Crazy Train

This has been a remarkable week for exposing the crazy side of conservative Republicanism.

Women’s Issues
Suburban women were a significant part of Obama’s winning coalition in 2008 and were also the reason why so many Tea Party Congressmen were elected in 2010.  So how are the Republicans doing with this particular voting block this year?

Look no further than Todd Akin the tea-party backed Congressman running against Clare McCaskill in the Missouri senate race.  He referenced a loony theory created by Dr. Jack C. Willke, the father of the antiabortion movement, that pregnancy from rape is rare.  This theory is important to the pro-life movement because it allows them to argue that the current exclusions of rape from abortion bans are unnecessary.  Not only is this whole concept deeply offensive to women across the political spectrum, but the theory has no basis in fact.

It has also shined a light on Paul Ryan’s record regarding women’s rights.  Ryan and Akin co-sponsored a bill which attempted to introduce this concept of “legitimate rape”.  Ryan’s 100% rating from the National Right to Life Committee is the result of his support for the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, and the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.  Ryan and Akin were also co-sponsors of the Sanctity of Human Life Act which sought to give a fertilized egg the same rights of “personhood” as a human being and would not only ban all abortions but outlaw some forms of birth control.

Ryan has said he will support the Romney position of allowing abortions in the case of rape, incest, or threat to the life of the mother.  Some women are already wondering what would happen if Romney were elected and then could no longer serve?

Climate Change
We are going through the worst drought in 60 years which deeply affects famers.  New scientific studies are released almost every week attributing this drought specifically to climate change caused by human activities.  Yet, John Shimkus of Illinois who heads the house subcommittee on climate change says there is nothing to worry about.  “The earth will end only when God declares it to be over,” he said, and then he went on to quote Genesis at some length.

John Barton is on the same committee.  He’s the one who among other things apologized to BP because he felt the Obama administration was being too demanding following the gulf oil spill.  Barton cited the Almighty in questioning energy from wind turbines.  Careful, he warned, “wind is God’s way of balancing heat.”  Clean energy, he said, “would slow the winds down” and thus could make it hotter.  “You can’t regulate God!” Barton barked at the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, in the midst of discussion on measures to curb global warming.

Michele Bachmann and Jim Inhofe claim that global warming is a hoax.  Mr. Inhofe is a senior member on the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works.

Romney’s energy plan calls for increased oil drilling and relaxation of EPA regulations on the use of coal.  He promises North American energy independence by 2020 (assuming Canada still likes us by then).  He depends on a study by the Citigroup for his data but ignores the portion of the study which also recommends dramatic increases in conservation standards in order to achieve energy independence.

Finally Romney also promises freedom from foreign oil and cheaper gas.  As long as oil is a globally traded commodity, he can’t deliver on either of these promises unless he is willing to restrict domestic oil exports.  He’s said he won’t do that.  So though the US balance of trade may improve when the US becomes a net oil exporter, prices will still fluctuate based on international events that could affect supply, and we will still be burning foreign oil.

Education
Jack Kingston of Georgia, a 20-year veteran of the House, is an evolution denier, apparently because he can’t see the indent where his ancestors’ monkey tail used to be. “Where’s the missing link?” he said in 2011. “I just want to know what it is.” He serves on a committee that oversees education.

Romney has taken the position that college students don’t need the loan supports they currently receive.  His advice to a college student asking about how they are going to afford the costs of college is that they shop around for a cheaper college or borrow the money from parents and relatives.

Taxes
Romney does not want this election to turn on whether or not he releases his tax returns.  However he continues to assist the Democrats in keeping this issue in the news.  The latest evidence of this is from a talk he gave recently to a small business group.

“We’ve got to make it easier for small businesses,” Romney told a crowd of about 300 people at a high-dollar fundraiser in Minnesota. “Big business is doing fine in many places -they get the loans they need, they can deal with all the regulation. They know how to find ways to get through the tax code, save money by putting various things in the places where there are low tax havens around the world for their businesses. But small business is getting crushed.”

So not only did he echo Obama’s remark regarding the private sector, and effectively take that off the table as a future talking point for his campaign, but one of his recommendation for helping small business appeared to be easier access to tax havens.  This remark came on the heels of several reports on Bain’s practice of setting up tax havens for their customers and additional analysis of Romney’s public returns suggesting extensive use of off-shore accounts to avoid US taxes.

Budget
Romney has promised to balance the budget, but recently he also said he was going to add back $700B in Medicare spending which the Obama administration had listed as cost savings in the Affordable Care Act.  This $700B, as many have already pointed out, is coming from reduced re-imbursements primarily to hospitals who have agreed to the cuts in return for seeing a reduction in their costs for caring for the uninsured.  The other major source of that reduction comes from reducing the rates paid to insurance companies for the Medicare Advantage coverage since the Affordable Care Act also addresses many of the gaps in Medicare coverage that the Medicare Advantage plans filled.  I’ll address the whole Medicare issue in another more detailed post.  But Romney also hasn’t said how he hopes to pay for this additional $700B in spending and still keep his promise to balance the budget and reduce the deficit.  His math didn’t work before.  It has only gotten worse.

Birtherism
Romney has said that he doesn’t dispute Obama’s citizenship.  At the same time, he met with Donald Trump during the primaries and recently made a joke about his own citizenship in a talk in Michigan where he said “no one ever asked to see my birth certificate”.

Welfare
Romney’s claim that the Obama administration is dismantling welfare work requirements has been widely criticized as a thinly veiled bit a race-baiting.  It is factually inaccurate because if anything, the states requesting waivers of the current work rules were attempting to put MORE people to work rather than less.  Instead it was an appeal to the portion of the Republican base who distrust an African American President and the motivation of the African Americans who support him.

Conclusion
There are a couple of things going on here.

There is a segment of the Republican party that hold beliefs well outside mainstream America.  34% of conservative Republicans believe Obama is a Muslim.  51% doubt his citizenship.  50% feel that he is a socialist.  You can see that extremism in the Republican platform which includes a pledge to pass a constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion without exception.  It includes the construction of a giant wall along the US border with Mexico, mandatory use of electronic verification by private employers, no support for a path to citizenship, the blocking of funds to universities offering in-state tuition fees to the undocumented, and an end to federal lawsuits against controversial anti-immigrant legislation such as Arizona’s SB1070.  There’s even language suggesting an annual audit of the Federal Reserve and a “gold commission” to investigate return to the gold standard.

Romney’s strategy to become President has shifted over the last month.  Some pundits say that his selection of Ryan had much more to do with needing to put Wisconsin in play than it did anything else.  That’s because many say that Romney can’t win Ohio.  Romney has to win one of the rust belt states to have any hope of a November victory and he was willing to put Florida at risk because of Ryan’s unpopular Medicare proposals in order to improve his chances in Wisconsin.

The other shift in Romney’s strategy is that he has refocused his attention on his base.  Selecting Ryan made it more difficult for him to win women, but it did guarantee a vigorous attack from Democrats.  That attack and Romney’s recent statements on energy, welfare, and birtherism all indicate that the focus of the rest of his campaign is going to be on turning out the Republican base.  He wants every Republican voter (including those with loony beliefs) so energized that they will be first in line when the polls open.  The added benefit is that a divisive campaign not only gets his base to the polls but also suppresses the less partisan undecided voters who may decide to just stay home because they are so disgusted with the whole process.

This scorched earth strategy  may work to get him elected.

It won’t leave much room for him to govern if he is successful.

2 Responses to “Crazy Train”

  1. Keith says:

    Nice talking points…….I hear them daily on MSNBC in between their constant remarks about republicans being racists.

    I’ll respond to a few of the above.

    YS)Birtherism
    Romney has said that he doesn’t dispute Obama’s citizenship. At the same time, he met with Donald Trump during the primaries and recently made a joke about his own citizenship in a talk in Michigan where he said “no one ever asked to see my birth certificate”.

    MR) you’re kidding…..Its was a joke and everyone knows that including you. If your using guilt by association is “he met with Trump” then I give you Obama met with Aires and attended the good reverands wrights church for 20 years. Be consistant at least…. That’s foolish logic Jeff.

    YS)Education
    Jack Kingston of Georgia, a 20-year veteran of the House, is an evolution denier, apparently because he can’t see the indent where his ancestors’ monkey tail used to be. “Where’s the missing link?” he said in 2011. “I just want to know what it is.” He serves on a committee that oversees education.

    MR) You consider this an exterem position? then I’m exterem. Most Christians believe this…Read Genisis 1 & 2…. From Adams rib Eve was created and from the dust Adam was created….. I just can’t get past that.

    YS)Romney’s claim that the Obama administration is dismantling welfare work requirements has been widely criticized as a thinly veiled bit a race-baiting. It is factually inaccurate because if anything, the states requesting waivers of the current work rules were attempting to put MORE people to work rather than less. Instead it was an appeal to the portion of the Republican base who distrust an African American President and the motivation of the African Americans who support him.

    MR) This is your racist view being exposed. Its a guess that 70% of welfare recipiants are WHITE!!! You are merely mouthing MSNBC talking points. Care to try again. ITS YOU JEFF who somehow make this into a black/white thing. What about welfare signals BLACK to you? I’m wondering about bearing false witness against your brother now. I forgot, Republican = racist. My bad… 70% are white. Again I forgot, its CODE for black…. Your side needs to grow up and quit dividing. Last night Chrs M was playing Reagans words about one women in CHicago colleting 176 diffents named checks. This to prove Romney was a racist….. Here similar logic. You voted for Obama, Obama is a Dem. THe last sitting member of the senate who was in the KKK way Robert Byrd. Therefore, you Jeff support the KKK.

    YS)There is a segment of the Republican party that hold beliefs well outside mainstream America

    MR)You certainly didn’t mention them above. Heres what is outside the mainstream of America….Mr Obama supports this. There is no greater stain on our country.

    * The definition of partial-birth abortion in H.R. 1833 is “an abortion in which the
    person performing the abortion partially vaginally delivers a living fetus before killing
    the fetus and completing the delivery.” A number of physicians were involved in the
    drafting of this language to ensure that it is medically accurate and does not encompass
    any other form of abortion or legitimate medical procedure.

    * Registered nurse Brenda Pratt Shafer witnessed several partial-birth abortions while
    working for an Ohio abortionist. She described one of these abortions in a July 9, 1995,
    letter to Congressman Tony Hall:

    The baby’s body was moving. His little fingers were clasping together. He was kicking
    his feet. All the while his little head was still stuck inside. Dr. Haskell took a pair of
    scissors and inserted them into the back of the baby’s head. Then he opened the scissors
    up. Then he stuck the high-powered suction tube into the hole and sucked the baby’s
    brains out.

    How Many Partial-Birth Abortions Are Performed?

    * There is no way to know the exact number of partial-birth abortions that are
    performed yearly. The National Abortion Federation says that two doctors, McMahon
    and Haskell, perform about 450 between them each year. Both of these abortionists
    energetically advocate the method. Dr. Haskell presented a “how to” paper to National
    Abortion Federation members in 1992, and Dr. McMahon is the director of abortion
    training at a major teaching hospital.

    * The National Abortion Federation also admits that the partial-birth abortion method
    is probably used at times by other practitioners, and the American Medical News
    reported in 1993 that “a handful of other doctors” employed the method.

    * Defenders of partial-birth abortion often stress that they are “a small percentage” of all
    abortions. But for each individual human being who ends up at the pointed end of the
    surgical scissors, the procedure is a 100 percent proposition.

    What Are the Circumstances?

    . * Partial-birth abortion is not a legitimate medical procedure and is not needed for any
    particular circumstances. While the American Medical Association has officially taken
    no position on H.R. 1833, the AMA’s Council on Legislation–made up of 12 doctors–
    voted unanimously to recommend that the AMA Board of Trustees endorse H.R. 1833.
    A member of the Council said they “felt this was not a recognized medical technique,”
    and that the council members agreed that the “procedure is basically repulsive.”
    (Congress Daily. Oct. 10, 1995) What Are the Circumstances? (Continued)

    * Dr. Martin Haskell stated: “And I’ll be quite frank: most of my abortions are elective
    in that 20-24 week range… in my particular case, probably 20% are for genetic reasons.
    And the other 80% are purely elective….” (1993 Interview with AM News)

    * Dr. McMahon uses the partial-birth abortion method through the entire 40 weeks of
    pregnancy. He claims that most of the abortions he performs are “nonelective,” but his
    definition of “non-elective” includes reasons such as the mother’s youth or depression.

    * Dr. McMahon sent the Constitution Subcommittee a graph showing that, even at 26
    weeks of gestation, half the babies that Dr. McMahon aborted were perfectly healthy,
    and many of the babies he described as “flawed” had conditions that were compatible
    with long life, either with or without a disability. For example, Dr. McMahon listed
    nine partial-birth abortions performed because the baby had a cleft lip.

    * H.R. 1833 does have a provision to allow the use of a partial-birth abortion if it is
    needed to save a mother’s life. But eminent medical authorities have stated that this
    procedure would never be used in such a situation. At the subcommittee hearing ~n
    partial-birth abortion, Dr. Pamela Smith, OBGYN, said that in a situation where a
    mother’s life was in danger, “no doctor would employ the partial-birth method of
    abortion, which–as Dr. Haskell carefully describes–takes three days!.

    * The National Abortion Federation sent out a June 18, 1993, letter to its members
    regarding the partial-birth abortion method (then called dilation and extraction). The
    letter counseled, “Don’t apologize: this is a loyal abortion procedure.” The letter also
    stated, “There are many reasons why women have late abortions: life endangerment,
    fetal indications, lack of money or health insurance, social-psychological crises, lack of
    knowledge about human reproduction, etc.”

    What Does H.R. 1833 Do?

    * H.R. 1833 bans the performance of partial-bird] abortions by making it a crime,
    subject to fines and/or a maximum of two years imprisonment, to perform a partial-
    birth abortion.

    * Additionally, the bill creates a civil cause of action for damages against an abortionist
    who performs the procedure. The action can be maintained by the father or, if the
    mother is under 18, the maternal grandparents.

    * H.R. 1833 establishes an affirmative defense for an abortionist who reasonably
    believes that the partial-birth abortion procedure is necessary to save the life of a
    mother.

    “The doctor kept the baby’s head just inside the uterus. The baby’s little fingers were
    clasping and unclasping, and his feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors
    through the back of his head, and the baby’s arms jerked out in a flinch, a startle
    reaction, like a baby does when he thinks that he might fall.”

    — Brenda Pratt Shafer, R.N.

    I’m Brenda Pratt Shafer, a Registered Nurse with 13 years of experience. One day in
    September, 1993, my nursing agency assigned me to work at a Dayton, Ohio, abortion
    clinic. I had often expressed strong “pro-choice” views to my two teenage daughters, so
    I thought this assignment would be no problem for me.

    But I was wrong. I stood at a doctor’s side as he performed the partial-birth abortion
    procedure-and what I saw is branded forever on my mind.

    The mother was six months pregnant. The baby’s heartbeat was clearly visible on the
    ultrasound screen. The doctor went in with forceps and grabbed the baby’s legs and
    pulled them down into the birth canal. Then he delivered the baby’s body and the
    arms-everything but the head. The doctor kept the baby’s head just inside the uterus.

    The baby’s little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his feet were kicking. Then
    the doctor stuck the scissors through the back of his head, and the baby’s arms jerked
    out in a flinch; a startle reaction, like a baby does when he thinks that he might fall.

    The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening
    and sucked the baby’s brains out. Now the baby was completely limp.

    I never went back to that clinic. But I am still haunted by the face of that little boy– it
    was the most perfect, angelic face I have ever seen.

    * Partial-birth abortions are usually performed from 41/2 months to 9 months of
    pregnancy. In a tape-recorded interview with American Medical News, the doctor who
    performed the procedure described above said that in his practice, “80%” of these
    procedures “are purely elective.”

  2. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Keith,

    Romney doesn’t tell jokes. All his remarks are scripted and tested for effect. This was not an off hand comment. It was deliberate and intentional and the crowd obviously got it. So you tell me. Why did he say it?

    The Bible is a religious document, not a scientific one. It is fine to use the bible as a reference text in a comparative religion class. It is crazy to use the bible as a reference text in a science class.

    I’m not going to do any more of your work for you regarding the racial content of Romney’s welfare ads. I posted links from credible sources which support my claim. If you think that claim is inaccurate post your own links to credible sources that support your claim. Otherwise, you are simply in denial about an important (and unfortunate) change in direction for the Romney campaign.

    Here’s wikipedia’s summary of Obama’s position on late term abortion.

    In his write-in response to a 1998 survey, Obama stated his abortion position as conforming with the Democratic platform: “Abortions should be legally available in accordance with Roe v. Wade.”[2] His presidential candidacy was endorsed by several groups which advocate for legal abortion, including NARAL Pro-Choice America[3] andPlanned Parenthood.[4] In August 2008, in Lake Forest, California, Obama responded to the question as to when life begins, “Whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity is above my pay grade.”[5]
    In the Illinois state legislature, Obama opposed the Induced Infant Liability Act[6] and repeatedly voted against requirements and restrictions intended to stop what opponents label “born alive” abortions.[7][8] Obama said his opposition was because of technical language he felt might have “interfered with a woman’s right to choose” and said Illinois law already required medical care in such situations.[8][9]
    Obama voted against the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, saying “On an issue like partial birth abortion, I strongly believe that the state can properly restrict late-term abortions. I have said so repeatedly. All I’ve said is we should have a provision to protect the health of the mother, and many of the bills that came before me didn’t have that.”[10] Obama voted against a bill that would have made it a federal crime for anyone other than a parent to accompany a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion.[11]Obama has, however, expressed support of bans on some late-term abortions, provided they include exemptions for the mental and physical health of the mother.[12]

    During the third debate during the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama further detailed his stance on abortion:
    “…there surely is some common ground when both those who believe in choice and those who are opposed to abortion can come together and say, ‘We should try to prevent unintended pregnancies by providing appropriate education to our youth, communicating that sexuality is sacred and that they should not be engaged in cavalier activity, and providing options for adoption, and helping single mothers if they want to choose to keep the baby’. Those are all things that we put in the Democratic platform for the first time this year, and I think that’s where we can find some common ground, because nobody’s pro-abortion. I think it’s always a tragic situation. We should try to reduce these circumstances.”[13]

    Obama voted for a $100 million education initiative to reduce teen pregnancy and provide contraceptives to young people.[10]

    Here’s whole partial birth issue in a nutshell.

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/ib13.html

    Obama supports the right of states to regulate late term abortions which seems to be in step with mainstream Americans.

    If you have data that suggests that the majority of Americans have a different view, please post it. Otherwise, again, your claims are just your opinion.

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