Let us make fresh.
The reason why Rick Santorum would not oust Barack Obama in November, is not his faith. It is simply that he is running a ‘social message’ of uniform decency against a ‘social message’ of uniform healthcare. Plainly, Obama’s health plan, is vital: but not more pressing than the economic calamity of bailouts, frauds, money-laundering, spending and public debt. These are focal issues of the 2012 election.
Santorum is the politician everyone can super-impose themselves on. He’s no CEO like Mitt Romney, no renowned speaker like Newt Gingrich, not intellectual like Ron Paul. No, he is a regular Pennsylvania lawyer, who argued some weird World Wrestling Federation cases. Somehow he is unspectacular enough, that he could almost be your town butcher, postal deliverer or stockyard piler. You would think this is a strength. But it is not.
Eventually, while trying to keep your political pronunciations to a minimum, to correspond to the widest social base possible, you hit a tollboth going 160 mph. Santorum is earnest, he surely is: means well to families and the elderly, but he has yet to prove his salt. His record is plain: he has taken massive amounts of Washington D.C. beltway funding, voted to raise the debt ceiling, is in cahoots with the (so-called) ‘military industrial complex’ and dislikes many anomalies of our population: young pregnants, migrant-labor, jobless, gays, blacks. He has been able to entrench his campaign in an atmosphere of rustic humbleness and simpletonness.
The more connected you are, within the Washington D.C. circuit; and on the long-stretch between Los Angeles and New York, the more clout you have as a politician. Especially, if you’ve squandered taxpayer money on “bridges to nowhere” (Rick Santorum), Olympic “Games” (Mitt Romney) or have been kick-backed by Fannie & Freddie (Newt Gingrich).
All these, of course, are fine examples of Capitalist enterprise, of leadership and smart capital-management. But what do all these undertakings reveal, about abilities in leadership, necessary to plug the dam of the 2008-unward recession? Not, much.
Ron Paul is the antithesis. He negates almost in it’s entirety, every other issues brought by his opponents in the GOP presidential race. He is not reported on, because those who indeed try to, fail miserably: the way Gerald Seib did, moderating the Republican Debate in South Carolina. Ron Paul is too honest: clear, succinct, philosophically astute. This makes him a slippery fish, to place in the Republican Party, although he is by far the most consequently, stalwartly arch-conservative since that other Gipper, that slipped his way into the White House: Ronald Reagan!
Being less ‘politicized’, in other words by having put his neck out on an execution-block, or guillotine, to amass money, has meant he has to do with less campaign finance. But what Paul has lacked in initial spending, his patriots have donated in turn. No other US politician has ever raised a sum, close to over 1 million, which Paul’s campaign has been able to do in 2011. What this means, is; people base decision on mass-media, pandered bits-and-pieces of evening chatter, boxed soundbites (often misinterpreted) while heading out the door in the morning. Ron Paul is lucky to get 3 minutes airtime, after a debate platform.
Much hash is being made over a viral video of US Marines urinating on corpses. Two of them have already been identified, and government figures including Defense Secretary Panetta and Secretary of State Clinton are already labeling this as “deplorable” and demanding there be some sort of corrective action. Harmid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, is naturally outraged over this and is thumping his chest.
Personally, I find the actions of these Marines to be disgusting, degrading, and a stain on the United States. They definitely should be punished, and I hope that happens. Little wonder people in other countries don’t like us when we do things like this.
But I’m not going to rant on about that. I have a somewhat different argument.
James Joyner of Outside the Beltway has already written an insightful post on the situation. I really could not add more to it. Instead, I want to focus on a comment made by a commentator who goes by the name “Ben Wolf.” The interesting part is thus:
You can’t take an 18 year old who just got out of high school, give him a gun and then expect him to be a paragon of nobility, virtue and cultural sensitivity.
Perhaps not be a paragon, per se, but I do think that this is wrong. Or, at least, it should be. Our eighteen year olds should be more mature and more developed, but they’re not. The reason why we can’t train and equip eighteen years old in the military and expect more dignified behavior is, I believe, a result of two generations of infantilizing teenagers in our schools and homes, because we think they are incapable of doing anything. This, I believe, is a grand mistake.
Warning: The following video contains content from MSNBC’s primetime line-up. Such content can sometimes lead to cursing, grinding of teeth, screaming, and destruction of one’s computer monitor and speakers. In extreme cases it can even cause one to gouge out his own eyes or to do permanent damage to her own ear drums. Viewer discretion is advised.
As Maddow asks after reporting that CNN will break its own rules to let Rick Perry into the South Carolina debate: “If you’re not going to follow the rules, why don’t you have Buddy Roemer there too?” The Daily Paul comments: “Imagine if Ron Paul didn’t meet [these rules].”
Actually, we don’t have to imagine. We’ve seen exactly how CNN would deal with a libertarian candidate who doesn’t meet their requirements in their treatment of Gary Johnson, the former Governor of New Mexico. Johnson was consistently excluded from debates by CNN and other media because he didn’t meet their eligibility requirements, and neither the Republican National Committee nor the other candidates could be bothered to argue for his inclusion. At that time, a candidate was required to have either raised a minimum of $1 million during that fiscal quarter or to have an average of 3% in polls. In August, Johnson had been polling ahead of Huntsman, Santorum, and Cain — all included in the debates — but was promptly dropped from CNN’s and others’ polls, making it impossible for him to have an average of 3% or better.
Obama is really pulling out all the stops this year. I actually think he feels threatened by the Republicans, because he’s now looking at a plan to actually “shrink government” by consolidating agencies. From the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama will ask Congress on Friday for greater power to shrink the federal government, and his first idea is merging six sprawling trade and commerce agencies whose overlapping programs can be baffling to businesses, a senior administration official told The Associated Press.
Obama will call on Congress to give him a type of reorganizational power last held by a president when Ronald Reagan was in office. The Obama version would be a so-called consolidation authority allowing him to propose mergers that promise to save money and help consumers. The deal would entitle him to an up-or-down vote from Congress in 90 days.
It would be up to lawmakers, therefore, to first grant Obama this fast-track authority and then decide whether to approve any of his specific ideas.
For once in my life—and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but—I will say “Good for Obama.” First, he’s asking for authority from Congress, as the President should do under the Constitution. Second, he’s consolidating overlapping and duplicative agencies, something I pointed out should be done to fix this country. Specifically, the article says he will (or try) to do the following:
Should he prevail, Obama’s first project would be to combine six major operations of the government that focus on business and trade.
Just an interesting side note as this whole newsletter thing heats up (and, as I’ve already stated, Ron Paul needs to ditch Lew Rockwell and come totally clean), a new CNN/ORC poll shows that among the Republican candidates, Ron Paul has the highest amount of support from nonwhites (in a match-up against Barack Obama.) The report is here [PDF], but let me just extract the most interesting data for you:
As you can see, none of them is even close to Barack Obama in this demographic category, none. I’m also not sure what to make of it, to be honest. It is, however, an interesting datapoint to take note of during this exceptionally crazy nomination battle.
Hello! From the commission itself:
Washington, D.C., Dec. 16, 2011 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged six former top executives of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) with securities fraud, alleging they knew and approved of misleading statements claiming the companies had minimal holdings of higher-risk mortgage loans, including subprime loans.
- SEC complaint vs. Freddie Mac executives
- SEC complaint vs. Fannie Mae executives
- Non-Prosecution Agreement - Freddie Mac
- Non-Prosecution Agreement - Fannie Mae
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac each entered into a Non-Prosecution Agreement with the Commission in which each company agreed to accept responsibility for its conduct and not dispute, contest, or contradict the contents of an agreed-upon Statement of Facts without admitting nor denying liability. Each also agreed to cooperate with the Commission’s litigation against the former executives. In entering into these Agreements, the Commission considered the unique circumstances presented by the companies’ current status, including the financial support provided to the companies by the U.S. Treasury, the role of the Federal Housing Finance Agency as conservator of each company, and the costs that may be imposed on U.S. taxpayers.
I think someone needs to explain that to this bunch of alleged geriatric “terrorists”:
Four Georgia men who were part of a fringe militia group were arrested on Tuesday in what the Justice Department described as a plot to use guns, bombs and the toxin ricin to kill federal and state officials and spread terror.
The men, all aged 65 and over, were recorded telling an F.B.I. informant that they wanted to kill federal judges,Internal Revenue Service employees and agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to court documents.
“There is no way for us, as militiamen, to save this country, to save Georgia, without doing something that’s highly, highly illegal: murder,” one of those charged, Frederick Thomas, 73, of Cleveland, Ga., was recorded telling the informant.
“When it comes time to saving the Constitution, that means some people have got to die,” he said.
Actually, no, Fred, it doesn’t. In fact, you go on a terror spree in order to “save” the Constitution, I guarantee you will bury it under a block of lead.
After defeating a filibuster attempt this morning by a vote of 63 to 33, repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” - the Clinton era policy preventing gays from openly serving in the military - passed through the Senate just moments ago by a vote of 65 to 31.
Eight Republicans crossed over to vote for repeal: Scott Brown (MA), Richard Burr (NC), Susan Collins (ME), John Ensign (NV), Mark Kirk (IL), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Olympia Snowe (ME) and George Voinovich (OH).
A recent survey from Pew Research showed that 58% of Americans support eliminating the out-of-date policy; public support for allowing gays to serve in the military has been over 52% since 1992. The results of a study conducted by the Department of Defense released earlier this month showed broad support among members of the armed forces in repealing DADT with 70% believing it would have little or no effect.
The bill now heads to President Barack Obama, who has been advocating for legislative action to repeal DADT. However, his administration has opposed legal challenges to the policy.
By a vote of 81 to 19, the United States Senate has passed the tax deal between President Barack Obama and Republicans, which will extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, unemployment benefits and tax credits and enact a one-year payroll tax holiday.
The package will now move on to the House where it will likely be taken up tomorrow. It’s unclear whether or not House Democrats will be able to make the desired changes to the Death Tax; they deem a 35% take rate to be “too generous.”
The 19 “no” votes are:
- Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
- Tom Coburn (R-OK)
- Jim DeMint (R-SC)
- Byron Dorgan (D-ND)
- John Ensign (R-NV)
- Russ Feingold (D-WI)
- Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
- Kay Hagan (D-NC)
- Tom Harkin (D-IA)
- Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
- Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
- Carl Levin (D-MI)
- Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
- Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
- Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
- Mark Udall (D-CO)
- Tom Udall (D-NM)
- George Voinovich (R-OH)
- Ron Wyden (D-OR)