American Times

by Erik Kain

Posts tagged “Election 2012

Americans don’t actually want to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act even if they say they do

Posted on February 27th, 2012

According to a new Gallup poll Americans are pretty much split evenly on whether or not we should repeal the new healthcare law. But as with any other government program, Americans are only against it in the abstract. Americans hate the mandate, largely because it’s called a mandate, but love parts of the bill that end pre-existing condition clauses. Of course, you can’t really have a system of private insurance that allows anybody to get a plan at any time without a mandate, so we’re stuck with the good and the bad. The healthcare law is a mixed bag. It doesn’t go as far as many wanted it to go – something like single payer, preferably. It changes rather than expands the role of government in providing access to…

Ron Paul wants to divide and conquer

Posted on February 27th, 2012

A new study of the GOP debates finds that Ron Paul has attacked all his Republican rivals save one: Mitt Romney. In no debate so far has Paul attacked Romney, but he’s gone after each of the other candidates. He’s also run ads attacking Romney’s rivals in states where Romney looked shaky. Why is this? I don’t have a definite answer on this, of course, but it seems to me that Paul is attempting to subvert the playing field – divide and conquer by contrasting himself with the Not-Romney candidates rather than with Romney. Perhaps he assumes that people just know he’s 180 degrees the opposite of Romney and he wants voters to understand that in fact the others, like Santorum and Gingrich, are closer…

Rick Santorum hates religion but he hates puppies even more

Posted on February 26th, 2012

What a silly over-the-top thing to say. It’s the sort of rhetoric that is ruining this country, damnit, and this is the greatest country on earth. Why, it’s a little bit like saying that the whole separation of Church and State thing we have baked into our constitution is out-dated, like Rick Santorum said on This Week: I don’t believe in an America where the separation between church and state is absolute. The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and visions of our country. This is stupid on so many levels. Obviously the church is just one of many special interest groups that really does have some say…

David Cross on the contradictory language of the right

Posted on February 22nd, 2012

A couple people have directed me to this clip (which I would embed if it were allowed.) David Cross says what I was trying to say about the double-speak on the right much better – or at least much funnier – than I do. This is more evidence that while the right is very good at talk radio, the left is much better at humor. Maybe this is why liberals can tackle pop culture better than conservatives. Humor translates into mainstream pop culture better than anger and resentment. But anger and resentment and fear of change are perfect kindling for blustering talk radio or its doppelganger on Fox. Follow me on Twitter or Facebook. Read my Forbes blog here.

America is one hell of a country, according to Rick Santorum

Posted on February 21st, 2012

“The mind is its own place, and in itself Can make a heav’n of hell, a hell of heav’n.” ~from Paradise Lost “This is not a political war at all,” Rick Santorum told Catholic students at Ave Maria college. “This is not a cultural war. This is a spiritual war. And the Father of Lies has his sights on what you would think the Father of Lies would have his sights on: a good, decent, powerful, influential country – the United States of America. If you were Satan, who would you attack in this day and age. There is no one else to go after other than the United States and that has been the case now for almost two hundred years, once America’s…

Santorum benefactor Foster Friess tells women to put an aspirin between their knees to use as contraception

Posted on February 16th, 2012

I don’t know if Foster Friess, the billionaire supporter of Rick Santorum, is representative of all of Santorum’s supporters, but I get the feeling he is. Which is great, because if Santorum wins the nomination, that means that all Barack Obama has to do is role tape of this sort of bad crazy and he’s sure to win: “Here we have millions of our fellow Americans unemployed. We have jihadist camps being set up in Latin America, which Rick has been warning about, and people seem to be so preoccupied with sex. I think it says something about our culture,” Friess said. “We maybe need a massive therapy session so we can concentrate on what the real issues are.” He continued: “On this contraceptive…

‘George Romney deserved a better son’

Posted on February 15th, 2012

This exchange between Mitt Romney’s father – then Michigan governor George Romney – and Barry Goldwater, the Republican nominee at the time, is fascinating. Actually, it’s especially fascinating given that Ron Paul is in the race against Romney-the-younger this time around, and Paul shares many of Goldwater’s more unfortunate views on the Civil Rights Act. He also has some of the same dubious associations. Don’t get me wrong, I still think Ron Paul comes off as a heck of a lot less crazy than someone like Santorum, and leaps and bounds more honest than Romney, but the Ron Paul newsletters raise many of the same concerns about Paul’s past choices as George Romney raises about some of Goldwater’s associations. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney displays none…

Ron Paul winning delegates despite losses

Posted on February 12th, 2012

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy Mistermix captions the above video: [I]t turns out that Ron Paul has another reason to be smiling ever time he announces that he “lost” a straw poll. His supporters are being elected as delegates in bigger numbers than the straw poll totals indicate. It works like this: Romney, Santorum and Gingrich supporters vote in the straw poll, then leave. Paul supporters vote in the poll and stay around for the county business meeting to be elected delegates. Because those delegates are completely loyal to Paul, not to the straw poll results, Paul, not Romney, Gingrich or Santorum, might actually be winning the caucuses. So, who the hell knows how many delegates any Republican has…

What Obama’s Up Against

Posted on February 9th, 2012

Nate Silver thinks the GOP primary is going to be a long, protracted race, noting that it bears a “resemblance to something like the 1984 Democratic contest or the 1976 Republican race.” Mondale won in 1984, and Ford beat Reagan in 1976, but both primaries were close calls, and neither Mondale nor Ford inspired their respective parties. Still, I’m not sure either one had as abysmal an outlook as presumed front-runner Mitt Romney does in this race: Meanwhile, the two not-Romney candidates – Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum – are nipping at Romney’s heels making sure that neither one has any real chance at stealing the nomination. And of course Ron Paul has his base of support which will likely neither grow nor dwindle in…

Sarah Palin wants back into the spotlight – but only on the losing side

Posted on January 31st, 2012

“I think that with $17 million purchasing some ads and some false narrative it was very, very difficult for Newt Gingrich and the other candidates to counter that bombardment of advertisements,” Palin said Tuesday night on Fox News. Yes, Palin has been popping up on Facebook and the conservative media circuit again, touting the former speaker and slamming Mitt Romney at every available opportunity. The Grizzly wants a piece of the action, apparently, having fallen so far out of the spotlight. Romney’s big win in Florida is just another excuse from the half-term former Alaskan governor to insert herself in the political circus once again. What’s in it for Palin? The same thing that was always in it for her: the spotlight and the…

The Political Circus We Deserve

Posted on January 30th, 2012

The political circus may have finally come into its own this primary season. We’ve all heard that phrase before of course. Last September the president used it in his jobs speech when he urged congress to “stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy.” H.L. Mencken once wrote that “A national political campaign is better than the best circus ever heard of, with a mass baptism and a couple of hangings thrown in.” Elections are inherently competitive, and for those who care about the outcomes of our democratic process, the stakes are compelling – entertaining even. But it’s hard to recall a time when the sport of politics has been so aptly described as a political circus. A sports game? Sure. A circus – 2012 is already taking the cake. Indeed, for reasons partly…

Gingrich’s gift to the media: a primary bloodbath

Posted on January 30th, 2012

Newt Gingrich isn’t going to stop, even if Romney beats him bloody in Florida. Don’t get me wrong, the former speaker is finished. He’s not going to topple the party establishment. He doesn’t represent the hope and change he pretends to represent. He’s no transformational figure at all. The reason the GOP elites dislike Gingrich isn’t because he’s too conservative it’s because he’s a disgrace to the Republican Party. His personal life is an embarrassment and his lobbying for Fannie and Freddie is just one of many toxic items in his record. By comparison, Romney is squeaky clean even with a mini-Obamacare in his past. As far as we know he’s been a faithful husband and father. His Mormonism is problematic, and for some reason…

Live-Blogging The Jacksonville Debate (Jan. 26 2012)

Posted on January 26th, 2012

Live blog of the CNN Jacksonville debate is below in reverse chronological order. Excuse the time-stamps. I’m blogging this from Arizona. Final thoughts. This was a boring debate for the most part. No Newt Gingrich feasting on the moderator’s flesh. No pivotal moments where races are won or lost. Fundamentally, Romney was much better than we’ve seen him in some time. He started out a little sketchy, but rallied early on and got plenty of kidney punches in at Newt. Both Ron Paul and Rick Santorum sounded more sincere than either Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney. Of course I find most of the things Santorum actually says fairly repulsive, while I find Ron Paul to be a continued breath of fresh air and sanity.…

How Citizens United Helped Newt Gingrich And Hurt The Republican Party

Posted on January 26th, 2012

Newt Gingrich is a Washington insider but he’s not in the good graces of his party’s elite. And yet he manages to stay competitive in the GOP primary. Jon Chait makes an interesting point about the competitiveness of the Gingrich campaign: Money is the primary mechanism that parties use to herd voters toward the choices the elites would prefer them to make. The nomination of George W. Bush offers a classic example. Bush and his network had organized so many Republicans to donate so much money that the contest was essentially over well before a vote had been cast. The Bush fund-raising network didn’t involve a handful of billionaires in a room. It required thousands of fairly affluent people working together. He points to…

Marco Rubio positions himself for a Romney ticket

Posted on January 25th, 2012

Rubio is a charming young congressional freshman and son of Cuban immigrants, is a popular conservative and  once-darling of the once-great Tea Party, and he’s taking Romney’s side in the Romney-Gingrich Florida fight: In a Spanish-language ad airing in Florida paid for by the Gingrich campaign, Mitt Romney is called “the most anti-immigrant candidate.” Sen. Marco Rubio blasted Newt Gingrich today for describing Romney that way. “This kind of language is more than just unfortunate,” Rubio told the Miami Herald. “It’s inaccurate, inflammatory, and doesn’t belong in this campaign.” “The truth is that neither of these two men is anti-immigrant,” Rubio added. “Both are pro-legal immigration and both have positive messages that play well in the Hispanic community.” Rubio has indicated he has no…

The best critique of Obama’s State of the Union so far

Posted on January 25th, 2012

The Republican party has taken a page from The Daily Show’s playbook: Of course all politicians – or at least most of them – engage in the same sort of repetitive rhetoric. Call it a leftover from the Halcyon days before YouTube mash-ups, when our short memories were enough to shelter politicians from their own talking points. Times have changed. Our political institutions – and leaders – have not. (via BuzzFeed) Follow me on Twitter or Facebook. Read my Forbes blog here.

Gingrich threatens to sit out next debate if audience can’t participate

Posted on January 24th, 2012

Want more proof that Gingrich’s entire shtick is completely dependent on riling up the audience? Look no further: Mr. Gingrich, a former House speaker, on Tuesday morning threatened not participate in any future debates with audiences that have been instructed to be silent. That was the case on Monday, when Brian Williams of NBC News asked the audience of about 500 people who assembled for a debate in Tampa to hold their applause until the commercial breaks. In an interview with the morning show “Fox and Friends,” Mr. Gingrich said NBC’s rules amounted to stifling free speech. In what has become a standard line of attack for his anti-establishment campaign, Mr. Gingrich blamed the media for trying to silence a dissenting point of view. “I wish in…

Mitch Daniels and ‘trickle down government’

Posted on January 24th, 2012

Mitch Daniels actually gave a pretty decent SOTU response tonight. None of Jindal’s tragic, loping performance, though that’s a low bar to cross. Perhaps I was too quick earlier to dismiss the Indiana governor. His line about “trickle down government” was extremely clever. Kudos to his speech writer. Daniels manages to be folksy and fairly likable without sounding insincere. That’s a good quality to have in a politician. Romney would give his left leg to have a bit of that natural, low-key charm. Still, I find the opposition response to the State of the Union address mind-numbingly boring and, perhaps more importantly, extremely unnecessary. Even a pretty good, pretty positive, upbeat response has me nodding off. After sitting through an entire speech from the…

Why the president succeeded with his State of the Union address tonight

Posted on January 24th, 2012

President Obama gave a pretty good speech tonight. American exceptionalism and the emergence from darker times were the interwoven themes of the evening. Scattered throughout were some decent ideas on Senate reform and tax policy, but overall it was still a pretty low-calorie affair. Nothing too wonky or deep. Nothing to sink our teeth into. Still, I think it’s important to remember the intended audience when we listen to these sorts of speeches. Most Americans, after all, don’t obsess over politics the way we bloggers and denizens of the internet do. Most Americans like to hear a positive, rousing speech that isn’t too long. Just as importantly, it’s remarkable to watch Barack Obama speak about his vision for America. He cuts a striking contrast…

Is Mitch Daniels giving the SOTU response to sabotage all this presidential speculation?

Posted on January 24th, 2012

At Library Grape, Lev makes a smart observation: Mitch Daniels is the man of the moment—he’s been selected to respond to Barack Obama’s State Of The Union address, which essentially means that he’s about to kiss any sort of rising star status goodbye if history is any guide. And it should be: Daniels is soft-spoken and not terribly magnetic, and my hunch is that the Republicans devoutly wishing he’d gotten in will not be wishing it this time tomorrow. SOTU responses are a lose-lose situation, the only decent ones in recent years were (1) the one given by Sen. Jim Webb in 2007, which was packed with gravitas, toughness, and dignity, and (2) the one given by Gov. Bob McDonnell last year, which ramped…