If I Forget Thee O Jerusalem: Both Parties Weaken Platform

GOP Weakens Israel Language in 2012 Party Platform

— by David A. Harris

Today we’re learning that the Republican Party removed strong language pertaining to Israel and Jerusalem from their party platform between 2008 and 2012, yet they have the temerity to point fingers at Democrats and President Barack Obama — the leader who has built a stellar pro-Israel record of accomplishment. Their hypocrisy is stunning, but not surprising.

In 2008, the GOP platform noted, ‘We support Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel and moving the American embassy to that undivided capital of Israel.’ In 2012, that language was gone. No reference to an undivided capital, no reference to America’s embassy — gone. Does this mean the Republican Party is suddenly anti-Israel? Of course not. But it does mean that GOP leaders pointing fingers are wildly hypocritical — given this change and others.

The original media report, according to Buzzfeed, appears below:

Republicans Also Dialed Back Platform’s Israel Language
The missing language: “Undivided” Jerusalem and an embassy move.
Democrats under fire for a similar move.

With Democrats trying to put out a fire around the party platform’s lack of specific language backing Israel that appeared in the 2008 version, a Democratic source points out that Republicans also toned down elements of their stance on Israel in the document.

A close ally of Mitt Romney, Jim Talent, beat back an attempt at the platform committee to remove a reference to the two-state solution last month.

There are also elements of the 2008 Republican platform absent from the 2012 version.

The key sentence present in 2008 and missing in 2012 is:

“We support Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel and moving the American embassy to that undivided capital of Israel.”

In both parties’ cases, the revisions don’t seem to reflect a dramatic policy shift, but rather attempts by party leadership to avoid foreign policy commitments in the non-binding political document.

Update
In the first order of business today at the Democratic National Convention, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland moved to amend the 2012 Democratic platform to add the sentence: “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel.” A voice vote was called by DNC Chairman and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The delegates approved by more than the required two-thirds majority, so the amendment was adopted.

How To Pay For A Convention

Political conventions are expensive. Very expensive. The Democratic National Convention is expected to cost $37 million, and this excludes the $50 million the government pays each party for security at its convention. Republicans raise most of their convention costs from a small number of big donors who then get the V.I.P treatment on expensive yachts where they can meet party bigwigs. The Democrats used to do the same thing, but this year are trying an experiment by limiting donations to a paltry $100,000 each. The consequence is that the Democratic convention has a big money problem that the Republican convention did not have.

Pictured on the right are photos courtesy of ABC News’ Investigative Unit of Gov. Mitt Romney’s 150-foot yacht “Cracker Bay” docked at the St. Petersburg Municipal Marina where Romney held a party during the Republican National Convention for supporters who raised over $1,000,000 for Romney’s campaign.

As the boat’s flag indicates, the “Cracker Bay” is registered in the Cayman Islands, a practice sometimes employed to avoid American taxes and regulations.

Annotated Lowlights of Paul Ryan’s Acceptance Speech

Crossposted from Democratic Convention Watch

What Paul said, my tags for the bottom of the screen in blue.

Mr. Chairman, delegates, and fellow citizens: I am honored by the support of this convention for vice president of the United States. It's nice to see he mentioned Joe Biden in the first line.

I accept the calling of my generation to give our children the America that was given to us, with opportunity for the young and security for the old – and I know that we are ready. If every kid was like Paul, they'd get college paid for by Social Security, the reins of a government-subsidized construction firm, and a wife with a giant inheritance.

I’m the newcomer to the campaign, so let me share a first impression. I have never seen opponents so silent about their record, and so desperate to keep their power. WOW! I didn't know he considered multiple choice Mittens to be an "opponent" – and he forgot to add"tax returns".

President Barack Obama came to office during an economic crisis, as he has reminded us a time or two. Those were very tough days, and any fair measure of his record has to take that into account. My home state voted for President Obama. When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory. That factory closed in 2008. Before the election. Liar, liar, pants on fire.

The first troubling sign came with the stimulus. It was President Obama’s first and best shot at fixing the economy, at a time when he got everything he wanted under one-party rule. It cost $831 billion – the largest one-time expenditure ever by our federal government. Um, not really. The Democrats didn't get everything we wanted as we believed in bipartisanship and worked with the GOP. We didn't get half of what we wanted. And as for "one-time expenditures" – we spent more on Iraq and Afghanistan – the large Republican messes. It's the gift we keep on paying for. 

But this president didn’t do that. Instead, we got a long, divisive, all-or-nothing attempt to put the federal government in charge of health care. Lie #3, but hey, Paul and his family have been getting government paid health care since the day he was elected. Why is it okay for him, but not other people?

Obamacare comes to more than two thousand pages of rules, mandates, taxes, fees, and fines that have no place in a free country. Unlike Paul, I read all 2,700 pages and I can say conclusively that these things DO have a place in a free country. And well, they are enacted in every other industrialized nations (and some that aren't) around the globe.

The president has declared that the debate over government-controlled health care is over. That will come as news to the millions of Americans who will elect Mitt Romney so we can repeal Obamacare. It may well come as news to the millions who will vote for Mittens and Eddie Munster, but not to the Supreme Court, nor the millions who vote for Barack Obama, who will win the election.

The greatest threat to Medicare is Obamacare, and we’re going to stop it. That's right, Romney-Ryan is going to stop Medicare. Wait? Did I read that wrong? NO. They want to dismantle the donut-hole fill the ACA put in place (the donut hole Paul voted for), they want to increase the cost to current seniors, and give everyone else a voucher that will go as far towards Medicare premiums as a free Big Mac voucher goes to buying a steak at Ruths Chris.

A Romney-Ryan administration will protect and strengthen Medicare, for my Mom’s generation, for my generation, and for my kids and yours. Lie #4.

Mitt Romney and I know the difference between protecting a program, and raiding it. Yes they do. And they're going to rob the little left for the poor and middle class and give it to themselves, the rich white guys.

It began with a perfect Triple-A credit rating for the United States; it ends with a downgraded America. Thank you teabag idiots, the only people stupid enough to vote against raising the debt ceiling.

Yet by his own decisions, President Obama has added more debt than any other president before him, and more than all the troubled governments of Europe combined. One president, one term, $5 trillion in new debt. Lies number 5, 6 and 7. Just not objectively true in any regard.

Republicans stepped up with good-faith reforms and solutions equal to the problems. Really, name two. Like voting to repeal the ACA 33 times, and not even bringing a single jobs bill to the floor? Like shutting down the FAA by temporarily defunding them? Like cutting Pell grants? Hey Paul, you've sponsored exactly 2 bills that were enacted in all your 13 years Congress. One of them renamed the Janesville post office, and the other modified the taxes on arrows used in archery equipment. 

My Dad used to say to me: “Son. You have a choice: You can be part of the problem, or you can be part of the solution.” Please Paul, be part of the solution. Lose both elections, go home, and never be heard from again.

My Mom started a small business, and I’ve seen what it takes. Amazing she didn't want to work for the multimillion dollar construction company the rest of the family owns and operates. You know, the one that got big and rich using Federal funds.

We have a plan for a stronger middle class, with the goal of generating 12 million new jobs over the next four years. They've never published the actual plan beyond the platitude. And 12 million jobs would dwarf anything the world has ever seen. But I'm game: prove it Paul, or this is lie #8.

In a clean break from the Obama years, and frankly from the years before this president, we will keep federal spending at 20 percent of GDP, or less. That is enough. The choice is whether to put hard limits on economic growth, or hard limits on the size of government, and we choose to limit government. And that is it: they do choose to limit government. Federal spending at 20% of GDP is only possible if government ceases to exist in most forms. I'll publish the numbers this weekend.

I learned a good deal about economics, and about America, from the author of the Reagan tax reforms – the great Jack Kemp. Jack Kemp lost.

He was the Republican governor of a state where almost nine in ten legislators are Democrats, and yet he balanced the budget without raising taxes. Unemployment went down, household incomes went up, and Massachusetts, under Mitt Romney, saw its credit rating upgraded. Lies #9, 10 and 11.

Mitt and I also go to different churches. But in any church, the best kind of preaching is done by example. Insert list here of pedophile priests, gay evangelical ministers caught on camera, churches closed due to embezzlement and court settlements and the whole Warren Jeffs group.

Our different faiths come together in the same moral creed. We believe that in every life there is goodness; for every person, there is hope. Except, of course, pregnant women who'd die under your belief system because the life of a never-viable ectopic pregnancy is more important to you than the mom. 

Whatever your political party, let’s come together for the sake of our country. Join Mitt Romney and me. Let’s give this effort everything we have. Let’s see this through all the way. Let’s get this done. I'm taking this to heart, Paul. I'm going to give it everything I have to make sure that you guys lose in November. I'm going to see that through. I'm going to get it done, with the help of all the other people in America who believe in America: all its people, all its promise.

Ryan’s Speech Long On “Truth” But Short On Truth

As Paul Ryan said last night, the American people “deserve to hear the truth.”

Unfortunately, his speech while filled with fine rabble-rousing oratory, was characterized mainly by its blatant disregard for the truth.

1. G.M. plant closing in Janesville, WI

Rep. Ryan told a poignant story about the G.M. plant in Janesville, Wisconsin which Obama visited during the 2008 campaign and promised to keep the plant open for 100 years. Obama spoke on February 13, 2008  the day after GM announced a $38.7 billion adjusted net loss. In June 2008, GM announced it was closing the plan, and the plant was essentially such down in December 2008. Thus, “Ryan essentially was criticizing Obama for failing to save a plant that closed before Obama took office.”

Moreover, Obama didn’t promise to save this plant. He promised to save plants like that. And that is exactly what he did when he saved the American automobile industry in 2009.

Was this a careless error on Ryan’s part? No, this is a lie Ryan has told before and has been repeated debunked by the fact checkers.

In fact, Ryan should have known better from the beginning for he along with Wisconsin Senators Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl wrote GM in June 2008 to protest GM’s decision to close the plant. The plant was in Ryan’s district and he was intimately involved in the effort to keep the plant open, so Ryan is well aware that this did not happen under Obama’s watch.

Details about four more lies follow the jump.
2nd Lie: President Obama is the “greatest threat” to Medicare.

Truth: Obama didn’t make any cuts to Medicare benefits; he made cuts to provider reimbursements, to improve cost efficiency and extend the fiscal security of Medicare by eight years. According to the Medicare actuary, “[Obama’s] Affordable Care Act makes important changes to the Medicare program and substantially improves its financial outlook.”

But Ryan actually does want to cut benefits. He proposed dismantling Medicare and replacing it with a voucher system, leaving millions of seniors to come up with more money to pay for care out of pocket.

3rd Lie: President Obama ignored recommendations of a bipartisan debt commission.

Truth: Paul Ryan actually sat on that commission. And he led Republicans in voting down the commission’s own recommendation. So the commission never gave a report to Obama, because Ryan himself voted to kill the report before it could.

4th Lie: President Obama is responsible for the downgrading of the U.S. Credit Rating.

Truth: House Republicans, including Paul Ryan, held the full faith and credit of the United States hostage to try to ransom it for trillions of dollars in cuts to social programs without increasing taxes on the wealthy one dime. Standard & Poors said specifically, “We have changed our assumption on [revenue] because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues.” That’s why our nation’s credit rating was downgraded.

5th Lie: Ryan wants to protect the “weak.”

Truth: Ryan’s biggest feat in his political career was proposing a budget with dramatic cuts to programs benefiting the poor. He’d cut Medicaid by one third, take away health care insurance from 30 million Americans, and cut Pell Grants for 1 million students. All so that he could give more tax breaks to the rich.

GOP Convention, Night Two: Repelling the American Jewish Vote

— by David Streeter

Despite all claims to the contrary, meeting on the second night of its shortened convention in Tampa, the GOP appeared tonight to be doing everything possible to drive away every last American Jewish voter who might be watching. National Jewish Democratic Council President and CEO David A. Harris noted:

Tonight, American Jews saw an over-the-top tribute to one of the greatest opponents of the U.S.-Israel relationship on Capitol Hill — Rep. Ron Paul — with Republican official after Republican official, up to and including Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), singing his praises. Then Jewish voters, whom the GOP claims to prize, got the privilege of hearing from his son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who shares so many of his father’s policy positions albeit with less baggage. If they can stay tuned long enough, they’ll have the pleasure of seeing vice-presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, whose social safety net-gutting budget was so widely scored in the Jewish community &jmdash; and who holds so many positions at odds with the values of so many American Jews.

If this is the Republican Party’s idea of Jewish outreach, I can only hope they keep trying.

Video of Rand Paul at the Republican National Convention follows the jump.

Santorum’s Plan To Fight For Delegate All The Way To The Convention

Politico has posted a plans from the Santorum Campaign detailing their path forward.

It is very interesting reading especially in light of the difficulty we and the rest of the media have had in projecting the delegate count on the basis of the actual vote. (See DemConWatch for the best delegate analysis I have found.)

To: Mike Biundo
From: John Patrick Yob
Sent: Saturday, March 10, 2012
Subject: Santorum Path to Delegate Victory

Rick Santorum is very well positioned to earn the delegates necessary to win the national convention despite what the Romney campaign and their official/unofficial surrogates’ fuzzy math may claim.

As a result of their inability to inspire the GOP based on message, the Romney campaign made the curious decision to lead their post-Super Tuesday campaign with the argument that the race is over, rather than touting his positive qualities as a candidate.

The effort to talk about the math was a defensive smokescreen intended to distract from the major problems the Romney campaign faces in county, district, and state conventions across the country when national convention delegates are actually elected.

The reality is simple: the Romney math doesn’t add up and he will have a very difficult time ever getting to a majority of the delegates.

The situation is only going to get worse for them and better for Rick Santorum as time passes. Simply put, time is on our side.

Strength of Candidacy
Romney has been forced to outspend the field dramatically in order to barely win in states he should have won handily (Michigan and Ohio), and losing other states by wide margins (Tennessee and Oklahoma).

Rick Santorum continues to win contests and gain national convention delegates because he has emerged as the favorite of the conservative grassroots base of the Republican Party. As a result he has wins in most caucuses. He also has won the majority of counties even in Romney states excluding moderate urban areas.

Support from Conservative Base
Romney has proven incapable of inspiring grassroots conservative support in caucuses as he has lost every caucus contest despite outspending the other candidates by many multiples.

Similarly, there are serious cracks in the Romney finance operation as the campaign finance reports show that he is incapable of inspiring grassroots donors across the country to donate to his campaign.  Instead his campaigns are funded by contributors who have already maxed out and are incapable of donating again in the primary. This explains why the SuperPAC is forced to pay for such a large proportion of their paid media.

The lack of grassroots support that plagued his caucus states operation, and plagued his small donor operation, will now plague his national delegate election operation.

Rick Santorum has excelled in caucuses and small dollar contributions and therefore will also excel at state conventions where activists are more conservative than the average primary voter.

Longer Proportional Process Favors More Conservative Candidates
I served in a similar role for John McCain 2008. At this point of the process there was a very real concern about the possibility of a more conservative candidate staying in the race and fighting us at state conventions across the country where more conservative activists determine the election of National Convention Delegates. Although John McCain was winning primaries in a fractured conservative field, he was not the favorite of grassroots conservative activists in the party. Similarly, in this race, a drawn out process favors conservative candidates such as Rick Santorum. This is a major problem for Mitt Romney, the moderate in this race.

Even more importantly, the proportional process that Romney supporters pushed through the Republican National Committee has turned out to be a major problem for the campaign. Suddenly the election of the actual delegates at county, state, and district caucuses is now more important than the primaries-regardless of what the media covers as determinative. It is difficult for any candidate to clinch the nomination in a proportional calendar without over-performing in the state conventions that elect the delegates. As a result, the state conventions will ultimately determine the outcome of this race.

Romney Frontloaded Friendly States
Romney supporters on the Republican National Committee manipulated the calendar to front-load several of the states that were favorable towards him. That was beneficial to his early lead in the delegate count, however it is problematic for him as the race continues and moves towards less friendly states. This is one of the reasons that they emphasized fuzzy math after Super Tuesday.

Race Moves towards Santorum’s Strength
The race for the nomination will soon start to move towards primaries and caucuses that are more favorable terrain for Rick Santorum. More importantly, the race will eventually move from primaries and caucuses that are often beauty contests to real county and state convention contests where actual delegates to the national convention are elected.

Anyone who knows anything about state conventions knows that the most conservative candidate has a big advantage over a moderate candidate. In many cases, this advantage is overwhelming.

Romney’s Delegate Problem
Romney has a delegate problem in that he will have a very hard time getting his moderate supporters elected as delegates in these convention systems. This was
evident in Iowa this weekend where the Romney operation collapsed, and Santorum and Paul gained.

The Real Calendar
The Real Calendar (TRC) officially kicked off this weekend in Iowa where activists gathered to begin the process of electing national convention delegates. It is clear to anyone who understands this process that a moderate candidate like Mitt Romney is going to have a difficult time winning as many delegates to the national convention in an Iowa County and State Convention system as the media calculated based on the Open Caucus system that took place in January. This system will play out in state after state, and although there will be hiccups in certain states, on average Rick Santorum will gain far more delegates than Mitt Romney through this delegate election process.

The Real Count
The count largely depends on how you calculate the delegates in states such as Iowa that have not yet elected their National Convention Delegates. For example, the RNC currently gives Santorum 0 delegates for Iowa, the media gives him 7. We believe he will end up with more than 7 delegates as the process plays out.  We also believe that Romney will receive less.

Most of the publicly available delegate counts are fundamentally flawed because none of them have taken into account that conservative grassroots activists at county and state conventions will elect more Santorum delegates than a primary or even caucus beauty contest in the same respective state would allocate.  Therefore, the Real Counts are far better than the projected counts and will continue to improve as the National Convention approaches and states elect their actual convention delegates. The Santorum campaign will keep a tally called the Real Count moving forward. It will be based on the results of both the Real Calendar and the Traditional Calendar.

Traditional Calendar
There is unlikely to be very much change in the delegate totals based on the results of Tuesday’s contests.  Regardless of the results, we anticipate this finally becoming an election between the moderate establishment candidate and the conservative grassroots candidate as we move towards Missouri and beyond.

  • March 17 — Missouri: Rick Santorum will do very well in Missouri, win a number of delegates, and have momentum heading into Illinois.
  • March 20 — Illinois: Mitt Romney might have an edge in Illinois but we feel very good about our ability to once again win the more conservative areas of the state, earn a considerable number of delegates, and maintain momentum heading into Louisiana.
  • March 24 — Louisiana Primary:
    Louisiana is going to allocate approximately half of its delegates in the Primary on
    March 24 and half of them later in a caucus process. It is likely that Santorum picks up
    considerable delegates in both of these contests.
    We assume that Newt Gingrich will become less of a factor in terms of vote totals in races after the Louisiana Primary, if not before.
  • April 3 — Wisconsin, Maryland, and DC: These primaries are winner take all. They could be the first contests that are a one-on-one between a conservative and a moderate. The emphasis that day is likely to be on Wisconsin. Most recent polling has shown Santorum to be doing quite well in the state and it is expected to be a very close contest. Not being on the ballot was not a problem or us in DC because DC Republicans would almost surely vote for the most moderate candidate anyway.
  • April 24 — New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware: Rick Santorum will win a very large number of delegates on April 24 including his home state of Pennsylvania. Some analysts in the media have argued that Romney will do well in the Northeast because he is the moderate in the race — however that is not necessarily consistent with recent history in contested primaries in these five states. April 24 could be a good day for Rick Santorum.
  • May 8 — North Carolina, Indiana, and West Virginia: We believe that May 8 is the beginning of the end for Mitt Romney and the date that puts Rick Santorum on a path to the nomination. Rick Santorum will have the momentum coming out of these contests. Our research shows us that even the uncommitted delegates in West Virginia favor Santorum.
  • May 15 — Nebraska and Oregon: Rick Santorum will do well on May 15 in Nebraska and hold his own in Oregon.
  • May 22 — Kentucky and Arkansas: Rick Santorum will likely win a majority of the delegates on May 22 and gain significant momentum leading into Texas.
  • May 29 — Texas: Rick Santorum will win the Texas Primary and dramatically close the public delegate gap with Mitt Romney on May 29th.
  • June 5 — California, New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana, and New Mexico:
    The candidate who wins the most delegates on June 5 will lead the public delegate count going into the national convention. Rick Santorum will also lead the Real Count by this point.
  • June 26 — Utah: We will go out on a limb and predict that Romney will win Utah.

Conservative Majority of Delegates: Public vs. Actual Delegate Counts
There is a “Conservative Majority” of delegates emerging as county and state conventions elect their actual National Convention delegates.  This “Conservative Majority” will support Rick Santorum over a moderate-establishment Romney.

There are three reasons why the counts that are put out by the RNC and media organizations are not reflective of the real numbers:

  1. Unbound and Uncommitted Delegates elected by grassroots activists are more likely to favor Santorum than those elected by direct primary election. This represents a movement of delegates into Santorum’s tally.
  2. Bound delegates elected by grassroots activists will favor Santorum as rules allow.
    Gingrich delegates are more likely to favor Santorum.
  3. Rule Breaking states such as Florida and Arizona.

Unbound Delegates
As has been described previously, unbound delegates are much more likely to favor Rick Santorum than Mitt Romney because they are largely elected by more conservative caucus and convention systems. Therefore, this race is much, much closer than what the current media and RNC counts portray.

Bound Delegates
Bound delegates are largely elected at state conventions across the country and therefore are more conservative than an average primary voter. If the convention goes multiple ballots, it is likely that a conservative candidate like Rick Santorum will gain votes on the second and third  ballots whereas a moderate candidate like Mitt Romney will lose votes.

Gingrich Delegates
We obviously do not know how Newt Gingrich will move forward with his campaign but we are confident that whether before the convention or on the convention floor that when the time comes Newt Gingrich delegates are far more likely to vote for Rick Santorum than they are for Mitt Romney.

Majority Needed for Romney, Not for Santorum
Mitt Romney must have a majority on the first ballot in order to win the nomination because he will perform worse on subsequent ballots as grassroots conservative delegates decide to back the more conservative candidate.  Subsequently, Santorum only needs to be relatively close on the initial ballot in order to win on a later ballot as Romney’s support erodes.

Romney Difficulty in getting 50% of Remaining Delegates
Even Romney’s own counters admit that he needs to earn almost 50% of the remaining delegates in order to win the nomination. We believe this number is higher than 50% for the reasons described in this memo. Regardless, this is going to be very difficult in a three or four person race, especially as he loses delegates at state conventions such as Iowa.

Florida and Arizona
Florida and Arizona broke RNC rules both when they moved forward and also when they chose to allocate delegates. Their delegations will be challenged if seated as winner-take-all.

Conclusion
Time is on Rick Santorum’s side. He will gain delegates as this process plays out and conservatives are elected as National Convention Delegates. Despite the Romney campaign’s smokescreen, they cannot change the fact that he can’t inspire the base of the party, has a delegate problem, and has a very difficult time getting to a majority.

The delegate race is currently much closer than some would like people to believe. It will get even closer as actual national convention delegates are elected at county, district, and state conventions across the country. They represent the Conservative Majority of the Republican Party, and that is a huge problem for a moderate candidate like Mitt Romney.

Furthermore, Rick Santorum will gain the momentum in late May by winning Kentucky, Arkansas, and Texas and head into California and New Jersey with significant momentum.

At that point there will be a Conservative Majority of the delegates to the National Convention and Rick Santorum will become the presumed Republican nominee for President of the United States.

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