Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Romney Plays The Percentages... Comes Up A Big Loser


If you're following the news, you're probably watching the jaw-dropping, seemingly unstoppable real-time collapse of Mitt Romney's campaign. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong and adding Wall Street darling Paul Ryan to the ticket has only exacerbated it. The GOP base, of course loves it all-- but what Romney is discovering, or re-discovering, since he knew this when he was a Massachusetts politician-- is that the GOP base, outside  of the Confederacy and the Mormon states, is NOT the electorate. He has failed-- and failed miserably-- to pivot to the mainstream after having spent a tough primary debating a gaggle of incompetent and completely unqualified Neanderthals that could only ever be taken serious by someone who exclusively watches Fox News or listens religiously to ridiculous Hate Talk Radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Bryan Fischer, Laura Ingraham, and G. Gordon Liddy. Romney's campaign is aimed at that world-- and he'll win in that world-- by a landslide. In the real world... not so  much. At this point he's ahead-- slightly-- in exactly one swing state: North Carolina. And the Obama folks have reason to believe they can close that gap before election day. 

Yesterday Greg Sargent made the point that Romney is caught in a trap he can't get out of, a trap the Republicans made for him.
Americans are rejecting his argument that they should view their choice mostly as a referendum on Obama’s economic performance, because they blame the sluggish recovery on the magnitude of the mess Obama inherited from George W. Bush, and believe things will get better in Obama’s second term. That is putting pressure on Romney to be more specific about why his alternative, such as it is, would spark a faster recovery than is occurring under Obama.

But Romney can’t be too much more specific about that alternative, because it risks reminding voters of the degree to which his policies resemble those of the aforementioned George W. Bush, under whom the meltdown happened in the first place.

And Paul Ryan's selection has only made the problem that much worse. There's not a catastrophic Bush agenda item that Ryan didn't push-- and in many cases, push very, very hard, eager to earn his stripes inside the Establishment. Even after the House rejected the Bush bankster bailout it was Ryan-- along with Boehner and Eric Cantor-- who twisted enough arms of Republican congressmen who knew better to go back and switch their votes the next week.

It was September 2008 and the GOP kleptocrats were winding up their last months in office. They wanted to deliver one more grand giveaway to Wall Street-- Henry Paulsen's bankster bailout. One problem: enough Republicans (133 of 'em) joined with Democrats to defeat it 205-228 when it was first brought up for a vote. Wall Street's best-paid shills, Boehner, Cantor and Paul Ryan, mobilized for battle. At the time Ryan, a relatively junior Member, had already taken $1,704,095 in legalistic bribes from Wall Street (a number that has now soared to $3,115,147). After the defeat in the House, Wall Street and the banksters went bonkers and pulled all Bush's strings and he and Paulsen easily got the monstrosity passed in the House of Lords and then went back to the House with an even more odious version of the bill that they had rejected a few days before. This time it passed 263-171 with not 65, but 91 Republicans joining in. Among the vote switchers who had had their arms twisted by Boehner, Cantor and Ryan plus the official registered Wall Street lobbyists:
Gresham Barrett (R-SC- $807,723)
Judy Biggert (R-IL- $1,675,717)
Charlie Dent (R-PA- $760,872)
Mary Fallin (R-OK- $336,576)
Jim Gerlach (R-PA- $1,670,352)
Pete Hoekstra (R-MI- $295,830)
Gary Miller (R-CA- $807,688)
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL- $928,068)
Mean Jean Schmidt (R-OH- $458,449)
John Shadegg (R-AZ- $1,218,261)
Lee Terry (R-NE- $1,246,007)
Patrick Tiberi (R-OH- $2,438,284)

At the time some people wondered if teabaggers and fiscal conservatives would hold a screamingly hypocritical Ryan accountable at all. Yesterday's selection by Romney-- popular with the GOP base-- shows they didn't give a damn. At the time, Ryan was the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee and a member of the Ways and Means Committee. He' had assigned himself the job of spokesperson for fiscal austerity but he had already taken more money from the banksters than any other politician in the history of Wisconsin politics and, as we saw, he voted for the bank bailout not once, but twice. In fact, Ryan was one of the hypocrites exposed in Michael Moore's film, Capitalism: A Love Story:
In a section of the critically acclaimed examination of how Wall Street insiders diverted hundreds of billions of tax dollars into their accounts, Moore illustrates how the bailout happened. Democratic and Republican members of Congress who do the bidding of the bankers scared their colleagues and the American people into approving a massive bailout of the speculators whose misdeeds created the financial meltdown that shocked the nation in September 2008.

Ryan, the Republican congressman from southeast Wisconsin's hard-pressed 1st District, is shown playing the fear card by telling the House that it had to steer almost $800 million BILLION to Wall Street's sleaziest players.

"If we fail to do the right thing, heaven help us-- if we fail to pass this I fear the worst is yet to come," claimed Ryan.

The statement from the Wisconsin Republican who has positioned himself as a budget specialist in the House played a significant role in securing support for a bailout bill that had not been adequately analyzed and that included few protections against fraud.

Had Ryan used his reputation and his role on key committees to aggressively oppose the bailout, he might have blocked the rush to judgment that economists now say could end up costing American taxpayers trillions of dollars-- and a big chunk of their country's future.

Instead, the GOP establishment's favored point man on fiscal issues claimed-- without benefit of facts, figures or any grounding in economic reality-- that a failure to give the bankers everything they were asking for could bring on a depression.

"This is a Herbert Hoover moment," Ryan told the House, as he reached a fear-mongering crescendo. "(Hoover) made mistakes during the Great Depression-- let's not make those mistakes."

Robert Reich is postulating that the reason Romney/Ryan has sunk so rapidly is not just because "Romney is a lousy candidate, unable to connect with people or make his case" (which is certainly true) but also because "Americans are finally beginning to see how radical the GOP has become, and are repudiating it."
The Republican primaries, and then the Republican convention, have shown America a party far removed from the “compassionate conservatism” the GOP tried to sell in 2000. Instead, we have a party that’s been taken over by Tea Partiers, nativists, social Darwinists, homophobes, right-wing evangelicals, and a few rich people whose only interest is to become even wealthier.

These regressives were there in 2000, to be sure. They lurked in the GOP in the 1990s, when Newt Gingrich took over the House. They were there in the 1980s, too, although Ronald Reagan’s sunny disposition gave them cover. In truth, they’ve been part of the GOP for more than half a century-- but never before have they held so much sway in the party, never before have they called the shots.

The second view about Romney’s decline also explains the “negative coat-tail” effect — why so many Republicans around the country in Senate and House races are falling behind. Scott Brown, for example, is well-liked in Massachusetts. But his polls have been dropping in recent weeks because he’s had to carry the burden of the public’s increasing dislike of the Republican Party. The same is true with regard to Republican senate races in Florida, Virginia, and every other battleground state.

Romney’s failing isn’t that he’s a bad candidate. To the contrary, he’s giving this GOP exactly what it wants in a candidate. And that’s exactly the problem for Romney-- as it is for every other Republican candidate-- because what the GOP wants is not at all what the rest of America wants.

Yesterday we read that new polling is showing that Obama's coattails are helping to pull through some extraordinarily weak and rotten Democratic congressional candidates, namely corrupt corporate shills Shelley Berkley (New Dem-NV) and Leonard Boswell (Blue Dog-IA). It puts into stronger focus Steve Israel's insistence that the DCCC not put any money into the progressives running in important districts Obama will win-- like Joe Pitts' PA-16, Buck McKeon's CA-25, Paul Ryan's WI-01, Mike Rogers' MI-08, all very senior, very connected Republican heavyweight, all electorally vulnerable and each facing an independent minded progressive reformer (just what Steve Israel hates even more than he mildly disagrees with his Republican friends), respectively Aryanna Strader, Lee Rogers, Rob Zerban and Lance Enderle. You can find those progressive reformers all on one page-- the one dedicated to battling the "bi-partisan" Austerity nightmare our political elites have cooked up for us.

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At 8:26 AM, Blogger Pats said...

You know how people will do something bad, and get away with it? And when they see they got away with it, they do it over and over again. Or they commit larger crimes. Because nothing happened. They get bolder and bolder and commit bigger crimes, thinking no one will ever stop them. And finally they either piss off the wrong person, or do something so egregious that FINALLY (the world, the authorities, whoever) says, "Ok, that's ENOUGH!"

I keep hoping the GOP will finally do that. That even the sheep that totally believe everything that Rush says will finally turn away in disgust.

Maybe soon.


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