Last week, Republicans released their “Pledge to America” (or as Keith Olbermann calls it, a “Lemon Pledge”). Longer than Gingrich’s 1994 “Contract
On With America” (thanks to about 14 hilarious full page photo inserts and eight mostly blank divider pages), yet shorter on details, answers, and even leaving many (Conservative) “problems”, like “earmarks”, left totally unaddressed, the “Pledge” was almost universally panned. “Milquetoast“, “Pablum” and even “A Pledge to Nowhere” (invoking the Alaskan “Bridge to Nowhere” Palin approved while governor). Yesterday, Republican Leaders were brought on every Sunday show to defend it. But they couldn’t. John Boehner (R-OH) described it as basically an outline just to “lay out the size of the problem”. At $3.9Trillion dollars, trust us John, we KNOW the size of the problem… and whose fault it is. And the only Media source Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) could name to lavish praise on their Pledge were the people they colluded with to help write it: The National Review.
One recurring theme that drives me nuts is the Republican argument that “uncertainty” as to whether or not the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthy will be extended is responsible for the lack of job growth. Boehner and McCarthy appearing on Fox yesterday blamed “uncertainty” for the poor economy. And who needs a Republican to go on MtP when NBC host David Gregory himself questioned (again) whether “uncertainty” over extending the Bush Tax Cuts is what’s hurting the economy?
As I wrote a few weeks ago, the only people creating “uncertainty” over whether extending the tax cuts that is “hurting the economy” are REPUBLICANS. Democrats are nearly unanimous (sans a few Bluedogs) when it comes to repealing the tax cut for the top 2%. If “uncertainty” is harming the economy, MAYBE SOMEONE SHOULD ASK THE GOP TO STOP CREATING IT? They CAN’T claim “ending the tax cut” is the CURRENT cause of the lack of job growth BECAUSE THE TAX CUTS HAVEN’T ENDED YET. The only excuse they have as to why the tax cut isn’t doing exactly what they promise tax cuts will do, is that employers are “uncertain” if the cuts will continue, and are waiting until they know “for sure” before they hire anyone. Ah! THAT must be it! Silly me, I thought DEMAND determined whether companies need to hire more employees or not. If we only gave employers a huge tax cut, they’ll start creating jobs! What? We gave them a huge tax cut in 2002 and it resulted in the worst job creation record since Herbert Hoover? And they’re still getting that huge tax cut TODAY, yet they’re still not creating jobs? It must be because they’re worried about those cuts not lasting forever. Yeah, that’s it! Talk about “married to an ideology”! I don’t think multi-billion dollar corporations aren’t hiring because their CEO is worried about his taxes going up 3% from 36% to 39%… which, according to Bush, they’re not even paying anyway:
Portland, OR. Aug. 13, 2004.
The Republican’s “Pledge” contains an entire section entitled: “Our Plan to End The Uncertainty and Create Incentives for Job Growth”. There’s that word again: “uncertainty”. Since the section isn’t just one giant letter of resignation by the GOP, I had to see how they intend to “end the uncertainty”… other than extending the tax cuts. What else is creating “job-killing uncertainty”? Apparently, “Regulations” and “the Health care mandate” are the culprits (the other TWO being tax cuts). You know, job-killing regulations like “don’t pass off billions of dollars worth of bad mortgages as Triple-A rated investments”. And making sure every employee has access to basic health care. Silly “job-killing” stuff like that. How on Earth can companies be expected to create jobs in an “uncertain” environment like that? In Republican-Land, knowing your investments are safe and your employees can get care when they get sick creates “uncertainty”.
As Mitch McConnell himself pointed out during ABC’s “This Week” yesterday: “This has been the tax policy for a decade” when asked whether or not we can afford to extend the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthy. Yes, Yertle. “This has been the tax policy for a decade.” And look where we are! A loss of 8 million jobs, 9.6% unemployment, and a $12TRILLION dollar national debt. “This has been the tax policy for a decade.” Maybe it’s time to start thinking about changing that policy? Do these people even listen to themselves when they talk?
Though Fox “news” is deserving of little praise when it comes to how they stump for the GOP, host Chris Wallace has been pushing his Republican guests for about a month now to explain how they would “extend the Bush Tax Cuts for the Top 2% AND reduce the Deficit at the same time”, and to date, he has yet to get a straight answer. According to Fox’s own estimates, in order to do both, Republicans would have to cut 22% of non-discretionary spending (ie: not defense or entitlements). Wallace told his guest Kevin McCarthy yesterday that the Republican “Pledge” only addresses “16% of non-discretionary spending” (a very generous estimate)… a $100 Billion dollar shortfall. “Where would you [Republicans] come up with that remaining 6% without touching defense or entitlements?” McCarthy cited an obscure “$1Billion dollar subsidy to Amtrak for 1st Class Sleeper cars.” “Okay,” says Wallace, “that’s $1 billion, now where do you find the other 99?” Even Fox “news” isn’t buying the GOP’s math. And according to Rep. Mike Pence, they don’t have to worry where the money will come from “right now” because jobs come first: “[T]he way you resolve it is you focus on jobs”. Let’s blow a hole in the budget the size of Jupiter on the assumption that the tax cuts ALREADY IN PLACE NOW, AND HAVE BEEN SINCE 2002 will suddenly create tens of millions of new jobs once we lift the job-killing fear that those cuts might end someday, and THEN we can worry about how we’re gonna pay for it. Uh huh. “Fiscal Conservative”.
Mother Jones Magazine released an excellent analysis of the Republican “Pledge”, parsing it for specific words addressing many of the key issues facing the country today:
Words that do not appear AT ALL in the Pledge:
Wall Street: 0
Mortgage crisis: 0
K Street: 0
Campaign finance: 0
Campaign contribution: 0
Campaign donation: 0
Climate change: 0
Alternative energy: 0
Food safety: 0
Bush administration: 0
Earmark/Earmarks: 0 (my own addition to their list).
The word “Environment” appears once… regarding the current “political environment”. “Drug” appears once… in reference to “Mexican drug cartels”. “Medicine” appears four times… three in reference to “practicing”/”defensive” medicine and once regarding savings accounts so you can purchase “over-the-counter” medicine with your own money.
One word that DOES appear frequently in the Pledge: Abortion, 6 times, in reference to “ObamaCare”, which already provides NO Federal funding for abortion… but not in language strong enough to suit them. And speaking of “ObamaCare”…
Republican’s “Pledge” to replace ObamaCare with… ObamaCare???
You might think I’m kidding, but ThinkProgress reviewed the Health Care Reforms as laid out in the “Pledge” and found that “at least seven” reforms (and by my account, the Pledge only contains seven) ARE ALREADY IN “OBAMACARE”. Clever ideas like “the ability to buy insurance across state lines”, and “High-Risk insurance pools”.
Voters are understandably upset that a year and a half in, things don’t seem to be getting better. And that’s completely understandable. But the GOP is on track to be richly rewarded this November… despite past performance… solely because “they’re the only alternative”. Republicans sucked in 2006 and 2008, so we replaced them with Democrats. Things still suck in 2010, so we put the Republicans back in charge? Does that make a lick of sense? And when we ask the GOP to explain, “What would you do differently from Bush?”, they quite honestly admit: “Nothing”. They can make insane remarks day after day (see: Angle and O’Donnell), make ludicrous promises of “tax cuts AND balanced budgets for everybody” that they can’t defend, and it doesn’t matter as long as they’re not a Democrat.
But take heed, Republicans. All it would take to reverse their good fortune is for the Unemployment Rate to suddenly drop two months in a row prior to the election. It wouldn’t have to be much. Just enough to show signs of progress. And then we’d see a completely different ballgame.
This weeks list of reasons to keep Republicans from regaining power:
- Scott Walker (R-WI), Wisconsin candidate for governor, proudly announced his “68 page economic plan” printed in:
58 point type
15 words per page, containing such ground-breaking ideas as “I am for things that are good. Not bad.” Seriously.
- Another week, another Republican demanding their Party shutdown the government if they regain control of Congress. This week, it’s Steve King (R-IA).
- Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) said that, if the Republicans regain control over Congress, they “will reopen the broad Wall Street reform law and overhaul the newly created consumer protection bureau.” This is Obama’s new agency to protect consumers from deceptive contracts and the kind of questionable financial practices that led to the meltdown on Wall Street.
- Despite the fact 73% of Americans oppose DADT (“Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell), and the fact that both the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates both agree it is time to end the oppressive practice, AND Sen. John McCain saying in 2006 that, “[t]he day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, ‘Senator, we ought to change the policy,’ then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it,” every single Republican plus two Blu-dog “Democrats” filibustered the Defense Funding Authorization Bill this year because it included the repeal of DADT. When George W Bush was President, if Democrats had blocked a Defense spending bill, the Right would of HOWLED, called Democrats “unpatriotic”, and ask why they “hate the troops?”
- Once a person like Sharron Angle has made her 12th incredibly unbelievable comment, continuing to point out her latest ludicrous, outrageous and/or offensive remarks seems like overkill. But every once in a while, these people say/do something SO despicable, you can’t let it pass. Last week at a campaign rally, Clearly unclear on the concept of “insurance”, childless Angle openly mocked the idea of being forced to pay health insurance premiums that go to cover children with “Autism”… “finger-quotes” in the air… suggesting autism is not a “real” illness (she has probably been listening to Conservative hate-radio host Michael Savage, who called Autism “a fraud. A racket. [...] In 99 percent of the cases, it’s a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out”. Angle’s argument is not unlike those of Conservatives with no school-aged children complaining of having to pay “school taxes”. They never consider the benefits of having an educated workforce. Are these REALLY the kind of people you want in charge of… well… anything?
- As mentioned previously, The GOP wants to replace Obama’s ‘Affordable Care Act’ with provisions from… wait for it… Obama’s ‘Affordable Care Act’.
- As Rachel Maddow pointed out on her show Thursday, while Republicans constantly deny they are out to “privatize Social Security”, plenty of Republicans are now proudly campaigning on that very idea, and the Conservative Think Tank “Club for Growth” is advising Republicans to be proud of it with an Op/Ed entitled “Privatize Social Security? Hell Yeah!” Social Security currently operates on a “0.9% overhead”, is incredibly efficient and hasn’t missed a check in the 70+ years of the program. When Bush went around the country in 2005 trying to sell the idea of privatization, his own report estimated a “5% overhead”… a more than a 500% increase in cost to administer the program… money that wouldn’t go back to those who paid in, but instead paid to the CEO’s that administer the program, investing your money in a stock market that that same Republican president tanked by mid-2007. “Hell yeah”? I don’t think so.
- Residents of Portage, WI had to be evacuated when it was discovered that failure of the river levee was imminent. This nations infrastructure is crumbling. Failure of the levees killed 1,600 in New Orleans in 2005. And the collapse of a bridge on the way to the Republican National Convention in Minnesota killed thirteen people in 2007. And the GOP wants to cut the taxes that would pay for these repairs.
- Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) said on “Meet the Press” yesterday that one of the ways he’d “create jobs” is by improving the economy. And how would he improve the economy? By reducing the deficit. And how would he reduce the deficit? By slashing tens of thousands of government jobs (“reduce government employment to 2008 levels”). Yes, he did.
- Nearly 100 church pastors participated in “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” and endorsed political candidates before their Congregations yesterday HOPING to prompt a legal challenge over the “Separation of Church & State”, claiming NOT being able to endorse candidates while on the job violates the pastors “freedom of speech”. The “event” (read: “stunt”) was organized by the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative Christian nonprofit organization. My guess is they weren’t endorsing many nasty evil Democrats.
And, once again, The Daily Show proves they are better at the news than the “legitimate” mainstream news. Stewart provides word-for-word video proof that the new Republican “Pledge to America” is EXACTLY the same old ideas THEY THEMSELVES said voters rejected over the last two elections:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Postcards From the Pledge|
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