Who Are The 2012ers Palling Around With This Weekend?
Almost every single 2012 candidate is descending on Washington, DC tomorrow and Saturday to punch their dance cards with both the extreme social conservative and extreme Tea Party wings of the GOP at the Faith & Freedom Coalition Conference and Strategy Briefing. Among the right-wing luminaries that Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and Rick Santorum will be rubbing elbows with are:
- Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), architect of the GOP’s extremely unpopular plan to end Medicare as we know in order to pay for tax breaks for the wealthy and Big Oil
- Donald Trump
- Glenn Beck, whose contract with Fox finally terminates on June 30
- Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a group that has been leading the right-wing’s charge to destroy Planned Parenthood
- Maggie Gallagher, chairman of the board of the National Organization for Marriage, a group whose tireless work to deny equal rights to gay people has caused it to be officially branded a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center
- James O’Keefe*, the convicted criminal whose doctored videos brought down ACORN and more recently cost an NPR executive her job
- Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, whose lucrative work for Tea Party groups involved in issues before the Supreme Court has led to calls for her husband to recuse himself from high-profile cases or even be impeached
- Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, another officially-designated hate group
- More Tea Party activists than you can count
But perhaps most interesting of all is the man behind the conference: Ralph Reed, disgraced lobbyist and 1990s-era GOP golden boy. After his 1990s rise to power as head of the Christian Coalition, Reed used his influence over the right-wing Christian base to enrich himself as a lobbyist. He and his partner, Tim Phillips (who now runs the Koch front group Americans for Prosperity), worked together to do things like help convicted felon Jack Abramoff kill a bill that would’ve cracked down on sweat shops in Saipan (part of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands) whose cruel conditions included forced abortions and prostitution. They also represented a range of corporate clients, with Enron among them. Check out this highly informative Rachel Maddow piece on Reed’s recent reemergence, including his role leading an astroturf campaign to repeal the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill:
*James O’Keefe is listed on the official speakers list for the conference, but may or may not actually show up as he is apparently not allowed to leave New Jersey as a condition of his probation.
Evening Brief: Important Stories That You May Have Missed
High tax rates don’t necessarily hurt economic growth.
Protesters battling Arab dictatorships are brave, but so are Palestinians protesting occupation.
Oil companies spend millions lobbying on behalf of an African dictatorship.
The Des Moines Register asks if we should expand the VA to everyone.
Catholic Charities abandons needy kids in order to take another swipe at gays.
Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) apocalyptic church.
The lame justification for debt ceiling hostage-taking.
How Reagan brought price controls to Medicare.
2012 Watch: Romney Launches Campaign Based on His (In)Ability to Create Jobs
Former Massachusetts Governor and successful health reformer Mitt Romney officially rolled out his presidential campaign today in New Hampshire, even as Sarah Palin stepped all over his big announcement by attacking RomneyCare. As he has done during recent campaign stops in Iowa and South Carolina, Romney based his pitch on jobs — his ability to create them and President Obama’s alleged inability to do so (despite 14 consecutive months of private sector job growth).
One problem with Mitt Romney’s sales pitch? During his tenure as governor, Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 in job creation, according to the Labor Department.
Too bad Romney doesn’t like to talk about how Massachusetts ranks very first in the number of residents who have health insurance, thanks to RomneyCare and its individual mandate.
Numbers to Know: Taxes Way Lower Under Obama Than They Were Under Reagan
When President Obama met with House Republicans yesterday to discuss raising the debt ceiling, he brought up the fact that taxes are much lower now during his presidency than they were under Reagan‘s presidency. Several Republicans in attendance apparently rolled their eyes at this suggestion. Even if Republicans can’t handle the truth, the numbers don’t lie:
- During SIX of the eight years of Reagan’s presidency the top rate was more than 50 percent. (It is currently 35 percent.)
- During EVERY year of Reagan’s presidency the bottom rate was higher than it is now. (It is currently 10 percent.)
- For a family of four, the average income tax rate was 11.06 percent under Reagan. (It is currently 4.68 percent.)
- Income tax revenue ranged from 7.8 to 9.4 percent of GDP. (It is currently 6.2 percent.)
Survey Says: America Still Hates the GOP’s Plan to End Medicare
Even as Republicans double down on their plan to end Medicare, which they voted on again yesterday just in case anyone forgot about it, two more polls out yesterday confirm just how much the American people dislike their disastrous budget plan.
From the CNN poll:
- 58 percent oppose the GOP’s proposal to replace Medicare’s guaranteed benefit with a coupon to buy health care on the private market
- 76 percent of seniors oppose the plan to end Medicare as we know it
- 56 percent think the GOP’s plan to end Medicare would be bad for the elderly
- 50 percent of Republicans are opposed to the plan to end Medicare, with 48 percent in favor
From the Anzalone-Liszt poll on behalf of two pro-health reform groups:
- 54 percent opposed the plan to end Medicare
- By a 48 to 41 percent margin, the public trusts the president over Congressional Republicans on health care
- By a 47 to 39 percent margin, the public trusts the president over Congressional Republicans on Medicare
- The GOP’s proposal to end Medicare has also caused support for the Affordable Care Act to rise slightly
Notable Quotable: Who Are the Real Demagogues on Health Care? (Hint: It’s the GOP)
Republicans have been complaining for weeks about Democrats simply telling the truth about the GOP’s plan to end Medicare. They have even gone so far as to have more than 40 House freshmen write a letter to the president calling for the truth-telling to stop — even though they also admit in the same letter that they used scare tactics about Medicare during the 2010 election to catapult them to victory.
During yesterday’s meeting with the president, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and others once again asked the president to stop the alleged “demagoguery” of their budget plan. According to news reports, President Obama then reminded them of some of the rhetoric that has been directed at him by conservatives:
In reply, Obama said he was no stranger to cartoonish depictions, reeling off a list of conservatives’ favorite attack points: “I’m the death panel-supporting, socialist, may-not-have-been-born-here president,” Obama said, according to people familiar with his remarks.
And just like yesterday’s reminder about how we built up the current national debt (Bush-era policies), here’s what real demagoguery — from Republicans — on health care looks like, via ThinkProgress’ Igor Volsky:
-REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH): Passage of health reform is “Armageddon” because the law will “ruin our country.” [3/20/2010]
– FMR. SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R-PA): Health reform “will destroy the country” because, “in the next year or so,” America will have to “dramatically cut the military because we can’t pay for it.” [10/23/2010]
– SEN. TOM COBURN (R-OK): “There will be no insurance industry left in three years.” [10/12/2010]
– REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN): “On page 16, you can read for yourself that no new health insurance policies can be written once this federal plan comes into effect.” [7/17/2009]
– GLENN BECK: “This is the end of prosperity in America forever … the end of America as you know it.” [11/19/2009]
– SEAN HANNITY: “If we get nationalized health care, it’s over; this is socialism.” [11/2/2009]
– REP. PAUL BROUN (R-GA): “That’s exactly what’s going on in Canada and Great Britain today…and a lot of people are going to die.” [7/10/09]
– REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): “I would hate to think that among five women, one of ‘em is gonna die because we go to socialized care.” [7/15/09]
– REP. VIRGINIA FOXX (R-NC): “[The Republican plan will] make sure we bring down the cost of health care for all Americans and that ensures affordable access for all Americans and is pro-life because it will not put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government.” [7/28/09]
– SEN. TOM COBURN (R-OK): “I have a message for you: you’re going to die soon…When you restrict the ability of the primary care givers int his country to do what is best for their senior patients, what you are doing is limiting their life expectancy.” [12/1/09]
– REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN): “Socialized medicine is the crown jewel of socialism. This will change our country forever.” [11/3/2009]