What The Italians Know About Mittens

I suggest that if you are still not convinced that Mitt Romney’s past bidness life is unlike anything we have seen on the resume of a candidate in modern politics—that is, his practice of “vulture capitalism,” as Rick Perry would have it—then you should read the Bloomberg article,

Romney Persona Non Grata In Italy For Bain’s Deal Skirting Taxes

I will only quote an economics professor at Turin University about the sale of Italy’s government-owned telephone directory company to Bain Capital and Bain’s subsequent and relatively quick unloading of the same company for 25 times what it paid:

It was a mistake from the start, damaged by a lack of transparency and the use of offshore funds.

Lack of transparency? Offshore funds? Who, me? says Mittens.

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The World Economy: A Sickness Unto Death?

The fundamentals of the world economy aren’t, in themselves, all that scary; it’s the almost universal abdication of responsibility that fills me, and many other economists, with a growing sense of dread.”

—Paul Krugman

here has long been a great divide among those who seek to explain both the cause and the duration of the Great Depression. What side you are on almost always says something about your politics: liberals have one view, conservatives tend to have another.

Brad DeLong and Barry Eichengreen have written an interesting new preface to the 40-year anniversary edition of Charles Kindleberger’s The World in Depression 1929-1939. The  book, as Wikipedia deftly summarizes it,

advances an idiosyncratic, internationalist view of the causes and nature of the Great Depression. Blaming the peculiar length and depth of the Depression on the hesitancy of the US in taking over leadership of the world economy when Britain was no longer up to the role after WWI, he concludes that ‘for the world economy to be stabilized, there has to be a stabilizer—one stabilizer’, by which, in the context of the interwar years at least, he means the United States.

In a column yesterday, Paul Krugman—whose latest book is titled, End This Depression Now!—worries that policy makers both in Europe and here in the U.S. are repeating past mistakes and failing to act decisively to rescue the world’s economy from the mess that financial recklessness created.

He took a swipe at the European leaders, who have failed to take meaningful action to bail out Spanish banks (“Forget about Greece, which is pretty much a lost cause; Spain is where the fate of Europe will be decided“), and he jabbed domestic Republicans, “who often seem as if they are deliberately trying to sabotage the economy.”

But since Krugman, like all of us should be, is most concerned about the crippling effects of long-term unemployment, he directed his latest attack squarely at the Federal Reserve:

The Fed has a so-called dual mandate: it’s supposed to seek both price stability and full employment. And last week the Fed released its latest set of economic projections, showing that it expects to fail on both parts of its mandate, with inflation below target and unemployment far above target for years to come.

This is a terrible prospect, and the Fed knows it. Ben Bernanke, the Fed’s chairman, has warned in particular about the damage being done to America by the unprecedented level of long-term unemployment.

So what does the Fed propose doing about the situation? Almost nothing. True, last week the Fed announced some actions that would supposedly boost the economy. But I think it’s fair to say that everyone at all familiar with the situation regards these actions as pathetically inadequate — the bare minimum the Fed could do to deflect accusations that it is doing nothing at all.

Why won’t the Fed act? My guess is that it’s intimidated by those Congressional Republicans, that it’s afraid to do anything that might be seen as providing political aid to President Obama, that is, anything that might help the economy.

That’s a fairly serious charge, but recall that GOP candidate for president Rick Perry said this about Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve:

If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I dunno what y’all would do to him in Iowa but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treasonous in my opinion.

That stupidity and attempt at intimidation was endorsed by the likes of Tea Party spokesman Sarah Palin and represents the sentiments of many right-wingers. But no one on that side seems to be concerned at all about the Fed’s lack of aggressiveness in addressing unemployment (not to mention the failure of conservatives in Congress to do anything at all), particularly long-term unemployment.

Look at this graph Krugman has previously presented:

We ignore this at our peril, both here and in Europe. The world economy is sick and trying to heal it with budget austerity is making it sicker. That is the equivalent of prescribing lots of calisthenics for a bedridden patient, and it may, as Krugman and others continue to argue, prove economically lethal.

“Whoops!” Said The Priest

You know it was a bad day in Christendom when a paper reported this:

A PRIEST has denied knowing how gay porn images appeared on a screen during a presentation he was giving to parents of children preparing for First Communion.

That’s a big-time Rick Perry “whoops!”

The story continues:

One of those present said the pictures appeared on the screen after the priest put a USB memory stick into the computer at St Mary’s School…

Now, just because Catholic priests these days are pretty good at inserting their memory sticks into unauthorized outlets, that doesn’t mean this particular priest was guilty of a crime. In fact, this priest insisted that the porn-images could be “legitimately explained.”

And, look, I believe him. He may have confused this presentation with the one he would give later in the day: “Why Homosexual Behavior Is a Sin,” or something like that.

(My thanks to “Beneath the Tin Foil Hat” for this one.)

“A Seat In The Shaming Room”

Amazingly, some people are shocked over a Doonesbury cartoon, but not as shocked at the underlying policies that led to it.

From the Associated Press:

KANSAS CITY, MO. — A national syndicate will offer replacement “Doonesbury” comic strips to newspapers that don’t want to run a series that uses graphic imagery to lampoon a Texas law requiring women to have an ultrasound before an abortion, executives said Friday.

Here’s the problem some folks have with the cartoon:

The comic strips feature a woman who goes to an abortion clinic and is confronted by several people who suggest she should be ashamed. Among them is a doctor who reads a script on behalf of Texas Gov. Rick Perry welcoming her to a “compulsory transvaginal exam,” and a middle-aged legislator who calls her a “slut.”

One panel equates the invasive procedure to rape and describes the device used to perform it as a “10-inch shaming wand.”

Here are a couple of panels, reprinted in The Guardian:

Now, I can understand why this stuff upsets people, but what I can’t understand is why more folks aren’t upset over the reality behind the cartoon: Republicans in places like Texas have decided that women ought to be shamed and bombarded with guilt while exercising their reproductive rights, and in some cases they want the government to violate their bodies by forcing women seeking abortions to get invasive sonograms.

Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau defended his cartoon, saying,

In Texas, the sonograms are the least of it. The legislature has also defunded women’s health clinics all over the state, leaving 300,000 women without the contraceptive services that prevent abortions in the first place. Insanity.

And one would think that such insanity would be the controversy, not a cartoon designed to call attention to it.

When I Grow Up, I Want To Be A Scavenging Capitalist

What is going on in the Republican Party is, well, unbelievable.

On one side is Gingrich, Perry, and Palin.  On the other is the GOP establishment, featuring Rush Limbaugh, for God’s sake.  On trial is what John McCain calls, “the essence of what we Republicans believe,” a nasty and brutish brand of capitalism manifested through what are known as venture capital and private equity firms like Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital.

Or here is how Rick Perry, famously now, expressed his affection for Bain:

They’re vultures. They’re sittin’ out there on the, on the tree limb, waitin’ for the company to get sick, and then they swoop in, they eat the carcass, they leave with that, and they leave the skeleton.

Those ominous birds, it must be said, aren’t all bad, as a blogger named Cameron McCormick, in a piece titled, “On the Importance of Vultures,” made clear:

Our anthropocentric stigma against scavengers is totally underserved and in fact, carrion consumption is a valuable ecological “service.”

Obviously, consuming the rotting flesh of dead animals is valuable in terms of the ecology, and Republicans defending Romney are trying to assert the same thing about private equity firms vis-à-vis the economy: they contribute to overall economic efficiency by feeding on weak companies.

But who grows up thinking, “I want to be a scavenging capitalist”?

A piece posted on the far-right Tea Party site, Red State, asked about the character of a man who made millions upon millions scavenging:

We know that Bain killed American jobs when it meant profit for the shareholders and investors. When political profit is at stake, will Mitt do what is right for America, or will he serve his own best interests?[…]

Whether Bain Capital is good, or evil, necessary or sleazy, is beside the point. They do what they do (though some specific deals may be questionable), and it’s all apparently legal. It is also irrelevant. What is relevant is what his Bain days say about Mitt Romney’s character, and for that reason alone the discussion is both necessary and appropriate.

In his defense, Romney says:

There are some businesses that are growing and thriving … [and] there’s some businesses that have to be cut back in order to survive.

At least he is a polite scavenger.

I will end with a quote from Rick Perry, who must be bewildered at the criticism he is receiving for pointing out what is obvious to anyone to the left of Rush Limbaugh:

There is nothing wrong with being successful and making money. But getting rich off failure and sticking someone else with the bill is indefensible.

Well, apparently it is not indefensible these days in the Republican Party. In fact, again as John McCain helpfully observed,  it is “the essence of what we Republicans believe.”

Here’s a nice graph that Ed Schultz uses on his show now:

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Mitt Romney And “Vultures”

UPDATE: Newt Gingrich offered more help in defining Romney today, and in defining the kind of capitalism that Americans can live with, on Fox “News” of all places:

Real capitalism implies that there is some partnership between capital and labor to develop better futures. And that somehow the joint effort ought to produce a better future for everybody. That doesn’t mean you’re always going to succeed. I don’t attack guys who do their best and happen to fail. But I do think if somebody goes in and the rich guy takes all the money and the poor guys gets all the unemployment, there’s something wrong with that picture.

And again, if they make an investment and the investment doesn’t work out,and they take a bath, as long as they are suffering along with the workers, that is just free enterprise. And I think we have to be honest about this. One of the reasons people who like free enterprise do not like Wall Street is that they see very rich financiers who rig the game, so the taxpayer loses, the worker loses, and somehow the rich guy does okay…

There has to be some sense of “everybody’s in the same boat…” He’s gonna have to explain why would Bain have taken $180 million out of the company and then have it go bankrupt. And to what extent that they have some obligation to the workers. Remember there were a lot of people who made that $180 million, it wasn’t just six rich guys at the top. And yet somehow they walked off from their fiduciary obligation to the people who had made the money for them…

If we identify capitalism with rich guys looting companies, we’re gonna have a very hard time protecting it. I am totally committed to capitalism, I am totally committed to Main Street, I am totally committed to people’s right to start companies. I’m committed to their right to fail. But I think it has to be fair, it has to be out in the open. This is why you have this underlying anger about the financial class. Because people look over and say, “Wait a second. How come I lost my mortgage and you stayed a millionaire? How come I lost my savings and you stayed a millionaire?” […]

Is it fair to have a system, is it right, is it the kind of country you want to live in to have a system where somebody can come in, take over your company, take out all the cash and leave behind a wreck? And they go off to a country club having a great time and you go off to the unemployment line.

Now, this is not anti-capitalist. I’m not for socialism. I’m not for government stopping risk-taking. But I’m for some sense of fairness that the entrepreneur and the worker have a joint investment in something succeeding.

I never thought I’d say this: Thanks, Newt. You got it just about right.

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Rick Perry is hanging around the GOP primary long enough to help define Mitt Romney and to help define what companies like Romney’s cash cow, Bain Capital, do.

Perry said this morning:

I will suggest, they’re just vultures. They’re vultures. They’re sittin’ out there on the, on the tree limb, waitin’ for the company to get sick, and then they swoop in, they eat the carcass, they leave with that, and they leave the skeleton.

Couldn’t have said it better myself, Rick! Thanks for not dropping out of the race!

Beyond A Doubt?

I want to connect two issues, recently in the news, that may not seem related. 

In a piece in Tuesday’s USA Today, “When will USA get over breastfeeding hang-ups?,” Katherine Chretien hopes that one day, “breastfeeding in public will be seen as nothing out of the ordinary”: 

Let’s face it, we live in a society that has sexualized breasts so much that any display (even in its primary, all-business function) is seen as indecent, allowing the hardy vestiges of American Puritanism to place shame-hexes on nursing moms.

Now, I have never understood the hang-up about breastfeeding, in public or private, but I do understand “the hardy vestiges of American Puritanism,” the unrelenting bigotry of which is able to survive in our otherwise permissive culture.

There is another form of puritanical bigotry increasing in this country, almost unnoticed by the mainstream press, that also has to do with women: the harsh, inflexible anti-choice movement. Here is a story from CNN that illustrates the point:

(CNN) – Texas Gov. Rick Perry revealed a hardening in his stance on abortion Tuesday, telling a crowd in Iowa that he opposed abortions in all cases, including when a woman had been raped or the victim of incest.

Previously, Perry had not opposed the procedure in cases of rape or incest, or when the mother’s life was threatened.

Perry claims that his just-in-time-for-the-Iowa-caucuses “transformation” happened after watching a propaganda film produced by Southern Baptist preacher and Fox “News” host Mike Huckabee, who was the former governor of Arkansas and a former presidential candidate who won the Iowa caucuses in 2008.

From the CNN story:

“…I really started giving some thought about the issue of rape and incest. And some powerful, some powerful stories in that DVD.”

Perry said a woman who appeared in the movie who said she was a product of rape moved him to change his mind about abortion.

“She said, ‘My life has worth.’ It was a powerful moment for me,” Perry said.

I find it interesting that men like Rick Perry and Mike Huckabee and many leaders in the anti-choice movement, a movement that has been very effective in limiting the choices women can make, will never be victims of rape or incest, but feel comfortable forcing women to have children under such circumstances. More than interesting, I find it appalling.

But Rick Perry—who earlier this year signed a bill in Texas forcing women seeking abortions to undergo sonograms and forcing doctors to tell those women the size of their fetuses’ body parts—isn’t the only GOP candidate/extremist against abortion rights. Oddly, the man most people identify as a libertarian, Ron Paul, is staunchly anti-choice. He said in 2005:

I believe beyond a doubt that a fetus is a human life deserving of legal protection, and that the right to life is the foundation of any moral society.

“Beyond a doubt?” That man is expected to finish first or second in Iowa next week. He also said that,

Abortion on demand is the ultimate State tyranny; the State simply declares that certain classes of human beings are not persons, and therefore not entitled to the protection of the law…the new regime has enlisted the assistance of millions of people to act as its agents in carrying out a program of mass murder.

Again, that is a so-called libertarian running for the GOP nomination speaking.

Mitt Romney, whom the mainstream media treat as a “moderate” and whose evolving-devolving position on abortion is legendary, has essentially confessed—to none other than Mike Huckabee himself—that he is an extremist on the “life begins at conception” issue. The two former governors were discussing Romney’s now-controversial health care plan in Massachusetts, which Romney claimed the courts determined must provide the right to an abortion:

Mike Huckabee: “Was there any way that you could have blocked [Romney’s health care plan paying for abortion] administratively or through forcing the legislature to have created enabling legislation before it went into effect?”

Romney: “This was something which existed exactly even before our bill was passed. They said people who are receiving care in that was in any way subsidized by government had the right to get abortions as part of that care. And they said that was constitutionally required. So the only way to we could have changed that would be to carry out a constitutional amendment to block the Supreme Court’s decision.”

Mike Huckabee: “Would you have supported the constitutional amendment that would have established the definition of life at conception?”

Mitt Romney: “Absolutely.”

It is true that the Romney campaign disputes the claim that he is in favor of so-called “personhood amendments,” which would grant political rights to minutes-old fertilized eggs, but even in the context of Massachusetts politics, how can a man say he would be in favor of a constitutional amendment that would establish “life at conception,” if that didn’t also mean granting that “life” political rights, most notably the right to be born? If it doesn’t mean that, then just what does it mean?

And remember, Romney made his statement about the constitutional amendment establishing life at conception in the context of restricting “the right to get abortions.” Clearly, he is willing to support measures that would prohibit women from controlling their reproductive decisions.

When Romney vetoed a bill in Massachusetts in 2005 that would have expanded access to emergency contraception, known as the “morning after” pill, he explained his veto by saying this:

The bill does not involve only the prevention of conception: The drug it authorizes would also terminate life after conception…I have spoken with medical professionals to determine whether the drug contemplated under the bill would simply prevent conception or whether it would also terminate a living embryo after conception. Once it became clear that the latter was the case, my decision was straightforward.

Romney tried to hide his extremist position by saying that his decision was based on the “promise” he made to “the citizens of Massachusetts” that he would “not change our abortion laws either to restrict abortion or to facilitate it.” Similarly, he tries to hide his extremism by claiming that such things should be left in state hands. His spokeswoman, Gail Gitcho said,

Mitt Romney is pro-life, and as he has said previously, he is supportive of efforts to ensure recognition that life begins at conception. He believes these matters should be left up to states to decide.

That, in perfect Romney style, is trying to have it both ways. He wants to send the message to the anti-choice community that he is committed to their extremist views, while sending the message to the rest of America that he will not change, as a federal official, the status quo. He wants to send Rick Perry’s and Ron Paul’s message without actually sounding like Rick Perry and Ron Paul.

But who can believe a man who has been a true-believing bishop in the ultra-conservative Mormon church and who once was thrown out of the house of a man who lived in a Boston suburb for insisting that the man not allow his daughter to have an abortion. According to a  report, the man was “appalled at the arrogance of Romney.

Bigotry is a form of arrogance, of course. And whether it is the comparatively trivial impulse to stop women from breastfeeding in public or whether it is the profoundly important matter of trying to restrict a woman’s right to choose to become a mother, the bigotry that goes with the  “hardy vestiges of American Puritanism” is evident, particularly in the politics surrounding abortion in the Republican Party.

Even if the mainstream media largely ignore it.

Remarks And Asides

Rick Perry has a new ad out that exhumes the freshly-buried issue of gays in the military and says, “As president, I will end Obama’s war on religion.”  Obama, being a clever fellow, is conducting his war in the privacy of his prayer closet.

____________________________

Not only are blacks brainwashed to vote for Democrats, but according to Fox Bidness Channel, the Muppets are brainwashing our children against corporations and capitalism. Not true, not true. I happen to know that one important Muppet, Gonzo the Great, has been revamped to appear as a tribute to free-market lover Newt Gingrich. Can you guess who said this:

I shall now defuse this highly explosive bomb while simultaneously, and at the same time, reciting from the works of Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Yep, you guessed right. Oh, yeah. Gonzo has been in hot pursuit of Camilla the Chicken, whom he began courting while Speaker of the House.  Or something like that.

____________________________

Speaking of Newt Gingrich, Wonkette says Newt should be “a forgotten nightmare that not even a bad acid trip can rouse from the depths of half-memory.”  She was commenting on an old story that revealed Mr. Gingrich, who obviously cares about children or else he wouldn’t be a Muppet, used a children’s literacy charity he set up to pay an old friend more than 90% of the money raised one year.

That’s one way to teach the kids Republican values.

____________________________

Speaking of Republican values toilets, according to Politico, when Newt went to Missouri Western last year, he requested a couple of fancy thunder mugs to deposit his waste. I, for one, don’t find it all that unusual that a man so obviously full of Georgia mud might need two potties to park it.

____________________________

Until Congress passes a bill to extend the payroll tax cut, Senate Majority Honcho Harry Reid said:

We are not going to go home to vacations. Does this mean embarrassing Republicans, humiliating them? Probably—as it should.

Is he kidding? Embarrass Republicans? Has Mr. Reid been on vacation for the last three years?

____________________________

Romney and his team are now dropping negative nukes on Newt, calling him not a conservative but a Gingrichite.  The unforgivable sin, according to the Romneyites, is that Gingrich is, get this, not conservative enough because he does not, get this, support the Ryan plan that, get this, destroys the current Medicare system.  And that is coming from, get this, the “moderate” Mitt Romney.  What a party!

______________________________

Speaking of Mitt Romney, he and other Republicans have been attacking President Obama for his “appeasement” foreign policy. The President, not one to brag, responded this way:

Ask Osama bin Laden and the 22 out of 30 top al-Qaida leaders who have been taken off the field whether I engage in appeasement. Or whoever is left out there, ask them about that.

Governor Rick Perry, who thinks we are at war with Iran, heard about this controversy and allegedly responded: “Gahhhly, why doesn’t someone just ask bin Laden about it and settle the matter?

________________________________

Hillary Clinton has not only been annoying the Russians, she  told the world on International Human Rights Day that gay rights are also human rights and that the Administration is undertaking a “comprehensive human rights policy” to defend the rights of LGBT folks.  She said in Geneva:

Progress starts with honest discussion. Now, there are some who say and believe that all gay people are pedophiles, that homosexuality is a disease that can be caught or cured, or that gays recruit others to become gay.

Republicans have yet to respond to that vicious attack.

________________________________

Speaking of homophobic Republicans, Tony Perkins of the ultra-ungodly Family Research Council, is very upset over a repeal of an unconstitutional sodomy provision in the Uniform Code of Military Justice:

Now, in its rush to accommodate the left, Congress may have inadvertently opened the door to even more perversion. As part of the defense authorization bill, liberals are pushing to make sodomy a legal activity under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. In its haste to make gay sex an official part of military life, the left could be unintentionally repealing the ban on bestiality too.

Hillary has a lot of work to do.

________________________________

Another sterling example of Republican logic, also known as hypocrisy:  North Dakota’s attorney general is currently engaged in a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act, arguing that the Commerce Clause doesn’t allow the government to force folks to purchase insurance they don’t want.  A very principled stand, right? The same guy is also suing the state of Minnesota over lignite coal, arguing that the Commerce Clause permits the federal government to force Minnesota folks to purchase North Dakota’s lignite coal-fired energy, even if they don’t want to.

And that, my friends, is how the GOP philosophy works: They hate big government except when they don’t.

________________________________

Finally, in case you missed it, Dan Quayle has taken all the fun and suspense out of the GOP primary by endorsing Mitt Romney, which gives me an opportunity to pay tribute to the former vice president by presenting a few of his famous nuggets of wisdom that just never get old:

I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy—but that could change.

The future will be better tomorrow.

What a waste it is to lose one’s mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is.

By the way, has anyone ever seen Dan Quayle and Rick Perry together?

Obama: A Man Of Privilege, Says White Guy From Texas

Rick Perry is an even bigger bundle of malicious glop than I imagined. He told another Fox glop, Sean Hannity, the following about President Obama:

It reveals to me that he grew up in a privileged way. He never had to really work for anything. He never had to go through what Americans are going through. There’s 14-plus million Americans sitting out there, some of them watching this program tonight, that don’t have a job. This president has never felt that angst that they have in their heart…

And we need a president who has been through their ups and downs in life and understand what it’s like to have to deal with the issues of our economy that we have today in America. And that’s what this election is going to be about, Sean…

We have a white man from Texas, intimating to another white man on a white man’s television network that our black president was a man of privilege, a man who never had to work for what he achieved, a man who knows nothing of American angst, who, really, when it comes down to it is not one of “us.”

Now, that tells you everything you need to know about the state of today’s Republican Party and its public relations department, Fox “News.”

“The Dumb Spake”

And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered.”

—Luke 11:14

 

We now have two stunning episodes in which a Republican presidential candidate was unable to articulate what should have been for them the obvious: Rick Perry’s blanking out on the three agencies he would eliminate and Herman Cain’s stuttering search through his obviously spacious mental warehouse of world knowledge for a response to an easy question on Obama’s Libya policy.

Let’s face it: Rick Perry and Herman Cain have about the same chance of becoming president as a fried turkey leg has of surviving an encounter with Newt Gingrich, so it’s not what those two couldn’t say that scares me about this crop of GOP candidates.

It’s what actually escapes, with varying degrees of fluency, from the mouths of some of the rest of them:

In March, Newt Gingrich, who is now the Republican front-runner in some national polls and in all campaign-trail buffets, said this:

I have two grandchildren — Maggie is 11, Robert is 9. I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they’re my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American. 

Newt was 67 when he made that statement. You do the math as to how long we have before the “radical Islamists” dominate a “secular atheist” America, and then wonder why Newt didn’t bother to explain how the country could be secular and atheist if it were dominated by folks who adhere to a very radical and non-secular and non-atheist version of Islam.

Gingrich’s reputation for brilliance, as you can see, is well-deserved.

Then there’s Michele Bachmann, who said last Saturday:

I think, really, what I would want to do is be able to go back and take a look at Lyndon Baines Johnson’s Great Society … The Great Society has not worked and it’s put us into the modern welfare state.

If you look at China, they don’t have food stamps. If you look at China, they’re in a very different situation. They don’t have AFDC [Aid to Families with Dependent Children]. They save for their own retirement security. They don’t have the modern welfare state. And China’s growing. And so what I would do is look at the programs that LBJ gave us with the Great Society and they’d be gone.

I can’t remember the last candidate from one of the two major parties who used China as a model for American domestic policy, can you? Reagan? Bush?

And by the way, we don’t even have AFDC anymore, thanks to the 1996 welfare reform bill that changed it into a block grant program. So take that you wonderful Chinese! We’re catching up!

And here’s don’t-Google-me-please Rick Santorum, who said last month

I’ll repeal all funding for abortions…We’ll repeal Obamacare and get rid of any kind of idea that you have to have abortion coverage or contraceptive coverage. And one of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is that I think the dangers of contraception in this country—the whole sexual libertine idea. And many in the Christian faith say, “Well, that’s okay, you know, contraception’s okay.” It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be…

Let me see. Besides putting restrictions on our sex licenses, Santorum is opposed to contraception, abortion, and has bragged about killing the federal entitlement program, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, that Michele Bachmann thinks still exists.  It all makes sense to me.

Then there is the “sensible” and “adult” Jon Huntsman, who said during last Saturday’s debate, in response to a question from Tea Party kingpin Sen. Jim DeMint on “federal spending and debt”:

My speech was a very short one on debt and spending. It’s three words: The Ryan Plan. I think The Ryan Plan sets out a template that puts– everything on the table.

I’ve got three words for Mr. Huntsman: Find another job. The Ryan plan, besides morphing Medicare out of existence, did not put “everything on the table.” His plan was advertised as revenue neutral and all the deficit reduction pain would be felt by—guess who?

Finally, there’s the eventual Republican nominee, Mitt. This one is short and sweet and easy to remember:

Corporations are people, my friend.

“And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered.”

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