WTF Quote of the Day

“We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools.  Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”

Former AR Gov. and current Fox News Host Mike Huckabee

This isn’t about taking God from schools, this is about taking guns from crazy people.

Curtain Falls on Akin Kabuki Theater

When the GOP tried to distance itself from Missouri Senate candidate Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin, it was a case of false outrage meeting the false belief that only false rape claims can result in a pregnancy.

Well, as I’m sure Todd Akin himself knew would happen if he hung tough and stayed in the race, the GOP is now embracing Akin instead of pushing him away.

Because the truth is that there’s no daylight between this current crazy incarnation of the GOP and the crazy Akin.  The anomaly was their pretending he wasn’t one of them, a hypocrisy that Mike Huckabee had the honesty to point out about Akin’s August 19 remarks.

But now instead of throwing him under the bus, they’re circling the wagons for Akin.

Newtie campaigned for him on Monday, and today Rick “Frothy” Santorum and South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, the Tea Party’s favorite senator, endorsed him.

DeMint’s endorsement is huge because he controls the Senate Conservative Fund, which has millions to spend.  Aside from his own fund, DeMint wants the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) to put back the funding it pulled from Missouri.

This obviously isn’t just about Missouri.  Voting for the GOP in any congressional race or for Mitt tells them that their Taliban views on women are okay.  If they get the votes, they won’t change.  Why would they?

The GOP must be decisively told to lose the crazies or lose elections.

You Ask the Wrong Question, You Get the Wrong Answer

From Paul Krugman* today:  “By the way, in saying that our prolonged slump was predictable, I’m  not saying that it was necessary.  We could and should have greatly reduced the pain by combining aggressive fiscal and monetary policies with effective relief for highly indebted homeowners:  the fact that we didn’t reflects a combination of timidity on the part of both the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve, and scorched-earth opposition on the part of the G. O. P.”

This brings us back to Rick Santelli on February 21, 2009, when he famously asked, “Do we really want to subsidize the losers’ mortgages?  This is America!  How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills?”

The answer to that was a resounding “Hell, no!” and the start of the Tea Party,  but Santelli asked the wrong question.  He should have asked “How many of you people want to lose 30, 40, 50% of the value of your homes?  How many of you people want to lose your jobs because of the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression?  How many of you people want to then lose your homes because, just like your neighbor now, you won’t be able to pay your bills?”

The truth is that because we got so obsessed with “moral hazard,” so determined not to coddle those damn “losers,” we all became losers.  If we’d loved our neighbor a little more, we would have all been better off.  Instead of lifting them up, we dragged ourselves down.

With all our politicians who constantly quote the Bible at us, where was Mike Huckabee or Michele Bachmann or Rick Santorum reminding the self-righteously righteous that the rain falls equally on the good and the bad?

* “The Optimism Cure,” NYT

Isaac Forces GOP Convention Delay

As of now, the Republican convention in Tampa will start on Tuesday, not Monday.  They say everyone scheduled to speak on Monday (such as Boehner, Huckabee, Haley) will get a slot later in the week.

The roll-call vote nominating Mitt, which they wanted to have on network-coverage-free Monday because of concerns about the Ron Paul delegates, will now be on Tuesday.

Akin Staying In

A defiant Todd Akin says he’s staying in his Senate race against Claire McCaskill in Missouri.  I expect he’s furious about the hypocrisy of those in the GOP calling for him to exit.  Some of them might not agree with him that you can’t get pregnant if you’ve been raped, but the result they support is the same — no abortions for rape victims.

A huge headache for Mitt, who has now been forced to say that his administration won’t oppose abortion in case of rape.

Funny, that’s not what the GOP platform has said since 1976.  Funny, that’s not what Paul Ryan has said his whole career (he and Akin are joined at the hip on abortion).  Funny, that’s not what Mitt agreed to when he told Mike Huckabee that he would “absolutely” sign a personhood amendment, which says that a fertilized egg is a human being, an amendment so radical and bizarre that it failed to pass in Mississippi.

This is a flip where Mitt would immediately flop if he won and cave to the base, a temporary pander to try to hold the line on the already huge gender gap.  Good luck with that Mittens, we see right through you, and your little dog Ryan too.

Thank you, Todd Akin, for giving abortion rights the spotlight they deserve in this race.

Akin and Ryan — Two Peas in the Crazy Pod

I want to thank Todd Akin for drawing attention to Paul Ryan’s extreme abortion views by drawing attention to his own.

In an interview on Mike Huckabee’s radio show today (Huckabee had endorsed Akin in the primary), Akin said that he misspoke when he said “legitimate rape.”  No, he meant “forcible rape.”  Oh, that makes it a whole lot better!

If the term “forcible rape” sounds not just absurd, but familiar, that’s because it was used back in 2011 in H. R. 3, until a public outcry got the GOP to remove the word “forcible,” since rape by definition is forced and not consensual.

You know who co-sponsored H. R. 3 with its “forcible rape” language along with Todd Akin?

There’s no difference, people, except that Ryan is a little more careful about hiding his crazy.  But in terms of how they would legislate and govern, same thinking, same guy.

Mitt is running scared today that Akin could hurt him.  But that’s not Akin’s fault, it’s Mitt’s fault for picking the extremist Ryan.


Who’s Behind the Bain Stuff?

Someone is pushing hard on the Bain stuff, and I wonder if maybe it’s not a Dem.  First, it was pushed by David Corn at Mother Jones, then expanded on by Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo with more SEC documents, and then picked up by The Boston Globe.

This is the kind of attack you’d expect the Obama campaign to pursue in the fall, after the conventions, when they want to go after Mitt’s character and brand him a liar.

That’s why I wonder if there are GOP Powers That Be who are trying to derail Mitt now and keep him from being the nominee.  They know he’s a disaster.

Would it be too late for someone else to get a campaign up and running?  I don’t think so.  First of all, a lot of the work is going to get done by outside groups like Karl Rove’s.   Those folks are already geared up.  Plus, there are plenty of good policy advisers, strategists, ad people, etc. who aren’t currently working for Mitt, but who have solid experience on presidential campaigns.  The state and local parties have their people in place ready to help with events and logistics.  And no one runs in all 50 states anyway.

Who would they crown?  Not Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry or Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum.  I’m thinking someone who doesn’t freak out independents, but would be fine with the base, someone like Tim Pawlenty or Mike Huckabee.

If I’m right — you read it here first.  If I’m wrong, it won’t be the first time!

Dueling Quotes of the Day

“If you’re responding, you’re losing.”  Mitt Romney to Fox News.

“He needs to get way out in front of it [Bain], explain it with detail No. 1 to 100.  It festers, because in today’s world an attack that doesn’t have a response, no matter how ridiculous it starts to sound, people will start to believe it.”  Chip Saltsman, who managed Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign, to Politico.



Middle Skills

Joe Nocera has a thoughtful column, “Filling The Skills Gap,” at the NYT pointing out that about one third of American jobs are “middle-skill jobs” that require more than a high school degree, but less than a college degree.  He also points out that thirty years ago such jobs didn’t exist.

Nocera argues that we must put more resources into our community colleges — “Community colleges can be our salvation if only we let them.”

The whole “middle skills” job market argues not just for more young people going to two-year colleges, but also against so many people going to four-year colleges.  The recent battle over student loan rates accepts without question that more and more American kids should go on to four-year colleges and that we have to make it affordable.

But we are creating more college graduates than there are jobs for them.  Lots of these graduates are currently working (if they’re working at all) in jobs that a high school or community college graduate could do just fine.  They have incurred unnecessary debt getting that B. A.

Traditionally, college graduates earn more over their lifetimes than high school graduates and high school graduates earn more than drop-outs.  But with these “middle skill” jobs all that many college graduates will ever get, I believe that is going to change, and some college graduates will never achieve an earnings bonus that will justify their having earned a four-year degree.

But we have to re-think not just four-year colleges, but also high schools.  Nocera says put resources into community colleges.  I say put them into high schools and return the value of a high school diploma, so that we don’t need so many people going to community colleges.

To a large extent, community colleges are, as Gov. Mike Huckabee is fond of pointing out, taking high school classes at college prices.  Nocera himself notes that at Miami Dade College, tuition is $3,000 a year, and 60% of the students need “remedial classes,” which means stuff they should have learned in high school.

I believe the big push in education in this country should be to prepare students for a “middle skills” job with a high school diploma.  Students shouldn’t have to spend money and another two years at a community college to get the education that we used to provide with a solid high school program.  Employers shouldn’t have to demand a two or four-year degree for jobs that don’t really require it except for the fact that they know a high school diploma has become so devalued.

Parents need to focus on the marketable skills their children are getting, not the pieces of paper.