Cut, Carve, & Kill
"[Today], Iowans will officially kick off the process to nominate the Republican candidate for president. A close examination of all of the GOP candidates’ records and policy positions reveals that Mitt Romney is not the only candidate who 'represents the one percent.' All of the Republican candidates share at least one thing in common: an economic agenda that will benefit the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans at the expense of the other 99 percent. Each and every Republican candidate has called for trillions of dollars in new tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and corporations -- all while calling for ending Medicare as we know it and dramatic cuts to Social Security, Medicaid, and countless other programs and services that Americans depend on each day."
We've said it consistently; this group of Conservative Republicans has an ideologically extreme agenda -- particularly their ongoing attacks on pre-paid public benefits. We can't simply say "Oh, they'll say anything to get elected, even pander to the Conservatives." Remember, if you accept those kinds of lies in order to get elected, you play into their game and you cannot complain if they do what they said they would do. Remember, each of the declared Republican candidates has made outrageous claims about Medicare, and every one of them wants to hurt the aged and disabled by repealing, replacing, or otherwise significantly weakening Medicare.
"Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced [last] Friday that he’s chosen Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona, Mike Crapo of Idaho and John Barrasso of Wyoming as the Senate Republican negotiators for a yearlong extension of the payroll tax holiday. Unable to agree on a longer deal, Congress extended the current 2 percent Social Security tax cut, as well as more unemployment insurance and the reimbursement rate for doctors who provide Medicare services, through the end of February. Kyl, Crapo and Barrasso join a 20-member conference committee that will try to figure out how to extend and pay for these initiatives through the end of 2012."
Round 2 promises to be just as stressful as the first. Wouldn't it be a refreshing surprise if both sides were unpredictable, if they stood somewhere else for once, and a little cooperation and progress might be at least possible?
Affordable Care in 2012
"One of the biggest political question marks going into 2012 is the fate of the Affordable Health Care for America Act. Audie Cornish speaks with Noam Levey of the Los Angeles Times about what's ahead for Americans in terms of health care in the new year, including a constitutional challenge to the law's mandatory health care provision." From NPR; includes audio.
Some freshman Republicans are having a difficult time defending their records, especially when it comes to Medicare. A case in point: "To date, he [Patrick Meehan] has voted with Republican House leadership about 87 percent of the time. Some of those votes have not been received well at home, however, as illustrated at a town hall meeting in April shortly after Meehan voted with Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, to overhaul Medicare by having seniors buy private health insurance. As expressed in this paper and elsewhere, constituents felt Meehan had gone back on a campaign promise made during a debate with Lentz in 2010, in which he said if the Republican agenda was to turn Medicare into a voucher program or privatize Social Security, he wouldn’t vote for it."
Mr. Meehan does try to squirm out of responsibility or accountability for his anti-Medicare votes but has considerable difficulty. It's just that he's not well-practiced enough to use those little tricks that are second nature to more experienced politicians. This is an interesting read because parts his defense are so weak and "amateurish." We can expect his handlers to put him through some introductory political courses like "Extemporaneously Constructing Ambiguous But Plausible Answers to Difficult Questions." With practice, he'll no longer need to do this extemporaneously.
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The Republican Reality-Free Zone