GM Head Discredits Romney

Last week, Mitt Romney tried to structure his sentences in such a way that he could give himself credit for the success of the automotive industry bailout.

Not surprisingly, liberals and progressives jumped all over that complete revisionist history.

What is surprising, however, is that the head of General Motors, CEO Dan Akerson, agrees with the liberals and progressives.  He confirmed on CBS This Morning that it was indeed the bailout saved the auto industry and, in particular, it saved GM.  As a result, GM is now the #1 auto manufacturer not only in the U.S. but also in the world.

Of particular note is the discrediting of Romney’s statements, which is particularly satisfying given that Akerson paraphrases Ronald Reagan.  When Charlie Rose asks about Romney’s position on the bailout, Akerson responds:

“… [T]here was a wise man named Ronald Reagan, who once said ‘There’s no limit to what a man can accomplish if he’s willing to share the credit.'”

(Reagan’s original quote is: “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.”)

Mitt’s Business Acumen

Back in January, before Mitt Romney was the presumptive Republican nominee, I posted a tweet about the applicability of his business skills to the role of President:

I also published a more detailed (and only slightly less snarky) post on this blog on the same subject. While I was being just a tad sarcastic to make a point, my basic premise was deadly serious.
The Obama campaign today released a six-minute video that makes the same point a little more concretely, detailing the real-world consequences of Romney’s business philosophy while at Bain Capital:

There are lots of us in the middle class who are relieved (a) that Obama and his team are now campaigning in earnest, and (b) that they’re taking on this issue head-on.

Romney and his surrogates have been claiming that they don’t want to talk about social issues like women’s health and marriage equality (even though they’re usually the ones who are bring those subjects up). They keep claiming that their campaign forte is the economy.

Judging by today’s campaign video, it looks like Obama is welcoming that challenge.

North Carolina’s True Colors

Every now and then, I meet someone from North Carolina or one of the other Southern states who is sheepish or contrite about their state’s reputation.  They seem to go out of their way to change the perception that folks from other parts of the country have about them.

Their countenance is akin to the embarrassed or apologetic attitude that many Americans displayed when traveling abroad during the Bush presidency. “We’re not all like that,” people would feel obligated to say when presenting an American passport.

Tonight’s resounding passage of the anti-gay Amendment 1 to North Carolina’s state constitution (with a 20% margin) is just another example of those things that reasonable people end up apologizing for.

I try to have empathy for those well-meaning folks in those places that perhaps aren’t collectively so well-meaning. But it’s difficult for the rest of us to comprehend when we witness things like:

  • “Religious” leaders who advocate violence against a child if the child is perceived to be gay or lesbian
  • Videos of a redneck shooting at his neighbor’s Amendment 1 lawn sign
  • Continued defense of Confederacy, along with unapologetic display of the Confederate flag

And now:

  • Enthusiastic passage of a constitutional amendment not only to ensure that an already exclusionary law can’t be rescinded but also to take away more rights previously provided to some of its citizens

The bottom line is that if people in the South don’t want to be stereotyped as peckerwoods, hillbillies, hicks, or rednecks, they have to stop acting like peckerwoods, hillbillies, hicks, and rednecks.

The good people of the South need to marginalize the folks who believe and behave like this.  Places like North Carolina can’t be changed by outsiders.  They can only be changed from within.  Only by the well-meaning people in these places speaking up, taking action, and educating their fellow citizens can the narrow-minded legacy of the Jesse Helms era be erased.  And until critical mass is achieved, the rest of the nation (and the world) is going to continue thinking of those places where you live as being backwards.  Because, by the standards of the rest of the world, they are.

Mind the Gap

In a poll released today, Public Policy Polling shows Barack Obama with a 7-point lead over Mitt Romney in the state of Ohio, a swing state in the fall election and one that has been considered a “must-win” for any presidential candidate.   This is immediately after a campaign push by Romney in Ohio aimed at chipping away at Obama’s lead.

Obama leads Romney 50-43. That 7 point margin is unchanged from late January when he was ahead by a 49-42 spread. Obama also led 50-41 when PPP polled the state in early November so this makes three polls in a row over the span of six months with him leading by 7-9 points. Obama certainly looks like the favorite in Ohio at this point.

This seems to be another example of how voters don’t see Romney as either likeable or believable. The more voters learn about him, the less they want him to be president.

Read the Public Policy Polling news release here:

Santorum Caves In

News outlets are reporting that Rick Santorum, arguably the most outspoken and critical of Mitt Romney’s primary rivals, has sent an email to his supporters endorsing the Romney campaign.

Let’s not forget that it was less than two months ago that Santorum made the following statement about Romney:

“You win by giving people the opportunity to see a different vision for our country, not someone who’s just going to be a little different than the person in there. If you’re going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk with what may be the Etch-A-Sketch candidate of the future.”

Read more:

Sarkozy Is History

Nicholas Sarkozy, who has been at the head of a country with an austerity plan and an unemployment rate greater than 10%, has just been voted out, in favor of Socialist François Hollande. The ramifications of this change in leadership and policy may be far-reaching.

Many prominent economists blame the austerity measures put in place by the Sarkozy government for the failure of the French economy to recover. And yet those measures are almost identical to the GOP’s so-called economic recovery plan.

While it’s not likely that any drastic economic improvements will happen instantaneously with the change in leadership in France, it will certainly be something to keep an eye on in the coming months.  And there’s no doubt that what happens in France will affect economies around the world.

Read more:

Biden Endorses Marriage Equality

The Vice President, in an appearance on today’s Meet the Press, became the highest ranking U.S. official ever to have endorsed marriage quality. He described himself as “absolutely comfortable” with gay marriage.

The right wing is undoubtedly going to twist Biden’s words around and have a field day with this, but Biden describes the issue in the most understandable way possible.

Desperation Politics in New York

It’s probably risky making a judgment about something that’s going on 3,000 miles away. But that’s never stopped me before.
I’m referring to the governor’s race in the state of New York. What it looks like from the other coast is a multi-faceted story of desperation.

On the one hand, it looks like the Republican candidate — Carl Paladino — is engaging in some pathetically desperate moves to garner a few votes and possibly inch forward in the polls. His event yesterday during which he rubbed homophobic elbows with Orthodox Jews is only one such shameless attempt to align himself with people with whom he seems to have nothing else in common but their mutual distaste for gay people. I’m sure his anti-gay invective appealed to that particular audience. But I’m guessing that these so-called religious leaders were not recipients of his racist emails. Did they get to see the horse/human sexual interaction?

Then there’s the desperation of the Republican party. They’re clearly attempting to balance their undying desire to reclaim political power against the very real truth that the candidate that voters chose in the primary is extreme even for them. That part is kind of predictable, but it’s still fun to watch.

The part that’s not so much fun is the poll numbers. Cuomo still has a pretty commanding lead, according to just about every poll out there. But somewhere in the vicinity of 37% of New York voters are still supportive of Paladino. What kind of desperation leads voters to support someone as hateful and out of control as this candidate? And what does that say about the voters of New York? Do 37% of them truly share his extremist views? Or is that 37% of voters simply are willing to overlook the kind of bigotry and insanity that this man presents to us? Either way, it’s pretty scary.

We always hear politicians say how much they “trust the intelligence of the American people.” (It’s kind of a standard answer when a candidate is behind in the polls and they can’t think of anything else to hang their hopes on.) This election clearly brings that trust into question.

Some Prop H8te Afterthoughts

It’s been remarkable to see the outcry over the last several days about the passage in California of Proposition 8. For gays and lesbians (and those who love them), the elation that we ought to be feeling wholeheartedly along with our fellow Americans is tempered with the knowledge that the same election that ushered in a new era in politics and government also stripped us of rights that other citizens have.

For me, it’s like deja vu all over again. In 1992, I had just moved to Colorado about a month prior to the November election. The relief we felt knowing that Bill Clinton would soon be in the White House was overshadowed by the understanding that Amendment 2 had also passed in Colorado. Amendment 2 was put on the Colorado ballot and funded by the same hyper-religious zealots that got Prop 8 on the ballot in Colorado. (The California initiative has the dubious distinction of having buckets of money poured into it by the Mormons, who apparently left behind the concept of separation of church and state in Missouri somewhere. And based on election returns this year, we’d be hard pressed to find the concept alive in Missouri today.) Amendment 2 stated that non-discrimination laws that included sexual orientation previously passed by several Colorado municipalities would be deemed illegal.

In the wake of Amendment 2’s passage, the GLBT community in Colorado was stung, taken almost completely off guard by the amendment’s passage. There had previously been a belief, because gays and lesbians were largely able to create pleasant lives for themselves in Colorado, that the work of liberation was complete. It was a giant wake-up call to know that 54% of one’s fellow citizens thought it was alright to be fired or to lose one’s home simply because one was gay or lesbian.

The community took to the streets, held candlelight vigils, organized weekend workshops, bickered about whether a boycott would be helpful or harmful, and did everything in our power to undo the injustice that was done by the election.

Sound familiar?

The lesson to be learned, I think, is that the legal fight to overthrow Amendment 2 wound its way through various courts up to the United States Supreme Court and was finally overturned. But that was nearly four years after its original passage.

I completely support the Prop 8 protest marches and I’m grateful that such marches are popping up all over the country, particularly those aimed at the Mormons and the other churches who completely violated the separation of church and state, and who give new meaning to the term ‘bully pulpit.’ I’m glad people are coming up with creative ways to respond to the inherent injustice of Prop 8.

But I’m also realistic enough to believe that legal remedies are our best option. And while the pace may seem glacial, especially to the instant gratification set, we have to remind ourselves that the struggle for equality has gone on for decades already. The struggle will go on while Prop 8 is being fought, and it will go on long after Prop 8 ultimately goes down in flames.

So, what good has come of this? Well, I can name at least one thing.

In his Special Comment tonight, Keith Olbermann spoke out against the people responsible for the passage in California of Proposition 8. (The complete text of that comment can be found here.) The fact that a straight former sportscaster is going to bat in a big way on behalf of gays and lesbians is an indicator of remarkable progress.