U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) speaks during the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana June 17, 2011. REUTERS/Sean Gardner (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS)
Rick Santorum is a longshot candidate in the GOP field, but in Iowa he’s gaining a little traction with his far-right views on social issues. Rick Perry complicates Santorum’s strategy, as the field is now even more crowded with Christianist candidates, so Santorum is not being shy about taking on Perry. He jumped on Perry’s outrageous comments about Ben Bernanke:
RCK SANTORUM: Gov. Perry steps into the race and he stepped on it a couple of times already. Washington DC is not Austin and my sense is that he’s gonna have a pretty good learning curve, not just on what it means to run a national campaign and have the scrutiny of the national media that he didn’t have in Texas—
JOHN KING: What do you mean by he stepped on it?
SANTORUM: Well his comments about Ben Bernanke, they were completely out of bounds. I don’t agree with Ben Bernanke’s policies… but to me the rhetoric that Rick Perry used was sort of the rhetoric I would expect from a John Conyers, talking about President Bush and saying he should be impeached. We don’t do that. We don’t impeach people, we don’t charge people with treason because we disagree with them on public policy. You might say that they’re wrong, you might say lots of things about how misguided they are, but you don’t up the ante to that type of rhetoric. It’s out of place, and hopefully Gov. Perry will step back and recognize that we’re not in Texas anymore.
It’s interesting to see the battle lines being drawn, and Perry is the prime target now that he’s getting all the buzz and good news in the polls.
Rick Perry seems to have a knack for saying stupid things. Several years ago he implied that Texas might consider seceding from the United States. Now he’s saying that Ben Bernanke’s decisions on monetary policy would be “almost treasonous” if done in an election year. Of course this genius neglects to mention that Bernanke was appointed by George W. Bush and that he greatly expanded the money supply back in 2008 to avoid an economic collapse. You also have to love the irony of Mr. Secession claiming that someone else is almost treasonous.
We’re in a poisonous climate where both sides are yelling at each other, and I suspect Perry’s entrance in the 2012 presidential race will just ratchet things up. He comes across as a fanatic on most issues, and already Karl Rove is freaking out and saying that Perry needs to tone things down.
In the end, he’s just joining the confederacy of dunces leading the GOP presidential field.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) leaves a House Democratic Caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 29, 2011. UPI/Kevin Dietsch
I’m watching the coverage of the debt deal, and it’s difficult listening to people like Chris Matthews who manage to sound clueless as they let their emotions overcome their ability to think.
Of course this is a short term win for the Tea Party and the Republicans. They had leverage, as enough of them were crazy enough and dumb enough to let the stalemate continue through August 2nd, risking economic catastrophe.
Also, President Obama took the calculated risk of going for a grand bargain. Those efforts failed, and that made it more difficult in the end game. That said, he earned long-term political points, as the public was educated about the need for a balanced approach and polls show they support that in overwhelming numbers.
Now we move to the new gang of 12 and the next phase of the debt deal. Ezra Klein makes a great point, arguing that Democrats will likely prefer the trigger as opposed to a deal if the GOP won’t budge on revenues.
Start from the premise that Republicans will refuse any deal that includes significant new revenue and Democrats will realize that that’s just fine from their perspective, as Republicans can either cut a deal with them in December 2012 or all of the Bush tax cuts can expire. Now take a good, hard look at the trigger.
The Joint Committee is charged with finding $1.5 trillion in savings over 10 years. The trigger would only cut $1.2 trillion over 10 years. The Joint Committee is likely to cut Social Security, Medicaid and a host of programs Democrats aren’t going to want to touch if taxes aren’t part of the deal. The trigger exempts Social Security and Medicaid, and $1 out of every $2 in cuts comes from the Pentagon. The Joint Committee is likely to cut a deal without revenue, and Democrats will have to explain to their base why they permitted, say, Medicare cuts while letting the GOP reject tax increases. The trigger lets Democrats blame Republicans for protecting the wealthy in the 2012 election.
The trigger would also result in massive defense cuts.
So, if the Democrats prefer a trigger if a deal can’t include revenues, and many Republicans will want to avoid defense cuts, this gives the Democrats leverage!
These details are important, and commentators like Matthews should wait to understand these dynamics before whining about the deal.