romney into making a desperation move.
Yes, the Villagers will swoon over the Very Serious Dreamboat, at least for a week or two, and possibly right on through Election Day. But in sewing up a wingnut base that had nowhere else to go, Romney just pissed away Florida.
Romney’s substance-free campaign just acquired substance…a brown, smelly substance that the American people have roundly rejected. Does Jesus love us this much? We’ll know in a couple of hours.