Category Archives: Humor

Those Angry Bird Republicans!

Have you ever played Angry Birds?  You know,  that famous game that almost everyone seems to be playing on their iPads, iPhones, Android tablets, Kindle Fires, and Nooks. Well, I contend that the Republican Presidential Candidates are acting like those Angry Birds.  If you don’t know the game, here’s the backstory:  apparently some pigs have stolen the eggs of the birds, so now they are really angry.  To get them back  (Don’t laugh; this is true!) —they launch themselves via giant slingshot at the pigs in an attempt to destroy the pigs and get their eggs back.  See, (to follow the analogy) the Republicans see Barack Obama as having stolen something they once owned–the Presidency, and they furiously and persistently  aim to get it back.  What’s curious, however, is instead of launching themselves at the President (though they occasionally do that, as well) they seem to be attacking one another on a more regular basis.  Though instead of attacking President Obama, they’re attacking one another–fellow Republicans.  This of course, violates former President Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment, “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican.”

What are the Republicans saying about each other?  Well, I scoured the Internet, and watched about 5-6 Republican debates over the last month or so (including the final two, yesterday and today)  Here are the results:

ATTACKS  ON  RICK  SANTORUM:

Rick Perry –Jan 2–In an interview with MSNBC, Perry said Santorum is a “serial pork-barrel earmarker” who has “proven he can’t win races.”

Mitt Romney—-Like Speaker Gingrich, Sen. Santorum has spent his career in government, in Washington,” Romney said during an event Saturday night in Atlantic, Iowa. “Nothing wrong with that, but it’s a very different background than I have.”

Michelle Bachman attacks Santorum—Jan. 1 ABC News

If you look at the spending issue, Sen. Santorum voted for the bridge to nowhere,” Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Santorum has stood for earmarks, stood for spending.”

Rick Perry attacks Santorum “Why was it important to vote for a Montana Sheep Institute?” Gov. Rick Perry said on “Fox News Sunday.

Jan2, 2012—Paul against Santorum–Before a rally at the Marriott hotel here, Paul charged that Santorum is “very liberal” because of his votes in Congress. “He spends too much money,” the Texas congressman said.

Jan 7—Paul attacks Santorum

STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Paul, let’s stay on the issue of records. You’ve got a new ad up in South Carolina taking direct aim at Senator Santorum. You call him a corrupt — a corporate lobbyist, a Washington insider with a record of betrayal. You also call him corrupt in that ad.

Ron Paul–what really counts is his record. I mean, he’s a big government, big spending individual. Because, you know, he preached to the fact he wanted a balanced budget amendment but voted to raise the debt to five times. So he is a big government person.

Ron Paul—So you’re a big spender; that’s all there is to it. You’re a big-government conservative. And you don’t vote for, you know, right to work and these very important things. And that’s what weakens the economy. So to say you’re a conservative, I think, is a stretch. But you’ve convinced a lot of people of it, so somebody has to point out your record.

Ron Paul……back to Senator Santorum, you know, he ducks behind this — he’s for this balanced budget amendment, but voted five times to increase the national debt by trillions of dollars. This is what the whole Tea Party movement’s about…….When — I mean, government’s practically stopped over increasing the national debt. You did it five times. So what’s your excuse for that? That’s trillions of dollars. You kept this thing going.

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ATTACKS  ON  RON  PAUL

Dec. 28, 2011 –Assoc. Press—Attack by Romney and Perry against Paul

MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) — Mitt Romney and Rick Perry on Wednesday assailed Republican presidential rival Ron Paul for saying the U.S. has no business bombing Iran to keep it from acquiring a nuclear weapon, drawing a sharp contrast with their rising rival as he returned to Iowa to campaign before the lead-off caucuses.

“One of the people running for president thinks it’s okay for Iran to have a nuclear weapon,” Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, said in this eastern Iowa city in response to a question from the audience. “I don’t.”

It was the first time Romney has challenged Paul directly since the Texas congressman jumped in polls. Neither Romney nor Perry, the Texas governor, named Paul, but the target was clear.

“You don’t have to vote for a candidate who will allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Because America will be next,” Perry said in Urbandale, reiterating a line of argument from a day earlier.

“I’m here to say: You have a choice,” Perry added

Newt Gingrich, called Ron Paul’s views “totally outside the mainstream of every decent American” during an interview with CNN.

Gingrich said the primary is giving voters a “choice between a populist supply side approach … and a much more timid Washington-centered approach that will not create jobs.”

Bachmann, She accused Perry of spending “27 years as a political insider.” He was a Texas legislator and agriculture commissioner before becoming governor in 2001.

Bachmann said Paul would be “dangerous as president” because of his hands-off views on national security.

Rick Santorum told an Iowa crowd “he blamed Paul for automated “robocalls” that claimed he was pro-abortion and against the Second Amendment, The Huffington Post reported, both stances the social conservative says he is against.

Tuesday morning on “Fox and Friends,” Santorum said “Ron Paul is disgusting” for being behind the calls.

Newt Gingrich attacks Paul–Newt Gingrich, who Paul has been aggressive in labeling a serial hypocrite in previous ads,  told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday that he could not support Paul if he won the Republican nomination, adding his “views are totally outside the mainstream of virtually every decent American.”

Michelle Bachman attacks Paul—  “Ron Paul doesn’t believe the government should protect the inst Dec. 17—Wash. Post–Spencer, Iowa—

Rick PerryDuring a midday campaign stop at an Italian restaurant, Perry accused Newt Gingrich of being the “granddaddy of earmarks” while he was House speaker. He also called Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) a hypocrite for condemning political gamesmanship while seeking federal funds for pet projects such as bike racks and “decorative street lights” in his district.

“For some people, earmarks have become an art form,” Perry said. “What we need is someone who will walk into Washington, D.C., and say no to all this special-interest funding.”

Rick Santorum—Jan. 8–Well, let me first address Congressman Paul, because the — the serious issue with Congressman Paul here is you’re right. He’s never really passed anything of any — any import.

And one of the — one of the reasons people like Congressman Paul is his economic plan. He’s never been able to accomplish any of that. He has no track record of being able to work together. He’s been out there on the — on the margins and has really been unsuccessful in — in working together with anybody to do anything.

The problem is that what Congressman Paul can do as commander-in- chief is he can on day one do what he says he wants to do, which is pull all our troops back out of seas, overseas, put them here in America, leave us in a — in a — in a situation where the world is now going to be created — huge amounts of vacuums all over the place, and have folks like China and Iran and others. …….

The problem with Congressman Paul is, all the things that Republicans like about him he can’t accomplish and all the things they’re worried about, he’ll do day one. And — and that’s the problem.

Rick Perry—Jan. 7– I mean, here’s what frustrates me, is that you go get the earmarks and then you vote against the bill? Now, I don’t know what they call that in other places, but, Congressman Paul, in Texas, we call that hypocrisy.

Newt Gingrich—Well, Dr. Paul has a long history of saying things that are inaccurate and false.

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ATTACKS  ON  NEWT  GINGRICH:

By MACKENZIE WEINGER 1/4/12 —Politico—Ron Paul on Gingrich

“Ron Paul came out swinging Wednesday against Newt Gingrich for calling him a dangerous candidate, dubbing Gingrich a chickenhawk who avoided the Vietnam War.”

“I don’t want to fight a war that’s unconstitutional and I’m the dangerous person? You know, when Newt Gingrich was called to service in the 1960s during the Vietnam era, guess what he thought about danger? He chickened out on that, he got deferments and didn’t even go,” Paul said on CNN later in the morning.

“So right now he sends these young kids over there to endure the danger, and the kids coming back, the young people coming back and the ones in the military right now, they overwhelmingly support my campaign. We get twice as much support from active military personnel than all the other candidates put together. So, Newt Gingrich has no business talking about danger because he is putting other people in danger. Some people call that kind of a program a chickenhawk and I think he falls into that category,” Paul said.

Gingrich’s history gives rivals fodder By Philip Elliott, Associated Press  12-7-2011

“ Ron Paul rolled out a hard-hitting TV ad in Iowa that uses Gingrich’s own words to accuse him of “serial hypocrisy.”

“If you want to put people in jail, let’s look at the politicians who created the environment, the politicians who profited from the environment,” Gingrich is shown saying in the ad. It casts him as a Washington insider who espoused conservative principles as House speaker only to profit from special interests when he became a high-dollar consultant.”

Mitt Romney  attacking Gingrich —-“If the American people believe that what we need is someone who has spent the last 40 years or so in Washington, D.C., working as an insider, why, he’s the right guy.”

And Romney added: “America needs a leader, not someone who’s an insider.”

Wikipedia reported that on October 18, 2011 in Las Vegas, “Newt Gingrich was attacked by all the other candidates, squaring off in particular with Mitt Romney. Romney mocked Gingrich’s plan to build a lunar colony to mine minerals from the moon, saying that the real difference between the two of them was their backgrounds, saying “I spent my life in the private sector. I know how the economy works.” Gingrich replied, “Let’s be candid. The only reason you didn’t become a career politician is you lost to Teddy Kennedy in 1994“, which drew boos and laughter from the audience.”

Oct. 18, 2011—Debate–ROMNEY: Actually, Newt, we got the idea of an individual mandate from you.

Romney against Santorum and Gingrich–“Like Speaker Gingrich, Sen. Santorum has spent his career in government, in Washington,” Romney said during an event Saturday night in Atlantic, Iowa. “Nothing wrong with that, but it’s a very different background than I have.”

Dec. 17—Wash. Post–Spencer, Iowa–Perry attacks Gingrich and Paul —During a midday campaign stop at an Italian restaurant, Perry accused Newt Gingrich of being the “granddaddy of earmarks” while he was House speaker. He also called Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) a hypocrite for condemning political gamesmanship while seeking federal funds for pet projects such as bike racks and “decorative street lights” in his district.

“For some people, earmarks have become an art form,” Perry said. “What we need is someone who will walk into Washington, D.C., and say no to all this special-interest funding.”

Ron Paul’s December 28 Ad–Paul attacks Romney and Gingrich—Politicians who supported bailouts and mandates (shows pictures of Gingrich and Romney) “Serial hypocrites and flipfloppers can’t clean up the mess.”

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 ATTACKS  ON  RICK  PERRY:

Romney attacking Perry–On Perry’s jobs record: from The Telegraph—California Debate, Sept, 2011
“Texas is a great state. Texas has zero income tax. Texas has a right-to-work state, a Republican legislature, a Republican Supreme Court. Texas has a lot of oil and gas in the ground. Those are wonderful things, but Governor Perry doesn’t believe that he created those things. If he tried to say that, well, it would be like Al Gore saying he invented the Internet.”  –Suggesting Perry was taken credit for events in Texas that he had nothing to do with creating.

Rick Santorum—about Romney, Cain, and Perry– Oct. 8, 2011 Debate—CNN transcript So you — you supported it. Governor Romney and Herman Cain all supported the — the TARP program, which started this ball……I mean, I — I mean, you guys complain about Governor Romney flip-flopping. I mean, look at what’s going on here. I mean, the — the bottom line is, you all supported it, you all started this ball rolling, where the government injected itself in trying to make — trying to fix the market with the government top-down trying to do it, and (ph) managed decline. And what happened was, people who did things that were wrong invested in things, took risks, were bailed out, and the folks who acted responsibly are now getting hurt because their houses have gone down in value. We need to let the market work, and that’s what hasn’t been happening so far.

Mitt Romney  attacking Perry: And the reason we’re so animated about stopping illegal immigration is there are 4.5 million people who want to come here who are in line legally, we want that to happen in an orderly and legal process. And in terms of how to secure the border, it’s really not that hard.. And, Governor Perry, you say you have got the experience. It’s a bit like saying that, you know, the college coach that has lost 40 games in a row has the experience to go to the NFL

John Huntman –This Week—August 22, 2011About Perry’s comments on evolution and global warming “The minute the Republican party becomes the… anti-science party, we have a huge problem.”  When you find yourself at an extreme end of the Republican party, you make yourself unelectable.

Mitt Romney attacks Perry–“Over the past decade, the number of illegal immigrants in Texas is estimated to have grown by 60 percent. Governor Perry should explain to the people of New Hampshire why he thinks their opposition to his liberal immigration policies means they ‘don’t have a heart,’ ” said Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams, alluding to comments Mr. Perry made last month in a defense of his decision to sign the in-state tuition bill into law.

Michelle Bachmann accused Perry of spending “27 years as a political insider.” He was a Texas legislator and agriculture commissioner before becoming governor in 2001.”

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ATTACK  ON  JON  HUNTSMAN:

Mitt Romney—Jan 8—I just think it’s most likely that the person who should represent our party running against President Obama is not someone who called him a remarkable leader and went to be his ambassador in China.

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ATTACKS  ON  MITT   ROMNEY:

RICK PERRY, attacking Romney—Debate from The Telegraph—California Debate, Sept, 2011

On Mitt Romney’s jobs record:
“He did a great job of creating jobs in the private sector all around the world. But the fact is, when he moved that experience to government, he had one of the lowest job creation rates in the country. The fact is while he has a good private- sector record, his public-sector record did not match that. As a matter of fact, we created more jobs in the last three months in Texas than he created in four years in Massachusetts.”

“Michael Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt,” said Mr Perry, referring to the former liberal Democratic governor of Massachusetts who lost the 1988 presidential election.

Mr Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and venture capitalist, retorted citing the governor Mr Perry succeeded in Texas in 2000: “George Bush and his predecessor created jobs at a faster rate than you did, governor.”

Gingrich: Romney is lying—CNN Politics—Jan. 3, 2012

(CNN) – Newt Gingrich took his condemnation of rival Mitt Romney to a new level Tuesday, saying the former Massachusetts governor was not being honest when claiming that he had no relation to a super PAC producing anti-Gingrich television ads.

Asked by CBS host Norah O’Donnell if he would call Mitt Romney a liar, Gingrich answered flatly “Yes.”

“This is a man whose staff created the PAC and his millionaire friends fund the PAC and it’s baloney,” Gingrich continued. “He’s not telling the American people the truth. Here’s a Massachusetts moderate who has tax-paid abortions in Romneycare and puts Planned Parenthood in Romneycare and raises hundreds of millions of dollars and appoints liberal judges and wants the rest of us to believe he’s somehow magically a conservative.”

Gingrich said Romney needed to be honest with voters about his record.

“I think he ought to be honest with the American people and try to win as the real Mitt Romney and not consultant-guided version that goes with talking points. I don’t think he’s being candid and that will be a major issue,” Gingrich said.

Dec. 16–Mitt Romney was asked by Chris Wallace last night about his flip-flops on gun and gay rights issues. Romney explained his position, and then Rick Santorum came after him.

“[He] ordered people to issue gay marriage licenses. And went beyond that. He personally, as governor, issued gay marriage licenses. I don’t think that is an accurate representation of his position saying tolerance versus substantively changing the laws.”—-Towleroad
Wikipedia–October 18, 2011 – Las Vegas, Nevada

Mitt Romney squared off separately with Rick Santorum and Rick Perry. Santorum attacked Romney over his health care reform initiative in Massachusetts, saying, “You just don’t have credibility… your consultants helped Obama craft Obamacare.” Romney replied “the Massachusetts plan… was something crafted for a state… if I’m president of the United States, I will repeal [Obamacare] for the American people”.[22] Perry, whose performance was seen as an improvement over past debates, attacked Romney because he hired a lawn service using illegal immigrants; Perry said, “The idea that you stand here before us and talk about that you’re strong on immigration is on its face the height of hypocrisy.” Romney replied that after they found out the company used illegal immigrants, they let them go, criticising Perry’s tuition credit for the children of illegal immigrants, adding that “If there’s someone who has a record as governor with regards to illegal immigration that doesn’t stand up to muster, it’s you, not me.”

Newt Gingrich  about Romneycare……… Oct. 8, 2011 Debate—CNN transcript..”But your plan essentially is one more big government, bureaucratic, high-cost system, which candidly could not have been done by any other state because no other state had a Medicare program as lavish as yours, and no other state got as much money from the federal government under the Bush administration for this experiment. So there’s a lot as big government behind Romneycare. Not as much as Obamacare, but a heck of a lot more than your campaign is admitting.

Rick Santorum- Oct. 8, 2011 Debate—CNN transcript -I didn’t run as a liberal in 1994. I ran in 1994, the same year Mitt did in Massachusetts. He ran as a liberal, to the left of Kennedy, and lost. I ran as a conservative against James Carville and Paul Begala, and I won.

In 2002, he ran as a moderate. He ran as a moderate in — in Massachusetts. I ran for re-election having sponsored and passed welfare reform, having authored the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.

Rick Perry about Romney– Oct. 8, 2011 Debate—CNN transcript They’re looking for somebody that they trust, that knows has the executive governing experience. I’ve got it. You failed as the governor of Massachusetts.

June, 2011—Tim Pawlenty”—–President Obama said that he designed Obamacare after Romneycare and basically made it Obamneycare,” the former Minnesota governor said on “Fox News Sunday

Rick Perry—-If you want to know how someone’s going to act in the future, look how they act in the past. I mean, so, Mitt, while you were the governor of Massachusetts in that period of time, you were 47th in the nation in job creation.

October 19, 2011–In Tuesday night’s Las Vegas debate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry answered a question about uninsured children in his state by attacking former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romneyfor once having undocumented immigrants at work on his lawn.

“And Mitt, you lose all of your standing, from my perspective, because you hired illegals in your home and you knew about it for a year,” Perry said, in a total non-sequiter.

Dec. 18–

Perry’s Attacks Vary Daily

Iowa Crowds Like Perry’s Message of Smaller Government, Lower Taxes

By Rebecca Kaplan—December 18, 2011 | 6:17 p.m.

Rick Perry—“I want to make a clear distinction between myself and Governor Romney,” Perry said, noting that the two were both serving as governors in the early 2000s. He had just wrapped up a description of how he cut the Texas budget by cutting spending before turning to the former governor of Massachusetts. “He took a different path. He scoured his tax code looking for those ways to increase corporate taxes rather than cutting the budget. He succeeded in finding the ways to raise taxes and he raised taxes by some 400 million dollars in Massachusetts,” Perry said. He said Romney, “put it on the backs of Massachusetts job creators.”

“Perry quoted from a Forbes article about Gingrich’s speakership that said both federal spending and debt increased during his tenure, and that one of the ways he balanced the budget was by employing “shameless accounting gimmicks” like borrowing from the Social Security trust fund.”

“Those of you who are wondering what happened to the Social Security trust fund? Here’s part of it right here,” Perry told the crowd.

Washington Times—Oct. 28—Perry attacking Romney–The idea that you stand here before us and talk about that you’re strong on immigration is, on its face, the height of hypocrisy,” Mr. Perry said.

Mr. Perry labeled Mr. Romney a “finger-in-the-wind” politician, after he appeared to suggest he would not take a position on a controversial referendum in Ohio that would limit collective bargaining rights of public employee unions.

SuperPac Ad–Huntsman attacks Romney–“Two serious candidates remain,” the narrator says after images of the GOP’s onetime front-runners flit across the screen, ending in a dual shot of Romney and Huntsman. “One willing to say anything, be anything, one who can actually do the job.”

After touting Huntsman’s job creation record in Utah, the narrator of the Our Destiny PAC concludes: “One state can stop the chameleon.”

Paul’s December 28 Ad–Paul attacks Romney and Gingrich—Politicians who supported bailouts and mandates (shows pictures of Gingrich and Romney “Serial hypocrites and flipfloppers can’t clean up the mess.”

Associated Press | Posted: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 —Newt Gingrich called Romney a “Massachusetts moderate who, in fact, is pretty good at managing the decay.” He said the ex-governor has “given no evidence in his years in Massachusetts of any ability to change the culture or change the political structure.”

Newt Gingrich called Mitt Romney a “liar” on CBS News Tuesday morning, a couple of days after he said he was “Romney-boated” by what he said are $3.5 million attack ads by political groups supporting the former Massachusetts governor.”He’s not telling the American people the truth. It’s just like his pretense that he’s a conservative,” Gingrich said. ” Here’s a Massachusetts moderate who has tax-paid abortions in ‘Romneycare,’ puts Planned Parenthood in ‘Romneycare,’ raises hundreds of millions of dollars of taxes on businesses, appoints liberal judges to appease Democrats, and wants the rest of us to believe somehow he’s magically a conservative.”

Oct. 8, 2011 Debate—CNN transcript.—Santorum –The final point I would make to Governor Romney, you just don’t have credibility, Mitt, when it comes to repealing Obamacare. You are — you are — your plan was the basis for Obamacare. Your consultants helped Obama craft Obamacare. And to say that you’re going to repeal it, you just — you have no track record on that that — that we can trust you that you’re going to do that. …..What you did is exactly what Barack Obama did: focused on the wrong problem. Herman always says you’ve got to find the right problem. Well, the right problem is health care costs. What you did with a top-down, government-run program was focus on the problem of health care access. You expanded the pool of insurance without controlling costs. You’ve blown a hole in the budget up there. And you authored in Obamacare, which is going to blow a hole in the budget of this country.

Jan. 8 Debate

Newt Gingrich–And I think that a bold Reagan conservative, with a very strong economic plan, is a lot more likely to succeed in that campaign than a relatively timid, Massachusetts moderate who even the Wall Street Journal said had an economic plan so timid it resembled Obama.  So I think you’ve got to look at — you know, Massachusetts was fourth from the bottom in job creation under Governor Romney. We created 11 million jobs while I was speaker, and I worked with Governor — with President Reagan in the entire recovery of the 1980s. So I just there’s a huge difference between a Reagan conservative and somebody who comes out of the Massachusetts culture with an essentially moderate record who I think will have a very hard time in a debate with President Obama.

Rick Santorum–Well, if his record was so great as governor of Massachusetts, why didn’t he run for re-election? I mean, if you didn’t want to even stand before the people of Massachusetts and run on your record, if it was that great, why didn’t — why did you bail out?……..I mean, the bottom — the bottom line is, you know, I go and fight the fight. If it was that important to the people of Massachusetts that you were going to go and fight for them, at least you can stand up and — and make the battle that you did a good job……..Governor Romney lost by almost 20 points. Why? Because at the end of that campaign, he wouldn’t stand for conservative principles. He ran from Ronald Reagan. And he said he was going to be to the left of Ted Kennedy on gay rights, on abortion, a whole host of other issues.We want someone, when the time gets tough — and it will in this election — we want someone who’s going to stand up and fight for the conservative principles, not bail out and not run, and not run to the left of Ted Kennedy.

Newt Gingrich—-…Can we drop a little bit of the pious baloney? The fact is, you ran in ’94 and lost. That’s why you weren’t serving in the Senate with Rick Santorum. The fact is, you had a very bad re- election rating, you dropped out of office, you had been out of state for something like 200 days preparing to run for president. You didn’t have this interlude of citizenship while you thought about what you do. You were running for president while you were governor. You were going all over the country. You were — you were out of state consistently.  You then promptly re-entered politics. You happened to lose to McCain as you had lost to Kennedy.  Now you’re back running. You have been running consistently for years and years and years. So this idea that suddenly citizenship showed up in your mind, just level with the American people. You’ve been running for — at least since the 1990’s.

Jon Huntsman attacking Romney–After Romney said, “I just think it’s most likely that the person who should represent our party running against President Obama is not someone who called him a remarkable leader and went to be his ambassador in China.” Huntsman fired back, “This nation is divided, David, because of attitudes like that. (APPLAUSE)   The American people are tired of the partisan division. They have had enough.”

Newt Gingrich attacking Romney– But if you look at “The New York Times” article, I think it was on Thursday, you would clearly have to say that Bain, at times, engaged in behavior where they looted a company, leaving behind 1,700 unemployed people. That’s “The New York Times.”

Moderator—Speaker, you — you — you decry the Washington establishment and you just talked about “The New York Times” and “The Washington Post.” You have agreed with the characterization that Governor Romney is a liar.   Look at him now. Do you stand by that claim?

NEWT GINGRICH—Well, sure. Governor, I wish you would calmly and directly state it is your former staff running the PAC. It is your millionaire friends giving to the PAC. And you know some of the ads are — aren’t true. Just say that. It’s straightforward.

Jan. 7 Debate

Rick Santorum attacking Romney Well, business experience doesn’t necessarily match up with being the commander-in-chief of this country.

Rick Santorum–I don’t think Governor Romney’s plan is particularly bold, it — or is particularly focused on where the problems are in this country

Jon Huntsman–he doesn’t quite understand this situation. What he is calling for would lead to a trade war. It makes for easy talk and a nice applause line but it’s far different from the reality in the U.S.-China relationship.

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Well, there it is!  An prodigious collection of quotations, perhaps a few of which may one day make it into Bartlett’s.  “No big deal!” you say.  “They’re all running for the Republican nomination, so they’ve GOT to attack each other!”  Not really.  In Republican primaries in the not-too-distant past, Republicans focused their attacks on the Democratic President or anticipated Democratic nominee!  This year (and it seems that they are continuing a recent trend), they are levying their attacks on their fellow Republicans.  Of course, when the primaries are over, and a Republican nominee is selected, I anticipate that the Republicans will rally behind that Republican nominee.  Yet, we have to ask the question:  Will that be too late?  Will these Republican Angry Birds have given the Democrats and President Obama too many lines, too many quotations, too many attacks that will be turned against the nominee of the Republican Party.  Time—as always–will tell!

Note:  YouTube Video paralleling this article can be found at http://www.youtube.com/user/mrgrosky1

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President Obama’s State of the Union Address

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OK….first of all the above Help Wanted ad is only in jest; the LAST THING we need is a new President—REALLY!  I’m not an expert (as if you couldn’t tell) but I am an American citizen who follows the news carefully through newspapers, television (ABC, NBC,CBS, CNN, and FOX), magazines, and the Internet.  I really make an effort to be well-informed–like so many others of you out there.  Yet one of the greatest problems in this country is the number of citizens who simply refuse to become well-informed by any measure whatsoever.  Either they watch/listen to only one station and hear only one viewpoint, or they simply tune out and do not spend any real time making an effort to really understand the issues.   Millions and millions of Americans did not bother to watch the President last night.  Instead they watched programs on other networks or dealt with other real or perceived priorities–playing cards, doing household chores, completing homework, visiting their favorite bar, catching up on some overdue sleep, playing with the children, working out at the gym, chatting on Facebook, playing video games, and any other of a hundred other activities–some important, some not-so-important.   News Flash:  It is incumbant upon those who live in a democracy–those who live in what many of us firmly believe is the greatest democracy in the world–it is incumbant upon every one of its citizens to become and remain well-informed.  And that requires work–real effort and time on all of our parts.

Of those who actually watched the President’s 80-minute address, some  did so with an open mind, intending to give our President a chance to explain what he would do in the second and succeeding years of his term.  Others, unfortunately, viewed the program with the most jaundiced of eyes.  They have already vehemently (and sometimes viciously) turned against our President–feeling that if he has not turned our country around in the grand total of 12 months, then he no longer deserves our support.  This outrageous opinion comes despite the fact that he inherited what many have called the worst recession since the Great Depression, two agonizing and expensive wars, a nearly double-digit unemployment rate, and a citizenry who seems to be conditioned to television’s 60-minute instant solution to complicated problems–a citizenry that seems to have totally forgotten that it took even the most successful of Presidents in the past (see Reagan, Clinton, Roosevelt, etc.)  nearly a full term or MORE to really begin to solve our Nation’s economic and other problems.

The afternoon before the speech, when asked by CNN correspondents what they most wanted to hear from their President in his State of the Union address, average Americans of all political stripes, stated overwhelmingly that they wanted to hear the President speak about jobs and the economy.  And so he did.  Addressing the intertwined problems of unemployment and the economy occupied the major portion of his speech.

I watched the President’s address in its entirety, and here is my analysis.  Under very difficult circumstances for our nation, he delivered a superb speech–perhaps the best State of the Union Address I have ever heard in my 59 years!  While he tried to give a realistic picture of the terrible situation our country was in when he took office, he also noted that “the worst of the storm has passed” because of actions his administration had taken–including the absolutely necessary bailout of the banks.

As accomplishments in his first year he pointed out that his administration had “extended or increased unemployment benefits for more than 18 million Americans, made health insurance 65% cheaper for families who get their coverage through COBRA, and passes 25 different tax cuts.”  With regard to those tax cuts, he insisted, ” that we cut taxes for 95% of working families, for small businesses, for first-time homeowners, for parents trying to care for their children, for 8 million Americans paying for college.  “As a result,”  he stated, “millions of Americans had more to spend on gas, food, and other necessities, all of which helped businesses keep more workers.”  And, he quickly added, “we haven’t raised income taxes by a single dime on a single person.”  He gave many examples of the success of the much-maligned Stimulus Bill or Recovery Act, but in summary, he said that “Because of the steps we took, there are about two million Americans working right now who would otherwise be unemployed.  200,000 work in construction and clean energy.  300,000 are teachers and other education workers.  Tens of thousands are cops, firefighters, correctional officers, and first responders”  He noted that the Adminstration is on track to add another one and a half million jobs by the end of the year.

Yet he did not pretend that we are totally out of the woods.  He noted that “One in ten Americans still cannot find work.  Many businesses have been shuttered. Home values have declined, Small towns and rural communities have been hit especially hard.  For those who have already know poverty, life has become that much harder.”  He went on the state that “This recession has also compounded the burdens that America’s families have been dealing with for decades–the burden of working harder and longer for less; of being unable to save enough to retire or help kids with college.”

So nearly all of you would agree with our President that these are the problems he must confront—he has a duty to confront–head-on–in this next one to two years.  How does he propose to confront and solve these problems.  Here is his plan—NOT filled with details, because an 80-minute speech does not allow and is not intended to provide details.  Those details will come as specific proposals are advanced in the days to come.  Yet the address did provide some broadly stroked proposals in key areas to significantly improve the daily lives of the people of our nation.  In brief, here are those proposals:

1.  A fee on the “biggest banks” to recover the rest of the money we lent to them (Most has already been recovered).

2.  A new jobs bill, starting with small businesses–taking 30 billion dollars of the money Wall Street banks have already repaid and using it to help “community banks give small businesses the credit they need to stay afloat.”

3.  A new small business tax credit to over one million small businesses who hire new workers or raise wages.

4.  Elimination of all capital gains taxes on small business investment and a tax incentive for all businesses tha invest in new plants and equipment.

5.  Putting Americans to work building the infrastructure of tomorrow–highways, railroads, clean energy facilities, home energy  rebates.

Slashing tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas and awarding  tax breaks to those companies that create jobs in the U.S.

7.  Serious financial reform–protecting our economy by providing for a strong, healthy financial market that “makes it possible for businesses to access credit and create new jobs” and which “channels the savings of families into investments that raise incomes.”

8.  Encouragement of  American innovation–clean energy, safe nuclear power, new offshore areas for oil and gas development, advanced biofuels and clean coal technologies, and a comprehensive energy and climate bill.

9.  Doubling our exports over the next five years, and increase that will support 2 million American jobs by launching a “National Export Initiative that will help farmers and small businesses increase their exports, and reform export controls…”

10.  Seeking new markets for our goods by strengthening trade relations in Asia and South America.

11.  Investing in the skills and education of our people by investing in educational reform which rewards only success–reform which raises student achievement.  This involves expanding these reforms to all fifty states so that “the success of our children ” depends more on their potential as opposed to simply where they happen to live.

12.  A bill that would revitalize our community colleges.  Ending “unwarranted” taxpayer-subsidies that go to banks for student loans and using that money to give families a $10,000 dollar tax credit for four years of college.  Increasing the Pell Grants which many of us relied on in the past to help fund our college educations.  A new requirement that would allow a million college graduates to pay only 10 percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt to be forgiven in 20 years (and in 10 years if they go into public service.

13.  A task force on Middle-Class Families.  Nearly doubling the child care tax credit.  A plan to give every worker “access to a retirement account and expanding the tax credit for those who start a nest egg.”

14.  Stepping ups refinancing of homes so that homeowners can move into more affordable mortgages (noting that steps last year allowed millions of Americans to take out new loans and save an average of $1500 on mortgage payments.

15.  Health care reform which gives coverage to millions of Americans who have been denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions,  preventative care in all plans, protection of Americans from the worst practices of the insurance industries, and the opportunity for small businesses and uninsured Americans to have the chance to choose an affordable health care plan in a competitive market.  These  would be plans that would preserve the right of all Americans who currently have insurance to keep their doctor and their current plan.  And very importantly, it would reduce skyrocketing costs and premiums for millions of families and businesses.

16.  A plan to freeze government spending for three years (except for spending relating to national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. This freeze would go into effect in one year, after our economy improves.

17.  The establishment of a bipartisan Fiscal Commission which would provide a specific set of solutions by a certain deadline.

18.  To increase trust in government, a requirement that lobbyists disclose each contact they make “on behalf of a client with my Adminstration or Congress.”

19.  The establishment of strict limits on the contributions that lobbyists give to candidates for federal office.  Here, the President actually took a daring swipe at the Supreme Court that just voted to “reverse a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests–including foreign corporations–to spend without limit in our elections.

20.  Earmark reform on all these pet projects (aka “pork”) that find their way into unrelated bills.  The establishment of a website that would post all earmark requests BEFORE a vote is taken on those requests so that “the American people can see how [and why] their money is being spent.”

21.  Renewing focus on “terrorists who threaten our nation.”  Continued investments in homeland security.

22.  Increasing troops and training Afghan Security Forces so that “they can begin to take the lead in 2011, and our troops can begin to come home.”

23.  Removing all of our combat troops from Iraq by August of this year.

24.  Commitment to support men and women in uniform and veterans when they come home; building a 21st century VA and a commitment (headed by Michelle Obama and Jill Biden) to support military families

25.  New initiatives, sanctions, and negotiations to reduce nuclear weapons around the world.

26  Providing world leadership in helping other counties with problems in climate change, HIV/AIDS, fighting bio-terrorism and infectious disease, and other problems.

27.  The prosecution of civil right violations and employment discrimination and strengthening laws dealing with civil right violations and employment discrimination; repealing the don’t ask, don’t tell law in the military.

Now, admittedly, this is a very ambitious agenda–but it is the agenda on which this President was overwhelmingly elected.  It is an agenda that he HAS made some progress on (as noted above) although we all wish that the progress could come more quickly and more easily.   The focus, however, is where the Americans wish it to be–on jobs and the economy.

Let me conclude with the point on which I began:  Let us give this President–OUR President–a real chance to succeed–not just 12 months.  As you might guess, I didn’t vote for Bush, or Nixon, or even Reagan, but I did give each of those Presidents my respect AND a full 36-42 months to make good on their promises and to make some real inroads in turning our country around in what I felt was a positive direction.  The idea of a 4-year Presidency is to give that President a term to really make progress on his agenda–even if it is not the agenda of the candidate that you would have preferred to occupy the office.  President Obama is President of ALL Americans.  As conservative Republican actor and activist John Wayne once said when referring to President Kennedy, “I didn’t vote for him, but he’s my President.  I hope he does a good job.”

That’s what I would request of each of you.  Give our President a chance to do the work for which he was overwhelmingly elected.  Have the patience with his Administration and the respect for the Office and the Individual that true Americans have always given their President.  Stop the name-calling, the insults,  the profanity, the exaggerations, the refusal to even consider other points of view.  Educate yourselves on the issues and stay educated.  Let the best of your instincts and your intellect show themselves on talk shows, editorials, blogs, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and Internet forums. Let us try to work as one country–as one People–in solving the multitude of problems we face and making our country all it can truly be.

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Scott Brown, Haiti Relief, and Football

Election of Scott Brown in Mass. Illustrates Voter Anger and Frustration

This week’s election of Massachusetts relatively obscure State Senator Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate was a wake-up call to all politicians in Washington that the Americans are fed up with business as usual in the Beltway.  Martha Coakley may not have been the strongest campaigner, but after all–this is Massachusetts–the true-blue state that voted over 60 percent for Barack Obama just over a year ago!

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I do have to admit that my adult son and I spent almost three hours alone on a downtown corner in an election-day snowstorm holding signs for Martha Coakley.  We recorded 52 thumbs-up from passing motorists vs. only 29 thumbs down during about a thirty-minute time period when we were making our strictly unscientific poll.  Since our town and the whole state voted strongly for Brown, the only thing we were able to confirm was the complete unreliability of these unscientific polls!

So, what does it all mean?  Well, first of all, it means that the people are unhappy with the slow pace of the recovery and the higher-than-ten percent unemployment rate (9.4 percent here in Massachusetts).  Secondly, they seem to be angry with both Democrats whom they view as trying to spend our way out of the recession by using huge amounts of taxpayer money (adding to the deficit) with additional government programs like health care.  Although many people in Massachusetts support the idea of health care for the 30 million Americans who do not have any health care (and the elimination of prior conditions as a rationale for rejection ), they are incensed with back-room deals and a perceived lack of transparency in developing a health care bill.  While this looks like good news for Republicans, it is clear that they should not be licking their chops just yet.  Surveys and interviews with voters show that the people are  also not happy with Republicans who seem to be refusing to compromise, and are now beginning to be known as the Party of “No.”  Many people I spoke to point to the fact that Republicans and Conservatives  like Sen. Jim DeMint or Rush Limbaugh seem to WANT Barack Obama to fail and are, therefore, doing everything within their power to be obstructionist and confrontational–refusing to work with the President or to offer realistic compromises.

For those who pay attention to history, it is clear that this financial crisis does not belong to any ONE political party.  After all,  Democrat Bill Clinton left a $237 billion surplus for Republican George Bush and a Republican Congress.  President Bush and his policies caused that surplus to disappear largely through unfunded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, leaving  Democrat Barack Obama (on entering office)  a $1.3 trillion deficit.

The general view seems to be that Scott Brown–an attractive and energetic campaigner–was able to tap into all of that voter frustration.  Running a smart campaign, he is the beneficiary of all of that voter anger and angst.  His job now is to  prove that he is, in fact,  the independent thinker, shaker and mover that he purported to be.  In the spirit of good government and true bipartisanship, I wish him all the best.  Our country needs it; our democracy demands it.

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NOW,  ONTO  SOME  OTHER  CONCERNS  OF  THE  WEEK:

Kudos to the American people who have rallied to the cause of disaster relief in Haiti by donating over 377 million dollars in the past two weeks.   As an American and an educator for nearly 37 years, it makes me proud to see how average citizens–many in financial difficulty themselves–have dug deeply to help friends in the world community who have been stricken by the disaster in Haiti.  While so many countries–including the U.S., Mexico, Venezuela, Israel, Spain, and China–have sent doctors and/or rescue squads, many are also contributing huge amounts of money.  Based upon the percentage of amounts donated and/or pledged and on the per capita contributions (which takes the population of each country into account), it seems that the leading contributors are the United States, Canada, Spain, Great Britain, France, the World Bank, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and the European Commission.  I hope the contributions continue to flow in –even as Haiti fades from the nightly news reports, and the media focuses on other areas of the world.

Since they often are ridiculed for the causes they espouse, I also want to thank those celebrities who were involved as performers or phone handlers in the telethon for Haiti relief which was on all three networks yesterday.   Sure, our society rewards superstar celebrities with nearly obscene salaries for their singing or acting, but it behooves us to point out that a large number of these celebrities really do seem to have genuine social consciences that cause them to go into action to help in the worst of times.  Thanks to celebrities such as George Clooney, Madonna, Sting, Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Kid Rock, Neil Young, JayZ, Beyonce, Shakira Wyclef Jean, Bono, Sheryl Crow, and Rhiana who all performed (partial list).  Thanks also to those who manned the phones:  Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert DeNiro, Julia Roberts, Jack Nicholson, Denzel Washington, Matt Damon, Clint Eastwood, Halle Berry, Ben Stiller, Stephen Spielberg, Ellen DeGeneres, Brad Pitt, Tom Hanks, and Reese Witherspoon.  As of this morning, their efforts had already raised 67 million dollars.  Quite a few of these celebrities have also made major contributions from their own personal fortunes to Haiti relief. Just a few of the heavy contributors:  Sandra Bullock (1 million dollars), Leonardo DiCaprio (1 million dollars), Madonna (250,000 dollars), Clooney/Pitt and others (1 million dollars)..

Just a few words on the NFL playoffs……..I am writing this just as the AFC Championship game begins.   As I think of the millions of fans who are diverted by football for a few hours from their financial or personal problems, I am reminded a bit of my Shakespeare classes at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.  It seemed that even in the midst of a classic tragedy like Macbeth, Shakespeare  managed to introduce some comic relief—just to allow the audience to breathe a bit–before the worst to come.  One hopes that we have already seen the worst, but it is nice–nevertheless–to be able to take a breath, watch the Jets, the Colts, the Vikings, and the Saints–and be concerned only with yards per carry, interceptions, quarterback sacks, and the like.  If only the problems of the world could be so simple.

My Predictions:

Colts defeat Jets 24-21;  (Jets’ defense not enough to stop Manning) and Saints defeat Vikings 31-27  (Bret Favre is good (and Adrian Peterson could help), but Drew Brees is better.

Until Next Week………….

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