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Mitt Romney’s Lehman Moment?

3:21 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

Did Mitt Romney, in his ill timed and ill conceived commentary on the violence in North Africa, just doom his presidential aspirations the way John McCain did in 2008 when he said that the economy was on sound footing just as Lehman Brothers collapsed? In a twinkling of a political eye Mitt Romney through his remarks on the death of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans has taken his focus off of the one topic where he has an advantage over Barack Obama, the economy, and redirected it to foreign policy, a subject where his campaign performance thus far has been woefully inadequate if not outright abysmal. As a result Romney has introduced the issues of his own lack of foreign policy heft and judgment into the race at what couldn’t be a worse time.

By now it is more than evident that Romney jumped to conclusions, those based on an absence of chronologically verifiable facts, in framing his condemnation of the president for a statement put out by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. The subject statement appeared six hours before the first protests and well over twelve hours before the deaths of American diplomatic personnel in Libya. The chronology of those events can be found in “What They Said, Before and After the Attack in Libya”, referenced below. This raises three fundamental questions. One, was Romney compelled to act in haste in addressing developments in Libya and Egypt as a result of the scathing criticism that he received from the far right and those conservatives who had raised questions about his chances of success only the day before, particularly those who suggested that he hasn’t been forceful enough? Or is it the case that Romney just doesn’t have the requisite background and temperament to adequately deal with fast moving foreign policy issues and as a result is prone to poor decision making when these issues are front and center? Lastly, is Romney too influenced by a claque of Iraq War era Neoconservatives who have him simply parroting those old canards that Obama is an “apologist” for America, a sympathizer who cares more about radical Islam than his own country and someone who doesn’t truly believe in American Exceptionalism?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions then Mitt Romney has proven one thing to the American people and that is that he is a deeply flawed candidate when it comes to foreign policy and crisis management and thus ill suited to be this country’s Commander-in-Chief. It’s more than a bit ironic that after doubling down on his ill conceived comments, Romney has yet to come out and condemn the man who produced the controversial film that mocks the Prophet Mohamed or the incendiary pastor, Terry Jones, whose previous actions in threatening to burn Korans set off a wave of earlier violence across the Muslim world. Political columnist Howard Fineman, appearing on MSNBC’s Hardball, summed up Romney’s performance as follows: “He got the facts wrong. And it’s a classic case of jumping out ahead of a fast-moving story, chasing what you think is some kind of immediate political gain. He [Obama] never sympathized or apologized. Mitt Romney is pursuing a political strategy that is so nakedly and obviously political…I don’t see Mitt Romney having studied his career as that much of a foreign policy guy. He never has been. He was plugged into the NeoCon view in about 2007, and that was the beginning of his foreign policy education, and that’s still where he is.” Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson appearing on the same program stated that Romney’s actions gave rise to questions about his overall judgment and character.

Another ominous development for Romney’s is the almost total silence on Capitol Hill and among the Republican establishment where almost no one has come to his defense. In fact most of the support Romney has received thus far has come from the very critics who just three days ago where suggesting that his campaign was doomed to failure. In stark contrast to the questionable support Romney is getting from the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Bill Kristol, Laura Ingraham et al., is the flak he taking from those on the right who you would expect to be in his corner. Here are several examples. Reliable Republican cheer leader Peggy Noonan: “When you step forward in the midst of a political environment and start giving statements on something dramatic and violent that has happened, you’re always leaving yourself open to accusations that you are trying to exploit things politically.” Mark Salter, a former McCain operative and regular critic of Obama’s foreign policy none the less criticized Romney’s actions: “However, his [Obama's] policies are not responsible for the attacks on our embassy in Cairo and our consulate in Benghazi or the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. In the wake of this violence, the rush by Republicans — including Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and scores of other conservative critics — to condemn him for policies they claim helped precipitate the attacks is as tortured in its reasoning as it is unseemly in its timing…Moreover, the embassy’s statement was released before the attack, and was not, according to administration officials, approved by the State Department. If that’s true, it cannot be fairly attributed to the president…I understand the Romney campaign is under pressure from some Republicans to toughen its attacks on the president…But this is hardly the issue or the moment to demonstrate a greater resolve to take the fight to the president. Four good Americans, brave and true, have just died in service to their country…Nothing said or done by the president or anyone in the U.S. government is responsible for the violence that led to their deaths.” The National Journal’s Ron Fournier: “Romney’s actions are ham-handed and inaccurate.” Ben Smith of BuzzFeed: “If you think the eye-rolling at Romney is just coming from the MSM, call up some Republican foreign policy hands.” Former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough: “I’ve been inundated with emails and calls from elected GOP leaders who think Romney’s response was a mistake.” Bush era Ambassador Nicholas Burns: “I was frankly very disappointed and dismayed to see Governor Romney inject politics into this very difficult situation, where our embassies are under attack, where there’s been a big misunderstanding in the Middle East, apparently, about an American film, where we’re trying to preserve the lives of our diplomats — this is no time for politics.” Conservative writer David Frum: “The Romney campaign’s attempt to score political points on the killing of American diplomats was a dismal business in every respect.” And even Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly: “I’m not sure the governor is correct on that. The embassy was trying to head off the violence” with their statement.” The bottom line is this, Mitt Romney has violated a cardinal rule of American politics, one promoted by Republican Senator Arthur Vandenberg, that politics stops at the shoreline.

As serious a mistake as Romney has made this week it’s hardly an isolated incident. Earlier in the year when the Obama administration was locked in a controversy with the Chinese Government over a dissident who had taken refuge in the American Embassy and who then left it as part of a diplomatic deal, Romney inserted himself into the proceedings, again jumping the gun on events, saying that it “was a day of shame for the Obama administration. Romney was rebuked for his “foolish” remarks by none other than William Kristol of the conservative Weekly Standard. The dissident is now residing in the United States. Romney’s misguided approach to understanding foreign policy was on display again when he stated that Russia is America’s primary foreign policy concern: “Russia, this is, without question, our number one geopolitical foe”; a statement that would lead to Colin Powell’s blunt rebuke: “I don’t know who all of his advisers are, but I’ve seen some of the names, and some of them are quite far to the right, and sometimes they, I think, might be in a position to make judgments or recommendations to the candidate that should get a second thought. For example, when Governor Romney not too long ago said, you know, the Russian Federation is our number-one geostrategic threat. Well, c’mon Mitt, think. It isn’t the case.” Earlier this summer Romney would question to what extent President Obama understood our special relationship with Great Britain only to then embarrass himself by publicly criticizing the London Olympics which, in turn, resulted in his being publicly scolded by the both the British Prime Minister and the Mayor of London. The remainder of Romney’s European tour was marred by misstatements and missteps culminating in a world wind tour of self inflicted political pratfalls.

Romney has been peddling the fantasy that if he were president or if elected that somehow he’d be able to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons. At the same time he’s blaming Obama for the nuclear progress that Iran has thus far made. This of course, on its face, is seen to be an act of intellectual dishonesty coming from a candidate who is willingly ignoring the facts. In the words of veteran foreign affairs correspondent David Sanger, “The economic sanctions Mr. Obama has imposed have been far more crippling to the Iranian economy than anything President Bush did between the public revelation of Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities in 2003 and the end of Mr. Bush’s term in early 2009. Covert action has been stepped up, too. Mr. Bolton has called efforts to negotiate with Iran “delusional,” but other advisers — mostly those who dealt with the issue during the Bush administration — say they are a critical step in holding together the European allies and, if conflict looms, proving to Russia and China that every effort was made to come to a peaceful resolution.” Sanger in his op-ed “Is There a Romney Doctrine?” lays waste to the claim that the president has pursued a policy of appeasement showing how “the arrival of the general election requires Mr. Romney to grapple with the question of how to attack a Democratic president whose affection for unilateral use of force — from drones over Pakistan and Yemen to a far greater role for the Special Operations command — has immunized him a bit from the traditional claim that Democrats can’t stand the sight of hard power.” To this one should add the fact that Obama engineered the removal of Muammar Gaddafi without a single American casualty and that from Osama bin Laden down to rank and file Al Qaeda operatives the Obama Administration’s actions have killed hundreds of America’s enemies. This alone stands in stark contrast to conservative claims that Barack Obama is prone to appeasement. Sanger in the “The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power”, published in 2009, detailed how both Iran and North Korea had greatly expanded their nuclear programs as America was distracted by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That said it’s somewhat odd that Romney has resurrected the saber rattling of the now discredited NeoCons in calling for a more muscular American military posture overseas and that just when two thirds of Americans feel that the war in Iraq did nothing to make the country safer and at a time when America’s infrastructure is in need of serious investment at home. With regard to relations with Israel Romney’s criticism amounts to nothing more than the same old sound bites on the one hand and a pandering to the Jewish vote on the other. This is hardly the commentary of one experienced in the complexities of the Arab-Israeli conflict and certainly not one that accounts for the changed political landscape of the Middle East and North Africa in the wake of the Arab Spring.

In his quest for the Oval Office Mitt Romney has attempted to sell himself to the American people as an accomplished businessman who would use the skills acquired in private equity to better run the business of government. Yet to date there has been little in the way of “actionable intelligence” that would lead the American voter to see Mr. Romney’s electioneering as anything other than a plea to take a leap of faith in casting one’s vote for him. This is particularly true with regard to his ability to intelligently address matters of foreign policy as Commander-in-Chief, a role where the president can affect events far more significantly than he can when dealing with economic affairs. For you see America isn’t a corporation where a CEO is beholden only to shareholders. A president has roles and responsibilities to fill that are far beyond the scope of a corporate leader. We’ve elected businessmen to the presidency before, Herbert Hoover, Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush and none of them have been considered in the long run to be great presidents. Romney has now come under fire from John McCain for failing to articulate his own detailed foreign policy program. Then again Romney hasn’t detailed anything in the way of a detailed program as to how he would turn the economy around, an area of his supposed expertise, so why would anyone be surprised that he’s not even outlined one for foreign affairs, a subject where he has proven himself to be wholly out of his league? David Ignatius of the Washington Post described Mitt Romney as a man having “no grasp of foreign affairs” whose approach to the subject amounts to a “series of sound bites” all of which portray a candidate who knows little about a subject of the utmost importance. With Mr. Ignatius’ observations in mind I believe we may have reached a tipping point in the 2012 election much the same as we were in September of 2008. The latest polls show Romney falling behind the president in key swing states and events in the Muslim world may still go against Barack Obama. However, the poll results that hit the newswires this morning are based on data that predate Romney’s latest gaffe and as a result Americans may still favor Obama when the see the next round of polling and especially when they consider this latest episode in a recurring series of Romney foreign policy disasters.

Steven J. Gulitti



What They Said, Before and After the Attack in Libya;

Koran-burning pastor Terry Jones backs anti-Muhammad movie;

Hardball with Chris Matthews for Wednesday, September 12th, 2012;

Peggy Noonan: “Romney Is Not Doing Himself Any Favors”;

Noonan: Romney not helping himself;

Don’t Politicize Embassy Attacks;

Romney and Foreign Policy;

Even As Experts, GOP Figures Criticize Romney’s Embassy Statement, Right-Wing Pundits Blame “The Media”;

Mitt Romney Response To Libya, Egypt Attacks Called ‘Irresponsible,’ ‘Craven,’ ‘Ham-Handed’;

Bloody Bill Kristol Calls Romney’s Attacks Over Chinese Dissident ‘Foolish’;

Romney: Russia is our number one geopolitical foe;

Why Colin Powell Bashed Mitt Romney’s Foreign-Policy Advisers;

David Sanger : Is There a Romney Doctrine?;

Marist Polling:

9/13: Obama Leads Romney by 7 Points in Ohio

9/13: Obama with Advantage Over Romney in Florida

9/13: Obama Up Five Points Over Romney in Virginia

Rasmussen Reports;

Romney Rolled by the Far Right?

5:43 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

Oh well, it looks like someone broke the Etch-A-Sketch. After being hagridden for the past few weeks by the talking heads of America’s far right from Rush Limbaugh to Sean Hannity to Ann Coulter to finally Laura Ingraham who said “I might be the skunk at the picnic, but I’m going to say it and I’m going to say it clearly, “Romney is losing.”; Mitt Romney may have elected for what amounts to a the ultimate “Hail Mary” pass in finally settling on Paul Ryan for his V.P. pick. After all when one of the country’s most stridently didactic ideologues, Erick Erickson, comes out and says “Conservatives have put aside their distrust of Romney on this issue [Romney's Massachusetts Health Care Law] in the name of beating Barack Obama. They thought he and his campaign team had gotten the message and the hints. Consider the scab picked, the wound opened, and the distrust trickling out again.” – did Romney have any other choice? Other possible contenders like Rob Portman and Tim Pawlenty would have amounted to adding more blandness to an already bland campaign. Marco Rubio, a definite Tea Party favorite, was just too inexperienced, Chris Christie too bombastic and disinterested anyway. However the real question is will the selection of Paul Ryan ultimately doom Romney’s hopes of being elected? Has Romney now baked failure into his own cake?

Romney has been stumbling and fumbling of late having been successfully “swift boated” by the Obama machine and for the lingering questions related to releasing more tax returns as well as questions as to would he ever define what he’d actually do as president. Recent polling, for what it’s worth in August, showed Romney slipping behind Obama, especially in swing states. By selecting Paul Ryan, Romney has added substance to a campaign seen to be largely devoid of it. However, what if Romney has added the wrong ingredients to his political stew? After all Paul Ryan’s budget plans have never been popularly embraced in the body politic beyond ultraconservatives. Quoting Brett LoGiurato of Business Insider “It hasn’t been polled for a while, but most polls of Ryan’s budget plan don’t produce sparkling reviews. Ryan’s proposal didn’t poll well in a May 2011 CNN survey, which showed that 48 percent of respondents preferred President Barack Obama’s approach to Medicare compared to 39 percent on the plan spearheaded by Ryan. Overall, about 20 percent more people opposed Ryan’s Medicare plan than supported it. The poll also found that both younger and older voters were cool to Ryan’s plan. Forty-three percent of voters 64 years old and younger thought Ryan’s plan’s changes would make things at least a “little worse off.” And 58 percent of respondents 65 and older said the same thing — including 33 percent who said it would make them “a lot worse off.” Finally, 50 percent of voters overall thought it would make the country worse off as a whole, compared with 38 percent who said it would make it better. The most eye-popping stat from the poll? More than a quarter of Republicans — and 35 percent of self-identified conservatives — opposed the Ryan plan.” Furthermore, the selection of Ryan allows Obama to bring the issue of a do nothing obstructionist Congress squarely to center stage. With congressional approval ratings at an all time low, particularly for Republicans, and public frustration with Congressional Tea Party obstruction more or less a constant, Paul Ryan will act as a handy punching bag for the Obama machine thereby saddling Romney with the negatives that flow from this highly unpopular Republican dominated Congress. Thus it’s not likely that Paul Ryan will save Mitt Romney any more than Sarah Palin was able to revitalize the McCain campaign.

In an environment where the public longs for bi-partisan cooperation and problem solving the selection of Ryan sends a message that compromise isn’t on the agenda for the G.O.P. Nate Silver of the New York Times in an article titled “A Risky Rationale Behind Romney’s Choice of Ryan” suggests that Romney’s choice of Ryan has less to do with pressure from the ideological purists on the right and more to do with the fact that Romney himself realized that his campaign was faltering: “When a prudent candidate like Mitt Romney picks someone like Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate, it suggests that he felt he held a losing position against President Obama. The theme that Mr. Romney’s campaign has emphasized for months and months — that the president has failed as an economic leader — may have persuaded 47 or 48 or 49 percent of voters to back him, he seems to have concluded. But not 50.1 percent of them, and not enough for Mr. Romney to secure 270 electoral votes.” Silver goes on to show how Paul Ryan, on the basis of political philosophy, is the most ideologically extreme pick for Vice president ever: “Various statistical measures of Mr. Ryan peg him as being quite conservative. Based on his Congressional voting record, for instance, the statistical system DW-Nominate evaluates him as being roughly as conservative as Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota…Mr. Ryan is the most conservative Republican member of Congress to be picked for the vice-presidential slot since at least 1900. He is also more conservative than any Democratic nominee was liberal, meaning that he is the furthest from the center.” In a country seen as being fairly split down the middle and with politics being played, as conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer says, “between the 40 yard lines” it would appear that picking the most conservative running mate ever would be a losing proposition if not a reckless one.

Time and again we’ve heard the ideologues on the far right state that when the G.O.P. picks candidates that stray from the movement’s core conservative values the party loses. John McCain is held up as the latest example of this and more often than not Ronald Reagan is held up a an example of what being true to core conservative values is all about. The only problem with that is the fact that Reagan was conservative in his rhetoric but he was hardly a guy to trim the size of government, cut taxes or attempt to dismantle the social safety net. Moreover, he was a master at compromise, something that today’s conservatives detest. Suffice it to say that even Ronald Reagan would have problems in today’s Republican Party, how could he not? Historically the issues that Ryan has raised in his budget and which the Tea Party backed Republicans in Congress have taken on are political losers for the G.O.P. John Harris and Mike Allen writing for Politico pointed out “It is hard to overstate the risks Romney is taking in making a choice that virtually guarantees a far-reaching debate about the broader role of government and the entitlement state. Simply put, it is a debate Republicans have almost never won when they’ve put it directly before voters in the past.”

Thus in picking a candidate that more than ever personifies the values of the far right what are we to conclude of the logic inherent in the conservative mantra “that when the G.O.P. picks candidates that stray from the movement’s core conservative values the party loses.” if they indeed go on to lose this election? Will picking Paul Ryan then be seen to be a mistake as it moved the Romney message beyond the pale of the moderates and independent voters thereby costing the Republican Party what should have been an easy victory? For one thing there’s no evidence I’ve ever seen that suggests that a president is elected because of the guy he picked to be vice president. In fact Nate Silver’s article shows that vice presidential picks have more downside to them than upside. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that I believe that Ryan will ultimately have a downside impact on Romney’s chances of being elected. Secondly now that Romney has saddled him with Ryan and his unpopular reputation for cutting back on entitlements, privatizing them where possible and cutting taxes on the richest among us the election has ceased to be a referendum on Obama’s performance and has become a choice election between two competing visions of America. Obama was unlikely to win on a straight referendum of his economic performance but his chances have now improved in the long haul due to the negatives that come with Paul Ryan, his budgetary ideas and his recycled supply-side economic theories that have already been tired and seen to fail in the past. In the short run Romney’s numbers may see a brief boost in the ratings game but in the long run Ryan and his ultra conservative baggage are more likely to be an albatross around Mitt Romney’s neck ands that’s hardly where a candidate wants to be heading into a presidential election.

S.J. Gulitti



Laura Ingraham Tears Into Romney Campaign: He Needs New Communications Team, Strategy;

Romney aide’s health care remarks spark flap;

Should Mitt Romney fire his spokeswoman?;

Rush Limbaugh Wants Mitt Romney To Fire His Top Advisors And Hire ‘Real Conservatives’;

The Moment All the Doubts About Romney Resurfaced on the Right;

Here’s The Gigantic Risk Mitt Romney Is Taking With Paul Ryan;

A Risky Rationale Behind Romney’s Choice of Ryan;

Paul Ryan Is The Most Extreme VP Candidate In More Than A Century;

Pros And Cons: Ryan As Romney’s VP;

Paul Ryan VP pick shakes up Mitt Romney battle plan;

Veteran’s Group Wants Rush Banned

7:26 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

One of America’s up and coming veteran’s organizations,, headed up by Iraq War veteran Jon Stoltz, at the urging of female veterans, has requested that the potty mouthed Rush Limbaugh be kicked off of the Armed Forces network for his misogynistic views of women and birth control. Like so many of the advertisers whom have now abandoned the blowhard Limbaugh, it’s the attack on Sandra Fluke that seems to have finally tipped the balance.  

Here is the argument that VoteVets made to the AFN: “Rush Limbaugh has a freedom of speech and can say what he wants, but in light of his horribly misogynistic comments, American Forces Network should no longer give him a platform.  Our entire military depends on troops respecting each other – women and men.  There simply can be no place on military airwaves for sentiments that would undermine that respect.  When many of our female troops use birth control, for Limbaugh to say they are “sluts” and “prostitutes” is beyond the pale.  It isn’t just disrespectful to our women serving our country, but it’s language that goes against everything that makes our military work.  Again, we swore to uphold our Constitution, including the freedom of speech, and would not take that away from anyone – even Limbaugh.  But that does not mean AFN should broadcast him.  In fact, it shouldn’t.”

Seeing as some of America’s top advertisers, like AOL, have recently dropped Limbaugh we can assume that the Armed Forces Network won’t be far behind. To this end VoteVets has circulated a petition, to be forwarded to the Department of Defense, among its members to hasten the departure of Mr. Limbaugh.  After all, unit cohesion is based on mutual trust and respect and that is a core value in our military. The sooner the top brass get wind of VoteVets efforts the sooner Limbaugh will unceremoniously be shown the door. He is clearly outside of the realm of civil society and anyone who has ever been associated with the military knows that good manners and respect are required, not suggested.

Steven J. Gulitti



Female Veterans Call For Military Radio Channel To Drop Rush Limbaugh After ‘Slut’ Remark;

Female Veterans Call for American Forces Network to Drop Rush Limbaugh;

Does the G.O.P. Need to Doctor Up Mitt Romney?‏

8:13 am in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

Now here’s a compelling question. Does the G.O.P. and the conservative elite need to doctor up Mitt Romney so as to make him seem conservative enough to be electable? It’s no secret that large numbers of conservatives don’t see Romney as a fellow traveler and that poses two great risks to the G.O.P., the prospect of a third party bid, a sure formula for defeat, or the other equally unattractive option, a conservative voters strike on election day. If conservative voters decide to “hold their noses and vote for Romney” so much the better for the Republican elite. They’re more than happy to co-opt the votes of the far right so long as they don’t have to let them into those “quiet rooms” where they actually formulate policy.
Since Romney’s Florida primary victory and since his latest gaffe, there has been a raft of criticism from the right, aimed directly at him. Representative of these attacks is Jonah Goldberg who penned “What’s Wrong With This Guy?”; to wit:”Congratulations to Mitt Romney for his big win last night. It was a win that, Romney supporters hoped, would help bury concerns about his ability to seal the deal to do what it takes.  But I’m not so sure…As a bunch of us have been writing around here for a while, the under-emphasized dynamic in this race isn’t that Romney isn’t conservative enough (though that’s obviously a real concern out there) it’s that he’s simply not a good enough politician. He may be the most electable on paper. He’s certainly a nice guy, decent father, smart, successful etc. But, every time he seems to get into his groove and pull away he says things that make people think he doesn’t know how to play the game. That can be reassuring to some, who take it as proof he’s not another politician. The problem, for others at least, is that because he isn’t a natural politician he breaks the language where it needs to bend. He uses language — “I like to fire people!” “It’s nothing to get angry about” etc — that doesn’t make him seem like an unconventional politician. Rather his language makes him seem like a caricature of a conventionally stiff country club Republican.”
Then there’s Laura Ingraham who wrote “I Don’t Know If Mitt Romney Can Beat’ Obama”. Ingraham, nobody’s “progressive” said: “A bunch of us sitting next to each other– very prominent conservatives, former Bush Cabinet members — we’re looking at each other going, ‘I don’t know if Mitt Romney can beat him…He’s got to bring his A-game, and he can’t just do, you know, the kind of thing he’s doing with Gingrich, because Obama’s operation is really smart…And I think they’re going to run a tough campaign.” And let’s not forget that stalwart of conservative stalwarts, Rush Limbaugh. Quoting a piece appearing in the Huffington Post: “Rush Limbaugh threw up his hands on his Wednesday show, laying into Mitt Romney for his comments that he is “not concerned about the very poor” because they have a safety net. Limbaugh said Romney is making it harder and harder to beat President Obama.” And in Limbaugh’s own words “He comes across as the prototypical rich Republican. And it’s gonna make it harder and harder and harder and harder to go after Obama because this turns around on him. You know, all these Wizards of Smart in the Republican establishment say, ‘We can’t have Newt out there! Why, Newt’s gonna be the topic. We need Obama to be the topic. We need Obama to be the guy campaign’s about. If Newt’s out there, it’s only gonna be about Newt.’ Well, what evidence is there that it’s not gonna be about Romney with these kinds of statements?”
I could probably go on digging up similar statements revealing the alarm coursing through the conservative movement resulting from the prospect of Mitt Romney as nominee but the three aforementioned sources are pretty typical of the far right’s chattering class. You can bet your bottom dollar that the same degree of alarm is afoot within the Republican elite when they consider the image of the chimerical con man Newt Gingrich as the Party’s standard bearer. But just going with the conventional thinking for the moment, that Romney will be the eventual nominee, are we in fact, looking at the best of several bad choices? Does Romney have so many flaws regarding his ability to connect with voters, some of it the result of his vast wealth, that he is essentially in need of a image rehabilitation so as to make him presentable in November?  Does this very issue detract from his electability to the point that it may cost the Republican’s the election in November, a contest that should be able to win, all factors being equal? Is there, in fact, even enough time to affect such a rehabilitation of Mitt Romney’s image and won’t that effort in and of itself create a new avenue of attack for the Obama campaign? Will the leadership of the G.O.P. in their post mortems of 2012 sit back and wonder why the Party couldn’t have found a strong, suitable and engaging candidate with which to knock off a less than stellar incumbent? There are already a multitude of questions raining down on the G.O.P. as to whether or not it has done a good job in launching its bid to retake the White House. The more mistakes and questions that surface regarding Romney, the more difficult the campaign against Barack Obama grows going forward.
Steven J. Gulitti

What is Wrong With This Guy?

Laura Ingraham: ‘I Don’t Know If Mitt Romney Can Beat’ Obama;

Rush Limbaugh On Mitt Romney’s ‘Very Poor’ Comments: He Sounds Like ‘The Prototypical Rich Republican’;

Fox News Turns the Guns on the Far Right

3:01 am in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

Something happened on the way to the presidential forum in Orlando last week, Roger Ailes the CEO of Fox News decided to change Fox News’ ideological course and turn the guns on conservative candidates themselves. Quoting Howard Kurtz, “It was part political spectacle, part American Idol, part YouTube extravaganza, a pure Roger Ailes production—and the latest sign that the Fox News chairman is quietly repositioning America’s dominant cable-news channel…the real eye-opener was the sight of his anchors grilling the Republican contenders, which pleases the White House but cuts sharply against the network’s conservative image—and risks alienating its most rabid right-wing fans.” While this may come as a surprise to many, this “course correction” has actually been underway for some time. The first piece of baggage pitched overboard was Glenn Beck who’s yammering about Barack Obama being a racist was in Ailes words, “a bit of a branding issue for us”. In other words the loss of advertising revenue due to Glenn Beck’s ranting, raving and crying was all that Ailes needed to seal the fate of Beck on the network. Ailes went on to categorize Beck as a “performer” as opposed to a journalist which of course is spot on. Kurtz writing for the conservative leaning Newsweek said of the changes: ” Fox executives say the entire network took a hard right turn after Obama’s election, but, as the Tea Party’s popularity fades, is edging back toward the mainstream…After the Gabrielle Gifford’s shooting triggered a debate about feverish rhetoric, Ailes ordered his troops to tone things down. It was, in his view, a chance to boost profits by grabbing a more moderate audience.” Kurtz goes on to note that Ailes has grown tired of Sarah Palin and her antics as well.

In a scathing attack on Ailes and Fox’s new tack to a less strident tone, Rush Limbaugh proclaimed that “Fox wants these people to tear each other up, ’cause they want approval from the mainstream media.” Limbaugh may be miffed by being left behind as a result of this new course being set by Fox but in the final analysis Roger Ailes is a businessman who just happens to be a conservative. What he isn’t is a hard line blind faith ideologue that’s going to go down with the sinking Tea Party or to allow a crackpot like Glenn Beck to become an all encompassing “tar baby” that traps and encumbers Fox News to the point of completely destroying whatever credibility the network has left while costing the network millions in lost revenue. Ailes, a consummate businessman, played the Tea Party, Beck and the hot rhetoric of the far right like banjoes when he profited from an association with them and moved away from them as soon as their value to the network came into question. It seems to me that Roger Ailes has astutely read the declining fortunes of the Tea Party, the slump in standing of Congressional Republicans, the sinking campaigns of Perry, Bachmann and Paul as well as the stymied political future of Palin for what they are, harbingers of the end of an extremist right wing surge across the landscape of American politics.

I would bet that Ailes, being concerned about the future of the country, as so many of us are, has come to the conclusion that during desperate times like these it is reckless to engage in a campaign of blindly denigrating the incumbent administration to the point that it might hobble that administration’s ability to govern effectively. Ailes may have finally come to his political as well as business senses in seeing much of what has transpired on the far right since Obama was inaugurated for what it is, borderline sedition and that sort of thing isn’t good for business.

Steven J. Gulitti


Roger’s Reality Show;

Roger Ailes: Fox News Is On A ‘Course Correction’ Away From Far Right;

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.



Newt Gingrich’s Dream, Driven by the Winds of Folly?
Gingrich presidential campaign implodes

 Santorum: D-Day Troops Fought For Health Care Freedom;:

The Winds Of Folly Begin To Buffet Newt Gingrich

9:49 am in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

Newt Gingrich - Caricature

"Newt Gingrich - Caricature by DonkeyHotey, on Flick


Back in March I wrote a piece on Newt Gingrich’s far fetched dream of being elected to the American presidency, “Newt Gingrich’s Dream, Driven by the Winds of Folly?” In concluding the aforementioned I wrote:”Ultimately Gingrich’s presidential aspirations will be blown by the winds of folly onto the rocks of political reality. His political day has come and gone and it’s not going to come back. It’s just a matter of time before he himself comes to that realization.” Now just a few weeks after formally announcing his candidacy and having a plethora of prior positions and comments come back to haunt him, Gingrich seems to be on the verge of one of the fastest denouements in American political history.

As everyone knows, any serious candidate for the presidency passes through the trial by fire that is NBC’s Meet the Press and Gingrich’s recent appearance on the show seems to have only hastened his political demise. Having to answer questions about his multiple marriages, his prior endorsement of elements of what is presently within Obama’s health care reform and his characterization of Paul Ryan’s economic ideas as radical and right-wing engineering has touched off a mass of defections among donors and a rising chorus of criticism on the right as to his fitness for the office of the presidency. According to political reporter Jon Ward: “The former House Speaker from Georgia’s once biggest advantage over other long shot candidates — an established fundraising network — is withering before his eyes.”The last 48 hours have called into question if Newt can even make it to July 4, because his fundraising is going to dry up,” said one veteran Republican strategist. “No serious finance bundler is now going to step forward in such an organized campaign and take a leadership role.” Within 24 hours of Gingrich’s Meet the Press interview he had lost 13 of 18 co-chairs to an upcoming fund raising event. Thus Gingrich’s hopes of winning the nomination are dwindling as fast as is the funding he needs to propel his campaign forward.
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Of Snowstorms, Conspiracies and Tea Parties

10:56 am in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

I have more than a few Tea Party adherents in my family who, prior to this summer, used to make a habit of sending me every little headline about how cold and snowy it was and how those “facts” proved that global warming was a fallacy being undone with each snowflake drifting down to earth. Oddly enough, they never sent me a single headline this summer about how unbelievably hot it was in the Northeast. I guess while I was bobbing around the bayous Louisiana they were reading the World Meteorological Organization’s Press Release No. 904 which came to the following conclusion: “The year 2010 is almost certain to rank in the top 3 warmest years since the beginning of instrumental climate records in 1850” and its byline: “2010 in the top three warmest years, 2001-2010, warmest 10-year period.”  Well now, as if by magic, the spate of cold weather and overly abundant snowfall gripping the Northern Hemisphere has set off a new round of debate, doubt and denial as it relates to the changing climate.

Global Warming is not a hot button issue with me and I believe that the related science is still in the process of being validated. That along with the fact that some of the findings have been manipulated for political purposes makes for a situation where the jury is still out with the final verdict still in the process of being formulated. Likewise the same holds true for most of the counterarguments. However, none of the aforementioned takes away from the fact that there are discernable changes in the climate that cannot be denied. There is little reason to doubt that there have been major changes in the climate in the last 50+ years. To deny that is to make an argument contrary to historical fact. At 57 I can remember winters that were much different than they are now, at least around the Northeast where I grew up. One of the great misconceptions surrounding the global warming debate hinges around snowfall and temperatures. There is nothing inconsistent with the general theory of global warming where some regions will grow colder with increased amounts of snow fall while others see their climate grow warmer. It hinges in part on the changes in the ocean current, the jet stream and the Central Asian snow pack. Moreover what the opponents of global warming fail to realize in pointing out the increase in snowfall this year and last is that the debate about climate is about trends, not a snapshot of a series of weather events within a given winter or within several winters. Focusing on short term events instead of long term trends serves to undermine an opponent’s counter argument as it fails to account for the larger, longer term picture. It fails because climate is a long-term trend whereas weather is the short term manifestation of climate and to focus on a handful of weather events while ignoring the longer term trends is to invite a flaw into one’s analysis. That flaw ultimately leads to misconstrued and faulty conclusions.

Judah Cohen of Atmospheric and Environmental Research has recently published findings that effectively debunk the idea that the increased snowfall in the Northern Hemisphere is inconsistent with the idea that the overall climate is warming. Quoting Dr. Cohen:” The not-so-obvious short answer is that the overall warming of the atmosphere is actually creating cold-weather extremes… Annual cycles like El Niño/Southern Oscillation, solar variability and global ocean currents cannot account for recent winter cooling. And though it is well documented that the earth’s frozen areas are in retreat, evidence of thinning Arctic sea ice does not explain why the world’s major cities are having colder winters… As global temperatures have warmed and as Arctic sea ice has melted over the past two and a half decades, more moisture has become available to fall as snow over the continents. So the snow cover across Siberia in the fall has steadily increased. The sun’s energy reflects off the bright white snow and escapes back out to space. As a result, the temperature cools. When snow cover is more abundant in Siberia, it creates an unusually large dome of cold air next to the mountains, and this amplifies the standing waves in the atmosphere…That is why the Eastern United States, Northern Europe and East Asia have experienced extraordinarily snowy and cold winters since the turn of this century.” A further scientific elaboration on Dr. Cohen’s model and an assessment of its accuracy can be found in a National Science Foundation Special Report entitled “Predicting Seasonal Weather, A Special Report.”

Yet in contrast to the scientific findings that have been put forth from reputable organizations such as the National Science Foundation and Atmospheric and Environmental Research, a large element of the opposition’s argument seems to hinge upon conspiracy theories, an anti-intellectual bias or the preaching’s of that ever present claque of political entertainers who make their living on cable television masquerading as political analysts. Needless to say, it’s definitely a hot button issue among the Tea Party crowd to deny the climate changes that have taken place. John M. Broder in an article entitled “Climate Change Doubt Is Tea Party Article of Faith” detailed the extent to which members of the Tea Party Movement are willing to accept anything but science in their efforts to dispute the scientific data contained in those reports that postulate that the world’s climate is changing due to global warming. Quoting Broder: “Skepticism and outright denial of global warming are among the articles of faith of the Tea Party Movement… For some, it is a matter of religious conviction; for others, it is driven by distrust of those they call the elites. And for others still, efforts to address climate change are seen as a conspiracy to impose world government and a sweeping redistribution of wealth.” Citing a New York Times / CBS poll conducted in October, Broder showed the degree to which members of the Tea Party Movement differ from the general public on the issue of global warming. Tea Party Movement supporters are considerably more skeptical when it comes to the existence and effects of global warming than the American public generally. The survey found that only 14 percent of Tea Party supporters said that the problem of global warming was here and now versus 49 percent of the public at large. More than half of Tea Party supporters said that “global warming would have no serious effect at any time in the future, while only 15 percent of other Americans share that view” and, “8 percent of Tea Party adherents volunteered that they did not believe global warming exists at all, while only 1 percent of other respondents agreed.”

Broder links the sentiments of the Tea Party Movement’s opposition to global warming theories with other groups that have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. He points out that the fossil fuel industries have spent $500 million dollars since 2009 on lobbying against climate change legislation, that they have funded “lavishly financed institutes to produce anti-global-warming studies” and “waged a concerted campaign to raise doubts about the science of global warming”, as well as “paid for Web sites to question the science.” At the same time the anti global warming rhetoric has been a staple on the talks shows of America’s preeminent political entertainers: Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and of course, Sarah Palin. Promoting anti-global warming skepticism has been a core tenet of right wing groups like Americans for Prosperity, and the Tea Party cash cow, Freedom Works.

All this begs a number of questions: If there is such a compelling body of scientific knowledge that disproves the theory of global warming, then why not just stick with the science and forgo the political theatrics? Why spend millions of dollars on lobbying and public relations to discredit the theory of global warming by raising doubts when you could just produce objective hard science results that point to the contrary? Surely the advocates of global warming theory were set back last summer when it was found that several scientists in England had fiddled with scientific findings for political reasons. That having happened, wouldn’t those who oppose global warming theory been better served by a counterargument based on facts at a time when their opponent’s integrity was in question? Or, conversely is their counterargument better served by the image of doubters poking around among snowdrifts with their yardsticks in some unscientific attempt to dispute actual scientific findings? Why do the doubters engage in deflection by saying that the argument surrounding global warming is really Marxist wealth redistribution disguised as science when the scientific reports don’t include any mention of politics and policy? Perhaps someone should clue these opponents in to the fact that we live in an age dominated by science and technology and that any disputing of hard science is not likely to come about via conspiracy theories, unsupported skepticism or Biblical quotes that address man’s relationship with the natural world within which he exists.

Steven J. Gulitti



World Meteorological Organization’s Press Release No. 904

Predicting Seasonal Weather, A Special Report

Bundle Up, It’s Global Warming

Atmospheric and Environmental Research: In the News


IPCC Official: “Climate Policy Is Redistributing The World’s Wealth”


Climate Change Doubt Is Tea Party Article of Faith

Facts vs. Fiction: The Big Lie About the Government “Takeover” of Health Care

9:30 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

Back on December 9th, in a post entitled Fox Fair and Balanced” on Health Care Debate…..NOT!I pointed out how the Fox News Network had deliberately tried to skew the national discussion on health care reform in such a way as to discredit the concept of a public option. Well just yesterday The Saint Petersburg Times’ Pulitzer Prize winning affiliate, published:”PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year: ‘A Government Takeover of Health Care”. This article pointed out how, when the facts are objectively analyzed, that for all of the rhetoric surrounding health care reform as being Socialist, it was in fact far from it .

Well with the health care debate behind us and with those facts on the table, the folks at PolitiFact’ have detailed the inaccuracies of this conservative claim, labeling it the political lie of 2010. This falsehood was second only to Michele Bachmann’s bizarrely absurd claim that Barack Obama’s trip to India would cost 200 Million Dollars a day. deconstructs the logic behind the argument that “ObamaCare” represents a “government takeover of health care” with the following facts:

“Government takeover” conjures a European approach where the government owns the hospitals and the doctors are public employees. But the law Congress passed, parts of which have already gone into effect, relies largely on the free market:

Employers will continue to provide health insurance to the majority of Americans through private insurance companies.

• Contrary to the claim, more people will get private health coverage. The law sets up “exchanges” where private insurers will compete to provide coverage to people who don’t have it.

• The government will not seize control of hospitals or nationalize doctors.

• The law does not include the public option, a government-run insurance plan that would have competed with private insurers.

• The law gives tax credits to people who have difficulty affording insurance, so they can buy their coverage from private providers on the exchange. But here too, the approach relies on a free market with regulations, not socialized medicine.

PolitiFact reporters have studied the 906-page bill and interviewed independent health care experts. We have concluded it is inaccurate to call the plan a government takeover because it relies largely on the existing system of health coverage provided by employers.

It’s true that the law does significantly increase government regulation of health insurers. But it is, at its heart, a system that relies on private companies and the free market.”

This very argument was raised last February when the renowned health care economist Uwe Reinhardt published an article entitled: ”A Government Takeover of Health Care? Reinhardt came to the following conclusion: “A common refrain among critics of the health reform bills passed by the House and the Senate is that they constitute a “complete government takeover of 17 percent of the American economy.”How could this be so? Start with the $950 billion price tag over the next decade for federal subsidies toward the purchase of private health insurance.  Divide that amount by $34 trillion, the current projection for total national health spending over the next decade even in the absence of health reform. You will get 2.8 percent.  Does that, then, constitute a government takeover of our health system?” Reinhardt concluded that the proposed reforms at the time, while certainly representing a major intrusion by the Federal Government into the health care process, were necessary as the system was “wasteful and unwieldy” and ”would require substantial intrusion of government into the system, as evidently the system cannot correct itself.”

Thus with the benefit of hindsight and with the 2010 elections where “ObamaCare” was certainly a topic of discussion now history, the question arises: To what extent have the American people been misled, if not outright bamboozled by the ultra right campaign against health care reform and it’s conflating of that topic with the conjured up ”specter of creeping Socialism?” To my mind the conservative attack on health care reform fits very neatly into a pattern of history that stretches all the way back to Theodore Roosevelt’s first mention of the need for some type of national health care system. Since that time, health care reform has dovetailed neatly into more than one of the “red scares” that have accompanied this debate and that of progressive reform in general. Then like now, health care reform was seen as something that was tied to a decline of freedom in America and its replacement with that European import labeled “Socialism.” Remember how Ronald Reagan once told us that the enactment of Medicare would bring about the decline of freedom in America and how we would all one day tell our grandchildren what it was once like to live in a free country? And just like then, these claims have now been proven by facts to be far fetched at best and fictitious at the very worst. Thus have those Americans who bought into this rhetoric of fiction and fear become nothing more than the “useful idiots’ for those on the far right who have a vested interest in the status quo? Have they in so doing sacrificed their own best interests so as to avoid a “Socialist” threat that doesn’t even exist in today’s America? Or, have just so many Americans become fooled by the likes of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh as to be unable to distinguish fact from fantasy and what does that say about the future of American Democracy?

 Steven J. Gulitti



 PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year: ‘A government takeover of health care’

 The ‘Government Takeover’ of Health Care, and Other Whoppers

 A ‘Government Takeover’ of Health Care?

From Republican Victory to Republican Civil War?

9:02 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

Republicans have not even popped the corks of their celebratory champagne bottles yet and already there is a anti-Tea Party coup in the works the goal of which is to torpedo the presidential aspirations of Sarah Palin before her campaign even gets underway. A damming article from Politico which broke just yesterday revealed a concerted if uncoordinated effort taking shape among Republican leaders to see that Palin does not secure the 2012 Republican nomination for president. Quoting Politico:”Interviews with advisers to the main 2012 presidential contenders and with other veteran Republican operatives make clear they see themselves on a common, if uncoordinated, mission of halting the momentum and credibility Palin gained with conservative activists by plunging so aggressively into this year’s midterm campaigns…There is rising expectation among GOP elites that Palin will probably run for president in 2012 and could win the Republican nomination, a prospect many of them regard as a disaster in waiting…“There is a determined, focused establishment effort … to find a candidate we can coalesce around who can beat Sarah Palin,” said one prominent and longtime Washington Republican. “We believe she could get the nomination, but Barack Obama would crush her.” Thus it would appear that the trains are already on the track for what will be the first  train wreck between the G.O.P. esthablishment and the Tea Party Movement.You can add to this developing drama the existing controversy between Ms. Palin and Tea Party star Joe Miller, the current Alaska Senatorial contender whom Palin backed against Lisa Murkowski only to have Miller short change Palin when it came time to endorse her presidential aspirations. This G.O.P. esthablishment – Tea Party friction has been below the surface since the movement gained traction during the 2009 health care reform debates. Appearing on Fox News with Greta Van Sustern in the summer of 2009, Rush Limbaugh was nothing if not emphatic in his denunciation of the Republican leadership and the veiled contempt that they have for the Tea Party Movement generally and Sarah Palin in particular. Tensions only grew more intense as the Tea Party Movement knocked off several Republican veterans and hand picked contenders during primary season. Thereafter the movement went on to put a number of Republicans not currently running for re-election on notice that they too were in the movement’s cross hairs.

In an interview with the National Journal, Senate Republican Leader, Mitch McConnell said: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president,” Is McConnell’s rhetoric aimed at placating the Tea Party or does he actually believe that in the depths of the Great Recession, this is the single most important goal for a victorious Republican Party? What happened to the never-ending Republican cry: ”Where are the jobs?” What became of all of the talk of reducing the size of government, of tax policy and talk about how to “grow the economy.”? Now on the brink of victory the Republican elites have shown their hand and it consists first and foremost of political priorities aimed at winning the 2012 presidential election and making sure that Sarah Palin isn’t around to screw things up. What happened to the G.O.P’s big effort to “listen to the American people” this past summer? Thus we see just how important the dire state of the economy is to the elites who fashion Republican political strategy. Have McConnell and his lieutenants already misread the election’s outcome, taking it to mean that they have a mandate in spite of the fact that they are polling at lower favorability ratings then the Democrats that are about to be turned out of office? Have they misread a vote of protest for an endorsement of the Republican Party line which it can’t possibly be given the G.O.P.s historically low standing among voters? That said, how long would it be before the voters come down with that old sinking feeling of buyer’s remorse? Surely if the immediate follow on to the midterm elections is the out break of an intra-party civil war within the G.O.P. what else could a weary and disgruntled electorate feel but buyer’s remorse, dismay and disgust. The election’s outcome will certainly cause the Democrats to circle the wagons and try to regroup for 2012. But it already seems like the G.O.P. and the Tea Party are in the process of circling the rifles into a circular firing squad and that can’t be good at a time like this when the country is desperately in need of solutions to deep seated problems of long standing. The final question from all of this is: Has the Republican Party gotten more than it bargained for in its marriage of convenience with the Tea Party and is it too late to unwind the relationship before it tears the G.O.P. to shreds in an intraparty conflict that could end the Republican Party as we presently know it?

Steven J. Gulitti



National Journal:

Next for GOP leaders: Stopping Sarah Palin:

An Impending and Inevitable Train Wreck;