Cruz Control: Does Obamacare = Holocaust?

Ted Cruz’s speech voicing his opposition to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare was “technically not a filibuster” according to CSPAN since he was not delaying action on a bill, but it was still a long speech. Perhaps too long. When you starting comparing your opponent to Nazi appeasers, you probably have run out of intelligent things to say.

If you go to the 1940s, Nazi Germany. Look, we saw in Britain, Neville Chamberlain, who told the British people, “Accept the Nazis. Yes, they’ll dominate the continent of Europe but that’s not our problem. Let’s appease them. Why? Because it can’t be done. We can’t possibly stand against them.”

And in America there were voices that listened to that, I suspect those same pundits who say it can’t be done, if it had been in the 1940s we would have been listening to them. Then they would have made television. They would have gotten beyond carrier pigeons and beyond letters and they would have been on TV and they would have been saying, “You cannot defeat the Germans.”

B’nai B’rith International comment after the jump.
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement on the subject:

Nazi comparisons are never acceptable. No matter how one feels about this issue, or any issue, invoking Nazi imagery trivializes and undermines the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazi machine.

Nazi references and comparisons dilute the horror of the mass genocide that was the Holocaust.

To compare a U.S. law to anything out of Nazi Germany is unacceptable. We call on Cruz to apologize.

Romney Takes Eye Off Iran, Designates Russia #1 Geopolitical Foe

— by David Streeter

Yesterday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney took his eye off of Iran and incorrectly designated Russia as America’s “number one geopolitical foe” during his interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Romney offered his throwback to the Cold War while attacking President Barack Obama for his diplomacy with Russia — including the New START treaty that was supported by many Jewish communal organizations, which was one of the pieces that helped bring Russia on board with the fist round of Iran sanctions. Romney told Blitzer [emphasis added]:

What he did both on nuclear weaponry already and the new START treaty as well as his decision to withdraw missile defense sites from Poland and then reduce our missile defense sites in Alaska from the original plan. These are very unfortunate developments…. This is to Russia, this is without question our number one geopolitical foe. They fight every cause for the world’s worst actors. (Think Progress)

Blitzer followed up, and asked Romney how Russia was a greater U.S. foe than Iran. Apparently, Romney’s definition of “number one geopolitical foe” does not include Iran’s threatening behavior — including its nuclear weapons program and belligerent actions in the Middle East. Romney said [emphasis added]:

Well I’m saying in terms of a geopolitical opponent, the nation that lines up with the world’s worst actors. Of course the greatest threat the world faces is a nuclear armed Iran and a nuclear North Korea is troubling enough. But when these terrible actors pursue their course in the world and we go to the UN looking for ways to stop them … and who is it that always stands up for the world’s worst actors, it is always Russia, typically with China alongside. So in terms of a geopolitical foe a nation that is on the Security Council that has the heft of the Security Council and is of course a massive nuclear power, Russia is the geopolitical foe and the idea that our president is planning on doing something with them that he’s not willing to tell the American people before the election is something I find very, very alarming. (Think Progress)

Following Romney’s dangerous reassessment of global affairs-in which he prioritized a partisan sound bite over the reality of the threats posed by Iran to America and our allies-a number of experts and observers slammed Romney for yet another baseless foreign policy smear.

A sampling of criticism follows the jump.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney:

Carney, a former Moscow-based correspondent for TIME magazine, stated that ‘in a world where Al Qaeda is so clearly the preeminent threat to the United States, and similar organizations, it seems a little inaccurate to make that statement about Russia where Russia is a county that we have been able to cooperate with on very important issues even as we disagree with them on others and that includes missile defense and Syria.’…

Carney said ‘the relationship that president Obama has established with Russia when he pressed the reset button in 2009 has born a great deal of fruit, including Russia’s cooperation with China at the United Nations in sanctioning Iran, Russia’s cooperation and assistance to the United States on our Afghanistan mission in terms of trans-shipment issues.’

Representative Gerry Connolly (D-VA):

Mitt Romney’s statement that Russia is our ‘number one geopolitical foe’ was both reckless and inaccurate. While there are legitimate concerns about the status of Russian democracy under Putin and real challenges in our relationship, comments like this do nothing to address those concerns or strengthen that relationship. Governor Romney should correct his statement and make it clear he understands that Iran and North Korea pose the greatest immediate threat to U.S. and global security.

Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Wesley Clark said:

Surely one lesson of the 21st century is that America’s security in the world depends on making more friends and fewer enemies. Governor Romney’s statement sounds like a rehash of Cold War fears. Given the many challenges we face at home and abroad, the American people deserve a full and complete explanation from Governor Romney. Good policy does not come from bumper sticker slogans. The next president is going to have to take America forward, out of war, and into other challenges. The rekindling of old antagonisms hardly seems the way to do it.

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East Dr. Colin Kahl:

Today, Governor Romney said that Russia is our nation’s number one geopolitical foe. Mitt Romney has an economic, energy, and social agenda of the last century-and now he has a foreign policy to match. Does Mitt Romney think Russia is a bigger threat to the U.S. today than a nuclear-armed Iran or the terrorists of al-Qaeda? Is Russia a greater challenge than a rising China or instability in the Middle East? For a country that Mitt Romney called our top geopolitical enemy, he only addresses Russia in his foreign policy white paper with Cold War-era talking points and none of the sense of urgency that he demonstrated today. This is yet another example of Mitt Romney’s willingness to say anything to get elected, no matter how reckless it may be.

Former Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig:

Governor Romney offered his judgment today that Russia is our nation’s number one geopolitical foe. This conclusion, as outdated as his ideas on the economy, energy needs, and social issues, is left over from the last century.  Does Governor Romney believe that a Cold War foreign policy is the right course in the twenty-first century? Does he believe that Russia is a bigger threat to the U.S. today than terrorism, or cyberwarfare, or a nuclear-armed and erratic North Korea?

Oddly, before calling Russia our number one foe, he issued a foreign policy white paper that only got around to Russia after sections on China, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Middle East, Iran, North Korea, and Latin America. His most recent statement is yet another revelation that Mitt Romney repeatedly speaks inconsistently and in ways that are disconnected from twenty-first century realities.

Former Ambassador to India and Representative Timothy Roemer:

Today, Governor Romney said that Russia is without question our nation’s number one geopolitical foe. Does Mitt Romney really believe that Russia-a country that has supported our international efforts to sanction Iran, for example-is a bigger threat to the U.S. today than a nuclear-armed Iran or al-Qaeda? Does he truly believe Russia is more of a challenge than a nuclear North Korea or the Straits of Hormuz being closed? I proudly served our nation overseas as Ambassador to India, and the level of naiveté about foreign relations that Governor Romney displays is astounding. Worse, it is potentially dangerous for our country.

Romney Perfects Endorsements


Candidate cannot leave well enough alone.

Romney was endorsed by the Arizona Republic on Friday, and he was quick to share the news with voters in Arizona, but in reproducing the endorsement he left out key sections critical of his immigration policy.

Similarly, last week he was endorsed by the Detroit News and left out the key paragraph highlighting Romney’s criticism of the auto bailout:

We disagree with Romney on a point vital to Michigan – his opposition to the bailout of the domestic automobile industry. Romney advocated for a more traditional bankruptcy process, while we believe the bridge loans provided by the federal government in the fall of 2008 were absolutely essential to the survival of General Motors Corp. and Chrysler Corp. The issue isn’t a differentiator in the GOP primary, since the entire field opposed the rescue effort.

This manipulation of the endorsement was charactized by the Detroit News as a “distortion” of their words.

TPM’s Benjy Sarlin:

The auto czar who led the bailout, Steve Rattner, has a simple challenge to Mitt Romney’s claim that private investors could have rescued Detroit: find me one.

Rattner, writing in the New York Times, wrote on Friday that Romney’s contention that American automakers didn’t need federal loans to move them through a managed bankruptcy intact is ludicrous given that the only financiers big enough to step in were barely hanging on for dear lives themselves.


Last month, Buzzfeed reported that the Romney campaign was also editing transcripts of its own conference calls with the press to leave out pointed questions and less than stellar answers from its surrogates. In addition, the campaign edited an article on supporter John McCain to leave out a section on their past disagreements and left out concerns in a Des Moines Register endorsement over Romney’s history of changing positions on some issues.

How Stimulus and Health Care Reform Turned Out

Ezra Klein:

The latest Chicago Booth poll of economists focuses on the 2009 stimulus. The first question asked whether the stimulus increased employment by the end of 2010. Eighty percent of the polled economists agreed. Four percent disagreed. Two percent were uncertain.

The second question asked whether, over the long run, the benefits would outweigh the long-term costs (like paying down the extra debt). Forty-six percent agreed. Twelve percent disagreed. Twenty-seven percent were uncertain.

Dana Milbank:

At the last possible moment to save his reelection, the economy is beginning to hum, as evidenced by Friday’s jobs report. And Obama’s Republican opponents are shaping up to be as formidable as, well, marshmallows. While Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are making each other unelectable, the president is singing Al Green, congratulating Super Bowl winners, playing with science projects, raising obscene amounts of campaign cash and watching his poll numbers soar.

Romney Compaign: Why Poll When You Have Internet Gamblers?

Percentage chance of winning the Feb. 28, 2012 Michigan Republican primary according to gamblers at Intrade.

According Gary Wolfram at the Romney Campaign, the internet gambling site Intrade can give you a better feeling for the Michigan primary than polls of actual Michigan Republican voters. Since “InTrade’s value as a prediction engine vs. scientific polling is debatable“, let’s look at both.

Romney was initially the heavy favorite to carry his “home state” of Michigan, but now betters at Intrade are not so sure. They now consider the state to be a toss-up.

Meanwhile, Nate Silver has studied the polling data for Michigan and gives Santorum at 76% chance of winning. Over the last two weeks, all polls have shown Senator Santorum to be in the lead.

Either way Romney has his work cut out for him in Michigan.

Poll Date Sample Size Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-GA)
Mitchell Feb. 14 455 34% 25% 11% 5%
Inside Michigan Politics Feb. 13-14 800 43% 33% 8% 11%
Rasmussen Feb. 13 750 35% 32% 13% 11%
Glengariff Group Feb. 11-13 500 34% 30% 9% 12%
American Research Group Feb. 11-12 600 33% 27% 12% 21%
PPP Feb. 10-12 404 39% 24% 12% 11%
MIRS Feb. 2 638 15% 31% 15% 16%
Rasmussen Feb. 1 750 17% 38% 14% 23%


Key — States Won
Santorum: IA CO MN MO
Romney: NH FL NV ME
Gingrich: SC
Paul: none
<!– Unknown: –>

Next Contests
Feb 18: ME (in part)
Feb 28: AZ MI
Mar  3: WA
Mar  6: Super Tuesday
AK GA ID MA ND OH OK TN VT VA
Mar 10: WY KS VI GU
Mar 13: AL AS HI MS
Mar 17: MO
Mar 18: PR
Mar 20: IL
Mar 24: LA
Apr  3: MD DC WI
Apr 24: CT DE NY PA RI
May  8: IN NC WV
May 15: NE OR
May 22: AR KY
May 29: TX estimated
Jun  5: CA MT NJ NM SD
Jun 26: UT

Next Debates

  • CNN Debate, Wednesday, February 22 at 8pm in Mesa, Arizona.
  • PBS/NPR Debate, Monday, March 19 at 9pm  in Portland, Oregon.
  • First Presidential Debate, Wednesday, October 3 at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado,
  • Vice-Presidential Debate, Thursday, October 11 at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky,
  • Second Presidential Debate, Tuesday, October 16 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, and
  • Third Presidential Debate, Monday, October 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida.

Times are indicated in Eastern Time.

Where’s Waldo’s Votes?

Yet another Republican caucus victory may be slipping out of Mitt Romney’s hands.

Following the Iowa caucus, Republican party officials declared Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) the winner by 8 votes. Soon irregularities came to light and a week later the Republican party finally admitted that Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) was the winner by 34 votes.

The vote in Maine seems like deja vu all over again. “Final results” are announced showing Romney with a narrow victory. This time Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) was the runner up trailing by 196.

Paul and Romney were the only two candidates to actively campaign in the Pine Tree State.

Just as in Iowa, the narrow result is in doubt because many important precincts were left out including all of Washington County and Waldo County (shown in green on this map of Maine) as well as Waterville in Kennebec County just West of Waldo.

This raises the obvious question: Where’s Waldo’s Votes?

Moreover, the result in question is the “Presidential Preference Straw Poll”. As in Iowa, this poll is really just for bragging rights. The actual nominee is selected by the state delegates who are determined at the end of the long caucus meeting. This generally gives an important.

Following Maine’s week-long caucus, David Taintor wrote Saturday night:

Paul, in a defiant speech, claimed the contest could essentially be called a tie, adding that “the revolution is just beginning.” He sounded confident that he will eventually win the majority of the state’s delegates.

According to Nate Silver:

The results of the presidential preference poll are nonbinding and serve mostly for vanity – delegates are selected through a separate vote at the caucus sites. Although this is also true in most other Republican caucus states, Maine’s delegate selection process is especially cumbersome and can potentially reward candidates whose supporters are more enthusiastic and who sit through the entire process, which can be hours long.

Mr. Paul’s campaign has predicted that it will win the most delegates from Maine regardless of the result of the straw poll.

Washington County in Eastern Maine had to postpone its caucus because of snow. Their vote will be held next Saturday, February 18.

According to the Bangor Daily News:

A number of communities were not included in that poll because they had not held their caucuses in time. Washington County Republicans postponed their caucuses, originally scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 11, because of a pending snowstorm and will now meet this Saturday. Other communities across the states also have caucuses scheduled for this weekend and later this month.

The omissions were not limited to counties whose votes were delayed:

Nearly all Waldo County towns held caucuses on Feb. 4 but those towns were blank in the results released by the state party. Additionally, Waterville held its caucuses ahead of time but were not included in the results.

Ron Paul’s campaign claims they may be able to catch up once the vote is complete.

Map of election results and schedule of upcoming primaries, caucuses and debates after the jump.

States Won
Santorum: IA CO MN MO
Romney: NH FL NV
Gingrich: SC
Paul: none
Uncertain: ME

Next Contests
Feb 28: AZ MI
Mar  3: WA
Mar  6: Super Tuesday
AK GA ID MA ND OH OK TN VT VA
Mar 10: WY KS VI GU
Mar 13: AL AS HI MS
Mar 17: MO
Mar 18: PR
Mar 20: IL
Mar 24: LA
Apr  3: MD DC WI TX?
Apr 24: CT DE NY PA RI
May  8: IN NC WV
May 15: NE OR
May 22: AR KY
Jun  5: CA MT NJ NM SD
Jun 26: UT

Next Debates

  • CNN Debate, Wednesday, February 22 at 8pm in Mesa, Arizona.
  • CNN Debate, Thursday, March 1 at 8pm in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • PBS/NPR Debate, Monday, March 19 at 9pm  in Portland, Oregon.
  • First Presidential Debate, Wednesday, October 3 at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado,
  • Vice-Presidential Debate, Thursday, October 11 at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky,
  • Second Presidential Debate, Tuesday, October 16 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, and
  • Third Presidential Debate, Monday, October 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida.

Times are indicated in Eastern Time.

Discussions of Wealth in America


If a man has an apartment stacked to the ceiling with newspapers, we call him crazy. If a woman has a trailer house full of cats, we call her nuts. But when people pathologically hoard so much cash that they impoverish the entire nation, we put them on the cover of Fortune magazine and pretend that they are role models.

Class warfare or simply paying your fair share?

Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) last night on CNN actually said:

I’m not concerned about the very poor.

to which conservative writer Jonah Goldberg (National Review) asks “What is wrong with this guy?” and Michelle Malkin quips “Let them eat food stamps.”

Meanwhile, Romney has not addressed the questions raised by Brian Beutler about possible offshore tax avoidance scheme raised on his on-the-record press call last week.

The briefing cleared up several questions, but left others unanswered – including one from TPM that will either exculpate Romney from allegations that he’s used investments in offshore entities to avoid U.S. taxes, or reveal that his campaign has not fully addressed those allegations.

On the call, Romney’s trustee pledged get back to us with this information. But despite multiple inquiries in the days since the conference call, the Romney camp has not set the record straight one way or another….

An IRA can’t finance investments with debt, and, in the United States, it can’t invest in entities that lever up, without being hit by the UBIT.

But if an IRA invests in an offshore fund, and that fund levers up, it can avoid the UBIT altogether. And at 35 percent that’s no small tax to get around, according to multiple tax experts.

When first questioned about this on the call, Romney’s trustee noted, “Governor Romeny’s IRA is not structured in the Caymans, it’s not located in the Cayman’s. It’s tax deferred just like your IRA, and my IRA.”

But in a followup, I asked if his IRA had invested in any offshore entities that would have made it subject to the UBIT if those entities were located on U.S. soil. Romney’s staff has yet to provide the answer.

They talk about class warfare - the fact of the matter is there has been class warfare for the last thirty years. It's a handful of billionaires taking on the entire middle-class and working-class of this country. And the result is you now have in America the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any major country on Earth and the worst inequality in America since 1928. How could anybody defend the top 400 richest people in this country owning more wealth than the bottom half of America, 150 million people? The other reason Romney pays a lower tax rate than most of us is that so-called “carried interest” (the commission charged by hedge fund managers) is treated as long-term capital gains and taxed at 15%. According to Mother Jones, Bain Capital

spent $300,000 between August 2007 and April 2008 lobbying the House and Senate on bills that threatened the carried interest loophole. Along with other private equity titans like Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Apollo Management, Bain and its ilk paid lobbying shops, public relations firms, and trade groups like Ogilvy and the Private Equity Growth Capital Council an estimated $15 million between January 2009 and April 2010 to convince lawmakers to keep the loophole alive. The force of those combined lobbying efforts kept the carried interest loophole wedged open, denying the federal government some $10 billion in revenues.