Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Grumpy's political tour guide for Ohio primary

As the less-than Fab Four descends on Ohio's battleground, Grumpy is pleased to offer, free of charge, a unique candidate by candidate guide to their campaigns leading to next Tuesday's primary. Clip and save:

McMitt Romney: In visit to University of Akron campus, he assures UA President Luis Proenza that he loves polymers and has collected them since he was three years old. "My father was a rubberworker and always filled my Christmas stockings with them when I was growing up in Barberton".... As his campaign bus rumbles over Akron's All America Bridge, Romney tells reporters that he loves bridges. "They are the right height. Ann has four in our backyard, actually"...Visiting Goodyear headquarters, he lauds executives for their company's first annual profit in three years, but laments that "Obama made it worse". Before leaving he assures them that he loves tires. "They mean that our dog caged on the roof of my car doesn't bounce around when we go on vacation trips"...In Cleveland, wearing a "We love Art (Modell) tee-shirt" Romney praises LeBaron (sic) James, saying he doesn't know a lot about professional basketball, but does have several great friends who own teams. "Ann owns a couple of teams, actually"...

McRick Santorum: Skirting the University of Akron campus, he alerts the city's voters that the school's left-wing administration and committed socialist faculty are nothing more than propaganda mills and blames the atheistic President Obama for the Zips' football team's miserable record and the rampant use of contraceptives in classrooms... He repeats his earlier concerns that he was against hiring Jim Tressel by lifting him up with other people's money...At a rally in the Portage Country Club's parking lot, he thanks County Republican chairman Alex Arshinkoff for having the vision to invite him to the Lincoln Day Dinner and says he will keep Akron in mind when he chooses his cabinet...In Cleveland, Santorum exudes confidence that Bishop Lennon is doing the right thing by closing parish churches even though it is causing some Catholics to throw up.

McNewt Gingrich: Insisting that he is new Newt, who is full of cheer, Gingrich tells Goodyear's front office that he will land a blimp on a moon base in his second term...He says he is cheerful because he is campaigning in a state where the governor boasts of having a a "hot" wife...At Cleveland City Club, Gingrich brags that when he shut down the federal government, as House Speaker, he saved taxpayers $983 billion. He also promises that one minute after he is sworn in as president, he will issue an executive order banning lake effect blizzards from Cleveland to Buffalo. He also promises that the Browns will reach the playoffs late in his second term...He urges the Cleveland Board of Education to eliminate school janitors and replace them with 8-year-old dropouts to give the kids the kind of work experience they will need when they graduate from medical school someday...

McRon Paul: Showing up at the Unitarian Church, he calls Santorum a "fake"...Later at a campus rally, he calls Santorum a "fake"...And later at a rally in the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area, he bashes the Federal government for spending taxpayer money on the park, saying there's no reason why the trees and wildlife can't get along nicely on their own... Before leaving Ohio, he holds a final news conference in which calls Santorum a "fake."

Alas, there are still six days before the primary.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Masich to be named elections board director

AS REPORTED BY Grumpy Abe on Feb. 11, the new director of the Summit County Board of Elections will be Joe Masich, the long-time inner-circle loyalist of Chairman Alex Arshinkoff's county Republican Party. Masich is the administrator of the Summit County Probate Court and will move into his new $105,000 job March 5, the day before the Ohio primary.

A source confirmed that Arshinkoff has informed Tim Gorbach, a Democratic member of the board, that Masich will be appointed when the board reorganizes next week. Masich replaces Ron Koelher, who was told by Arshinkoff and Republican board member Ray Weber, brothers in the bond, that they wouldn't rehire him.

P.S. Probate Judge Todd McKenney a recent Republican addition to that court, soon declared that he would not seek full-term election, apparently quickly at odds with the chairman. McKenney, who has refused to discuss the issue, reportedly wanted to name his own administrator. The flock strife in Planet GOP never seems to end.

Monroe Beachy: Amish insist on going it alone

AS HOT WIRES LIKE "Religious liberty" and "conscience" flare between religious conservatives and President Obama, there is a another religious issue being played out in the Amish village of Sugarcreek south of Akron. It swirls around the arrest and indictment of one of Sugarcreek's leading Amish citizens, Monroe L. Beachy, a man in his 70s, who has been accused of running a Ponzi scheme that has stripped its investors' savings of $16 million. The victims included charities, congregations and some of his own relatives.

In a lengthy story in Sunday's New York Times, the case details the clash between prosecutors who are sworn to uphold the law, and the Plain Community of Amish who insist their members' faith is being trampled by the insensitive state. They argue that they can privately handle the case in their own way without secular society butting in. It is a classic tale of church and state, which has so dominated the GOP narrative these days.

At stake, the Amish witnesses maintained in bankruptcy court, was nothing less than religious liberty, no matter whether Beachy was guilty or innocent.The Times noted that "many of Mr. Beachy's investors have said in court that it is more important to forgive him than to recover their money." Creditors said the court's way of dealing with the alleged scheme's "downfall could not be squared with their faith or with his."

They further asserted that by leaving the Plain Community to its own protective framework of religious imperatives in the Beachy case, they would achieve "worthy goals that would be less expensive and be based on Christian principles of love and care for the needy and the poor". It also would sustain "religious forgiveness and repair the tarnished testimony and integrity of the Plain Community."

They failed to discourage the prosecution. The Beachy trial is scheduled for later this month.

Meantime, how coincidental this is in matters of faith! I'm sure you can see a certain connection with the argument by the Catholic church and other religious conservatives that faith and conscience trump all else in the lively debate over contraception and other forms of birth control (slide rules excluded, for whatever convenient reason of conscience!).

It will be interesting to see whether Rick Santorum, who is recklessly opting for sainthood if not the presidency in his travels around Ohio for the Republican primary, will take a moment to stop by Sugarcreek to describe his version of America's dictatorship.

Unfortunately, it may take a while for the Alka-Seltzer to settle his nausea over President Kennedy's speech on church and state more than a half-century ago. In mauling JFK's words to serve his own out-of-control jeremiads, it can easily be documented that not even sainthood awaits him. He is, and probably will continue to be, America's most passionate liar.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Thanks for sharing your insomnia, Mike

I SEEM TO BE BUMPING into Ohio Atty. Gen. Mike DeWine's bonding with McRick Santorum no matter where I turn. Here's his pitch that appeared on USA Today's editorial page today, and you have to wonder...
"To be elected president, you have to do more than tear down your opponents. You have to give the American reason to vote for you - a reason to hope - a reason to believe that under your leadership, America will be better. Rick Santorum has done that. Sadly, Governor Romney has not. For some time now, it has been clear to me that Rick Santorum should be the Republican nominee for president. To be frank, I've had some sleepless nights. I could not, in good conscience, be on record endorsing Governor Romney when I knew in my heart that Rick Santorum was the better candidate."
You really ought to be getting more sleep, Mike. People are beginning to talk.

McRick steps on Arshinkoff's lobbying income

YOU DON'T HAVE to look far in political warfare for contradictions, irony and incoherence. The latest row over McRick Santorum's hostile view of colleges as leftwing propaganda mills is the most vibrant case in point. As the speaker of choice at the Summit County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner, he won extraordinary approval among the locals, in a straw vote. He has since called President Obama an elitist and a snob for promoting a college education for everyone. Two problems: (1) Santorum was a college booster in his 2006 senatorial campaign for reelection (2) His host at the Lincoln Day dinner was Party Chairman Alex Arshinkoff, a lobbyist for the University of Akron who has never been known to be soft on lefties. Not even close.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Careful: Santorum is traveling with a barf-bag

TO ALL OF MY loyal readers over the past four years I would like to offer you a peek at my yet to be written book called the Unmaking of a Wannabe President - Times Four. Subtitled, The Bridge to Nowhere that I Couldn't Make Up .

On page 73, George Stephanopoulos is interviewing Rick Santorum on ABC's Sunday morning TV show in which Santorum quotes a line from John F. Kennedy's speech to a group of Baptist ministers in Houston. Clearly pissed, Santorum repeats a line in the speech that went, "I believe in America where the separation of church and state is absolute." So far, George, an old pro, is with it. The network TV guys are nowhere near as tightly wound as, say, Rush Limbaugh.

Let's move on. Now, Santorum is explaining his response to an increasingly astonished Stephanopoulos, and you can understand why. The Heaven-but-not-earth candidate blurts that he wanted to throw up! Throw up? George is on the verge of freaking out. He questions Santorum on my next page. It was the first time in a million interviews that any presidential candidate had ever told the host that another politician, deceased or otherwise, used words that would make the interviewee throw up. (To be sure, some used good sense to restrain themselves when their guest was Donald Trump. But I will deal with The Donald in a later chapter.

By now, you can guess how manic Santorum was in the interview, hyperventilating, "to say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes you throw up. What kind of country do we live that says only people of non-faith can come into the public square and make their case?" I would pause here, readers, to suggest that Brother Santorum has been making his case in the public square for many months.

That was too graphic to exclude from my book. But now I must wonder whether Mitt Romney's exactly opposite happy-face remarks in expressing his love for Michigan will lose literary traction when he cheerfully declares that the state has the right height of trees and the streets are "just right". And that his wife has a couple of Cadillacs.

Santorum and Romney are colliding in Ohio, too, and I will be reserving a chapter for McMitt to tell us about how much he loves the buzzards of Hinckley. Or the Santorums of Hinckley? As for McRick, he is rumored to have chosen the top of the Humbard tower that still rises in Cuyahoga Falls to claim undisputed ascendance over his rivals. Such things are books made of.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Too big a field for Romney to graze

WE SHOULDN'T BE too critical of McMitt Romney for speaking to a near-empty stadium after the Detroit Economic Club accepted the blame for the embarrassing setting. The club said it had sold ,1,200 tickets for the original site, the Ford Field atrium, which only holds 700. So McMitt ended up on the field of the 65,00o-seat stadium, the home of the Detroit Lions. Still, the lunar astronauts must have felt less isolated, particularly when there were so many empty folding chairs at his rigged podium on the field.

Not to leave poor campaign optics alone, Romney went on to tell the Motor City clubbies that he loved cars and that his wife Ann owned "two Cadillacs, actually."

I'd bet $10,000 that the regular guy's aides would have liked to have that one back.

PS: He also added another reason besides the trees' height and cars why he loved Michigan: "The streets are just right". That's telling Barack!

Friday, February 24, 2012

The never-too-late DeWine conversion to Santorum.

AS OHIO ATTY. GEN. Mike DeWine tags along with Rick Santorum as his choice for the GOP nominee, shouldn't somebody remind him that McRick has some terrible off-the-wall ideas about what ails America? OK, Mike. I will.

For example, how do you think it will play on Ohio's higher education campuses that McRick passionately declared just yesterday that they exist solely to indoctrinate students with leftist propaganda? (Are the University of Akron and Kent State University listening?) As for public schools, your guy is just as nasty, arguing that they are a total failure in teaching our kids the sort of wholesome things they learn in home schooling.

I won't even go into his apocalyptic slandering of President Obama and his other hysterical trashing of anything that he believes is the work of Satan. Nothing less than you might expect from a fellow whose candidacy is described by his wife as God's Will. That's the inspiring term that drove Christians on 8 or 9 crusades and they ended up with the Muslims still in control of Jerusalem.

So Mike. while you were wasting so much of your office's time joining a group of six other AG's for a legal challenge to President Obama's compromise on birth control insurance, Santorum has risen to the top of the national charts not only against McMitt Romney but also as an object of gasping ridicule. Forgive me for debating whether you changed candidates at an opportune moment when the polls showed Santorum winning Ohio's primary. Or whether as a public official your well-known Catholic loyalty has led you to ignore those of other faiths.

So what's you game plan, Mike, now that you flip-flopped on Romney and became a Rickista?
A hopeless yearning to become attorney general in a Republican administration? You are chirping for a political dead-ender and I would think that a guy who has been at or near the political trough for so many years would know that by now. Maybe you should return my tax money that you have spent tilting windmills on the national scene while staying on the good side of a radical theocrat instead of tending to the business of ALL Ohioans. I'll be checking my mail.

Meantime, I would assume that all of the huzzahs by the front office of the Summit County Republicans who hosted Santorum last week would be a source of embarrassment to the local cheerleaders. A copy of the invitations for the Lincoln Day dinner, handed to me by a friend on the party's mailing list, lured the faithful with the usual hype of a newly celebrated Republican.

It described its guest speaker as having an "unmatched conservative [that] has built Rick Santorum's winning reputation as a fighter for an unapologetic America - a nation true to its founding values, with smaller government, less wasteful spending and a strong national defense." Even as political hyperbole, this one is a bit too much., don't you think?

Winning reputation? The last time Santorum was on the ballot in Pennsylvania as an incumbent senator, he lost by 18 points. It took a while, but the Keystoner voters caught on to him. Shouldn't Ohio's Republicans be forewarned?

Better hurry. The Ohio primary is arriving soon. Until then, we might want to call this nonsense a scandal of Biblical proportions.

With this congressman, problem solved

I WOULD ASSUME a little of the edge has been taken off Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder's threatening remark that President Obama should go to jail for 25 years to life. By unofficial protocol he later was halfway apologetic. But the Speaker's comment is a little less threatening than Oklahoma Republican congressman John Sullivan's suggestion this week that the only way to break the deadlock on the federal budget is to grab a gun and shoot a couple of senators.

When the word got out from the town hall meeting that he was talking to, a lot of ca-ca hit the national fan. Through an aide, Sullivan, an oil-state conservative, apologized for what the aide described as a "poor choice of words" that were "off-the cuff". To a town hall meeting of constituents?

But there may be an explanation for his misbehavior drawn from his own on-line bio. It notes that "Oklahoma ranks as one of the top states in the nation in the number of people struggling with mental illness - almost 1/4th of the population of the state"

Do you think...? Naw. Besides it was off-the cuff.

Craig James: Instant replay rules it was a fumble

SEEMS LIKE everywhere you turn over a rock these days you find a Republican candidate assailing gays. The latest version of gay-bashing is in the Texas GOP senatorial primary - by a former pro football player and ex-ESPN sports analyst. That's how Craig James hopes to win the primary against his rivals. His principal target is former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, a (choose an adjective) conservative who once was so politically reckless that he marched in gay pride parades. (Don't jump to conclusions. He was, after all, elected mayor of Dallas.)

Protecting his right flank, Leppert said although he is against gay marriage he also was firmly a Christian who extended a hand to all people. It's a start, folks.

Still, not good enough for James, who lamented the decline of America's "moral fiber" evidenced by people who walk in gay pride parades. His campaign promise: "I can assure you I will never ride in a gay parade. " He acknowledged Leppert's explanation, but it wasn't good enough for him as a devout Christian explaining "...leaders - our kids out there - people need to see examples."

James insisted that homosexuality was a "choice" and that gays - well, you probably know the rest - "are going to have to answer to the Lord for their actions."

He said What?/?/

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Spinning and apologies along the GOP trail...


Have you noticed how often certain politicians apologize for mindless things they said or did yesterday or during the past millennium? Or at least, in Rick Santorum's case, insisting that his words were misunderstood or taken out of context? You can claim that with ease if you blame it all on the media, without which, no more than a few would be able to identify you in San Francisco, London or Vatican City. Besides, did you really not intend to suggest that President Obama was Hitler? Insofar as the media are concerned, I happened to watch the Arizona debate on the TV medium of CNN, where you have been known to share your remarks. Let's let your references to Obama and Satan pass until you have had enough time to say you were misunderstood.

Although Santorum is said to have gained traction with the Tea Party for being authentic - he pounded his chest yesterday, a popular mournful gesture in the Middle East - I would still vote for McNewt Gingrich's unwavering grasp of campaign slander by accusing Obama of infanticide. Gingrich never apologizes about anything, responding to each question with "First of all...", an undeniable attribute of his organized madness.

In McMitt's case, he is much easier to follow. He is quite clear about his deep love of cars and the right height of trees in Michigan. He also sings, not on pitch, I'm afraid, "America the Beautiful." In those moments I want him to go back to loving trees and cars, where his insights on nature and industry attempt to be authentic.

* * * * *

Speaking of apologies, Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder has now partly apologized for telling a Lincoln Day dinner audience in Akron that Obama ought to be sent to prison for "25 years to life." But his response to questions about his civility actually made a joke of the joke that critics found repugnant. The Columbus Dispatch quoted him as saying he wouldn't apologize for the alleged quip but he would do so to a legislative colleague, Akron Democrat Vernon Sykes. Sykes had demanded an apology for the Speaker's "distasteful remarks." Rep. Bob Hagan, Youngstown Democrat, went further, calling Batchelder an "ass". Wanna bet $10,000 that Hagan has no intention of apologizing? As for me, I am still wondering about Gov. Kasich's graphic description of his wife as "hot". You can only go so far in the vernacular, Guv, particularly when your public approval rating is wondering around in the 30s.

* * * *
Finally, everyone knows that annual state- of-the-whatevers are always positive about the incumbant who is giving them. So we shouldn't be too critical of Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Robart's annual self-congratulatory state of the city address, which boasted of bountiful progress by his administration. But we will certainly quibble with his vision of his fiscal stewardship while the federal government is running up "massive deficits." So it was good to see that Beacon Journal reporter Paula Schlels, who covered the speech, also reported that the Falls "is stretching its dollars with the help of state and federal grants." Funny how Republican leaders who sock the Feds never remember to say thanks for the grants that are part of those "massive deficits".

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sykes to Batchelder: Time to apologize

REP. BILL BATCHELDER has become so full of himself since he became the Ohio House Speaker that he simply cannot restrain himself from saying questionable things to friendly audiences - even when he might argue that it was all in fun. Republican fun, that is, at the expense of President Obama. (If, indeed, it was intended to be a side-splitter.)

According to the Washington Post, Batchelder told last week's Summit County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner crowd that Obama ought to be jailed. Ha!.Ha! Here are the words of his stand-up routine:
"The liberals are asking us to give Obama more time. And I think 25-to-life would be a good start."
Among those who didn't think the veteran Speaker's remarks were funny was Rep. Vernon Sykes, Akron Democrat, who called them " absolutely deplorable. I call on the Speaker to apologize for such distasteful remarks immediately".

Sorry, Vern, but that's not at all likely. The current gang of Republicans often finds ways to show disrespect to the generic presidency with vitriol ranging from calling Obama a liar as he addressed Congress to the in-your-face finger-pointing outburst from Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. Or slamming him as a threat to American security. (How quickly they forgot Osama.)

You can expect a lot more of this sort of political porn in the months leading to the election from the party's hood ornaments operating in a distant universe. Unfortunately, gravitas is not one of the GOP's strong points.

Another bottom-feeder for the files

MAY I HAVE your attention please to alert you to another political bottom feeder turned up by a reader. He is Indiana State Rep. Bob Morris, a Republican to the marrow who has found a terrorist plot Girl Scouts of America. He has, for a few moments at least, even upstaged McNewt Gingrich, a.k.a. Crazy Guggenheim, who is warning his audiences that Barack Obama is "the most dangerous president in modern American history."

I am finding it harder and harder these days to separate the chaff from the chaff as raffish Pulcinella-like characters keep romping across the stage.

But back to Rep. Morris. According to a CNN report, Morris asserted his opposition to celebrating the centennial anniversary of the Girl Scouts of America (mercifully, the only lawmaker to do so). He accused the annual cookie-bearing group of promoting "homosexual lifestyles" and didn't think it at all wise to "endorse a group that has been subverted in the name of liberal progressive politics and the destruction of traditional American family values".

Not only that, mind you. He further accused the organization of becoming a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood whose agenda includes "sexualizing" young girls.

Somehow we knew that Morris would come around to slandering Planned Parenthood, which I believe is doing quite well these stormy days.

His family-value remedy is to extricate his two daughters from the scouts and place them in an outfit called American Heritage Girls Little Flowers., whose provenance I decided not to Google.

Had enough of this guy? Yeah. Me, too. Quack, quack.

* * * * *

To an oil-friendly Oklahoma audience, Gingrich sniffed at fuel-saving small cars, and complained about Chevy's latest: "You can't put a gun rack in a Volt."

I know. He said What?!?!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Franklin Graham: Today's sermon against Obama

AS I CONTINUE TO collect the fragments from today's heated political spectacle, hysterical right-wing males continue to dominate the narrative of my potential next book that will be called "He said what?!?"

On MSNBC's "Morning Joe" show, crusading evangelist Franklin Graham would not flatly acknowledge that President Obama was a Christian. (Why am I writing this in 2012?) Graham said he doesn't know whether Obama has "accepted Jesus Christ" while adding something about Obama's Muslim father. As the startled panelists on the show stirred in disbelief, Graham said he was concerned that the president was more interested in looking after the welfare of Muslims than "Christians who are being murdered in Muslim countries." Subtle, huh?

Graham, the hyper-son of Billy Graham, has often spewed his religious doctrine but there was something well off the page in this morning's interview. He said he did know that Santorum was a Christian but wondered about Mitt Romney's Mormon faith as a downer. Still, whether it's Graham or Santorum and the other defenders of the faith, apocalyptic religious conservatism has taken control of portentous words and deeds.

Meanwhile, having failed in their efforts to poke around in America's bedrooms, the panting outriders in state legislatures are now focussing on something much more more specific: vaginal exploration.

In Virginia, for example, where vaginas commonly abound, the lawmakers - some of whom, it would be fair to assume, can testify to the efficacy of Viagra - are ready to declare victory over women's rights to privacy. As a companion to pending "personhood" anti-abortion legislation, the legislature is showing off its empowered masculinity. It is poised to pass an ultrasound law that mandates an often painful transvaginal probe before any abortion.

Yesterday a thousand protestors lined up in studied silence at the statehouse to express their dissent as the lawmakers headed to their sanctified offices inside.

I have a better idea to get these vaginal meddlers' undivided attention. It is Aristophanes' comedy, Lysistrata, in which the young Athenian woman assembled others from across Greece to deny their husbands sexual pleasure until their guys ended the Peloponnesian wars. Man, Viagra or no Viagra, it worked!

In today's religio-patriarchal climate, women need only to issue a warning that if you don't stop messing around with my body, you can sleep in another room. Then let nature take its course.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Moon landings, trees, and Santorum's multiple choices

AS YOU MIGHT KNOW by now, my eyes wonder off the page in my dedicated efforts to comprehend the remarks of the current Republican herd of presidential McElephants. It happened when Newt Gingrich predicted he would stage a moon landing - in his second term! Cognizance was further abused when Mitt Romney told a Chamber of Commerce group in Michigan that one of the big reasons he loved his native state was that its trees were the "right height". (As one who lives among trees, I can tell you that I instantly checked ours for arborial equality and conceded there must be another way to express your love of your community.

Now comes Rick Santorum to the Summit County Lincoln Day Dinner to bestir the usual suspects - the party's enduring glitterati at these annual affairs. If I read the Beacon Journal account correctly - and possibly I didn't - he gave us a multiple choice of the same theme in the first five or six paragraphs.

No. 1. "America doesn't need a president it can believe in."
No.2. "We've always succeeded when we have a president who believe in them." (Them?)

No. 3. "That is what this election is all about. Who do you believe in?" (Them? Us? Me?)

In fairness, I should add the hometown Republican crowd reportedly gave him a standing ovation, although I'm not sure whether it was for No. 1, 2 or 3.The guests also gave him a 74 pct. triumph in a predictable straw poll.

Meanwhile, oddly enough, the county's party chairman, Alex Arshinkoff, who was seated next to Santorum, never appeared in the BJ account - another first for such festive political occasions. The thrill of announcing a meaningless straw poll was left to Bryan Williams, former county Elections Board director and now a Santorum booster.

Arshinkoff did tell me that as a matter of traditional party policy neither he nor the party would endorse anybody until the nominee is chosen at the convention. Politically speaking, that much caution I could understand. It's still February, folks.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

When only one ear hears a hearing

I'M A WHITE GUY. Always have been since birth. But I've always been put off by so many white guys, pejoratively speaking, that I've met over the years who use the color of their skin as Exhibit A of swaggering superiority over various other human hues. As if that isn't bad enough, I can also report there are a lot of swaggering white guys in the land who are deeply into patriarchy predating the Dark Ages.

That was easily confirmed, by Rep. Darrell Issa's hokey male-dominated congressional hearing on separation of church and state but was really all about contraceptives. Issa is a native Clevelander, the richest man in Congress (estimated $450 million), politically fashioned by the accident of his gender and culture, and submissive only to the dark climate of his remarkably conservative district in Southern California. (Could he possibly be one of Gov. Kasich's California Wackadoodles, too? Naw. Too white , well off and Republican to be criticized.)

One day earlier this week, Issa sat as the committee chairman for his inquiry that paraded a panel of witnesses carefully selected to ignore the certain argument against his premise that contraceptives are bad business. He even barred a woman law student from testifying for the other side. There's that side of democracy, too.

Here are the carefully chosen enablers of Issa's dense patriarchal premise that men know better about everything: Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, Yeshiva University; Dr. Craig Mitchell, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Bishop William E. Lori, representing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Matthew Harrison, President of Missouri Lutheran Synod, (who claimed conscience martyrdom by the Feds), Prof. Ben Mitchell, Union University (evangelical).

You might want to bet $10,000 that all were against abortion and a lot of other bothersome female stuff.

Dissenters would have had more luck walking barefoot over a stretch of hot coals.

But wait: That one misrepresented hearing drew a coast-to-coast response from women who won't let anybody forget their outrage. And we're told they outnumber the white guys. After all, it is 2012.

As I keep insisting: Republicans, you have a problem.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Mike DeWine: The line forms on the RIGHT

STOP THE PRESSES! Focus the TV cameras. Yep, that's Ohio Atty. Gen. Mike DeWine, a pol for all seasons, who endorsed Rick Santorum as they male-bonded in Columbus. DeWine, who had been a Romney man after being a Pawlenty man, decided it was time for a new winner's circle now that it's clear that the Tea Partiers have little use for McMitt. Besides, DeWine and Santorum have long shared their roles as custodians of The Faithful.

This will doubtless mean more for DeWine's ego than for Santorum's success or failure. Such out-of-the-blue (red?) but politically convenient conversions mean very little or anything on the morning-after. (Is DeWine aiming for a veep spot on the Santorum national ticket? Or maybe U.S. attorney general?)

You might ask Donald Trump about endorsements. 'Twas an odd moment when The Donald stood with McMitt before the cameras and tweaked Romney's candidacy with a magisterial endorsement. Today, Trump is puzzling over the numbers and muttering "I just don't understand it." (Not that he ever did.)

All of which is a reminder that DeWine had belabored his campaign promise to end Obamacare on the first morning he entered the AG office. That was in 2010, a nightmarish year for Democrats all-around when DeWine fluked out a win over one of the most competent fellows to rise in Ohio, Richard Cordray. If that sounds like an exaggeration, recall that the same Mike DeWine was, as an incumbent Republican senator, thrashed in a landslide by current Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in 2006.

Need more? Is it nothing more than a coincidence that DeWine's about-face occurred just before Santorum's appearance at the Summit County Republican Lincoln Day dinner Saturday night? DeWine will be on the dais with him and Mike's buddy, Alex Arshinkoff, who used to do errands for him in Northern Ohio. The icing on the after-dinner sweets will be doubly sugary.

If the sky is clear, you might even see a halo over the city.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Heavens - and still so many months to go

IF YOU'RE LIKE ME, you're having a harder time each day understanding the social and religious conservatives on matters like breast cancer and abortion. For example, there's a Republican state senator in Tennessee - Stacey Campfield, by name - who swears that abortions cause breast cancer. (He swears about a lot of other things, too, such as the unrefined evils of homosexuality and AIDS, which he claims began when a man "screwed a monkey". Campfield is further proof that our electoral system's safety net has holes in it.)

Anyway, I coughed up Stacey Campfield when I read a similar version from the GOP's current hallowed rock star, Rick Santorum, who could win the party's nomination by default. But I don't want to say more about that at this time. Rather, McRick has clearly suggested to the Fox News gang that, indeed, abortions cause breast cancer. It was his way of supporting the Komen foundation's defunding of Planned Parenthood, a decision that caused Komen a triple-Excedrin headache that wasn't relieved when the foundation reversed itself.

On matters of his committed Catholic faith, you must understand that he's the real thing who opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest . He is, of course, entitled to that view, but you could say the same about the great majority of folks who are entitled to a less Draconian view.

So are we going to have to suffer the path of the most theocratic major candidate in our lifetime all the way to the Republican convention? I'm afraid so.

PS: Considering all of the local media fuss over Santorum's scheduled visit to Akron Saturday, I continue to acknowledge my losing battle by asking: What do Santorum, McMitt Romney, McNewt Gingrich and McRon Paul have in common with Abraham Lincoln? Very little, if anything. But they do show up for the Lincoln Day dinners, misnomers that any sponsor would be hard-pressed to defend, particularly this year when the GOP field has done its damnedest to cheapen the party of Lincoln's name.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Poor McMitt is now

FORGIVE ME, BUT I AM GETTING dangerously close to confessing my sympathy for Mitt Romney as a self-marked man. Whatever else he might be, he just doesn't seem cut out for a presidential campaign. In fact, he recalls the mythical Greek King Sisyphus, who was punished by the gods to forever roll a big stone up a hill only to see it roll back for an eternity.

Romney's critics wouldn't even give him the benefit of doubt at the decorous Westminster Kennel Club dog show, where protestors (even though he was nowhere near the place) picketed outside with placards complaining that he strapped his caged dog to the roof of his car when he took off for a family vacation. Considering the outcry, he might as well have strapped his wife in the cage and stuck his dog in the back seat with a full plate of prime strip steak.

The placards demonstrated that you don't mess around with the status of man's best friends in a civilized world. One said, "Mitt is Mean" and another, "I ride inside." The tee-shirt industry has already given dog-lovers (including me) a wide array of shirts to that profitable effect.

Meantime, back in Detroit, Romney astonishingly chose to write a column that appeared in the Detroit News on Tuesday that accused President Obama of "crony capitalism" for bailing out the auto industry. He said Obama's more evil motive was to satisfy the unions. Should somebody remind McMitt, who once argued that corporations are people, that unions are people, too?

But now that tens of thousands of workers again have jobs should one of his advisors have suggested that now was not the time for returning to his screed that it would be better to let the auto companies sink into bankruptcy as the way to save them?. (The NY Times headline over his column in 2008 was "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt." Not well done, Sir. )

Small wonder that despite his avowed love affair with his Michigan roots, he is now trailing Santorum in the state by the length of a GM assembly line.

Maybe we can learn something from Ohio History: When Jim Rhodes decided to run for a third term after an imposed hiatus, his ad advisors told me that they decided he would have a tougher time getting elected if he were on the loose. So...

They worked on the theory that it would be better if "we put his ads on TV and hid the candidate in the basement," Without seeing very much of him during the campaign , the voters reelected him. Think they might find a spot for McMitt in the basement?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The missing paragraph in Santorum's memory

RICK SANTORUM appears to be suffering from post-authorship syndrome. He can't remember a thing about writing a paragraph in his 2005 book, It Takes a Family, that is now being questioned as a slam against working women. As the author of several books, I can understand how easily one might forget this paragraph or that one. But I would say that if it is in one of my books, I would surely swear that I wrote it.

But Santorum has an odd explanation for drawing a blank on his own words. He says his wife must have written the paragraph. As he told George Stephanopolous: "I don't know - that's a new quote for me..."

The orphaned quote:

"Sadly the propaganda launched in the 1960s has taken root. The radical feminist succeeded in undermining the traditional family and convincing women that professional accomplishments are the key to happiness."

You can see why he'd just as soon forget the whole thing, or at least concede that his wife's possible anonymous contribution to his book was one of her happy "professional accomplishments''.

In his case, writing a book may indeed take a family.

(While we have McRick in sight, has anybody asked him what he thinks about vasectomies? Sinful? Maybe somebody will ask him when he shows up as the star of the Summit County Republican dinner Thursday night.)

Monday, February 13, 2012

The conscience of a severe conservative..

WHAT IS A CONSERVATIVE? Painful though it may be, let me count the themes and variations, with considerable help from those profoundly committed fellows seeking the GOP presidential nod.

Let's begin with McMitt Romney. Funny how he always manages to engage our attention with things he is forced to explain later. Successfully groveling before the Conservative Political Action Conference (he did manage to win the straw vote!) McMitt weirdly referred to himself as a "severe" conservative. That got everybody's attention, Readers, in and out of the ideological fray. Today's Paul Krugman column in the New York Times, for example, was headed "Severe Conservative Syndrome," a hint of the medically-inspired terminology commonly attached to "severe": disabled, depressed, ill, etc. ...

If nothing else, Romney appears to have broken new ground for the word that Republicans have snagged to convince other Republicans that they are just as conservative as, say, Ronald Reagan. But Reagan, of course, is merely a convenient ad hoc throwback inasmuch it can be easily shown that the GOP icon presided over raised taxes, debt ceilings and budget deficits with the best of, eh, severe Democrats.

Still, Romney has revived Orwellian Duckspeak, which, you know, refers to people who talk without thinking.

Meantime, Romney's opponents have found other adjectives to repeat when they are in the company of two or more voters. McRick Santorum argues that he is the only "true" conservative in the crowd, shifting the focus from McNewt Gingrich, who also calls himself authentically tried and true, even more so than Santorum, if you really want to believe that.
Not to confuse you, but there are numerous other references to conservatism that show up regularly, depending on the audience in the hall. To wit: economic, social, ultra-right, Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, post-modern (Probably from George Will) and Neo-

For now, however, Romney has at least won the linguistic honors, Duckspeak be damned.

Or as Krugman concludes: " have to wonder whether it was a Freudian slip. For something has clearly gone very wrong with modern American conservatism."

Modern American? That's a new one on me.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Elections board: With Koehler out, is Masich in?

WITHIN A NANOSECOND of Ron Koehler's resignation as the director of the Summit County's Board of Elections, speculation on his possible successor arose as quickly as the snow in your driveway. A $105,000 political job doesn't go begging, particularly with a Republican luminary calling the shots as a board member.

Koehler isn't talking about his reasons (I failed to reach him) but when Summit County GOP chairman Alex Arshinkoff and his enabler on the board, Ray Weber, both said they wouldn't rehire him, Koehler was left without any option but to resign.

His current term ends on March 5, a day before the Ohio primary, which is sort of awkward, but such trivialties never discouraged Arshinkoff from replacing people who don't agree with him down to the decimal point. If all of this sounds a tad mean toward Alex, you might want to recall that shortly after Gov. Kasich appointed Todd McKenney last November as probate judge, McKenney surprisingly announced he wouldn't seek election to a full term in this year's election. The word at the time - never denied - was that McKenney had appointed a few people to county boards that nettled Arshinkoff.

Oh, and let's not forget, a former Republican election board director, Tom Wagner, resigned with health problems said to have been aggravated by Arshinkoff's constant badgering. For years, the chairman has complained that it was increasingly difficult to find good Republicans to run for office. Oh? Alex is 3-for-3.

OK, back to the speculation. I spoke to five sources across party lines. All speculated on a single name for the job: Joe Masich, the current Probate Court administrator and a long-time Arshinkoff loyalist - the Tonto for the chairman's Lone Ranger.

No more than a few weeks remain for the election board to reorganize, during which applicants for the direcctorship will have to be screened along with other tidying up of the process before the job is filled. Better hurry.

Worth your consideration...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Arshinkoff's perfect timing: Santorum is coming

ALEX ARSHINKOFF, the Summit County Republican Chairman, has managed to perfectly time Rick Santorum's appearance to speak at the locals' Lincoln Day Dinner on Thursday. Santorum is an unapologetic ultra-right conservative who is on a brief media roll. He opposes contraceptives for everybody and would eliminate abortion. He also says America is on the road to the French Revolution unless President Obama is kicked out. (Just my luck for having a new roof affixed to our house!)

The former senator has become a meteoric Tea Party and evangelical rock star these days, riding the crest of three victories. He is talking as the Republican nominee-designate, prematurely stripping the self-serving title from Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. Nevertheless, there's likely to be a standing (or kneeling)- room- only crowd on hand when the hour of recognition arrives. Santorum, you may recall, has said that we wants to be known as the party's Jesus candidate.

That said, maybe Alex will have an after-dinner added attraction by rushing Santorum out to Lake Anna to walk on water.

HuffPo reports Kasich's Wackadoodles and more

THE DAY AFTER Governor Kasich's unscripted State of the State speech in Steubenville, he drew satirical national attention that couldn't possibly have burnished the state's political brand.

It was reported by the Huffington Post, sort of awestricken, that a governor would make so many juvenile references in what should have been a serious accounting of his plans for the Buckeye state.

It noted that he had referred to his "hot wife" and described Californians as "a bunch of wackadoodles". (That immediately drew a protest from some of our family members out there. As far as wackadoodles are concerned, I insisted it takes one to know one.)

Oh, he awarded three Governor's Courage Awards but warned the recipients that he didn't want to see the pieces on eBay.

HuffPo's accounts summed up his odd oration:
"During the address, Kasich imitated a Parkinson's patient [simulating the movements], cried, insulted the people of California, praised his "hot wife," gave 14 shout-outs to the same person and played an awards show host while tearfully channeling a famously emotional fellow Ohio Republican House Speaker John Boehner."
The multiple shout-outs were to Ohio State University President Gordon Gee, a buddy-buddy deal in which Gee practically serves as a member of Kasich's cabinet.

Kasich repeatedly praised him, HuffPo reported, for leading the way on medical research, higher education and clean coal research. "God bless you, Gordon," the governor effused.

I nearly referred to Kasich's antics as The Comedy Hour. But then I remembered that it ran this way and that for more than 90 minutes.

When your public disapproval rating is as low as his, I guess you have to find other ways to amuse your audience.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bad days for GOP in Indiana and Cuyahoga Falls

WHAT A COINCIDENCE! While Republicans in Ohio and other states are eagerly trying to rig voting laws to crush un-rampant "voter fraud", they really didn't need Charlie White, Indiana's secretary of state, to mess up the Republican brand of honesty and decency. On the other hand, he does prove that fraudulent votes are a living issue, at least at the highest levels of state government.

White, you may have heard, has just been convicted on six felonies: three for voter fraud, two for perjury and one for theft. And wouldn't you know that when he campaigned for secretary of state in 2010 he described "election integrity" as a major issue and reassured the voters thusly: "Charlie will protect and defend Indiana's Voter ID to ensure our elections are fair and protect the most basic and precious right and responsibility of our our democracy - voting."

That noble claim has since been removed from his website.

Back in Ohio, where fraud has been determined to be virtually non-existent, the GOP lawmakers are continuing their fraudulent quest to deny many voters, as Charlie White once described it, their "most basic and precious right." (Voters that the GOP has profiled as Democrats.) They are said to be hopeful of offering a revised restrictive law before...yep...the November presidential election. The Plain Dealer has quoted our own Republican secretary of state, Jon Husted, as saying he wants the current voting law - a newer version that was downright political porn - to be repealed to avoid "voter confusion".

Sorry, Jon, but nobody seems to be more confused about voting rights than the lawmakers on your side.

* * * * *

The way things are going at City Hall in Cuyahoga Falls, Mayor Don Robart may yet have to concede we are living in 2012. His unyielding denial to a request by a same-sex marriage couple seeking family rates at the Natatorium is now in its next phase with the city's law director saying a rate adjustment could be possible. The mayor first declared that nothing could be done because state law prohibits it. It soon became known that it is, in fact, being exercised at other places in Ohio.

Now Robart is resorting to his look into the distant past, telling the Beacon Journal as he groped for an explanation (beyond his probable cultural bias) that rates have been in place for more than 40 years, so why change them now? If so, what other rates- utilities, taxes, etc. - haven't been changed during the same period? ? But Robart continues to resist, saying if same-sex couples are granted family rates it could lead to "massive abuse" by unmarried heterosexual couples. To borrow a term from Robert's GOP county chairman, that,of course, would "be a scandal of Biblical proportions."

To make the mayor's stance even flimsier, the couple applying for the family rate - Coty and Shane May, who were married in Washington, D.C., involves a wounded Iraqi veteran who would use the pool as part of his rehab. That, you must admit, is about as tsk-tsk as the you can get about the mayor.

Think of it: A GI who nearly lost his life in Iraq and moves about with a cane now finds his appeal resisted by a mayor who has nothing more to support his position than he simply doesn't like the idea. Cash it in, mayor. You're not holding the winning cards.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Kasich rambles; Komen in shambles


From what I saw of Gov. Kasich's unscripted, unrehearsed rambler that was bravely called the State of the State message, he could have saved Ohioans the expense of luring all of his GOP fellow travelers to Steubenville. It betrayed the setting of Wells Academy, a top rated school chosen to highlight achievement. As is his wont, the governor spoke of a new day in Ohio, sort of. (The Plain Dealer, which usually gives Kasich the benefit of any doubt, observed in the headline for its editorial that the 90-minute oration was "stirring, but vague". That's awfully close to a non-sequitur, folks.)

For all of the huff-and-puff, the governor remains deep in negative territory with the Buckeye electorate. The new Public Policy Polling survey shows Kasich trailing Ted Strickland, the ex-Democratic governor, in a speculative rematch by 20 points, 53-33. But Kasich still has nearly three years remaining in his term so the number merely suggests that the governor's low poll number is strong evidence of buyer's remorse. And with the Ohio Primary on March 6, it will be interesting to see how many of GOP presidential candidates will want a photo-op with the governor.

* * * * *

Speaking of those presidential candidates, Rick Santorum, who seems at time to be running for the papacy, pulled off a hat trick - the sports term for a players scoring three goals in hockey - in Tuesday night's caucuses. The turnout was dismal, or as poet e.e. cummings once put it, the "sound of one hand clapping". Clearly there are no rock stars in the GOP's quartet.
I once referred to them as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I must now change that to the Four Muleteers.

* * * * *

Will the fallout from Komen's political disaster ever stop? The resignation of its leading politician, Karen Handel, to the rigging of Komen's decision (later reversed) to defund Planned Parenthood seemed to settle the source of Komen's problem. Yet there are still denials, particularly among right-to-life advocates, that the premeditated politically inspired severance from Planned Parenthood had anything to do with it - despite evidence to the contrary. This episode was another harsh reminder that there are countless land mines under foot when religion merges with politics. It didn't have to be, but we now see the consequences.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Shrinking a $750 million embassy

IF YOUR TRAVEL agency had planned a guided tour of the American Embassy in Baghdad, you can count on a change of itinerary . The $750 million diplomatic Taj Mahal, which opened with overwheming confidence and fanfare back in January 2009, is undergoing major shrinkage.

The State Department during the Bush years boasted of its mammoth size as a tribute to the bond between a bright new Iraqi future and the Americans who saved it from monstrous excesses of the late Saddam Hussein. It would rank as the largest embassy in the world much as a university would boast of the biggest football stadium that would seat a mid-city population.

Indeed, we were told it covered more acreage (104) than 80 football fields to accommodate 16,000 employes at a modest cost of, oh...$6 billion a year. U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker described the weighty investment as a "new era" in U.S.-Iraqi relations. That came years after uber- hawk Richard Perle declared upon the invasion that within six months, there would be a big plaza in downtown Baghdad named for George W. Bush.

But like so many of the airy feel-good prospects of Iraqi rebirth, the hometown regime had something less sanguine to say about it, even to the point of delaying shipments of supplies to the colony. (Fortunately, it has yet to poison the wells.) For security reasons, the embassy staffers were confined to their designated walled zones.

What to do for damage control? The U.S. State Department says it will cut America's presence in half, with many of outcasts having served as contractors. Is it necessary to report that there is no plaza named for Dubya, and that the length of the conflict far exceeded Richard Cheney's prediction that it would end in a few weeks or a couple of months?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Alas, Florida ended nothing of value

WHEN MY father retired, he sold his small garage in Pennsylvania and moved, tribal-style, to Miami with Mom and several other family elders. There, they arranged to have modest new homes side by side in the shade of ficus and palm trees. The resettlement meant that I was obligated to head south with Nancy and our two young sons at vacation intervals. A long tiring drive from Columbus, it was. And it forever raised the critical question: Are we in Florida yet? When we crossed the state line from Georgia, a cheer went up. The signs welcomed us to the Sunshine State. We had finally reached our destination! Only several hundred miles separated us from Biscayne Blvd. But after four or five hours of boring travel with Miami not in sight, the mood turned morose again.

I recalled those annual family visits in the earlier Republican presidential tussles for delegates with the naive hope that the Florida primary would be the final destination in this strung-out theatrical absurdity. Resigned to the fact that one of the four candidates would be the likely nominee among the ficus and palm trees, I thought it would spare the rest of the nation of the new glossary of political babble clogging our ears. (McMitt continues to top the list with "self-deportation" as public policy. ) I could finally erase those long sweaty we'll-never-get-there journeys to Florida with the word that the GOP quest for sunny greatness after longish travel was finally settled.

The media, of course, covered the climactic days as though the Martians had landed in the Parrot Jungle. Disney World, after all, had nothing to match it. Now with my dream of a Floridian solution to escape from the GOP quartet, I'm left with the challenge to set out to my former home in Columbus to await the March 6 primary while asking, "Are they in Ohio yet"?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Romney's reliance on cognitive dissonance

NOW THAT MCMITT has twirled himself as the principal dancer in the Republican spin to the convention, a few questions still remain unanswered. I refer to Number Three in the Grumpy Laws of Political Dissonance which, until now, argued that two conflicting ideas cannot occupy the same human skull at the same time.

For example, it has long been shown by Newton or somebody that two masses cannot occupy the same space at the same time. That's true of ideas, too - even the subatomic weightless ones that Mr. Romney has been casting about. (So have some of his fellow-Republicans like John Boehner. But does anybody really think that he counts for anything these days?) Look at it this way: Can you believe that a door is both locked and unlocked at the same instant? Or be confident that your checkbook will precisely balance while conceding that it never has when you receive the statement? Tell me I'm wrong, folks!

With McMitt, he will confidently tell you that although he agrees the economy is improving, President Obama has made it worse. Or that even though Osama bin Laden is dead, we're finally out of Iraq and the president was absolutely correct on Libya, Obama has been a total failure on foreign policy. (I prefer Joe Biden's trenchant view that "Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive."

There's a fancy term for Romney's blustery contradictory thoughts: cognitive dissonance. If you agree, the remainder of this dreadfully long campaign will be fun.

P.S. Today newspapers carried a photo of McMitt, in his designer jeans and open- collar white shirt casually walking somewhere with his grandchildren. He is trying so hard to be a "regular" ($250 million) guy, don't you think? His tactic would be more persuasive if I saw him standing in a long line at a supermarket checkout clutching a fistful of discount coupons on Super Bowl Sunday.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The troubling return of Ari Fleischer

IT WAS A STROKE of fortune that the Komen Foundation's land mine exploded into a national issue. We can now be dramatically reminded how recklessly invasive politics can stain a highly respected foundation long known for its dedication to fighting breast cancer. It was a hit job on Planned Parenthood that left Komen founder Nancy Brinker falsely improvising damage control by declaring that politics was not involved. All of the evidence, we now know, pointed in the opposite direction.

As I wrote earlier, the political right has been targeting Planned Parenthood for extinction for years, literally changing its name to "the nation's largest abortion provider" - an epithet of bumper sticker potential. The assault reached the boiling point with a right-wing congressman launching a lame investigation, and the recent hiring of a Komen senior vice president - a woman who failed as a Georgia Republican gubernatorial candidate. Her resume doubtless included her long declared animosity toward Planned Parenthood.

Now, the plot thickens as muck with a report by Think Progress that her influential new post with Komen was expedited by Ari Fleischer, former president George Bush's press secretary. (Alas, we can never fully escape the dead-enders from the Bush years.)

Fleischer, a personal foe of PP, interviewed the candidates for Komen "senior vice president for Communications and External Relations", and "drilled" them on what they would do about Planned Parenthood. It was hardly a surprise that Ari's work led to Karen Handel, the conservative Georgia pol.

So if mighty clashes must determine winners and losers, Planned Parenthood received $3 million in fresh contributions within a week from donors offended by Komen's decision to cut it off. Komen lost some of its loyal donors , and Brinker, who had worked so honorably for 30 years in behalf of her foundation's breast cancer grants , was suddenly caught in a miserable situation.

Komen's decision to reverse itself predictably outraged some conservatives, including National Review, which blamed the "retreat" on left-wing "gangsterism". What loose talk!

C'mon. Komen was living in relative peace before now. It's a shame the right-wing pols moved in to claim it as a battering ram. It's not a shame that Planned Parenthood handily won the round. The melee offers PP's opponents a bitter lesson for not considering the rule of unintended consequences. You'd think that at least Ari Fleischer would know that by now.

Friday, February 3, 2012

White House to thank Mike DeWine on right to work?

IT WOULD BE fair to assume that someone at the White House has sent a thank-you note to Ohio Atty. Gen. Mike DeWine and his tea party constituency for helping President Obama to capture Ohio in November.

Mike DeWine, a very conservative Republican? OK. So maybe he didn't do it intentionally! But we're talking about the outcome just the same.

Now for an explanation: In mid-week, he advanced the drive to put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would make Ohio a right-to-work state. He certified a petition that would do just that.

It's the same November ballot in which Ohioans will vote for their preferred presidential candidate. Considering the aroused electorate that crushed the anti-union Senate Bill 5 the past November, would you bet $10,000 that the same voters will be inspired to turn out to defeat the right-to-work initiative? Right. Unionists who traditionally cast their lot with Democrats.

As an added caveat to the right-to-work crowd, Obama's likely opponent on the ballot will be Mc Mitt Romney, who sided with Gov. Kasich on SB 5 during a visit to Ohio before last November's election.

DeWine could argue that certifiying the petition was no more than a routine legal matter for his office. But at some point, someone will step forward to ask him about his personal feelings toward right-to-work laws. At that moment you will learn that he signed the petition as a friendly gesture without giving any thought to the measure's best interests.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

McMitt foolishly plays his trump card

WELL, WE ALL got a chance Thursday to witness a revival of The Birther of the Nation. No, not D.W. Griffith's silent movie classic, but rather the reappearance of Birther McDonald Trump in his latest kingmaking r0le endorsing McMitt Romney. They formed the joyous glitterati in a Las Vegas Hotel, joining big money and still bigger egos. It's doubtful that the very poor will be impressed.

So that nobody could miss the value of his newly arranged praise of of Romney, McDonald described the front-running candidate as "tough, smart and sharp." He assured the gathering that with McMitt as president, "nothing bad can happen to the country we all love." (It took me back decades ago when a mob insider assured me that my article about him was so fair that "nothing bad will happen to you." One thing about these guys, they keep their word!)

The Republican race, with too many months to go, has become absolutely zoological, with strange noises coming from an odd assortment of pawing creatures. Trump, it must be recalled, once downgraded his latest catch as a "small business guy," adding that his own wealth was "many many times" that of Romney's. But why bring that up in McDonald's MacArthur-like triumphant return to center stage?

It also should be recalled that Trump cast himself as the savior of American truth and justice with numerous TV appearances demanding proof that Obama was a legitimate American citizen. When the president released his birth certificate, questions were then raised about his grades at Harvard, where he was the editor of the school's prestigious law review.

But let's be honest: Soon McDonald will slip out of the photo-ops, leaving McMitt out there unprepared to explain why he's ready for prime time with Obama. Meantime, it was fair for the conservative National Review to ask: What is wrong with this guy?

* * * *

Although McNewt Gingrich seems assured of losing Nevada, he continues to vow a long-term challenge to Romney. Among other things, he continues to rely on incantation to retrieve the ghost of Ronald Reagan.


Komen says it's not about politics. Oh?

SINCE ENDING ITS support of Planned Parenthood, the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure has been spinning its reason as a simple act of playing by its rules. In short, the Komen leaders insist that politics has nothing to do with its decision. That quickly recalls Seinfeld's George Costanza's excuse that "it's not a lie if you believe it."

Until now Komen has worked closely and nobly with Planned Parenthood in helping to fund breast cancer screenings. However, it has been no secret that anti-abortion groups have been trying to destroy Planned Parenthood with their congressional surrogates, wrongly accusing PP of providing abortions with massive federal funds. If you follow the sequence of how this latest monstrous event came about, check this:

(1)In April 2011, Karen Handel, losing runoff Republican candidate for Georgia governor in 2010 (endorsed by Mitt Romney and Jan Brewer!) became senior vice president of Komen, continuing her pro-life campaign stance to rid Komen of Planned Parenthood

(2).In September, Rep. Cliff Stearns, the anti-abortion congressman from Ocala, Fla., announced that his subcommittee would investigate Planned Parenthood, demanding all of the foundation's records and those of all of its affiliates..

(3)Not long afterward, Komen rewrote its rules and denied funding to any organzation being "investigated" in Congress, while rewarding Stearns and the pro-lifers.

(4)Komen announces that it would have no further dealing with Planned Parenthood and even rejected any appeals for further discussion by the latter.

(5)Komen releases a formal statement, saying: "Grant-making decisions are not about politics - our priority is and always will be the women we serve. Making this issue political or leveraging it for fundraising purposes would be a disservice to women."

(6) Political and religious conservatives shouted "Yippee". Tony Perkins, the oft-quoted president of the Family Research Council, said it was about time that Planned Parenthood stop making a profit from abortions - which, of course, works for the Family Council's anti-abortion profit-making game.

(7)Not about politics? Make me laugh.

P.S. Planned Parenthood has received more than $400,000 in fresh contributions since Komen put a hit on it. You can add to that amount. I just did.

UPDATE: Now make that $650,000!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

When this rich man speaks of the poor...

The morning after his aniticipated big victory in Florida, Mitt Romney made his own pitch for the middle class that has been President Obama's narrative for a long, long time. But as he is prone to do when he's out on the range, he stumbled badly by leaving the impression on CNN that the poor should be of much less concern middle class.

It was pure McMitt Lite, and his take on the poor immediately flashed across the sound waves 0f TV and radio - so harshly at times that an aide conceded that although his candidate meant well, he could have worded it in a little better English.
Insisting that "there's no question it's not good being poor", Romney explained: "My focus is on middle income Americans...We a have a very ample safety net and we can talk about whether it needs to be strengthened or whether there are holes in it, but we have food stamps, we have Medicaid,, we have housing vouchers, we have programs to help the poor....You can focus on the rich - that's not my focus - You can focus on the poor - that's not my focus. My focus is on middle-income Americans." (Talk about it? In a quiet room?)
Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, he doesn't have to focus on the rich, who are focussing on his welfare with enormous personal contributions of six and seven figures.

At this stage of the long campaign, it does appear that the only safety net he will need is one that can spare him of the fallout from his own mindless comments. Anybody want to bet $10,000 that this won't be a learning experience for him?