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A Solidly Republican House Crashes Down on Grover Norquist

6:54 am in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

At this point all I can do is laugh when I think about how some of my friends on the far right were naive as to think that sensible Republicans in Congress had failed to heed the message of the 2012 election and the current political realities borne therefrom. The latest development in the fiscal cliff drama show to what degree some on the right have regained their senses and moved back to the center, in the direction of much needed compromise. Quoting political commentator Jennifer Steinhauer: “Ending a climactic fiscal showdown in the final hours of the 112th Congress, the House late Tuesday passed and sent to President Obama legislation to avert big income tax increases on most Americans and prevent large cuts in spending for the Pentagon and other government programs. The measure, brought to the House floor less than 24 hours after its passage in the Senate, was approved 257 to 167, with 85 Republicans joining 172 Democrats in voting to allow income taxes to rise for the first time in two decades, in this case for the highest-earning Americans…The decision by Republican leaders to allow the vote came despite widespread scorn among House Republicans for the bill, passed overwhelmingly by the Senate in the early hours of New Year’s Day. They were unhappy that it did not include significant spending cuts in health and other social programs, which they say are essential to any long-term solution to the nation’s debt.” Clearly and unequivocally the resolution of the fiscal cliff represents a major defeat for Grover Norquist and his Tea Party allies as well as a significant victory for president Obama.

And what of those Republican Congressman who voted to let tax rates rise? Remember how often we’ve been told that almost every Republican in the House had signed Grover Norquist’s “No Tax Pledge.” Quoting Politico’s Alexander Burns and Maggie Habberman: “…given the lopsided Senate vote in favor of the tax-hiking measure, as well as the 85 GOP House members who voted yes, members of the GOP have violated the party’s no-new-taxes orthodoxy for the first time in two decades. It’s a significant concession in the aftermath of Mitt Romney’s November defeat and a potentially existential moment for a party that has prided itself on a defiant and dogmatic dislike of tax increases. What remains to be seen is whether that is merely a tactical retreat — bowing to the unique circumstances of the fiscal cliff — or a more meaningful cave-in on the part of Republicans who believe that their anti-tax platform has become politically unsustainable, particularly after a presidential cycle in which the party found itself caricatured as the puppets of the rich and powerful.” Perhaps it was the fact that a large majority of Republican Senators had voted for a tax hike that finally drove home the political reality to the 85 Republican Congressional legislators who decided to follow suit. Why even such staunch conservatives as Congressman Paul Ryan and Senators Patrick J. Toomey and Tom Coburn voted in favor of raising taxes. The fact that, in the face of a growing fiscal crisis, that Republicans voted to raise revenue via tax hikes, should come as no surprise as 2012 election exit polling showed 75% of the voters supported said increases, including a large minority of those who voted for Mitt Romney. Fox News contributor and prominent conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer opined: “This is a complete surrender on everything” and “a rout.” Not surprisingly, Norquist himself appeared on the cable circuit claiming to Anderson Cooper, among others, that the “deal was technically not a pledge violation”, but then what would you expect to hear from a guy who just went off of his own political cliff.

Many on the right have been seen to try to spin this defeat as a tactical maneuver that takes taxes off the table thereby enabling the G.O.P. to be more hard-nosed in dealing with the debt ceiling / spending cuts debate that we’ll be revisiting in a few months. But this too may amount to nothing but wishful thinking. Again quoting Burns and Habberman: “The president’s party, meanwhile, has no intention of easing up on a GOP they believe is in serious disarray. And while Republicans take heart from the hope that they’ll have more leverage in the next showdown, emboldened Democrats say the demand for “balanced” deficit reduction — meaning both spending cuts and new taxes — remains a challenge for their foes. Democratic pollster Geoff Garin, who advised the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA, called the fiscal cliff deal “a band-aid on a serious wound” for Republicans. “The sane wing of the Republican Party recognized the GOP was playing a losing hand badly on taxes in a way that was deeply damaging to the Republican brand,” Garin said. “The Republicans will find themselves in a similar mess going forward if they insist on entitlement cuts while resisting new revenues from closing loopholes and tax breaks for those at the top.”

In the final analysis, when the spin and the political posturing is put aside there is one simple fact that comes through as the dust settles in the aftermath of the fiscal cliff and that is that Barack Obama has just cashed in on some major political capital and the sensible conservatives knew he had it to use and fully intended to use it. Obama ran, in part, on solving the fiscal crisis by raising taxes on the richest among us and won. America had two clear choices to pick from and they didn’t pick the conservative version. Much has been made of the fact that the G.O.P. had held onto the House but they only did so as a result of redistricting. In terms of absolute votes cast for those running for Congress, across the nation as a whole, “Democratic candidates for Congress won 1.1 million more votes than Republicans, according to a tally of the popular vote kept by David Wasserman, the House editor of The Cook Political Report.” The Republican leadership in Congress knows that winning as a result of map making means a lot less politically than does winning by popular appeal and presently the G.O.P. ranks near the low end of its historic popularity. More importantly, the American people have demanded compromise and they indicated that they are clearly fed up with Tea Party obstruction on Capitol Hill. This had to be a motivating factor for Republicans as it is they, not Obama and the Democrats who would have been blamed for the country’s sliding back into a recession. In the end President Obama wound up giving less in the way of concessions than he would have just two weeks ago when he bargained with John Boehner in search of a deal and dramatically less than he would have back in 2011 when he and the Speaker were on the verge of a “Grand Bargain.” Such is the measure of the political shift that has taken place since the Tea Party victories in 2010 and Obama’s re-election this past November.

Steven J. Gulitti
1/2/2013

Sources:
Jennifer Steinhauer: “Divided House Passes Tax Deal in End to Latest Fiscal Standoff”; http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/02/us/politics/house-takes-on-fiscal-cliff.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0&ref=todayspaper

“John Boehner, Eric Cantor Split On Fiscal Cliff Deal”; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/02/john-boehner-eric-cantor_n_2395593.html?utm_source=DailyBrief&utm_campaign=010213&utm_medium=email&utm_content=FeatureTitle&utm_term=Daily%20Brief

Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei: “BEHIND THE CURTAIN — Why the GOP caved: The politics are horrible on the backside of the cliff”; http://www.politico.com/playbook/

“Tea party backers swallow a bitter pill in ‘cliff’ bill”; http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/cliff-bill-is-a-bitter-pill-for-houses-tea-party-adherents-to-swallow/2013/01/01/5345286e-544d-11e2-8e84-e933f677fe68_story.html

“GOP anti-tax policy goes over the cliff”; http://www.politico.com/story/2013/01/gop-anti-tax-policy-goes-over-the-cliff-85657.html

Charles Krauthammer: “Cliff deal a ‘rout”; http://www.politico.com/story/2013/01/krauthammer-cliff-deal-surrender-85656.html?ml=po_r

“Why President Obama, Mitch McConnell took the deal”; http://www.politico.com/story/2013/01/why-mcconnell-obama-took-the-deal-85655.html#ixzz2Gr6BLtPZ

“Obama hails tax bill, warns GOP not to pick fight on debt ceiling”; http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/275123-obama-hail-cliff-deal-but-warns-gop-on-debt-ceiling

“How Maps Helped Republicans Keep an Edge in the House”; http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/15/us/po

Paul Ryan Whistling Past Reality

9:43 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

I just finished watching Paul Ryan’s convention speech and I was dumbstruck by this supposed policy wonk’s complete and obvious ability to craft a speech that was so at variance to the facts and then expect the voters to take him seriously. Let’s take a look at some of what Ryan claimed.

Ryan talks about how Barack Obama has been in office for four years and even though he inherited a jobs crisis and a housing crisis he’s been unable to correct these problems. Ryan accuses President Obama of failing to focus on job creation in particular yet he never stopped to acknowledge the fact that at the depths of the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression the Republican leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, said that the single most important goal of the G.O.P. was “to make Barack Obama a one term president.” Looking back at the past three years I don’t recall any great effort on the part of the Republican Party to create jobs other than to continue to advocate for more tax cuts for the rich, the supposed “job creators”, who being the beneficiaries of the most liberal tax treatment since Ronald Reagan, don’t seem to have created all that many jobs anyway. And who were McConnell’s allies in this endeavor, the House Republicans, Paul Ryan, foremost among them. Thus at a time when the vast majority of Americans were suffering through the Great Recession the leaders of this country’s conservative movement put partisan politics above the common good and now we’re being asked to return these same people to power. What, pray tell, would lead anyone to believe that these same leaders, who put the American people on hold while they pursued partisan politics, will now address the needs of the rank and file American via a renewed attempt at trickle down economics?

With regard to fiscal matters, Ryan lectured the audience on the great damage done to the country by the Obama Administration saying that the president had run up an additional $5 Trillion dollars in debt since taking office. Odd but Ryan failed to address the fact that it was his party under George W. Bush that took us from surplus to deficit by starting two unfunded wars, cutting taxes for those who didn’t need one and the increased costs of Medicare resulting from a new prescription drug plan that was never adequately paid for. The great irony of Ryan’s whole diatribe is that he himself never stood against any of the aforementioned when they were up for a vote during the Bush administration. He railed against the auto bailout yet he voted for it. He spoke of a General Motors factory in Janesville that closed after candidate Obama promised that the plant would remain open and did so by ignoring the fact that that plant closed in December of 2008, before Obama even took office. He derided Obama for his efforts to fight the Great Recession yet Ryan himself voted in favor of the Wall Street TARP bailout and gladly accepted stimulus funds for his home district. He accuses Obama of walking away from the Simpson-Bowles debt reduction commission yet he himself voted against it. Oh and just one more thing, he was for earmarks before it became fashionable to be against them as his track record of procuring federal monies for his home district shows.

Ryan raised the old “Socialist” boogeyman when he spoke about “central planning” but then he went on to say that he and Romney would put the government “back on the side of those who create jobs.” Pardon me but the Republicans have been carrying on for the past four years that the government should get out of the way of the “job creators” and not “pick winners and losers.” And as was to be expected, Ryan again raised the misconception that Barack Obama doesn’t believe that people build their own businesses. Of course Obama never said anything to that effect, what he did say was that private businesses benefit from public spending on infrastructure and education and to that there is no argument as the history of this country shows. Since the birth of the American Republic public spending on infrastructure improvement has gone hand in hand with economic progress. Funny that a guy who’s supposed to be so well grounded in economic theory and history would miss an obvious fact like that one. Ryan reiterated the fable that Obama believes that we can grow the economy via entitlements, again a claim that can’t be substantiated in reality.

In speaking of his running mate’s record of public service Ryan alludes to Mitt Romney’s record as Governor of Massachusetts while ignoring the fact that the state ranked 47th in job creation, that Romney governed as a moderate, that he crafted a healthcare plan that is the template of Obamacare, individual mandate and all, and, he ignored Romney’s flip flop on abortion. Ryan praises Romney’s turnaround of the 2002 Olympics while ignoring the fact that Romney received between $400 to $600 million dollars directly from the federal government and approximately $1.1 billion dollars of indirect funding for transportation infrastructure improvements.

Paul Ryan would end his speech with an appeal to the American people to put partisanship aside and: “Let’s come together for the sake of our country.” Is he really serious in thinking that after his own party said that its goal was “to make Barack Obama a one term president” that his opponents will now, as if by magic, put the vitriol and the divisiveness of the past four years behind them and follow him, a guy who on the occasion of the most important speech in his political life would produce a soliloquy that only a politically ignorant listener could love.

Steven J. Gulitti

8/30/12

Who’s Beholden to Foreign Ideas?

4:55 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

A caricature of Ayn Rand

One of the Republican Party's many foreign influences (Image: Donkey Hotey / Flickr)

Ever since Sarah Palin ran around proclaiming that Barack Obama is a “Socialist” there has been an unrelenting effort by the right to portray the president as someone beholden to foreign ideas. Whether it flows from the fever swamp of right wing media or from the lips of Mitt Romney and his surrogates there has been a concerted effort to define the president as un-American. Furthermore there has been a noticeable lack of political courage among Republican Party leaders in denouncing these attacks. What’s even more interesting is that when it comes to being out of step with the American people a recent NBC / Wall Street Journal Poll shows that 54% of the respondents see Obama’s views as being in the mainstream vice 51% for Mitt Romney. However it might just be worth looking into just how beholden some of Obama’s critics are to foreign ideas and influences.

Let’s start with Paul Ryan and his conservative fellow travelers. A recent article detailing Ryan’s formative years, “Conservative Star’s Small-Town Roots”, stated of Ryan’s path to individual responsibility and maturity: “It followed him into college, where he immediately took a passionate interest in the canon of conservative economic theorists and writers — Ayn Rand and Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and Ludwig von Mises — who inspired the up-and-coming generation of libertarian-minded activists and lawmakers.” Odd but with the exception of Milton Friedman there’s not an American among those from whom Ryan draws upon for his fundamental principles. Both Hayek and his mentor von Mises, were born in the late 19th Century and are major contributors to the Austrian school of economic thought. Ludwig von Mises formulated his theories in a world where there were relatively few industrial but many agricultural or undeveloped economies. India was a still a British colony, Brazil largely agricultural and China was still dominated by European spheres of influence. Globalization as we now it today was unheard of and hardly imagined. The ideas and influence of von Mises would significantly affect Friedrich Hayek.

Ayn Rand was born in Czarist Russia in 1905. As Jennifer Burns, a Stanford professor, points out Ryan’s affinity for Rand is somewhat odd as she would have found plenty to critique in Ryan: “Mr. Ryan’s advocacy of steep cuts in government spending would have pleased her, she would have vehemently opposed his social conservatism and hawkish foreign policy. She would have denounced Mr. Ryan, as she denounced Ronald Reagan, for trying “to take us back to the Middle Ages, via the unconstitutional union of religion and politics”…Mr. Ryan’s rise is a telling index of how far conservatism has evolved from its founding principles. The creators of the movement embraced the free market, but shied from Rand’s promotion of capitalism as a moral system. They emphasized the practical benefits of capitalism, not its ethics. Their fidelity to Christianity grew into a staunch social conservatism that Rand fought against in vain.” As Burns puts it, Ryan and the conservative embrace of Ayn Rand reveals “a window into the ideological fissures at the heart of modern conservatism.” To Burn’s observation one could legitimately add that Ryan’s affinity to foreign ideas, as propounded by Rand and others, may be more than a little out of step with American society today. Moreover, the essential economic question is, are economic theories formulated in an era before globalization still really relevant today?

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6:35 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

William Kristol, editor of the neoconservative organ, The Weekly Standard, recently bemoaned the performance of conservative candidates during the last Republican presidential debate. He claims to be saying out loud what he implies is a widespread but as of yet unarticulated feeling among conservatives, that the 2012 field of Republican contenders is lackluster at best and wholly unsuited to defeating Obama at the very worst. Quoting Kristol: “But no front-runner in a presidential field has ever, we imagine, had as weak a showing as Rick Perry. It was close to a disqualifying two hours for him. And Mitt Romney remains, when all is said and done, a technocratic management consultant whose one term as governor produced Romneycare. He could rise to the occasion as president. Or not…none of the candidates really seemed up to the moment, either politically or substantively. In the midst of a crisis, we’re getting politics as usual-and a somewhat subpar version of politics as usual at that.” Kristol went on to lament the fact that neither Mitch Daniels, Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan or Chris Christie would “step up” and enter the fray a development that he feels may assure the reelection of Barack Obama. Moreover Kristol said that seventy percent of the Republican activists attending the September 22nd event in Orlando cast a vote of no confidence in the two front runners.

To what extent is Kristol correct on the current state of affairs within the G.O.P. and to what extent is this merely the griping of a man so thoroughly tied to the fading neoconservative wing of the Republican Party that he can take no other position. Is Kristol’s lamentation representative of others within the conservative ranks who just can’t abide candidates that won’t advocate an aggressive American foreign policy including military intervention? As you know it was the Neoconservatives who took the reality of American exceptionalism and married it to the idea that this country should use its military might to effect regime change around the world. It was the NeoCons within the first Bush administration who prodded the president to war with Iraq, a misadventure that is now widely regarded as one of this country’s most profound foreign policy mistakes. Are William Kristol and his fellow neoconservatives simply men out step with the times or are they really onto something with regard to the quality of the Republican presidential contenders for 2012 or could they be both at the same time?

For starters, the mood in the country has emphatically moved away from military involvement abroad. Polling results show that from mid to late 2010, majorities of respondents have favored withdrawal from the conflict in Afghanistan and have said that the U.S. should no longer be involved there. Likewise polling results show similar findings regarding the War in Iraq except that the opposition to American involvement goes back over a much longer period of time. The results are somewhat different for the situation in Libya which may be affected by the fact that there are no large troop deployments presently there on the ground and thus no nightly casualty count. Beyond the sentiment of public opinion there is the plain and painful fact that military operations abroad are now constrained by fiscal problems at home. It has become increasingly hard to justify large scale military operations overseas when we are faced with crumbling infrastructure and high unemployment here in the United States. A recent conference of U.S. mayors made the case that money spent in Southwest Asia would be better spent in American cities. In his critique of the Republican field, Kristol over emphasizes foreign military factors and underplays the economic problems presently in existence on the home front. He also ignored the fact that the newly changed landscape of American political economy is simply not a favorable environment within which Neoconservative ideas can be sustained. For America in 2011 the current age of expeditionary warfare is coming to a close and the Neoconservatives like William Kristol are being left on the sidelines.

SJG
9/28/11

Sources:

Special Editorial: Yikes; http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/special-editorial-yikes_594095.html

A No Confidence Vote in Orlando; http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/no-confidence-vote-orlando_594181.html

PollingReport.com – Afghanistan; http://www.pollingreport.com/afghan.htm

PollingReport.com – Iraq; http://www.pollingreport.com/iraq.htm

PollingReport.com – Libya; http://www.pollingreport.com/libya.htm

The Looming Compromise on Revenues: A Postscript

2:31 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

A recent article by David Leonhardt, “Why Taxes Will Rise in the End”, directly reinforces the points made earlier in: “The Looming Compromise on Revenues.” Leonhardt paints a picture in which revenue increases of some sort have to be an elemental part of fiscal reform, whether they be closing loopholes, the elimination of tax subsidies, an outright increase in taxes or any combination thereof. He points to several factors that make revenue increases inevitable for those who are serious about addressing America’s looming fiscal crisis. Lets take a look at his analysis.

1. No Free Lunches: “If only we could get back to the past — get spending under control, as the cliché goes — we’d be O.K. The debt ceiling, with its harsh finality, offers the chance. Unfortunately, this nostalgic view depends on a misunderstanding of the budget. It imagines a budget in which the United States indefinitely has the world’s highest medical costs, its largest military, an aging population and, nonetheless, taxes that are among the world’s lowest. Economists have a name for that combination: a free lunch… Free lunchism is ultimately the problem with the no-new-taxes pledge that so many politicians have adopted. A refusal to raise taxes, no matter how principled, cannot take us back to the good old days. It would instead lead to a very different American society. For taxes to remain where they are, Washington would need to end Medicare as we know it, end Social Security as we know it, severely shrink the military — or do some combination of the above.” The aforementioned situation has led Douglas Elmendorf of the Congressional Budget Office to point out that those who are hewing to the “no new taxes” line are simply not seeing the true parameters of the overall situation: “The aging of our population and the rising cost of health care have changed the backdrop for federal budget policy in a fundamental way.”

2. Paul Ryan’s Plan is D.O.A.: “Early indications are that Americans don’t like Mr. Ryan’s plan all that much. In upstate New York this spring, a Democrat won a typically Republican House district by campaigning relentlessly against the plan. National polls show huge majorities favor keeping Medicare and Social Security in something approaching their current form — much larger majorities, tellingly, than oppose an increase in the debt ceiling. In the near term, Congressional Republicans have decided to play down the Ryan plan. Most continue to oppose new taxes, without going so far as to explain the consequences. They will have little trouble sticking to that position through the current debt ceiling fight, because the deficit does not need to be solved immediately. Eventually, though, drawing up a credible deficit plan with neither Ryan-like cuts nor higher taxes will be impossible. And you can already see the start of a potential Republican compromise.” To underscore the fact that the Republican leadership in Washington is edging towards a compromise position, Leonhardt points to the fact that Speaker Boehner signaled his willingness last week to shrinking individual and corporate loopholes, as just one example. Likewise Conservative economists like Martin Feldstein and Gregory Mankiw favor addressing loopholes as well. There also seems to be renewed interest on the right regarding the approach of the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles deficit commission which includes revenue increases in any wide ranging attack on the deficit. To wit: “One obvious compromise along these lines would follow the outline sketched out by the Simpson-Bowles Plan. Marginal tax rates could actually fall. But the closing of loopholes would more than make up for the loss in revenue from lower tax rates. Conservatives might accept the deal, partly because it would satisfy their longtime desire for a simpler tax code with lower rates and partly because spending cuts would still make up the bulk of any deal. Liberals might accept the deal because tax loopholes disproportionately benefit the wealthy, and a simpler code — even one with lower rates — could be more progressive.”

3. How Might It All Play Out?: “So what kind of tax increases do Americans support? The old-fashioned kind. Seventy-two percent support raising taxes on income above $250,000, according to a recent NYT/CBS poll and a large majority likewise favor raising Social Security taxes on the affluent. In the end, the most likely tax increase may be the one that’s already on the books. On Jan. 1, 2013, all the Bush tax cuts— on the affluent and nonaffluent alike — are set to expire, which would solve roughly one-quarter of our long-term deficit problem.”

Again, in the final analysis there is simply no way that we can get spending and deficits under control by drastic cuts to social programs alone. Moreover, that’s a hypothetical argument to make in the first place as the Democrats will never abide such a thing so other than for the scoring of political points with their base, particularly the Tea Party, what realistically did the Republican leadership hope to achieve? The G.O.P. leadership may seek to avoid dealing with revenues in the short run by allowing Barack Obama to get what he wanted in the first place, an increase in the debt ceiling free of any spending cuts. However, in the long run the Republicans will still be in a no win situation when it comes to raising revenues, unless of course they chose to abandon their goal of overall deficit reduction.

SJG
7/15/11

Sources:

The Looming Compromise on Revenues

http://open.salon.com/blog/steven_j_gulitti/2011/07/08/the_looming_compromise_on_revenues

Why Taxes Will Rise in the End

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/13/business/economy/why-taxes-will-rise-in-the-end-david-leonhardt.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Why%20Taxes%20will%20rise%20in%20the%20end&st=cse

Gingrich’s Presidential Campaign Capsized By the Winds of Folly

5:38 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

Back in March of this year in an article on the Gingrich presidential campaign, “Newt Gingrich’s Dream, Driven by the Winds of Folly?”, I posed the question of why Newt Gingrich would even bother to seriously consider a run for the Oval Office.  Now apparently his campaign staff has come to the same conclusion and left Gingrich and his hopes adrift with their en masse departure. Not only are Gingrich’s top operatives leaving him flat, many of his state level operatives have likewise jumped ship.

Bedeviled by conservative criticism for calling Paul Ryan’s Medicare reform plans, “right wing social engineering” and his $250,000 plus jewelry tab at Tiffany’s, it appears that Gingrich’s latest two week vacation to the Greek Isles was enough to convince his staff that this guy just isn’t for real. All of this led MSNBC’s Chris Matthews to opine that Newt Gingrich is simply in the 2012 race for his own self serving publicity and that he was never a serious contender to start with. 

The unfortunate aspect of this for the Republican’s is that in only acts to heighten the farce and buffoonery that has thus far surrounded the formation of the field of G.O.P. presidential hopefuls. Now in addition to the historical gaffes of Bachmann and Palin, Rick Santorum thinks that American troops landing on D-Day were somehow fighting to make a future decision about health care reform. We have Donald Trump, having once dropped out of contention, now saying he may re-enter the race as a third party candidate. Not to be left out of the fray, Rush Limbaugh’s has effectively written off the Romney candidacy with a hearty “bye-bye” due to Romney’s admission that he believes, to some extent, in global warming. Last but by no means least, Herman Cain is saying that any Muslim on his staff would have to swear a loyalty oath if he were elected president. And, as if it really would even matter at this point, Newt Gingrich is saying that he will be launch his campaign anew in Los Angeles this coming Monday.

Surely at a time when Barack Obama is struggling to keep his presidency on course, with his poll numbers wavering back and forth about the fifty percent mark, one would think that the Republicans would be queuing up for a knock out blow. Instead what we are witnessing is a G.O.P., formerly famous for internal discipline, careening towards 2012 in disarray.

SJG

6/9/11

 
Sources:
 
Newt Gingrich’s Dream, Driven by the Winds of Folly?
http://open.salon.com/blog/steven_j_gulitti/2011/03/04/newt_gingrichs_dream_driven_by_the_winds_of_folly_1
 
Gingrich presidential campaign implodes
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/gingrich-senior-aides-resign/2011/06/09/AGN77VNH_blog.html

 Santorum: D-Day Troops Fought For Health Care Freedom;: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/06/santorum-d-day-troops-fought-for-the-ryan-plan.php

Barack Obama On A Roll

2:51 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

U.S. Senator Barack Obama (Il)

U.S. Senator Barack Obama (Il) by Image Editor, on Flickr

 

I know this sort of summarization will set the fringe full mooners on the right all atwitter but the last month or so has been pretty good to President Obama:

1. He received a rock star reception in Ireland and now in England Barack Obama has made history by becoming the first American president in history to address both houses of Parliament.

2. Chrysler pays back bailout loan to the feds: “SERGIO MARCHIONNE, Chrysler: We have received confirmation this morning at 10:13 a.m. from Citigroup that Chrysler Group repaid, with interest, by wire transfer to the United States Treasury and by bank transfer to the Canadian government, every penny that had been loaned less than two years ago: Chrysler Pays Back Billions in Bailout Loans: Is the Comeback Complete?: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business/jan-june11/chrysler_05-24.html

3. The unwinding of TARP continues with the federal government making a small profit on the sale of part of its A.I.G. stock: Treasury Gets Small Profit From Sale of A.I.G. Stock; http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/05/24/a-i-g-underwriters-price-stock-sale-at-29/?scp=1&sq=A.I.G.&st=cse

4. In spite of the far right-wing media bleating aloud that Obama had essentially “thrown Israel under the bus”, Benjamin Netanyahu in an address before both houses of Congress indicated that it’s his responsibility to compromise so as to effect a lasting peace in the MidEast.  Cablers Cover Netanyahu Speech to Joint Session of Congresshttp://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/cablers-cover-netanyahu-speech-to-joint-session-of-congress_b68067 While Netanyahu reiterated that he would not support a return to the pre-1967 borders or the wholesale return of Palestinians into Israel, his willingness to compromise is evident in his comments: “I stood before my people and said that I will accept a Palestinian state; it’s time for President Abbas to stand up before his people and say, ‘I will accept a Jewish state. Those six words will change history, With those six words, the Israeli people will be prepared to make a far-reaching compromise. I will be prepared to make a far-reaching compromise.” Netanyahu Gives No Ground in Congress Speech; http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/25/world/middleeast/25diplo.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=netanyahu&st=cse
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