Tancredo Officially A Candidate in Colorado on a Third Party Ticket

Former Colorado Congressman Tommy Tancredo who has made a career running as a xenophobic nativist has officially entered the Colorado governor's race as the candidate of American Constitution Party. Twice a distant also ran for the GOP presidential nomination, Tancredo had issued an ultimatum last week to the two GOP contenders for GOP nomination, Dan Maes and Scott McInnis, that he would enter the race if they didn't announce that they would drop out after the August 10 primary if they won but still trailed Democrat John Hickenlooper in the polls. Both Maes and McInnis have been plagued by scandals.

More from KWGN-Denver.

The American Constitution Party was formed in 1991 and was originally called the Colorado Taxpayers Party, but changed its named to the American Constitution Party in 1995. The party is "pro-life, pro-states' rights, pro-Second Amendment" and for limited government, according to its website. It opposes illegal immigration and open borders. The party also believes that the American "republic is a nation governed by a constitution rooted in Biblical law."

Quick Hits

Here are a few other news stories and interesting reads.

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, currently running third in the state's Republican gubernatorial primary race, has noted that he is not sure that Islam is a religion and that thus he's not sure if Constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion apply to Muslims. The full story with video from Talking Points Memo.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit on the Whoppi Goldberg hosted and female oriented daytime talk show "The View" on Thursday. Executive producers Barbara Walters and Bill Geddie said in making Monday's announcement that it will mark the first time a sitting U.S. president has visited a daytime talk show. Obama's interview will touch on topics including jobs, the economy, the Gulf oil spill and family life inside the White House. It is scheduled to be taped on Wednesday.

The Denver Post reports that former GOP Congressman and immigration zealot will run for Governor of Colorado on the American Constitution Party ticket.

BP CEO Tony Hayward is to step down by the end of the year. He will also get an immediate annual pension worth about £600,000 ($930,000) when he leaves according to the BBC. Meanwhile, the Miami Herald reports that Hayward will take a new job with a BP joint venture in Russia. Also see Nathan's expanded post.

The National Journal has a story on the nation's rapidly changing demographics entitled The Gray And The Brown: The Generational Mismatch. A snippet:

At the root of the generational mismatch are federal policies that severely reduced immigration from the 1920s until Congress loosened the restrictions in 1965. With immigration constrained, whites remained an overwhelming majority of American society through the mid-20th century, including the years of the post-World War II Baby Boom. (Demographers date the Baby Boom from 1946 to 1964, the year before the restrictions on immigration were eased.) The result was a heavily white generation of young people.

"Most Boomers grew up and lived much of their lives in predominantly white suburbs, residentially isolated from minorities," Frey wrote this spring. They are now graying into a senior generation that is four-fifths white, according to census figures.

Since 1965, however, expanded immigration and higher fertility rates among minorities have literally changed the face of America, particularly on the playground. As recently as 1980, minorities made up about one-fifth of the total population and one-fourth of children under 18. Today, the Census Bureau reports, racial minorities represent about 35 percent of the total population and 44 percent of children under 18. Whites make up 56 percent of young people and 80 percent of seniors. The 24-point spread between the white percentage of the senior and the youth populations is what Frey calls the cultural generation gap.

This split has widened rapidly over the past quarter-century. In 1980, it stood at just 14 percentage points, according to calculations performed by the Census Bureau for National Journal. The gap expanded to 18 points by 1990 and 23 points by 2000. Today, it is visible across a wide swath of the U.S. In 31 states, the difference between the white share of the senior and youth population is at least 19 percentage points.

The article goes on to discuss the political implications of this racial and generational divide. Another somewhat related story below.

Climate refugees are already a fact of life. But a new study suggests that the number is to grow exponentially. As many as 7 million Mexicans could migrate to the U.S. by 2080 as climate change reduces agricultural production in Mexico, according to a new study being published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. More from the Los Angeles Times.

Understanding GOP Economics, An Exercise in Futility

Though I largely hold that trying to understand Republican economics is an exercise in futility, credit Martin Wolf, the chief economics commentator at the Financial Times, for writing the single most brilliant takedown of the GOP's economic approach that I've read perhaps ever. In a column entitled The Political Genius of Supply Side Economics details the transformation of the GOP from the party of the responsible frugality of Dwight D. Eisenhower to the party of the irresponsible profligacy of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

To understand modern Republican thinking on fiscal policy, we need to go back to perhaps the most politically brilliant (albeit economically unconvincing) idea in the history of fiscal policy: “supply-side economics”. Supply-side economics liberated conservatives from any need to insist on fiscal rectitude and balanced budgets. Supply-side economics said that one could cut taxes and balance budgets, because incentive effects would generate new activity and so higher revenue.

The political genius of this idea is evident. Supply-side economics transformed Republicans from a minority party into a majority party. It allowed them to promise lower taxes, lower deficits and, in effect, unchanged spending. Why should people not like this combination? Who does not like a free lunch?

How did supply-side economics bring these benefits? First, it allowed conservatives to ignore deficits. They could argue that, whatever the impact of the tax cuts in the short run, they would bring the budget back into balance, in the longer run. Second, the theory gave an economic justification – the argument from incentives - for lowering taxes on politically important supporters. Finally, if deficits did not, in fact, disappear, conservatives could fall back on the “starve the beast” theory: deficits would create a fiscal crisis that would force the government to cut spending and even destroy the hated welfare state.

In this way, the Republicans were transformed from a balanced-budget party to a tax-cutting party. This innovative stance proved highly politically effective, consistently putting the Democrats at a political disadvantage. It also made the Republicans de facto Keynesians in a de facto Keynesian nation. Whatever the rhetoric, I have long considered the US the advanced world’s most Keynesian nation – the one in which government (including the Federal Reserve) is most expected to generate healthy demand at all times, largely because jobs are, in the US, the only safety net for those of working age.

True, the theory that cuts would pay for themselves has proved altogether wrong. That this might well be the case was evident: cutting tax rates from, say, 30 per cent to zero would unambiguously reduce revenue to zero. This is not to argue there were no incentive effects. But they were not large enough to offset the fiscal impact of the cuts (see, on this, Wikipedia and a nice chart from Paul Krugman).

Indeed, Greg Mankiw, no less, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under George W. Bush, has responded to the view that broad-based tax cuts would pay for themselves, as follows: “I did not find such a claim credible, based on the available evidence. I never have, and I still don’t.” Indeed, he has referred to those who believe this as “charlatans and cranks”. Those are his words, not mine, though I agree. They apply, in force, to contemporary Republicans, alas,

Since the fiscal theory of supply-side economics did not work, the tax-cutting eras of Ronald Reagan and George H. Bush and again of George W. Bush saw very substantial rises in ratios of federal debt to gross domestic product. Under Reagan and the first Bush, the ratio of public debt to GDP went from 33 per cent to 64 per cent. It fell to 57 per cent under Bill Clinton. It then rose to 69 per cent under the second George Bush. Equally, tax cuts in the era of George W. Bush, wars and the economic crisis account for almost all the dire fiscal outlook for the next ten years (see the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities).

Today’s extremely high deficits are also an inheritance from Bush-era tax-and-spending policies and the financial crisis, also, of course, inherited by the present administration. Thus, according to the International Monetary Fund, the impact of discretionary stimulus on the US fiscal deficit amounts to a cumulative total of 4.7 per cent of GDP in 2009 and 2010, while the cumulative deficit over these years is forecast at 23.5 per cent of GDP. In any case, the stimulus was certainly too small, not too large.

The evidence shows, then, that contemporary conservatives (unlike those of old) simply do not think deficits matter, as former vice-president Richard Cheney is reported to have told former treasury secretary Paul O’Neill. But this is not because the supply-side theory of self-financing tax cuts, on which Reagan era tax cuts were justified, has worked, but despite the fact it has not. The faith has outlived its economic (though not its political) rationale.

The sad fact remains that too many Americans believe that taxes are too high (reality: among OECD countries only Mexico, Turkey, Korea, and Japan have lower taxes than the United States as a percentage of GDP) and perhaps worse too many Americans believe that the only road to economic prosperity is cutting taxes. In this they have been duped by the GOP but we too are culpable in that we have not successfully made the case that a progressive tax scheme not only produces a more egalitarian country but a more broadly prosperous one.

There's more...

Quick Hits

Some other items making news and other interesting reads.

New estimates from the White House on Friday predict the budget deficit will reach a record $1.47 trillion this year. The government is borrowing 41 cents of every dollar it spends. The full story in New York Times.

Europe's banker undergo stress tests. Of the 91 institutions under the microscope, Spain had five failures and Germany and Greece one each. More at The Guardian.

The immigration zealot and former Congressman from Colorado Tommy Tancredo just can't stay out of the news today. Beyond issuing ultimatums and making threats, the radical right winger and noted nativist has an op-ed in the Moonie Washington Times making the case for impeachment of President Obama calling the President a Marxist and "a more serious threat to America than al Qaeda."

Over at Truth Out, Sheila Samples has a post entitled The Glory of White-Wing Politics detailing the influence of Rush Limbaugh in the race baiting that has become so pervasive.

The United States locks up too many people, some for acts that should not even be criminal. The Economist reports on crime and punishment in America.

"There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia," writes former Speaker of the House and possible 2012 GOP Presidential contender Newt Gingrich. I have to admit that I have never heard a politician call for us to be more like Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this week, U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline stopped companies from developing oil and gas wells on billions of dollars in leases off Alaska's northwest coast, saying the federal government failed to follow environmental law before it sold the drilling rights. The full story from the Associated Press. Meanwhile, Germany's Der Spiegel looks at the world's ever-increasing demand for coal.

Some good news for a change. The Los Angeles Times that mortgage defaults in California have fallen to a three year low. Still, banks are stepping up repossession of foreclosed homes.

A Rocky Mountain Low for Colorado's GOP

In the Colorado Governor's race, the GOP is in quite a mess. One candidate, Scott McInnis, was exposed by the Denver Post as a serial plagiarizer; another candidate, Dan Maes, has been fined $17,500 for campaign-finance violations; and the third candidate, technically not a candidate as yet but rather waiting in the wings, is the anti-immigration zealot, former Congressman and Tea Party darling Tommy Tancredo.

Yesterday, Tommy Tancredo announced that he would run on the American Constitution Party ticket unless the two Republican candidates for governor, Scott McInnis and Dan Maes, agree by noon Monday to drop out if they win the primary.

From the Denver Post:

Former GOP Congressman Tom Tancredo issued an ultimatum Thursday to both Republican gubernatorial candidates: Drop out of the race or I will jump in as a third-party candidate.

Tancredo's entry as an American Constitution Party candidate likely would create a GOP implosion, splitting the vote in the general election and handing a win to Democrats.

Campaigns for Dan Maes and Scott McInnis said the Republican candidates intended to remain in the race.

Dick Wadhams, chairman of the Colorado GOP, said that if Tancredo carries through on his threat, he "will be responsible for the election of Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper as governor" and jeopardize other state races.

Tancredo, who said neither GOP candidate could win the general election and would be a "disaster" for those running down the party ticket, gave the two until noon Monday to commit to getting out of the race the day after the primary if polling shows then that the GOP winner is trailing Hickenlooper. If not, he will announce Monday that he is seeking the nomination of the Constitution Party. Colorado Republicans have been weighing their options for November in the wake of plagiarism and ethics allegations that have enveloped Scott McInnis and Dan Maes, respectively. Top party leaders have discussed trying to force the winner of the Aug. 10 primary out of the race so a vacancy committee can appoint a replacement.

It's too late under state rules for Tancredo — best known for his staunch opposition to illegal immigration — or anyone else to run as a GOP primary candidate.

The American Constitution Party was formed in 1991 and was originally called the Colorado Taxpayers Party, but changed its named to the American Constitution Party in 1995. The party is "pro-life, pro-states' rights, pro-Second Amendment" and for limited government, according to its website. It opposes illegal immigration and open borders. The party also believes that the American "republic is a nation governed by a constitution rooted in Biblical law." Funny how they use a lower case c for Constitution but an upper case B for biblical. Pretty much tells you all you need to know. You can see excerpts from its party platform here

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