Wingnuts and Geography Lessons

Well, yet another Republican debate went down tonight. This one was held in Las Vegas and broadcast by CNN.  High winds took out my electricity earlier so I’ve had to play catch up.  Here’s some of the more memorable moments.  Some one woke Perry up for this one.

The former pizza company CEO is the latest and unlikeliest phenomenon in the race to pick a Republican rival for President Barack Obama. A black man in a party that draws few votes from Africans Americans, he had bumped along with little notice as Romney sought to fend off one fast-rising rival after another.

That all changed in the past few weeks, after Perry burst into the race and then fell back in the polls. However unlikely Cain’s rise, Tuesday night’s debate made clear that none of his rivals are willing to let him go unchallenged.

“Herman, I love you, brother, but let me tell you something, you don’t need to have a big analysis to figure this thing out,” Perry said to Cain. “Go to New Hampshire where they don’t have a sales tax and you’re fixing to give them one,” he said, referring to the state that will hold the first primary early next year.

Mitt pulled a power body move.

The two men talked over one another, and at one point, Romney placed his hand on Perry’s shoulder.

“It’s been a tough couple of debates for Rick. And I understand that so you’re going to get nasty,” he said.

As Perry continued to speak, Romney stopped him: “You have a problem with allowing someone to finish speaking, and I suggest that if you want to become president of the United States, you’ve got to let both people speak,” he said.

Michelle Bachmann seems to have managed to get through a number of schools without knowing  that Libya is  in Africa.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) criticized President Obama’s foreign policy during Tuesday night’s CNN debate, saying, “Now with the president, he put us in Libya. He is now putting us in Africa. We already were stretched too thin, and he put our special operations forces in Africa,” she said.

Libya, it should be noted, is in Africa.

Ron Paul doesn’t too be concerned about Jewish voters or for that matter, about North Korea.

Foreign policy took a secondary role in the debate, and the new strain of Republican isolationism quickly surfaced.

Paul said U.S. troops should be withdrawn from Korea — where they have been stationed for more than 50 years — and foreign aid to Israel cut.

Perry said it was “time to have a very serious discussion about defunding the United Nations.

Huntsman wasn’t there (not that any one noticed) because he’s boycotting Nevada. I’m assuming Santorum and Gingrich were there, but I can’t be sure since no one seems to have written anything about them.

The opener for Saturday Night Live should be great this week.  I wonder if I’ll be able to catch in on the airplane coming back from Denver.

Whatever has happened to the party of Eiswenhower, Teddy Roosevelt and Lincoln!

Tuesday Reads: Republican Freak Show, Obama’s Hypocrisy, and Other News

Yikes! We're in big trouble.

Good Morning!!

Last night several of the Republican presidential candidates participated in a debate in New Hampshire, hosted by CNN. John King was the moderator. I have never heard anyone talk that fast before. I could barely understand what he was saying. He also talked over much of what the candidates said, telling them they were going too long. For some reason, CNN only allowed 30 second answers. Here are some media reactions to what the candidates said.

The NYT Caucus blog: Fact Checking the Republican Debate

On economic policy:

Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, said that while President Obama didn’t start the recession, “he made it worse, and longer.” Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, called President Obama “anti-jobs.”

While it is true that unemployment is far worse today than Mr. Obama’s advisers initially predicted, it would be even worse without the stimulus bill that many Republican candidates derided, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

On Michelle Bachmann’s inconsistencies:

“I don’t see that it’s the role of a president to go into states and interfere with their state laws,’’ said Ms. Bachmann, a favorite of Tea Party members who believe in states’ rights.

But then, after some other candidates said that they supported a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, she amended her answer.

“John, I do support a constitutional amendment on marriage between a man and a woman,’’ she told the moderator, John King of CNN, “but I would not be going into the states to overturn their state law.”

ABC News: Michele Bachmann Steals Show at GOP Debate to Announce Presidential Run

The Minnesota congresswoman was invited to the debate as an undeclared candidate, despite ample evidence that she was planning a White House bid, and she used the first question posed to her to announce she had officially filed to run.


“Our country needs a leader who understands the hardships that people across America have been facing over the past few years, and who will do what it takes to renew the American dream,” Bachmann said. “We must become a strong and proud America again, and I see clearly a better path to a brighter future.

“For these reasons, earlier this evening I instructed my team to file the necessary paperwork to allow me to seek the office of President of the United States.”

From The Fix: New Hampshire Republican debate: Winners and losers Chris Cilizza says the big winners are Michelle Bachmann and Mitt Romney, big losers – Tim Pawlenty and Herman Cain. Cilizza also liked John King (ugh!) and the “this or that” choices at the breaks (stupid!!).

Juli Weiner at Vanity Fair: Bachmann a Big Winner and Romney Is Bulletproof at CNN’s Republican Debate Here’s what Weiner had to say about Newt:

Most Obviously Disinterested

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich appeared sullen, and his answers were notably terse. He seemed most excited about two things: talking about NASA—Gingrich is a longtime admirer of outer space—and when King asked him to choose between Dancing With the Stars and American Idol. For the record, he choose the latter—although how long until divorces it in favor of its younger, flashier update, The Voice?

We were wondering if Gingrich’s disgruntled former staff organized a watching party tonight? And if so, what was the drinking game like?

She loved Romney’s facial expression when Herman Cain was talking abut his muslim phobia.

Most Comically Skeptical Face
For a fleeting, glorious moment during Cain’s exposition about “peaceful” Muslims versus Muslims “who are trying to kill us,” the split-screen showed Romney making a face not dissimilar to the one your blogger was making—a face one might make after eating a lemon-soaked pickle, or a slice of Godfather’s Pizza. “Romney’s face during Herman Cain’s answer might just have won my vote,” Ezra Klein of The Washington Post tweeted. Romney’s rejoinder to Cain’s response was measured: “Of course Sharia Law isn’t going to be applied in our courts,” he said. “Our country was founded on a principle of religious tolerance.”

This isn’t a reaction to the debate, but is very relevant to the Republican candidates and their so-called economic policies: American Chronicle: Grover pulls GOP strings

Today’s Republicans love to point out that President John F. Kennedy saw the wisdom of tax cuts when he reduced the top income tax rate. However, congressional Republicans at the time were worried that this would cause a budget deficit. President Dwight Eisenhower supported the continuation of high wartime taxes to reduce the nation’s debt. President Richard Nixon defended the continuation of a surtax to pay for the Vietnam War. Fearing deficits, President Gerald Ford opposed a permanent tax cut.

All of these leaders would be RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) today, because they put balanced budgets ahead of cutting taxes. President Ronald Reagan remains a hero, but that’s because his rhetoric on taxes and smaller government is beloved. Never mind that he agreed to several tax increases (including a huge hike in the payroll tax that rescued Social Security for decades to come), never once proposed a balanced budget and oversaw an expansion of the federal government. The Reagan tax hikes were a responsible response to growing imbalances, but they would be shot down today.

The bipartisan national debt commission and the Gang of Six (now down to five senators) are looking at a simpler tax code that would widen the tax base, lower rates and eliminate many deductions as part of a debt and deficit solution, which includes significant spending cuts. But because this would increase revenue overall, the grand poo-bah of anti-tax purity has declared that this must be opposed by any politician who has signed a pledge to never raise taxes. He Who Must Be Obeyed is Grover Norquist, who invented the tax pledge and is the head of Americans for Tax Reform.

In other news, President Obama opened his big mouth and said that Anthony Weiner should resign.

In an interview that will air on the Today show on Tuesday morning, Obama said that Weiner’s online exchanges with women were “highly inappropriate” and that he “embarrassed himself.” And while Obama said the decision about leaving Congress would ultimately be up to him and his constituents, he made his own preference clear.

“When you get to the point where, because of various personal distractions, you can’t serve as effectively as you need to, at the time when people are worrying about jobs, and their mortgages, and paying the bills—then you should probably step back,’’ Obama said.

Frankly, I think a President who hasn’t done diddly-squat about jobs or foreclosures should step back. Maybe he’s distracted by all those White House parties and so many vacations. If I had failed as badly as Obama has, I’d resign.

This is a horrifying story from Think Progress: JP Morgan Records Largest Profit Ever, While Community Devastated By Its Predatory Lending Sheds 1,000 Workers

One of the many tragic stories of the Great Recession involves Jefferson County, Alabama. As Matt Taibbi explained in an article in Rolling Stone last year, mega bank JP Morgan Chase used a predatory refinancing deal on sewer bonds to reap billions while the local area was financially devastated.

Now, Jefferson County, still reeling from the effects of JP Morgan’s dirty deals, is moving to place nearly 1,000 public workers on administrative leave without pay, as the state Legislature failed last week to come to the municipality’s aid with any fiscal support. In doing so, the county hopes to save “just over $12 million.”

Yet while the public workers of Jefferson County will soon face the prospect of losing their wages and livelihoods through no fault of their own, JP Morgan Chase continues to rake in lavish profits. In 2010, the mega bank posted a profit of a whopping $17.4 billion; during this past quarter, the bank “reported the biggest quarterly profit in its history,” with a 67 percent rise in net income.

I’ll end with some provincialism: Bruins dominate the Canucks, force Game 7

The Boston Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals at the Boston Garden. That makes the two teams tied 3-3. Game 7 should be a doozey. The last time the Bruins won the Stanley Cup was in 1972.

So what are you reading and blogging about today?

Live Blog: New Hampshire Republican Debate

Tonight’s Republican freak show has just begun. If you’re watching or listening, please post your reactions in this thread. You can watch the live stream at CNN. Candidates appearing in this debate are Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul, and Mitt Romney.

For some reason, New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson was left out of the debate.

Among those invited to the participate in the debate include Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, businessman Herman Cain, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.

Ms. Bachmann has yet to declare her candidacy, leaving many to claim the debate is simply a move to boost ratings.

A number of Republican leaders were also extended invitations, the news networks said. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and Donald Trump were also extended invitations. Mr. Daniels, Mr. Huckabee and Mr. Trump publicly announced their intentions not to run for president, while Mr. Huntsman declined the invitation, CNN said.

CNN is allowing audience members to ask questions directly to the candidates and they are also encouraging viewers to use social media while watching the debate. On twitter you’re encouraged to use the hashtag #CNNDebate.

At the Daily Telegraph, conservative columnist Toby Harnden has a list of 10 things to watch for in the debate. According to Harnden, former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs is at the debate. At the Chicago Sun-Times, Lynn Sweet runs down “Team Obama’s GOP Debate Game Plan.”

Here are the details:

*Gibbs is in New Hampshire booked for a series of national and regional interviews before and after the debate. Exclusive: On Tuesday morning, Gibbs will hit the a.m. talk shows: CNN’s American Morning, Fox and Friends, CBS’ Early Show and MSNBC.

*Flooding the zone. Obama 2012 top strategist David Axelrod was deployed to CNN in D.C., where he guests on the debate pre-show, “John King, USA.”

*Democratic National Committee top spokesman Brad Woodhouse will handle post debate spin room duties at the debate site, St. Anselm’s College.

*The DNC is deploying folks to work all social media-Twitter, web, etc. during the debate and will run a fact check operation.

*The DNC is also doing what is called pre-buttal, taking aim in particular at Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney.