For years, Republicans used the culture wars to bludgeon Democrats as issues like abortion and gay marriage were used to rally their base.
Now we’re seeing Democrats get much more energized about these issues as Republicans have gone so far to the right on issues like abortion and contraception.
This election will provide an interesting test as to whether this strategy will work. Take a look at the Obama ad above calling out Mitt Romney for some of his more extreme statements he made on the subject of abortion.
If Paul Ryan were so serious and brave as many on the right claim, why wouldn’t he just give an honest speech detailing the plans he has for America? If he and Romney really believe we need to turn Medicare into a voucher program, why wouldn’t he make that case in his speech, instead of lying about what Paul Ryan did with Medicare?
The Lyin’ Ryan meme is starting to gain some momentum. The fact-checkers are having a field day, and the one at USA Today offers a scathing take-down of Ryan’s lies and distortions from his speech.
From a purely political point of view, I understand what they are trying to do, particularly on Medicare. If the American people know their real plans to take away the Medicare entitlement, we’d have a revolt and they would get crushed in November, so they have to try to confuse low-information voters.
But it’s odd how clumsy and blatant Ryan and Romney can be with their other lies and distortions. Romney consistently makes statements that are refuted by simple videotape. As for Ryan last night, he ripped Obama for not supporting Simpson-Bowles, when Ryan and his House GOP buddies on the commission killed it by voting against it. It’s laughable. He blames Obama for the closing of a GM plant that was announced in December of 2008 while Bush was still in office. Then the far right lemmings try to defend this outrageous charge by saying the last worker left in April 2009. So that plant closing was announced under Bush, but it’s Obama’s fault because around 100 workers stuck around through April to fill the last order? How desperate are these guys?
When you’re afraid to defend your own ideas, you come up with these distortions. Yes, both sides are attacking and this campaign is very rough, but Ryan is setting himself up to be humiliated when the fact checkers have to argue about the top five lies and distortions in his speech.
This new ad from the Obama campaign hits Mitt Romney on Medicare.
We all know that the national debt needs to be addressed, but undercutting the fundamental entitlement of Medicare isn’t the way to accomplish this. By choosing Paul Ryan, Romney has doubled down on this fundamental change to to Medicare, and the Obama campaign will hammer him on this through election day.
Romney has tried to fight back by focusing on Obama’s cuts to Medicare, but those cuts have nothing to do with benefits for seniors. The only way to address the nation’s long term medical costs is too reform the way we pay for health care, particularly through Medicare. We can’t continue the destructive fee-for-service system we have in place, and we need to stop reimbursements for expensive procedures that don’t work.
The Todd Akin fiasco is just another example of how many Republicans, and far right conservatives in general, seem to have a problem with science, facts, math and reality in general. This is what happens when your ideology becomes so entrenched that you start believing your own bullshit. You get elected officials saying that raped women can’t get pregnant, that Obama’s birth certificate is forged or that humans once lived side by side with dinosaurs.
As usual, Bill Maher has no trouble calling out this BS, arguing that the symbol for the Republican Party “shouldn’t be an elephant — it should be a unicorn.” Here’s more from Maher, as he calls out the absurd Ryan budget, which has nothing to do with balancing the budget but everything to do with worshiping conservative dogma:
Paul Ryan is their tough guy on spending but he doesn’t want to touch defense — that’s right, a budget hawk who doesn’t think there’s anything bloated about the Defense Department’s budget. It’s like being a health inspector and finding nothing wrong with the Asian place that has the chicken hanging in the window. This is how low we’ve put the bar for political courage — that you can just write, “I want a pony” in a binder and call it the “Plan For Restoring Vision For the Future of America’s Greatness” or some shit, and then everyone has to refer to you as the serious one in Congress. It reminds me of health care. Republicans are for all the popular things, like covering people with pre-existing conditions, but they’re not for the part where you pay for it, like the mandate. Just like they were for our recent wars, but not for paying for them. For the prescription drug bill, but not for paying for it.
The GOP has courted their lunatic fringe for years, and now Americans are getting a close look of exactly what some of these nuts think.
It’s pretty obvious why the far right is thrilled over the Paul Ryan pick. He’s the poster-child of right wing extremism wrapped in a choir boy package. He’s a well-groomed and fit guy with a big smile and a polite demeanor.
But liberals are equally excited, and also terrified in case he wins. With Paul Ryan, the nation can now have a real discussion of some of the policies that Ryan, Mitt Romney and the Tea Party want to inflict upon America.
We’ll hear a lot about Medicare. It’s a complicated subject and both parties will hammer the other, but the charge that Ryan put forward a plan to “end Medicare as we know it” is essentially true. Taking away the Medicare entitlement and replacing it with a voucher system is extreme, and most Americans will not support it. The question is whether the Romney/Ryan campaign can blur the issue by hammering the President on his own Medicare cuts, which target providers as opposed to beneficiaries.
The Ryan Medicare cuts are even more stark when you consider the incredible tax cuts included in the Ryan budget. Ryan would basically eliminate taxes for capital gains, dividends and estates. Forget Mitt Romney’s absurd 14% tax rate. Under Ryan’s plan, Romney would have paid around a 1% tax rate in 2011!! It’s absurd.
Ryan is not a budget hawk. He’s an ideologue that worships Ayn Rand and is obsessed with cutting taxes and cutting entitlements. Ryan’s budget is a joke when it comes to tackling the budget or our long term debt.
But Ryan’s extremism isn’t limited to economic issues. This country is certainly divided on the abortion issue, but nobody is more extreme than Paul Ryan on this issue. He introduced the personhood amendment in the House, which would make a fertilized egg a person under the constitution, criminalizing all abortions, in vetro fertilization and many forms of birth control. This notion is so extreme that it couldn’t pass a referendum in Mississippi. He’s against abortion even in cases of rape and incest. He also sponsored the Ultrasound Informed Consent Act.
Ryan is also a hypocrite. Like many Republicans, he’s a self-proclaimed deficit hawk when a Democrat is in office, but he’s happy to spend like a drunken sailor in the name of party loyalty. Ryan rubber-stamped all of the ridiculous spending in the Bush years, including a new Medicare drug entitlement that wasn’t paid for.
Finally, he’s a neocon who supported Bush’s wars, and he’s unwilling to cut the defense budget as part of his budget.
Already, the Mitt Romney team is putting the clamps on Ryan, trying to turn him into a Mitt clone who says nothing. At least Ryan was willing to discuss budget numbers in the past, but now he hides behind Mitt’s vague plans.
As for Ryan’s character, he seems like a good family man etc. But his answers on Ayn Rand display a level of dishonesty that seems absurd. He idolized Ayn Rand and her philosophy, but when Catholic organizations criticized him for it, he suddenly disavowed her for her atheism, as if he never knew that after trumpeting her philosophy for years. At some point he’ll face an interviewing outside of Fox News who will hammer him on this (assuming the Romney campaign doesn’t hide him from the press like the McCain team did with Sarah Palin).
Harry Reid is truly pathetic at times, and Jon Stewart lets him have it. This will be a tough election and Mitt Romney has certainly bungled the issue about his taxes, but as usually Reid goes over the top, like the guy who eats too much at the buffet like Stewart points out. Of course Stewart can’t help but also take some hilarious shots at the idiots on Fox & Friends.
Grover Norquist is a right wing extremist when it comes to taxes and his “Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” but in some circles on the far right he’s not to be trusted because he married a Palestinian Muslim. That’s right. The hero of many in the Tea Party has incurred the wrath of neoconservative nutjob Frank Gaffney, the high priest of conspiracy nuts on the right. You can read this article for a summary of the feud between these guys.
Gaffney is one of those neocons that helped sell the Iraq War and is now convinced that the Muslim Brotherhood is infiltrating the US government. To get some perspective on how nutty this guy is, watch the clip above where he tries to tie Saddam Hussein to the Oklahoma City Bombing!!! Even Pat Buchanan dismisses Gaffney as a nut.
Gaffney is the source behind the recent crusade by wingnuts Michele Bachmann and Louie Gohmert against Huma Abedin. But Gaffney doesn’t limit his conspiracy allegations to liberals as he’s proven with his allegations against Norquist. I guess it’s bi-partisan lunacy.
I don’t agree with Grover Norquist on anything, but this crusade against him is outrageous . . . and a little funny. It shows just how far off the deep end some on the right have gone, when even taxes and partisan politics won’t stop their wild conspiracy allegations.