Open Thread below...
Elon James at the Washington Monthly writes Understanding Paul Ryan:
Now, I have not spent as much time observing Paul Ryan in his native habitat, but I?m quite sure another thing that makes him tick, as I alluded to earlier, is a longtime opposition to gay rights. This isn?t something Ryan puts at the top of his resume, of course ? it would cut against his image as an intellectual and a wonk ? but the evidence is stark.
Via the National Organization for Marriage, here?s a taste of how Paul Ryan feels about gays:?Voted for a resolution proposing a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as the union between one man and one woman.?In a crucial way these positions are of a piece with Ryan?s desire to, as Matthew Yglesias put it so well, ?ax programs aimed at benefiting poor people.? They reveal a guy who does not hesitate ? and is in fact eager ? to put a boot on the neck of a large swath of Americans. Isn?t this a ?key? to understanding the man?
Voted against repealing Don?t Ask Don?t Tell in 2011.
Voted YES on Constitutionally defining marriage as one-man-one-woman.
Voted YES on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage.
Supported the marriage amendment in Wisconsin in 2006.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2006:
Just twelve weeks away from Election Day, frigid poll numbers for the President and his legion of "W brand" candidates throughout the country have Republicans scrambling for Karl Rove's dog-eared playbook in the hopes of stopping (or at least slowing down) the unprecedented Democratic momentum going into the midterm elections.
Fear-mongering, of course, is Chapter 1 in that book.
This week, we witnessed a vitriolic and coordinated attack on Democrats. Cal Thomas evidenced his need for a straightjacket as he lamented what he calls the "Taliban" wing of the Democratic Party. Bill O'Reilly libeled an entire voting bloc of American citizens when he said that Connecticut voters prove that Americans have "no will to restrain Iran's jihad." Likewise,Tony Snow insulted Connecticut voters by claiming they chose to "walk away" from fighting terrorists. Dick Cheney implied that Connecticut voters were weak and that Al Qaeda "broke" their will. Meanwhile, Tom DeLay distracted himself from the prospect of prison time this week with fairytales of Democrats who think that terrorists are "wonderful people." Over at the RNC, Republicans sent out a "your money or your life" fundraising email that would have made Tony Soprano proud. And, of course, no propaganda blitz would be complete without the stenographers in the media, like Chuck Roberts of CNN, who mused aloud whether Lamont is an "Al Qaeda Candidate."
Mockery, Shaming and Illustrating Utter Hypocrisy Do Not Equal Gloating Over Unelectability. Far from it. But I want to comfort some friends of mine who expressed understandable concern about the immediate and widespread reaction to Paul Ryan's[...]
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Title: The Fields Are FullArtist: Ian Partridge
Sometimes it benefits the mood to take two minutes (or less) to listen to a lovely tune you would not ordinarily seek out. The lyrics to this one are from Edward Shanks:
The fields are full of summer still
And breathe again upon the air
From brown dry side of hedge and hill
More sweetness than the sense can bear.
So some old couple, who in youth
With love were filled and over-full,
And loved with strength and loved with truth,
In heavy age are beautiful.
Have a great week, folks.
The Florida papers are destroying Paul Ryan. So much so that a distraught and panicked Village believes "Mitt Romney is in big, big trouble" for selecting the man who wants to pull the plug on Grandma.
The very first available headlines from the all important swing state of Florida are devastating.
Rolling out your vice presidential nominee is one of the most crucial aspects of every campaign, and judging from the headlines, Romney has completely blown it.
On the evening news, a visibly shaken Chuck Todd reported the 2012 campaign has not touched on Medicare, but now, all of the sudden, it is front and center, and it will be a big part of voters' decisions in November.
Todd is the quintessential political reporter. He phones around Washington and interviews the establishment players, who are largely Republican and then synthesizes their inside views and reports it as conventional wisdom.
The professionals and insiders view Ryan as box office poison. Said Todd:
Ryan's plan to make cuts to Medicare have been very unpopular when they?ve been tested with focus groups.Adding to the despair and dread felt among those paid to elect Republicans, Todd continued:
... when you look at older voters, this issue is a big, big problem for Romney, that he?s going to have to figure out how to deal withThis is the perfect wedge issue. This desperate, panicked move by Romney to quell the teabag base has now placed John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and the House in jeopardy.
It unites our side and divides their candidates. Are they going to stand with Ryan and Rush Limbaugh or will they stand with seniors? Are they with them or are they against them? If you pick seniors, the base stays home. If you pick the base, then seniors poke them with a pitchfork.
The entire Republican party faces, yet again, another Bataan Death March. For the next 90 days they're going to be pummeled by either the base or by seniors. It's a lose-lose situation with Team Obama applying relentless pressure, as they did again today, pushing how Ryan plans to kill Medicare, along with Bubbie and Zayde, on all the Sunday shows.
And just wait until October when the Romney abortion profiteer ads begin running, further demoralizing the base.
Rory McIlroy wins the PGA Championship by playing nearly perfect golf for the past 48 hours. He was amazing. His putt on 18 with nothing on the line just proved to me that he was in the zone. If he lined it up, the punt would go in. Great performance. From Golf.com: Maybe, just maybe,
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This is a guest post from University of California, Berkeley political scientist Eric Schickler.
There are many good things about journalists and other political observers using concepts and measures from political science as they analyze contemporary politics. But an example this weekend from Nate Silver, the excellent analyst of polls and related matters, offers a cautionary lesson. Silver uses NOMINATE scores to argue that Paul Ryan ?is the most conservative Republican member of Congress to be picked for the vice presidential slot since at least 1900. He is also more conservative than any Democratic nominee was liberal, meaning that he is the furthest from the center.? Ryan may well be the most conservative Vice Presidential nominee in decades, but the NOMINATE methodology is not suited to making claims about the relative liberalism or conservatism of politicians over the long time span invoked by Silver.
An obvious problem is that the scores are comparing Ryan to Republican politicians in the 1910-20s, who were voting on policies in a pre-Social Security, pre-Wagner Act, pre-civil rights, pre-Medicare world. The issues under debate were so different in this period that meaningful comparisons in terms of ?liberalism? and ?conservatism? are just not feasible. As the originators of the NOMINATE methodologyKeith Poole and Howard Rosenthal?make clear in their work, the meaning of the underlying scale may well change over long spans of time. A negative score on the NOMINATE scale in the 1920s indicates that a member of Congress agreed with the Democratic party line on the main issues of the day?such as the tariff (favoring free trade)?while positive scores designated Republicans who favored their party?s line on the same set of issues. But these members were not voting on policies that bear much of a resemblance to the issues that define liberalism and conservatism today (and in some policy domains, being a liberal in the 1920s would correspond to being a conservative today; see David Karol?s work on free trade for a nice example).
Perhaps the best example of the deep flaws in this approach is provided by the most liberal Vice Presidential nominee of the past 100 years (as revealed by Silver?s chart of NOMINATE scores) ? John Nance Garner of Texas! Garner?s NOMINATE score?if interpreted as a measure of liberalism?certainly seem to indicate that he was a liberal: Garner?s score places him to the left of Hubert Humphrey, Harry Truman, and Al Gore.
Who was John Nance Garner? After a long tenure as a prominent House Democrat, Garner was actually a candidate for President in 1932, when Roosevelt selected him as Vice President. In that race, Garner?s support came largely from conservative forces in the party, who?based on his record in Congress?believed he would shun radical solutions to the Depression. The New Republic commented in March 1932 that Garner was the choice for those seeking ?a good, safe politician with an innocuous record who knows the game and how to play it. Unconsciously, what they want is a Democratic Coolidge, and they instinctively feel that Garner is their man. They are not wrong.?
These more conservative Democrats were indeed correct about Garner. By the time of Roosevelt?s second term, Garner was leading the conservative opposition to the alleged excesses of Roosevelt?s New Deal. Garner sought to galvanize conservative southern Democrats with northern Republicans to fight the pro-union, high spending Roosevelt policies that they argued were leading the United States to socialism. Garner emerged as the great hope for conservative southerners seeking to block a third term for Roosevelt; instead, Roosevelt?s forces had control of the 1940 convention and ditched Garner for Henry Wallace. Garner had not moved sharply to the right while in the Vice Presidency; instead, the political agenda had been transformed and he refused to be transformed along with it. Garner?s NOMINATE score reflected his position as a good southern Democrat who shared the party?s dominant philosophy and voting record on the issues at play in the 1920s. To call that liberal is, to say the least, anachronistic.
NOMINATE scores are useful measures for a wide variety of purposes. With care and sensitivity to changes in the political agenda, one can make reasonable comparisons over, say, a thirty-year period (as Nolan McCarty, Keith Poole, Howard Rosenthal, and Chris Hare do here). However, when one seeks to compare levels of ?liberalism? or ?conservatism? across a span of many decades they can be more misleading than illuminating.
There is no doubt that Paul Ryan is a very conservative Republican. Whether he is more conservative than Republican Vice Presidential nominees of the pre-New Deal era?or even more conservative than the segregationist, ardently anti-CIO Roosevelt foe John Nance Garner?is another matter.PoliticsPolitical parties in the United StatesLiberalismJohn Nance GarnerConservatism in the United StatesConservative DemocratLiberalism in the United StatesRepublican PartyVice President of the United StatesConservatismDemocratic PartyDemocratic National Convention
Religious right organizations have fought in court to allow folks to disrupt Pride celebrations by protesting and such so I wonder how they feel about this.[...]
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As always when dealing with Mitt Romney, things are a little uncomfortable: With Paul Ryan as his vice presidential nominee, Mitt Romney?s central argument pushing back against critics of the House budget chief?s Medicare plan is that President Obama cut deep into Medicare under the Affordable Care Act. But Ryan?s plan includes the same cuts, which don?t target beneficiaries.?Unlike the...
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As Mitt Romney's campaign was trying to distance itself from his running mate's proposed budget on Sunday, senior adviser Ed Gillespie admitted that the candidate "would have signed" Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) controversial plan.
After the Republican presidential hopeful on Saturday announced that he had selected Ryan as the vice presidential nominee, CNN obtained a campaign memo that sought to distinguish Romney's policies from Ryan's budget proposal.
"Gov. Romney applauds Paul Ryan for going in the right direction with his budget, and as president he will be putting together his own plan for cutting the deficit and putting the budget on a path to balance," the memo said.
In a briefing to reporters on Sunday, campaign spokesman Kevin Madden tried to prevent the race from turning into a referendum on Ryan.
"Gov. Romney is at the top of the ticket," Madden insisted. "And Governor Romney's vision for the country is something that Congressman Ryan supports."
But in a Sunday morning appearance on CNN, Gillespie was forced to admit that Romney supported Ryan's budget and would have signed it into law.
"Well, as Governor Romney has made clear, if the Romney -- sorry, if the Ryan budget had come to his desk as president, he would have signed it, of course," Gillespie told CNN's Candy Crowley. "And one of the reasons that he chose Congressman Ryan is his willingness to put forward innovative solutions in the budget."
Meanwhile, Democrats like Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod were calling the Ryan budget a "prescription for economic catastrophe" because it would turn Medicare into a voucher system while giving tax breaks to wealthy Americans.
"This was a guy who rubber stamped every aspect of the Bush economic policy, including not paying for two wars, a Medicare prescription plan, two big tax cuts,? Axelrod told ABC's David Gregory on Sunday. ?And now he wants trillions of dollars of more budget-busting tax cuts skewed to the wealthy.?
"He?s the guy who?s the architect of a plan to end Medicare as we know it and turn it into a voucher program and ship thousands of dollars of costs onto senior citizens," the senior Obama adviser added on ABC's This Week. "He?s someone who was the architect of a Social Security privatization scheme that was so out there that even George Bush called it irresponsible, and he believes that we should ban abortion even in cases of rape and incest."
(h/t: Think Progress)