Tag Archives: Jon Huntsman

Santorum: Promoting Higher Education Is Snobbery?

It seems like, lately, I’ve been writing a decent amount about GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum. I really never thought I would be doing that. I figured everyone would notice he’s kind of an idiot and leave him out of the race. But, then again, pretty much all of the GOP candidates now seem either crazy, idiotic, or some wonderful, cubist mix of the two (That’d be Newt Gingrich.).

With Santorum being a serious contender longer, perhaps, than any other non-Mitt Romney candidate, he’s had more of a chance to say what’s on his mind.

And, y’know something? That just hasn’t been going terribly well for the GOP as a whole.

Now, before, I’ve talked about Santorum’s views on environmentalism, with some links to his views on women and gays, but he says outrageous stuff about those subjects all the time.

This time, I want to talk about his views on education.

See, President Barack Obama has been making the (clearly outrageous and controversial) statement that every American should go to college.

Santorum disagrees.

This actually started back long ago in January, when New Hampshire was on the line and Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry were still candidates. …it seems forever ago, doesn’t it? Anyway, at that time, Santorum mentioned that he felt Obama’s views on higher education was naught but “snobbery” and that he felt “outrage” at the suggestion. He brought the subject back up just recently at an event in Michigan, adding the angle of liberal indoctrination to his rant. When asked to clarify that point later, he doubled down, suggesting that college destroys faith.

Now, of course Obama has had a chance to respond before I have, but I had some Oscars to watch, daggum it. So, you may note that some of my points reflect the president’s. Be that as it may. To me, that just means Santorum is being doubly stupid.

Santorum’s biggest point against Obama’s desire to see every American go to college is the idea that college doesn’t fit for everyone. That some are better for more hands-on labor, something a four year college won’t necessarily assist with.

But Obama didn’t say “Every American should attend a four year, accredited university.” He said they should go to college. Basically, every American should continue their formal education beyond high school. Which can include trade school, vocational school and even community college. All of which are things that can help more formally teach someone “good with their hands” exactly how to use those hands. And often times, those schools are required by employers to ensure the potential employee knows what they’re doing. Even if it isn’t required, it still looks good on a resume.

Has Santorum not heard about how much more money people with college education make annually than people without it? Making money may not be the goal, but it certainly doesn’t hurt your average American.

But let’s ignore the money thing. College can also help you figure out what you actually want to do. With our primary and secondary educations failing us more and more as time goes by, higher education solidifies and expands knowledge that may have been skipped or rushed in primary and secondary schools. Further, with more focused classes, students are able to access more knowledge and find some field they may not have previously known even existed, much less wanted to be in.

When I came to college, I showed up knowing I was going to get a degree in Theatre and figuring I’d do Computer Science as well. I ended up trading CS for Philosophy, and I don’t regret it. A friend of mine was told by high school teachers he’d be terrible in the sciences. Now he’s getting his Master’s in Geology, has worked with NASA and in other countries… I don’t think he’s looking back any time soon. And as geology and philosophy weren’t classes available to us in high school, we never would have found our passions without college. (Mine’s still mostly theatre, but hey. Without college, I almost definitely wouldn’t have ever worked at a newspaper and gotten the journalism/writing bug.)

Further, a more informed, educated nation is a better nation. A nation of excellence, not stagnation. A nation that would actually understand the world around them and not have to be force fed by pundits and politicians.

What if that guy that’s great tinkering with cars could’ve become the next greatest architect or civil engineer? How would he necessarily know if all he did was some shop class in high school? It’s better for him AND America as a whole to get that higher education.

As for the indoctrination claim… I feel that’s insulting to conservative students and students of faith that make it through college without wavering. If access to knowledge makes them change their mind about what they used to think, then okay. How is that a bad thing? Without people changing their minds, the earth would still be thought of as flat. (And by some, it still is.) But for those of us that made it through college having a faith and keeping it, it’s a bit insulting for Santorum to insinuate that college can destroy it. That makes the people with faith sound weak. For goodness’ sake, I was a philosophy major. I knew teachers (never had them myself) that openly mocked the idea of belief in a god. And yet, somehow, I made it through still believing.

And liberals and atheists get “called out” and “mocked” just as much as every other religion and political ideology. The whole martyrdom thing is really just pathetic. Maybe it’s worse at some colleges than others, but I have a feeling that goes both ways… and that, really, it doesn’t matter much. If you believe something, you believe it in the face of adversity. If you believe something because you don’t know any better, however, you should be given the knowledge to feed your belief system.

Education is a precious commodity that needs to be encouraged. It is FAR from “snobbish” to promote the idea of better education for all Americans, for eliminating ignorance. Santorum, with his doctorate in law, ought to know that.

But, then again, maybe he’s counting on people being too ignorant to know what a terrible candidate he is.

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Mitt Romney: 2012’s John Kerry?

A disclaimer: I was in high school during the 2004 election. I was only just around that time coming into my own opinions on politics and social issues and the like. The main thing I remember about the 2004 election is “He forgot Poland!” and the “South Park” episode dedicated to pointing loudly and clearly to exactly how both candidates were terrible, terrible candidates.

That said, I really should remember more than that, but, come on. It was incumbent, gafferific George W. Bush versus Herman “John Kerry” Munster. …sorry, that’s a little insulting to the Munster family. Even Herman could be exciting from time to time.

I also remember a distinct lack of excitement. People, especially liberals, were not fond of W.’s last four years in office. There was so much anger, distaste and fervor directed toward him. Well, the fervor was directed toward getting him out of office. The country (particularly the liberal bit) was simply tired of lengthy wars in foreign countries under false pretenses, failing housing markets, unpopular sweeping legislatures like “No Child Left Behind” and the USA PATRIOT Act. Bush was on the way out. Nothing could keep him in.

…except for John Kerry.

Kerry somehow snagged the Democratic Party nomination. And I’ve heard Kerry speak as a senator. He can speak well and knowledgeably. He can be very convincing.

…as a senator. As a presidential candidate? He was about as exciting and compelling as a wet rag.

It was embarrassing. Here Bush was, doing what most Americans felt was everything wrong, not doing our economy any favors, not passing legislation anyone wanted, going on wild terrorist goose chases all over the Middle East, not getting done any of the things he said he’d get done… Practically handing the election to Democrats. And Democrats became lax, focused on a guy that could probably be moderate yet liberal enough to oust Bush, the best guy to get the job done… and he didn’t do it. He failed. It was, perhaps, a bit close… but he still failed.

And now, here we are in 2012. Obama vs. whoever the Republicans pick. So, y’know… Mitt Romney. Unless things get crazy in South Carolina and Florida.

People, especially conservatives, are not fond of Obama’s last four years in office. There is so much anger, distaste and fervor directed toward him. Well, the fervor is directed toward getting him out of office. The country (particularly the conservative bit) is simply tired of random wars in foreign countries they don’t care about (Libya) and no wars in the ones they do (Iraq), failing economy, unpopular sweeping legislatures like “Obamacare” and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Obama, in their eyes, is on the way out. Nothing could keep him in.

…except, maybe, the man they keep voting for, the man they think has the best shot at defeating Obama in the general election… John “Mitt Romney” Kerry. …sorry, that’s a little insulting to John Kerry. He may have been a flip-flopper, but even those people only have two sides they take on an issue. Romney takes every side.

Seriously, the parallel I’m seeing between these elections is staggering. Everyone continually votes for Romney, despite huge gaffes, an inability to take a side, an obvious pro-corporation defense that will ruin the average non-corporation person… he is not compelling, he is bland, he is boring, he cannot connect with people, he seems completely out of touch with the average person’s problems.

And they keep voting for him. Over and over again.

Just look at this video of Rick Santorum going to town on Mitt Romney over a Romney-supporting SuperPAC making an anti-Santorum ad. Seriously. Santorum made Romney look Santorum-faced. And listen to the crowd as Santorum verbally slaps Romney down. They’re going mad for it. They love seeing Romney get smacked down.

Why would they vote for a person they like seeing lose?

And Romney’s responses? Stuttering, faltering, halted, wary. Not presidential. Not prepared.

And while all this is happening, Obama can just tally up all the different ways he can knock Romney down. All the different ways Romney has failed as a conservative, as a presidential contender, as someone who cares about the nation as a whole.

Just take a glance at this video where former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, surprise surprise, goes to town on Romney. Ignoring how disappointed I am in Huntsman for supporting someone he basically says is bad for the country after dropping out of the race, listen to Romney’s responses.

He doesn’t want to be President of the United States. He wants to be President of the GOP, Defender of Wall Street, Corporation-in-Chief.

At least Obama has tried many times to make bipartisan efforts. Something that the House GOP have continually attempted to make impossible. Which, frankly, Huntsman nailed, I think. Like Huntsman said, I think everyone’s getting a bit tired of this partisan dickishness. It needs to stop.

Romney will only solidify it.

But, what does it matter? Romney can’t even get the people that are voting for him to do it because they want to. They just feel obligated. And, frankly, I think we’re looking at a repeat of 2004.

If Romney gets the nomination? Welcome back, Obama.

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Obama V. The Current GOP Lineup

Well, the first votes for the GOP presidential nominee have come and gone, and you’ve likely heard about the results. Mitt Romney squeaked past a last second Santorum surge from behind (eeeeeeeeew, gross) with an 8 vote win. Or a 29 vote win. Or a 12 vote loss. Whatever. Ron Paul gave a rather impressive showing as well, gathering 21.4% of the votes, only 3.1% less than both Rick Santorum and Romney. Newt Gingrich pulled off only 13.3%, but is not to be counted out as John McCain placed fourth in Iowa in 2008, as I recall. Rick Perry grabbed only 10.3% of the votes despite spending the most money in the state, and former Iowa straw poll winner Michele Bachmann grabbed a pitiful 5%, forcing her to pull out of the race.

And so, we are now left with 6 candidates people have heard of plus Buddy Roemer, since Jon Huntsman didn’t participate in the Iowa caucus and has been focusing fully on New Hampshire. And as the votes continue to crawl on, we’ll have fewer and fewer, until there is only one.

But who is it to be? People like Jon Stewart think that, despite the GOP’s almost adamant refusal to get fully behind Romney, that’s who they’ll end up with. Yet high up members of the Tea Party movement, who still hold a heavy grip, especially in the southern states like South Carolina, think Romney sucks a whole heck of a lot. Yet so many people think Romney has the best chance to beat Barack Obama in the general election. Allow me to break down the way I see things now, not in who will get the GOP vote, but in who will be best against Obama.

Starting with the least likely:

Rick Perry – Before you ask, I actually am including Roemer on this list. I think Perry has the worst chance of any candidate to win against Obama. Why? He has shown a complete lack of ability to harness the excitement his own party had for him, has become the king of gaffes the way Joe Biden could only have ever dreamed, and can’t seem to choose between the image of serious man and drunk frat guy. With Bachmann dropping out and Cain gone, Perry is the most caricatured ridiculous GOP candidate still on the list.

Buddy Roemer – Unfortunately, I have to put Roemer here due to the simple fact that he is complete obscure. Even if he did manage to gather enough last second (like, seriously last second) popularity amongst the GOP to get the nomination, he’s been too obscure to get the general election excited about him. I think he’d actually debate really well against Obama. But he has a lot of liberal tendencies that I don’t think would allow enough of the GOP to want to vote for him.

Newt Gingrich – Okay. This guy is kind of a giant jerk. And a bit of a clown. He may have sustained a surge that granted him some spotlight, but he wasn’t really gracious about it. Not to mention, the ideas he wants to institute are, frankly, crazyballs. Even many in the GOP thought his best two out of three application of Constitutionality was insane. And liberals want to keep him far away from the White House, which would gather up a powerful amount of votes against him.

Now, these three are actually far behind. The next four are much closer to each other than these three and depend on several factors.

Rick Santorum – Not a candidate anyone took seriously before… well, this week, he is kind of like a Rick Perry that doesn’t gaffe like a crazy man. He’s got the social conservative values the GOP adores so much and is willing to apply them with extreme prejudice. Now, he’s on the bottom of this because, again, liberals want him far and away from the White House. No one with a liberal leaning wants a Santorum presidency. If you’re disappointed in Obama for not doing more, Santorum would be like anti-what-Obama-promised. He’d make sure EVERY liberal ideal was scorch earthed, or die trying.

Mitt Romney – Let’s face it. This guy is the 2012 GOP John Kerry. He’s boring and says absolutely NOTHING of value. Even all the hate the GOP has for a second Obama term would not garner enough excitement in Romney being president. Romney has said exactly everything that he thinks any voter pretty much ever may possibly want to hear at some point. The only thing I know for sure about a Romney presidency is that the Occupy Wall Street movement would probably grow like crazy, because Romney would make the 1% so far away from everyone else, it’s really quite sad. Very pro-Wall Street, this guy, but that’s really the only thing I know about him.

Jon Huntsman – Yeah. I’m putting Huntsman above Romney. People can actually get a bit excited about Huntsman. Plus, with Huntsman’s slightly larger amount of open-mindedness, he could more easily court a slightly more liberal vote. This is something the GOP seems to fail to realize as a whole: Liberals are fair game for them. While his approval is getting a last second surge as unemployment drops and he stands up to a rather annoying Congress, Obama has still disappointed many liberals by being a bit too friendly with Wall Street and a bit too lacking in the chutzpa when standing up to a belligerent Congress. There are liberals that could be talked away from the Democratic vote. Why do you think Democrats have blue dogs? There are fewer slightly liberal GOP members than slightly conservative Democrats, from what I’ve seen, especially evident during the health care battle. Further, Huntsman has been pretty consistent with his message, while Romney has yet to have one that isn’t “Beat Obama.”

Ron Paul – Those keeping score knew he’d be up here. Yes, I feel Ron Paul actually has the best chance of beating Obama. Why? Because he courts the liberal vote like crazy. Because he’s a libertarian. He is consistently, 100% for an actual small government, one that stays out of citizens’ personal lives as well as the market, making him very much for many of the things most GOP voters claim to be for. Sure, some of that small government stuff means they lose a bit of their moral institutionalization, like by seeing an end to the war on drugs, but Ron Paul has the easiest time grabbing both GOP and Democrat votes. He has a lot of the same pull on young voters that candidate Obama had, and they were a big help in winning Obama the election. Sure, some people think his ideas are a bit crazy, but he could be tempered by Congress and the courts. Sure, it’d mean Congress will have to DO things, but the voters might like that idea.

What it all boils down to is this: Can GOP voters rally behind someone who is closer to center than they would perhaps like, someone who appeals to the disenchanted liberals and the angry conservatives alike? And can Obama remind people that, while his presidency hasn’t been perfect, he has scored some big victories that would likely be immediately lost with pretty much any of the GOP candidates, and any good (from a liberal’s perspective) gained in the last 4 years would be completely lost with a GOP presidency?

The beginnings of socialized healthcare, the repeal of DADT, the removal of troops from Iraq… versus the recent law of indefinite detention, the bailouts and the drones.

Obama’s had his disappointing moments, and still does… but I think, if we re-elect a better Congress, Obama will have a better showing in a second term than in his first. Now that he has a better idea of what he’s doing.

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Primaries In States Of Contention

As I mentioned in my last blog talking about the most recent of the 40 billion GOP presidential candidate debates, Jon Huntsman was boycotting the debate in favor of doing a town hall meeting in New Hampshire. Why would Huntsman risk losing media coverage and expressing his views in a national forum? Because Nevada is one of the states, like Florida, that is trying to move its primary’s date further up on the calendar.

In case you were unaware, the first four states have been Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina when it comes to GOP primaries for as long as I can recall. (I admit not being very politically aware only a few presidents back, so I don’t know if my personal memory means diddly in this situation.)

Now, why would the date of a state’s primary matter? Does it really affect anything if a different state gets to go first?

Oh yes, my friend. It changes everything.

See, when it comes to primaries, you basically only have to win the first 4 or 5 states. Win most of those, and you’re likely to see the rest of the states fall into place for you. Place third or fourth (or far lower, since we’ve got every candidate that has ever said the word “president” running this time) in two or three of those first states, and you might as well just quit. It isn’t because of the votes those states hold or anything. It’s about a sense of power, how viable a candidate random people from different regions of the United States see you, et cetera. (Note: Each of those first four states represent a different area of American geography. Nevada for the West, Iowa for the Midwest, South Carolina for the South and New Hampshire for the North.)

So, how do you win the votes in a state? Easy.

Spend every last dollar you’ve got in that state.

Candidates that desperately want to win a state that may be in contention (and during a primary, every state is pretty much going to be in contention) will spend a load of money visiting the state, buying ads, holding conferences and town hall meetings and rallies, et cetera. States that are already in the bag get pretty much no love. (Note how Obama and McCain didn’t even bother with my home state of Alabama, since we’re pretty much dead if we aren’t red.)

This, of course, means that every four years or so, Iowa, South Carolina, New Hampshire and Nevada see a bunch of money from candidates flow their way. And with the economy being in the state (haha, it’s funny because it’s the same word) that it’s in, other states aren’t so keen in watching all the money flow their way. So they’re moving their dates up to try to get in on the cash cow that is election time fervor.

And that means that some candidates are going to do silly things like boycott those other naughty states trying to budge their way closer to January. Because they’ve already spent a lot of money in the traditional four states, don’t feel like they have enough money to really start up campaigning hard in the other states they’re likely to lose, and need to “make a moral stand” so people can see that they’re “a person of character.”

…maybe I’m being a bit too cynical, but I fail to see how.

Really, this is one of those moronic things that shouldn’t be an issue but has become an issue because people don’t like it when the game they play (that’s politics, for those not paying attention) becomes more difficult to rig.

The best, fairest solution for everyone (though the candidates and the traditional first four states will whine) would be to have the states switch every 4 years. Cut things into 5 different regions of 10 states a piece. Have the first 5 dates preset. Every four years, a different state in the region of 10 states gets to be one of the first 5 states with a primary. Randomize which region gets which primary and rotate the 10 states. Everybody eventually gets equal shares of the money (or as close as it can get, really).

Seriously. This shouldn’t be an issue. This shouldn’t be a thing to have to take stances on. This just makes the fact that politics is a giant board game for politicians to move pieces across more obvious and more despicable. And annoying. Maybe one day we can get past all this annoying crap.

…woah, I got lightheaded there for a second. Sorry, whatever I just said is probably a crazy idea and should be ignored since it can never happen. Man, idealism gives some terrible vertigo.

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Semi-Live Blogging Of The Live Blogging Of The Debate

You know what time it is, right? Today was another GOP presidential candidate debate! So it’s time for me to read some random other person’s live blog of the event and comment on the stuff they say happened! Tonight’s lucky winner of the “You’re the first link I found that was live blogging the event” raffle is Boston.com! I’m going to be treating THIS debate response like I do my “Second First Time Viewer” segments, a real time reaction to the event as it goes on.

Today’s debate was hosted by CNN (moderated by Anderson Cooper) and held at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jon Huntsman excused himself from tonight’s debate to hold a town hall in New Hampshire, citing ire over Nevada’s push to overtake New Hampshire’s early primary date. In other words, Huntsman has given up on winning in Nevada and hopes to garner some major points in New Hampshire, not to mention he’s probably annoyed because he hasn’t spent any money in Nevada since candidates always spend the big bucks in the first three or so states with primaries/caucuses, which has always been the same. That is a bundle of joy for a later conversation. It seems like Rick Santorum has decided to stick around for this debate despite saying he would boycott it just like Huntsman is. I guess when you’re going to lose and no one cares about your political aspirations, no one cares if you flip flop, either.

…man, watching all this political stuff lately has turned up my cynical-o-meter. Is it wrong of me to think Santorum telling everyone he’s flying the red eye to see his daughter who had surgery today is a ploy to garner sympathy votes?

Michele Bachmann seems to be of the opinion that liberals want the government to tax all the money. Which simply isn’t true. Liberals pay taxes, and I don’t think any of us like the idea of a 90% tax.

It’s interesting to see the other candidates’ positions on Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan, which as brief and simple to explain as it is, has caught the eye of the media craze. But Cain is now inviting Americans to do their own math? That’s not a good tactic. That either means you’re hiding something OR it means that you’re telling Americans to think for themselves. Which isn’t a popular stance nowadays.

Personally, I feel like the 9-9-9 plan is very much too simplistic, but I can’t really make a truly informed opinion on it because taxes be crazy. But Rick Perry does have a good point about states that currently have no sales tax suddenly having to be taxed. That sounds like big government, which most Republicans aren’t supposed to like in an economic fashion. I bet Ron Paul hates the idea. And looks like I was right.

Man, I do believe this live blog is right. The first question did seem to point at Cain, but people aren’t so much offering their own solutions (except Ron Paul, of course) as much as they are dog piling Cain’s plan as bad.

Poor Newt Gingrich. I think SNL has him right, he doesn’t actually want to be president. He’s just there to give kudos and talking points. And Gingrich is right. Cain’s plan would be a hard sell. So is any plan to alter taxes whatsoever, it seems. At least, it seems that way nowadays.

And Bachmann seems to want to be rid of taxes entirely. Why doesn’t this surprise me? Taxes aren’t fun, sure, but they are necessary.

Perry is saying the unemployment rate is at 9%? …I swear it was around 11% not so long ago. Wouldn’t that mean President Obama hasn’t been the job killer everyone claims?

It’s interesting that the GOP is touting energy independence and exploration now… what happened to “Drill, baby, drill”?

Aw, the Ricks are fighting. Let’s just let it devolve into a good old Battle Royale, shall we? It’d make good TV and make all the idiocy end more quickly.

This whole “Romneycare” vs. “Obamacare” thing creates an interesting dilemma in the GOP ideologies. Anything socialist or even remotely close to socialist is seen as abhorrent to them, but they’re also big on state’s rights… and Massachusetts as a state apparently likes Mitt Romney’s health care plan. Maybe the dislike for individual mandates and socialism outweighs the whole “That’s what the state wants” philosophy.

The Boston.com live blog is making a good point I hadn’t noticed before. The candidates are actually debating in longer, more full terms against one another. Cooper’s letting them go at one another. Possibly because the next debate isn’t for another three weeks. Small miracles.

Y’know, one of the biggest problems Ron Paul faces is actually his purist political ideals. Everyone knows exactly what his response will be to most every issue. So when he does have something new to say, not too many people are paying attention. Doesn’t help that most people don’t seem to like what he says…

Hm… I don’t know what “loser-pays” insurance laws are… but I get this weird feeling that I wouldn’t like them.

Hm. Strange tactic for Perry to blame illegal immigrants for high rates in Texas health insurance, since immigration is one of the areas people feel Perry has been soft. And of course there’s health care in Houston, but do you realize how big Texas is, Perry? Not everyone can truck it to Houston for good health care.

Apparently, Perry and Romney are yelling at one another now. Perry is probably very desperate to regain his status as top dog and wants to show he can fight. …oh, yay, it’s no longer about the issues. I admit, this issue-based debate lasted longer than I thought it would.

Uh-oh, Romney touched Perry! How many news outlets are going to carry that picture with a title using the word “assault” tomorrow, I wonder?

Well, the debate seems to have been reigned back in and is targeting Cain’s electric fence joke from before. Hopefully, people won’t chat too long about that.

A full fence would cost $30 billion, eh? Sounds like wasteful spending. Wasteful spending that most GOP candidates seem to want. Which I find odd.

Bachmann wants a double-fence? Quick, to AutoTunes!

…and she wants to make English the government’s official language. …why? What is the point of bothering with something so massively trivial as that? Seriously.

More immigration fighting, with Perry trying to fight against people viewing he likes having illegals around by pointing the finger at Romney, who he claims hired an illegal.

Paul raises a good point (which he seems to do every so often). If we were more economically stable, the immigration debate might not be so contentious.

Woah, what? The live blog says Cain sidestepped a question about whether the 14th Amendment should be repealed. Who the heck asked that question?

Ooh, Perry is getting annoyed at Cooper now. I’m not sure that all this angry reaction stuff will be in Perry’s favor. Of course, Cooper is one of them “dern liberals,” so…

I’m admittedly glad that none of the candidates seem to be for repealing the 14th Amendment. Or, at least, won’t say if they are before they check with pollsters and make sure that’s a good thing.

Paul once again gets slightly shafted, being the first against just having the federal government pick a state to dump nuclear waste in, and then having Perry give Romney the credit for the idea. Though I don’t know if I understand Perry’s desire to have states compete over having nuclear waste. I mean, I guess the states get paid for it…

Okay, I had to look up the TARP program to remember what it was. It was signed into law by George W. Bush a few months before he left office. …so, why is Bachmann blaming Obama for TARP? Oh, I forget. Obama is the bogeyman.

I’m disappointed that the Boston.com live blog didn’t cover the candidates’ reactions to the Occupy Wall Street movement. That’s something current that interests me.

Religion discussion was rather brief… and far less inflammatory than I thought it might end up.

Hah! Love Cooper trying to get Bachmann on track… have fun herding those cats, friend.

It’s interesting that Paul is for cutting defense. I think that’s one of the things that makes a lot of GOP members wary of him.

And on foreign aid, some candidates are very much for having none whatsoever, it seems. Not so unsurprising, but it seems to conflict with the idea of America being the world’s police. I think that’s one of the things I’ve been noticing over and over again in these debates: Massive conflict in the ideologies.

Bachmann says no negotiating with terrorists ever. Here’s my problem with that “never ever” stance: It leads to the deaths of innocents. It’s a very cold, harsh stance devoid of any humanity. It may have its pluses, but it certainly has its minuses as well.

The live blog is putting up some of the CNN rush transcript from the more catty segments of the debate. And apparently, Cooper thought it’d be okay to be snarky. That man has some serious balls.

Ah. Santorum won a swing state that could tank Obama. Clearly, since he can take Pennsylvania away from Obama, people should vote for him. Not because he’d be a good president or anything.

Romney is pointing to Perry supporting Al Gore as a bad thing against George W. Bush. …do conservatives still think W. was a good president? I’m curious.

Cain makes his case for why he should be president… and I don’t really know who I want the GOP to nominate. Cain might have a chance. Then again, people might think he has no clue as to what he’s talking about.

Aw, Cooper tried to shut out Bachmann and Gingrich. Naughty. Bachmann’s probably right, she is the most different from Obama… being that she’s a crazy person… and Gingrich tries to say people should vote for him because he’d go toe-to-toe in legitimate debates. …while I’d love to see legitimate debates, I don’t think skill in debating should be the big reason people vote for you.

And it looks like Paul got shafted. A lot. Again. I may not be a Ron Paul supporter (or a supporter of anyone in the GOP), but that guy gets treated like crap a lot of times, it seems. Not that he seems to care, he’s going to keep on trucking. Like the GOP’s own little Ralph Nader or Alan Keyes.

And that’s the debate. Some issues to talk about more in depth, some media flubs, some serious ire between Romney and Perry… we’ll see later how all that turns out, I reckon. But for now, for me, that’s all I’ve got. I’m sure to let this thing fuel me for a while, though.

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You Disagree? I Call Treason!

I’ve been trying to think of a good analogy for the current GOP presidential battlefield, and I think I’ve finally landed on one.

It’s like a bunch of monkeys trying to see which one can fling the shiniest, most spectacular handful of crap onto the other candidates.

Last night, thanks to not having cable and having really horrendous internet (less than 4 years ago, we still had dial-up…), I was forced to limit my exposure to the CNN/Tea Party Express GOP Presidential Candidates Debate to their live blog of the event.

…rereading that, my thanks seems sarcastic. My apologies. Because, reading this live blog, I really am quite thankful I was forced to limit my exposure.

With some interaction from Twits (Isn’t that what they call Twitter users? I kid, no problem with all you wonderful people.), the blog was given a slightly more interesting flavor than the debate perhaps had. At the start of the blog, one person tweets, “I wonder how many African American, Hispanic & Asians Tea Partiers are at the #CNNTeaParty debate. Is ethnic diversity their cup of tea?”

Doubtful. But you know what apparently is their cup of tea? Calling everyone traitors for disagreeing, and booing anyone that does anything other than march illegal immigrants straight back where they came from.

Here’s a nice tweet from @TeamRickPerry: “@GovernorPerry: I simply want to get America working again and make Washington, DC as inconsequential in your life as I can.”

Wait, when did this happen? Did Tea Partiers and Republicans change their minds? Because, last I recall, they want to make sure government stays the heck out of your way and doesn’t do anything to affect your life, especially like taking away Social Security and Medicare.

…because those aren’t government programs or anything, right? Oh, and don’t forget, keep the government the heck out of our lives, unless we’re illegal immigrants, gays, Muslims, or someone other than a middle class WASP.

But I digress. Reading through the blog last night, I saw two mentions of a word that, frankly, has no business appearing in proper political discourse: Treason.

Now, some of you may not know this, but the U.S. Constitution actually defines the way America is to apply treason. In Article 3, Section 3, the Constitution says “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.”

So, you’re only a traitor if you levy war against the U.S. or adhere to the United States’ enemies, giving them aid and comfort. Now, we tend to ignore the “aid and comfort” bit for people like doctors and such, but you get the point. Also, two people have to see the overt act you commit that is treasonous. It’s this definition that screwed over Thomas Jefferson’s drive to get his former Vice President Aaron Burr convicted of treason.

Now, allow me to quote the CNN live blog’s mentions of the word “treason.”

A question from CNN: “Do you agree with Perry, who came close to accusing Fed chief Bernanke of treason?”

And a comment from Huntsman (Come on, guy! You were supposed to be the sane one!): “For Rick to say that you can’t secure the border is I think pretty much a treasonous comment. We can secure the border through the use of fences… we can get it done.”

This, by the by, was the Perry comment CNN was referring to: “If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I dunno what y’all would do to him in Iowa but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treasonous in my opinion.”

Yes! Because threats of physical violence due to a disagreement in fiscal policy is the way to solve everything! I can’t understand how the code duello ever went out of style. And Bernanke’s possibly fallacious economic practices definitely constitute levying war against the United States, right? …wait, something’s off there.

And then, there’s Huntsman’s comment. Spurred on by a thread of conversation about illegal immigrants that led last debate’s most applauded individual to be this debate’s most booed, Huntsman finds anyone of the opinion that we can’t build our very own Southern-American Great Wall of Keep the ^&%! Out because it’s just plain unrealistic in perhaps its effectiveness and wasteful spending… well, they’re clearly traitors!

…because, what, not building a wall is giving comfort and aid to our enemies? Our enemies being the people that want to experience a government we seem so keen to force down everyone’s throats in the Middle East?

Strangely enough, Governor Perry is a bit more lenient on immigrants than other states, and he governs the state with the biggest amount of real estate lying next to Mexico. Unlike Arizona and Alabama, he doesn’t have a ridiculous law that won’t even allow you giving a car ride to an illegal immigrant (So how are the cops going to bring them to jail?). In fact, Perry said last night, “In the state of Texas if you’re working and pursuing citizenship, you pay in-state tuition and it doesn’t matter how your last name sounds.”

Wow. A seemingly tolerant viewpoint in a seemingly intolerant party. And the responses to that were one guy calling him a traitor and Michele Bachmann saying, “That’s not the American way.”

What’s not the American way, Bachmann? Accepting immigrants from all over, selling our country as the bastion of hope, where anyone can come from anywhere and anything and have everything if they just work hard? If I said America should take in other countries’ tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of their teeming shores, would you say that isn’t the American way?

The Tea Party, from what I understood, was supposed to be this sort of movement back to America’s glory days or something. They’re named after one of the biggest symbols of the conflict from before the Revolutionary War, they tout adherence to the Constitution, they spout out their connections to the Founding Fathers…

Yet, instead, this party’s leaders seem to continually get history incorrect and then adamantly stand by their flawed recollections, then toss about big scary words defined in the Constitution with no regard for what they actually mean, the abject horror that they’re supposed to represent, simply tossing those words about to stand out in a crowd and seem patriotic next to the person that may not be the Vitruvian Republican.

It’s a bunch of chimps flinging freakin’ diamond-studded crap. Don’t look too close, though. You’ll find even the diamonds are fake.

I’ve got far more to rant about from that debate, but I’ll stop for now. Winner in my book? Herman Cain for being the one guy that didn’t seem to stoop to name calling and stuck by his message, as well as being the one guy to come close to the truth. When asked what he’d bring to the White House, he said, “A sense of humor, Americans are too uptight.” Too true. But maybe you could bring someone that knows what they’re talking about, because it’s really seeming like no one in the GOP race right now does.

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The GOP Blinded Me With… Science? And More

In a bizarre twist, I am in fact posting TWICE in one day!

*cue sounds of shock, which strangely sound like sounds of indifference*

I ran across this lovely little NPR collection of sayings by the current apparent front-runners of the GOP presidential nomination. These statements, in this case, specifically pertain to each candidate’s view of science as it pertains to climate change and evolution.

Let me run down my favorites.

Michele Bachmann on climate change: “Carbon dioxide is not a harmful gas; it is a harmless gas … And yet we’re being told that we have to reduce this natural substance and reduce the American standard of living to create an arbitrary reduction in something that is naturally occurring in the Earth.”

I wonder if she’d find carbon dioxide harmful if she were stuck in a room filled with it. Naturally occurring does not mean we should make more, nor does it mean “totally safe, bro!”

When asked if he regretted appearing next to then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in a campaign to end global warming called “We Can Solve It,” Newt Gingrich said: “Oh, sure … I was trying to make a point that we shouldn’t be afraid to debate the left, even on the environment. That was obviously misconstrued, and that’s one of the things I probably won’t do again.”

Can someone say backpedaling?

Rick Perry says: “I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling in to their projects. I think we’re seeing it almost weekly or even daily, scientists who are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change.”

I can’t say I’ve heard of many scientists at all questioning man-made global warming. Further, exactly how much money do you think these scientists get?

Rick Santorum (who is still in the race for reasons I can’t comprehend) says: “I believe the Earth gets warmer, and I also believe the Earth gets cooler. And I think history points out that it does that, and that the idea that man, through the production of CO2 — which is a trace gas in the atmosphere, and the man-made part of that trace gas is itself a trace gas — is somehow responsible for climate change is, I think, just patently absurd when you consider all the other factors, El Niño, La Niña, sunspots, moisture in the air. … To me, this is an opportunity for the left to create — it’s really a beautifully concocted scheme because they know that the Earth is gonna cool and warm.”

Exactly what is the goal of the scheme, Ricky? To get the government to waste money? Is that what the GOP thinks the goal of the Democratic party is?

Now, onto evolution!

Michele Bachmann thinks: “I support intelligent design. What I support is putting all science on the table and then letting students decide. I don’t think it’s a good idea for government to come down on one side of scientific issue or another, when there is reasonable doubt on both sides.”

…except that intelligent design isn’t science, Michele. Not even close.

Rick Perry says: “I am a firm believer in intelligent design as a matter of faith and intellect, and I believe it should be presented in schools alongside the theories of evolution.”

…and why is that, exactly? Personally, I think the Aztec creation story should be taught if any intelligent design ideas are to be taught.

And good old Santorum says: “I believe in Genesis 1:1 — God created the heavens and the earth. … If Gov. Huntsman wants to believe that he is the descendant of a monkey, then he has the right to believe that — but I disagree with him on this and the many other liberal beliefs he shares with Democrats. For Jon Huntsman to categorize anyone as ‘anti-science’ or ‘extreme’ because they believe in God is ridiculous.”

Now, here’s the fun part. Mitt Romney, one of the legitimate front-runners, is actually on record saying things that are not exactly anti-science. They sound almost non-committal, but that’s a bit better than the flat denial of the science. As for what Santorum was referencing…

Jon Huntsman has this to say about the GOP and science: “I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.”

And this: “The minute that the Republican Party becomes the … anti-science party, we have a huge problem. We lose a whole lot of people that would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012.”

I’ve mentioned before that I didn’t know much about Huntsman, so I couldn’t make much judgment on him… but I like the cut of this guy’s jib.

And he’s not the only one that’s been saying things I like. Recently, Jon Stewart had one of the GOP presidential candidates on his show. If you didn’t see the episode, you’ve likely never heard of the guy. He only started running recently, and he hasn’t been invited to any of the debates.

Former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer is running for President. He said, on “The Daily Show,” “our electoral system is sick. You can’t tackle the jobs problem, the tax problem, the budget problem till you tackle the root- MONEY and POLITICS. [Politicians] spend their time getting big checks from big special interests. These special interests… corporates… write the tax code, it doesn’t work for America, jobs are being stolen from Americans, being given away in unfair trade and no one does anything. You know why? American companies have never made more money but they really don’t give a damn about rest of America.”

All I can say is bravo, Buddy. It’d be great to have politicians get elected that are willing to actually tackle this problem. It’s unfortunate that most politicians never will tackle this problem because this is where their big money comes from. Corruption kinda sucks, don’t you think?

If you want to see the entire interview, you can see it here. He seems like a genuine guy, and I hope he gets more media coverage… but the cable news seems to have already decided who the primary will be between, as the recent debate may have clued you in on. I’ll probably talk on at least one of the points of that tomorrow.

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