Deja Vu: Massachusetts Governors Mitt Romney & John Kerry


Gingrich’s ad “The French Connection” points out linguistic and policy similarities between Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). Now that Romney has given us a glimpse of his taxes we see yet another similarity, “both ended up paying Buffett-rule-esque rates… despite incomes that put both of them squarely in the top percent of earners.” This financial advantage is easily seen on the airwaves in Florida where Romney is outspending Gingrich by 5 to 1.

According to AP, if you “add up the wealth of the last eight presidents, from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama. Then double that number. Now you’re in Romney territory.”

Romney is currently trailing in the polls. However, speculation is flying that Rick Santorum might suspend his campaign to attend to his daughter Bella’s pneumonia, or drop out entirely if as expected he performs poorly in Florida tomorrow. Having been endorsed by former candidate Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich said, “I think that the election will be substantially closer than the two polls that came out this morning. When you add the two conservatives together we clearly beat Romney. I think Romney’s got a very real challenge trying to get a majority at the convention.”

Republicans Attempt Return to 1611

— by Aliela Fleisig

Republicans are set out to repeal the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation and Washington Post columnist, observed this week:

The 18th century was defined, in many ways, by the Enlightenment, a philosophical movement based on the idea that reason, rational discourse and the advancement of knowledge, were the critical pillars of modern life. The leaders of the movement inspired the thinking of Charles Darwin, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin; its tenets can be found in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. But more than 200 years later, those basic tenets – the very notion that facts and evidence matter – are being rejected, wholesale, by the 21st-century Republican Party.

The contempt with which the party views reason is staggering. Republicans have become proudly and unquestionably anti-science. (It is their litmus test, though they would probably reject the science behind litmus paper.) With the exception of Jon Huntsman, who polls about as well as Darwin would in a Republican primary, the Republican presidential candidates have either denied the existence of climate change, denied that it has been caused – and can be reversed – by man, or apologized for once holding a different view. They have come to this conclusion not because the science is inconclusive, but because they believe, as a matter of principle, that scientific evidence is no evidence at all.

More after the jump.
She quoted candidates Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) and Texas Governor Rick Perry rejecting the proven theory of evolution, and criticized one of Representative Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) many disproven claims:

[Bachmann] has embraced the idea that the HPV vaccine can cause mental retardation, although not a single piece of medical evidence backs up her claim. How, then, did she come to that conclusion? That’s simple: A woman came up to her at a debate and told her so. Scientific evidence is anathema; superstitious and anecdotal asides, on the other hand, deserve to be repeated and amplified on a national stage, the consequences, in this case to countless women and girls, be damned.

Republicans even promote economic policies that have repeatedly been shown false by economists on all points of the political spectrum, writes vanden Heuvel:

There’s Herman Cain’s much-discussed 9-9-9 plan, for example, which has been eviscerated by independents, conservative and progressive economists alike, but which Cain continues to champion. Why? Because, he argues, the skeptics haven’t read his analysis yet – as if he is entitled not just to his own facts but to his own math…

Perry now fancies himself a flat-taxer, a position that might as well make him a flat-earther. A flat tax is, in his mind, a job creation proposal. In a reality based on reason and logic, it is a ticket straight back to recession. He might be giving – or getting – lessons from his fellow Republican, Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, who after boldly lying about Planned Parenthood on the floor of the Senate had his press flack explain that his remarks were not intended to be a factual statement. What then, one wonders, were they intended to be?

Vanden Heuvel concluded:

It seems worth reminding the candidates that these debates have been settled, many for decades, some for centuries and that the year is 2011, not 1611. In the coming decades, science – and a respect for science – will prove crucial to confronting our greatest global challenges, whether that means reducing our carbon footprint to combat climate change, finding new treatments and new cures to the diseases that ail us, or developing new innovations that can lift hundreds of millions out of poverty. We cannot afford to ignore the power of science or the problems we will need it to solve. Nor can we afford to make decisions about our economy, and our future, without reason or sound evidence. It’s time to take back the Enlightenment.

Jewish Values Not on the Agenda For the 2011 Values Voter Summit

— David Streeter

2011 “Values Voter” Summit Schedule Featuring GOP Presidential Candidates To Conflict Yet Again with the Jewish High Holidays

The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) today criticized the 2011 Values Voter Summit in part because — for the third consecutive year* — the conservative conference coincides with the Jewish High Holidays. The 2011 Values Voter Summit, which will feature a majority of the Republican presidential candidates, perfectly symbolizes how the modern conservative movement does not include Jewish values under its umbrella. This year, the conference occurs on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar.

More after the jump.

NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris said:

Conservatives have been aggressively targeting Jews recently by touting their pro-Israel positions. But what they continually fail to understand is that pro-Israel rhetoric only goes so far. Polling consistently shows that the sweeping majority of American Jews abhor the conservative domestic policy positions — particularly on social issues — that will be discussed this weekend. With this in mind, American conservatives should explain how they intend to make Jews feel welcome in a political movement that advances an agenda opposed by most in the Jewish community and continually holds its flagship conference on the Jewish High Holidays.

This year’s conference falls on Yom Kippur — the holiest day of the year — and will likely have significant ramifications for the 2012 Republican presidential ticket. Such a repeated scheduling conflict further symbolizes that the conservative movement and the Republican Party do not represent the values of most American Jews. Quite simply, this weekend’s confab is a textbook example of why Jews remain solidly committed to the Democratic Party and its positions.

Republican presidential candidates attending this year’s summit include:

  • Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney
  • Texas Governor Rick Perry
  • Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN)
  • Godfather Pizza CEO Herman Cain
  • Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)
  • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA)

Other Republican elected officials speaking this weekend include:

  • Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
  • House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)
  • House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA)
  • Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Roy Blunt (R-MO)
  • Representatives Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Mike Pompeo (K-KS), Steve King (R-IA), and Jim Jordan (R-OH)
  • Republican Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli

Leading conservative media personalities Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity are also scheduled to speak.

In addition, the 2011 Values Voter Summit has many breakout sessions scheduled for the weekend that conflict with the sensibilities of most Jewish voters. While Republicans on Capitol Hill pay lip service to a supposed jobs agenda, this conservative summit focuses on such hot-button social issues as “How the Welfare State Erodes the Family,” “Exposing and Defunding Planned Parenthood, America’s Abortion Giant,” and “Straight Talk on Gay ‘Marriage'” [Values Voter Summit] — conflicting with the positions of the vast majority of American Jews.

With such an extreme lineup, most Jews would be unlikely to attend. But the scheduling of the event — which makes it impossible for any Jew observing Yom Kippur to attend — takes this year’s conference to new heights in repelling Jews from the conservative movement.

The 2011 Values Voter Summit’s content, in addition to its scheduling, contains nearly all of the elements that remind most Jews that today’s conservative movement and its Republican leaders do not reflect their values. Events such as this are a prime example of why the Democratic Party remains the historic and continued political home for the sweeping majority of American Jews.

* – Details:

  • In 2010, the Values Voter Summit was held September 16-19 — conflicting with Yom Kippur, which fell on September 17-18.
  • In 2009, the Values Voter Summit was held September 18-20 — conflicting with Rosh Hashanah, which fell on September 18-20.

GOP Presidential Debate Reminds Jews Why They Vote Democratic


— David A. Harris

Tonight’s dismal Republican debate may have been painful to watch for many Americans — but especially so for American Jews. On national television, we witnessed a field of Republican candidates doing just about everything they could to remind Jews why they overwhelmingly support the Democratic Party.

From attacking health care reform and the social safety net to proposing flawed solutions to Medicare and Social Security, the candidates in tonight’s debate made it clear that they are uninterested in preserving the programs and policies valued by the vast mainstream of our community. And that is to say nothing of their collective positions tonight on social issues, which so many American Jews find socially regressive, if not repugnant.

Moreover, the performance by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Herman Cain left me wondering where they were yesterday when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lauded President Barack Obama’s speech to the UN and said that Obama wore his support of Israel like a ‘badge of honor.’ It is profoundly disturbing that these candidates would continue to engage in such attacks against this pro-Israel President based purely on partisan politics — despite all of the statements from Israeli leaders, the President’s widely-applauded record of diplomatic and military support for Israel, and the growing number of impartial, Republican, and Democratic observers calling out these candidates for their inappropriate and dangerous behavior. (NJDC, AP)

More after the jump.
As the candidates gain more exposure over the coming months, the historic bond between the American Jewish community and the Democratic Party will be reaffirmed and strengthened because most in our community will witness — again and again — that today’s Republican Party is deeply out of touch with their Jewish values. The Republican primary process will help prove that the Democratic Party remains the one natural political home for American Jews.