Michelle Bachmann in Pants

It’s two and a half months until the election.

Anyone who may have been harboring a forlorn hope that Mitt Romney might revert to the persona he wore as Governor of Massachusetts can “fuhgeddaboudit,” as they used to say on Seinfeld. He’s not using that famous Etch-A-Sketch to shake up his newfound Tea Party allegiance; to the contrary, with his choice of Paul Ryan as a running mate, he has signaled his complete capitulation to and identification with the furthest reaches of the Right.

What does Romney’s doubling-down tell us about the choice facing the country—and especially the choice facing those of us who aren’t old white heterosexual males?

Let’s look beyond issues of character and personality. Let’s ignore suspicions that Romney has lacked the savvy to assemble a competent staff. Let’s choke down the bile that we taste when we look at his “team,” composed of George W. Bush’s worst leftovers. Let’s even ignore his proposal to end Medicare.

Let’s just look at the policies that Romney and Ryan (the “Rolls Royce” team) explicitly support.

Perhaps you’ve heard, as I have, that Ryan’s voting record is substantially identical to that of Michelle Bachmann. Allow me to share some of the details of that record.

  • Ryan opposed the DREAM Act–legislation that would have allowed undocumented immigrants brought to the US as young children to remain in the country, and provided them with a path to citizenship. Instead, despite his professed identity as a deficit hawk, he supported spending millions to build a border fence to keep “them” out. (Hint: the fence wasn’t between us and Canada.)
  • In addition to his desire to privatize Social Security and eliminate Medicare, he has proposed to give Medicaid back to the states. This would almost certainly mean an end to the payments that currently keep millions of seniors in nursing homes after they have gone through all their assets and savings.
  • The Ryan budget proposes to gut programs that support neighborhood health clinics, to eliminate most student loans, and to slash funds for elementary and secondary education.
  • Ryan wants to de-fund Planned Parenthood, criminalize abortion, and grant “personhood” to fertilized eggs (a measure that would outlaw most popular forms of birth control). In a particularly egregious vote, he supported a bill allowing hospitals to refuse to perform abortions even when those procedures were necessary to save the life of the mother.
  • Adding insult to injury, Ryan has voted against equal pay for women.
  • On GLBT rights, the story is the same. Ryan opposes same-sex marriage and voted twice for a constitutional amendment prohibiting it. He voted to keep same-sex couples from adopting children in Washington DC. He voted against repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. And while the Log Cabin apologists will point out that he once voted for ENDA (the Employee NonDiscrimination Act), he later reneged on his promise to do so again, saying he saw no need for “special” legislation.
  • Mr. “Fiscal Conservative” would abolish taxes on Capital Gains—giving wealthy individuals a windfall—and would recoup the lost revenue by cutting programs that benefit the poor and middle class.
  • Ryan also agrees with Romney that we don’t need to fund Amtrak or PBS (bye-bye, Big Bird…), but we cannot take a penny from the Defense budget, or allow the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy to expire.

That is what the Rolls Royce team has to offer. It is as mean-spirited and radical a set of proposals as we have seen in my lifetime—not to mention thoroughly unworkable and unrealistic. (When Paul Krugman and David Stockman agree that Ryan’s package of proposals are a “fantasy” and wouldn’t begin to balance the budget even if enacted, that’s a pretty good sign that it isn’t a serious effort.)

So we have a choice: “Mitt the Twit” running with Michelle Bachmann in pants, versus Obama and Biden.

I’m hiding under my bed until it’s all over.

 

 

 

20 thoughts on “Michelle Bachmann in Pants

  1. I understand your reticence regarding the Romney-Ryan ticket. Depsite their ads to the contrary, they favor ending the majority of social safety net programs while further enriching those that are already rich. I call it putting a border fence along the “path to prosperity” to keep undesirables out.

    However, your last statement threw me. Are you equally reticent to support an Obama-Biden ticket? I myself have been pretty impressed with Obama’s first term, excepting his decisions regarding NDAA and his adherence to Bush terrorism policies (expanded to grant executive authority to assassinate Americans without judicial oversight). I think voting for Obama is a no-brainer for anyone that doesn’t want to see the country ruined by the modern crazy conservative movement– admittedly the thought of Romney replacing 70 federal judges and perhaps locking a conservative majority on the Supreme Court for potentially 2-4 decades.

  2. I am a huge Obama/Biden supporter–if that last sentence suggested otherwise, it was unintentional. I do have my differences with the President on surveillance and civil liberties in national security, but I think Obama walked into an unbelievably horrific situation and has handled it as well as anyone could–especially in the face of GOP intransigence.

  3. I’m sure the error was all mine. I spent the day on my former hometown’s incredibly tea-heavy forum. So I probably pre-programmed myself to find that.

    Thanks for clarifying! I recently moved to St. Louis, and I feel good about Obama winning at least the city, and hopefully the state. I’m desperately hoping to find myself out of the midwest when I graduate.

  4. You know, I had a conversation with my dad a while back. I pointed out that I expected this kind of stalemate in Washington because A) Obama had absolutely NO track record of working with anybody on anything, and B) Republicans were walking into a scenario where “their” guy was called a war criminal for the past 6 or 7 years. My dad’s response was “George Bush WAS a war criminal!” lol

    Look, anybody who didn’t expect these kinds of issues to arise doesn’t follow politics that closely. When you start from a position that Republicans are old, stupid, hickish, misogynistic, racist, white men, of course you’re going to make these kinds of observations and this degree of stereotyping will rule the day. In such Quixotic fashion, it’s truly xenophobia at it’s worst.

    I think if people were that confident on the success of Obama’s policies, he would be running on them. The argument that “we didn’t know how BAD it was until we took over” completely surrenders to the rhetoric that experience might actually account for something. I appreciate the pass from the media, especially after we were in such a toxic environment that mainstream journalists were making up stories about a sitting US President and running with them. That’s just shameful.

    However, by their own numbers Obama’s programs have failed to gain traction. First we’re told the stimulus is working, then when unemployment doesn’t reach their projected benchmark we’re told most of it hasn’t been spent yet so it couldn’t be working. At one point 49 of the previous 52 weekly jobs reports had to be revised downward the next week, and a like number of weekly unemployment claims had to be revised upward. This isn’t government at it’s finest.

    For Pete’s sake, I could go on for days. If you’re more concerned with voting on social issues than making sure your kids’ grandkids have a country to grow up in, I don’t agree with you but I understand from where you’re coming. Ditto if you don’t think Romney has all the answers. However, if you think Obama has all the answers I don’t know that you’re asking the proper questions.

  5. Marco :… I pointed out that I expected this kind of stalemate in Washington because A) Obama had absolutely NO track record of working with anybody on anything, and B) Republicans were walking into a scenario where “their” guy was called a war criminal for the past 6 or 7 years. My dad’s response was “George Bush WAS a war criminal!” lol

    – I don’t know where you get your facts. Obama has had a long record as a centrist democrat that was open to bipartisan solutions to problems. He worked with Gov. Ryan and the IL Repubs on payday lending, and other related concerns. He’s been on record trying to work, in good faith with the republican crazies in the House and Senate. I’m fairly certain Obama has credentials with being willing to reach across the aisle. As for the “W. as a war criminal” isn’t that a tad non sequitur?

    Look, anybody who didn’t expect these kinds of issues to arise doesn’t follow politics that closely. When you start from a position that Republicans are old, stupid, hickish, misogynistic, racist, white men, of course you’re going to make these kinds of observations and this degree of stereotyping will rule the day. In such Quixotic fashion, it’s truly xenophobia at it’s worst.

    to an extent you’re right, there is the risk of a self-fulfilling prophecy. but, i think any casual observer that steps back and looks at the GOP record and politicking over the past 3 years could draw the same conclusion. sticking your head in the sand and refusing to see it does not mean it does not/did not exist.

    I think if people were that confident on the success of Obama’s policies, he would be running on them. The argument that “we didn’t know how BAD it was until we took over” completely surrenders to the rhetoric that experience might actually account for something.

    – again you’re ignoring history. the economists of the time ALL missed on that one. no one knew how bad it was at the time. as for Obama’s policies. which ones are bad? ACA is great, it’s not perfect, but it’s a good compromise between the liberal wet-dream of socialized healthcare and the do-nothing republican strategy. further, it was proposed by repubs and based on a GOP governors policy. will it be perfect, no. but it was put in place with significant time to plan and change. i think it will be hugely successful when it is fully implemented. the GM bailouts pushed the car manufacturers to evolve and alter businiess practices and they are enjoying revived profits. the DREAM act only makes sense, as we cannot afford to deport every illegal we catch. we need to prioritize them. OBL- dead. the majority of al-Queda leadership- dead. and since he took office over 3 million private sector jobs have been added. the tragedy, is that GOP stalemates, and irresponsible state’s have laid off so many public sector employees as to offset the gains.

    For Pete’s sake, I could go on for days. If you’re more concerned with voting on social issues than making sure your kids’ grandkids have a country to grow up in, I don’t agree with you but I understand from where you’re coming. Ditto if you don’t think Romney has all the answers. However, if you think Obama has all the answers I don’t know that you’re asking the proper questions.

    the debt situation is not completely untenable. this is not the worst debt we’ve ever seeen. our country was much worse off following the end of WWII and we recovered. so to promote pandamonium in the streets is just irresponsible. why can’t we have a discussion about stopping subsidies to wildly profitable big oil? why can’t we discuss raising taxes on the wealthiest americans… who may pay a higher dollar amount, but frequently pay a far lower effective tax rate… because the GOP will not allow those conversations to take place.

    Mitch McConnell blatantly stated that his top priority was not ensuring the country is successful, it’s winning the presidency. if that’s not the best indication of a party wildly out of touch with reality, i don’t know what is

  6. I can buy some of this. How about higher taxes by a percentage across-the-board? Even better, how about reducing spending across-the-board? Why shoot for breaking the record on debt when it’s obviously time to stop? It’s been said over and over that if you take all the taxable income from the evil rich, it still won’t pay down the debt, deficit, and financial obligations to which we’re committed.

    If you spend too much money, maybe it’s good idea to stop.

  7. Yesterday the Huffington Post (which I have a love/hate relationship with) ran a story with the top 10 places to live in the world. Not one of those cities was in America. Gee, I wonder why?

    Every single city was in a country like Europe or Australia or Canada that has universal health care, public transportation the envy of America, union jobs, higher taxes and regulations to protect its citizens against greedy corporations AND they have free elections to boot. You can’t tell me that Americans are doing well when the top 10 places to live aren’t in this country. This is no longer the land of the free unless you’re a multi-millioniare.

    How many homeless do you see? How about boarded up homes? How many people stand at intersections to 465 holding signs pleading “Unemployed, Homeless and God Bless you for helping me.” How many times have you cringed when you hit a pot hole? Our system is broken.

    We have to stop this madness and from what I see, only the liberals are looking out for the little guy. The conservative ways have failed and destroyed our American Way. Let’s NOT privatize everything for a profit. Let’s clean up this gawd awful mess first.

    Just like Mrs. Kennedy’s previous posts, Indy’s Mayor Ballard has proven that he can promise to balance the budget but raise taxes on citizens and still give staff salaries a boost in a heart beat and there is not a damn thing we can do about. Vote against these people. We have lost our way and the Republicans are leading the march off the cliff.

    With Mrs. Kennedy’s views, I can hardly understand why she ever ran as a republican. What happened to that party?

  8. AgingLittleGirl, Today’s GOP bears little or no resemblance to the Republican party I worked for. In 1980, I won a Republican primary and I was pro-choice and pro-gay rights. I was considered conservative; I haven’t changed my views, but I am now considered very liberal.

    I didn’t leave the GOP–it left me, and many, many people like me.

  9. With you 100% on Mayor Ballard and tax dollars going to TIFs and sports pantheons that benefit very few. Same for banks, ratings agencies, and an SEC, Congress, and Presidency that have collectively been rotten and self-serving.

    None of this changes the laws of mathematics. We’ve been deep into negative numbers to the tune of spending $4B each business day that we don’t have. It won’t go on forever.

  10. Indeed Mrs. Kennedy. In 1980, I considered myself conservative and voted for Carter even though he lost to Reagan. And Reagan raised my waitress income taxes and changed the poverty level so I didn’t qualify for a Pell Grant to get an education unless I took out student loans. I made too much money as a waitress! I didn’t vote again until 2004. You are a liberal and your blog is very much appreciated by me.

  11. Chris,

    Saying during the primary campaign that you intend to bankrupt the coal industry and that raising the dividend tax rate brings in LESS revenue but that it’s all about “fairness” is not what I would consider a centrist viewpoint (he told Charlie Gibson as much, then later completely changed his mind and called it the “Buffett Rule.”) He doesn’t have a longstanding record of doing anything, although his voting record in the US Senate suffices to make my point IMHO.

    Before he took office people explained to him what raising taxes in a recession would do. He changed his mind when he had the opportunity, and now that he knows he can’t he wants to. It’s classic politics. I can understand him playing the “we didn’t know how bad it was going to be” card, but if you do that you need to A) show leadership, B) explain exactly how bad it is, and C) stop doubling down on your own policies which you failed to implement when you had the chance.

    You say the ACA is great, when it’s only 60% funded (again, 10 years of Medicare cuts for 6 years of ACA is how they justify “debt neutral”.) Furthermore, the funding mechanism is achieved by “rooting out inefficiencies,” which Ms. Kennedy very succinctly pointed out a few days ago as “usually bulls***.”

    Focusing a citizenship policy on people who are at the absolute bottom of the barrel in regard to immigration (no expired student visa, no expired green card, people who said F it and walked over) is as far from any objective definition of ‘fair’ as you’re going to get. George Bush got an F on the border, and Obama had an F too, until he told Border Patrol they couldn’t enforce border laws anymore, now he’s an F-. You can cite whatever MSNBC poll you would like, I’ve spoken with federal agents along the border. It’s open season. Simply shameful.

    Again, the Democrats had enough power in Washington to pass anything short of a constitutional amendment for half of his term. Crying Republican obstructionism simply doesn’t work.

    I asked about the oil subsidies a few threads back but nobody wanted to talk about it so I’ll let it rest.

  12. That’s not true. They may have had the votes in the House. But never enough to break a filibuster in the Senate.

    Time will tell on ACA, but me personally, I think people will by and large be happy with it when it is fully implemented. Certainly those with pre-existing conditions.

    The immigration debate is larger than a fence with a moat and alligators, and certainly moreso than “just deport them all.”. Resources are finite, immigration court is back logged — largely because it is impossible to get any judges approved in the senate (currently 70 vacancies). The EO the president gave targets enforcement and I think most of the griping is nonsensical.

  13. If we want to remove subsidies, great. Will that include well-publicized agriculture subsidies, “set-asides” like X number of academic slots based on sex or ethnicity versus fair competition, the defacto subsidized childbirth we have with single-parenting as lifestyle choice (regardless of subsequent graduation or incarceration statistics).

    I don’t think I disagree with chasing oil industry subsidies (get ready to pay more at the pump as it’s passed on to you)- but where exactly are we to ethically draw the line after we start with petroleum?

  14. Listen to yourself man. If you’re effectively giving the President a pass because he had a majority in the house but lacked a supermajority in the Senate… I’m speechless. If that’s not true, than we can’t hold Bush to task for the debt buildup during his second term (the Democrats controlled the House, so why should he bother? If he hadn’t signed their budget it would’ve caused a stalemate.) We also can’t hold him at fault for anything he did in office because he never had so many votes within his own party. The Patriot Act? Nope. The Iraq War? Nope. After all, he had Democratic support for both, so in your world they’re just as culpable. Keith Olbermann, meet Sean Hannity. You’re making my point again about political apologetics. At some point accountability has to reign, constantly spinning excuses for why this or that didn’t get done is to ignore contemporary circumstances. Cripes, Bush gave speeches warning about the debt buildup and “went on record” as trying to reform Fannie and Freddie before the collapse. Don’t see that gaining much traction, eh?

    And you can spin immigration however you choose, but the American people, and common sense dare I say, overwhelmingly state that closing the border is the first step towards accomplishing anything. We’ve taken a big step backwards on that front. You can talk about limited resources and judicial vacancies, but that does absolutely NOTHING to address the big steps backward that have clear footsteps going back to the White House. Once again we have a DOJ that’s going to pick and choose what laws it’s going to enforce instead of actually following the judicial process. People to whom I have spoken would take great umbrage to your comment that the griping over his policy is ‘nonsensical.’ Then, if we’re spinning who cares.

    Look, if folks support Obama, that’s fine. But which one? The one that thinks the Buffet Rule will take a chunk out of the debt, or the one that thinks a higher dividend tax rate will bring in less revenue? The one that ran a campaign opposing FISA, or the one that supports it? The one that campaigned on ending the Bush tax cuts to solve our fiscal woes, or the one that thought extending them would accomplish the same? The one that believes in openness and transparency, or the one that doesn’t practice it? I could think of a half a dozen other MAJOR policy positions off the top of my head but I think you get my point. I understand he’s gotten a pass from the media, but daggum has anybody realized he’s reversed policy on so many positions?

  15. I’m not going to give anyone a pass, but if you reasonably look at the situation… it is not as you say. The Senate has filibustered during the Obama administration twice as much in 3 years, as W. faced in 8. Things. Can’t. Get. Done.

    Why? Because, Democrats were willing to work across the aisle, Republicans, to date, have not been willing to work across the aisle. They’ve stated they are most concerned with getting Obama out of office: “Damn the consequences” (hence, the credit rating drop, and repeated threats of gov’t shutdown).

    As for selective rule enforcement…. show me a time in the city/state/federal gov’t where prosecution have not selectively decided what case to prosecute (and yes, that does come down to fiscal realities, along with evidentiary problems and other). It’s a reality of the job, that’s why prosecutorial discretion exists. I think you oversimplify things.

  16. For two political parties roughly equitable in their pre-occupation with self-preservation versus serving their constituency, my poster child for not “…willing to work across the aisle” is the ACA/ObamaCare/ObamaTax creation: Republican amendments or even presence in room forbidden during closed door, after hours, evading-media-scrutiny discussions, that nonetheless included representatives of Pharma, insurance, AMA, AARP, trial lawyers.

    I despise the way we’ve been treated by the SEC, the rating agencies, and the major banks in the course of our housing loan/financial crisis. But, we’re speaking of two bands of the same batch of pirates.

  17. Working across the aisle takes both sides. It’s not “come over here to my side of the aisle? No? Well I’m not coming over there, why won’t you compromise?” Like I mentioned several comments ago, I expected this kind of gridlock because then Senator Obama had scant (if any) record of bipartisanship. I voted for Nader in 2000, and I can tell you Barack Obama in 2008 was closer to being a Green Party candidate than a Democratic Party candidate 10 years earlier, especially if you look at his brief legal career. I digress, however I think I understand what you’re saying. You supported Senator Obama in 2006 when he said “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay it’s own bills.” You also support President Obama who, prorating thus far, has added more to our debt than anyone in my lifetime (Rex Nutting’s numbers have been fact-checked and found wanting) and yet called for a debt ceiling increase. You support President Obama. You can just use that as an answer to every question. It’s simple and very Ayn Randesque. Blame Republicans (mankind) for everything that goes wrong and praise Democrats (God) for everything that goes right. That’s what I’ve been getting at all along. If you ignore you’re own contradictions they don’t exist.

    Ditto the border. It confounds me that people think we can afford to resources to provide “free” healthcare to everybody in the world who shows up, but yet we can’t find a way to keep people from crossing the Rio Grande. That doesn’t add up. Likewise you’re argument in regard to “prosecutorial discretion” on the border. Show me a sitting Prosecutor or District Attorney who ignores a law that has propagated the drug trade, unbelievable violence, and slavery in this country.

    I would encourage you to research and watch some of the congressional testimony on how Americans have been victimized repeatedly along the border. One poor fellow had cars stolen so many times he stopped buying them. Others have found human remains on numerous occasions on their property, along with thousands of pounds of drugs, contraband, etc. This isn’t “prosecutorial discretion,” this is kicking the can down the road. This is Washington giving a bunch of people the middle finger because there aren’t any swing states along the border. George Bush did it and so did Barack Obama, because ignoring a law doesn’t make it go away. I’m guessing you criticized George Bush for doing it (since you’re praising Obama for doing it.) That’s no different than legalizing armed robbery and pointing to an unprecedented drop in armed robbery crimes. I’m not going to sit here and accuse you of endorsing free drug trade, arms trafficking, or human trafficking (which is the new PC way of saying slavery.) However, it would probably behoove you to beef up on the issue.

  18. I support Obama for reasons stated here, and others that I do not have the time to type out at the moment. I think he has a strong record of working toward compromise, sadly this is not possible in the current GOP-teabagger climate.

    As to getting into a debate with you, it does not seem possible as you are more interested in scoring points than in having a dialogue. Good day.

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