Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category
Is it legal to break the law in order to prove a point that it is too easy to break the law? Or if you break the law because you want to prove a point about breaking the law, are you still accountable because you broke the law?
James O’Keefe must believe it is okay to act illegally if you are doing it for the sake of journalism (or at least “journalism”). That must be his defense, right? Because voter fraud is illegal, and if you videotape yourself committing voter fraud and then put that footage on the internet, well, you cannot deny you committed voter fraud. So how else can he defend himself? Think of it this way: “It’s against the law to steal, so if you go out and steal and then put up a video and say, ‘Look, I stole something,’ that’s a crime.”
Did you hear this story? It’s fascinating in a “god you’re stupid” kind of way.
The conservative activist James O’Keefe and his Project Veritas pals voted in the New Hampshire primary election, using the identity of dead people and having no ID. He claims he wanted to show the laxity of voting laws that do not require ID and how fraud in our elections is blah blah blah. Instead, well, he might be in serious trouble. Like going to prison trouble. Because, as we mentioned above, voter fraud is illegal. And so is identity theft. Does it matter why you did it? There are all kinds of laws to prosecute voter fraud, but also pretty strict wiretapping and eavesdropping laws in New Hampshire, which “specify that it is illegal to record an election official without permission.” Well, now there are 10 minutes of video footage all over the internet that do nothing but show the group committing voter fraud and illegally videotaping election officials over, and over, and over.
So, congratulations James. You might have proven your point that it’s too easy to vote as someone else. But by doing it, you proved an ever bigger point. You’re a dumbass, and if you go to jail, I won’t feel too sorry for you. Which may just inflate your ego and boost your “neo-con cred.” But, oh well.
He is the very model of a modern Evangelical,
quite content to sit and judge the gays and homosexuals,
the Iowans had no choice but to choose someone unethical,
the only choices they could see were between hypotheticals,
Ron Paul, Mitt Romney didn’t seem as eager to be critical
of everyone and everything that is clearly so despicable,
and since none of them have a chance to beat the Muslim Radical
that’s in the White House now what does it matter who they voted for?
There is no way the GOP can choose among such terrible
options as were presented to Iowa to verify.
There must be someone out there who can rescue us from tyranny,
because Obama is the worst he’s not even from our country-
Hawaii doesn’t count because it’s really far from anything,
also I cannot drive there , which makes it unAmerican,
Donald Trump knows of course it is no coincidence,
he knows exactly how and why Barry is the Darkest Prince.
Anyway-now that Santorum has shown he is the ‘real deal’
it’s time Republicans start to panic for the coming year,
Do you really think that Rick Santorum offers the nation anything
beyond his own assurance that evil is in everything?
Don’t let your party be hijacked by crazy evangelicals,
there must be smart conservatives in suburbs and in towns rural,
you are the ones who have to point out Santorum is the worst of all.
Of course it doesn’t matter neither he nor Mitt or Mr. Paul
Has any chance to win next year, even with no jobs at all.
Why has your party lost its sight on the nature of reality,
it’s true in matters political, philosophic and actual,
you’ve been content to sit and gripe without concern for anything,
but causing everyone heartburn by doing little or nothing.
And now the best you have to offer up for president of all
Is Rick Santorum, the model of the modern evangelical?
(If you are unfamiliar with Pirates of Penzance, and need to find the tune for this ditty, watch this).
Today is the Iowa Caucuses, most well known as the kick-off to the Presidential Election 2012. TRC is pretty excited to see what kind of madness ensues this year, and to get things rolling, we offer readers the “Everything you need to know about the candidates for today’s Iowa Caucus” primer that will get you through the rest of January 3.
So what do you need to know?
Our Prediction: It appears that Ron Paul or Rick Santorum might win the Iowa Caucuses. Or maybe Mitt Romney. But probably someone more conservative like Santorum or Paul. Or Romney.
Also, Michele Bachmann is going to be keep “fighting” to “surprise” despite having a snowballs chance, and Newt Gingrich is going to be mean because he has always said he would run a clean campaign until he peaked then started trending downward thus allowing him to finally display is true dickish nature. Which if you recall is really, really dickish.
Thus Mitt Romney is your winner. Even if he doesn’t win, he wins. I mean, look at these guys:
There you have it. Your 2012 Republican field.
Republican Party members should be very concerned if Donald Trump is allowed to play a role in the nominating process of the GOP Presidential Primary Race. After the circus performance that was Trump’s flirtation with actually running in the race, Trump now is planning to moderate a debate for the candidates. Is this a Presidential Contest or an elaborate joke being perpetrated on America? I don’t mean to make the Presidential race into some kind of idol to be worshiped, but let’s take at least a modicum of seriousness in to the decision to pick our President.
Republicans, you need to get this to STOP, now. For your own sake and the sake of your party. Donald Trump is probably the only entity in the country that has a more inflated sense of his own importance and value than the NFL. He does not bring anything but cartoon-quality blather to any conversation, save perhaps reality television. He promotes the worst side of bigoted anti-Obamaism, and pretends that his experience as a Sometimes-Failed, Sometimes-On-TV-Rich-American-Hotel-Owner-and-”Empire”-Manager provides him with some insight into governance on a national level. And he is toxic to the political process.
Treating Donald Trump as an important Political figure is just as ridiculous as treating Dr. Dre as a respected scientist.
Thankfully, at least some people in the GOP recognize the terrible idea that is allowing Trump into the discussion. Karl Rove sees the shallowness of Trump’s pretend run for President, as well as the ridiculous nature of the debate. Rep. Ron Paul, too, has said he would not partake in a debate in which Donald Trump gets the moderator role. According to the Paul campaign, Donald Trump’s involvement will “contribute to an unwanted circus-like atmosphere.” You think? Unfortunately, not all the candidates agree. Newt Gingrich met with Trump last week, and defended him from the attacks of Paul, Rove, and other conservatives.
The GOP nominating contest already operates in a similar fashion to a spectacle of true absurdity. The competition provides plenty of opportunity for extreme candidates to appear before national audiences and compete to be the most insensitive to immigrants, the most willing to execute criminals, the most excited to bomb Iran, etc. There is no need to add another buffoon into the crowded circus tent, and start a competition to be the most willing to please Donald Trump.
UPDATE: To wit:
Watch this outrageous video of Trump insulting Huntsman, decrying Obama and pushing the Birther Agenda even further. Disgraceful.
Are Conservative Americans really trying to create a groundswell of movement to help Newt Gingrich win the 2012 Republican Presidential Nomination? Newt, former un-loved and resigned Speaker of the House, Moral Crusader against Old Bill, Contractor with America who left his cancer-recovering wife for his mistress Gingrich?
Does that seem like a good idea?
I’m thinking that my liberal reaction to Gingrich, one that casts him off as having no chance (absolutely zero) of winning the Presidency might be just straight bias. Because there appears to be real desire in large parts of the party to see Gingrich win. To be fair, there has been a real push behind all of the not-Romney candidate spikes (Bachmann, Perry, Cain). But Gingrich’s is a surprise. Sure he may be smart, he may know a lot about American History, his persona may seem eminently reasonable at the debates, but this is Newt Gingrich. The arch-conservative line could be behind Newt Gingrich (the Washington Times, for example, lists why he deserves a second chance), but what about the rest of Conservative America? Can the electors of the GOP really support the idea of Newt Gingrich running against Barack Obama?
I can’t imagine it, but that’s why I’m a liberal. There must be something behind Gingrich’s surge, and something in his potential campaign that has life. If its just a flirtation, like with Bachmann and Perry, it has more life and drive than either of them. The Cain folks seem even more determined than the Bachmann and Perry folks, trying to weather Cain through his harrassmnet scandal instead of just dropping him like the previous hopefuls. But Cain, too, seems destined to fade. There doesn’t appear to be evidence that it will be different for Gingrich. But the not-Romney movement is slowly running out of candidates, and they would do well to take heed of that fact.
TRC thinks that, in all likelihood, Mitt Romney will be the 2012 GOP Nominee. It is not inevitable, but it seems likely. However, the heart of the Republican Party is not with Romney, and if there is going to be an upset, could it go to Newt Gingrich? The wacky nature of this silly season has shown that any candidate can get temporary support (except Pawlenty) if they just wait their turn.
But there is danger in the fluid nature of the short-term candidate love. If Romney is actually not going to win, it seems possible that whomever is the last not-Romney surging in the polls will be the not-Romney that wins. That’s an unflattering way to describe the GOP race, but it is accurate. If the last not-Mitt happens to be Newt Gingrich, Republicans, I have to warn you about your fortunes.
A campaign against Newt Gingrich pretty much runs itself.
I am a fan of the Congressman from across the river. He’s not my rep, but he’s a good rep for Minneapolis, and for Minnesota. Keith Ellison is the man I’m not-so-subtly referring to. Ellison is a smart and questioning representative. I’ve always admired his honesty and forthrightness, and have been proud to be from the state that elected him. Ellison supports his party, state and national leaders when he agrees, and does not when he disagrees, even on major legislation. Just what you want in a public official. Of course, Ellison is also Muslim, the first of his religion elected to national office. So he must endure the trash that accompanies such distinction.
I like to think that such trash is rare. But we are coming up on election season. This is the US of A. If we laid out a two or three principles that are absolutely essential to this American Experiment, it is freedom of religious practice and belief, and that there is no litmus test, religious or otherwise, for holding office in this country.
And yet, here we are, 2011. And this is how Keith Ellison’s opponents are challenging him.
So far, it is Gary Boisclair. Mr. Boislcair is a (so-called) Tea Party Republican, who produced this ad to be run in the democratic primary (you can watch it in the link). He plans to challenge Ellison next year. Here’s what Boisclair reads, over images of the ‘terrors’ of Islam:
Congressman Ellison swore an oath to defend the Constitution — on a Quran. The Quran says Christians and Jews are infidels. The Quran says Christians are blasphemers, who should have their hands and feet cut off, and that they should be crucified, and killed. Do you really want someone representing you, who swears an oath on a Quran — a book that undermines our Constitution and says you should be killed? I’m Gary Boisclair, and I approve this message.
The release of this ad was accompanied by a press statement titled: Christian Challenges Muslim for Congressional Seat. Got to love religious intolerance. YouTube has pulled the ad.
This isn’t the first political move that plainly disparaged Ellison’s faith. His 2010 challenger, Lynne Torgerson, also sought to bring about an electoral victory from the basement of political attack. During that campaign, Torgerson wrote on her campaign website:
What do I know of Islam? Well, I know of 911. Nineteen (19) men from Saudi Arabia, all Muslim, hi-jacked planes, and flew into the two (2) World Trade Towers murdering thousands of people, and tried to fly into our Pentagon, and some believe they also tried to fly an airplane into our White House. From this, what I perceive is Islam conducting an act of war against my country. We simply went too far with Keith Ellison. Keith Ellison simply is not a proper person to have in our federal government. … Keith Ellison has no business in our federal government.
Torgerson is spreading more intolerance this year, possibly hinting at another attempt to unseat Ellison? Making Minnesota proud.
It should be noted that Keith Ellison will not lose an election to either Torgerson or Boisclair. He is very popular in his district, winning his past elections by 40+ points in Minneapolis, where all accounts are that he is respected and very well liked by his constituents. As he should be in my opinion. But that doesn’t mean that we should tolerate this kind of religious intolerance, or allow individuals like Torgerson and Boisclair a spot in the process that allows them to raise money by stoking fear and hatred against a model American.
So: here’s a rant if you are interested. It doesn’t do much to clarify the problem, but this is the stuff that makes a good non-religious American furious. Why can’t you folks get it together?
How can so many Americans (and no small number of Christians) not see the blatantly immoral nature of making political attacks on an individual for his religion? This is fundamental US Constitution material. Those Founding Fathers we all love never made anything more clear than the notion that this nation does not have and cannot establish a religion. So why does it happen?
A cynical person might say that the evangelical Christian political movement only sees itself written into the history of this country. That freedom of religion really means freedom of Protestant Christianity from the persecution of Old World Christianity.
Others might argue that this is a particularly volatile time in human history, and especially American history, for Muslim and Christian relations. That in a post-911, post-War on Terror America, there is going to be intolerance and suspicion as part of the natural human reaction to terrorism.
Or, perhaps, the problem lies within the nature of Religion itself. That knowing the Truth allows for an easy discarding of other faiths. This happens all the time, as Christians distrust Muslims, and Muslims distrust Christians, in the US. In other parts of the world, it is not distrust that is brewing but killing and war. Is this religion’s fault, the by-product of certainty in the one’s faith?
No. It’s not that either. Whatever it is, people of faith on all sides, please get your act together, so those of us on the outside of all your religions can stop having to argue for religious tolerance, as you all fight among each other, debasing our American Political Process. Which, if not for such debasement, is a pretty darned good system.
Enjoy your weekend.
I don’t much agree with what gets written at the bog Red State. We do not see eye-to-eye, to say the least. Today, however, there is a long, despondent post from Erik Erickson that I think is worth a look.
It has been written much by many that Barack Obama will not win re-election in 2012. That given the unemployment numbers and the continued despairing state of the economy, and thus the populace, President Obama’s likelihood of winning are at best weak, and at worst impossible.
I think this undercuts several important issues of the 2012 campaign, as I see them (some of this is just gut political instinct, which is, to say the least, unreliable):
- It is very difficult to beat an incumbent president.
- November 2012 is a year away. Which means there is time for the economy to move in the right direction, and unemployment numbers to move in the right direction. These things don’t have to be resolved, just trending the right direction.
- Even if they are not, people still seem to like Barack Obama, or at least they don’t seem to dislike him (notwithstanding kooks who question birth and religious affiliation). He may not be the most popular president, but he is not terribly unpopular. That will matter, a lot, especially if…
- Mitt Romney will be the nominee. People can’t seem to get behind Mitt Romney.
- Finally, Barack Obama is one accomplished campaigner. 2008 will never be recreated, but 2012 will still provide Obama the opportunity to do what he does best: reach out to people, make speeches, raise money.
Why Mitt Romney Will Not Beat Barack Obama
You’d think that given the economy, jobs, and the present angst about the direction of the country that the GOP would have an easy path to victory. You would be wrong.
You forget the electoral college. The vote is coming down to a handful of states and Barack Obama still maintains the advantage of incumbency and not terribly terrible polling in those swing states.
Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is a man devoid of any principles other than getting himself elected. As much as the American public does not like Barack Obama, they loath a man so fueled with ambition that he will say or do anything to get himself elected. Mitt Romney is that man.
I’ve been reading the 200 pages of single spaced opposition research from the John McCain campaign on Mitt Romney. There is no issue I can find on which Mitt Romney has not taken both sides. He is neither liberal nor conservative. He is simply unprincipled. The man has no core beliefs other than in himself. You want him to be tough? He’ll be tough. You want him to be sensitive? He’ll be sensitive. You want him to be for killing the unborn? He’ll go all in on abortion rights until he wants to run for an office where it is not in his advantage.
Along the way, he’ll drop lots of coin to grease the skids for himself. Mitt Romney is the silly putty of politicians — press on him real hard and he’ll take on whatever image you press into him until the next group starts pressing.
Republican billionaires have a fantastic track record of getting Republican opinion leaders to support them and an even better track record at losing elections. Mitt Romney will be no different.
To beat Barack Obama, a candidate must paint a bold contrast with the Democrats on their policies. When Mitt Romney tries, Barack Obama will be able to show that just the other day Mitt Romney held exactly the opposite position as the one he holds today.
Here’s a sentence that is maddening, but potentially important for conservatives:
Although an overwhelming majority of scientists agree that carbon pollution is contributing to global climate change, and virtually all accept that an evolutionary process of natural selection explains the emergence of human life, polls show that most Republican voters second Perry’s rejection of both beliefs.
TRC won’t beat the same drum forever on this issue, but there are too many interesting pieces to read and write about surrounding the science v. not-science argument in the GOP right now (I don’t want to say it is a science v. faith issue, because it really isn’t). Today’s story, The Great Divide, comes from the National Journal. One of the central points it makes probably sounds familiar to Democrats. As this politicking divide between the pro-science Huntsman and not-science Perry continues, the GOP will have the higher educated, elite wing of the party squaring off against the blue-collar, religious wing of the party.
Even so, Huntsman’s championing of science over faith and ideology offers him an opportunity to raise his profile with what his campaign increasingly acknowledges is his natural constituency: the overlapping circles of the party’s best-educated, least religiously devout, and moderate elements. At the same time, Perry’s staunch defense of unwavering hard-right positions on both questions helps him appeal to unvarnished social and economic conservatives as a “battle-tested conservative warrior,” as his campaign described him in a fundraising solicitation this week.
By solidifying those identities, the argument could benefit both men. But, if it persists, their debate could also highlight the differences between the GOP’s college-educated and less devout managerial wing and its more blue-collar and evangelical populist wing. The two camps converge in support for cutting taxes and spending, but differ on cultural questions, sometimes in their views but more in how much they emphasize them.
The GOP is, one might say, at a bit of a political crossroads. The future is going to come, and there are a some things are likely to happen. Evolution will stay the best explanation for the origin of species, climate change will continue to wreak havoc around the globe. Also, taxes will eventually require an increase for some reason or another and marriage equality will continue to spread across the nation. The Republican Party will have to figure out how it will identify itself politically in relation to each of these issues. There are factions of the GOP that dispute the politically central Conservative position on each of these issues, and those groups aren’t going away. But for the sake of the 2012 election, now is probably not the time do air the dirty laundry.
Said Alex Lundry, a Republican voter-targeting expert who is neutral in the 2012 race (though others in his firm TargetPoint work for Mitt Romney)[,] “There are a couple of core debates that need to be had in the next 10 years—over gay rights, immigration and the role of science. But in order for Republicans to win this election, it has to be a referendum on Barack Obama … and his stewardship of the economy. To the extent any debates are had in the party that diverge from that goal, that’s bad.”
If the candidates don’t start talking about policy, and eventually they will, but if somehow Perry overtakes Romney as the front-runner, and continues to wrangle about in agitating the faithful by demeaning science, how can he expect to win a general election? The NJ sees this possibility:
[These arguments] highlight one of the core Democratic hopes for 2012: that Republican positions on social and environmental issues will repel some white-collar suburban voters otherwise economically disenchanted with President Obama.
This is not unfamiliar to the Democrats. Painting too narrow a picture of oneself in the primary usually results in a real picture making one a cartoon. When all is done with the GOP infighting, the winner might just end up like John Kerry, wind-surfing to nowhere.
My beloved home state is represented by two presidential candidates at this early stage in the 2012 Campaign. In last night’s debate in Iowa, they sniped and pinched, and tried to win their way into a new role in the campaign. Bachmann as a front-runner, and Pawlenty as a still-running.
I don’t know if those goals were accomplished. That’s for Republicans to decide. What did happen was this: Minnesota came out looking nasty. And that is not acceptable. Come on.
Another thought brought up by this debate, but going far beyond just last night reminded me of a comment left by a reader on a previous post, marking an important distinction about “politicians” like Michele Bachmann. It has been ringing in my ears of late. He said:
She is not a politician, nor is she interested in politics, at least not as a proper end but rather as an expediency or as a merely intermediate end. In other words, she doesn’t want to be a politician or achieve political goals. Her legislative record in the MN Senate or the US Congress is, well, almost non-existent. Sure, she holds opinions that are related to politics and she talks about them in front of media outlets, (most of her opinions seem to be about debt and marriage), but she hasn’t made an effort to treat these issues as political ones, ie, she hasn’t taken part in efforts to author, co-author, or pass legislation. If a politician is as a politician does, then is Bachmann a politician?
This is a real issue that needs to be answered for the GOP, and the Tea Party. Most of the candidates are “politicians” and the rest are business savvy/job creators, which is okay at the end of the day. But neither group seems interested in government and politics–if you want to be President you should have an interest in policy and government and a basic awareness of how the government operates.
At least half of these candidates don’t, and most of the one’s that do (Paul, Pawlenty, Huntsman) seem destined not to be the nominee. The rest seem interested in “politics” as means to something else. This is why you can have Michele Bachmann defending her record in the legislature as purely one of obstruction rather than anything related to policy–she has no policy interests. Liberty, unfortunately, is not policy–and light bulbs legislation is not an issue of liberty. Likewise, Francis Schaeffer is not a government role model. You can admire him all you want, but if he is a foundational building block of one’s world view, why do you want be President? Schaeffer, one’s opinion of him aside, is not interested in a government of laws, but a government of God’s law. He is not interested in civics.
Instead of questions about how to create a better government through the government, we have a national debate where Bachmann fields questions about being a submissive wife (the moderator’s fault for asking it) but it just allows Bachmann to field non-political, non-government related issues. This is not just a Bachmann problem either. Herman Cain still finds himself on stage, talking not about politics and policy, but religion. After having (maybe) learned his lesson when he announced he did not like and was afraid of Muslims, he just passed off a question about Mormons. If the conversation does turn to government, it is too often about the favorite cure of the Right–the Constitutional Amendment. Amendments apparently cure everything, even issues that are not real issues, like the debt ceiling. The Balanced Budget Amendment isn’t passing, folks, just like the past 10 years of trying to pass a national gay marriage ban has been a waste of time. Are these amendments anything but non-issues designed to draw public attention away from the fact that too many of our political leaders do not actually care about policy? Policy changes take compromise, and move the state slowly. That sentence seems totally at odds with the Republican Party of 2011.
I know this is not a GOP problem, or a new problem. Its an election cycle, and its very early at that. Eventually someone will be forced to discuss the actual reality of a thing called US government and what one will do when in the Executive Office. And it is of course important to go through the ‘getting to know you’ stage of a presidential race. But something seems to be in the air around this flock of presidential candidates–and the folks waiting in the wings, Rick Perry, Sarah Palin, Rudy Guilianni–I fear aren’t going to bring enough to balance out this problem.
Relative to: Minnesota’s Gubernatorial Recount
Today was a huge news day in the state of Minnesota. The sports happenings that have the whole state talking. Also, something important happened. Once again, the state of Minnesota finds itself requiring a recount to decide a statewide election. And like the Franken/Coleman recount, the outcome is in doubt only to those who truly embrace denial. Today, the MN Supreme Court tossed out a challenge from the GOP that asked counties to reconcile ballots with the numbers of voter signatures. Though this may sound like a logical expectation, it’s really a stalling tactic. Pure and simple. Because reconciling those things requires counting. A lot of counting. Receipts. Ballots. Signatures. Counting, counting, counting, to reach the same results.
By throwing out the case, which took 45 minutes of oral arguments and under two hours of deliberation before unanimously tossing out the suit, the state can move on to conducting the official recount. Said judges: “It strikes me that the practical effect is you end up with the same number either way,” said Justice Alan Page; ”At the end of the day, isn’t that voter’s receipt simply proof of the underlying signature?” said Justice G. Barry Anderson.
It would be unfortunate for the state GOP to further bring the courts into the count. I have yet to hear compelling arguments for how Tom Emmer could over come the 8,700+ vote differential. But it has been rumored that drawing out the process as long as possible is in the cards, thus giving the newly elected GOP majority more time to legislate with Gov. Pawlenty remaining in office. Who knows what will happen. But some in the GOP seem inclined to draw things out:“GOP attorney Tony Trimble would not say whether they planned to file a lawsuit. “We’ll proceed with the administrative recount,” he said. “Who knows what other issues might arise as these procedures move forward?”