People who don’t believe in government don’t run it well: Pres. Obama vs. Mitt Romney

When you think about it, it really is that simple. And the hurricane clarified it.

REP. TOM ALLEN: A Closing Argument for Obama

For most congressional Republicans today and their active supporters, government routinely infringes upon personal liberty, undermines self-reliance and is generally inefficient and incompetent. Since government is the problem, taxes should be cut, regulations reduced and—somehow—all be well in time. How that will happen is a matter of faith, not evidence. Republicans would roll back health care coverage for more than 30 million Americans who will finally obtain it through “Obamacare.” They deny the overwhelming scientific consensus about the threat of climate change. The economic plan consists of vague “free market” generalities.

People who don’t believe in government don’t run it well. That’s one lesson from the George W. Bush administration. That’s why, given the enormous challenges of making the federal government work well, it should be left in the hands of those who are willing to try.

MATT TAIBBI: Hurricane Sandy and the Myth of the Big Government-vs.-Small-Government Debate

…But everyone lives off the government teat to some degree – even (one might even say especially) the very rich who have been the core supporters of both the Bush presidency and Romney’s campaign. Many are industrial leaders who would revolt tomorrow if their giant free R&D program known as the federal military budget were to be scaled back even a few percentage points. Mitt’s buddies on Wall Street would cry without their bailouts and dozens of lucrative little-known subsidies (like the preposterous ability of certain banks to act as middlemen in transactions when the government lends money to itself).

And if it’s not outright bailouts or guarantees keeping the rich rich, it’s selective regulation and carefully-carved-out protections from competition – like the bans on drug re-importation or pharmaceutical price negotiation for Medicare that are keeping the drug companies far richer than they would be, in the pure free-market paradise their CEOs probably espouse at dinner parties.

The evolution of this whole antigovernment movement has been fascinating to watch. People who grew up in public schools, run straight to the embassy the instant they get a runny nose overseas, stuff burgers down their throats without worrying about E. Coli and sleep happily in planes they know have been inspected by the FAA… can with straight faces make the argument that having to pay any taxes at all is tyranny. It’s almost as if people feel the need to announce that they don’t need any help with anything, ever – not even keeping bridges safe or drinking water clean.

It’s this weird national paranoia about being seen as needy, or labeled a parasite who needs government aid, that leads to lunacies like the idea that having a strong disaster-relief agency qualifies as a “big government” concept, when in fact it’s just sensible. If everyone could just admit that government is a fact of life, we could probably do a much better job of fixing it and managing its costs. Instead, we have to play this silly game where millions of us pretend we’re above it all, that we don’t walk on regularly-cleaned streets or fly in protected skies. It shouldn’t take a once-in-a-generation hurricane for Americans to admit they need the government occasionally, but that’s apparently where we are.

TIM DICKINSON: Helpless in a Hurricane: Mitt Romney’s Five Dumbest Budget Cuts

As Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast this week, the so-called “Frankenstorm” exposed the dark underbelly of Mitt Romney’s plans to delegate core federal responsibilities to the states and to blindly impose a 5 percent, across-the-board budget cut to all discretionary programs “excluding military.” The true impact of a Romney presidency would be a federal government ill-equipped to coordinate a response to a regional natural disaster like this one, and agencies hobbled in their ability to provide storm forecasting, emergency housing – even Superfund cleanup in the toxic aftermath of a storm.

Here are the five most damaging cuts that a President Romney would seek “on Day One” from the agencies that are essential for federal storm response:

  1. FEMA: Cut $500 million
  2. NOAA: Cut $255 million
  3. SuperFund: Cut $60 million
  4. Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Cut $50 million — There were 16 nuclear power plants in the path of Hurricane Sandy. Enough said.
  5. HUD: Cut $2.05 billion

Read details at the link…

Republicans are the E. coli club

“…If you could depend on the government for one thing it was that you had to be able to trust the water that our kids drank and the food that they ate. But this is the E. coli club. They do not want to spend money to do that.”Nancy Pelosi, addressing the Republicans’ small government ideology.

Truth for tea baggers

Source: phroyd

If a state gives a zygote personhood, then this should also be a law:

Source: leftish

Mapping Santorum’s brain:

Source: phroyd

The full week of Doonesbury myFACTS starts here.

source: socalwayfarer

Bill Maher: Tea partiers are morons, Americans love socialism

The Four Horsemen:

Hey, Teaparty Republicans, your paradise awaits (if May 21 doesn’t work out):


The Tea Party’s “smaller goverment” ideology put to the test in Camden, NJ

Crime-ridden Camden, N.J., cuts police force nearly in half

The mayor of crime-ridden Camden, New Jersey, has announced layoffs of nearly half of the city’s police force and close to a third of its fire department.

[…] The apparent impasse has left administrators of a city with the second-highest crime rate in the nation scrambling to figure out solutions to keep residents safe. Camden is second only to St. Louis, Missouri, in annual rankings of cities based on compilations of FBI crime statistics.

You have to wonder if the teabaggers in Camden NJ are enjoying their new smaller government though.


Reaganomics & small government: Clinton vs. Obama

Bob Cesca: John Cole adds a reality check to the recent ascension of Bill Clinton as political hero:

It is also worth noting that many of the reasons Obama has had difficulty is because he is trying to undo where Clinton failed, whether it be DADT, DOMA, health care, or putting back the economy that was trashed in some part because of Clinton era deregulation.

Clinton was the Democratic leader who most embodied the coerced continuation of Reaganomics. Progressives would be happier with President Obama if this was properly remembered, alongside the fact that the current president has, on numerous occasions, declared an end to Reaganomics and smaller government. We tend to forget.

And NAFTA! Let’s not forget how the free trade agreement (“that giant sucking sound,” as Perot once said] has worked out so extremely well for the American worker / middle-class. Obama campaigned on the promise to renegotiate NAFTA. It’s no wonder the GOP is feeling a bit nostalgic for Bill Clinton.

Drill Baby Drill (with as little regulation as possible)

Balloon Juice:

The Wall Street Journal reports that regulators in other countries require an additional remote shutoff device for deep water wells, while the US opted for “further study” in 2003. Nobody knows if that remote control would have worked in this case, but it’s no surprise that the decision not to use these devices was justified “because they tend to be very costly.”

Is it reassuring to know that BP saved itself some money, drilling offshore here in the U.S.? Or that BP will have to pay no more than $75 billion for the Deepwater Horizon spill, while a federal government ‘rainy day’ fund will probably spend $1 billion of its $1.6 billion reserves for the cleanup?


Satellite images analysed by the University of Miami suggest the slick has ballooned to an area the size of Puerto Rico.

The entire Eastern Seaboard is now threatened:


Obama’s Katrina? Not quite.

David Neiwert (Crooks & Liars):

Of course, the right-wingers are trying to find some way to blame President Obama for this mess.

And while it’s true that Obama’s announcement last month favoring some new offshore projects is now looking woefully misbegotten, let’s not forget where this disaster came from: the world of Halliburton and Dick Cheney and his secret energy talks.

Indeed, this oil spill is a clear product of Republican “small government” philosophy: the belief that you could and should “free the market” to drill anywhere at any time, and with as little regulatory oversight, including both environmental and safety standards. That’s how BP talked the government into letting it drill at such great depths with as little surety that a blowout would not occur as it did, nor with any reckoning of the potential consequences of a blowout.

Consequences that are just about to hit our shores. Quite literally.

Not only is the Republican philosophy of small government, less regulation directly responsible for too little oversight on these types of operations (and their potential for catastrophic damage), but it’s not clear what exactly the rightwing critics would have the Obama Administration doing differently (or more of) at this point.

Steve Benen:

…White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs published a lengthy item to the White House blog, detailing the federal response, which began immediately after the BP Oil Spill began on April 20

The word “immediately” is used quite a bit to accurately describe the speed with which officials reacted to developments, including the responses from the Defense Department, DHS, Interior, EPA, and NOAA. It appears to be as aggressive a governmental response as can be imagined under the circumstances.

And yet, while no one seems able to point to anything specific that the administration should do, or should have done, that hasn’t happened, coverage continues to suggest that the federal response is somehow incomplete. Just because.

President Obama will be in the area today, and has already halted new offshore oil drilling leases. Talk-show host Bill Maher insisted the other day that the president should be “getting more s**t” over the BP disaster, but he, like conservatives who’ve been saying the same thing, was a little vague on why.

The response was immediate — that same day — and has been ongoing. The fact of the matter is that Bush will always be remembered for Katrina and, whether they like it or not, the GOP walks in his shadow. It’s a safe bet that the Right will hereafter label anything even remotely similar to Katrina as “[Enter generic Democrat's name]‘s Katrina.” It’s an attempt at one of two things: absolution or tit for tat.

update: related

• Deepwater Horizon oil spill: Is this Halliburton’s Katrina?
Thank Dick Cheney and His Meetings With Oil Industry Execs for Lack of Safeguards on Oil Rigs