Saturday, August 11, 2012:
That was the day the Republicans drove the final nail into their electoral coffin. Not that Willard was going to win anyway. His campaign was a rolling disaster, and had been for months.
His own base could barely stand him. He campaigned on the basis of his “business experience”, but he didn’t want you to look at that too closely. According to him, he was a “job creator”. And in fairness, he was. He created jobs in China, in India, in Mexico and several other countries. In the U.S. – not so much! In the U.S. he created profits, which he then outsourced to Swiss bank accounts and the Cayman Islands.
His father, whom I have always been a fan of, released 12 years of tax returns when he ran for President. Willard released one year of incomplete returns and part of another. If he had been nominated for a cabinet post, that wouldn’t even meet the requirements for Senate confirmation.
And then there was Harry Reid.When pressed on all sides (including Republican and conservative leaders) he steadfastly refused to release more. At one point, he even claimed he didn’t have to because “I’m not a business”. (Although “Corporations are people too, my friend!”) Resisting all that pressure from every side, it became very obvious that there had to be a major deal breaker hidden in there. Something so odious that exposure would kill his campaign and perhaps have even more serious consequences.
Then he took off on his tour of England, Israel & Poland to highlight his foreign policy skills and to watch his horse (a $77,731 tax credit) dance in the Olympics.
He promptly managed to screw up in all three countries.
He insulted his hosts in England several times (and they’re our closest ally). He was promptly denounced as being “…a car crash…worse than Sarah Palin” (Sarah Palin, for craps sake! Damn! You can’t get much lower than that!)
In Israel he managed to roil tensions by claiming Israelis had a superior culture compared to the Palestinians. (I guess they got extra points for their brand of apartheid.
Of course, to his credit, and to the consternation of the bagger boys back home, he did praise Israel’s health care system. “When our health care costs are completely out of control. Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the GDP in Israel? 8 percent. You spend 8 percent of GDP on health care. And you’re a pretty healthy nation”. Israel’s health care system is #4 in the world. We’re #1 in medical costs with 18% of GDP, but only ranked 38th in quality. Israeli health care is socialist right down to its individual mandate.
(For more on the horrors of Socialism check out “The Scurge(?) or Scourge(?) of Socialism” right next door.)
In Poland, Willard outsourced his gaffes to his spokesman, who told reporters to “Show some respect!” and “Kiss my ass!” at the Polish Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
If Saint Ronnie was known as “The Gipper”, Saint Willard should be known as “The Gaffer”. Btw, in Mormonism, Willard is a saint, as are all members. LDS is short for Latter Day Saints. (Which, I guess, makes me an EX-saint, although “fallen angel” has a better ring to it.)
When he got home, there were three new polls showing him seven or more points behind. (Fox had him down by nine.)
Then there was the electoral college. Nate Silver, the most accurate political prognosticator in the country, had it 301.2 for Obama and 236.8 for Willard, with Obama rising and Willard heading off in the other direction.
Even worse, after Willard and his “independent” Super PACs had spent a couple hundred million in the “swing states” (Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida) he was losing them BIG TIME! The only one of the nine he was leading in (barely) was NC. And, as in the national polls, the swing states were swinging and not in a good way for Willard.
It’s my unfounded belief (although, my gut thinks I’m right) that Willard had been planning on picking Rob Portman for Veep. As a person, I liked “T-Paw”, but he falls into the “always the bridesmaid” category. The rest of the list was primarily there for ego stroking and/or political advantage. I don’t think Paul Ryan was on Willard’s really short list until the last few days.
Anyway all that’s inconsequential now.
What happened was that the “big mouth boys” i.e. Rupert Murdoch (Wall Street Journal, Faux Noise, etc); Rich Lowry (The National Review); and Bill Kristol (The Weekly Standard) all started pushing Paulie, aided by a bunch of the “big buck boys” (See “The Tea Potty (pt 8)“)
I can only speculate as to the rationale for the Paulie push, but I have come up with a reasonable scenario:
The “bigs” may be (and are) a lot of things, but THEY ARE NOT DUMB. (They just think you are.) They knew that Willard was a loser. So, they decided that they might as well salvage something out of this shipwreck and start planning for 2016.
In Republican Presidential politics there’s a certain pattern. Usually the #2 person in the previous cycle becomes the front-runner in the next one. (Yes, I know Sister Sarah was the Veep pick in the last cycle, but she was that other type of “number two”.) Willard was #2 in the primaries.
As for Sister Sarah? She’s “persona non grata” in this cycle’s Republican Incest Fest. So are Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Rick Perry and several other members of the “Tinfoil Hat Brigade”. (The Repubs don’t want you remembering how whacko they really are.) “Bush League & Company” is not on the guest list either. (They also don’t want you remembering the assholes that got us into all these messes in the first place.)
Enter stage (far) right: Paul Ryan (Oops, hold that thought for one more paragraph. There’s one last bit of groundwork to lay.)
After the election, several segments of the Repugs are going to claim they didn’t win because their candidate wasn’t conservative enough. (Willard kissed their conservative behinds often enough, but I guess he didn’t stick his tongue in far enough.)
Enter stage (far) right: Paul Ryan!
Throughout most of American history, Veeps were chosen for ideological or geographical balance and/or electoral advantage. The last time that actually worked was back with Kennedy/Johnson in 1960, although a slight argument could be made for Clinton/Gore in “92.
Paulie will help a little with the fringe right, but they were mostly going to hold their nose and vote for Willard anyway. (Once you’ve won 50.1% of Georgia’s “good ol’ boy” vote, 50.2% isn’t going to do you any more good. Extra Bubbas don’t make it better.) As for Paulie bringing Wisconsin into the “blue column”? Normally, a Veep pic is worth a 1 to 2% uptick in the vote statewide. Currently, Willard is around 6 points behind. 2 ain’t gonna do him a damn bit of good.
It’s possible that the “bigs” saw him as Willard’s Cheney. I kind of doubt that, because I think winning had already been heavily discounted. Plus, if Hell does freeze over, Willard’s ego is way too huge to take a backseat to Paulie.
So, why do the “bigs” like Paulie? For one thing, he’s their kinda guy. Both he and Willard were, as Barry Switzer once put it, “born on third and thought they hit a triple.” But, unlike “ol’ etch-a-sketch”, Paulie’s views are shiftless. He’s a lifelong Ayn Rand fanboy. “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.”
(Although, I wonder if he knows that Ayn lived on social security and medicare assistance in her later years.)
And, just who is Paulie? “By their deeds, you shall know them.” (That quote is actually a bastardisation of Matthew 7:16 “You shall know them by their fruits”. However, as we all know, “fruits” is a pejorative word in the tea bagger lexicon and “bastards” only applies to liberals.)
Anyway, lets take a look at those “deeds”:
- For starters, in 13 years in congress, he’s actually had two of his bills passed. One of those was a change in the excise tax on arrows from 39 cents an arrow to 12.4% of the sales price. (He’s a bowhunter.) The other one was a bill to change the name of a post office. Let’s see…. at $174,000 per year times 13 years, divided by two bills………..That comes to $1,131,000 per bill. (A fine use of taxpayer money.)
- He’s anti-tax. That is, he’s anti-tax if you’re rich. If you’re poor or even middle class, he thinks you’re just not holding up your end and you need to dig deeper. He wants to extend the Bush league cuts for the rich, but dump the Obama tax cuts for the poor and middle class. He also wants to eliminate, or at least, severely cut tax deductions for mortgage interest, health insurance premiums and charitable contributions. (If she wasn’t still alive when he was born, I’d swear that Paulie is Ayn reincarnated.)
- He’s a deficit hawk. He’s such a deficit hawk that he wants to cut $120 billion from discretionary funding (You know, things like food inspection, the environment, health services, education, transportation, urban development.) and $284 billion from mandatory funding (That would be Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.) in the next two years. And, he doesn’t give a damn about any silly collateral damage like the loss of over 4 million jobs.
- Now, he’s not an absolute, down and dirty, 100% total deficit hawk. He does want us to keep giving our tax dollars to “Big Oil”. (As if they already weren’t the richest industry in the world.) In 2011 he voted to keep giving them $40 billion dollars over the next decade (H J RES 44). Of course, the fact that he’s heavily invested in the industry has absolutely nothing to do with it. (Or, does it?)
- Getting back to his deficit hawk side. (I’d call it his “Mr. Hyde” side, but so far I haven’t found a “Dr. Jekyll” side.) He thinks Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. Since 2005 he’s been pushing to privatize S.S. (i.e. Everyone would invest in stocks and bonds.) Can you imagine the consequences if S.S. had been privatized in 2008 when the market went into free fall?
- He wants to kill Medicare, with its single-payer system and replace it with a voucher program to help you buy insurance coverage. The program would even expand each year to compensate for overall inflation. Problem is, health care costs have been rising far faster than overall inflation for the last several decades. So over the next few years, out-of-pocket costs per year could rise several thousand dollars. (Florida just morphed dark blue.)
- As for Medicaid, according to CBS News. 44 million people would lose coverage under Paulie’s “Path to Prosperity”.
- While we’re on the general subject of health care, Paulie is a “Personhood” pusher. He believes that there should be a law that guarantees fertilized eggs have the same rights as people. Personhood bills are so extreme, (They would even ban birth control pills.) that Mississippi rejected theirs and Colorado said no twice with over 40% margins both times. (Mississippi?? Hell, if it won’t float in ol’ Miss, then the Republicans really do have a “woman problem”, even with their own.) Nevada and Florida couldn’t even get enough signatures to get it on the ballot and Virginia and Oklahoma Republican legislatures decided to kick it forward until after the elections. But, minor setbacks like this don’t bother our Paulie. In fact, he co-sponsored a bill (H.R. 212) that would make “Personhood” the law of the land. Here, he and Willard are on the same page, as are the rest of the Republican troglodytes (I’ll be covering this type of garbage in a lot greater depth in my upcoming “War On Women” post. Stay tuned gender fans.)
- Oh, and btw, he doesn’t think a woman is worth as much as a man. He voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. (In his defense, so did almost every other Republican.)
- And, if you’re a single mom, he thinks the government coddles you too much, so he wants to cut the Child Tax Credit. Mothers working full-time for minimum wage ($14,500 a year) would lose more than $1,500 a year. (Child nutrition is overrated anyway.)
- Food stamps, a program that has gotten a few million families through some pretty rough times would be cut by $134 billion over the next few years. (Hey, there’s plenty of dumpsters with old food just laying there for the taking.)
- If you’re a parent that wants your children to have the benefit of a good education, how does a 1/3 cut in educational spending sound to you? (Damn teachers make too much money anyway. Millionaires could make a lot better use of that money.)
So, that’s pretty much Paulie (and the Repugs) in a nut shell. (Emphasis on nut.) If you’re rich or nostalgic for the ’50’s (the 1850’s) then he’s your man. Otherwise, you just might want to hold your nose and vote Democratic this time around. (Who knows, if they get beaten bad enough, they just might wake up and smell the skunk cabbage.)