Morning Bunker Report: Wednesday 5.16.2012

WHAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY STANDS FOR TODAY—————————–—

George W. Bush finally endorses Romney at ornate elevator door-shutting ceremony — “I’m for Mitt Romney,” Bush told ABC News this morning as the doors of an elevator closed on him, after he gave a speech on human rights a block from his old home — the White House. [...] Romney already had the support of Bush’s brother and parents; he’s already hired Bush’s former team to lead his campaign; and he’s already adopted most of the same policy priorities of the failed former president. The Republican National Committee conceded recently that a Romney presidency would be the same as Bush’s presidency, “just updated.” — Steve Benen & Wonkette | Note: Read that first sentence again — George W. Bush gave a speech on ‘human rights‘!!?! 

THAT’S SO BAIN! The Tampa Bay Times reports on yet another example of Mitt Romney’s “heads I win, tails you lose” business model: Millions of dollars in tax subsidies given to Bain-owned Dade Behring for creating jobs in Puerto Rico … after which the company shut down its Puerto Rico operations. [...] Romney says he supports tax incentives at the state level, but note that this involved federal dollars—dollars that went to a Bain-owned company for creating jobs even though the company destroyed the jobs. Adding insult to injury: Romney’s firm “earned” $342 million on it’s $30 million Dade Behring investment, a profit of more than one thousand percent, even though it ended up firing 850 Floridians. — Jed Lewison

John Boehner and fellow Republicans want to play another game of “government shutdown” over the debt limit – Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wants Congress to raise the debt limit again later this year “without drama, pain and damage.” House Speaker John Boehner has other ideas. [...] “When the time comes, I will again insist on my simple principle of cuts and reforms greater than the debt limit increase. This is the only avenue I see right now to force the elected leadership of this country to solve our structural fiscal imbalance. If that means we have to do a series of stop-gap measures, so be it – but that’s not the ideal. Let’s start solving the problem. We can make the bold cuts and reforms necessary to meet this principle, and we must.”Brian Beutler | TPM

  • There will be no compromise: any tax increases to the wealthy or cuts to the DoD are completely off the table.
  • Why are Republicans flirting with Debt Limit Debacle 2.0? — Protecting The Bush Tax Cuts: This is a generational imperative for the GOP. The 2001 and 2003 Bush cuts are key to the decades-long conservative goal of redistributing wealth further up the income ladder and rolling back the federal government’s role in providing social services. All of the cuts are scheduled to expire at the end of the year, and if President Obama wins in November, he’ll have a lot of leverage to demand that the Republicans own up to the results and allow the cuts for high-income earners to expire.  — Brian Beutler | TPM
  • Under the current baseline agreed to in the Budget Control Act, the debt-ceiling deal wherein Boehner claims he received “98 percent of what he wanted,” every bracket of the Bush Tax Cuts will expire at the end of fiscal 2012. The only way any bracket, whether at the low-end or high-end, will be extended beyond fiscal 2012 is through an act of congress. If congress and the president simply do nothing, they will automatically expire. — Bob Cesca
  • Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY — “It is pretty galling for Speaker Boehner to be laying down demands for another debt-ceiling agreement when he won’t even abide by the last one. The last thing the country needs is a rerun of last summer’s debacle that nearly brought down our economy.”
  • Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-MD  — “The dollar for dollar limit, of course, led to the sequester, which none of us like. While it sounds good, the execution of that principle does not seem to be very disciplined. The Speaker, in my view, believes [in a broad, balanced approach] as well, [but] the Speaker’s party does not believe in balance. Mr. Boehner is responding to the same people who didn’t want the Export-Import Bank to pass. The Republicans are good at buying and lousy at paying. They borrowed a lot of money, as a result we owe a lot of money. They don’t believe that tax cuts need to be paid for so they give away revenues, they continue to spend money and inevitably deficits occur.”
  • The last GOP-led hostage crisis over the debt — It was, to my mind, the worst thing an American major party has done, at least in domestic politics, since the Civil War. It was a move without parallel. The entirety of a party threatened to deliberately hurt the country unless their rivals paid a hefty ransom — in this case, debt reduction. It didn’t matter that Republicans were largely responsible for the debt in the first place, and it didn’t matter that Republicans routinely raised the debt ceiling dozens of times over the last several decades. This wasn’t just another partisan dispute; it was a scandal for the ages. This one radical scheme helped lead to the first-ever downgrade of U.S. debt; it riled financial markets and generated widespread uncertainty about the stability of the American system; and it severely undermined American credibility on the global stage. Indeed, in many parts of the world, observers didn’t just lose respect for us, they were actually laughing at us. It’s the kind of thing that should have scarred the Republican Party for a generation. Not only did that never happen, the Republican hostage takers are already vowing to create this identical crisis all over again, on purpose.– Steve Benen

The Andrew Breitbart Fail-Train chugs along — Conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe released a new video today supposedly exposing voter fraud in North Carolina by highlighting non-citizens like Zbigniew Gorzkowski who have voted in recent elections. The problem: Gorzkowski is an American citizen. — Think Progress

Rove Group Drops $25 Million In A Single Month To Attack Obama — Crossroads GPS, a group backing Mitt Romney that is affiliated with Republican strategist Karl Rove, will spend $25 million this month on ads attacking President Obama on his spending record. The campaign will begin on Thursday with an $8 million ad buy that will run in 10 states. — Think Progress

PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS————————————————————

The Obama Administration on Tuesday threatened to veto the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 over provisions related to Guantanamo Bay and same sex marriage. The House Armed Services Committee approved the $642 billion defense budget last week by a 56-5 vote. The budget is $8 billion over the military spending caps imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011. The legislation would continue to prevent the Obama Administration from closing down Guantanamo Bay by prohibiting the transfer of detainees to the United States or a foreign country. “The Administration continues to strongly oppose these provisions, which intrude upon the Executive branch’s ability to carry out its military, national security, and foreign relations activities and to determine when and where to prosecute Guantanamo detainees,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement. — Raw Story 

Sen. John McCain wants campaign finance reform again, so guess where he goes for support:  McCain said Tuesday he could join Democrats once again to form a bipartisan coalition, even though it would annoy the Republican leadership. [...] The Disclose Act introduced by the Whitehouse in March would require any group that spends $10,000 or more on election ads or other political activity to file a disclosure report with the Federal Election Commission within 24 hours. Reports would detail the nature of expenditures over $1,000 and reveal the names of donors who give $10,000 or more. The legislation would also require that outside group advertisements include “stand-by-your-ad” disclaimers listing the biggest donors. Forty-three Democrats have co-sponsored the legislation, but no Republican has endorsed it. — TheHill.com

The DNC responds to complaints about Scott Walker Recall Election June 5 — Following a report that the Democratic Party of Wisconsin is “furious” with the Democratic National Committee for not pouring more money into the Scott Walker recall effort, DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz will visit Wisconsin this month to campaign with Walker’s challenger — but there’s still no indication that the Wisconsinites can expect more help than that. [...] “We are confident that they will be here for us,” said Wisconsin Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski when asked if the visit meant more monetary support from the DNC. — Buzzfeed

BREAKING NEWS: Despite the Republican Party, Congress passed a bill – The Senate approved legislation today that would reauthorize the Export-Import Bank after rejecting five Republicans amendments, including a proposal to shut down the bank. The bill was approved 78-20 — with all 20 “no” votes cast by Republicans — and now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature. The House passed the measure last week 330-93.  [...] “This bank is one of the most powerful tools that we have for manufacturing jobs in America,” Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said on the Senate floor. “In fiscal 2011 alone, the bank supported nearly 290,000 export-created jobs in America.” — Roll Call News

Only one party’s to blame? Don’t tell the Sunday shows — Last month, Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein published an Op ed and a book making the extremely controversial argument that both parties aren’t equally to blame for what ails Washington. They argued that the GOP — by allowing extremists to roam free and by wielding the filibuster to achieve government dysfunction as a political end in itself — were demonstrably more culpable for creating what is approaching a crisis of governance. It turns out neither man has been invited on to the Sunday shows even once to discuss this thesis. As Bob Somerby and Kevin Drum note, these are among the most quoted people in Washington — yet suddenly this latest topic is too hot for the talkers, or not deemed relevant at all. I ran this thesis by Ornstein himself, and he confirmed that the book’s publicity people had tried to get the authors booked on the Sunday shows, with no success. — Greg Sargent | See also:  Op-ed of the day — Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem

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