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Posts Tagged ‘Tea Party’

Candidate Clinton?

What an interesting week it has been in politics. First, last week’s stunning defeat of Virginia’s Eric Cantor, who lost to an unknown Tea Party candidate. Then the admission on the heels of the Romney summit in Utah that there is a division within the Republican Party and no clear Presidential candidate in sight for 2016. Today, I read rumblings that some are hoping Gov. Mitt Romney will give it another whirl. That would be interesting, especially if he decides not to be muffled by the extremists and to run on a platform similar to the one he employed in Massachusetts. It’s time for moderate Republicans to organize and he really is a moderate at heart, as evidenced by his leadership as Governor. Speak past the extremists if you do, Mitt!

Now, Hillary Clinton’s “Is She or Isn’t She?” interview on CNN. The interview was ostensibly about her book, “Hard Choices.”  I dialed in late so I don’t know if Christiane Amanpour disclosed at the outset that her husband, James Rubin, had worked on Clinton’s 2007 campaign. Amanpour was clearly a “friendly” as we say in the media but I will not slam CNN or Hillary for that given that this is one woman in politics who has had her share of harsh treatment. Interestingly, harsh was missing from the exchange. She was measured and circumspect.

I will say it was interesting that the speech bubble Amanpour held up with viewers’  impressions of Hillary had only positive messaging on it. The most visible word on there was “President.”

Highlights of the interview include her statements that she is going to move forward on immigration reform, that she would send young children back to the Latin American countries they have fled to enter the U.S. illegally (once a responsible party is identified), that the blame for not arming rebels in Syria lies with Obama, that she is going to let states decide on recreational marijuana but hasn’t smoked herself. She was her most forceful on the issue of background checks, saying polls show Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of them.

Even if she doesn’t run, her interview raised some interesting points about American attitudes towards female candidates. Of course, we should be as comfortable electing a woman as a man. And we should pay her the same as we would pay him. But when someone like Hillary Clinton is asked why she wants to run when she has a grandchild on the way, you seriously have to wonder whether people realize how inherently sexist our assumptions still are. Her answer that a lot of Grandfathers have run for public office was spot on.

I just got back from a week in Texas. I saw three Presidential libraries in a week. First, President Bill Clinton’s in Arkansas, then Lyndon Baines Johnson’s in Johnson City and finally George H.W. Bush’s at Texas A & M in College Station. I told friends my favorite thing about the trip was how each of these Presidents’ libraries allowed them to depict their legacies as they see fit. The truth is there is more room for that than ever. With partisan rancor at its worst, Americans are so unsure of what is news and what is spin, that they are turning away from politics altogether.  That is where the danger lies. Not only when it comes to an informed electorate but also for future generations.

I’m actually beginning to question whether our conventional methods of weaning out the differences between candidates, like press conferences, debates and :30 campaign spots have become obsolete. Maybe each candidate should be given weekly one-on-one, half-hour or hour long, interviews in which they are asked to focus on just one issue like education, the economy, foreign affairs or energy. Americans will at least get to choose without the constant interruptions or one liners that make for exciting television but do little to help Americans decide who is telling the truth, who has the temperament and experience to lead and who inspires them.

I would love to see Mitt Romney in a similar interview to tonight’s interview with Hillary. After all, many people believe, he was treated unfairly by the press at times, in part because he was wealthy and successful.

In the last week, I have had a bright young person tell me she no longer believes in party politics. I listened to an accountant who has voted for Democrats say he’ll vote for whoever can right the ship financially by reforming entitlements, military spending, underfunded pensions and reigning in the interest on our debts. I’ve had a green Republican admit alternative energy has to be part of the energy mix going forward because of EPA mandates to upgrade infrastructure as well as concerns about global warming and sustainability.  I read an article about how handwriting could be phased out after second grade under Common Core because “kids won’t need it.”  I signed a petition urging our Governor to veto a law that creates a 72 hour waiting period for abortion because I am outraged that the one legal provider in our state is under attack … again. (As I’ve said before, “agreeing to disagree” on social issues is fine but dialing back rights isn’t) I wondered who is going to pay for Medicaid expansion in this state, which I was originally opposed to, but am reconsidering, as hospitals lay off employees because of the unfair burden Obamacare has placed on them.

I write this a day after the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to consider whether vicious lies in the midst of political campaigns about a candidate’s criminal convictions and mental state fall under free speech or whether that should be criminal, as it currently is according to Ohio. A law like that, broadly applied, would be a game changing tipping point in politics as we know it.

 

 

 

House Passes 1.1 Trillion Dollar Spending Bill / New York Times

In Defeat for Tea Party, House Passes $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill

By 

 

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Speaker John A. Boehner on Wednesday after the vote on a spending bill that left some conservative groups fuming. J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The House voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday, 359 to 67, to approve a $1.1 trillion spending bill for the current fiscal year, shrugging off the angry threats of Tea Party activists and conservative groups whose power has ebbed as Congress has moved toward fiscal cooperation.

The legislation, 1,582 pages in length and unveiled only two nights ago, embodies precisely what many House Republicans have railed against since the Tea Party movement began, a huge bill dropped in the cover of darkness and voted on before lawmakers could possibly have read it.

The conservative political action committee Club for Growth denounced it and said a vote for it would hurt any lawmaker’s conservative scorecard. Heritage Action, the political arm of the Heritage Foundation, castigated it as a profligate budget buster that is returning Washington to its free-spending ways.

“Has Congress learned nothing from the Obamacare disaster?” said Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots. “We need members in the House and the Senate who are willing to keep their campaign promises, stand up for the people and protect Americans from Washington’s tax, borrow, spend and spend and spend mentality.”

The response in the Republican-led House was a collective shrug, with 166 Republicans voting for it and 64 opposing it. The Senate, controlled by Democrats, is expected to pass it easily this week.

“If I started voting how they want me to, versus what I think is right, then they’ve already won,” said Representative Mike Simpson, Republican of Idaho, who is dealing with one of the best-financed Tea Party challenges of this campaign year. “Eh, it is what it is.”

The budget process that is culminating in the passage of the spending bill has ushered in a remarkable marginalization of the Republican far right. After a politically disastrous 16-day government shutdown last fall, the House voted 285 to 144 to reopen the government on Oct. 16. Only 87 Republicans voted yes; 144 voted no.

The legislation that reopened the government set the parameters for a broad budget deal that was again denounced by conservatives. But in December, that deal passed the House 332 to 94, with 169 Republicans backing it. That budget blueprint yielded more than 1,500 pages of fine print.

For the most ardent conservatives, the spending bill passed by the House on Wednesday represented a tangible backslide from fiscal discipline, a $45 billion increase in spending compared with where the budget would have been had House Republicans let another round of automatic spending cuts take effect.

Yet it passed the House with an even greater margin — and even more Republican votes.

“Our people learned a lot of tough lessons in the last year, and I think you’re seeing the tough lessons applied,” said Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma.

In the process, Speaker John A. Boehner has reasserted control over his fractious Republican conference, leaving his far-right flank angry and isolated. The speaker’s public and private denunciations of the outside conservative groups have created conditions in which members must choose sides, and they have.

“The Tea Party groups and conservative movement in America gave the speaker his speakership, and I think it’s time for us to be grateful for what these outside groups have done,” said Representative Raúl R. Labrador, Republican of Idaho, who has remained in the Tea Party camp.

But most have aligned with the speaker in what Republican leaders say is a growing realization that incremental moves toward governance are better than the purist, ideological stands demanded by the right.

“We can push large ideas out of the House and say, ‘This is what we feel is the right thing to do,’ but if we’re going to actually move things, they’re going to have to be smaller things,” said Representative James Lankford of Oklahoma, a member of the Republican leadership.

The Heritage Foundation drafted a lengthy to-do list for the huge spending bill, which included prohibiting funds to build a prison in the United States to house detainees from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba; eliminating all money for Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s cherished high-speed rail projects; cutting the operating budget of the Fish and Wildlife Service; providing money for private school vouchers for the District of Columbia; and significantly reducing the Internal Revenue Service’s budget, with language requiring more oversight of the potential targeting of political groups.

All of those requests — about half the to-do list, in all — were carried out, and yet Heritage Action demanded a “no” vote.

That ideological purity has lost its power.

“They’re going to have their various metrics,” said Representative Greg Walden of Oregon, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. “What we need to be able to do is go home and explain what’s inside the bills and why they matter.”

Chris Chocola, president of the Club for Growth, said Wednesday that his group’s influence had not waned, but that the budget process had highlighted that “we’ve got work to do.”

“We’d love to put ourselves out of business,” he said, “but until you get a majority of economic conservatives, you’ve got to keep fighting.”

That will not sit well with Republicans now more willing to speak out against such groups.

“I hope they spend some time trying to win the United States Senate and working with us when we have a nominee to win the presidency,” Mr. Cole said. “But I don’t think condemning Republicans who are making amazing progress in a challenging environment is the appropriate thing to do.”

A version of this article appears in print on January 16, 2014, on page A18 of the New York edition with the headline: In Defeat for Tea Party, House Passes $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill. Order Reprints|Today’s Paper|Subscribe

Sibling Rivalry

Dispute Over Gay Marriage Erupts in Cheney Family

By JONATHAN MARTIN
FacebEd Reinke/Associated PressDick Cheney with his daughters, Mary Cheney, left, and Liz, at the Republican National Convention in 2000.

Updated, 10:09 p.m. | WASHINGTON — They were the towheaded sisters who tagged along on campaigns, polite and smiling, as their father rose through Wyoming and then Washington politics to become one of the most powerful men in the country.

“We were as close as sisters can be,” recalled Mary Cheney of her relationship with her older sister, Liz.

But now, a feud between the two has spilled into public view, involving social media, an angry same-sex spouse, a high-profile election and a father who feels uncomfortably caught between his two children.

The situation has deteriorated so much that the two sisters have not spoken since the summer, and the quarrel threatens to get in the way of something former Vice President Dick Cheney desperately wants — a United States Senate seat for Liz.

Things erupted on Sunday when Mary Cheney, a lesbian, and her wife were at home watching “Fox News Sunday” — their usual weekend ritual. Liz Cheney appeared on the show and said that she opposed same-sex marriage, describing it as “just an area where we disagree,” referring to her sister. Taken aback and hurt, Mary Cheney took to her Facebook page to blast back: “Liz — this isn’t just an issue on which we disagree you’re just wrong — and on the wrong side of history.”

But then Mary Cheney’s wife, Heather Poe, went further, touching on Liz Cheney’s relocation from Northern Virginia to Wyoming to seek office. (Liz Cheney is already battling accusations of carpetbagging in the race.)

“I can’t help but wonder how Liz would feel if as she moved from state to state, she discovered that her family was protected in one but not the other,” Ms. Poe wrote on her Facebook page. “Yes, Liz,” she added, “in fifteen states and the District of Columbia you are my sister-in-law.”

The feud reveals tensions not just within the family but in the Republican Party more broadly as it seeks to respond to both a changing America and an energized, fervently conservative base.

Indeed, while Liz Cheney seeks to make clear her opposition to same-sex marriage, her father more than a decade ago was able to embrace fairly moderate views on the subject, breaking publicly with President George W. Bush over Mr. Bush’s support for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. He has gone further still since then, telling Barbara Walters in 2011, “I certainly don’t have any problem with” same-sex marriage.

But Ms. Cheney, in her bid to defeat Republican Senator Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming, is running to his right and seeking to capture conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts.

Matt Young/Associated PressLiz Cheney at a campaign appearance in July.

Liz Cheney on Sunday declined to directly address the remarks from her sister and sister-in-law, but said in an email: “I love my sister and her family and have always tried to be compassionate towards them. I believe that is the Christian way to behave.”

People who have spoken to Liz Cheney say she is irritated that her sister is making their dispute public and believes it is hypocritical for Mary Cheney to take such a hard line now, given that she worked for the re-election of President Bush, an opponent of same-sex marriage.

The relationship between the two sisters used to be quite different. The daughters drew especially close when their father ran as Mr. Bush’s running mate in 2000 and eventually became a figure of great controversy and enormous power as vice president. After Mr. Cheney left office in 2009, politically bruised and physically ailing, the sisters, who lived 15 minutes apart in Washington’s tony Northern Virginia suburbs, would join their parents for a standing Sunday dinner at Liz’s house in McLean each week, along with their families, including Ms. Poe.

Mary Cheney, 44, said in a phone interview Sunday that she presumed her sister shared her father’s views on marriage, and that view was reinforced because Liz Cheney “was always very supportive” of her relationship with Ms. Poe and the couple’s two children. She learned otherwise in August when Liz Cheney declared, shortly after announcing her Senate candidacy, that she was opposed to same-sex marriage rights. Mary Cheney said it is now “impossible” for the sisters to reconcile as long as Liz Cheney maintains that position.

“What amazes me is that she says she’s running to be a new generation of leader,” Mary Cheney said, citing her 47-year-old sister’s slogan in her campaign against Mr. Enzi, 69. “I’m not sure how sticking to the positions of the last 20 or 30 years is the best way to do that.”

Mary Cheney said it was her wife’s idea for the couple to take to Facebook to respond to Liz’s televised remarks. Ms. Poe seemed especially hurt that her sister-in-law had acted so embracing toward them in private, and then took this public position.

“Liz has been a guest in our home, has spent time and shared holidays with our children, and when Mary and I got married in 2012 — she didn’t hesitate to tell us how happy she was for us,” Ms. Poe wrote. “To have her say she doesn’t support our right to marry is offensive to say the least.”

In the interview, Mary Cheney, who is a longtime political consultant, said she would continue to raise the matter. Reminded by a reporter that such criticism could complicate her sister’s Senate campaign, Mary Cheney offered a clipped answer reminiscent of her father’s terse style. “O.K.,” she said, before letting silence fill the air.

It is not the substance of the issue that could hurt Liz Cheney in Wyoming — her opponent also opposes same-sex marriage. But the ugly family drama and questions about what Liz Cheney truly believes could reinforce questions about her authenticity in a place where many voters have met their politicians in person and are already skeptical of an outsider like Ms. Cheney, who has lived elsewhere for much of her life. Ms. Cheney’s first ad, which she released last week, was devoted entirely to emphasizing her family’s Wyoming roots.

Wyoming, a sprawling but sparsely populated state, has rarely seen such high-profile primaries, and this one has already featured an ugly Cheney family episode: After former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson, a longtime friend of the family who served with Mr. Cheney in the state’s congressional delegation, fretted to The New York Times this summer about how Liz Cheney’s challenge of Mr. Enzi would be divisive among the state’s Republicans, Lynne Cheney, the sisters’ mother and Mr. Cheney’s wife, confronted him at a charity event and told him to “just shut up” — three times, Mr. Simpson claimed. When Lynne Cheney later said that the exchange never happened, Mr. Simpson called her denial “a damn baldfaced lie.”

The former vice president is active and visible in his daughter’s Senate bid and this Wednesday, he will join her in Denver for a fund-raiser to benefit her campaign. Early polls show Liz Cheney trailing Mr. Enzi, but her fund-raising since declaring her candidacy has been robust.

As for Mary Cheney, she said that when she gets together with her parents these days, they know which subjects not to bring up. “They come over for dinner and we don’t talk about Liz or the race,” she said. “There is so much more to talk about.”

The Cheneys have tried to be “as neutral as they can,” added Mary Cheney, who just returned from a pheasant hunting trip with her father in South Dakota. “My parents are stuck in an awful position.”

As for the coming holidays, Mary Cheney said that her parents will come to her and Ms. Poe’s Northern Virginia home for Thanksgiving and that she assumed her older sister would be in Wyoming.

At Christmas, the whole Cheney clan will head to the Jackson Hole area in Wyoming, where Liz Cheney now lives. But Mary Cheney said of her sister, “I will not be seeing her.”

A version of this article appears in print on 11/18/2013, on page A1 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Cheney Sisters In Public Feud Over Marriage.

Yes, Virginia, Moderates Matter!

This is a repeat headline. We first used it on this site in December, 2011 when Nate Silver, covering the Republican race for its party’s nomination, wrote, “Yes, Virginia, there are still moderate Republicans out there. Not as many as there used to be, but enough that they will constitute perhaps one-third of the Republican primary electorate.”  

It was a reference to 8 year old Virginia O’Hanlon’s letter to the editor of New York’s Sun newspaper asking if there is a Santa Claus. Virginia’s friends had been telling her there was no Santa Claus. Her father said, “If you see it in the Sun, it’s true, Virginia.” According to Newseum.com, the Sun’s editor, Francis Pharcellus Church, wrote back to Virginia, telling her her friends were “wrong and that they had been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age.” 

Fast track to Nov. 5, 2013 and the state of Virginia. The skeptics in the Republican Party were wrong. They allowed themselves to be railroaded by a small faction of naysayers who ignored what the people of that state wanted.  Job creation coupled with increasing tolerance on social issues. And as a result, the Tea Party candidate, Ken Cucinelli, got run over by a train filled with voters who are more moderate than their experts and consultants would have led all of us to believe.  It was like 2012 all over again. 

But, a different story is unfolding in New Jersey. Where that blustery and blunt but ever-pragmatic, finger wagging, unlikely Pol, Republican Gov. Christie, just got re-elected in a state that has more Democrats than Republicans. A state where money is now pouring in to thwart his agenda. He got re-elected because he likes people and can work across the aisle. But the real test is still in front of him, a test that will determine whether Christie has what it takes to pin down Washington’s spending problem. If he does, he could be the party’s next Presidential candidate. Actually, if he can hold together his bi-partisan support, especially as he tries to reform the state’s pension program, he will likely be the country’s next Republican President.

 

Civics for Kids

This is a great talking point for kids. Ask them what they think about the following 

story. Was the Congressman wrong? 

Anti-Immigration Crowd Applauds Congressman’s Assurance That Young Girl’s Father May Be Deported

BY ESTHER YU-HSI LEE ON AUGUST 19, 2013 AT 10:26 AM

dont deport my dadAt a town hall in Mursfreeboro, Tenn., 11-year-old U.S. citizen Josie Molina approached the stage to ask anti-immigration reform Congressman Scott DeJarlais (R-TN) whether there was anything she could to do stop her father’s imminent deportation proceeding. “I have a dad who’s undocumented and what can I do so that he can stay with me?” she asked as her voice trembled. But when DesJarlais broke the news to her that “we have laws that we need to follow,” the crowd broke into rousing applause.

DesJarlais fielded questions about undocumented immigrants who want to serve in the military and from so-called DREAMers, who are undocumented youths brought to the country by their parents. But at all times, DesJarlais remained adamantly opposed to immigration reform, each time making border security and law-breaking the focal points of his argument. When Molina asked her question, DesJarlais responded just the same.

JOSIE MOLINA: I have a dad who’s undocumented and what can I do so that he can stay with me?

REP. DESJARLAIS: Joanna, thank you for being here and thank you for coming forward to speaking to us. This is a big intimidating crowd, and I appreciate you coming forward to ask your question. But the answer still kind of remains the same that we have laws and we need to follow those laws and that’s where we’re at.

Watch it:

 

According to some reports, both Tea Party members and numerous immigration advocates attended the packed event. But it was the Tea Partiers who applauded when DesJarlais told Molina that people need to follow the law.

But the law is not as cut and dry as DesJarlais suggests. The Obama administration implemented a policy to limit enforcementthat includes consideration of whether an individual has a U.S. citizen child or spouse. The policy also allows Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to focus deportations on criminal immigrants.

The immigration bill that passed the Senate would provide a path to citizenship for many undocumented immigrants, and allow parents to make decisions about their child’s care before they are deported. The bill is pending before the House, with many Republicans like DesJarlais withholding their support. In the absence of such reform, more than 205,000 parents of U.S. citizen children like Molina, have been deported between 2010 and 2012.

It's Muddy in the Middle! / Christine Doyle

It’s Muddy in the Middle! / Christine Doyle

Moderate Moms’ business cards are purple which is the color of compromise. Neither all Blue nor all Red, the message is we are defining ourselves as true Moderates. Yes, each of us may tend to vote mostly Republican or mostly Democrat but even that is up for grabs. Over the last year, here in Missouri, moderate Republicans, like myself, often felt like we embraced our party but our party didn’t acknowledge us. I was repeatedly told I was either a “self-hating Democrat” or an “Independent.” During a phone survey, I was asked if I identify as a Republican, a Democrat or an Independent. I said, “Republican” but I realized after I hung up, I should have said, “Independent Republican.”

If you are someone who cares about the bottom line and is concerned about how we are going to pay for government services going forward, we like you. Because all of the compassion in the world doesn’t matter if we can’t figure out how to pay for it. If you are someone who is tired of the fight around social issues and would like to “agree to disagree” on abortion, we like you. Personally, I agree with Massachusetts Republican Senatorial Candidate Scott Brown who said, “abortion should be safe and rare.”  But, I would never presume to tell someone else what would be right for them on as delicate an issue as abortion.

We applaud that Congressional Republicans are coming around or shall we say, “coming out,” on gay rights. Because, just like abortion, no one is telling you you have to be gay or have an abortion just because you can tolerate someone else’s right to do so.

I read recently that it is impossible to hold to two opposing thoughts. Says who? Why can’t it be okay to have federal standards but local control of our schools, to be pro-choice but respectful of people’s individual religious beliefs, to agree states have the right to opt out of medicaid expansion if the money isn’t there and to provide business with the incentives to fill in the gap by creating bigger pools with greater purchasing power.  While at the same time saying we cannot be a country that turns its back on its sickest citizens by denying them access because of pre-existing conditions. Why can’t you agree Planned Parenthood plays an important role in educating inner-city teens about safe sex without worrying you will be labeled pro-abortion. You can’t because you’ve been told you can’t by Congress and the media. But if ModerateMoms plays one important role, it is to say, you can. We can give the politicians political cover until it is safe for them to say what they really think.

We are also debunking the myth of what Republicans and Democrats can and cannot talk about. Moderate Republicans can talk about guns. But, in a way that leaves both pro-gun and anti-gun reform groups feeling safe. It sounds really touchy-feely but the truth with guns is that it isn’t the gun itself but the feeling attached to it that can be so dangerous. A socially marginalized troubled youth feels powerful when he opens fire in a movie theatre. A law abiding citizen feels safe when he keeps a gun in his house to protect his family. A gang member feels he has to shoot or be shot. A recreational hunter feels relaxed when he spends a day shooting duck. School shootings, rapid fire magazines and assault weapons make many Moms feel very unsafe. But so does the idea of a one Connecticut paper wanting to publish the addresses of the homeowners who own guns after Sandy Hook. What?

I really believe the only path to progress for our country is going to be to let people decide what works for them, whether that is a town, a county or a state. And for us to acknowledge that the recovery is going to come by rebuilding our local economies. It’s important, too, that we start to be able to work with the other side. A Democrat asked me the other day who a moderate Republican’s opposition is and my initial response was, “The Tea Party.” But the truth is the Tea Party deserves a lot of credit for bringing the current embrace of fiscal reform to light. Democrats are rightly suspicious of the far Right and view the Republicans’ attempt to be more inclusive of minorities with great suspicion. But that isn’t really fair either. While moderate Republicans like me really like how inclusive of gays and minorities the Democrats are, I don’t like the suspicion with which all Republicans are viewed.

The boys who cried wolf

The boys who cried wolf

Americans are getting tired of the phrase, “government shutdown.”  And if poll results are any indication, they’re pretty tired of Congress, too.  This is the third time in five months that there has been the threat of the government shutting down because of a political impasse.  I think the link below to an article by Thomas Friedman in the New York Times is perhaps the best read on the current climate.  He says, “both parties seem to have concluded lately that no compromise is possible and therefore their differences will just have to be settled by the 2012 election. No problem! I’m sure our markets will be patient until the next president is in place in early 2013!”  

Late Monday night, another government shutdown was avoided when the Senate passed a bi-partisan resolution to keep finances flowing through next Tuesday.  But as one lawmaker said even they are getting tired of the fight.  As one legislator said, “Let’s fight when there is something to fight about.”

The latest impasse was because the Tea Party refused to agree to an infusion of disaster relief funds unless they got significant budget cuts in exchange.  Republican Governor Chris Christie, of New Jersey, says he is ashamed at the politicization of disaster relief.  And in an interesting twist, there are new rumors that Christie may be running after all.  In his home state of New Jersey, Gov. Christie took a hard line on reforming pension funds and his approval ratings actually went up.  He has a tough talking, no-nonsense style that could have crossover appeal at this critical time.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20112073-503544.html

 http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/25/opinion/sunday/Friedman-help-wanted-leadership.html?hp

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/219468/20110925/shutdown-government-shutdown-gridlock-hurricane-irene-irene-floods-tornado-disaster-democrats-republ.htm

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/shutdown-looms-spotlight-now-on-senate-after-boehner-wrangled-house-gop-votes/2011/09/23/gIQAJZSMxK_story.html

Should the Gov't mandate HPV vaccines for girls?

Should the Gov’t mandate HPV vaccines for girls?

Photo courtesy: like a whisper/wordpress.com

It was an unlikely reason for Gov. Rick Perry’s unraveling in the debates Monday night.  But, there is no doubt that his defense of a state edict he issued as Governor of Texas requiring girls be vaccinated against HPV, a sexually transmitted disease that is believed to cause some cervical cancers, hurt him.  While the Tea Party claims it does not veer into social terrority, Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum, saw an opportunity to ignite social conservatives.  Bachmann argued that the government had no business usurping parents’ roles in deciding whether their eleven year old daughters should get the still new, and in conservative circles controversial, Gardasil vaccine.  Santorum went so far as to say that unless Texas schools present a higher than average risk for sexually transmitted diseases to be transmitted at school, he saw no need for this to be part of the battery of vaccinations required to enter school.  Unlike measles and chicken pox, he argued the transmission risk is low in that setting.  But the real hurt came when Bachmann accused him of passing the law at the behest of pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck, who according to the Daily Beast contributed more than 29,000 to Perry’s campaign. Perry’s response to Bachmann in the debate was, “I’m not a cheap date.  I raised 30 million dollars. I’m offended that you think I can be bought for $5,000.” 

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/14/us/politics/republican-candidates-battle-over-hpv-vaccine.html?_r=1&ref=health&gwh=0135C9F7ACF607E757BE9911DA013D69

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/09/13/rick-perry-now-says-hpv-vaccine-campaign-was-mistake-not-political-payoff.html

http://news.injuryboard.com/academics-say-gardasil-should-not-be-mandatory.aspx?googleid=251372

Are you dialing in to the debates?

According to CNN, 3.6 million people watched the Tea Party Express Republican Presidential Debate on CNN last night, 1.1 million of them in the coveted age bracket between 25 and 54.  What is interesting to me is that means 2.5 million of them were either under 25 (unlikely) or over 54.  My guess is it was the over 54 crowd that tuned in in a big way to hear about Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.  Social Security was one of the dominant topics.  While Gov. Rick Perry has referred to it as a Ponzi scheme in the past, he said Monday night that it will be there for anyone who has paid in.  Mitt Romney gets the bold stroke award for having the guts to come out and say it will be there for those now drawing benefits but it probably won’t be there in its current form for those in their 50s and young people just starting to pay into the system.  Don’t forget the Congressional Budget Office has already said Social Security will be paying out more than it gets by 2016. 

In the meantime, I thought I would highlight some of the better quotes from the debate.

Newt Gingrich quoting Ronald Reagan, “Turn up the light for the people so they can turn the heat up on Congress.”

Jon Huntsman on Mitt Romney on Social Security, “Gov. Romney called it a fraud.  Don’t know if that was written by Kurt Cobain.”  Kurt Cobain?  As in Nirvana?  Hmmm.

Michelle Bachmann, “It’s easy to turn around this economy.”  You don’t really think that, do you?

Jon Huntsman, “We have a heroin like addiction to foreign oil.”

Newt Gingrich, “We can balance the Federal Budget.  Be smart rather than cheap and actually modernize the Federal Government.”

 http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/fact-checking-the-cnn-and-tea-party-express-debate-in-tampa/2011/09/12/gIQAPCkXOK_blog.html

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0911/63445.html