Morning Bunker Report: Wednesday 4.25.2012


SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD) says he and his senate colleagues may push a government shutdown to get out of the debt deal agreed upon last year with President Obama. — TPM

ROMNEY SWEEPS GOP PRIMARIES (i.e. collects on his investments) Mitt Romney laid claim to the fiercely contested Republican presidential nomination Tuesday night with a fistful of primary triumphs, then urged all who struggle in a shaky U.S. economy to “hold on a little longer, a better America begins tonight.” Eager to turn the political page to the general election, Romney accused President Barack Obama of “false promises and weak leadership.” He declared, “Everywhere I go, Americans are tired of being tired, and many of those who are fortunate enough to have a job are working harder for less.”  The former Massachusetts governor spoke as he swept primaries in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York, the first since Rick Santorum conceded the nomination. — HuffPo  

ROMNEY STILL WITHOUT RICK SANTORUM’S Holy Blessing and endorsement — “Logistically, there’s just no way,” top Santorum adviser John Brabender told POLITICO of an endorsement prior to Pennsylvania’s primary. “That won’t be happening … Look, the senator takes his endorsement very seriously. He feels there’s many things for he and Governor Romney to talk about. This isn’t just a five-minute meeting: How do you do, let’s endorse.” — POLITICO

JON HUNTSMAN HANDS OVER HIS TINY SPINE to the Republican Party establishment (disregard his comments of the past 48 hours) — Huntsman was asked on CNBC’s Squawk Box whether he was still 100 percent behind Mitt Romney’s presidential bid. “Absolutely, I am,” Huntsman replied. — Buzzfeed

SEN. SCOTT BROWN (R) seems to believe Elizabeth Warren’s personal finances are of the utmost importance in this year’s Senate race in Massachusetts. [...] Why should anyone outside Massachusetts care? Because it turns out, the Republican senator’s top political advisers are the same people advising Mitt Romney, who’s trying to keep his tax returns secretIn other words, the same campaign strategists telling Brown to push for more disclosure are also telling Romney to push for less disclosure. Eric Fehrnstrom, who advises both Romney and Brown, believes it’s wrong if Elizabeth Warren releases only two years of tax documents, but also believes it’s perfectly acceptable if Romney does the same thing. — Maddow Blog

GOP WAR ON WOMEN: FLORIDA GOV RICK SCOTT (R) celebrates Sexual Assault Awareness Month by cutting aid for Rape Crisis Centers

DARRELL ISSA (WHO BANNED A WOMAN FROM SPEAKING AT HIS ALL-MALE CONTRACEPTION PANEL) calls Obama Admin the ‘most corrupt government’ in history.  Speaking to Bloomberg on Tuesday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) said: “But again, we’re very busy in Washington with a corrupt government, with a government that I said a year ago, because of the money, because of the TARP and stimulus funds, was going to be the most corrupt government in history, and it is proving to be that.” In spite of Issa’s allegations, he only cited two specific scandals. According to journalist Haynes Johnson, the “most corrupt” label actually belongs to the administration of President Ronald Reagan. Plagued by dozens of scandals like selling weapons to Iran, rigging federal grants, the savings and loan crisis and other assorted political skullduggery, it all ended with 138 officials having been investigated, indicted or convicted — the most of any U.S. presidency, ever. — The Raw Story

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

SLOW JAM THE NEWS with Barack Obama: Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

OBAMA TELLS UNC CROWD he only paid off his student loans 8 years ago — His chief policy message was an appeal for Congress to pass legislation to stop interest rates on a popular student loan from doubling July 1 from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. “I didn’t just read about this. I didn’t just get some talking points about this. I didn’t just get a policy briefing on this,” the president said to laughter from the crowd. “We didn’t come from wealthy families. When we graduated from college and law school we had a mountain of debt. When we married, we got poor together. We added up our assets and there were no assets. And we added up our liabilities and there were lot of liabilities—basically in the form of student loans,” — ABCNews

FROM A NEW ROLLING STONE INTERVIEW WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA — Given all that, what do you think the general election is going to look like, and what do you think of Mitt Romney?  “I think the general election will be as sharp a contrast between the two parties as we’ve seen in a generation. You have a Republican Party, and a presumptive Republican nominee, that believes in drastically rolling back environmental regulations, that believes in drastically rolling back collective-bargaining rights, that believes in an approach to deficit reduction in which taxes are cut further for the wealthiest Americans, and spending cuts are entirely borne by things like education or basic research or care for the vulnerable. All this will be presumably written into their platform and reflected in their convention. I don’t think that their nominee is going to be able to suddenly say, “Everything I’ve said for the last six months, I didn’t mean.” I’m assuming that he meant it. When you’re running for president, people are paying attention to what you’re saying.” — Rolling Stone 

Palin politics: Jon Huntsman is mad at the media for quoting him

LIKE MANY REPUBLICANS before him, Jon Huntsman blames the ‘lamestream’ media for having the audacity to quote him. Yesterday, Jon Huntsman said:

[...] Huntsman, the former Utah governor and once President Barack Obama’s Ambassador to China, expressed disappointment that the Republican Party disinvited him from a Florida fundraiser in March after he publicly called for a third party.

“This is what they do in China on party matters if you talk off script,” he said.

[...] Asked by journalist Jeff Greenfield if he could win the nomination of the Republican Party in Utah today, Huntsman said he could not, saying later that Ronald Reagan would “likely not” be able to win the GOP nomination nationally in this political climate.

Read: Former Republican presidential candidate compares his party to Communist China.

And this morning Huntsman said:

Former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman on Monday blasted the media and insisted he was taken out of context he after compared the Republican Party to the Communist Party of China.

[...] Huntsman told MSNBC on Monday that his comments had been taken out of context because there was a lack of “responsibility in media.”

“You get these blogs out there, you know, Bottom-feeder, Buzzsaw, Buzzfeed, whatever they are, and they take a sentence out of context and it becomes a headline and pretty soon mainstream newspapers pick up on that,” he told MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough. “Give me a break.”

[...] Huntsman continued: “Shortly thereafter, I was disinvited from a Republican fundraising event, [at] which I was to be a guest speaker. And so as we were talking about that last night, I said you know, if you’re not on script and you get knocked out of an event like that — the parties are supposed to be big tent, you’re supposed to bring in all ideas. And I thought for a moment about what they do in China if you’re off script, the party. They knock you out. We shouldn’t be doing that here.”

Read: Huntsman blasts media, said he was taken out of context

Does that sound like he was taken out of context to you?

Maybe if Jon Huntsman had any kind of backbone, he’d stand up to those who are transforming his beloved GOP into something resembling communist China? Or (!) stand by what he said? It’s totally easier to say the media took him out of context though.

Monday: status update on the ‘not-Romneys’

 Ron Paul bills taxpayers $50,000 for first class flights — An Associated Press report published Monday found that since May 2009, Paul had billed taxpayers for 31 round-trip flights and 12 one-way flights, all first class. In all, taxpayers paid $52,000 for flights where cheaper tickets were available. AP found that Paul’s office could have saved $27,621 by selecting economy tickets instead.

Here’s a surprise! Mormon millionaire drops out of the GOP race and endorses the other Mormon millionaire — Jon M. Huntsman Jr. will announce Monday that he is ending his bid for the Republican presidential nomination and endorsing Mitt Romney, narrowing the field and erasing a challenge to Mr. Romney from the moderate wing of his party.

Colbert says he might run as ‘fourth or fifth party’ candidate for president —  On ABC’s “This Week,” George Stephanopoulos asked Colbert, who is considering a mock run for president, whether he might launch a third party bid if he is unable to compete in the South Carolina primary. “I might go as a fourth or fifth party candidate,” Colbert said, noting that Donald Trump and Texas Rep. Ron Paul could run as third party candidates.

Rick Santorum: “Ron Paul is disgusting” — Santorum and Paul have long been at each other’s throats, fighting vigorously over foreign policy and Iran since June’s GOP debate. While attacking Paul may have helped Santorum get more time at the debates when he was in the second tier, once he emerged as a first-tier candidate he stayed engaged in the back-and-forth with Paul, complaining about robo-calls Paul backers were making in Iowa hitting him on gun rights.

Gingrich: Reports social conservatives evangelicals on the Christian right rallying behind Santorum ‘exaggerated’ – GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich dismissed suggestions that social conservatives would rally behind Rick Santorum one day after a group of 150 conservative activists voted to support the former Pennsylvania senator.

 Perry says South Carolina isn’t his campaign’s Alamo — Perry said in TV interviews Sunday that he will campaign vigorously for social conservatives’ support in South Carolina. He also compared himself to Ronald Reagan, who won the South Carolina primary in 1980 and went on to secure the Republican nomination and the presidency.

Status update on the ‘not-Romneys’

Gingrich Suggests Illegally Firing Federal Employees Over Liberal Views — Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich suggested at a Fox News forum hosted by Mike Huckabee in South Carolina on Saturday that it would be a good idea to fire federal employees for being too liberal. Federal law, on the other hand, says Gingrich’s plan would be illegal.

Ron Paul’s useful idiots on the left — Megan Carpentier: Progressives who make common cause with Paul on US foreign policy ignore his stunningly reactionary views on everything else…

Four GOP candidates fail to make Virginia primary ballot, judge rules –  Seeking a spot on Virginia’s March 6 primary ballot… left off the ballot will be Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former U.S Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.

 Santorum scores, Romney takes a hit from the Christian right –  Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney hit a roadblock Sunday in South Carolina as Christian conservative leaders coalesced behind Rick Santorum… A group of 155 Christian evangelical leaders from around the country endorsed Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, Saturday after holding a vote on a Texas ranch to agree on a single candidate before the January 21 South Carolina primary.

Perry: ‘Over the top’ to give urinating marines ‘criminal’ charges — “What’s really disturbing to me is this kind of over the top rhetoric from this administration and their distain for the military it appears,” he said. “These kids made a mistake. There’s no doubt about it. Shouldn’t have done it. It’s bad. But to call it a criminal act is over the top.”

Ron Paul hates invasive government but supports state-mandated sonograms — When GOP presidential hopeful Ron Paul was asked today about Tuesday’s federal court ruling upholding an aggressive new sonogram law in his home state of Texas, the congressman said the requirement that women seeking an abortion first get a sonogram “should always have been a Texas state position.’’

And from the newest, most exciting candidate so far:

Stephen Colbert Takes Sunday Morning By Storm And Skewers Citizens United — Stephen Colbert used his appearance on ABC’s This Week to satirize Citizens United and point out the absurdity of corporations being people.

Answers to the final question of last night’s New Hampshire debate


To the final question at Saturday night’s New Hampshire debate, “What would you rather be doing tonight?”  Rick Perry surprised no one, Newt Gingrich got confused, Ron Paul was adorable and Jon Huntsman made everyone feel bad about their answer.

See video…

It’s really not necessary to ever watch these debates. Everything you need to know about them will be put up in a proper “LOL” format the next day.

Update: note that not one said he’d rather be in the Oval Office / DC fixing the country.

Checking in on Jon Huntsman…

Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman pauses as he speaks to local business owners during a business lunch on January 5, 2012 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Huntsman, who skipped the Iowa caucuses on Tuesday, continued to campaign for the upcoming, first in the nation primary election in New Hampshire. By Alex Wong/Getty Images. (via: andrewsullivan)

How are Huntsman’s supporters holding up?

*sad Charlie Brown music*

SNL skewers the GOP presidential candidates

“We’d like to begin by apologizing for responses by the audience in the previous three debates who booed a soldier; cheered executions; and applauded the death of an uninsured man. It was inappropriate. We’d also like to apologize for the late start tonight — there was a six-car pileup that burst into flames! (Audience applauds)” — BILL HADER, as Fox “News” anchor and GOP debate moderator Shepard Smith, on Saturday Night Live (via: inothernews)

via: sarahlee310

LOL Kristin Wiig’s Michele Bachmann.

We are so screwed: the 2012 Teaparty Republican base and escalating wingnuttery

image: andrewgraham

We Are So Screwed, Tea Party Debate Edition

Applause lines:

  • The uninsured should be left to die.
  • Said uninsured parents should have daughters who die unnecessarily of cervical cancer.
  • A Fed Chairman who tries to fulfill his mandate by reducing unemployment is guilty of treason.

Boo lines:

  • Muslims are not collectively responsible for 9/11.
  • The children of illegal immigrants should not be denied the chance to go to college.
  • We should not pass an extraordinarily regressive tax cut.

Jon Huntsman may have sounded like the most reasonable, non-crazy candidate last night…

BUT LET’S NOT FORGET his economic plan:

Huntsman released an economic plan that is as bad for the middle-class — and as nutty — as any proposed by his rivals. It would pay for a half-million-dollar tax break for the richest 0.1 percent of Americans with tax increases on the middle-class and new taxes on seniors, veterans, and poor families. [...] on the whole, middle-class families would be forced to pay $1,890 in higher taxes under the no-tax expenditure plan compared to what they pay now. The richest one percent, meanwhile, would get an average tax cut of more than $7,000, because they benefit the most from the lower rates. Read on.

So, yes, Huntsman believes in science and bringing the troops home (meaning he’s unelectable to the teaparty), but he also believes in killing the middle class and making the richest richer.

Observations / Roundup on last night’s Republican debate

On Maddow last night, I heard them say that the words ‘middle class’ were spoken exactly twice during the debate, by Romney — a man who considers a $200,000 salary a middle income.

Perry wore a Boy Scout pin on his lapel. Yep.

Bachmann won for biggest flag pin AND most hairspray used — ever. Conclusion: most patriotic candidate whose hair will not be moved by weather extremes.

Perry called Social Security a Ponzi scheme again. Let’s take a look:

social security ponzi scheme venn diagram

“Well, I do agree that there is — the science is — is not settled on this. The idea that we would put Americans’ economy at — at — at jeopardy based on scientific theory that’s not settled yet, to me, is just — is nonsense. I mean, it — I mean — and I tell somebody, I said, just because you have a group of scientists that have stood up and said here is the fact, Galileo got outvoted for a spell.” — Rick Perry, on the credibility of the scientists questioning human activity’s impact on climate change

ilyagerner: So the plan for victory as it stands is to show Ben Bernanke a copy of tonight’s debate, in which every GOP candidate vowed not to reappoint him (Yglesias wisely notes that it’s “Sad nobody asked Rick Perry if his enthusiasm for executions still extends to Ben Bernanke”), watch Bernanke use every policy lever he has to boost inflation and growth, and live long and prosper. I see the the objections of those who think the Fed doesn’t have any more options for improving macro performance, but is this really any less credible a plan for Democratic success than anything President Obama will propose tomorrow?

“Here’s why I find it impossible to be a Republican: any crowd that instantly cheers the execution of 234 individuals is a crowd I want to flee, not join.” Andrew Sullivan on the debate crowd’s positive response to the large number of executions that Perry resided over while governor of Texas. (via liberal-life)

“…the quicker you die, the sooner you join Jesus.” — thenoobyorker

@charyl: The audience wildly applauds Perry’s death penalty talk. Did not applaud Huntsman’s bring the troops home talk. #KillingIsGood

cognitivedissonance: Summing up the GOP talking points in picture form…

“Mitt Romney looked like he had already won the Republican nomination. Rick Perry looked like he will win the Republican nomination. Michele Bachmann looked like she was beginning to realize she definitely wouldn’t win the Republican nomination.” — Ezra Klein

Think Progress: Get the federal government out of health care. End the minimum wage. Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. Obama is a liar. Watch a ThinkProgress video compilation of the craziest moments from tonight’s debate:

Note: if one of these people wins the presidency in 2012, let’s hope that Ron Paul does get drugs legalized.

Jon Huntsman: Let them eat cake in their future Thunderdomes!

No joke. The base voters of the GOP, Republican, teabagger persuasion are beyond help. What Jon Huntsman is proposing is a completely naked, raw form of bottom-to-top income redistribution without apology or subterfuge. I’m betting his non-wealthy voter base will be completely fine with this plan. I give up:

2012 GOP presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman is releasing an economic plan today that is as bad for the middle-class — and as nutty — as any proposed by his rivals. It would pay for a half-million-dollar tax break for the richest 0.1 percent of Americans with tax increases on the middle-class and new taxes on seniors, veterans, and poor families.

In an apparent attempt to eclipse all previous Republican giveaways, including the disastrous Bush tax cuts, Huntsman would drop the marginal rate paid by the richest Americans by more than a third to 23 percent — a lower rate than rich people paid during the Coolidge and Hoover Administrations or any time since. He would also eliminate all taxes on all capital gains and dividend income — the primary forms of income for the wealthiest Americans.

[...] According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, on the whole, middle-class families would be forced to pay $1,890 in higher taxes under the no-tax expenditure plan compared to what they pay now. The richest one percent, meanwhile, would get an average tax cut of more than $7,000, because they benefit the most from the lower rates. (The Tax Policy Center estimates are based on an even less extreme version of the Fiscal Commission’s zero tax expenditure scenario, one that retains the child credit and EITC and doesn’t tax imputed rent. And under that scenario, the capital gains and dividends received mostly by wealthy investors are taxed at the same rates as wages, whereas Huntsman would make them tax-free.)

For the super-rich, the biggest bonanza comes from Huntsman’s pledge to eliminate all capital gains and dividend taxes — which would give the richest 1 percent an average tax cut of $75,000 and the richest 0.1 percent an average tax cut of $486,000.

Of course the rich and super rich work so much harder than the rest of us… Jesus Christ. Tar and feathers, anyone?