Regarding Syria, Sarah Palin recently advised, “Let Allah sort it out.” This is a great, if controversial, line. It also happens to have the benefit of being wise. As former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently told me, “[T]he question is: ‘Who’s going to replace [Assad]?’ Is it going to be a radical Islamist? And how do we know?”
WASHINGTON -- Facing lingering tensions in his party, the chairman of the Republican National Committee urged religious conservatives Saturday to support the GOP's plans to expand.
"I would just ask you that we come together and that we pray for the future of this country," Reince Priebus said on the final day of the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference that brought several Republicans leaders together with evangelical activists.
"I'm a Christian. I'm a believer. God lives in my heart. And I'm for changing minds, not changing values," Priebus said.
Religious conservatives have been skeptical of establishment Republicans in Washington and the RNC's plan for growth, which calls for more tolerant attitudes on immigration and social issues such as abortion and gay marriage. The party is working to rebuild after a painful 2012 election season in which Republicans lost the presidential contest and a handful of winnable Senate contests.
"When it comes to social issues, the party must in fact and deed be inclusive and welcoming," according to an RNC report commissioned by Priebus after that election and released in March. "If we are not, we will limit our ability to attract young people and others, including many women, who agree with us on some but not all issues."
Priebus did not mention those recommendations in his remarks, but he did repeat calls for significant changes to the Republican presidential nominating process – particularly, fewer debates and a shorter primary season.
The RNC's call for tolerance was not popular during the three-day meeting of social conservative leaders, which attracted several politicians considering 2016 presidential bids.
The conference's final speaker, former vice presidential nominee and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, rejected calls for an immigration overhaul that includes a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally.
Palin, who is rejoining Fox News Channel as an analyst less than half a year after they decided to part ways, also offered a warning to "the good old boys" in the GOP leadership who are calling for conservative activists to tone down aggressive rhetoric.
"You do not marginalize, you don't discredit and dismiss, every day average hard-working Americans – those who are part of that grass-roots tea party movement," she said.
"Just let them tell us to sit down and shut up," Palin said later, "which I refuse to do."
Jacob sits down with award-winning Canadian-born radio and television host George Stroumboulopous to discuss his upcoming weekly interview show on CNN. Here he talks about interviewing Sarah Palin.
Part of the fun of working in PR is that you have to think ahead... play out scenarios and see where your vulnerabilities and strengths are. So just hear me out on this one. Play along for a few minutes. Consider this the GOP's own version of the "Dream Act."
Purely on paper a Martinez-Rubio ticket is a pretty compelling argument. True, there are a lot of reasons to outright dismiss the idea as unthinkable. But since we are only four months into the current president's second term, all discussions about 2016 are pretty much pointless doodles on paper (kind of what puppies leave all over the house). So why not have some fun and think the unthinkable?
Susana Martinez is clearly thinking about it: She recently visited Texas and Ohio, and will soon be in D.C. raising money, presumably for a 2014 re-election bid. But no politician thinks just one election ahead. Just like the rest of us, politicians have a career path to manage.
So here we go: A Martinez-Rubio ticket hits all the key demographics that Romney lost in 2012. She could eliminate, or drastically reduce, Hillary's potential advantage with women. Hillary would no longer be running as the first female presidential candidate for a major party, and the historic nature of two female candidates battling it out for the White House could energize women all across the political spectrum. We saw how much Sarah Palin invigorated conservative and independent women; just think about the potential turnout for a Clinton-Martinez match up. My guess is that women might feel like they have a real policy choice to make -- rather than just going for the "historic" candidate. They would both be "historic" candidates, neutralizing any potential gender advantage and putting the decision squarely in the policy arena. And let's not forget that Romney won the independent vote by a decisive margin. Martinez's business friendly, low-tax, anti-regulation, job-creation rhetoric gives many independent working-class voters what they want to hear (even if it doesn't produce any jobs).
In addition, having two conservative Hispanic candidates on the same ticket could seriously erode the Democrats' scary advantage with Hispanic voters -- and set the stage for a seismic shift by the GOP toward treating Hispanics as a serious constituency... and winning their votes for generations to come.
In a post-mortem of the Romney campaign, the Daily Caller pointed out that Romney could have won the popular vote with small or moderate swings in any one of the following key demographics: only four extra points from women, or only one extra point from the white vote, or by cutting Obama's lead with Hispanics in half. Chris Cillizza points out in Washington Post's The Fix blog that Romney could also have won the electoral college by turning 33 counties in four states.
It's easy to imagine how a Martinez-Rubio ticket could achieve not just one, but a combination of all of these: a few extra points from women, a few extra points from white lunch-bucket "Reagan Democrats," a hefty chunk of the Latin vote, a few more counties in key swing states.
Martinez could also likely get through the GOP primary process: She's a tax-cutting, budget-balancing, pro-life, law-and-order, business-loving, gun-loving conservative. She's on record supporting a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. She's one of Sarah Palin's "Mama Grizzlies" and a supporter of the "traditional family." She also can address the immigration issue as a border-state governor, and a proponent of tough treatment on some of the GOP's favorite immigrant boogeymen -- e.g., "securing the border," and denying undocumented immigrants driver's licenses and in-state tuition.
That's not to say she wouldn't be challenged on a range of issues, like jobs, for one. New Mexico ranks near the bottom of all states in job creation, and her administration was recently forced to make a rare apology for misrepresenting the potential benefits of tax incentive package for business. Then again, the GOP base hasn't shown any desire to blame tax cutters for budget deficits and lack of job growth -- most believe that if deficits are growing but jobs aren't, then we should just cut taxes more.
Her contrarian position on Obamacare (she accepted the mandated Medicaid expansion), could hurt her with the base, but could also be an asset with independents. There is also the question of whether Martinez could effectively speak to foreign policy without making Palinesque gaffes -- e.g., saying she can see Mexico from her house.
And then there are a range of questions about Rubio, starting with his willingness to run as second banana. And while he sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Select Committee on Intelligence (presumably these are foreign policy strengths he would bring to the ticket), his foreign policy prescriptions have mostly earned him jeers rather than praises, except among the neo-con faithful.
The biggest question, however, is whether the GOP base could nominate a double-Hispanic ticket without their heads exploding. On paper, if these two candidates had nice white-sounding surnames, there's no question that they would be already on people's lips as the team to beat -- giving the GOP a chance to take back FL, make a clean sweep of the Southwest, and compete effectively across the mid- and mountain-West. But they aren't named Smith and Jones, or Walker and Bush.
So that's it. A Martinez-Rubio ticket is just as credible as any other. On paper -- with no faces and names attached -- they tick all the conservative boxes. Add in their demographic appeal and they cut into the Democrat's potentially decades-long advantage with women and Hispanic voters. But could GOP primary voters really tick a Martinez-Rubio box? And even if they do, could this team sell the GOP's policies any better than Mitt Romney did?
During the 2012 election cycle I occasionally ran stories declaring that various Republicans being touted as White House material “will never be president.” Sarah Palin after her narcissistic Gabby Giffords meltdown; Newt Gingrich early in his race-baiting campaign; Mitt Romney after his British Olympics screw-up.I batted 1.000 for that cycle, but it was easy. In 2016, Republicans won’t be facing a Democratic incumbent, so somebody has a shot. I recently wrote that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will never be president, due to his out-of-control anger issues, but...
On a night full of pomp and circumstance, former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin had a different "p" word in mind.
Palin erupted on social media toward the close of Saturday's 2013 White House Correspondents' Dinner (WHCD), lashing out at the event.
She held similar thoughts on Facebook:
Yuk it up media and pols. While America is buried in taxes and a fight for our rights, the permanent political class in DC dresses up and has a prom to make fun of themselves. No need for that, we get the real joke.
While Palin may have been dissatisfied with this year's dinner, she has been a part of accompanying WHCD events in the past. Back in 2011, the Washington Post and Politico detailed how Palin was a guest at parties, including the illustrious Tammy Haddad brunch.
"These days, I look in the mirror and I have to admit," Obama said. "I'm not the strapping young Muslim socialist I used to be."
Past polls have seen large chunks of Americans incorrectly identify the Christian Obama as a Muslim. During the heat of the 2012 presidential campaign, a May PPP survey found that 52 percent of 656 likely GOP primary voters classified the president under that religion.
Since his reelection in November 2012, a host of conservative voices have referred to Obama as a socialist. Back in March, GOP strategist Henry Barbour told the hill that "we've got a socialist in office right now." Earlier in December, televangelist Pat Robertson accused Obama of not admitting to his "socialist" ways that is destroying free enterprise in America. Within the same month, Sarah Palin used the same term, warning that America's debt is putting the country on a path to communism.
Watch a video of Obama's joke above, and check out a slideshow of photos from the event below:
Here's how a former half-term governor described Margaret Thatcher in National Review today. Sound familiar?
Sarah Palin: "Seven of the 10 highest-income counties in the country ring the city" of Washington D.C.
Supersize soda in hand, Sarah Palin rallied the CPAC crowd with barbs at "liberal media folk," jokes about President Barack Obama’s background and even a shout of "You lie!" Her speech at the annual meeting of conservative activists emphasized the need to rebuild the country -- not the Republican Party -- with an anti-Washington focus. "The permanent political class is in permanent campaign mode. So where do we go from here?" Palin said. "... At a time when Washington ...>> More
The Fox News chief tells Howard Kurtz he stands by the laziness charge and says Sarah Palin made "ï¿½mistakes' and that Dick Morris looked like a "ï¿½jerk' when he predicted a Romney landslide. Plus, read the 16 juiciest bits from the new Ailes biography.When Roger Ailes saw his words in print, the stark accusation that President Obama is lazy, he was momentarily taken aback.Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes visits the studio of "Fox Business Morning"ï¿½ during its debut on October 15, 2007, in New York. (Mark Lennihan/AP)"I looked at it and thought,...
Joe Miller, the tea party Republican from Alaska, spoke to a room full of Libertarians on Saturday about commonality and shared ideals as fervently as any politician hitting the campaign trail, but said he still hasn't decided whether he will run for office again.
As his fellow Republicans, including Sarah Palin, gathered for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference just outside Washington, D.C., Miller showed up at the Best Western Golden Lion Hotel in Anchorage as a guest speaker at the Alaska Libertarian Party Convention.
Miller, who lost to write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski in the 2010 Senate election, wouldn't say if he's running in 2014, but rumors are swirling he's gearing up to take on incumbent Democrat Sen. Mark Begich.
Next year's elections "will be a referendum on government control," Miller said Saturday. "In 2014, there'll be a resurgence of those looking for liberty."
Miller touched on gun control and, more specifically, the government's alleged preparations for civil war. But despite being in a room packed with Second Amendment enthusiasts, some who often visibly display that enthusiasm, no guns sat atop the white cloth. Instead, semi-formally dressed attendants simply ate from a buffet.
After inquiring as to whether there were any Alaska media members in the crowd and brandishing a pair of silver handcuffs, Miller said outright that he hadn't agreed to speak at the convention for political reasons. He is uncertain he will run in 2014, he told the Libertarians.
Conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly bashed on Saturday former -- and failed -- Republican presidential nominees Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney, calling them establishment candidates who moved to the center based on advice from consultants rather than embracing conservative values.
"We've had the establishment pick another loser for us," she said of Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee, at CPAC. "The fight we have, and the fight I want you to engage in, is the establishment against the grassroots. The establishment has given us a whole series of losers. Bob Dole and John McCain. Mitt Romney."
"Why is it that the establishment has given us this bunch of losers?" she added later.
Schlafly, like some other speakers at CPAC, insisted that Washington, D.C., consultants were in part to blame for Republican losses in 2012. Karl Rove, who founded the super PAC American Crossroads, drew her particular ire for backing so many candidates who lost.
"If you had a football coach with that kind of score, I don't think you'd see him the next year," she said of Rove.
Instead, she said the Republican Party needed to listen to people like former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin -- who ironically was the vice presidential candidate to McCain, the Arizona senator who ran for president in 2008.
One of the bad ideas of the establishment, Schlafly said, is that supporting immigration reform would help the GOP. Instead, it would just give the Democrats more voters, she said.
"The establishment is giving us a lot of bad advice, like we should go for comprehensive immigration reform," she said, adding "comprehensive" and "reform" are just other ways to say "amnesty."
Former President George W. Bush, although he won reelection, was another establishment pick who was damaging to the party, in part because of his push for immigration reform, she said.
"Even when they pick the winners, George W. Bush, they pick somebody who spent more than the Democrats, he added new programs that ... cost the taxpayers money, and he tried to give us open borders," she said.
Schlafly didn't reserve all of her ire for within the party. President Barack Obama was criticized for so-called "Obamaphones" -- cell phones for low-income people and another consistently mentioned topic here -- and his support for day care. "I call it babysitting," she said.
Although she called Romney a "loser," Schlafly channeled his remarks about the "47 percent."
"This is a terrible problem," she said. "We now have about 48 percent of American people who are dependent in whole or in part on handouts from the government for their ordinary expenses. ... We don't want to be a nation of people who are dependent on government."
After the speech, former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steel piled on to her remarks about losers, specifically targeting current RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.
Ask Reince. RT @byronyorkSchlafly at CPAC: 'Why is it that the establishment has given us this bunch of losers?'— Michael Steele (@Steele_Michael) March 16, 2013
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) will deliver a speech at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference in March, adding his name to a packed list of potential 2016 GOP presidential contenders.
“Governor Bobby Jindal represents a new generation of governors leading the conservative movement,” said American Conservative Union Chairman Al Cardenas. “We look forward to welcoming Governor Jindal back to the CPAC stage and hearing about the many conservative solutions he introduced in Louisiana.”
The ACU has rounded up a stable of the GOP's up-and-coming figures, who will address the largest annual gathering of conservative leaders and activists between March 14-16 in the Washington, D.C. area.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who will deliver the event's keynote address, have all confirmed invitations to speak. Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) are also set to make their respective returns to the GOP spotlight. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), commonly thought of as a possible 2016 presidential candidate, was reportedly not invited by the ACU.
The event will conclude with its famed straw poll, which typically serves as an early indicator of support for potential presidential campaigns.
Just as Republicans are soul-searching following the decisive electoral defeat in November that highlighted the country’s shifting demographics, Fox News, the party’s preferred cable news network, is looking inward amid record declines in ratings and credibility.
On Thursday, Politico’s Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei described both the party and network as "moving to purge the controversial political creatures they created." So far, Fox News has opted not to renew the contracts of commentators Dick Morris or Sarah Palin, while bringing over from CNN Erick Erickson, editor of RedState and a prominent voice among grassroots conservatives.
But aside from swapping on-air political analysts, how does Fox News –- which hitched its wagon to Glenn Beck and the Tea Party at the beginning of President Obama’s first term -- deal with the president's second-term agenda?
For starters, Fox News chief Roger Ailes appears to be trying to change perceptions that his network is hostile toward undocumented immigrants and hopes to increasingly draw Latino viewers, a key voting bloc that swung overwhelming toward Obama in November.
“The fact is, we have a lot -- Republicans have a lot more opportunity for [Latinos],” Ailes told The New Republic’s Eliza Gray, in an article published in the magazine's latest issue and appearing online Monday. “If I’m going to risk my life to run over the fence to get into America, I want to win. I think Fox News will articulate that.”
Ailes also told Gray that “the contributions being made by Latinos are extraordinary, and we need to talk about them,” while suggesting the “Latino audience is an essentially traditional audience and will go to Fox News for traditional American values." And then there’s the term “illegal immigration,” which Ailes, a former adviser to three Republican presidents, thinks the party should veer away from:
“I think the word 'illegal immigration' is a false name,” he continues. “You are talking about two separate issues. One is sovereignty. ... The media trying to make America feel guilty because we want borders—that, to me, is complete bullshit. Immigration is a separate issue. ... We should all defend sovereignty, then take a Judeo-Christian approach to immigration. I don’t have any problem with a path to citizenship.”
Gray points out that Ailes may still need to convince some of his biggest stars that describing people as “illegal aliens” or “illegals” when covering the immigration debate could be a hindrance to drawing Latino viewers.
While Sean Hannity famously shifted his position on immigration less than 48 hours after Mitt Romney's defeat, the primetime host told Gray: “I’ve used 'illegals' all these years I’ve been on TV. ... I don’t see it as an offensive term.”
Meanwhile, the network's Fox News Latino and and Fox Nation websites sometimes frame the same immigration article in completely different ways, showing that there's work to do before everyone's on the same page.
Read the full New Republic article here.
Consider: Sarah Palin and Dick Morris are out at Fox News, and Scott Brown, the Massachusetts moderate, may be in.
Fox News recently parted ways with Sarah Palin, who left in January after her contract was not renewed.
According to Media Matters, at least 32 Fox News personalities supported Republican campaigns during the 2012 election cycle.
There was a time, as she emerged from the rubble of the 2008 campaign, when Sarah Palin was the hottest cultural figure in America. People loved her. People hated her. She had transcended the narrow bounds of politics to become a larger-than-life figure, the woman portrayed by Tina Fey, the mama grizzly from Alaska. Every journalist in the country knew that if you put Palin's name in an online headline or television segment, your clicks and ratings would soar.
AlaskaDispatch.com: Alaska Governor Proposes Massive Oil Tax Cut Rewarding BP, Exxon & ConocoPhillips
JUNEAU -- Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell offered a new attack on the state's current oil tax regime in his State of the State speech Wednesday, saying that one of its key attributes for encouraging new production has been a failure.
Parnell said he wants to reduce "tax progressivity" -- currently, the state tax grows with per-barrel prices and profits -- but he also came out against another key part of the Sarah Palin-era ACES oil tax system, one that reduces taxes for companies investing in Alaska.
Tax credits are a key part of ACES, reducing tax payments to the state when companies invest in new oilfields and other developments in Alaska. They're worth as much as a billion dollars a year and are designed to reduce the cost of doing business in Alaska as well as to encourage new oil development on the North Slope.
Parnell said those credits haven't been working.
"Our laws give tax credits on how much money companies spend in an oil field, not on how much of that spending leads to production," he said.
Legislative testimony last year from state agencies, including the Department of Revenue, said that since ACES was adopted in 2007 there have been numerous new companies exploring for oil in Alaska, though little new oil has yet to reach...
Robert Creamer: The One and Only Cause of "Fiscal Cliff" Economic Crisis: Republicans Fear Tea Party Primaries
Often, economic crises are caused by real physical problems - like draught, war, demography, or technological innovation that robs one economy of a competitive advantage over another.
Other times, economic crises result when asset bubbles burst, or financial markets collapse. That was the case of the Great Depression - and more recently the Great Recession.
The economic crisis of the moment - the "fiscal cliff" - does not result from any of these factors. In fact it is not a real "economic crisis" at all, except that it could inflict serious economic hardship on many Americans and could drive the economy back into recession.
The "fiscal cliff" is a politically manufactured crisis. It was original concocted by the Republican Senate Leader, Mitch McConnell as a way to get past the last crisis manufactured by the Republicans - the 2011 standoff over increasing the Federal Debt Ceiling.
Theoretically, "the cliff" - composed of increased taxes and huge, indiscriminant cuts in Federal programs - would be so frightening to policy makers that no one would ever consider allowing the nation to jump.
Now, America is on the brink of diving off the cliff for one and only one reason: many House Republicans are terrified of primary challenges from the Tea Party right.
That's right, if your tax bill goes up $2,200 a year, or you're one of the millions who would stop receiving unemployment benefits, the cause of your economic pain is not some a natural disaster, or a major structural flaw in the economy. The cause is Republican fear of being beaten in a primary by people like Sarah Palin, Sharon Angel or Richard Mourdock - funded by far Right Wing oligarchs like Sheldon Adelson and the Koch Brothers. It's that simple.
Most normal Americans will have very little patience with Republicans as they begin to realize that GOP Members of Congress are willing to risk throwing the country back into a recession because they are worried about being beaten in low turn out primaries by people who do a better job than they do appealing to the extreme right fringe of the American electorate - and to the far Right plutocrats that are all too willing to stoke right wing passion and anger.
Nate Silver, of the New York Time's 538.com, argues in a recent column that one of the reasons for this phenomenon is the increasing polarization of the American electorate. That polarization translates in to fewer truly "swing" Congressional seats and an increasing number where Members are more concerned with primary challenges than they are with losing in a general election. He concludes that at this moment the number of solidly Republican seats is larger the number of solidly Democratic seats.
This, he argues is partially a result of redistricting by Republican legislatures that packed Democrats into a limited number of districts in many states. But he also contends it results from increasing polarization of the electorate in general. And it is due to the fact that solidly Democratic urban areas have very high concentrations of Democrats, where Republican performing areas tend to have relatively lower concentrations of Republicans. These reasons help explain why, even though Democrats got more votes in House races this cycle than Republicans, Republicans still have more seats in the House.
Increased political polarization in the United States is not a result of some accident or act of God. In 2006, political scientists Nolan McCarty, Kevin T. Poole and Howard Rosenthal published a study of political polarization called Polarized America: The Dance of Ideology and Unequal Riches. Their study found that there is a direct relationship between economic inequality and polarization in American politics.
They measured political polarization in congressional votes over the last century, and found a direct correlation with the percentage of income received by the top 1% of the electorate. It is no accident that the years following the second World War, a period of low political polarization, was also a period that economist Paul Krugman refers to as the "great compression" -- with robust economic growth for most Americans and reducing levels of economic inequality. In other words, it turns out that if you want less political polarization, the best medicine is reducing income inequality.
Of course, one of the other major factors feeding the GOP fear of primaries is that, because of the Citizens United decision, far right plutocrats can now inject virtually unlimited amounts of money into primary races. Unlimited independent expenditures have so far been much more successful in unseating incumbent Republican Members of Congress than it has been winning General Elections.
In the end, of course the relatively more diluted presence of Republicans in Republican districts - and the country's changing demographics -- may allow Democrats to win many currently Republican seats. What's more, Republican near term concern about primary challenges - and the stridency it breeds -- may alienate increasing numbers of moderate Republican leading independents. We've already seen this effect in the Presidential and Senate races and it would not be surprising that by 2014 many of the primary obsessed Republican incumbents are hoisted on their own petard in the General Election. Just ask Tea Party Members of Congress who were defeated in 2012, like Alan West and Joe Walsh. But in the near term, at least, there is also no question that many occupants of Republican seats appear far more concerned with primary challenges than they are with general elections.
If House Speaker Boehner is to be successful passing any form of compromise to avoid the "fiscal cliff" - either before the end of the year or after - he will need to convince Republican Members of the House that he is doing them a favor by bringing a bill the floor that can pass even with many Republicans voting no. That, of course requires that the deal is good enough to allow many Democrats to vote yes.
Boehner will get political cover for that kind of maneuver if a bill passes out of the Senate with bi-partisan support. But even then, he will certainly weigh whether he risks his otherwise certain re-election as Speaker on January 3rd if he acts before the country goes over the cliff at midnight, December 31.
Of course the many Republicans that will never support any form of tax compromise don't justify their position by explaining they are more concerned with primaries than they are of general elections. In fact they generally fall back on one of three myths that are themselves utter nonsense.
Myth #1 - You shouldn't tax the wealthy because they are "job creators". The plain fact is that no one invests money in any business if they do not think there are customers with money in their pockets to buy the products or services they produce.
Customers with money in their pockets are "job creators" - and the root of our current economic problems can be traced directly to the fact that everyday consumers are receiving a smaller and smaller percentage of the national economic pie and as a result have less ability to to buy the increasing number of products and services our economy can create. In fact, wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the nation's gross domestic product since the government started keeping records in 1947. And corporate profits have climbed to their highest levels since the 1960's.
Over the last two decades, per capita Gross Domestic Product has gone up; productivity per hour of work has gone up; but the median income of ordinary Americans has remained stagnant. That is only possible because all of the growth in our economy has been siphoned off by the top 2% of the population.
And it has meant that everyday people haven't had the money in their pockets to buy the increased numbers of goods and services that are the consequence of that increased productivity. Stagnation and slow economic growth has been the result.
Henry Ford had this right. For the economy to grow over time, workers need to be paid enough to buy the products they produce.
If you want the economy to grow, the fruits of economic growth must be spread equally throughout the economy - if not consumers won't have the money to buy and, as a consequence, investors won't invest.
Higher taxes on the wealthy - including higher estate taxes on fortunes left to the sons and daughters of multi-millionaires - are not "bad" for the economy - just the opposite. They help address the economic inequality that is the core problem in our economy.
Myth #2 - Our biggest problem is the federal deficit. This is just flat wrong. It is the economic equivalent of the medieval view that you should "bleed" patients when they are sick.
We have learned from centuries of economic history, that when an economy is recovering from a recession, the right medicine for sluggish economic demand is more fiscal stimulus - and in the short run that does not mean lower deficits.
More economic stimulus, of the type that the President proposed in the American Jobs Act over a year ago, puts money in people's pockets who can then spend it on more products and stimulate more investment. Austerity and reducing national debt will yield the same outcome we have recently seen in Europe - another recession. And that is exactly what the deficit hawks are likely to get if America slides of the fiscal cliff and stays there.
Right Wing deficit hawks are fond of warning that if we don't cut the deficit, the country could turn into Greece - or some other European country that can't pay it's bills. They ignore the fact that right now U.S. Treasury Bonds are considered the safest investments in the world, and interest rates are at a record low. They also ignore the fact that, unlike the Europeans, the American Federal Reserve can monetize the federal debt and assure that U.S. bond holders are always paid -- unless, of course, the Republicans refuse to pay the debts that we owe, which would be like committing economic Hara-Kiri.
In fact, the quickest way for America to become like Europe is a precipitous reduction of the federal spending. Ask the Brits how that worked out.
Finally, of course, let's remember that the way to reduce the deficit is not an inscrutable mystery. When Democrat Bill Clinton was President he did it, just a few short years ago. The recipe for success involved two factors: increasing revenue, especially from the wealthy, and growing the economy.
Today we would have to add, the need to control the spiraling increase in health care costs. While ObamaCare will make big steps in that direction, much more will be needed. Shifting costs to seniors and other consumers by cutting Medicare or Medicaid benefits is not controlling health care costs - it is simply shifting them from government to individuals. And what is needed is not more de-regulation of for-profit health care companies. In fact we ultimately need to follow the model of the Canadians - and most of the other industrial nations in the world - and provide a universal Medicare coverage to all Americans. Our system of private health insurance is simply too expensive. Americans, after all, pay 40% more than any other country per capita for health care and have outcomes that rank only 37th in the world.
Myth #3 - Government is always bad and- as Grover Norquist argues - must be shrunk so it can be drowned in a bathtub.
Let's ignore for a moment the fact that while Republicans talk about small government, they inevitably expand it when they control the White House - mostly in the form of larger military budgets.
Government, as Congressman Barney Frank says, is the name we give to the things we choose to do together--and that includes many of the most important things we do in our economy. From fire and police protection to providing free public education and health care for all, to building public infrastructure, to creating the Internet - government does a better, more efficient, more equitable job in many economic arenas than the private sector.
To hear the Republicans talk you wouldn't know it, but right now taxes are at their lowest levels since 1958.
Right now in America we need more government - more education, more roads and bridges, more mass transportation, more cancer research, more health care, more nutrition programs, more drug education and treatment - not less. More government shouldn't mean more regulation of our freedom - it should mean that when we co-operate together we have the ability to achieve more than if everyone is left to sink or swim. Government action is necessary to provide the foundation from which each person can individually excel.
The question of the type of society we want in America was squarely on the ballot in the election last November, and voters overwhelming voted for a society where we have each other's back - where we're all in this together, not all in this alone.
Progressives need to make all of these arguments to win the battle for the future. But let's remember that the unwillingness of most Republicans to compromise to avoid the "fiscal cliff" - or anything else - has less to do with their commitment to their ultra right principles than to the protection of their own political hides.
That being the case, there are only two ways to convince Republicans to compromise. One is to demonstrate that their obsession with primary challenges from the right will ultimately lead them to defeat in General Elections. The second is to defeat them so badly in the next General Election that they no longer have the power to impose the will of an extremist minority on the people of the United States.
Robert Creamer is a long-time political organizer and strategist, and author of the book: Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win, available on Amazon.com. He is a partner in Democracy Partners and a Senior Strategist for Americans United for Change. Follow him on Twitter @rbcreamer.
Hear ye, hear ye! Sarah Palin hereby accuses President Barack Obama of the high crime of shucking and jiving or, more precisely, a "shuck and jive shtick" with "Benghazi lies."Evidence? Lawdy, Massa. She don't need no blinkin' evidence.In the art of paranoid politics, one needs only to raise questions — and suspicions."Why the lies?" she wrote on her Facebook page about the aftermath of the tragic Sept. 11 attack on our consulate in Benghazi. "Why the cover up? Why the dissembling about the cause of the murder of our ambassador on the...
Because I live in beautiful Southern California, there is often one thing about my ex that shocks people. No, it's not that he prefers Seattle weather, or that he's a preppy who listens to death metal. It's not even the fact that I married him (although my best friend thinks that did stun a lot of people). Nope, it's that he's a Republican and I'm not.
When I say Republican, I don't mean a "I'm conservative but I'm slightly centrist and willing to listen to other people's opinions" kind of guy. It's more of a "I'm going to worship at the temple of Fox News until I die a horrible death at the hands of Big Government and only listen to conservative talk radio and talk nasty about anyone who resembles anything near a hippie" Republican. So it was kind of scary.
People wondered about us: How could a nice liberal Jewish girl like me get with an uber-conservative? What did I see in him? How did we not kill each other?
Since he wasn't as involved in politics when we first got together, I felt our differences didn't matter. He wasn't dogmatic and seemed to enjoy healthy debate. After all, there were bipartisan couples in Washington, like Mary Matalin and James Carville. It was entirely possible for them to succeed. Relationships are more about common values and similar experiences.
But those couples in Washington are very different than the couple that I was a part of when I got married. As time went on, particularly as the 2008 election approached, my husband became more and more entranced by the Republican base. According to him, Barack Obama was the most horrible thing that happened to humankind and Sarah Palin was a gift from God and Alaska, and how dare anyone make fun of her.
As the years rolled on and we would talk about politics, the conversation became less of a civilized discourse and more of him becoming extremely angry and shouting the same talking points repeatedly as if he were Bill O'Reilly on a bender. I couldn't get a word in to argue the other side. If I did, I was attacked for buying into the "liberal bias." In his eyes, I was a brainwashed fool and didn't understand how reality worked. He enjoyed our political discussions, but every time we had them, I felt ashamed and berated.
My goal was to create a civilized home, and to that end, it became extremely important that I not engage him about politics, because that would cause me pain and make our lives more difficult. So I tuned out. For someone who's educated and loves debating and exploring issues, it was a hard thing to do. But I wanted to keep my marriage strong, so I made the sacrifice and watched "The Daily Show" on my computer as if I were a 13-year-old boy with his first copy of Playboy.
As the 2010 elections approached, there was almost nothing playing in our home except for Fox News; I had surrendered the television to him. He barely talked to me and spent all his disposable income on conservative books from his favorite radio hosts. Anytime we talked -- even just about the cost of groceries -- he brought up politics. I felt like I was witnessing a didactic cult of one person.
He would often use sweeping statements about a woman's place and how my beloved feminism was destroying families. I was an elitist for wanting an education higher than my bachelor's degree and feeling that academia is crucial to modern thought. And the idea of taxes for the rich, despite the fact we were flirting with the poverty line throughout our marriage? Well, I might as well have been draped in the flag of communist Russia.
Shortly before I left the marriage, my ex and I decided to take a trip to San Francisco, despite his grumblings about how it was a city of liberal decay. I was excited to be there and he seemed to be too as we drove out to Fisherman's Wharf. But then I saw it -- there were tents across the Embarcadero for the Occupy movement. I was a huge supporter and believed in what they were standing for, but to him they were evil. I knew the trouble that would occur if he noticed, so I played a game of, "Hey, look over there! There's a guy dressed like a fish!"
It was around this time that I realized I was done avoiding political landmines. There was nothing keeping us together anymore except bills and some shared floorspace. He was more into Sean Hannity than he was his own wife, and would rather spend time with him than making love to me. Needless to say, the marriage was over.
Looking back, it was not the Republican values that tore our marriage apart, as some of my closest friends are conservative and we have wonderful friendships. It was him -- his anger, his brainwashed attitude and his lack of respect for my opinions. It doesn't bode well for relationships, and we shouldn't be acting this way on either side of the aisle.
Would I date a Republican again? I'm not so sure, but I never say never. All I know is that I want a man who is educated in his beliefs and can stand up for them properly rather than a brainwashed boy who thinks that getting angry, calling names and repeating the same talking points is political discourse. And I'd like to have my television back so I can laugh at Jon Stewart openly.
Kenneth Purcell had his world turned upside down this week on "30 Rock," when his mother, played by Catherine O'Hara, dropped by for a visit. She brought along her friend Ronald McDonald, played by Bryan Cranston, which brought out a very rare thing -- mean Kenneth. Kenneth clearly hated this guy, which made it even harder when his mom dropped a bombshell on him.
She revealed that she and Ron had gotten married ... seven years ago. "Look, Ken. I’m just trying to replace your dad,Ron said. "Oh, dang it. That’s the wrong thing to say, isn’t it."
Elsewhere, "TGS" found itself more successful than ever when Mitt Romney's new running mate was a buffoon who looked exactly like Tracy Jordan. It was a clear spoof of the position Tina Fey was in when Sarah Palin came on to the scene.
The final season of "30 Rock" continues on NBC, Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET.
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Concern over Sarah Palin's thin appearance prompted the 2008 Vice Presidential nominee and TV personality to reveal a bit of news: She's working on a new fitness and wellbeing book with her family, Palin told People Magazine.
"Our family is writing a book on fitness and self-discipline focusing on where we get our energy and balance as we still eat our beloved homemade comfort foods!" Palin wrote to People, adding that her family's method "works."
This isn't Palin's first foray into the fitness space. She's graced the cover of Runner's World magazine, but she was more than just a model: She's a long time and dedicated runner who regularly outpaces other Beltway jocks. For example, she finished the 2008 Anchorage marathon in 3:59 -- two minutes under current VP nominee and P90X enthusiast Paul Ryan's 4:01 finishing time in 1990 when he was 20 years old.
Palin has been quoted as saying that she grew up doing "family runs" with her parents. She was a high school track star and earned the nickname "Sarah Barracuda" for her agressive prowess on the basketball court.
It's unclear whether or not Palin and her family are in contract with a publisher.