Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Massachusetts Yankee in King Crazy's Court

A NYT story on the ground game in Iowa offers this bit of fun regarding Mitt Romney's delicate mission trying to appeal to the crazy without looking like he's in bed with it.

Every candidate for the Republican nomination has campaigned at Pizza Ranch, a beloved restaurant chain in Iowa with strong ties to the Christian right.
Every candidate except Mr. Romney. His campaign prides itself on a vigilance and meticulousness bordering on the obsessive. So before Mr. Romney appears at a campaign stop or accepts an endorsement, his staff conducts sometimes painstaking vetting to avoid potentially embarrassing disclosures. 
A founder of Pizza Ranch, it turned out, spent time in prison on charges of sexually abusing male employees. “There is not a lot of room for mistakes,” said David Kochel, Mr. Romney’s top strategist in Iowa.

Of course, enough of the batshit crazy Rethuglican voters will realize that they need someone who is careful not to look like he's catering to the people he's catering to, and Romney will wind up the nominee. The big question at this particular moment is whether enough of those batshitters will get him out of Iowa with decent showing.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ron Paul, Mr. Inconsistency

In this ABC story, Ron Paul Takes Swipes at GOP Rivals, Says Michele Bachmann ‘Hates Muslims’, Paul throws out this, in reference to getting rid of federal drug laws:
"Paul added that the federal government should “protect the right to do with our own body what we want.”"
Right. Exactly what Leno's young audience wanted to hear. But, square that with his statement that abortion is "the most important issue of our age." He says abortion is violent murder. But then he says he'd leave the issue up to the individual states.
Paul said the Supreme Court of the United States should have never heard Roe v. Wade, the case that legalized abortion, and said that social issues -- including abortion, school prayer and marriage -- should be handled by the states and not by the federal courts.
So, Mr. Consistency thinks the Federal government should  “protect the right to do with our own body what we want” unless you're in a state that agrees with him that abortion is murder, in which case women will be strapped down or thrown in a cage and forced to have a baby they don't want. Unless, of course, they can afford a trip to a state that doesn't want to force women to have babies they don't want, which is fine with Paul, because rich people will be free to do just about anything they want in his libertarian utopia where being rich gives you more rights than being poor does. And, supposedly, abortion wouldn't be murder in California or New York if those states said it wasn't. Or something.

The main reason so many young people love Dr. Paul is because they think he would legalize drugs. This is not Dr. Paul's position. He clearly states that he only wants the Federal government out of the regulation of our own bodies business. But he's perfectly fine with states taking away your right to do with your own body what you want. His statement, then, that the federal government should protect a right (to do with our own body what we want), is completely disingenuous because he has clearly said before that the states have every right to dictate what we can do with our own bodies.
Consider the Lawrence case decided by the Supreme Court in June. The Court determined that Texas had no right to establish its own standards for private sexual conduct, because gay sodomy is somehow protected under the 14th amendment "right to privacy". Ridiculous as sodomy laws may be, there clearly is no right to privacy nor sodomy found anywhere in the Constitution. There are, however, states' rights – rights plainly affirmed in the Ninth and Tenth amendments. Under those amendments, the State of Texas has the right to decide for itself how to regulate social matters like sex, using its own local standards.
The Lawrence case was a clear case of the Federal Government, in this case the Judicial branch, protecting "the right to do with our own body what we want." This is precisely what Dr. Paul said the federal government should protect. And yet, Dr. Paul says that there is "no right to privacy" found anywhere in the constitution. So, where, exactly, is Dr. Paul's "right to do with our own body what we want"? Is this just some right he made up? Or is it in the constitution somewhere and he's just not telling us where? Or is he just full of shit, like every other Republican on earth?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Big Fib Newton

Three will get you seven (roughly) at Intrade right now if Newton Leroy Gingrich becomes the Republican nominee for President. Looks like a good bet. He's up to a 55% chance in Iowa ($5.50 gets you 4.50). Also a good bet, but one never knows with a caucus, as Ron Paul has a great ground game going in Iowa (where his claim that not forcing women to give birth is the biggest problem facing America can actually get some traction). But looking ahead to South Carolina (Newton at 60% at Intrade) and Florida (42% chance), both states where Newton Leroy is polling well, it's beginning to look like it's Newt's to lose.

Ever since Obama got elected, I've hoped that the crowd that the GOP would throw at the nomination would damage the GOP brand beyond recognition. I never expected to have a Bachman/Trump/Perry/Cain/Gingrich fail parade like this. Especially not one with 14,000 Obama commercials GOP debates. And now to have a serial adulterer/liar/fat cat/giant ego/elitist/racist/grifter as the actual nominee seems like a gift from the Gods (he says, clutching the coke bottle and looking to the skies).

I've been convinced for quite a while now that the media's incessant talk about Obama's supposed vulnerability was just ratings baiting. The weakness of the GOP field is a testament to what they see as a formidable opponent Obama is. But that weakness is also a testament to the fact that the GOP is quickly becoming a rump party. The vicious cycle that eats itself as the party attains rump status has begun now that the loons are falling for Newton's Big Fib (that he can beat Obama), and the damage to their brand increases with every word out of the former Speaker's mouth.