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Friday Talking Points [223] -- Scary Medicine

[ Posted Friday, August 17th, 2012 – 16:04 PDT ]

Before we begin -- We Have A Winner!

Way back in April, in FTP [208] we ran a "Call the Veepstakes" contest. In reviewing the entries, we at first thought that nobody correctly guessed who Mitt's Veep would turn out to be. If this had been the case (because that would have qualified it as a "tie"), the winner would have been Michale, who commented at my site and picked Condoleezza Rice... but got closest to the actual date with his guess of "3 weeks before Tampa."

But we then looked closer and found one entrant had indeed correctly (if unenthusiastically) picked Paul Ryan. So, the winner of our Veepstakes contest is none other than Rescisco, who posted his comment at the Huffington Post. He or she failed to guess a date, but it didn't matter because nobody else selected Ryan as their choice. So -- congratulations to Rescisco, who is hereby awarded bragging rights in the comments today. Well done!

Moving right along, normally our Friday columns open with a bit of lighthearted news roundup, which is where I'd point out things like what Donald Trump is up to (always good for a laugh), and then move on to mutant butterflies in Japan due to radioactivity from their power plant disaster, which would end with a joke about Mothra.

But this week has been anything but lighthearted, and nuclear accident jokes are pretty borderline to begin with, so instead I'd like to highlight two excellent articles worth reading, both on the subject of Mitt Romney's campaign and plans for the future.

The first of these is from the Plum Line blog at the Washington Post. It points out how little "there" there is in Romney's actual plans. Romney's team has become more and more blatant on this point -- they're running a gauzy campaign of slogans, and they are simply not going to provide any details because that would be politically risky. Someone might not like the details, and therefore might decide to vote against Romney, so both Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney will be withholding all details until they get inaugurated. Then, perhaps, they'll let America know what they're going to do -- but then again, perhaps not. The best paragraph in the article:

Romney has broken with recent precedent -- his father included -- in refusing to release his tax returns, but he says has paid 13 percent for 10 years. (Just trust me.) Romney has not released the names of his major bundlers, but he won’t be beholden to his donors, as Obama has been. (Just trust me.) Romney vows to eliminate the deficit, and promises that his tax plan will be revenue neutral, even though he won't say which loopholes and deductions he'd eliminate to pay for deep tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the rich. (Just trust me.) Romney says he intends to eliminate whole agencies of government, but won't say which ones, except in closed-door meetings with donors, and even then, details are scarce. (All together now: Just trust me.)

While a great read, the second article (from the American Prospect) is even better, because it focuses on the same subject we're going to focus on today: Medicare, and (specifically) what Paul Ryan plans to do to it. It points out the fallacious thinking emanating from the Romney-Ryan camp at present in brutal detail. The conclusions it draws are just as pointed:

In sum, Romney is arguing three things simultaneously: First, we absolutely have to restrain Medicare spending. Second, only he has a "plan" to do it, while Obama doesn't. Third, how dare Obama have restrained Medicare spending through all the reforms he made to Medicare under the Affordable Care Act! You can call this ironic or hypocritical or appalling, but that's what he's saying.

Democrats need to realize that while they see these points as obvious, much of the voting public hasn't gotten into the conversation as yet. There are minds to be convinced, out there. They will be convinced with solid argument with facts to back it up. This article provides the best overview of these facts I've yet seen. Any Democrat who is preparing to be interviewed this weekend really needs to read this article, and perhaps prepare a few talking points of their own.

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

Before we begin with the awards, we'd like to wish Social Security a happy 77th birthday! Best government program ever, bar none. Many happy returns....

Our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week is none other than Vice President Joe Biden. While other remarks got more attention (we'll get to that in a moment), one thing Biden said this week deserves praise. Biden is getting some attention and some due praise as well, and we'd like to add a MIDOTW for what Biden said about Social Security this week: "I guarantee you, flat guarantee you, there will be no changes in Social Security." He then repeated the phrase "I flat guarantee you."

We will be taking Biden at his word. This is a big promise, and it is one we would dearly like the Obama administration to keep. For stating this core Democratic principle so bluntly -- with absolutely no room for misinterpretation -- Joe Biden deserves to be lauded. The mainstream media hasn't really noticed yet, so it would behoove the Obama campaign to make this a much bigger deal by having the president make a similar unequivocal statement.

For now, though, Joe Biden is our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week. Way to go, Joe!

[Congratulate Vice President Joe Biden on his official White House contact page, to let him know you appreciate his efforts.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

As happened with Harry Reid a few weeks ago, we regret to announce that Vice President Joe Biden is also our Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week this week, for the remark that got all the media's attention.

Yes, we know that Joe was attempting to turn a Republican talking point around (about how Democrats were "shackling" Wall Street with regulations and Republicans would "unshackle" the banks). We also know (unlike many pundits) that speaking of slavery has a long history in American politics completely unrelated to actual chattel slavery. It is almost impossible to read any essay from the American Revolution that doesn't use the "slavery" metaphor when speaking of Britain and taxes. American politicians have casually tossed around slavery language ever since -- including quite a few times during presidential contests -- which had nothing to do with actual slavery. Mitt Romney can tell the credulous mainstream media that such a thing is unprecedented and unthinkable in American politics all he wants, but he is just factually wrong.

Having said all of that, Joe Biden's remark was disappointing. It left him open to attack, it was obviously an off-the-cuff moment gone wrong, and the context mattered a great deal. Biden told people ("y'all") that Republicans would put them back in "chains" while giving a speech in Virginia. This is the same state Thomas Jefferson lived in (who, during the Revolution, railed against the British for "a deliberate and systematical plan of reducing us to slavery" through taxation, while owning actual slaves himself.) Slavery metaphors really don't play well in former slave states, to put it another way.

Slavery metaphors don't really play well in modern American politics at all. The difference between "shackles" and "chains" isn't that great, but Democrats should refrain from using either. Sure, point it out when Republicans use this sort of language, but don't fall into the trap Biden just fell into while doing so.

Joe Biden not only wins the MIDOTW award this week, but also the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week as well. It's been an up and down week for Joe.

[Contact Vice President Joe Biden on his official White House contact page, to let him know what you think of his actions.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 223 (8/17/12)

While there are other tempting opportunities for soundbiting this week, we're going to focus solely on Medicare instead.

Mitt Romney opened up several new lines of attack on his taxes this week -- such as labeling him "Mister Thirteen Percent" for his admitted tax rate. Even juicier is attacking what Mitt Romney would pay under Paul Ryan's budget plan, because it hammers home the naked greed of Republicans at the top of the income scale. Romney would pay less than one percent in income taxes, should the Ryan budget ever become reality. I'm still waiting for some intrepid reporter to ask Mitt "Do you think it is fair for you to pay only one percent of twenty million dollars as income tax? Why or why not?" but I'm not exactly holding my breath.

Instead, we're going to focus on Medicare. This is Paul Ryan's biggest vulnerability. The Ryan budget is fair game as a target, because Mitt Romney's campaign team is now openly admitting that if they actually talked about the details of Romney's own plan, he would not get elected. That's scary enough, right there, but it means the Ryan budget -- even with the gaping holes it contains when it comes to details -- is the most concrete thing to talk about.

Mitt Romney, of course, wants to have it both ways. He'll say good things about Ryan's budget... while trying to distance himself. He'll talk about how it'll be a Romney budget, not a Ryan budget... but he won't tell anyone what will be different. The Romney team knows how vulnerable they are on this issue, which is why they are running ads to pre-empt what Democrats are about to say to the public.

So far, the Obama team has been a little slow off the mark, so they need other Democrats to help make the case. Obama did a great job of "defining" Romney for the past month or so, to their advantage. But Ryan has mostly been allowed to "define" himself this week. This needs to change, but luckily Democrats have the facts on their side in this fight.

 

1
   Ryan-Romney

This first one is a stylistic point, but one worth making. Since Mitt Romney won't tell anyone what his real plans are, the Paul Ryan budget is the only available target to Democrats. Point this out by turning the "Romney-Ryan" phrase around -- and highlight the fact that the number two guy on the ticket is being presented as the brains of the outfit. This is subtle snub to Romney that is worth using every time the subject turns to the budget or Medicare.

"The Ryan-Romney budget plan will indeed end Medicare as we know it. Paul Ryan came up with this plan, he got virtually all of the Republicans in the House to vote for it, and if Republicans had held the Senate they would have put this plan on the president's desk to sign or veto. The Ryan-Romney plan changes Medicare from health insurance with guaranteed benefits to seniors into a voucher that is not going to pay for the same level of care from a private insurance company. Ryan-Romney takes away guaranteed health insurance for seniors, and it leaves them with no guarantee of coverage whatsoever. That is, indeed, ending Medicare as we know it. The Ryan-Romney plan hopes you won't notice this fact, but that is precisely what the Ryan-Romney plan does."

 

2
   Not one thin dime

The Romney camp is hoping to muddy the waters with their claim that President Obama is raiding Medicare by a whopping amount of money. Too bad Paul Ryan was such a fan of these cuts he included them in his own budget.

"Republicans have been complaining about so-called 'Mediscare' ads being run against them by Democrats for about two years now. 'Oh, the ads are so unfair' they whine. Well, let's take a look at the first ad out of the box in the presidential campaign. It is indeed a 'Mediscare' ad, because the entire purpose of the ad is to scare seniors that their benefits are being cut by $716 billion dollars, and given to someone else who is, quote, not you, unquote. Pretty scary, huh? Of course, it's not even remotely true, because what Obama passed does not touch one thin dime of benefits to anybody. Not a penny. Seniors -- both today's seniors and future seniors -- are still guaranteed their full benefits under Obama's plan. Romney simply cannot make the same claim. Ask him sometime: Will seniors both today and in the future be guaranteed what they have been promised their whole lives under your plan? Under the Ryan-Romney plan for Medicare, the answer to that question is 'No, they will not have such a guarantee.' That is a fact, and it is scary. But it is by no means 'Mediscare' to point it out. Quite the opposite -- it is the truth, unlike the Romney ad."

 

3
   Ryan agreed

The hypocrisy surrounding this one is monumental, but it needs to be pointed out as often as possible for the public to see through it.

"Mitt Romney is trying to scare seniors into thinking Obama is cutting their Medicare benefits. They have dark ads up to frighten voters. But the astounding thing is that the scary, scary cuts to Medicare Mitt Romney talks about were included in Paul Ryan's budget. If these cuts are such bad policy and such a horrendous idea, then why did almost every Republican in the House vote for exactly the same cuts, one has to wonder. Paul Ryan was fine and dandy with these cuts when he put together his budget. Ryan put together his budget with no help or input from Democrats -- it was a pure Republican budget. So why didn't he stop these horrendous cuts? The answer to that is that Mitt Romney is now lying about these cuts. They are not horrendous, they are not evil, instead they bring the federal budget deficit down by getting rid of waste in the system. Republicans used to be a big fan of cutting out waste in government, but now Mitt Romney is actually arguing to keep waste in the current system. You heard that right -- by forcing Paul Ryan to disavow his own Medicare budget plan, Mitt is championing the cause of governmental waste. If Obama's plans to rein in the Medicare budget are so bad and so evil, why did Ryan agree to them in his own budget? Nobody twisted his arm to do so."

 

4
   Medicare Advantage failed

This should be getting a lot more attention than it currently is, because it is the poster child for undermining the grand Republican argument in a very real way.

"You know what a large part of that $716 billion in savings turns out to be? Ending overpayments to the Medicare Advantage program. Let's just think about that for a moment. Medicare Advantage was a Republican dream proposal, because it was supposed to work that old free-market black magic. The way the thinking went was: if we turn part of Medicare over to private insurance companies, because they are the private sector and not the big, bad inefficient government, the price was supposed to come down. Private industry was supposed to save money for Medicare. Guess what? It didn't. Turns out the private insurance market costs significantly more than the government providing the same service. This is why Medicare Advantage is being cut -- to stop this senseless subsidizing of private companies. When you hear Republicans say the government should get out of the health insurance market, because the free market is guaranteed to bring the costs down, point to Medicare Advantage. We tried it the Republican way. It failed. It costs more -- hundreds of billions of tax dollars more. Think about that the next time Republicans tell you the free market can contain costs better than Medicare."

 

5
   Bankrupt sooner

This is also a favorite of Republicans, so the hypocrisy of Mitt Romney's position needs pointing out.

"Mitt Romney now says that Paul Ryan's Medicare budget was wrong, and that he'll restore the money for Medicare. But what he doesn't tell you is that by reforming the system and removing wasteful practices like subsidizing private health insurers, Medicare will go broke a full eight years sooner. It will go into debt by 2016, in fact, which is not that far away. So when Mitt Romney says he will end the Obama reforms, the press needs to ask him what he's going to do between now and 2016 to change the program so it doesn't run out of money. Under Obama's plan -- the one Paul Ryan agreed with, remember -- we have eight more years to figure this problem out. Under Romney's plan, it's staring us in the face. Mitt Romney is afraid to give any details as to what he'd do to fix this problem, but I think the American people deserve to know. So far, what Mitt Romney has said he'd do would lead to red ink in Medicare starting in 2016. Paul Ryan saw the sense in Barack Obama's approach, meaning that three out of the four presidential and vice presidential candidates agree, and Mitt Romney won't say what he'd do differently, other than to move the date of bankruptcy up by a whopping eight years."

 

6
   Why limit it to under age 55 if it's so great?

This is another fundamental flaw in the Republican way of thinking. Which needs pointing out.

"The Ryan-Romney plan for Medicare is supposed to be wonderful for all the people age 55 and under, who will be freed from that nasty old socialized medicine and be able to revel in the free market sunshine. The Ryan-Romney plan is supposed to be the perfect answer to the Medicare problem. Well, if it's such a great deal, then why are they limiting it? Why not just move all the seniors who are crushed under the bootheel of socialized Medicare today over to the Ryan-Romney plan right now? Why should they suffer, when they could get a voucher each year and live in that same free market sunshine? I'll tell you why Ryan and Romney don't want to do this -- because it is a much worse deal than what seniors are currently getting. Seniors are not stupid. And they vote. Which is why Ryan and Romney are downright terrified to even suggest that they might move current seniors over to their new Medicare plan. What they haven't counted on is the fact that many seniors are parents and grandparents, who want their children to enjoy the same Medicare system that they currently use."

 

7
   Mmmm... donut holes...

This one can't be escaped by any fancy doubletalk about "Mitt Romney's plan" versus "Paul Ryan's budget."

"If Ryan and Romney are elected, they have sworn they'll get rid of what they call 'Obamacare' as their first order of business. What they won't be bragging about on the campaign trail is that this is going to kill a benefit that seniors are currently receiving -- a benefit that is scheduled to get better and better over time until it fixes the problem once and for all. When the Republicans passed the Medicare prescription drug benefit, they left an enormous 'donut hole' that forces seniors to pay thousands of dollars for their medication. Obamacare fixes this donut hole, and these seniors now get payments to cover the hole. These payments are rising each year, until they will completely fill the donut hole altogether. Ryan and Romney will end this program if they overturn Obamacare. They refuse to promise seniors that they will pass any legislation to fix this problem, meaning that the donut hole would be here to stay under the Ryan-Romney plan. Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney will be immediately taking money out of seniors' pockets -- they've said so, many times. They refuse to say that they'll continue the program, and have indeed sworn to kill it. They are running ads which falsely claim that Medicare benefits to seniors will be reduced, and then they turn around and vow to take money straight out of seniors' pockets. If I were a senior who would lose hundreds of dollars -- if not thousands -- each year from the donut hole fix, I know who I'd be voting for."

-- Chris Weigant

 

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Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground

 

104 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [223] -- Scary Medicine”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    We will be taking Biden at his word. This is a big promise, and it is one we would dearly like the Obama administration to keep.

    That's great because you should. If Biden made that promise, then the Obama administration will keep it or Biden will resign.

    In other words, there is no reason to doubt his word.

    As for the other thing ... I think you're missing some extremely important context, and I'm not talking about anything Romney or any Republican had to say about unshackling Wall Street. I'm talking about the fact that Biden is a member of the NAACP and I'm pretty sure that the phrase in question here has come up between him and other members on more than one occasion which is why it rolled off of his tongue so effortlessly and why it received hearty laughs all around from those in attendance.

    So, I guess the awards this week are another wash. Whatever.

    Oh, if this piece appears at the Huffington Post, I do hope you'll make time to do some real moderating because it's going to be needed. Although, you may be off the hook as you haven't put 'Biden' in the title and so you probably won't attract a huge number of idiots.

  2. [2] 
    Kevin wrote:

    Chris,

    I can't imagine what Elizabeth is thinking at the moment. Early in this piece, I was thinking Elizabeth would be ecstatic. Then you crapped on Biden for being truthful, and frankly I'm more than a little discouraged...and you've done this before :( Every Friday, you compose an intelligent and thoughtful piece on what Democrat's should be saying, and then you dump on their better members for being forthright? Thank goodness this is EXTREMELY rare; but sorry you're being a bit of a hypocrite.
    You should be congratulating truth-tellers like Biden and Grayson instead of chiding them for a poor choice of words in speaking truth.
    That's it for my mini-criticism; otherwise as usual an excellent piece.

    I'm risking being banned, but I have a few comments to make about this site's fruitflies. Until two days ago I'd resigned myself that at least I got a glimmer of the mind-set of the 27% Koolaid drinkers; I'd never risk sniffing the glue of the alternate world where they get their "arguments" from. All the sites I've bookmarked deal with their fantasies quite nicely, usually with gentle, pitying humor.
    A while back an intelligent commenter with the resume to back up his every opinion suggested the lead bug in the bughouse might be racist. Given the "paper trail" of evidence, I had to sadly agree. Now said racist is on record as being a bigot, too.
    What the other fly is I cannot speculate, although Koolaid drinking 27%er comes to mind. I don't care, they just whiz around in little circles endlessly; and that brings me to my final point and wrap-up...I've been begging everyone for years, they're FRUITFLIES for pete's sake! It is SO TIRING to click on new comments on long, interesting threads and find out they're more fly droppings. So PLEASE, don't waste time reasoning with flies; aside from the insect population I enjoy reading the thoughts of everyone on this site who lives in my recognizable world. Michty, when you get back this is the last time I'll make this plea :)
    Now back to Elizabeth giving CW heck :)

  3. [3] 
    Kevin wrote:

    P.S. - In anticipation of an ear-popping, Cicada-like response to my mini-rant; if the straight-jacket fits, feel free to wear it.

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Kevin,

    Heh. That was funny! I can picture it now ... oh, man... that made my night!

    Thanks for ... well, you know. :)

  5. [5] 
    Kevin wrote:

    Elizabeth,

    Did you check out that piece I suggested earlier, or were you already aware of what Pierce was so eloquently talking about? Glad I gave you a chuckle :)

  6. [6] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Education is not my field, Kevin. My reading list is too full right now.

    Maybe next time!

  7. [7] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    LizM and Kevin -

    I didn't have a problem with what Biden said at all. I think when the other side is talking "shackles" that using the word "chains" is certainly understandable, because it's almost the same metaphor.

    Also, I have to say I was pleased to see that neither Biden nor Obama backed down from the real point Biden was indeed making.

    My point here is that Biden allowed himself to become a target by his choice of words, and that, politically, that is disappointing. So far both Obama and Biden have been doing a great job of rocking Romney and the GOP back on their heels for the past few months. Biden's comment was a minor slip, but it forced the Obama team to play defense for a short period. This is regrettable, because I'd much rather see them on offense.

    I did think long and hard about the MIDOTW award, because I was so ambivalent. This probably comes from reading so many quotes from the Revolution recently, and their incessant use of the slavery metaphor without acknowledging that actual slaves existed across the colonies at the time. It took outsiders to point this out, whether Loyalists or foreigners. Thomas Paine (who was not born in America) arrived in Philadelphia, and promptly fell ill (yellow fever? I forget). He spent his first 3 weeks in America in bed. The window of the inn he stayed in overlooked a slave market, and he likely heard the auctions while recovering. Here's what he wrote:

    “With what consistency or decency” could Americans “complain so loudly of attempts to enslave them, while they hold so many hundred thousand in slavery?”

    But he was one of the few who even pointed the hypocrisy out, at the time.

    So, like I said, it was a tough decision this week. Slavery has been used in American politics (metaphorically) throughout history.

    But, these days, it's just too easy to leave yourself open to attack and faux outrage if you do. If I'm going to rail against Republicans for ill-worded metaphors, I feel I have to be consistent and point out when Democrats poorly choose their own words.

    Do I think Biden meant anything deeper than his comment? No, I do not. Do I think anyone was offended in the audience? I doubt it. But is it an avoidable error? Yes, I think it is. That's what was disappointing.

    Look at it this way: if Biden hadn't said "chains" then maybe the media would be talking right now about his Social Security comment. They're not (well, they've moved on to other stupid stuff, so maybe they wouldn't have in any case).

    I think Biden is going to do a great job on the stump for Obama from now until Election Day. But I do think if he had stuck with the Republican "shackle" metaphor things would have been a lot better this week for him.

    -CW

  8. [8] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    Thanks for the history lesson.

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    Kevin,

    On the contrary, I am very thankful for your mini-rant.

    It simply re-enforces what I have always known to be true.

    The Hysterical Left (that's you) is as hateful, hurtful, intolerant and vindictive as they accuse the Right of being. There really isn't any difference between the Hysterical Right and the Hysterical Left..

    A spouse who cheats on his partner is always thinking that it's the partner who is cheating.

    A thief will always assume that others are stealing from him..

    I think you are intelligent enough to see where I am going with that. :D

    Michale.....

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW,

    Do I think Biden meant anything deeper than his comment? No, I do not. Do I think anyone was offended in the audience? I doubt it.

    I disagree..

    I think Biden knew EXACTLY what he was doing and saying.

    Biden is old enough to have experienced and maybe even been part of the Democratic Party as the racist Party.

    To be fair, it's possible that Biden has overcome any initial racist tendencies (or, at the very least, has learned to hide them well).

    But Biden seems to be following the Democratic Party's current MO. Find the most baseless, egregious and abhorrent charge and apply it, without any proof whatsoever...

    Hurling out the charge of racism without ANY regard to the facts seems to be the Hysterical Left's flavor of the year as is evidenced by the last 4 years of the Obama Administration. And current events around here...

    So, yea. I think Biden knew EXACTLY what he was doing.

    He just didn't take into account that the winds of change are a blowin' and the Leftist MSM is not being as forgiving or obedient as it once was...

    Michale.....

  11. [11] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    There are quite a few comments waiting in queue on this piece over at the Huffington Post.

    That's not the kind of moderation I was talking about. I'd rather have asinine comments see the light of day and stand as a testament to the deep ignorance of the commenters. Like they do here. Sorry, I couldn't resist - I'm not that strong.

    If you don't have the time or inclination to "moderate", then leave it with me. I'll respond to the most egregious ones in a way that takes care of them all.

    You know, I kind of wish you had referenced Biden in the title. I'm in a fighting mood...

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    "I think Paul [Ryan], for example, the head of the Budget Committee, has looked at the budget and has made a serious proposal. I’ve read it. I can tell you what’s in it and there’s some ideas in there that I would agree with but there’s some ideas we should have a healthy debate about because I don’t agree with them. The major driver of our long-term liabilities, everybody here knows, is Medicare and Medicaid and our health care spending."
    -President Barack Obama

    I'm just sayin'......

    Michale.....

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    That's the problem with Democrats wanting to demonize Paul Ryan...

    Within the past few years, many MANY Democrats are on record singing Ryan's praises...

    Michale.....

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    That's not the kind of moderation I was talking about. I'd rather have asinine comments see the light of day and stand as a testament to the deep ignorance of the commenters. Like they do here. Sorry, I couldn't resist - I'm not that strong.

    Yea, so I see..

    I guess the concept of "attacking the message and not the messenger" is completely and unequivocally dead, even here in Weigantia...

    A pity...

    Just one more example of there being no difference between the Hysterical Left and the Hysterical Right...

    Both are completely and utterly intolerant of any differing views...

    Michale......

  15. [15] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Yes, you constantly attack the messenger and I never really quite know where you stand on the message.

    You've done it more than once in this thread alone and you don't even realize it!

  16. [16] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Let's take the Ryan budget, for example.

    How do you see that budget being able to come to balance through spending and tax cuts alone?

    I've never heard anyone explain how that would work. Are you willing to take a stab at it? Because, if the Ryan budget can do that, then perhaps it has some merit.

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    Yes, you constantly attack the messenger

    On few occasions, I have resorted to self-defense when it was required...

    and I never really quite know where you stand on the message.

    That's because I am so shy and introverted about my positions and opinions. :D

    Let's take the Ryan budget, for example.

    I simply pointed out President Obama's opinion of the Ryan budget, which seemed quite favorable...

    I don't know enough about economics to render an opinion on the specifics of ANY budget..

    I can only comment on the facts that I understand..

    1. President Obama praised Ryan's budget.

    2. President Obama's budget(s) has never garnered a SINGLE supportive vote from ANYONE, Dem or GOP..

    You say that Ryan's budget will ring in the END OF DAYS... I don't know enough about it to dispute your opinion. Therefore I won't even try..

    Michale.....

  18. [18] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    President Obama did not praise the Ryan budget. Let's stick to the facts, Michale, and to what you yourself posted about what the president said.

    I have never said any such thing about Ryan's budget. You know better than to attribute such nonsense to me. Don't do it again!

    That's a classic cop out, Michale, as you well know. If you don't know enough about the Ryan budget, then you should be very careful about commenting about it.

  19. [19] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    You say that you didn’t have a problem with what Biden said, at all, and that you were pleased to see that neither Biden nor Obama backed down from the real point Biden was indeed making.

    And, yet, you found it disappointing enough to attach a MDDOTW award to it? And, just to balance it out you handed out a token MIDOTW award - in the same FTP column, no less - for something that attracted the attention of virtually no one, just to be fair and balanced? I thought these prestigious awards had more meaning than that.

    You really are quite ambivalent about this, aren’t you? You express both praise for Biden and Obama for not backing down from the comments and disappointment that the comment left Biden open to attack and faux outrage. That’s the kind of ambivalence that gives me a headache.

    Let’s take a moment to look at who is attacking Biden with faux outrage over what he said:

    Rudy Giuliani, Sarah Palin, hypersensitive and ignorant female CNN anchors, ignorant male CNN anchors, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, John McCain, etc. Though hardly an exhaustive list, this isn’t exactly a group of people known for possessing sound judgment on any number of matters.

    When was the last time you railed against a Republican for using ill-worded metaphors where what they meant came anywhere close to the truth of the matter? Think about that for a moment and see if you don’t conclude that you are not being consistent, at all, when you equate how Biden used a metaphor in this case and how many Republicans operate.

    I look at it this way ... If Biden hadn’t said “he’s gonna put y’all back in chains” but instead, said “He’s gonna put us all back in chains” (‘us’ meaning the middle class) then would there have been any faux outrage? Look, Biden’s every word is constantly under the microscope, all the time, in the minds of all who wish to attack him. The media NEVER talks about anything Biden says unless they find something to be critical of. So, no, his Social Security remark was not covered, would not have been covered without the chains remark and will not be covered in the future. The media doesn’t operate that way. I know you know that.

    It would have been a lot better week for him, and for those of us who appreciate who Vice President Biden is, had he not won a MDDOTW award or a token MIDOTW award courtesy of the good folks at CW.com.

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    That's a classic cop out, Michale, as you well know. If you don't know enough about the Ryan budget, then you should be very careful about commenting about it.

    I'll repeat..

    I wasn't commenting on Ryan's budget..

    I was commenting on President Obama's comments of Ryan's budget...

    Comments like "I can tell you what’s in it and there’s some ideas in there that I would agree with"...

    Sounds like praise to me...

    Michale....

  21. [21] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    What else did President Obama say about the Ryan budget in that quote you provided?

  22. [22] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Let me ask a more generic question about budgets in general.

    The Obama administration is advocating for a balanced and prudent approach to deficit reduction and fiscal responsibility that would require both spending cuts and tax increases.

    The Republicans, on the other hand, believe that tax cuts and spending cuts are the way to go.

    Which approach do you favour?

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    What else did President Obama say about the Ryan budget in that quote you provided?

    That some things are open to debate...

    Which is a far FAR cry from the "Medi-Scare" that the Left is portraying Ryan's budget as in the here and now..

    I can quote a multitude of Democrats who have said good things about Ryan AND his budget within the last couple years...

    Of course, now that it's in the best interests of the Left to demonize Ryan, NOW Ryan and his budget are evil incarnate..

    "We're at war with Eurasia. We have always been at war with Eurasia."
    -1984

    Michale.....

  24. [24] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Why you try quoting people you are actually having a discussion with here?

    Still commenting on things you don't know enough about, I see.

  25. [25] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Why don't you try quoting people you are actually having a discussion with here?

    Still commenting on things you don't know enough about, I see.

  26. [26] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Obviously, you haven't been following the debate over the Ryan budget, have you?

    The criticism of it did not start yesterday.

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    Still commenting on things you don't know enough about, I see.

    No. I am TRYING to refrain from commenting on things I readily admit I know nothing about..

    The criticism of it did not start yesterday.

    Oh, to be sure...

    But the UNIVERSAL (from Democrats) criticism of Ryan's plan DID start the minute Ryan was tapped for VP..

    Prior to that MANY Democrats praised Ryan *AND* his plan...

    Up to and including President Obama...

    Michale.....

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    It's also interesting to note that there has been no budget since Democrats have been in control of the Senate...

    Democrats punt on Senate budget bill for third year
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/apr/17/democrats-punt-on-senate-budget-bill-for-3rd-year/?page=all

    So, really, I don't think ANYONE on the Left has the moral authority to lecture the Right on budgetary issues...

    Michale.....

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    So, really, I don't think ANYONE on the Left has the moral authority to lecture the Right on budgetary issues...

    Amend that to read "ANYONE" as far as the Left's leadership....

    My bust....

    Michale.....

  30. [30] 
    LewDan wrote:

    CW,

    I fail to see why Biden's remark concerns slavery. Chains and shackles are synonymous and both are about restraint not slavery. Chains and shackles are in everyday use by police all over the country to restrain people while slavery has been outlawed for over a century and only used chains and shackles for transport, that is as restraints. I think you've fallen for the right's spin on this one Chris. Biden's remark was wholly appropriate and not the lest bit insensitive.

  31. [31] 
    LewDan wrote:

    Republicans are clearly strong believers in P.T. Barnum's advise on how “you will never go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

    They wage a three and a half year crusade to block anything Obama wants to do and then campaign against him claiming he didn't do enough.

    They squander a budget surplus, creating a deficit and tripling our national debt, then, ignoring the minor fact they've systematically, and mindlessly, engaged in preventing any and every Democratic proposal they could, they rail against Democrats for not fixing the problems they created while insisting they'll "fix" them by returning to the policies that created them in the first place.

    And, now, they refuse to give any details of what they actually plan to do if elected in order to win a "mandate" to go ahead and do it.(Whatever "it" might be.)

  32. [32] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Intersting article on how each side's Medicare message is faring in battlegrounds:

    http://decoded.nationaljournal.com/2012/08/the-gop-counterargument-on-med.php

  33. [33] 
    Michale wrote:

    CB,

    Intersting article on how each side's Medicare message is faring in battlegrounds:

    http://decoded.nationaljournal.com/2012/08/the-gop-counterargument-on-med.php

    It's looking more and more like this election is going to be 2010 on steroids...

    Michale......

  34. [34] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    LizM [11] -

    HuffPost took away the power of bloggers to moderate right around the time they got bought. So I have nothing to do with it anymore, which is a shame (because now it seems to take forever for the moderators to moderate...)

    Just FYI...

    -CW

  35. [35] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Biden's remark was wholly appropriate and not the lest bit insensitive.

    Some people would disagree with that: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57494183-503544/artur-davis-biden-in-chains-comment-insulting-to-african-americans/

  36. [36] 
    Michale wrote:

    Some people would disagree with that:

    What LD meant to say is that it's perfectly OK for Democrats to make racist comments... And Biden's comment was as racist as they come.

    How do I know this??

    Simple...

    If a Republican had made the same comment to the same crowd, people like LD would be apoplectic...

    It's called political bigotry..

    Many people are ripe with it....

    What *I* don't understand is how Democrats can cry "RACISM" and point fingers at the GOP, when up until relatively recently (historically speaking), it was the DEMOCRATS who were the racists???

    Within *MY* lifetime, it was the DEMOCRATS who were the racists...

    It simply boggles the mind....

    I would think that, for such an ugly topic as racism, that Democrats wouldn't want to keep bringing it up, since they have such a horrible and brutal history with it...

    Michale.....

  37. [37] 
    Michale wrote:

    It's like I said to Kevin this morning.

    A person who is a thief will always point fingers at people who are stealing from him.

    And a person who is racist will always claim racism in others...

    Michale.....

  38. [38] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    HuffPost took away the power of bloggers to moderate right around the time they got bought. So I have nothing to do with it anymore, which is a shame (because now it seems to take forever for the moderators to moderate...)

    That's not the kind of moderation I had in mind. You're still able to respond to comments at HP, aren't you? :)

    Luckily enough, there are no asinine Biden comments (on your piece at the Huffington Post, at least) to ... ahem ... moderate. In fact, and very pleasantly indeed, there have been a couple of supportive comments.

  39. [39] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    And a person who is racist will always claim racism in others...

    So, is there anyone around here claiming that Biden is a racist?

  40. [40] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris1962,

    Biden's remark was wholly appropriate and not the lest bit insensitive.

    Some people would disagree with that: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57494183-503544/artur-davis-biden-in-chains-comment-insulting-to-african-americans/

    So, what do you think about Biden's remark? Try to be honest.

  41. [41] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris1962,

    Biden's remark was wholly appropriate and not the lest bit insensitive.

    Some people would disagree with that: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57494183-503544/artur-davis-biden-in-chains-comment-insulting-to-african-americans/

    So, what do you think about Biden's remark? Try to be honest.

  42. [42] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    LewDan [31]

    Excellent summation!

    Depressing summation, to be sure - in that the GOP message is resonating as well as it is - but, very well stated.

  43. [43] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    Luckily enough, there are no asinine Biden comments (on your piece at the Huffington Post, at least) to ... ahem ... moderate.

    Ahhhh.. So the asinine comments AGAINST Biden (and Democrats in general) are deserving of moderation??

    But the asinine comments against Republicans?? Those are perfectly acceptable???

    So, is there anyone around here claiming that Biden is a racist?

    I never claimed nor accused Biden of being a racist. I surmised the possibility as a way of explaining his racist remark...

    Further, I would think that there is a FAR cry from accusing someone of racism in everyday life, as opposed to accusing a public figure.

    It's like me saying, "Lindsey Lohan is a jackass." Does that make me a bad person because I think some public figure is a jackass? Especially when the fact is, she IS a jackass??

    But, since you bring it up, I am curious.. What do you think about the FACT that, up until the mid-60s, it was the Democratic Party that was the racist Party?? And, since Biden was about 25 at that time, isn't it possible that Biden WAS racist, since that was, at the time, the norm for Democrats???

    So, what do you think about Biden's remark? Try to be honest.

    I have been loathe to interject myself into this little war of ya'all's because it's likely that no good will come of it.. But I have to say that CB would likely be more inclined to be honest if you would be more inclined to be civil...

    But, maybe that's just me...

    Michale.....

  44. [44] 
    Michale wrote:

    So, is there anyone around here claiming that Biden is a racist?

    Besides, these days (thanx to Democrats) being accused of racism is almost a badge of honor...

    So, Biden can almost take the accusation as a compliment... :D

    Michale.....

  45. [45] 
    Michale wrote:

    So, is there anyone around here claiming that Biden is a racist?

    Further (part 3), the key word in my statement, "And a person who is racist will always claim racism in others..." is "ALWAYS"...

    So, of the two political Partys, which is the Party that is "always" crying and accusing racism??

    Hmmmmmmmm????

    But let ANYONE else point out the racism coming FROM the Democratic Party and they are set upon by the Left acting like angry wolves..

    We only need to read here on CW.COM for the last couple weeks to know this is true... Apparently, even our fearless leader is not immune from the angry of the wolves...

    That's how bad it's gotten...

    Michale.....

  46. [46] 
    Chris1962 wrote:
  47. [47] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    I'm risking being banned, but I have a few comments to make about this site's fruitflies.

    It would be really nice if you stopped with the name-calling, Kev. I thought our host had asked you to stop that.

  48. [48] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    But the UNIVERSAL (from Democrats) criticism of Ryan's plan DID start the minute Ryan was tapped for VP..

    perhaps prior to his choice by romney, most only made passing comments about isolated parts of the budget proposal. i guess they thought the overall proposal so absurd that they didn't take it seriously enough to think it was worth devoting the time to a full critique. or maybe not.

  49. [49] 
    Michale wrote:

    CB,

    It would be really nice if you stopped with the name-calling, Kev. I thought our host had asked you to stop that.

    It's been my experience that any time a Leftie plays the race/bigot card, it means that they have absolutely no rational argument and must employ the "JournoList" tactic...

    Personally, I find it totally hilarious that the biggest (political) bigots would have the audacity to accuse others of bigotry...

    "Oh trust me, Major. Evil knows evil."
    -Dr Smith, LOST IN SPACE

    I try not to let it get to me but, as of late, my tolerance factor is way WAY down...

    Joshua,

    perhaps prior to his choice by romney, most only made passing comments about isolated parts of the budget proposal. i guess they thought the overall proposal so absurd that they didn't take it seriously enough to think it was worth devoting the time to a full critique. or maybe not.

    Perhaps some Democrats attacked the plan.. But many other Democrats up to AND including President Obama, lavished praise on Ryan AND his budget..

    I can provide a multitude of links if you like...

    Michale.....

  50. [50] 
    Michale wrote:

    OUCH!!!!

    In his inaugural address, Obama promised “not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.” He promised to “build the roads and bridges, the electric grids, and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.” He promised to “restore science to its rightful place and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost.” And he promised to “transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.” Unfortunately the president’s scorecard on every single one of those bold pledges is pitiful.
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/08/19/niall-ferguson-on-why-barack-obama-needs-to-go.html

    "And the ref takes a point away!!!"
    -Jim Carrey, LIAR LIAR

    Michale.....

  51. [51] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    from that anti-obama article:

    It is a sign of just how completely Barack Obama has “lost his narrative” since getting elected that the best case he has yet made for reelection is that Mitt Romney should not be president.

    yet, it's a pretty compelling case. practically nobody likes romney, even within his own party. he's a nasty piece of work and everybody knows it.

    as it happens, i agree with niall ferguson on many of his points - you know how i feel about obama and his policies - but i've never felt like his heart was in the wrong place. romney on the other hand doesn't seem to care about anybody who isn't a one-percenter like himself, and doesn't seem to care if we know he doesn't care. that doesn't strike me as a good quality in a president either.

    so... gary johnson? jill stein? roseanne???

  52. [52] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    joshua,

    Have you seen that article in the New York Times - today or yesterday - about reforming the education system?

    My take away from it ... the fight is really between the teachers' unions and those who wish to reform the system to improve the system; the union has historically operated from a seniority-based system which does not always reward the best teachers and, in fact, can ensure that the worst teachers are hard to weed out if they have been around for the longest time.

    It makes sense to me to move away from a system based on seniority and toward one based on merit as opposed to length of service. But, this is a hard row to hoe for the unions, for obvious reasons. Still, a meritocracy seems the only way to improve the overall education system and a way has to be found to bring the unions on board with this.

    Just wondering what you thought, if you read it ... I have a link if you want ...

  53. [53] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    elizabeth,

    most of those who say they want to reform or improve the system have one fundamental problem; they have no idea what they're doing.

    yes, a system based solely on seniority is probably not the most efficient or cost-effective way to allocate funds, but the metrics the self-styled reformers want to use to define "merit" have next to nothing to do with the actual quality of instruction.

    if merit were defined by the ratings of retired master teachers, actual experts who know the difference between good and bad instruction, then i would say that a hybrid system would make sense. however, the current reform proposals seek to judge teachers based on invalid statistics derived from standardized tests, and/or give administrators the power to railroad good teachers who they happen not to like.

    there's also the matter of how to attract, train and retain good teachers over time. it's not so easy to keep someone in a job that requires immense effort and pays less than their qualifications, especially if you remove the few perks. i'd suggest a re-read of the article i co-authored near the beginning of last year. it goes into some detail about the trouble with people trying to reform education who don't understand it.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-weigant/guest-column-obama-on-edu_b_808350.html

  54. [54] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    joshua,

    Yes, I read your guest column when you wrote it.

    Here is the link for the NYT piece,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/19/opinion/sunday/bruni-teachers-on-the-defensive.html?_r=1&hp&pagewanted=print

    I appears that it's going to be extremely difficult to bring the two sides together. Which is a shame because we both know who and what suffers the most as a result.

  55. [55] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    i've read the article.

    Better teachers, better teachers, better teachers. That’s the mantra of the moment, and implicit in it is the notion that the ones we’ve got aren’t nearly good enough. “It’s a historic high point for demoralization,” said Diane Ravitch, an education historian at New York University.

    among the myriad problems is the movie myth of the teacher as a superhero. there are very, very few jaime escalante types out there, and it's as insane to expect every teacher to be in the top 0.1% of teachers as it is to expect every student to be in the top 0.1% of students.

    to complicate things, the measures being used (statistics derived from student standardized test scores) are completely and utterly invalid as measures of the quality of instruction.

    as if that weren't complicated enough, the "quality" of a teacher is in many ways determined by the setting and the "fit" between students, teachers and administrators. "teacher quality" is not even close to being an exact science, and punitive rating systems may well discourage people from teaching who are stuck in the wrong setting. an individual who excels in one environment may very well struggle in another. in the right setting, individuals who were considered sub-par elsewhere might become rock star, teacher of the year types.

    many well-intentioned reformers are doing more harm than good. i don't know any way to solve this problem, but you can bet that pearson will find a way to profit from it.

  56. [56] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Reforming something a big 'the education system', taking into account all that needs to be considered, strikes me as a near impossible task. Where do you even start.

    I think it may be easier to prevent a war with Iran. :)

  57. [57] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Reforming something as big as 'the education system', taking into account all that needs to be considered, strikes me as a near impossible task.

    I think it may be easier to prevent a war with Iran. :)

  58. [58] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    liz,

    it's not as complicated as it's made out to be. institute some of the following, and every teacher will be more effective (science is like magic!):

    1. universal optional pre-k
    2. class size limits akin to florida's class size amendment
    3. standardized tests of lower frequency but higher quality
    4. teacher rating and support by retired master teachers
    5. administrators promoted upward from within a district, and with expanded teaching requirements.
    6. family wraparound services to build school communities.
    7. authentic assessment of students and teachers, including projects and portfolios.

  59. [59] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    joshua,

    Sounds good to me!

    Is it just a case of jurisdictional overlap and too many interests involved and ...

    Has there ever been some sort of national symposium on this issue with a blue ribbon panel made up of all the stakeholders put in place to work out the details ... or, something like that?

    I mean, it's not like it isn't a top priority with far-reaching and long-ranging impacts on everything from the economic well-being of the country to the foundations of democracy itself.

  60. [60] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Has there ever been some sort of national symposium on this issue with a blue ribbon panel made up of all the stakeholders put in place to work out the details ... or, something like that?

    of course there have been extensive panels on education, with lots of politicians, economists, engineers, test developers, textbook publishers, mayors, superintendents, charter school CEO's, college professors, and perhaps even a token teacher or two. yet somehow all of these meetings have seemed to focus on solutions other than the ones that have proven to work.

  61. [61] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    ... a token teacher or two.

    I see. That must be infinitely frustrating ...

  62. [62] 
    Michale wrote:

    Joshua,

    yet, it's a pretty compelling case. practically nobody likes romney, even within his own party. he's a nasty piece of work and everybody knows it.

    While I would point out that "nobody likes Romney" is extremely subjective and not very accurate, I will concede that it would be nice to have a better candidate..

    On the other hand, if the GOP *DID* put out a better candidate, you have to admit that said candidate would be wiping the floor with Obama..

    I agree with your assessment of the article's accuracy.

    As far as competency goes (or, in this case, lack thereof) Obama seems to be outdoing Carter..

    Too bad we don't have another Ronald Reagan...

    No one is claiming that Romney is god's gift to the Presidency..

    But it's apparent to any objective person that Romney will likely be 20 times the president that Obama has been..

    Granted, the bar ain't set that high, but still...

    Let's face the facts. The ONLY reason Weigantians don't want Romney as President is *solely* because of that '-R' after his name..

    Helluva way to pick a future leader...

    as it happens, i agree with niall ferguson on many of his points - you know how i feel about obama and his policies - but i've never felt like his heart was in the wrong place. romney on the other hand doesn't seem to care about anybody who isn't a one-percenter like himself, and doesn't seem to care if we know he doesn't care. that doesn't strike me as a good quality in a president either.

    But at least it shows that Romney ain't a hypocrite..

    I don't mind (much) if a person is an asshole. I hate like hell when a person is an asshole but tries to act like he's my best friend...

    I would much rather have a president that would do the right thing for the wrong reasons, as opposed to a president who keeps doing the wrong thing for the right reasons...

    And I am not as convinced as you are that Obama's heart is in the right place. Hell, I ain't even convinced Obama HAS a heart..

    But I can concede that THAT opinion likely stems from my personal animosity...

    But, at least I can admit my biases. That's what frustrates me so much about the majority of Weigantians. They simply WON'T admit how bad a president Obama has been..

    Now I grant you, it's likely a defense mechanism, as people here would HATE to be seen agreeing with evil racist bigoted Michale...

    But it's still frustrating, nonetheless...

    Michale.....

  63. [63] 
    Michale wrote:

    Swing-State Voters Say They Are No Better Off Than in 2008
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/156776/swing-state-voters-say-no-better-off-2008.aspx?utm_source=alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=syndication&utm_content=morelink&utm_term=All%20Gallup%20Headlines%20-%20Politics

    Doesn't look good for Team Obama...

    Of course, this assumes you believe polls reflect reality.. :D

    Michale.....

  64. [64] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Let's face the facts. The ONLY reason Weigantians don't want Romney as President is *solely* because of that '-R' after his name..

    Wrong again. As you must know, that is hardly a factual statement.

    Unlike you, I will not presume to speak for all who comment here. As for this Weigantian, however, I can tell you that you couldn't be further off the mark in your above assessment.

    There are many reasons why I don't believe Romney will be good for America or for the rest of us out in the world. For starters, he is advocating for some of the same failed economic policies that enabled the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. In other words, he doesn't seem to have learned any lessons from this tragic experience. Not a very good sign for someone who hopes to be a national leader.

    Secondly, he is apparently of the view, based on his own statements, that the top national security priority of the US should be that of the Israeli government. He has not demonstrated that he understands that on many issues, the national security interests of the United States do not always converge with those of the Israeli government. And, he appears to be quite hawkish on war with Iran without any hint of what such a stance would entail.

    I hasten to add that this particular point has nothing to do with who is more of a friend to Israel and supporter of its interests, Romney or Obama. That question has been settled with the Israeli defense minister's comments recently that there has not been a US administration that has been more supportive of Israel than the Obama/Biden administration, bar none. It has everything to do with who would be more likely to put the US into another unmanageable Middle East war.

    I could go on but, I think you get the point. The reasons I don't want to see Romney elected president have nothing, whatsoever, to do with what capital letter follows his name and everything to do with how a Romney administration would formulate economic and foreign policy.

  65. [65] 
    Michale wrote:

    For starters, he is advocating for some of the same failed economic policies that enabled the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. In other words, he doesn't seem to have learned any lessons from this tragic experience. Not a very good sign for someone who hopes to be a national leader.

    As opposed to Obama who is implementing DIFFERENT economic policies that are MORE of a failure than the previous economic policies??

    Secondly, he is apparently of the view, based on his own statements, that the top national security priority of the US should be that of the Israeli government.

    While I wouldn't say that the security of Israel is *THE* top national security priority it IS true that it is ONE of the top national security priorities.

    In that, Romney is a much better leader than Obama..

    It has everything to do with who would be more likely to put the US into another unmanageable Middle East war.

    No. It's about who will pursue a policy of containment with regards to a nuclear armed Iran.

    Obama has absolutely NO intention of striking at Iran, even when it is clear that sanctions won't work..

    So, if you feel a nuclear-armed Iran is a welcome change to the Mid East scenery, then by all means. Vote Obama...

    I could go on but, I think you get the point. The reasons I don't want to see Romney elected president have nothing, whatsoever, to do with what capital letter follows his name and everything to do with how a Romney administration would formulate economic and foreign policy.

    Everything you have mentioned, Obama has done WORSE on...

    Who does the majority of Americans trust to fix the economy? Obama or Romney?

    Who does the majority of Americans trust to stand by Israel? Democrats or Republicans?

    Michale.....

  66. [66] 
    Michale wrote:

    That question has been settled with the Israeli defense minister's comments recently that there has not been a US administration that has been more supportive of Israel than the Obama/Biden administration, bar none.

    That's one man's opinion.

    I can promise you that it is NOT the opinion of the Prime Minister of Israel, it is NOT the opinion of the people of Israel and it is NOT the opinion of the jewish people here in the US...

    Who will Netanyahu be able to work better with?

    Romney or Obama??

    I mean, if you want to use Israel as the litmus test, then Romney is clearly the superior candidate..

    Michale......

  67. [67] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    While I wouldn't say that the security of Israel is *THE* top national security priority it IS true that it is ONE of the top national security priorities.

    In that, Romney is a much better leader than Obama..

    Not according to the current Israeli defense minister. You should read his statement on this very issue in full; let me know if you need a link. :)

  68. [68] 
    Michale wrote:

    As I said.. That's ONE persons opinion.. And I am sure there is a back story to it as well. :D

    But, what the hell. Give me the link... :D

    Michale.....

  69. [69] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'll give you the link only if you admit that you were wrong to say that all Weigantians are guilty of opposing Romney just because of his party affiliation.

  70. [70] 
    Michale wrote:

    I'll give you the link only if you admit that you were wrong to say that all Weigantians are guilty of opposing Romney just because of his party affiliation.

    I'll change it from "fact" status to "opinion" and amend it to say, "From all available data it appears that the all Weigantians only oppose Romney because of the '-R' after his name."

    That's as good as yer gonna get. :D

    Michale......

  71. [71] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I have just proved you wrong about that and you won't admit it.

    Sorry, you'll have to look up the link for yourself. You will find it quite fascinating, I am sure.

  72. [72] 
    Michale wrote:

    I have just proved you wrong about that and you won't admit it.

    Actually, your statements proved me right.

    Obama has been a worse president than Romney could ever HOPE to be.

    Ergo, if any Democrat STILL wants to vote for Obama then the ONLY reason that makes any sense is that they are doing it solely based on Party ideology...

    Imminently logical.. :D

    Michale

  73. [73] 
    Michale wrote:

    What a concept!!!

    The mainstream media actually telling the trooth!! :D

    What if the mainstream media told the truth?</B
    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/08/20/what-if-mainstream-media-told-truth/

    The only non-factual statement in that rant is that the audience Biden went off on a racist bender to was "primarily" black.

    It wasn't. It was a near even split between black and white..

    But other than that minor miscue, everything said is dead on ballz factual....

    Michale.....

  74. [74] 
    Michale wrote:

    One question..

    If Obama is such a big supporter of Israel, why hasn't he gone there since his election??

    He's had time to jet set to schmooze with the Muslim countries...

    Yet, not a SINGLE solitary visit to Israel...

    Why??

    Michale.....

  75. [75] 
    Michale wrote:

    Poll: Romney cares more than Obama about Israel
    Peace Index poll shows Israeli Jews – by 2:1 ratio – believe Romney assigns high importance to defending Israel's interests.

    http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=281579

  76. [76] 
    ninjaf wrote:

    Michale,
    Please stop deliberately perpetuating a falsehood. The stimulus did not fail. Numerous independent sources have said so. It only feels like a failure to you because of your animus for President Obama. The facts say otherwise.

    I get so bored reading these comments because you and Chris1962 continually return with your "I know you are but what am I?" retorts and refuse to acknowledge actual facts — blaming everything that contradicts your opinion on liberal media bias. You are doing a disservice to CW.com.
    Time and again, I see Weigantians agree to work within your assumptions (even though they may have already been proven false) and still make a cogent argument against the point you were trying to make. And now for you to say that the commenters here don't want to see a President Romney (ick...just threw up a little in my mouth typing that) because he has an R after his name is sad (at the very least) and insulting. You know that not to be true and have said the same in the past.
    The beauty of this place has been that conservatives and liberals can debate here via the comments without the hyperbole and hyperventilating that usually comes with political websites. You are ruining that.
    As I have said in the past, I am a long time lurker here. When I first started reading here, it was either during or just after the 2008 election (I can't remember exactly). And I would say that, in the last year, you have jumped the shark and given up on having an honest debate. You use cheap shots and what might pass for clever quips on other sites, but here, they just sound partisan and hollow.
    And I think enough people here are tired of it and have started calling you out on it. I have said it to Chris1962, and I will suggest it to you. Perhaps you should take this as constructive criticism and not as a personal insult?

  77. [77] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Interesting insight into Team-O campaign operations:

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0812/79867.html

  78. [78] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Please stop deliberately perpetuating a falsehood. The stimulus did not fail. Numerous independent sources have said so. It only feels like a failure to you because of your animus for President Obama. The facts say otherwise.

    Your Politifact article (from 2010) ignores that unemployment is still higher than when O took office. (It was 7.8% when Bush left.) Ergo, the stimulus failed by its own measure (on multiple counts, including growth), and anyone who wishes to frame it that way is well within their right to do so. Unemployment was supposed to be in the 6's now.

    "...But the total number of private-sector jobs is still 4.3 million below the January 2008 peak. Meanwhile, since 2008, a staggering 3.6 million Americans have been added to Social Security’s disability insurance program. This is one of many ways unemployment is being concealed.

    In his fiscal year 2010 budget—the first he presented—the president envisaged growth of 3.2 percent in 2010, 4.0 percent in 2011, 4.6 percent in 2012. The actual numbers were 2.4 percent in 2010 and 1.8 percent in 2011; few forecasters now expect it to be much above 2.3 percent this year.

    Unemployment was supposed to be 6 percent by now. It has averaged 8.2 percent this year so far. Meanwhile real median annual household income has dropped more than 5 percent since June 2009. Nearly 110 million individuals received a welfare benefit in 2011, mostly Medicaid or food stamps...."
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/08/19/niall-ferguson-on-why-barack-obama-needs-to-go.html

  79. [79] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ninjaf,

    Please stop deliberately perpetuating a falsehood. The stimulus did not fail. Numerous independent sources have said so. It only feels like a failure to you because of your animus for President Obama.

    Sorry to say that it is your perpetuating the falsehoods..

    Wasn't the stimulus supposed to keep Unemployment below 8%??

    It failed.

    Wasn't the stimulus supposed to create more jobs??

    It failed.

    Wasn't the stimulus supposed to increase the the GDP???

    It failed..

    What about the "shovel ready" projects that the Stimulus was supposed to further???

    It failed...

    By ANY measure, except maybe wishful thinking, the stimulus was a complete and abject failure..

    I get so bored reading these comments

    An yet... here you are. :D

    because he has an R after his name is sad (at the very least) and insulting. You know that not to be true and have said the same in the past.

    And yet, it's still true.. If Romney was the Dem and Obama was the GOP, Weigantians would vote Romney..

    How do I know this???

    Because ya'all STILL support Obama, even though he is more Bush than Bush when it comes to CT policies..

    If ya'all were TRULY politically athiests (as I am) or didn't care about the '-R' or the '-D' ya'all would condemn Obama for this as resoundingly and as often as you condemned Bush.

    They fact that ya'all DON'T simply proves that it's not the policies. A president could have the most egregious policy possible, say like ASSASSINATIONS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS WITHOUT DUE PROCESS... If it's a GOP president, ya'all would crucify him. If it was a DEM president, ya'all would brag on how tough your guy is...

    Go ahead. Just TRY and deny it!! You can't because the facts speak for themselves..

    It's the '-D' or '-R' that is attached to the person's name that makes ALL the difference to most of ya'all...

    The beauty of this place has been that conservatives and liberals can debate here via the comments without the hyperbole and hyperventilating that usually comes with political websites. You are ruining that.

    Due to a personal tragedy in my life, I was absent for over a week from here.. I still lurked, but didn't really have to stomach for such pettiness as politics..

    Were things w/o hyperbole and hyperventilating?? Not even CLOSE..

    The problem here is that ya'all START from the assumption that ANYONE who speaks ill of Obama or praises ANYTHING coming from the Right is wrong and THEN you move on from there...

    But don't worry..

    In 77 days, 5 hours, 16 minutes we will all know how was right and who was wrong.. :D

    Michale....

  80. [80] 
    Michale wrote:

    The stimulus did not fail

    If the stimulus did not fail, how come Obama is not running on the stimulus..

    Why isn't Obama running on ANY of his record?? Why is he resorting to the most negative campaigning of ANY presidential election in history??

    If you were honest, you would admit what everyone already knows.. Obama *CAN'T* run on his record because his record is, by ANY measurement possible a dismal failure..

    Even Obama's vaunted foreign policy "wins" are abysmal and non-existent when examined more closely...

    An alliance between Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood government and Iran. Innocent people dying by the THOUSANDS in Syria.. Israel about to hulk out on Iran because they can't trust Obama to do the right thing.. Russians parking a nuclear armed submarine off the Florida coast. Obama passing on love notes to Putin...

    No wonder Obama can't run on his record...

    It stinks to high heaven...

    These are the facts that ya'all claim to want..

    Yet, when confronted with the facts that doesn't fit your image of Obama as the savior of us all, you mitigate, obfuscate and outright deny...

    Perhaps if ya'all were more amiable to recognizing the faults Obama has, then things around here wouldn't be all hyperbole and hyperventilating...

    Michale.....

    Michale....

  81. [81] 
    Michale wrote:

    Want more failures??

    The Auto-Bailout that Obama (and ya'all) tout as a resounding success.. It's over 25 BILLION dollars in the red... How many hundreds of thousands lost their jobs in that "success'?? Thousands of NON-union workers lost their jobs and their pensions so that those who are union and contributed heavily to Obama's campaign could rake in the money...

    Obama is the FIRST president in history NOT to pass a budget... Another failure..

    Let's look at how out of touch Obama is with every day Americans...

    "If you have a business, you didn't build that"

    "The private sector is doing fine"

    "We have to spread the wealth around"

    These are FACTS....

    So, here's a great idea..

    Instead of making personal attacks and outlandish and totally ridiculous claims of racism and bigotry, why not address these FACTS that ya'all claim to want...

    Because you CAN'T... You can't address the facts w/o admitting that Obama is the worst president to come along since Ricard Nixon.. And, insofar as he beats out Jimmy Carter for that "honor", that really says a lot...

    Michale.....

  82. [82] 
    ninjaf wrote:

    I rest my case.

  83. [83] 
    Michale wrote:

    I rest my case.

    .... without addressing *ANY* of the facts..

    If you really want to have a discussion about FACTS, then it behooves you to not run away when the FACTS are presented...

    My case is rested as well.. :D

    Michale.....

  84. [84] 
    ninjaf wrote:

    Michale,
    I am sorry you have had family issues and RL has kicked your ass for a week or so. That sucks.
    The pettiness you so disdainfully refer to above has never been a hallmark here. That's why the community gathers here to discuss.
    I am not going to address your "facts" above because they have been addressed ad nauseam by other commenters, as well as CW directly. It would be a waste of bandwidth.

  85. [85] 
    Michale wrote:

    I am sorry you have had family issues and RL has kicked your ass for a week or so. That sucks.

    Thank you. Sincerely..

    The pettiness you so disdainfully refer to above has never been a hallmark here.

    The accusations of racism and bigotry notwithstanding, right? :^/

    because they have been addressed ad nauseam by other commenters

    No, they haven't...

    No one has addressed why Obama would say that small business owners didn't build their business.

    It's been ignored, in hopes that it would fade away..

    No one has addressed why Obama would say that the private sector is doing fine, when it's obvious to ANYONE with more than 2 brain cells to rub together that the private sector is NOT doing fine. Everyone hopes that if they just stick their fingers in their ears and yell "nyaaaa nyaaaa nyaaaa" it will all fade away..

    No one has addressed that the American people are on the hook for 25 BILLION dollars in Obama's "successful" auto bailout..

    No one has addressed why it was that only UNION members got their pensions saved plus more while NON UNION members were handed pink slips..

    No one has address why Obama, at a campaign stop, would offer to buy beer for everyone, EXCEPT the guy holding a Romney sign... So much for "no red states, no blue states", eh??

    All these FACTS and hundreds more have been ignored because they paint Obama in an unflattering light...

    To hear ya'all, the ONLY problem Obama has is that he is not tough enough on Republicans and Conservatives...

    So, please don't fall back on that BS that all of these facts have been addressed...

    They haven't.. Not in the least...

    As I said above. If ya'all WANT to have a discussion about the facts, then it would behoove ya'all to ADDRESS the facts when they are raised.. And NOT attack the person who is delivering the facts...

    I mean, doesn't that sound logical???

    Michale.....

  86. [86] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    No one has addressed why Obama would say that small business owners didn't build their business.

    I would hope that you know very well that Obama did not say that nor did he say anything remotely resembling that.

    On the other hand, if you really have yourself convinced that Obama did say that, then I think we may be done here.

  87. [87] 
    Michale wrote:

    I would hope that you know very well that Obama did not say that nor did he say anything remotely resembling that.

    This is exactly what I am talking about.. The complete and utter denial of reality and the facts...

    Not only did Obama say something remotely like that, he said EXACTLY that...

    And it's WELL-DOCUMENTED that Obama *DID* say exactly that, in print, in audio and in video...

    You people can't continue to claim that you want *FACTS* when you DENY the facts...

    Michale.....

  88. [88] 
    Michale wrote:

    Another perfect example of the utter denial of Team Obama and their supporters..

    "Well, first of all, I am not sure that all of those characterizations that you laid out there were accurate. For example, nobody accused Mr. Romney of being a felon."
    -President Obama

    How in the HELL (ooops, guess I'm not getting my diploma :D) can Obama make such blatantly bogus statements with a straight face...

    Everyone here loves to point out "lies" when they are uttered by Republicans. Even when they are NOT lies..

    But Democrats can lie like rugs and NO ONE here says dick...

    Once again, another perfect example of the '-R' and the '-D' being the ONLY consideration...

    Michale.....

  89. [89] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    But it's apparent to any objective person that Romney will likely be 20 times the president that Obama has been..

    precisely, and that's what i'm afraid of... that he'll be obama times twenty, just as obama has in many respects been bushier than bush. for both the good and the bad, and in spite of him being known far and wide as a total jerk, romney's governing record and obama's are strikingly similar.

    Are Obama And Romney The Same Guy?

    http://www.npr.org/2012/04/17/150795727/are-obama-and-romney-the-same-guy

  90. [90] 
    Michale wrote:

    precisely, and that's what i'm afraid of... that he'll be obama times twenty,

    Touche' I guess ya got me on that one.. :D

    Michale.....

  91. [91] 
    Michale wrote:

    Getting back to the subject of Israel and Iran..

    Netanyahu ‘determined to attack Iran’ before US elections, claims Israel’s Channel 10
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-determined-to-attack-iran-before-us-elections-claims-israels-channel-10/

    Clearly, the decision makers in Israel don't trust the Obama administration.

    And who can blame them?? From the massive amount of leaks coming out of the White House that damaged Israeli security, to Obama's excessive smooozing with the Muslim world, to the sheer contempt that Obama displays towards Israel and her leaders... It's clear that Israel cannot count on the kind of support from the Obama Administration that Israel could get from a Romney Administration...

    And if ya'all don't think that taking another country's side over my own country bugs the hell out of me, you would be wrong...

    Michale.....

  92. [92] 
    Michale wrote:

    Looks like Obama's "If you have a business, you didn't build that" is going to be the entire THEME of the GOP convention... :D

    GOP convention session to be themed "We Built This!"
    http://politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2012/08/21/gop-convention-session-be-themed-we-built#ixzz249cVykCS

    All animosity aside, ya'all just HAVE to admit that I called it dead on ballz accurate when I said Obama's bonehead statement will come back to haunt him again and again and again...

    Michale.....

  93. [93] 
    Michale wrote:

    I would hope that you know very well that Obama did not say that nor did he say anything remotely resembling that.

    Let's, grammatically speaking, disassemble EXACTLY what Obama said...

    OBAMA'S STATEMENT
    Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business, you didn't build that.

    Now, in this statement, we have TWO different subjects. "Business" and "Roads and Bridges".

    And then we have a reference to ONE of the subjects in the word "that"...

    So, let's apply to reference to EACH subject separately..

    "If you have roads and bridges, you didn't build that."

    Now, is that correct, grammatically speaking? Of course not. Roads and bridges, in and of themselves AND in being joined by the word "and" are plural...

    "If you have a road, you didn't build that"

    "If you have a bridge, you didn't build that"

    Those are grammatically correct statements..

    "If you have roads, you didn't build that"

    "If you have bridges, you didn't build that"

    "If you have bridges and roads, you didn't build that"

    .... are all examples of grammatically INCORRECT statements. "That" should be replaced with "them" or "those" to make the statements grammatically correct.

    Now, let's look at the statement:

    "If you have a business, you didn't build that"

    Again, another grammatically correct statement.

    Joshua, back me up here..

    Now, one can claim that Obama misspoke. That he was thinking something different then what he actually said..

    First off, Obama's oratory skills are well known. That's what got him elected, fer chreest's sake!! For him to use such grammatically tortured context would be unusual to the point of absurd for this particular person..

    Secondly, we're not debating what Obama was THINKING. We're not debating what Obama MEANT... We're debating what he actually said...

    So, while one COULD respond with "Obama didn't mean that" or some variation thereof, the simple fact is Obama DID say exactly what he is accused of saying.

    Whether he actually MEANT what he said is conjecture or supposition...

    The fact is Obama said, "If you have a business, you didn't build that."

    And "THAT" refers to the business, NOT to the bridges and roads...

    Michale.....

  94. [94] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Whether he actually MEANT what he said is conjecture or supposition...

    The fact is Obama said, "If you have a business, you didn't build that."

    And "THAT" refers to the business, NOT to the bridges and roads...

    you're right, sometimes what you actually say matters more than what you meant to say. obama's comment about who builds a business is like romney's comment about corporations being people. certainly the intended meaning isn't exactly how it came out, but the actual statement "as stated" matters.

  95. [95] 
    Michale wrote:

    obama's comment about who builds a business is like romney's comment about corporations being people.

    I would agree with that as well...

    Michale.....

  96. [96] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    So, while one COULD respond with "Obama didn't mean that" or some variation thereof, the simple fact is Obama DID say exactly what he is accused of saying.

    He was regurgitating the points Elizabeth Warren made awhile back. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOyDR2b71ag

    Neither of them seems to realize that We, the People — including the rich/successful — built those roads with our tax dollars. WE paid for the materials; WE paid for the labor; and WE pay for the police services Warren speaks of. And all of it belongs to us, not "the government," a.k.a., our public servants. And with our entrepreneurial spirit (which neither of them seems to even understand), WE built our businesses.

  97. [97] 
    Michale wrote:

    That's why I believe that Obama's statement will be referred to as the day his re-election chances died..

    Because he showed the American people unequivocally WHO he is and WHAT he believes..

    He doesn't believe as middle class Americans believe...

    He doesn't believe that hard work, sacrifice and commitment should be rewarded with success..

    Obama believes that simply existing should be rewarded with the same success that hard work and commitment are rewarded with..

    That's not what America is all about...

    Michale.....

  98. [98] 
    Chris1962 wrote:
  99. [99] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Interesting poll results coming out of Florida and Wisconsin:

    New Polls Find More Concerned By Health Care Law's Impact on Medicare Than Ryan's Plan - New polling in two swing states shows that voters are more scared of the health care law's impact on Medicare than the Ryan plan's
    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/most_recent_videos/2012_08/new_polls_find_more_concerned_by_health_care_law_s_impact_on_medicare_than_ryan_s_plan

  100. [100] 
    Michale wrote:

    New Polls Find More Concerned By Health Care Law's Impact on Medicare Than Ryan's Plan - New polling in two swing states shows that voters are more scared of the health care law's impact on Medicare than the Ryan plan

    TAKEN FROM MEDICARE TO COVER OBAMACARE??
    716 Billion dollars

    REPUBLICANS DARE TO TOUCH THE '3RD RAIL' AND THE PUBLIC SIDES WITH THEM??
    Priceless

    :D

    Michale

  101. [101] 
    Michale wrote:

    Word is that Team Obama is sending Biden to Tampa at the time of the GOP Convention..

    Anyone read THE LAST PRESIDENT?? :D

    Michale.....

  102. [102] 
    Michale wrote:

    It doesn't look good for Obama..

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/election-heatmap

    It seems the vast majority of Americans are reading the Anti-Obama books and not the Pro-Left books...

    This could have a real big impact on the election...

    Michale.....

  103. [103] 
    Michale wrote:

    Didn't we have a recent discussion about how the GOP is not disclosing donors???

    Democrats won’t disclose donors to Charlotte convention until after the event
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/democrats-wont-disclose-donors-to-convention-until-after-the-event/2012/08/21/460c69a2-e88a-11e1-8487-64e4b2a79ba8_story.html

    I assume everyone here will castigate the Democrats as much as they castigated the Republicans, no??

    Michale.....

  104. [104] 
    Michale wrote:

    DOJ is suing the polling firm that shows Romney gaining on Obama..

    DOJ sues Gallup polling firm
    http://washingtonexaminer.com/doj-sues-gallup-polling-firm/article/2505617#.UDUa26OnzUJ

    My gods!!

    Does the desperation of Team Obama know no depths???

    Surely this simply HAS to be a red line for ya'all!??

    Surely, ya'all can't sanction or approve of this!!???

    Michale......

    Michale.....

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