Romney is really consevative

So, I just finished grading a bunch of a papers where my students had to analyze a Republican primary candidate.  Alas, way too many Romney’s and not a single Herman Cain!  Anyway, one interesting thing was how many students wrote about how “moderate” Mitt is.  Of course, if one wants to evaluate him by his record as Massachusetts governor, but this is now the 2nd presidential election in a row where has has run as a distinctly conservative candidate (in large part, disavowing his record in MA).  Many people just seem to assume that the proper ideological placement is current Mitt x former Mitt.  In one sense, that may be fair, but it does seem to me that in running as Republican president, we should take Mitt’s ideology to simply be current Mitt.  And when you do that, he really is not the least bit moderate.  Here’s Jon Cohn comparing him and Santorum:

And yet … are the two candidates really so different? On the issues, particularly domestic policy, they no longer seem to be. Both have called for radical downsizing of government, with Santorum seeking to cap federal spending at 18 percent of gross domestic product and Romney seeking to cap it at 20 percent. Either cap, if enacted, would decimate key federal programs and all but certainly require undermining cherished social welfare programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Both want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, effectively taking health insurance away from 30 million people. Both have called for reducing taxes in ways that will disproportionately favor the wealthy. Both promise the deficit will come down  – and both have sketched out fiscal plans that would, according to a recent report from the Committee on a Responsible Federal Budget, make the deficit go up.

Many seem to be convince that if he won the presidency, we’d see the “real” (if there is such a thing) Mitt take over and be more moderate.  But this “real” Mitt would still be beholden to a Republican base and Republican elected officials for his political power.   I even heard some speculation that he would nominate SC Justices who would uphold Roe v. Wade.  Seriously?!  Not unless he wants his presidency to effectively end at that time (or convert to working with Democrats instead of Republicans).  I just don’t see much reason to believe President Romney would really try and govern all that different than candidate Romney says he would.

Dumbest poll question ever?

From Gallup:

As you may know, the Supreme Court will hear arguments next month concerning a requirement in the healthcare law that every American must buy health insurance or pay a fine. Regardless of whether you favor or oppose the law, do you think this requirement is constitutional or unconstitutional? Among all Americans, by party ID, and by view of healthcare law, February 2012

Seriously?  The average American probably can’t even name 4 amendments of the Bill of Rights, but 92% have an opinion on the Constitutionality of the law that most of them hardly understand?  Anyway, it is interesting that Republicans have been so effective in this when the mandate is, in fact, “Obviously Constitutional.”   Republicans may hate that Democrats passed major health care reform, and sure there are some conservative judges out there willing to blend the Constitution plenty for politics, but this isn’t even really a close case.

Among the most telling facts, you won’t find a single liberal who argues that it is unconstitutional, but there is many a fair-minded conservative who admits, whether they like the law or not, that its constitutionality really isn’t even in question.

Frozen out

In a related note to the previous post, this political buffoon actually represents my former home in Springfield, VA.  What a shame.  A former NCSU student of mine ran the failed campaign of his most recent opponent.  Maybe text time around, NoVa voters will realize what an embarrassment they have elected:

Trans-vaginal ultrasound

Hmmm, I thought I had blogged about all the controversy with Virginia’s new abortion bill.  Well, I read a ton, but apparently never mentioned it here.  Nonetheless, I’m sure you all to what I’m referring.  Anyway, one of my early thoughts on the whole matter was, “but doesn’t NC’s new law require this, too?”  Indeed. One of the interesting features of this story is the way that smart framing by opponents (just keep saying “trans-vaginal ultrasound”) had a massive political effect that was lacking elsewhere.  (Here’s a nice WP Post explaining all this).

Anyway, WRAL’s Laura Leslie finally writes the piece that’s been lacking:

State lawmakers in Virginia have amended a controversial ultrasound bill to remove language requiring women to undergo a “trans-vaginal” ultrasound before an abortion.

The story attracted a lot of national attention, especially from liberal pundits, and even earned a satirical mention on Saturday Night Live…

North Carolina’s ultrasound law, passed last year over the governor’s veto, didn’t provoke the same level of controversy. It doesn’t include the words “trans-vaginal probe,” either. But it effectively requires the procedure for many, if not most, abortions.

The new law requires an ultrasound before any abortion procedure. The woman has to be shown the image of the fetus, have the image described to her, and be offered the opportunity to hear the fetal heartbeat.

In early pregnancy—up until about 8 weeks—the only way a doctor can comply with those requirements is by using a trans-vaginal sonogram probe.

Rex Healthcare’s Rhonda Thomas is president of the NC Ultrasound Society. She says abdominal ultrasounds can’t see much before the two-month mark, especially if the patient has had prior pregnancies or is overweight.

“They’re just more sensitive,” Thomas said of trans-vaginal scans. ”That’s the test of choice.”

So… fascinating how exactly the same law can take a dramatically different political path.  Really makes you wonder what would have happened here in NC and other states had opponents hit upon this tack earlier.  Seems damn effective. Until then, a NC woman who wants an abortion will have a trans-vaginal ultrasound whether she wants one or not.

On a related note, I’m kind of surprised at the number of people who are surprised by this.  As a father of four, I was quite aware that this is how ultrasound is done in early pregnancy.

Quote of the month

Hey, it’s the end of February, I can be pretty confident on a monthly award for this.  My, Mitt Romney’s plutocratic ways are the gift that keeps on giving.  At yesterday’s rained out Daytona 500:

The full quote from Romney, when asked if he was a NASCAR fan, starts with an honest admission that he isn’t one. “Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans. But I have some great friends that are NASCAR team owners.”  [emphasis mine]

Photo of the day

This Post article makes clear, that you cannot really blame the Romney campaign too much for the horrible visuals of Romney speaking to a couple thousand people in a stadium built for 70,000, but still, they should have found a way not to let this happen:

When is saving energy bad?

Why, whey you are a Tea Party, Republican elected official, of course.   Alas, the inmates are running the asylum and have taken over our very own Wake County (NC) Board of Commissioners.  (Quite the downside of having the local election at the same time as the 2010 midterm elections).  The N&O reporter clearly had fun with the lede:

An increase in the energy efficiency of Wake County buildings might sound like a good thing. Or conserving water. Or selling methane gas from county landfills to generate power.

Turns out the UN wrote a report on sustainability some 20+ years ago and now the black helicopter crowd thinks that the county wisely conserving our resources is part of a UN global government plot.  Yep.  Not just some crazies complaining to their neighbors who roll their eyes, but actual elected members of our County Board.  Oh, ain’t today’s Republican party grand!

In the task force’s suggestions, Coble and others saw a concealed agenda that limited individual rights and reflected the vision of Agenda 21, a document produced by a 1992 United Nations conference on sustainability and widely criticized by conservative groups.

That reading stunned many of the 65 task force members, particularly since the task force was led by Republican commissioner Joe Bryan.

“To imply that this local process was somehow directed by an outside effort frankly makes us feel shocked and a little foolish given the well-meaning intent of the task force,” said Karen Rindge, a task force member and executive director of the community group WakeUp Wake County.

You can read more to find out about the evil, internationalist plot to ruin Wake County, but it rests on such sneaky and underhanded ideas as having citizens conserve water (the horror!!):

Energy: Wake County should cut costs in harm to the environment caused by energy production and consumption, cut energy costs in county buildings and vehicles, and attract energy-related technology companies.

Water: The county should supply clean water at reasonable and/or predictable cost, cut back on the use of drinking water when not needed, and protect groundwater.

Waste: Wake should extend the life of the South Wake Landfill; make use of landfills, as in producing methane; and explore next-generation means of generating waste.

Anybody who calls themselves a Republican should honestly be embarrassed that it’s come to this.  (And Republican who is not needs a swift introduction to reality– not that I’m optimistic on that score).

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