Solicitor General Verrilli began his opening arguments in defense of the Affordable Care Act, as many commentators have noted, like a nerd asking the “hot girl” out on a date. In other words, it was awful. For one of the most important court cases in modern history, and perhaps one to join other notable decisions like Roe V. Wade, and the Scopes Monkey Trial, and many others, this is the one time in your life where you make sure you’re prepared and confident. Unfortunately, Verrilli seemed wholly ill-equipped. I guess I can understand there’d be some nerves arguing in front of the Supreme Court, but with Verrilli’s background and judicial history, you wouldn’t think it’d be this bad. One big rule to remember: practice on video and review. Tape yourself and watch the video. Find your weaknesses in the speech, rework them, edit them, and do it again. And if you’re still not comfortable with your performance, you need to rehearse it again. Luckily for Verrilli, he had the Liberal Justices on the Court there to back him up, and they questioned Paul Clement and the States position with as much harshness as the Conservative Justices had gone after Verrilli. With one more day of arguments still to come, we don’t know exactly how poorly Verrilli’s performance will weigh on the outcome of the decision. He didn’t totally blow it, but he didn’t give the President much to cheer about.
Tuesday’s Alabama and Mississippi primaries are all-important for Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Each are staking their campaigns on how well they perform Tuesday night, and bolstering that whoever loses should drop out.
Gingrich has essentially been banking his campaign on his performance in the South since the Florida primary loss to Mitt Romney. Gingrich at the time knew the northern contests in Michigan and Ohio would not play well to his favor and never put much into those primaries. Now Gingrich has a chance to prove his candidacy, and legitimize his reluctance to drop from the race, by showing he’s a strong favorite through the south and that, for instance, if Rick Santorum were to drop out, Gingrich could sway a large portion of Santorum’s voters his way to defeat Romney.
This is ostensibly the same argument Rick Santorum is making. In light of last week’s primary wins in Tennessee, Oklahoma, and North Dakota, and his near victory in Ohio, the Santorum campaign has publicly pressured Gingrich to drop out, arguing voters will coalesce behind him to defeat Romney.
Both candidates have strong cases for the other to concede defeat. Anti-Romney sentiment runs high in the GOP, seeing his wealth as a bulwark to connect with the average voter – and his gaffe-prone campaign cements that image nearly every day. Romney also does not have strong support in the south. Gingrich is from Georgia and can easily wrap up several southeast states in the general election. If voters are given Romney as the candidate, they may be willing to vote for Obama simply based on the improving conditions of the economy. Santorum, in contrast, polls well with southerners on social issues and can pull the evangelical vote his way throughout the south and the beltway. The evangelical voting-block could be essential for republicans this fall if they stand any chance of winning the White House. A poll today of likely GOP voters shows that a large majority of Alabama and Mississippi voters do not believe the President’s continued stated admission of his Christian beliefs and think he is a Muslim. But let’s be honest, Mississippi and Alabama also rank in the bottom 5 in education with some of the lowest high school graduation rates in the country. So, there’s that.
But maybe Romney still has the best argument for both Santorum and Gingrich to drop out. According to weekend polling in Mississippi and Alabama, Romney is virtually in a dead-heat with these other candidates. If he doesn’t win either state outright, he’ll still secure some delegates and inch ever-closer to the magic 1,144 needed for the nomination. And after last week’s big Ohio victory, the Romney campaign began making their case that they should be the nominee. Of course, it’s not about policies or that he really is the better candidate. It’s math! The Romney campaign thinks the others should drop out because they can’t possibly reach 1,144 delegates now, so, just get out! I know nobody wants me to win, but I’ve got a twenty run lead. You should just forfeit now in the bottom of the third. I’ll pay you…
Yes, Mitt Romney is a terrible political candidate. Sure, Santorum could embarrass Romney in Ohio. Gingrich could raise questions by winning Georgia. And Paul could upset Romney in some small caucus state. And of course, Romney will continue to stick his foot in his mouth and say things to remind everyone he is an out of touch rich guy.
It just doesn’t matter.
On a 1 to 10 scale for candidates (with 1 being George McGovern and 10 being Ronald Reagan), Mitt Romney is, at best, a 1.2. But since all of his GOP current and former opponents are precisely negative infinity, it just doesn’t matter. Mitt Romney has already won the GOP nomination—we all might as well come to grips with it. So why do I claim Romney has a 2 in 3 chance of beating Obama? For starters, contrary to popular belief, the GOP will rally around Romney. Why? Because the base of the Party is motivated by one thing only: hatred of President Obama—nothing else. Romney is irrelevant to that equation. Some political insiders persist in spreading the idea that it would not be logical for Tea Party members and fervent conservatives to support Romney, given his numerous past liberal positions on social issues, not to mention Romneycare. Astute observers will instantly spot the flaw in the previous sentence: I used the word “logical” and “Tea Party” in the same sentence.
Remember, the Tea Party ostensibly stands for eliminating Washington of its career politicians and insiders, traditional values and is in favor of reducing government spending. So for much of the last 3 months most self-professed Tea Party members have supported Newt Gingrich, a 35 year Washington career politician who has enriched himself while making government bigger, all the while showing contempt for traditional values. If the Tea Party can pretend to love Newt out of principle, then they will surely find a way of supporting Romney out of some other string of illogical nonsense.
Romney will have a unified party behind him.
There are three primary scenarios for the fall election.
Scenario one. The economy continues to improve. Team Obama makes no flubs. Optimism flourishes. Romney runs a lackluster, flub-filled campaign. Yes, under this scenario, Obama wins, but not by a large margin. Scenario two. Europe’s economy takes a major tumble this summer. Unemployment numbers for the U.S. trend up in September and October. Optimism plummets. The only message that resonates with independent and moderate voters is “the economy and unemployment are awful and getting worse. Obama had a chance. Let’s try the other guy—he couldn’t be worse.” If this happens, Obama loses to Romney. The same scenario applies if China’s real estate bubble bursts or any other economic problem infects the world economic bloodstream.
Scenario Three. The economy holds, but the Roger Ailes/Fox News/Karl Rove/Rush Limbaugh/GOP message slime machine does what it does best, it creates an utterly phony issue out of thin air that destroys Obama’s credibility and allows Romney to win the White House.
Republicans might not be very good at governing, but no one can deny that they are great at sliming, vilifying and character assassinating Democrats. Here’s a quick review:
1. 1988. Michael Dukakis was destroyed because of “Willie Horton ad” nonsense regarding a furlough program that most Republican governors in the country had also implemented. 2. 1992, 1996. True, the best Democratic politician of the last 70 years, Bill Clinton, was able to prevent the GOP slime machine from destroying his campaigns. But let’s not forget, the GOP propaganda mill did convince a majority of Americans that their taxes had gone up, that the deficit was worse than ever and that the economy was shrinking in 1994. None of those things were true, but those lies resulted in the GOP takeover of the House and led the ground work for the successful Ken Starr Witch Hunt and the impeachment of Clinton in 1998. 3. 2000. We all remember how Al Gore got himself in trouble by lying, exaggerating and claiming “I invented the Internet” and that he was the inspiration for the characters in “Love Story.” The only problem is that he never actually said these things (I dare you, try to find a literal quote anywhere of Gore saying “I invented the Internet” that didn’t have its origins in a GOP press release). It turns out that the GOP message machine just created the scandal of “Gore is a liar and exaggerator” out of thin air and through constant repetition, it became a reality. 4. 2004. John Kerry, for all his flaws as a candidate (and yes, there were many) was a genuine war hero. Bush was a draft dodger and a national guardsman who appears to many to have gone AWOL. But the GOP Slime Machine created its “Swift Boat” campaign and they successfully inverted reality until most independent voters perceived Bush as the war hero and Kerry as the coward. 5. 2008 was a rare misstep for the GOP message machine. GOP slime merchants were obsessed with Hillary Clinton and just assumed she would be the Democratic Nominee. They were so excited about the prospect of reusing their greatest “Slime Hillary” hits that they weren’t thinking clearly. They thought all they’d have to do is trot out the “Hillary killed Vince Foster” nonsense or “”Hillary is a Lesbian” garbage and win. So they were uncharacteristically caught flat-footed when the unknown Obama won the nomination running against an 8 year record of Bush-GOP incompetence.
But since the 2008 campaign, the GOP slime machine has regained its footing and has continued doing what it does best: creating completely phony BS scandals about a Democratic president and then getting not only the conservative media but the mainstream media to obsess over it for months at a time. Birth certificates? Obama is a Muslim? The Administration hates Catholics? At this point, the only thing that should surprise us about the right wing message machine is if they don’t wage an all out 2-month war claiming Obama personally poisoned Andrew Breitbart.
The bottom line is that the GOP Message Machine has an excellent quarter century record of slimy accomplishment. And this machine couldn’t care less whether they or anyone else likes the GOP nominee. The only difference between 2012 and other years like 2004 or 1988 is money. This year the Republicans will have at lease several hundreds of millions of dollars more (via Super PACs) to run completely phony, BS, manufactured ads to demonize Obama.
And this is why Mitt Romney is the clear-cut, prohibitive favorite to be the next President of the United States.
TJ Walker is the founder of AmericanLP www.americanlp.org, a Democratic Super PAC.
Republicans are begrudgingly coming to grips with the presidential candidacy of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Tuesday night, Romney won both the Michigan and Arizona primaries and it’s becoming clear that Romney should be able to secure the nomination. These wins though do not bode well for republicans when it comes to the general election. Republicans still seem hesitant to throw overwhelming support behind Romney, or any of the 4 remaining candidates. Romney has regained the lead in nationwide polls, but his support is sitting at an anemic 35%. His chief rival, Rick Santorum, has fallen quickly in the last two weeks, now sitting at 24%. The two have flip-flopped (much like Romney does on just about every policy issue) since the last major polls two weeks ago, where Santorum held 34% of voters’ support and Romney was at 24%. And speaking of flip-flops, Romney once again added another swift policy shift to his growing list, first by coming out and saying he opposed the Blunt Amendment in the Senate, and literally within the hour reverting to the most extreme position saying he was in support of the amendment.
The Blunt Amendment (at the 2:00 mark), a rider attached to a transportation bill in the Senate that would have allowed any employer to refuse health care coverage of any kind based on religious or moral reasons, failed in the Senate this week, a vote accurately reflecting public opinion polling. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 63% of Americans support the new Obama federal regulation requiring health insurance plans to cover the costs of birth control; 8 out of 10 democrats support the Obama requirement; 4 in 10 republicans support the ‘Obamacare’ regulation; and what seems most important in this upcoming election, the independent vote, shows that 6 in 10 registered independents support the Obama policy for insurance companies to pay for contraceptive care for people they cover.
Finally (the 3:05 mark), it came as a shock to learn that Andrew Breitbart, prominent conservative blogger and muckraker, died suddenly Wednesday night of natural causes, according to his spokesperson. Maybe more surprising, was the immediate swarm of conspiracy theories surrounding his death. Breitbart reportedly was to release a video on Thursday, March 1, of President Obama back in college that would have “destroyed” the President and significantly ruined his reputation before this upcoming election. Now, it’s still all hearsay as to how damaging this video might have been (remember Breitbart is the same person to selectively edit the Shirley Sherrod video that caused a phony outcry of racism, and also had his hand in the James O’Keefe fabrication that eventually led ACORN to close its’ doors), but it seems that if there were some strange insidious character trait President Obama has been hiding through over 3 years in office, and this video would expose him as a fraud, or a fake, or something worse, this video seems dubious to expose him as such. And even more preposterous is this idea that Breitbart was ‘taken-out’ because of the knowledge that he supposedly possessed. The autopsy will hopefully shed some light on the true cause of Breitbart’s death, but as evidenced throughout the last few years by the ridiculous spectacle surrounding President Obama’s birth-certificate, republicans may just scoff at any true evidence found in relation to Breitbart’s death.
Stick around to the end of the video for a new campaign ad by republican presidential candidate Ron Paul lampooning his rivals in the GOP race. We don’t like Paul anymore than the other candidates, but it’s always nice to see the republicans grilling one another.
We at AmericanLP have created a new ad to spotlight Mitt Romney's hypocrisy on the issue of bailouts. By now, most observers have learned that Mitt Romney was against a bailout for Detroit. But what even many political insiders don't realize is that Mitt Romney has been the beneficiary of a Federal bailout of sorts. As head of Bain and Co in the early 90s (he had been brought back from Bain Capital to sort out the mess at the mother company), Romney was in charge of keeping Bain from imploding under a huge mountain of debt. In addition to firing lots of people (naturally), Romney also squeezed suppliers and other creditors. What's more, Bain had a $38 million loan from the Bank of New England, and that the Bank of New England had its own problems and had been taken over by the FDIC.
Romney shrewdly re-negotiated the Bain loan from $38 million to $28 million. So what does that mean, exactly? Well, since the FDIC is an arm of the Federal government, that means, essentially, that the FDIC (ahem, taxpayers) ate the difference. In other words, Romney conned the government into giving him and his cronies a $10 million bailout.
Yes, this was legal for Romney to do—other business people do it all the time. But it was a bailout to the tune of $10 million, Romney did personally benefit, and it's a bit rich for Romney to be so sanctimonious about other people getting bailouts. Critics of our ad would suggest that it is unfair to imply that Romney benefited personally from the $10, million write-offs. While the money went to Bain and Co, Romney actually benefited to a much greater degree than $10 million. If Bain and Co had not gotten the bailout, it would have likely imploded. If Bain and Co had imploded, it would have likely tainted Bain Capital to such a degree that it would have been destroyed. If Bain Capital had been dismantled, Romney would have never been able to make his quarter billion that has allowed him the life of the perpetual candidate. Yes, this stuff is complicated—but that's why rich finance guys like Romney are able to play the system to their advantage.
We start the ad with images of Ronald Reagan talking about the Chicago welfare queen in a Cadillac. This was a story Reagan told over and over again in the 1976 and 1980 campaigns. Even though Reagan never specified it was a black woman, it was widely assumed by most observers across the spectrum that Reagan was in fact talking about a black woman from Chicago with 80 different fake names. (It turns out that Reagan didn't have his facts straight on this—surprise, surprise)
By showing Reagan at the beginning of the ad, we are trying to evoke the warm feelings conservative Republicans have toward Reagan and his beliefs about "welfare queens." That is why we are literally showing what appears to be a woman driving a pink Cadillac in an inner city. We then show that in fact the "woman" is none other than Mitt Romney in drag. Romney should actually be seen as a modern day welfare queen who ripped off the government for more than any "welfare queen" from the inner city could ever imagine. By portraying Romney this way, we are attempting to turn ugly racist beliefs on their head and make people realize that the biggest freeloaders on the government system are actually people who look like Mitt Romney.
At the end of the ad, we show Mitt Romney's vacation mansion worth $10 million. We aren't suggesting that Romney criminally stole tax dollars to buy his house illegally. But money is fungible, so any money that benefits Romney in one account can be used to purchase luxuries from any other account.
The point is that Romney and his colleagues at Bain were already wealthy by the early 1990s when the difficulties with the loan arose. Because, as we know, "corporations are people," Romney and his cronies weren't personally liable for the full $38 million. Instead, just the corporate entity of Bain and Company was liable. But there was nothing stopping Romney or his wealthy colleagues at Bain from paying back the full $10 million out of their own pocket at the time. For that matter, Romney and his colleagues could have paid the Government back in later years, after they'd all become super, super rich.
The bottom line is Romney got the best deal he could, just because he could. And yet he belongs to a political party that says people who do that are evil parasites for not being "rugged individuals" and succeeding on their own merits.
Finally, our goal here is to make conservatives sickened by the hypocrisy of Romney taking bailouts and for moderates and independents to be disgusted by Romney for making himself richer at the expense of average taxpayers. This bailout for Romney is a perfect window into why Romney should be seen as an utterly detestable and phony candidate regardless of one's ideological position. Please take a look at the ad below.
AmericanLP covers all the top headlines in politics on both sides of the aisle in this morning’s news brief. Major headlines yesterday once again pointed to a rebounding economy. New applications for unemployment hit a 4-year low. Also, the DNC released a new ad, which you can view at the 1:15 mark, highlighting the diverging ideologies between the Obama administration’s decision to save the auto industry and Mitt Romney’s 2008 Op-Ed “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt”. The bailout was unequivocally a successful administrative decision for President Obama, and coupling this with the rate for unemployment applications falling, and last week’s news that the overall unemployment rate has fallen to 8.3 percent, we have public opinion of the President quickly on the rise. 44% of Americans, according to a Pew Research Center poll believe economic conditions will be better in 2013 than this year. This coincides with a CNN poll yesterday showing the President’s approval rating is back to 50% for the first time in 8 months. The administration, and the Obama re-election campaign, have really begun hammering home the jobs numbers, focusing not on the unemployment rate so much, as that number is still unfortunately high, but rightly talking about how bad things were when Obama came into office (750,000 jobs hemorrhaging from the economy per month) to how his policies have vastly turned this country around (250,000 jobs added in January; a 1 million point swing) and have created the most manufacturing jobs since the 1990’s.
Switching over, AmericanLP discusses the latest from the GOP presidential campaign. Mitt Romney, on the verge of losing his front runner status in some polls, gave a speech Thursday in which he addressed the concerns of entrepreneurs looking for funding to start their own business. In a swipe at the Solyndra controversy, Romney excoriated the benefits of government funding a start-up business and instead suggested entrepreneurs should apply to venture capitalists, angels, or their parents for funding. A statement such as this is on par with Romney’s “$10,000 bet” and once again reinforces the notion that Romney is so fiscally out-of-touch with the general American public (the average salary for Americans is $26,000/year; Romney makes $57,000/day) that it’s hard to fathom how he’ll win the nomination. Romney was born to the kind of wealth where if he wanted to start his own company, he could go to his parents for the capital to get the project off the ground. However, most Americans cannot. Most Americans struggle to pay their own bills, and many are helping their parents through retirement after the recession. It seems every time Romney opens his mouth, he further ostracizes himself from the general American public. Maybe that’s why he chose to drop out of the CNN Georgia debate scheduled in a couple weeks. Rick Santorum also declined the invitation; his motivations for doing so are less clear. With less money and generally one of the candidates who performs well in these debates, it doesn’t really play to Santorum’s strengths not to participate. But Santorum was not immune to the ‘tax return release’ scrutiny either. Santorum released 4 years of his tax returns and they paint a startling contrast to much of what Santorum has been saying on the campaign trail. Posturing himself as a threat to big government, Santorum has actually made $3.6M in lobbying fees since losing his re-election bid for the U.S. Senate. Try as he might, Santorum seems just as much a “Washington Insider” as Newt Gingrich.
A new segment on AmericanLP, “News From The 14th Century,” highlights the ridiculous spectacle yesterday from Congress where Darrell Issa barred a woman from testifying on a birth control hearing in response to the contraception controversy. Republicans, for all their talk of individual freedom, want to deny women access to birth control, even though 98% of Catholic women say they have used some form of contraceptive in their life. Issa, instead of allowing one woman to testify, decided to fill the panel with men and priests. Clearly, they’ll have a deeper understanding of contraception than any woman might…
These are just a few of the highlights from this morning’s briefing. Watch the whole video for more news in politics from around the country. ~ Jason Owen with TJ Walker
If you are like me, you are probably still poking your finger in your ear trying to figure out if you heard Mitt Romney correctly when he called himself a "Severely conservative Republican." That one goes in the gaffe hall of fame for numerous reasons. Here is a new radio ad that my organization AmericanLP has going up on ABC Radio in Michigan later this week.
Who is Mitt Romney?
Voiceover from Romney 'I was a severely conservative Republican.'
The word 'severely' is most commonly used to describe the following: Disabled, depressed, ill, limited, injured.
So, Michigan conservatives, Mitt Romney basically thinks conservatism is like a 'disease.'
If you're a moderate/independent Michigan Republican, how do you feel about a politician who doesn't believe in anything, but implies, 'I'll pretend to be a diseased extremist, even if I think it's crazy?'
Mitt Romney's father, George Romney was a great Michigan governor who always spoke his mind. He stood up to his church and GOP extremists regarding civil rights.
But Mitt Romney? Has he ever stood up for something unpopular?
Mitt Romney, he's not his father's son. Mitt Romney thinks he can 'brain wash' the rest of us.
Paid for By AmericanLP, not associated with a candidate or candidate's committee.
What are Mitt Romney's "In-Context" Economic Views? Mitt Romney and his campaign have complained incessantly about being quoted "out-of-context" on his economic views. In an effort to help the Romney campaign we have gathered all of his economic views in one place and organized them in a comprehensive manner in order to give voters a complete and thorough view of Romney's economic philosophy.
Here is a new rough draft for a TV commercial I will be producing for the Democratic Super PAC AmericanLP. Please send me suggestions and criticisms.
:60 Second TV Ad
Opening video of Rev Jeremiah Wright “God Damn America!”
Voiceover: “Intolerance is ugly in whatever form it takes, especially when it flows from the pulpit.”
(Text only: “November 19, 1993,”) Voiceover “the Mitt Romney family baptized Mitt Romney’s father-in-law, Edward Davies, 13 months AFTER Davies had died. Davies was a lifelong opponent of organized religion. Was this tolerant of Davies Wishes?”
(Text and images: On March 22, 1969, Ed Davies daughter Ann married Mitt Romney.) Voiceover: “Neither of Ann Romney’s parents was allowed into the Romney wedding ceremony performed at the Salt Lake Temple. Non-Mormons are not tolerated at the wedding ceremonies of Mormons.”
(text: “From 1966-1969, Mitt Romney was a full-time employee of the Mormon Church. Romney was appointed Bishop in the Mormon Church. Romney became one of the largest multi-million dollar donors of the Mormon Church”) Voiceover: “Since the 60s, Mitt Romney has been a powerful, influential Mormon Church leader. Mormons did not accept that Black people had full souls equal to Whites until 1978. What kind of leader promotes an organization that had an official policy of racial intolerance?”
Closing graphic in text “In 2012, vote in favor of religious tolerance.”
Look carefully at the :23 mark. Doesn't that sound and look like a young Mitt Romney? Help AmericanLP tell the truth about Mitt Romney's upper class ways. Mitt Romney is ready for His Starring role--In a Grey Poupon Commercial Remember the old Grey Poupon TV commercials form the 70s and 80s? Where two stuffy guys in Rolls Royce share Grey Poupon mustard? I you look closely at this updated version you can spot Mitt Romney acting "in character."