Poor Endorsement For Romney From Giuliani

It looks like mayors from the east make poor surrogates. Rudy Giuliani had his Cory Booker moment today on CNN”s State of the Union:

“Well, I mean, there’s a certain amount of personal ego in that — at that point, I was probably comparing his record to my record,” he said about his dings at Romney. “And maybe it was circumstances or whatever, but I had massive reductions in unemployment. He had a reduction in unemployment of about 8,10 percent — I think it was 15 percent. I had a reduction of unemployment of 50 percent. He had a growth of jobs of about 40,000; we had a growth of jobs of about 500,000. So I was comparing what I thought was my far superior record to his otherwise decent record. … That’s all part of campaigning.”

The spring, before many are paying attention, is providing both campaigns with a period in which to look at potential surrogates and decide who might be helpful to the campaign. Of course Giuliani is generally a more effective speaker when ranting against liberalism, especially when he delivers his speeches in the original German.

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Rick Santorum Becomes Eleventh Candidate To Lead GOP In Polls With Mitt Romney Severely Facing Problems

Although the conventional wisdom has been that Mitt Romney is the probable Republican nominee, he is certainly having a hard time establishing himself as a front runner. Before today’s poll came out, Nate Silver listed ten previous front-runners  in alphabetical order, including some Republicans who led in the polls without being a declared candidate: Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Donald Trump. Today, Public Policy Polling makes Rick Santorum the eleventh. Santorum leads at 38 percent. Romney trails at 23 percent, with Gingrich at 17 percent and Ron Paul at 13 percent.

Rick Santorum does even better if he does not have to divide he conservative vote with Newt Gingrich. If Gingrich were to drop out, the poll shows that 58 percent of his supporters would go to Santorum. In a such a three way race, Santorum get to 50 percent, while Romney would be at 28 percent and Paul at 15 percent.

Leadership in the GOP race has not meant very much to date, but falling behind at this stage does create problems for Romney. He might go negative against Santorum as he did against Gingrich, but his negative ads are starting to backfire. Some suggest that instead of going negative against Santorum, Romney must convert to a positive campaign. I’m not sure how a man who lacks any core beliefs or convictions can do this.  His strongest pitch is that he can make up the biggest lies about Barack Obama.

The Maine caucuses conclude tonight with a two-man race between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. There is speculation that Paul might be able to pull an upset victory. If you cannot beat a crackpot like Ron Paul, it is hard to see victory for the nomination as inevitable.

There’s another potential embarrassment for Romney. Public Policy Polling is also seeing the start of a surge for Santorum in Michigan. A loss in Michigan would be devastating to Romney, both for losing his home state and because of reinforcing Santorum’s dominance over Romney in the Midwest. Perhaps Romney will try to flip-flop on having been born and raised in Michigan. Would Mitt Romney’s birth certificate then become an issue?

CPAC is also conducting their straw poll. To paraphrase Jay Leno, Romney is promising to change his views to whatever views CPAC members desire. Romney pandered before them, claiming to be “severely conservative.” The word severe might sound out of place here, unless you see it as an honest admission from Romney, such as “I am severely insane” or, at very least, “I am severely out of touch with the voters of this country.”

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Rudy Giuiliani Had Same Mind Wiping As Dana Perino

It was bad enough when former Bush press secretary Dana Perino claimed, “We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush’s term.” After all, anyone speaking for George Bush couldn’t be expect to have that great a grasp on reality. What is surprising is that Rudy Giuliani made the same mistake. That’s Rudy Giuliani, who can hardly say a sentence which is not made up of a a noun, a verb, and 9/11. That’s Rudy Giuliani, who has to wear depends because he pees in his pants every time anyone looking vaguely like they might be a Muslim walks by.

Giuliani must have lost hims memory as on Good Morning America he said, “What he [Obama] should be doing is following the right things that Bush did – one of the right things he did was treat this as a war on terror. We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We’ve had one under Obama.”

His spokesman tried to clarify this:

The Mayor’s spokesman says that the remark “didn’t come across as it was intended” and that Giuliani was “clearly talking post-9/11 with regards to Islamic terrorist attacks on our soil.”

There’s three problems with this. First, it is not what Giuliani said. Second, it hardly makes sense to ignore the big one. Third, it is not even true when limited to post-9/11. There were the more prominent examples such as the anthrax attacks, the DC Sniper, and Richard Reid, along with a number of less discussed examples such as this.

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Guiliani May Run For Senate

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The New York Daily News reports that authoritarian war monger Rudy Guiliani plans to announce that he will not be running for Governor of New York as many have speculated. They report that instead he will announce plans to run for the Senate. A Senate seat might be used as a spring board for a future presidential run.

There’s no word as to whether Giliani’s announcement will be in English or German. The speeches he gave at the Republican National Convention in 2004, along with many of his subsequent speeches, did sound much better in the original German.

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Sarah Palin Used To Support “Death Panels” (If She Is Being Honest Today)

Add Sarah Palin to the list of Republicans who have flip-flopped on end of life counseling. Yesterday I noted that Newt Gingrich supported end of life counseling similar to that which is in the House health care reform bill in an article in July but now claims this would bring about “death panels.” Think Progress has found that Sarah Palin had endorsed this type of counseling back in April, 2008.

Either Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich are former supporters of “death panels” or they are being dishonest now in claiming that this is what is contained in the House bill.

Think Progress also reports that Rudy Giuliani is the latest demagogic  Republican to claim that the bill will lead to “death panels.”

Republicans are willing to fabricate any claims in their attempts to stop health care reform. The fact that they resort to such fabrications rather than discussing the real content of the health reform legislation is good evidence that they realize the American people would never agree with the Republicans in an honest discussion of health care reform.

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Obama and Drug Policy

NORML provides an unfortunate progression in Barack Obama’s statements on drugs:

“The war on drugs has been an utter failure. … (W)e need to rethink and decriminalize our (nation’s) marijuana laws.”
-Barack Obama, January 2004 (Watch the video here.)

“I inhaled frequently, that was the point.”
-Barack Obama, November 2006 (Watch the video here.)

Q: “Will you consider legalizing marijuana so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and create a billion dollar industry right here in the U.S.?”

A: “President-elect Obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana.”
-Statement from Change.gov, the official website of President-Elect Obama, December 15, 2008

I’m not at all surprised that Barack Obama is not publicly coming out in favor of legalization of marijuana at this time. What is said now and what happens over the next four or eight years is a different matter. It is premature for titles such as the one at Talk Left which reads Another Change You Won’t See From Obama. He hasn’t even taken office yet. It is too early to say with certainty which changes we will see.

Most likely we will not see legalization of marijuana and a total end to the drug war in the next eight years, but a brief denial of interest in such a controversial subject at this time can not be taken an absolute prediction of what will happen. More importantly we are likely to see more progress in reforming drug policy than we would see if Hillary Clinton had received the nomination, and see a considerable improvement over the status quo.

After the selection above, NORML also quotes Obama on medical marijuana:

In fact, Obama essentially said as much earlier this year when asked about the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Obama: “When it comes to medical marijuana, … my attitude is if it is an issue of doctors prescribing marijuana, … I think that should be appropriate. … Whether I want to use a whole lot of political capital on (this) issue; the likelihood of that being real high on my priority list is not likely.” (Watch the video here.)

This is not going to be overly exciting to those who rank legalization of marijuana as a top issue, but this leaves open a far greater chance of at least seeing legalization of medical marijuana than under the Republicans. At least we are likely to see an end to the type of insanity I reported here and here.

Under the Bush administration the federal government has ignored Republican principles of federalism by using the DEA to take action against those using medical marijuana even in states where it is legal. Obama was the strongest opponent of this policy of the major candidates this year. Last year I linked to videos showing the major Republican candidates dodging the question or outright supporting continuation of the raids on marijuana clinics and arrests of patients.

While the greatest differences between the candidates was between the major Democratic and Republican candidates, there were also significant differences between Obama and Clinton on drug policy. For example, Obama has supported needle exchange programs while Clinton has been opposed. They also differed on the drug war with Obama supporting sentencing reform which Clinton opposed.

It is disappointing that Obama is not going further on drug policy, but he is also the best candidate we were likely to see elected. We will still need to push Obama on this issue. It is understandable that this is not at the top of his priority list, but he is sympathetic to scaling back the drug war and making real changes. There is also hope that once his presidency is more firmly established he might be willing to go even further than he is at present.

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Don’t Panic About Palin 2012–Yet

The winner of the 2008 election hasn’t even taken office yet but CNN is already polling for 2012. The results:

  1. Mike Huckabee – 34%
  2. Sarah Palin – 32%
  3. Mitt Romney – 28%
  4. Newt Gingrich – 27%
  5. Rudy Giuliani – 23%
  6. Bobby Jindal – 19%
  7. Charlie Christ – 7%

Note even all conservatives are thrilled with this. Hot Air writes, “Tough choice. Do we go with the blue-collar populist social con who’s soft on immigration? Or do we go with Huckabee?”

Fortunately a poll this far before 2012 is primarily a test of name recognition and has little predictive value with regards to who will actually win. After the 2000 election Joe Lieberman led many polls for Democratic nominee in 2004 due to having been on the ticket, but he went nowhere once people actually started campaigning and voting. Having been on the ticket in 2004 didn’t help either John Kerry or John Edwards compete in 2008.

What is distressing is that sixty-six percent support the top two candidates who are from the religious right. Huckabee, who does have increased name recognition after running in 2008 even edges out Palin (but within the margin of error). The rest aren’t exactly social liberals either (considering the compromises Giuliani made in running this year). As I discussed yesterday, the religious right is currently the base of the GOP. A candidate they support will receive a boost in support, but also alienate far too many people for such a candidate to be likely to be viable in a national election.

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Factcheck Debunks More Republican Falsehoods

Another night of a Republican convention and we have another night of Factcheck revealing untrue statements. Many of these were also noted in previous posts debunking last night’s speakers. Factcheck has the following errors in their summary, with further details in the full post:

Sarah Palin’s much-awaited speech at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night may have shown she could play the role of attack dog, but it also showed her to be short on facts when it came to touting her own record and going after Obama’s.

We found Rudy Giuliani, who introduced her, to be as factually challenged as he sometimes was back when he was in the race. But Mike Huckabee may have laid the biggest egg of all.

  • Palin may have said “Thanks, but no thanks” on the Bridge to Nowhere, though not until Congress had pretty much killed it already. But that was a sharp turnaround from the position she took during her gubernatorial campaign, and the town where she was mayor received lots of earmarks during her tenure.
  • Palin’s accusation that Obama hasn’t authored “a single major law or even a reform” in the U.S. Senate or the Illinois Senate is simply not a fair assessment. Obama has helped push through major ethics reforms in both bodies, for example.
  • The Alaska governor avoided some of McCain’s false claims about Obama’s tax program – but her attacks still failed to give the whole story.
  • Giuliani distorted the time line and substance of Obama’s statements about the conflict between Russia and Georgia. In fact, there was much less difference between his statements and those of McCain than Giuliani would have had us believe.
  • Giuliani also said McCain had been a fighter pilot. Actually, McCain’s plane was the A-4 Skyhawk, a small bomber. It was the only plane he trained in or flew in combat, according to McCain’s own memoir.
  • Finally, Huckabee told conventioneers and TV viewers that Palin got more votes when she ran for mayor of Wasilla than Biden did running for president. Not even close. The tally: Biden, 79,754, despite withdrawing from the race after the Iowa caucuses. Palin, 909 in her 1999 race, 651 in 1996.
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Mitt Romney’s Liberal Hash Browns

While the fact checking can go on endlessly due to the number of untrue statements made at the Republican convention as noted in several previous posts, overall impression can be much briefer.

Authoritarian war monger Rudy Giuliani showed once again that he can give an attack speech better than anyone else, and as usual he sounds even better in the original German. Sarah Palin did an excellent job of reading the teleprompter, and certainly did not waste any times with actual discussion of issues between all her lies and baseless attacks. As I suggested last night, Mitt Romeny might be the most ridiculous Republican of them all. Megan McArdle first makes a good point on the general idea of his speech and then hits him on one significant specific point:

Mitt Romney seems to use the word “liberal” in a randomly perjorative fashion.  I half expect him to say “I was eating breakfast this morning, and my hash browns were all liberal.  I sent them back and told the waitress to bring me some good, conservative hash browns.”

He also seems to think that giving American citizens habeas corpus rights is some sort of crazy scheme dreamed up by liberal justices intent on destroying America’s proud tradition of secret trials and warrantless arrests.

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Debunking Republican Convention Lies

The Republicans have repeatedly been making untrue statements during their convention, but this is to be expected. After all, the Republican convention is packed with Republicans, along with Joe Lieberman who might as well be a Republican. Factcheck.org corrects just a few of the incorrect statements made last night. From their summary:

Joe Lieberman and his former Senate colleague Fred Thompson both made misleading claims about Obama in their prime time GOP convention speeches on Tuesday. We’ve heard two of them before – many times.

  • Lieberman said Obama hadn’t “reached across party lines” to accomplish “anything significant,” though Obama has teamed with GOP Sens. Tom Coburn and Richard Lugar to pass laws enhancing government transparency and curtailing the proliferation of nuclear and conventional weapons.
  • Thompson repeated misleading claims about Obama’s tax program, saying it would bring “one of the largest tax increases in American history.” But as increases go, Obama’s package is hardly a history-maker. It would raise taxes for families with incomes above $250,000. Most people would see a cut.
  • Lieberman also accused Obama of “voting to cut off funding for our American troops on the
    battlefield.” But Obama’s only vote against a war-funding bill came after Bush vetoed a version of the bill Obama had supported – and McCain urged the veto.

Factcheck provides further detail in their full post. Unfortunately they missed the worst lie of the night when Fred Thompson said, “And we need a President who doesn’t think that the protection of the unborn or a newly born baby is above his pay grade.” This is quite a distortion of Obama’s actual words regarding how determining when life begins is above his pay grade. While Factcheck didn’t address this point in discussing the convention, they have a previous posting which debunks the right wing lies that Obama supports infanticide.

This is one reason why the Republicans have been doing poorly the last couple of years. They are still picking up votes from low-information voters who believe these lies, but as more voters realize what Democrats really believe the Republicans lose support. When Republicans concentrate on such straw men arguments they have no effect among those who realize such claims have little bearing on actual Democratic beliefs.

There should be plenty to Factcheck tonight also. Mitt Romney showed why many Democrats hoped he would be McCain’s pick (not suspecting McCain would pick someone as unqualified as Sarah Palin). Romney repeated all the standard claims of the right wing as to what Democrats believe. What is amusing is that a very large number of Republicans really do believe that Democrats believe what Romney claims. When the actual views on the issues are considered, most people will support the views of the Democrats over those of the Republicans. This is why the McCain campaign does not want the election to be decided over the issues.

Update: Rudy Giuliani has also demonstrated how dishonest he is tonight. He must really be afraid of Obama’s record and experience to feel compelled to distort it in the manner he did.

Watching this convention I also cannot decide which is the biggest absurdity. We have the Republicans who have been in control of the government trying to run against Washington. We have the party responsible for tremendous increases in the size of government claiming to be the party of small government. We have the party which promotes authoritarianism claiming to be the party of freedom. We have the party of corporate welfare claiming to be the party of free enterprise. We have the party which ignored warnings, including those from Democrats, on the risk from al Qaeda leading to the 9/11 attacks occurring on their watch. Then they got us involved in a war against the wrong country based upon lies. Now they claim they are the party which can be trusted to keep us safe.

Update II: I almost forgot Mike Huckabee. He falsely claimed that Sarah Palin got more votes as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska than Sen. Joe Biden got running for president. Taegan Goddard notes that Biden received more votes in Florida alone than Palin received, and this was in a primary which officially did not count after Biden withdrew from the race.

Update III: We’re in the midst of Sarah Palin’s speech. She has already told a few whoppers of her own, including the exact same lies about Obama raising taxes which McCain has repeatedly been corrected on by sites such as Factcheck. She also has repeated the same lies about her role in supporting the “bridge to nowhere” which the press has previously debunked.

How can we trust a party to govern when so many of their leaders cannot tell the truth? We have seen the dangers in this over the past eight years.

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