Saturday, February 11, 2012

Rick Santorum's culture war and Obama's victory in November

Perhaps not surprisingly, Public Policy Polling just released a survey that has Rick Santorum opening up a wide lead over Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich in their newest national poll. He's at 38% to 23% for Romney and 17% for Gingrich.

As the poll indicates, a big part of the reason that Santorum is doing so well is his high level of popularity as 64% of voters see him favourably to only 22% who have a negative view of him:

But the other, and maybe more important, reason is that Republicans are significantly souring on both Romney and Gingrich. Romney's favorability is barely above water at 44/43, representing a 23 point net decline from our December national poll when he was +24 (55/31). Gingrich has fallen even further. A 44% plurality of GOP voters now hold a negative opinion of him to only 42% with a positive one. That's a 34 point drop from 2 months ago when he was at +32 (60/28). 

Santorum is now completely dominating with several key segments of the electorate, especially the most right leaning parts of the party. With those describing themselves as 'very conservative,' he's now winning a majority of voters at 53% to 20% for Gingrich and 15% for Romney. Santorum gets a majority with Tea Party voters as well at 51% to 24% for Gingrich and 12% for Romney. And with Evangelicals he falls just short of a majority with 45% to 21% for Gingrich and 18% for Romney.

One other rather devastating detail found in the poll for Romney is what would happen if Gingrich were to drop out, which is that 58% of Newt's supporters say they would move to Santorum, while only 22% would go to Romney and 17% to Paul. 

I realize that we've seen this all before. All of the GOP contenders have had their day and once at the top they almost immediately start falling back down. 

I get all that, or maybe this is just the strangest contest we've ever seen and Santorum, being the last candidate standing in this apparently never ending game of "Not-Mitt," will win the nomination for no other reason. 

On the other hand, it's a little surprising that Republican voters took so long to get around to Santorum at a time when conservative bona fides are the order of the day.  Many of us wondered if the Tea Party movement would have enough influence to do for the presidential nomination process what they did for Sharon Angle in Nevada and Christine O'Donnell in Delaware in 2010, which is to pick with their hearts and not with their heads - to pick based on some perverse notion of ideological purity over any chance of winning an election.  

We all assumed that Mitt Romney, with the money of the conservative establishment behind him, would be able to beat back the wacky right, but maybe we were wrong. 

So, while it is true that Rick Santorum's radical social conservatism will make him unattractive to swing voters in the general election and ensure an Obama victory, it might be precisely what is required to win the GOP nomination this time around, as some of the polling data above would suggest. 

Romney and Gingrich are opportunists. Santorum is a true believer, and that is the difference. Much as Mitt and Newt have tried to fake sincerity, it has not been possible. Santorum is the real deal, and I don't mean that in a good way. 

It seems clear that very few pundits, professional or amateur, know what's going to happen with the Republican nomination, having all gotten it wrong so frequently, but there is one thing we do know: when someone as radical as Rick Santorum is doing this well so relatively late, the GOP is in trouble and the intelligent few in their ranks, the ones who really understand politics, know it.  

Main point here is that if the GOP makes the 2012 election about the economy they have a shot. If they make it a culture war, they're done. The Obama campaign could not have built a better candidate from scratch than Rick Santorum to help them frame the general election as a culture war. 

Keep in mind, as well, that even if Romney wins the nomination, he will have had to go step for step with Santorum on the culture war front for longer than it will do him any good.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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Photo of the day: Winter in Toronto (not this year)

We're not having much of a winter in Toronto this year, not that this bothers me that much, but maybe a little. I've been here over 30 years and can't remember a season with so little snow.

Anyway, just as a reminder, I found this shot of one of the city's iconic streetcars from a winter past. 

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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Shear the Beard: Yet another reason to love the Pittsburgh Steelers

And I certainly do.

Via The Post Game, one of my favourite players, Brett Keisel, has his beard shaved off for a great cause:

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Severely conservative, severely pathetic, severely phony: Romney panders to CPAC

By Michael J.W. Stickings

With Santorum surging and finding love at the CPAC Insanitarium, Mitt Romney is getting more and more desperate and more and more pathetic in his pandering to the GOP's far-right base and in trying to market himself as a real conservative worthy of the right's support.

This was on full display today at CPAC.

"I know conservatism because I have lived conservatism,” Romney claimed, adding: "I was a severely conservative Republican governor. I fought against long odds in a deep blue state."

First, he has lived conservatism only if conservatism is Mormonism and vulture capitalism.

Second, his record as governor was anything but conservative -- or at least the sort of conservative that the inhabitants of this right-wing Insanitarium understand conservatism to be. One word: Romneycare. (You want more? How about support for abortion rights?)

Third, he didn't fight long odds in Massachusetts. That state is blue, yes, but it has a history of electing moderate Republicans at the state-wide level (e.g., Gov. William Weld), and back then Romney was what we in Canada call a progressive conservative, pretty much as moderate a Republican as they come. And of course he was only a one-term governor. It's not like he fought the odds for long.

Nice try, Willard, but I'm not sure any conservative worth his or her CPAC name tag is buying your bullshit.

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Ejaculating sacred sperm into the Gulf of Mexico America: Using satire to ridicule Republican stupidity

Looks like that whole "Gulf of America" thing that was understandably arousing so much outrage and ridicule was just satire all along. Here's ThinkProgress with the before and after:


Mississippi State Rep. Steve Holland, a Democrat, introduced a bill in the state's lower chamber calling for the part of the Gulf of Mexico that borders his state to be renamed the "Gulf of America." A local Latino GOP organization called on Holland to withdraw the measure. "If this bill passes the legislature and is signed into law, perhaps it is time to rename the Mississippi River," wrote Bob Quasius, Café Con Leche's president, in the letter. "After all, sharing a name with a state that wants to rewrite maps out of disdain for Mexicans would be a disgrace to the rest of the nation."


It was satire! The lawmaker, Rep. Steve Holland, tells Mississippi Public Broadcasting's Daniel Cherry that he was just making a point, reports NPR:

Holland told Daniel that so many of his Republican colleagues seem to want to push anything or anyone Mexican out of the state that he's just trying to "embrace" their cause and help them out. In other words, he’s introduced a bill that he thinks will make a satirical point by being outrageous.

Well played, Mauer Mr. Holland. Point well taken.


In Oklahoma, Sen. Constance Johnson did much the same with her hilarious "sacred sperm" amendment to that state's "personhood" legislation being pushed by Republicans:

To poke fun at the absurdity of the measure, Oklahoma state Sen. Constance Johnson (D), has tacked on a provision affirming — in the words of a famous Monty Python song — that every sperm is sacred:

State Senator Constance Johnson of Oklahoma City has served Oklahoma's 48th Senate District since 2005, but it was yesterday's introduction of Senate Bill 1433 that really pushed her over the edge. The bill sought to define human life as beginning at the moment of conception, before it's even implanted in the womb, and offers full legal protection to those tiny multicelled lumps. In the words of the bill, "the unborn child at every stage of development (has) all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of this state."

Johnson submitted an amendment of her own to the bill, which would have added the language, 

However, any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child.

Among other things, Johnson's amendment would essentially outlaw oral sex, anal sex, and masturbation. Were it not a satirical bill, it would almost certainly be deemed unconstitutional.

Once again, very well played.

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Thursday, February 09, 2012

Remember when Mitt Romney was pro-choice?

Guest post by Comrade Misfit

Ed. note: I'd like to welcome a new guest blogger to The Reaction, Comrade Misfit of the very fine blog Just an Earth-Bound Misfit, I, which I highly recommend. The blog's description says it all: "Airplanes, cats, guns, war, the more than occasional rant about the party of the Confederacy, the spinelessness of the Democrats and crap about anything else that flits through the somewhat offbeat mind of an armed lesbian pinko as she slides down the Razor Blade of Life." Indeed. And it's a great pleasure to be able to feature her here. -- MJWS


Comrade Misfit is a lawyer and cat-owner in upstate New York. You can find her at her blog, Just an Earth-Bound Misfit, I.

It was only ten years ago, when Mitt Romney was running for governor of Massachusetts. He supported the use of the "morning-after pill," he supported government-subsidized abortions, he supported comprehensive sex education in schools, and he agreed with the Roe v. Wade decision.

Don't believe me? See for yourself:

But two years later, things changed. Mittens set his sights on a better job. He immediately tacked to the right, discarding everything that he said he believed in.[1] He pretty much began phoning it in as governor to plot his run for the presidency, and he began flip-flopping faster than a loose screen door in a windstorm.

Rick Santorum may be both misogynistic and a homophobic and Ron Paul may be a racist old conspiracy whackaloon, but this is incontestable: Both of those guys believe in something. They have a core to their political identities. Romney, on the other hand, has no core, no center. Politically, Romney is like a dense fog, in that it looks like there is something there, but all that is really there is mist and vapor.

The only thing that Romney believes in is that he should be in charge. What he would do, other than figure out some why to enable his predatory capitalist buddies to further loot the country, is anyone's guess. His best argument is the unspoken one of "I came in second last time around, so now, by GOP tradition, it's my turn."

I am not voting for whoever wins the GOP nomination. So maybe that colors my view of ol' Willard. But I fail to see how any Republican could ever think of voting for Flip-Flop Mitt. He has a proven track record of being a man who will say anything whatsoever and do anything it takes in order to win the next election. When Romney gives a political speech, you can bet the farm that every word coming out of his mouth is pandering bullshit. And you can also be assured that when it becomes convenient for him, Romney will disavow everything that he just told you he believed.

Going into a political fight with Mitt Romney at your side is like marching into battle allied with the Italian army. The rank and file of the GOP are utter fools if they put their trust in Romney.


[1] Other than praying to God and Bain Capital, that is.

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Yet another failure: Trump doesn't "get" Santorum

The megalomaniacal Donald doesn't seem to get a lot, and certainly not Santorum. As he told CNN's Ashleigh Banfield yesterday:

Rick Santorum was a sitting senator who in re-election lost by 19 points, to my knowledge the most in the history of this country for a sitting senator to lose by 19 points. It's unheard of. Then he goes out and says oh okay I just lost by the biggest margin in history and now I'm going to run for president. Tell me, how does that work?... That's like me saying I just failed a test. Now I'm going to apply for admission to the Wharton School of Finance. Okay? He just failed a test... And now he's going to run for president. So, I don't get Rick Santorum. I don't get that whole thing.

So... you're not allowed back in after you lose, whether it's in school, business, or politics -- or whatever?

It's certainly true that Santorum lost badly in 2006 and that his loss seemed to spell his end in politics. I remember celebrating his loss that night, along with many other Republican losses, and thinking that this ridiculous extremist, this joke, had only gotten what he'd deserved. But we must remember that the 2006 midterms were bad pretty much across the board for Republicans. Santorum would have lost anyway, I suspect, but the size of his defeat had a lot to do with the Democratic wave that flipped Congress. And of course he lost in Pennsylvania, a purple-to-blue state, not a Republican stronghold like, say, Alabama or Utah.

Regardless, why should his loss six years ago disqualify him? Why should failing a test disqualify you from getting into Wharton or any other school? You might as well tell Tom Brady he can't play football next year because he lost the Super Bowl. Please. It's a stupid argument.

And the fact is, Santorum is connecting with Republican voters in a real way. The Romney-backing Trump may not get that either, and it may be somewhat surprising that Santorum has found such success recently, but there you go. (It's hardly surprising that Trump supports Mitt, and otherwise would likely have gone to Newt. He clearly understands, and values, shameless opportunism and self-whoring, not the sincerity and, yes, integrity that seems to be driving Santorum.)

Besides, if you want failure, you need look no further than Trump's own career -- for example, the USFL, the Trump Shuttle, Trump Vodka, Trump Mortgage, massive debt, bailouts by banks, bankrupties... oh, one could go on and on. See here and here for the details of these and other failures.

Why doesn't Trump just take his own advice and give up?

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Rush Limbaugh speaks... the truth?

Look, it wouldn't be the first time, however infrequent it may be.

Just last October, for example, he said that "Romney is not a conservative. He's not, folks. You can argue with me all day long on that, but he isn't."

Well, no, that's not true. Romney is a conservative... sort of... in a way. You could say he's a conservative vulture capitalist. And you can certainly say he's a conservative on tax policy (and on trying to make the rich as rich as possible). And he has certainly adopted solidly conservative positions on issues like abortion and immigration.

Okay, so he's not a conservative, just someone with some conservative positions. So maybe Dear Leader Rush was right? Sure, maybe.

Anyway, Rush was at it again yesterday, slamming the GOP "establishment" for its cluelessness:

Rush Limbaugh mocked the Republican establishment on his radio show Wednesday for being "shocked" by Rick Santorum's three-state win, saying, "I can't believe how insulated they are."

"They're literally shocked. The Republican establishment had no idea this was percolating out there. I can't believe how insulated they are," Limbaugh said. "To look at the reaction they're having today, to see how shocked they are that Rick Santorum has come out of what they thought was an impossible position equivalent to nowhere, is an incredible thing."

Well, yes. I'm not sure the establishment was quite as "shocked" as Rush suggested, but there's no doubt that the pro-Romney push by the establishment, with millions and millions spent to crush his far more conservative opponents, is basically a huge middle finger to the vast majority of the Republican Party, and particularly to its grassroots base.

Santorum may not be the guy -- because of who he is, because he lacks sufficient money and organization -- but he's far more in tune with the current Republican zeitgeist than the pathetically pandering Romney. As he added, sarcastically:

First it was Newt, now it's Santorum. It can't be the candidates. It can't be that Santorum's connecting with voters. It can't be that, no, no, it can't be that Santorum's resonating with Republican voters, the conservative base. It can't be that the conservative base just isn't happy with Romney. It can't be any of that. No, no, no.

Yes, yes, yes. But is the "establishment" getting the message?

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By Carl
I think we're going to see this trope more, now that Rick Santorum has reeled off some victories:

The resurgence of social and cultural issues in voters' minds poses new challenges for GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney as he reels from surprising losses Tuesday to conservative favorite Rick Santorum.

The economy remains the No. 1 issue of concern for a majority of Americans. But the recent hoopla surrounding the Obama administration's support of contraceptives, the court ruling against California's same-sex marriage ban and heated debate about abortion access has created a perfect storm that has pushed these seemingly dormant issues to the surface.

"They've never been far from the surface. A lot of people thought the social issues had disappeared but that has never been the case," said Karlyn Bowman, a senior fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute who focuses on polling data and public opinion. "These issues are obviously very important within a conservative party, the Republican party."

Now, Romney's record indicates a conservative bend on these issues: while he has enacted legislation in Massachussetts requiring hospitals, even religious ones, to perform abortions in the case of rape victims (not an unreasonable position, but more on that in another piece,) he has vetoed bills authorizing the morning-after pill (called the "abortion pill" by the living-room gibbons on the right,) which the legislature passed over his veto.

Yet, Romney gets the blame.

Meanwhile, Santorum has publicly been outspoken on social issues like same-sex marriage and abortion (and likely, the hoopla over contraception for lay employees of the Catholic Church.)

In other words, this is a battle of right v. righty-right.

So where's the dogwhistle?

I mean, you have two candidates who have publicly worn their religion on their sleeves, one a church elder in fact. You'd think the choice would be harder.

Except....wellllllll....see, one's a Mormon. And there's where I think Santorum is striking gold, particularly in states that were part of the westward expansion of the nation.

The history of Mormonism in America is a harsh one: kicked out of New York, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois and nearly every other state Mormons tried to settle in, they headed west. In fact, Mormons would end up being a major component and impetus to expand American hegemony to the west coast.

It probably didn't help that Joseph Smith was a crackpot who conned people left and right. He was a product of New York's Chautauqua "Burned-over District", which also produced the first of the apocalyptic preachers, William Miller, as well as the Fox sisters of Hydesville, who used to hold seances complete with table-rappings that were later admitted to be hoaxes.

The Mormons settled in an area they called Deseret, which actually encompassed most of the plains east of the Rockies from Canada to Mexico. The Federal government looked askance at this idea when the Mormons applied for statehood, and gave them Utah as a playground.

Family oral histories of the people the Mormons encountered are probably the most effective smear that Santorum can use without getting in too much trouble. The beauty of these histories is that he doesn't even have to initiate them. Elder family members will recount what their grandparents told them, which may in fact be twice-told tales already.
The irony is, as a Catholic, Santorum is really the lesser of two evils for these people.
(crossposted to Simply Left Behind)

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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Reading the ruling on Prop 8

It's kind of fun to read the reactions among the wingers over the ruling yesterday in California that struck down Prop 8 as unconstitutional. The way they tell it, a bunch of activist judges rode roughshod over the rights of 7 million Californians and in one fell swoop imperiled the laws in 43 states. While this kind of knee-jerk reaction is typical in cases like this, it might be a good idea for the pearl-clutchers to actually read the ruling itself before going off on their predictable fund-raising rants.

I'm not a lawyer, but I don't think it takes a law degree to understand the ruling itself. Essentially, the majority upheld the lower court ruling that Prop 8 violated the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution by depriving a specific class of people -- gays and lesbians -- the right to define their relationships with the word "marriage." Since California already had domestic partnerships and afforded same-sex couples all of the same benefits of marriage without calling it that, taking away the right of same-sex couples to use the word "marriage" in describing their unions was a denial of equal protection. The court also went to great pains to cite another landmark case, Romer v. Evans, in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that Colorado's Amendment 2, passed in 1992, unfairly targeted a specific group and deprived them of a right -- in that case, the right of cities and municipalities in Colorado to pass anti-discrimination laws -- without just cause: "[T]he amendment imposes a special disability upon those persons alone. Homosexuals are forbidden the safeguards that others enjoy or may seek without constraint." Yesterday the judges held that the voters of California did the same in passing Prop 8.

The court did not grant same-sex couples a "special right." The court did not endanger the millions of straight couples' marriages in the state of California. The court did say that Prop 8, which promised to protect and enhance the institution of marriage and the future of California's children, did no such thing; depriving a class of people from using a word did not magically strengthen the family or prevent schools from discussing same-sex marriage. The court did not legislate from the bench, nor did it re-write the marriage laws of the state. All it did was say that the state, by legislation or referendum, could not take away a right from a group of people for no other reason than the fact that they are "disfavored" by a majority of the voters. The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees equal protection, and Prop 8 violated it.

All of that will be lost on the anti-gay crowd, and I fully expect to hear all sorts of carrying on from them about how the Supreme Court will strike this down once and for all and at last put those icky queers and whatever it is they do in their bedrooms in their place in Hell. But if the Supreme Court does hear the case -- and there's no guarantee that they will -- it will be interesting to see how they could overturn a ruling that relies heavily on Romer v. Evans as precedent.

Meanwhile, Prop 8 still remains in effect: same-sex couples can't get married again in California... yet. But it's only a matter of time. 

(Cross-posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.)

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(The Republican-dominated) Congress sinks to 10% public approval

By Michael J.W. Stickings

A new Gallup survey shows Congress's job approval declining to a new record low of just 10% (with 86% disapproving, tying the record set in December).

Who says America's divided? Nothing seems to unite the country quite like anti-Congress sentiment -- which is getting so bad, it'll soon be in al Qaeda territory.

I would just note that while this pitiful showing likely reflects anti-Washington and, more broadly, anti-government sentiment at a time of ongoing economic uncertainty (even if the president's rating is quite high), this highly unpopular Congress, to be more specific, is made up of a Republican-controlled House and a Senate paralyzed by Republican obstructionism.

Let's just be clear about that. And about just what it is that is so deeply unpopular with the American people.

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The Catholic contraceptive controversy: Where's the health care part?

By Ramona

(Ed. note: Ramona did five excellent guest posts for us -- her last one is here, with links to the others -- and I'm very pleased to welcome her as a regular contributor to The Reaction. -- MJWS)

Effective August 1, thanks to a provision in the Affordable Care Act, most working women will have their contraceptives fully paid for, without a co-pay. That's the good news. The bad news (you knew there had to be bad news, right?) is that the unenlightened among us see it as nothing more than an unconscionable threat to virile manhood. Especially Catholic virile manhood.

The U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops, all male at last count, have decided amongst themselves that they will not be pushed into reversing their age-old hoo-haw laws forcing Catholic women to have as many babies as their wholly-owned bodies can produce. (The laugh's on them: Most Catholic women use artificial birth control. (The Guttmacher Institute says it's as high as 98%.) When was the last time you heard a Catholic woman talking about the rhythm method, except to marvel at how crazy that whole notion was?

Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, president of the USCCB, sharply criticized the decision by the Obama administration in which it "ordered almost every employer and insurer in the country to provide sterilization and contraceptives, including some abortion-inducing drugs, in their health plans... Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience. This shouldn't happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights."

We're talking about birth control here. We're talking about a woman's right to choose when the time is right to carry and bear a child. This is not baby-killing, it's responsibly managing an event as life-changing as it's ever going to get. It's the smart, sane way of controlling the use of our own bodies and, oh, by the way, preventing the birth of unwanted children.

We're talking about birth control products already approved and already a part of most insurance policies. The only mandate is that insurance providers will now be required to provide those products without additional cost to all women who want to use them. The mandate isn't for the use, it's for the availability and the cost.

This is a manufactured right-wing controversy designed to kill yet another positive outcome of "Obamacare," and the Catholic Bishops are more than happy to become the spark that creates yet another phony firestorm.

Mitt Romney, Republican candidate for president and a Mormon who, until now, apparently had no problem with that particular provision in the Affordable Care Act, has jumped on the bandwagon and is now on the side of the Catholic Bishops, taking this grand opportunity to to rail against his expected opponent, Barack Obama, about an issue he clearly doesn't even begin to understand:

"I'm just distressed as I watch our president try and infringe upon our rights, the First Amendment of the Constitution provides the right to worship in the way of our own choice," Romney said to nearly 3,000 people gathered in the gymnasium of Arapahoe High School, in Arapahoe County, an area known as a so-called "swing county" that Obama won in 2008.

"This same administration said that the churches and the institutions they run, such as schools and let's say adoption agencies, hospitals, that they have to provide for their employees free of charge, contraceptives, morning after pills, in other words abortive pills, and the like at no cost," Romney said. "Think what that does to people in faiths that do not share those views. This is a violation of conscience."

"We must have a president who is willing to protect America's first right, our right to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience," he said.

In addition to Romney, two other manly-men candidates for Obama's job, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, are outraged that women should be able to get free birth control. (It only adds to their outrage that women should have the audacity to think they can control their own bodies):

Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Mitt Romney, said in an e-mail that he regarded the administration's rule requiring religious employers to furnish birth control as wrong. "This is a direct attack on religious liberty and will not stand in a Romney presidency," she said. Mr. Romney has also pledged to end a federal program, Title X, that provides family planning services to millions of women. 

Mr. Santorum has taken the position that health insurance plans should not be required to cover birth control. He also favors allowing states to decide whether to ban birth control. He and Mr. Gingrich both support "personhood" initiatives that would legally declare fertilized eggs to be persons, effectively banning not just all abortions but also certain contraceptives, including IUDs and some types of birth control pills. 

Mr. Gingrich wants to withdraw government money from Planned Parenthood because it performs abortions in addition to providing contraceptives, though the federal money cannot be used for abortion.
A lie dressed in pink

I wonder how they feel about Viagra and other male enhancement "medications." Say there was a group of people who believed with their whole entire hearts that workplace insurance coverage of male sex-tool enhancement was not only outside any notion of "health care," it was maybe even "unconscionable." Should that group be exempt from providing it?

And if those bishops had wombs, would they be open to letting someone else tell them what they could do with them? (It's a rhetorical question. No, they wouldn't be open to letting someone else tell them anything.)

Addendum: Well, looky here: Catholic hospitals and universities already provide contraceptive coverage:  Here it is. What's their excuse now? 

(Cross-posted at Ramona's Voices.)

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Mitt Romney: Flip, flop, and fail

I know the pundits are still talking like there is some doubt about who the GOP presidential nominee is going to be. Of course, there isn't. Republicans are stuck with Mitt Romney and the funny thing is that the majority of them probably know they're stuck.

But whatever your politics, how could you possibly vote for a guy who has taken such well documented public positions on both sides of so many key issues?

Somebody went through the trouble of stringing together a bunch of clips of Romney contradicting himself on climate change, abortion, and health care - three issues fairly important to the conservative base, I'd say.

Again, left vs. right aside, how could anyone want to vote for this guy? How could anyone trust a word?

Mitt Romney stands for nothing but getting elected. Jon Huntsman was right. Romney is a well-lubricated weather vane shifting in the wind depending on the needs of the moment.

I know this is nothing new, but it's kind of jarring now that we know Romney is the one.

This is the best you've got? I don't imagine the GOP brain trust is getting a lot of sleep these days.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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Every sperm is a baby

By Capt. Fogg

It will always be impossible to convince all religious people that religion isn't the mother of religious fanaticism and of the self-righteousness that makes fanaticism so dangerous. In fact they may be right in that such ego disorders seem to be a general human failing, albeit one that so often finds a home in Churches, Mosques and Synagogues -- but that doesn't soften the fear that from the frustration believers in old religions feel about the implacable advance of what I like to call enlightenment, a movement will arise like movements in the past to overthrow an age of reason and science and relative freedom.

"any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child.”

There seems to be nothing in that statement that might hint it did not originate in the 5th century before the Christian era and nothing to suggest that it wasn't a measure introduced by a Republican, but alas, neither is true. Oklahoma State Senator Constance Johnson is a Democrat and she has introduced an amendment to pending Senate Bill 1433; a typical "life begins at conception" bill, that says that the resulting fetus
“at every stage of development (has) all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of this state.”

Ms. Johnson wants to extend that right to a sperm cell, although apparently she thinks egg cells are exempt -- since otherwise not getting pregnant might also be as murderous as masturbation. Still, the "every sperm is a baby" bill doesn't have a chance, but apparently Rick Santorum does, and probably for few other reasons than his own ridiculous positions on interfering with private lives in the name of small government and Big Religion. Santorum has attracted a plurality of Republican loonies in Missouri, Colorado and Minnesota.

It's hard to think that Rick has a real shot at the presidency, but you know, I've been looking at Costa Rica lately.

I'm generally very intolerant of the "both sides are equally bad" arguments that depend on fraudulent accounting and false equivalence to forgive the side with the preponderance of guilt, but Geez - what does it say about Oklahoma Democrats that she is allowed to speak for them?

(Cross posted from Human voices)


I have to report that this amendment may have been a spoof designed to point out the idiocy of the bill to which it was appended, but at the time I wrote the above, that information wasn't available.

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Santorum Spreads His Wins Around

By Carl
With three wins last night in state caucuses in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri (technically a primary, altho the results are nonbinding,)  Rick Santorum vaulted rather impressively back into the pack for the Republican nomination for President.
See? The MSM isn't the only one who can treat this as a horse-race! But I digress...
There are two intriguing results out of these outcomes.
First, Missouri should have been solidly in Mitt Romney's column. That there might be a symbolic "Anybody But Mitt" protest in this nonbinding vote is true, and should not be underestimated. Republicans are pretty angry over the weak field of candidates poised to take on the now-formidable re-election effort of President Obama. Will Missouri overturn these results when they choose at convention in March?
I think so. I think the voters of Missouri were sending Romney a message to either amp up his volume or expect really tepid support come the fall.
Next, Minnesota. What should be considered a moderate state-- after all, this state has sent both Michele Bachmann AND Al Franken to Washington-- should have been a slam-dunk for Romney.
Caucuses are peculiar things, however. A small fraction of the actual voting population participates, and that leaves a much larger margin of error from "what should be." It comes down to commitment and enthusiasm, and as the Missouri results imply, there's very little enthusiasm for Mitt out there. The Minnesota Mitt contingent probably took a flier, assuming he'd get the nod anyway in Tampa.
So while it's shocking that a rock-ribbed socially conservative loon like Santorum took such a large plurality of the vote, that Romney couldn't even outdraw Ron Paul suggests that the NotMitt vote is very strong in middle America. Could be Mormonism. Could be Massachussetts. Could be misanthropy.
The signs were there that Santorum was going to pull a trifecta yesterday. Even the "esteemed" Wall Street Journal got it ass backwards in analyzing the sudden spate of advertising from Romney attacking Santorum, thinking it was just a champ putting the finishing touches on a wobbling opponent, when in truth, Romney was desperate to salvage any victory in any of the votes yesterday.
After all, if your rival is drowning, you don't throw him a life vest. That Romney even acknowledged Santorum's presence in the race was a red alert that things were going squirrely.
By winning two binding votes yesterday, Santorum makes a strong case to take this race to the convention. All three that he's won (which includes Iowa), and then Missouri, suggest a strong heartland preference for Santorum. At the very least, this puts him at the very top of any short list for Vice Presidential candidates.
(crossposted to Simply Left Behind)

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Live-blogging the 2012 primary/caucus votes in Minnesota, Missouri, and Colorado: Santorum surging, Newt collapsing, Romney hanging on


9:45 pm - Yes, more live-blogging, as for Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, and Nevada. I'm late getting to it because I'm as congested as Rick's sexual repression and have a headache the size of Newt's ego, and with such ailments I care as much this evening about the Republican nomination for president as Mitt does about the poor (or as Ron cares about government). But the show must go on, as they say...

Okay, okay, okay...
Just a little pinprick
There's be no more ahhhhhh...
But you may feel a little sick

9:51 pm - With caucuses (caucuseses?) in Minnesota and Colorado and a non-binding primary in Missouri, it's looking like a big night for Santorum.

9:53 pm - Here's where things stand right now: 

Missouri (37% reporting): Santorum 55, Romney 25, Paul 12, Gingrich not on the ballot. (Results here. It's been called for Santorum, as you might expect.)

Minnesota (13% reporting): Santorum 43, Paul 27, Romney 17, Gingrich 12. (Results here.)

It's really early in Colorado (just 1% reporting), but it's Santorum 50, Gingrich 21, Romney 19, Paul 10. (Results here.)

10:03 pm - Why is Missouri holding a non-binding vote? ABC News explains:

Thanks to in-state political disputes and a slow-moving legislature, today's Missouri presidential primary has been reduced to an afterthought.

Most presidential candidates have ignored the contest, which will not affect any of the state's 52 GOP delegates. Newt Gingrich will not be on the ballot, having made no attempt to qualify. Anyone looking for competition between the race's two poll leaders should look elsewhere.

The state party, meanwhile, didn't even want the primary to happen.

That's because today's vote won't be the main event: Missouri will hold caucuses on March 17, where voters will begin the process of selecting and allocating delegates. Today's primary is a vestige of state law that Missouri's GOP-controlled legislature failed to change.

Consequently, Rick Santorum is the only presidential candidate paying much attention today.

In other words, The Show-Me State is showing us how ridiculous it is. Or, rather, the state's Republicans are showing us how ridiculous they are.

And yet, the vote certainly means something. Santorum may be the only one who cared enough to pay much attention, but a "win" there today will boost his credibility as a serious alternative to Romney, particularly with Gingrich not on the ballot and not likely to do well in Minnesota and Colorado. And, indeed, the story will be that he won. A three-for-three sweep today would certainly shift the narrative significantly.

10:09 pm - And so, as you can imagine, the Romney campaign has tried to lower expectations:

"Of course, there is no way for any nominee to win first place in every single contest -- John McCain lost 19 states in 2008, and we expect our opponents to notch a few wins too," Romney's political director, Rich Beeson, wrote in a memo for reporters.

True enough, but Romney won both Minnesota and Colorado in 2008, when he was the leading conservative alternative to McCain, and losses in one or both would slow down his momentum, if not grind it to a halt, not least because the media are likely to start talking up Santorum again. (The media want drama. We all do. Just not Romney.) And losses tonight, two or three of them, would be a reminder of just how unpopular he is with much, if not most, of the Republican Party. Sure, these are caucuses that tend to attract hardcore partisans, that is, voters more favorable to the socially conservative Santorum and the libertarian Paul than to the more establishmentarian Romney, but a genuinely strong frontrunner wouldn't be performing so weakly at this stage of the race.

10:17 pm - Ah, Richard is joining us. Good evening, my friend.

RKB: The CNN pundit panel is suggesting that the reason Santorum is doing well is that Romney and Gingrich are beating the shit out of each other, leaving Santorum relatively unscathed.

It was also suggested that the CNN interview in which Romney said that he wasn't worried about the poor is having a significant impact. It's hard to know what is doing the damage, but I'm going with the thought that Romney is a very unattractive character and people don't like being told that he's the inevitable nominee. It's a revolt of sort, is my guess.

10:18 pm - And more:

RKB: If Romney loses Colorado, I think things may actually change. Romney desperately needs both Gingrich and Santorum to stay in. If either is allowed to go one-on-one with Romney, this could get interesting.

However unpalatable Santorum may be to the mushy middle of the electorate because of his extreme social conservatism, he's been coming across as the only candidate with any real integrity. Hard to believe. Another sign of how weak the field is.

This dynamic is great for Obama. We are now going to be talking about how weak Romney is instead of Obama's flip-flop on Super PACs and his battle with the Catholic church, etc. Maybe another couple of months of putting off having the GOP focus on Obama.

10:24 pm - While Romney emerged from Florida and then Nevada as the clear frontrunner and likely nominee, his overall national support has actually declined over the past month according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll. He's now at just 29, eight points ahead of second-place Paul, with Gingrich at 19 and Santorum at 18 (surging up from 13). Clearly, Romney remains an extremely weak frontrunner. Just imagine how a strong conservative candidate (what we thought Perry might be, or even Pawlenty) would be doing. What's keeping Romney afloat and in the lead is not just money and organization but the weakness of the rest of the field.

10:48 pm - No surprise. Santorum's got Minnesota, too. With 35% reporting, he's up 46 to 27 over Paul, with Romney at 16 and Gingrich, poor old Gingrich, at 11.

10:50 pm - Very close in Colorado. With 11% reporting, Romney and Santorum are tied at 37 (359 to 357 for Romney), with Gingrich at 17 and Paul at 9.

Need I mention once again that these caucuses are decided by a tiny sliver of the electorate? They may reflect the sort of town-square democracy that works, more or less, in small city-states, such as there used to be in the ancient world and in Jefferson's imaginings, but they're not exactly democratic in any modern sense.

10:56 pm - With Santorum speaking, let me turn it over to Richard:

RKB: Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but is it possible that Santorum will be perceived as "presidential" enough for the GOP base?

The other thing is that Santorum will be able to raise some serious money in the short term.

I'm watching Santorum speak now. Success in politics is a funny thing, Presenting strength and graciousness in victory is a particular kind of skill. We'll see how Santorum does.

He's reaching out to real conservatives in his speech. Very interesting. In a lot of ways he is a real Tea Party candidate. He could carry the spirit of the 2010 midterms better than the rest. He's going with the right-wing populist thing. This could work in the short term.

Yes, Santorum is the real anti-Romney. Gingrich tried to paint himself as a populist against Romney, but that was a joke. Santorum is a better fit for this argument.

11:33 pm - Santorum's opened up a solid lead in Colorado. With 28% reporting, he's up 41 to 31 over Romney. But these being caucuses, the votes are coming in irregularly from different parts of the state at different times. Santorum's doing well in the southern and eastern parts of the state, while Romney's doing well in the Denver suburbs, but there's nothing yet from Denver (where Romney should do very well) or El Paso County (Colorado Springs).

RKB: I like Ari Fleischer's comment that Santorum looked and sounded like an excited school boy in his speech and not at all presidential. I think that's about right. However well Santorum did today, he's got a long way to go before he looks the part. My guess is that it won't happen.

11:37 pm - The sweater vests don't help. He looks (and sounds) more Flanders-ish than presidential.

11:39 pm - And yet, there's no denying he's come a long, long way. Think back to when he got crushed in the 2006. It looked like the self-righteous, moralizing extremist was done, and I remember celebrating his loss. And think back to when Dan Savage started the whole "Santorum" thing in response to his ridiculous comments about homosexuality. He was a bigot we could all make fun of. Did it ever look like he had any sort of future in elected politics? No.

And yet here he is.

No, he won't win the nomination, I think it's still safe to say that, but he's done awfully well during this campaign. He kept going even when he was in single digits, as the various other conservative non- and anti-Romneys fell away. Then he surged and, yes, won Iowa. That appeared to be that, what with bad showings in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, and Nevada, and with Gingrich re-emerging in South Carolina as Romney's main challenger, but by then Santorum was already looking ahead to today, looking to surge once more (surge being one of the key words of the race), looking to get back into it.

And he's certainly gotten back into it.

Even if he doesn't win another vote, even if this is it for him, it's been an impressive run. And certainly not what anyone with any sense at all would have predicted.

12:03 am - It's up to 46% reporting in Colorado. And it's Santorum over Romney 41 to 30.

12:04 am - Missouri's just about done, with 99% reporting. It's Santorum 55, Romney 25, and Paul 12. It looks like there's one county left, Putnam, but Santorum's won every other county. And, again, it's not at all a surprise, given how much attention he gave this non-binding primary and with Newt not even on the ballot, but a win's a win and he'll take all the wins he can get.

12:07 am -- 75% reporting in Minnesota. It's Santorum 45, Paul 27, Romney 17, and Gingrich 11.

Now this is big. Don't let Romney's low-expectations game fool you. Big in a very good way for Santorum, who ends up with almost half the vote and a decisive victory, with Newt, his rival for the anti-Romney vote, bringing up the rear. Big in a very bad way for Romney, who finishes a distant third in a state he won in 2008. Don't get me wrong, there are good explanations of this result that lessen the blow for Romney (e.g., Santorum spent a lot of time and energy here; Santorum has clear appeal for the conservative caucus electorate; Romney was the conservative alternative to McCain in 2008, whereas he's the establishment candidate now), but it's hard not to see this as a significant setback for him, particularly if Santorum wins Colorado as well and is able to come out of today with three wins, more money, and a ton of media attention.

12:17 am -- Okay, that's it for me tonight. My headache is now bigger than the size of Newt's ego.

12:19 am -- Keep checking back for more new posts from me and the great Reaction team.

Good night, everyone.

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Argentina vs. Prince William: Falklands 2.0?

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Via twitter: 

Cristina Kirchner says Argentina will protest against Britain's "militarisation of the South Atlantic" at the UN.

-- Jon Swaine (@jonswaine)

By sending in the inbred, overhyped, media-saturating king-to-be of a silly, scandal-ridden "royal" family undeserving even of purely symbolic rule, the future head of a ridiculous, retrograde institution that deserves nothing short of abolition (at least here in Canada*)?

Really? It's not some grand militarization of the region, as the lovely Kirchner suggests, but obviously Britain wants a strong military presence on the Falklands to thwart another Argentine attempt to take the islands. (I get that Argentina claims them as their own, referring to them as the Islas Malvinas, but they're obviously British and have been for a long, long time.)

*Yes, I'm a republican. Emphasis on the small 'r'.

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BREAKING NEWS: Federal appeals court rules California's anti-gay Prop 8 unconstitutional

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Via twitter: 

BREAKING: Federal appeals court finds California's Proposition 8 unconstitutional. (link)

-- TalkingPointsMemo (@tpm)

Great news, indeed. But let's keep our excitement in check.

First, it's my understanding, without having gotten into the weeds, that the ruling is fairly narrow.

The issue is that California granted the right to marry and then took it away, hence Judge Reinhardt's view that:

Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples. The Constitution simply does not allow for "laws of this sort."

Which is to say, this is not a ruling on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage but rather on giving (or acknowledging rights) and then taking them away.

Though certainly the ruling is not without its implications. If you're taking, even in legal fashion, about "the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians," it would seem that you support same-sex marriage and consider its illegality under any circumstances unconstitutional and unjust.

Second, the 2-1 ruling was made by a 3-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit. Prop 8's proponents can petition to have the case reheard by the full 11-judge panel.

Or, third, they could just appeal directly to the Supreme Court, and you know how that might go with a 5-4 conservative majority. (Yes, I'm counting the right-leaning Kennedy, the supposedly moderate swing vote, as a conservative.)

We shall see, of course, but for now at least we can applaud a truly fair and just ruling.

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Super ButtHurt

By Carl
By now, you've probably heard about the foofaraw the Clint Eastwood commercial during halftime at the "Super Bowl" created.
Most notably, Karl Rove's "disappointment" with respect to the implied political message that Eastwood is endorsing a second Obama term.
Now, the ad itself is pretty inocuous, as political ads go-- assuming you want to call it that, which I'm not ready to. Eastwood narrates a script about "halftime in America" and how Detroit has fought back and so can the country. (transcribed here)
It's more of a pep talk than a political ad. That's not to say there isn't an undertone of gratitude for Obama's bailout of Chrysler. That is part of the backdrop. If Obama hadn't bailed them out, they wouldn't have the money to sell cars by running advertisements.
And interestingly, Eastwood had criticized the bailouts, yet here he is, getting up in ol' Karl's paranoid face about comebacks. Here's where I suspect Rove gets his panties in a twist:

I’ve seen a lot of tough eras, a lot of downturns in my life. And, times when we didn’t understand each other. It seems like we’ve lost our heart at times. When the fog of division, discord, and blame made it hard to see what lies ahead.

Given the toxic nature of rhetoric from Rove's party, particularly the Teabaggers, it's hard not to take a comment like that personally, especially since Rove himself has rattled his chains over some of the nonsense that people like Sarah Palin and Rick perry have spouted.

Rove would be on firmer ground if he critiqued the soon-to-be-released film Act of Valor which features a Navy SEAL team sent in to rescue a kidnapped ambassador, which actually features real SEALs. That seems to be a pretty blatant attempt to remind the American people about Obama's foreign policy, which has been effective and has completed steps that the Bush know, the people Rove worked for?...could only have dreamed of doing.

Still, to me, Rove's complaint about the Chrysler ad sounds more like "Why in the hell didn't I think of that?"

(crossposted to Simply Left Behind)


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Conservatives love their choices

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I condider Erick Erickson one of the more loathsome conservative commentators, but there's no denying his popularity (at least with his right-wing ilk), influence (again), and, yes, quotability.

Case in point: He says he'd support the "sweet meteor of death" over any of the remaining Republican nominees (even if he'll support whoever wins regardless).

In other words, he'd prefer Armageddon to Romney.

I sense a bit of hyperbole here, but, well, that pretty much sums it up. Movement conservatives aren't a happy lot these days.

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Monday, February 06, 2012

Santorum keeps hammering Romney on health care

Ever so slowly, and ever so reluctantly, Republicans are lining up in typical jackbooted fashion behind Mitt Romney. The still-feisty Gingrich is an exception, of course, and he's been hammering Romney for some time now as a "Massachusetts moderate," but so too is Santorum, who is hoping for a comeback, post-Iowa, with strong showings in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri tomorrow, strong enough perhaps to let him blow past Newt into second place, and, with Newt apparently on the decline again, to allow him to take up the mantle of leading anti-Romney, the only credible conservative alternative left in the race.

And it's funny, in a way, how while Newt is meeting resistance from conservatives (e.g., Dick Armey) who would rather he shut his trap, Santorum keeps hammering away seemingly without much blowback -- and hammering away right at Romney's main weakness for conservatives:

Presidential candidate Rick Santorum, hoping for some much needed momentum heading into the next round of primaries and caucuses, leveled some of his harshest criticisms yet at Mitt Romney over the issue of healthcare and the repeal of "Obamacare."

Speaking near the campus of the Mayo Clinic, Santorum said the former Massachusetts governor was "dead wrong" and "the worst possible person" to put up on what he called the "most fundamental issue" of the campaign.

"I really don't find any legitimate reason why [Romney] would oppose [Obamacare], because the plan he put together in Massachusetts is in fact Obamacare on the state level," Santorum said during a strongly worded healthcare-centered speech, adding that Romney "should not be the nominee of our party."

He added that Romney's only argument against Obama's healthcare plan is that the issue should be a state issue instead of a federal one.

"It's a very weak argument to go and make to the American public," he said, adding that Romney is "uniquely unqualified and I would argue disqualified" from making the case against the nation's healthcare plan.

He's right, of course. Obamacare is basically Romneycare. Actually, it is Romneycare. But why is he able to get away with it while Newt suffers?

It could be that Santorum isn't taken as seriously as Gingrich is. No one really thinks Santorum could actually win the nomination, whereas Gingrich is, or at least is perceived to be, a serious threat to Romney.

Also, Gingrich's attacks threaten to weaken Romney's appeal to independents and white working-class voters (including formerly Reagan Democrats), because while he's calling Romney a moderate he's also exposing him -- correctly, for the most part -- as a vulture capitalist who cares not a whit for the middle class, let alone for the poor. The risk is that Santorum's attacks will end up depressing conservative enthusiasm and turnout, but it's pretty clear that conservatives will still come out for Romney in the end, and so they're not nearly as much of a threat to Romney's electability as Gingrich's.

Still, Santorum's attacks could hurt Romney significantly, not just by depressing turnout but by reinforcing the deep divide in today's Republican Party between the pro-Romney establishment and the anti-Romney rest of the party. And if Newt can't recover and Santorum does indeed (re-)emerge as a viable anti-Romney choice for conservatives, these attacks could continue well past Super Tuesday and perhaps even all the way to the convention.

Romney's already got enough trouble balancing his faux conservatism and moderate record, trying to appeal both to the right and to the center, not to mention coming across as something other than an out-of-touch rich douchebag who can't connect to ordinary folk and who actually has something resembling a human soul. He hardly needs Santorum to keep reminding voters -- conservative Republican voters -- that he implemented Obamacare long before Obamacare.

Keep it coming, Rick!


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Obama tops Romney in new poll

By Michael J.W. Stickings

A new WaPo-ABC poll shows Obama up 51-45 over Romney among registered voters nationally. The gap is even wider among Americans generally.

It's obviously still very early, and it's still just hypothetical at this point, but it's certainly encouraging that the president is over the 50 mark. And of course this is before he has started his campaign in earnest -- and we know how good he is on the campaign trail, where he can make a persuasive case for himself without having to govern from his technocratic center.

And, too, this is before most voters get to know Romney, a gaffe-prone shell of a human being (at least in candidate form, a robot politician) who comes across as, because he is, a rich and privileged douchebag who wants to be president so as to make life even more profitable for the super-rich like himself at the expense of everyone else, and who, try as he might, just can't relate to, or connect with, ordinary folk. Just wait for the awkward interviews with the Katie Courics of the popular news media. People already like him less the more they know him. That's likely only going to get worse for him as we go along, with the spotlight shining brighter and brighter, and with the real Mitt being exposed for all to see.

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Bread And Circuses

(photo courtesy)
So, I'm led to understand that last night, one group of talentless millionaires defeated another group of even less-talented millionaires, thus earning hundreds of millions of dollars for a cartel of socialist-billionaires. Even deeper irony is that the entire nation stopped for four hours (or more) to watch this spectacle, which included "entertainment" by yet another passel of millionaires on a broadcast that featured hundreds of millions of dollars spent not on improving the country, but on trying to segregate your pocket, green from white.
And the deepest irony? The talentless millionaires all perform under the aegis of the least-powerful sports union and performed in a state that hates them for their union. This is something along the lines of a black gospel choir putting on a performance in Mobile, Alabama at a Klan headquarters in the 1950s.
I might have been able to stir up some respect for the game if even one player had made mention of this irony even once during the week, and then vowed to do something about it.
But it's a joke. And so are Americans for watching a spectacle involving people who have no concept of what a real job entails (having been prepped and pampered all their young lives) playing for a meaningless trophy in a "sport" that requires no talent and is centrally controlled by a bunch of old white men who "coach" players into executing a game plan that they themselves implement and woe betide the player who doesn't follow the playbook!
Every player is replaceable, no matter how successful they are, and our nation is littered with the broken bodies of those who put it all out there on the field and now can't even button a shirt to attend a dinner thrown by the billionaire-socialist who exploited their labor.
Sounds like how most Americans make a living, yet here they are, celebrating a victory by the more successful work unit. From another company. One they could never work for.
Lest you think I'm a "hater," I've played more football at nearly every level of competition than you've had hot meals, and even today can toss a 60 yard bomb and hit a beer can. So it's not about being anti-sport.
It's about being anti-...well, whatever sport has devolved to in America.
See, we hand these leagues and the owners trillions in tax breaks and benefits, we prevent other people from infringing on their franchises, creating monopolies at all levels, all so we can spend a few hours...hours! rapt contemplation of the beer can in our hand.
You know who else used to spend lavish amounts of money on games designed to pacify his populace? At least they had the decency to call a slave a slave and not glorify him.
We've turned sport from a competition into a spectacle, from a contest between two groups of people into a battle between two corporations vying for the last advertising dollar out there.
Remember the old saying, "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game"? That fiction, like the fiction that anyone in American can grow up to be president, or if you just work hard and save some money you can have a comfortable life, is a fairy tale that we are seeing stripped away even as you read this.  
So for a few hours last night, hundreds of millions of people got the feel an emotion of some sort-- excitement, anger, sadness, joy-- and paid trillions in sum for the privilege.
Ain't that America?
(crossposted to Simply Left Behind)

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