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New Brunswick forced to confront abortion access issue

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This column courtesy of CanadianCrossing.com runs here with complete permission.

We will have at least one more provincial election in 2014, the regularly scheduled election in New Brunswick on September 22. We might have a key issue in New Brunswick with a topic that rarely comes up in Canadian political circles these days: abortion.

Morgentaler Clinic

New Brunswick is pretty spread out as a province. Prince Edward Island is pretty far away, even from Fredericton.

The Morgentaler Clinic was the only private clinic in New Brunswick, with no private clinics in Prince Edward Island, to offer abortions. The clinic closes its doors tomorrow.

Those who go to the Morgentaler Clinic have to pay for the abortions. The clinic had been subsidizing abortions but could no longer stay afloat financially.

Under the law in New Brunswick, a woman who wants an abortion covered by medicare must have 2 doctors certify in writing that the procedure is medically necessary and the abortion must be done by an obstetrician/gynecologist in approved hospitals (one each in Moncton and Bathurst).

(Moncton is in southeastern New Brunswick on the Bay of Fundy; Bathurst is in northeastern New Brunswick near Quebec on Chaleur Bay.)

Many of the clinic’s patients came from Prince Edward Island. The provincial government claim no doctors in the province will do abortions; the province sends women to a hospital in Halifax provided they have a referral from their family doctor.

Distance. Money. Time. All these factors make getting an abortion in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island difficult, even with the clinic.

Where we are now in Fredericton

The Progressive Conservatives, under Premier David Alward, have a considerable advantage in the legislature. The PCs have 41 seats, the Liberals have 13 seats, with 1 Independent MLA.

While the New Brunswick legislature currently has 55 seats, the parties will be vying for 49 seats in the September election.

On the surface, the PCs shouldn’t have a concern. Sure the economy isn’t great in the province, but the Liberals have a lot of ground to make up to get enough MLAs for a majority. The NDP don’t even have a seat currently in Fredericton.

Brian Gallant (Liberal) and Dominic Cardy (NDP) don’t have much of a chance to be the next New Brunswick premier. The timing of the election and the abortion issue could shake up the makeup of the New Brunswick legislature.

Gallant has said a Liberal government would “move swiftly to address this issue in a comprehensive way, once and for all, and ensure we are respecting a woman’s right to choose.”

Gallant knows the Liberals are in a tough situation. Be too specific and risk losing votes. But voters need to know that the situation will improve for women if the party gains power in Fredericton.

Of the 55 current MLAs in the legislature, 7 of them are women.

Where we will be in September

The federal fight over abortion, while not as loud these days, focuses on federal Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau, whose position is that the party and its MPs be pro-choice, and federal Conservative backbenchers, who would love to make abortion more difficult nationwide.

New Brunswick isn’t concerned with what happens on the federal level. However, even conservatives in New Brunswick will have to recognize that the loss of the Morgentaler Clinic is a political issue in September.

The Maritimes are a conservative place, especially on abortion. The Morgentaler Clinic was a beacon of hope in women’s health care. And now it’s gone. But it could be the start of a movement to bring the region in line with the rest of Canada.

This is a political issue until September 22. No matter which party wins that day, abortion rights will still be a health care and economic concern in New Brunswick.

Ontario is better destination for jobs thanks to Michigan’s ‘right to work’ status

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Ontario isn’t in the best shape these days. Huge debt, teacher problems, and a premier with a minority government who is still in office but not for long.

Compared to the folks across the border in Michigan, Canada’s most populous province is singing Hallelujahs.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has been signing bills right and right (not left and right) taking away worker rights, access to birth control, overriding voters insistence on getting rid of the takeover-a-city law. Snyder would have signed a bill allowing for guns in schools and day care centers, but the Sandy Hook school shooting made that virtually impossible to do right now.

Snyder was worried about competing for jobs with Indiana. He should have worried about Ontario.

For more on this story, check out this column from our sister blog, CanadianCrossing.com.

Election Day 2012: Obama, yes. Senate, probably. House, upset?

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If you accept that it will take longer to recover from Hurricane Sandy as opposed to a typical hurricane, then you could accept that the depressive recession of 2008 will take longer to recover from than a typical recession.

The question that has been asked is which party has done more to help that recovery. Every job bill in place was passed while the Dems were in control of the House. Most economists though the initial stimulus was undervalued thanks to tax cuts that didn’t help. One presidential candidate has a plan to reduce the deficit, one has a plan that will raise the deficit.

The race is about who will be president on January 20, 2013 and beyond. But the race is also about Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, Harry Reid, and Mitch McConnell and how much power they will have in Washington.

Regardless of where you stand, get out and vote. True, some forces (i.e., GOP) have made voting more difficult to accomplish. Nothing scares a politician like voting.

Here is a breakdown of the White House as well as the two houses of Congress: House and Senate.

White House

You can’t blame the pundits and political media for being a little punch-drunk at this point in the campaign. “What if we have an Electoral College tie?” “What if Mitt Romney wins more of the popular vote because Hurricane Sandy brought down numbers in blue states?”

We won’t and it doesn’t matter.

Ever since Romney won the first debate, the tone of the coverage has turned to “Romney just might win.” If you are going uphill, you have to be well over 50% to overcome an incumbent. The best route for Romney is to have financial ties to companies that run voting booths.

Bellwether states — Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio — will decide this election. Right now, those states point in the direction of President Barack Obama. “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” may be what sinks the former Massachusetts governor.

Anybody who runs for president is desperate on some level. John McCain had moments of not being desperate, like when he told the woman that Obama isn’t a Muslim. Romney saw behavior such as that and has gone for the jugular every chance he has had. Romney’s deceiving ads in Ohio over Jeep production was the latest symptom of his desire to do what it takes to be president. The more desperation at the end, the more you know you won’t win (unless you cheat).

House

The GOP enjoys a 25-seat advantage in the House of Representatives. Most of those turnovers in 2010 went to teabaggers, er, Tea Party folk. The best way for the Dems to gain control back is to take back those teabagger seats.

One teabagger the Dems would love to beat that has a chance to lose is Joe Walsh (IL-8). Allegations of failure to pay child support and his over-the-top manner puts his seat in danger against Tammy Duckworth. The former soldier in Iraq who lost three limbs ran for Congress back in 2006 but lost a different seat. If you are looking for a symbolic seat, this is as good as any of them. A Duckworth win could prove interesting for the Dems; can’t see a scenario where Walsh wins and the Dems take back the House.

A seat that would be mostly about bragging rights would be Steve King (IA-5) vs. Christie Vilsack, wife of Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture. King’s views on just about anything (rape, science) infuriates the Dems. Getting rid of him would be a moral victory for Pelosi, et al.

House races are more difficult to assess unless you are on the ground. Since most House races go to the incumbent, any upsets you hear along the way are almost certain to go in the Dems column. Even if the GOP keeps the House, look for the difference in margin. If a Democratic president wins another term in office, there should be some coattails in the House of Representatives.

Senate

The Democratic Party currently has/controls 53 seats (51 Dems, 2 Independents) while the Republicans have 47 seats. Tie goes to the vice president.

The Dems are almost certain to lose Nebraska and North Dakota but would gain a nominal win in Maine. Angus King is expected to go along with the Dems. That would put the Dems at 52.

The Dems have 5 seats that could see an upset vs. 3 for the GOP. So on paper, the Republicans are in good shape for a takeover.

Elizabeth Warren has to win in Massachusetts for the Dems to have a really good night. As offensive as Richard Mourdock was on “God intented to happen,” that statement alone wouldn’t guarantee a win for Joe Donnelly. If you hear the name Joe Donnelly multiple times, the Dems will have a good night.

Shelley Berkley is another name where hearing it is a good sign for the Dems. Dean Heller was appointed to fill out the term of John Ensign, who had a disgraceful streak thanks to his mistress/employee and financial scandals.

If Richard Carmona gets mentioned more than once, Harry Reid will still be Senate Majority Leader.

Scott Brown’s return to Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat for 6 more years would be an early sign for a successful GOP evening. Linda McMahon, George Allen, and Tommy Thompson would also bring joy to the GOP — all 3 of these seats are Dems or Dem-leaning. Tammy Baldwin would be the first openly gay U.S. senator if elected in Wisconsin.

The Badger state would be a sign of the times. If Thompson wins the seat, both U.S. Senate seats would have gone from Dem to GOP in just 2 years.

If you are looking for a reason to stay up all night, Hawaii could be the decider as the GOP thinks it has a shot with Linda Lingle going for Daniel Akaka’s retiring seat.

D stands for Democratic and defense: 15 Dems and an independent will probably defend their seats vs. 5 for the Republicans. Throw in the 5-3 advantage for tough seats to defend, and you can see why the Democratic Party was seriously sweating the 2012 race for control of the Senate.

Races that will likely go from Democratic to Republican

Nebraska — Ben Nelson (D)/Bob Kerrey (D) vs. Deb Fischer (R)
North Dakota — Kent Conrad (D)/Heidi Heitkamp (D) vs. Rick Berg (R)

Races that will likely go from Republican to Democratic

Maine — Olympia Snowe (R)/Charles E. Summers, Jr. (R) Cynthia Dill (D) Angus King (I)*
Massachusetts — Scott Brown (R)/Elizabeth Warren (D)
* King is likely winner and would probably side with Dems

Races the GOP would love to steal

Connecticut — Joe Lieberman (I)/Chris Murphy (D) vs. Linda McMahon (R)
Hawaii — Daniel Akaka (D)/Mazie Hirono (D) vs. Linda Lingle (R)
Ohio — Sherrod Brown (D)/Josh Mandel (R)
Virginia — Jim Webb (D)/Tim Kaine (D) vs. George Allen (R)
Wisconsin — Herb Kohl (D)/Tammy Baldwin (D) vs. Tommy Thompson (R)

Races the Dems would love to steal

Arizona — Jon Kyl (R)/Jeff Flake (R) vs. Richard Carmona (D)
Indiana — Richard Lugar (R)/Richard Mourdock (R) vs. Joe Donnelly (D)
Nevada — Dean Heller (R)/Shelley Berkley (D)

Races that you might hear a flutter of thought, but the incumbents are likely winners:

Florida — Bill Nelson (D)
Michigan — Debbie Stabenow (D)
Missouri — Claire McCaskill (D)
Montana — Jon Tester (D)
Pennsylvania — Bob Casey, Jr. (D)
Washington — Maria Cantwell (D)

Races that you will likely hear very little about on Election Night

California — Dianne Feinstein (D)
Delaware — Tom Carper (D)
Maryland — Ben Cardin (D)
Minnesota — Amy Klobuchar (D)
Mississippi — Roger Wicker (R)
New Jersey — Bob Menendez (D)
New Mexico — Martin Heinrich (D) replacing Jeff Bingaman (D)
New York — Kirsten Gillibrand (D)
Rhode Island — Sheldon Whitehouse (D)
Tennessee — Bob Corker (R)
Texas — Ted Cruz (R) replacing Kay Bailey Hutchison (R)
Utah — Orrin Hatch (R)
Vermont — Bernie Sanders (I)
West Virginia — Joe Manchin (D)
Wyoming — John Barrasso (R)

2012 debate II: Mitt Romney can’t keep up with his multiple personalities

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If you were following Twitter and Facebook during the debate, you saw the rise of “binders full of women.” In watching the second presidential debate live, the line sneaked past me. When I saw “binders full of women” on social media, I realized I had missed something that was there all along.

John McCain had drafted Sarah Palin in part to appeal to those women frustrated by Hillary Clinton’s loss in the primary. Whatever you might think about McCain, Palin, or the McCain campaign, they were trying to get women to vote for them.

Soccer moms, security moms: these were the focus of past elections. Often ignored in the focus on women were single women. Married with children? Politicians cared. Single women? Uh, never mind.

President Barack Obama’s campaign has focused on single women with its policies, but the campaign people must realize that they are capturing single women by default. Transvaginal probes. Backlash against Sandra Fluke. The Mitt Romney campaign and the GOP have been driving away single women for the last two years. So even if you might wonder why “binders full of women” became such a big deal, this wasn’t about one comment in a debate; this has been building.

We found out later that Romney fudged when he said that this was his idea. An organization approached the Massachusetts gubernatorial candidates with the idea of employing more women. Yes, it could get even worse.

The second debate spotlighted Romney telling Americans that he doesn’t believe in something and that isn’t his position. Then again, the accusations against Romney are his positions. This would be the sign of a particularly bad candidate, but there may be something more.

Three Faces of Eve, Sybil, depending on your generational perspective: Mitt Romney has many signs of multiple personalities. And the second debate proved conclusively that he is having trouble keeping them straight.

Romney says positions such as employers should have the right to deny women contraception through the insurance program (Blunt Amendment). In fact, Romney went out of his way to confirm that stand earlier this year. In the debate, when confronted with the reality of this stance, his reply was that of course he wasn’t in favor of that.

After the debate, the Romney campaign ran an ad from a former Obama supporter saying that she researched this and found out that Romney is in favor of contraception. To be fair, you can find that online. And you can also find that he doesn’t. The “doesn’t” speaks louder than the “does.”

The woman in the ad points out that Romney supports abortion exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. Paul Ryan does not, and Romney said he would sign into law a provision that doesn’t allow for exceptions. Yes, we are dealing with multiple personalities at work.

“Moderate” Romney has shown up during the debates, and can’t believe he would be accused of doing what “Conservative” Romney has been doing behind “Moderate” Romney’s back. As soon as the TV lights go out, he’s back to being “Conservative” Romney.

This isn’t funny, not just because Romney might be president, but because he comes across as sincere when denying his own stances. This is really sad.

Speaking of women and debates, Candy Crowley and Martha Raddatz proved their gender strong in hosting debates. Crowley was the first women to host a presidential debate since Carole Simpson hosted the town hall debate in 1992.

You might remember that Katie Couric was supposed to host a Democratic primary debate in North Carolina in 2008. Hillary Clinton agreed to the debate, but Barack Obama said no to the April 27 date. To be fair, the objection from the Obama camp centered around doing a date before the Pennsylvania primary (April 22). The original April 19 date fell on the first night of Passover, so that idea was scrapped. And the original original date of December 2007 in Los Angeles fell through because no one wanted to cross the picket line when CBS journalists threatened to join the Hollywood writers strike.

Regular readers know of my strong dislike for Katie Couric’s attempts at real journalism. If Couric had done a debate, unfortunately for women, she would have set their gender back a decade.

The flaw with the current debate mode is that four people control what gets asked and what doesn’t in the presidential debate format: Jim Lehrer, Martha Raddatz, Candy Crowley, and Bob Schieffer. Having women in the mix offers some representation. You have an African-American man on stage as the incumbent president, and yet no journalists of color get to ask debate questions.

Having journalists correct obvious mistakes in a televised scenario would be an obviously good thing, especially when democracy is on the line. The situation is bad enough when obvious lies hit the transcript without so much as a bat of an eye. I remember covering politics with three GOP operatives hit the airwaves saying that George W. Bush wasn’t in charge on September 11, 2001, and none of them were corrected on the air.

We wish this nuance applied to minutia that comes down the pike, but when the lie is obvious, journalists have an obligation to speak up.

Candy Crowley did the right thing in the right moment. I wasn’t thrilled that she let Romney bully his way through the early part of the debate, and cut off President Obama in the middle of his answer. But at that moment, Crowley did what a journalist is supposed to do.

Not to take sides, but the GOP counts on journalists not doing their job more than Dems do. And Republicans freak out louder when journalists don’t act like a bullfighter as the charging lies — olé — pass by.

After not running on his record as governor of Massachusetts, Romney has decided to suddenly run on his record, but again only during the debates. Since Romney had not mentioned his record and Obama’s team didn’t say much about that, we don’t know much about what Romney did as Massachusetts governor.

The man has been running for governor for 5-6 years and we don’t know much about his stint as governor. The alternative press has done some digging, but the MSM is slow on this point. If Romney gets elected, he may set a new precedent for burying part of a candidate’s record: just don’t talk about it and see what happens.

The MSM has to react to a bell in order to chase the cheese. Remember how little effort they put into searching for George W. Bush’s DUI in 2000.

2012 Debate I: Romney’s aggression impressed the masses

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President Obama would have been better off if Rob Portman had argued for him in Denver. Mitt Romney did a lot better than John Kerry ever would.

We would have better off watching Portman and Kerry debate each other. Jim Lehrer would have been a lot happier.

Al Roker tweeted about the license plate of the truck that hit Lehrer during the debate. This statement isn’t said too often: Al Roker was funny.

Romney wants undecided women to vote for him, but his hyper, aggressive bully approach appealed to undecided men and his base. You had a 51-year-old incumbent who came across like he was on Valium and a 65-year-old guy who doesn’t consume caffeine who was hyper.

Romney’s hyper nature came across in his response to the Middle East protests. His handlers don’t want to hear this, but if the race is close, their candidate will lose because he doesn’t look presidential. John McCain suffered from similar issues in 2008.

Obama left so much on the table. And when he came close, he didn’t land the punch. Obama might have won on looking presidential, but Romney came across as tough.

How could Barack Obama on a debate about domestic policy not bring up the auto bailout?

Barack Obama got a good taste of what would have happened if the far left ran a candidate in this year’s Democratic primary. Too bad that the other guy on stage that night isn’t running for president.

Romney came across in the debate as someone who was concerned about those who are suffering economically. Most of the campaign has been about Romney doing the complete opposite. Romney scored points in the debate for legitimate points against Obama’s record. The problem for Romney is that he has no intention of fulfilling those promises.

If you are looking for Romney’s cynicism beyond the shores of the first debate, check out his “admission” that was “completely wrong” about the 47%. Why now? Why only after the debate does he respond?

Romney is trying to make us literally forget the person he has been for the last 5 years in 90 minutes. He just might convince 47% of the people of this, but it won’t be the right 47% to make that work.

Many said Obama looked tired. Maybe he is brilliant and trying to lower expectations for the final two debates. Or he knew that incumbents never do well in the first debate.

The problem with the first debate for Obama is that he woke up two constituencies. His flank to the left, which he has steadfastly ignored since the fall of 2008, is more furious with him than ever before. The far right, even though Romney blew off everything they believe in, are more excited about the presidential race.

Obama’s master plan could involve the GOP being more excited about taking back the White House so they pour more money into Romney at the expense of the House and Senate races. This may indeed happen, but this is not the plan from the White House.

The GOP has had more consecutive years where they controlled the whole enchilada — 2001-2007 — under George W. Bush than the Dems have had in the last 32 years. Why Bill Clinton and now Barack Obama don’t fight harder to get their party to be in charge in Congress is absolutely befuddling.

Whether Obama gets re-elected or loses, the Democratic Party is going to want someone in its next leader who will fight up and down the ballot. Barack Obama has two more debates to show that he can be that person.

DNC 2012: Barack Obama trying to get supporters to love him again

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If the teabaggers had actually listened to the words in Barack Obama’s DNC convention speech, they would have heard a man who wants to work with the other side of the aisle, no matter what mean or nasty things they have said about the president. Then again, Obama had been that same person all along, even with liberals thought he was the second coming.

There is virtually no chance that the teabaggers actually paid attention to anything Obama says, rather they only want to hear what they think he is saying behind his actual words. For a group that has much in common with evangelicals, who wear their “literal translation” of the Bible on their sleeves, they certainly don’t believe in literal translation of Barack Obama.

The teabaggers, who threw their support completely behind the Republicans (despite their independent stance), have been rewarded with 0 job bills passed by the GOP-led House. While the unemployment numbers aren’t good, you can assume they are much worse for teabaggers.

Obama was criticized because of the lack of hope and change in his speech. Maybe absorbing hope and change is easier in a football stadium than a basketball arena. If you were looking for a symbol of Obama 2008 and Obama 2012, look no further than the difference between 80,000 and 15,000.

Of course, the House members voted in by the teabaggers have no interest in helping teabaggers and other people with those desperately needed jobs. The jobs numbers that came out after the convention speech weren’t great, but once again, the MSM gave all the blame to Obama and no blame to the GOP-led House that won’t pass even a bad jobs bill.

When Obama went through his “you did that” part of his speech, you almost wanted him to say, “When we as Dems worked hard to pass jobs bill and get things done in Washington, you kicked them out and put it do-nothings who were more concerned about getting rid of women’s reproductive rights than a jobs bill, you did that. When we needed momentum in 2010 to keep the House in the Dems’ hand and you weren’t as ‘excited’ as you were in 2008 and you stayed home, you did that. And now, when the Republicans are trying to take back the White House, you aren’t sure if you are as excited as you were in 2008 and you might stay home on Election Day, you did that.”

Most of the new young voters, those that have turned 18 since November 2008, weren’t born when Bill Clinton first took office. Their memories have little to do with “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” and more about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Jay Leno telling really old Monica jokes, signing the end of the Glass-Stegall Act, and his exuberance in defending his wife in the 2008 election.

For those of us who remember the early 1990s, Clinton’s speech was a reminder of why he was a president that was cool. The first unofficial black president was “cool on the outside and burns for America on the inside.” For him to say that about Obama was a long way to healing the wounds of the 2008 campaign.

Clinton was the one who stepped up and pointed out the difference between Republican presidents (24 million jobs) and Democratic presidents (42 million jobs) since 1961.

“What works in the real world is cooperation,” said Clinton. Cooperation back in the 1990s was Clinton bending to the Republicans, including the horrible “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the welfare reform now being falsely attacked by the Mitt Romney people.

Obama, like Clinton, also has bowed down to the Republicans but without the little success Clinton enjoyed. Unlike in the 1990s, Republicans are paying big prices for even a little cooperation with Obama. Clinton pointed out that the Tea Party threw out 2 sitting GOP senators and a GOP House member for working with the Dems.

If Obama gets re-elected, expect something as bad or worse than the impeachment from the Republicans. As politically opportune as the impeachment was in the late 1990s, the GOP got what it wanted: a worn-down Democratic president who couldn’t get much done. It’s no coincidence that the GOP got the end of Glass-Stegall after the impeachment.

Michelle Obama stepped up in her own way to help out her husband. At one of the few slight digs to the other side, Mrs. Obama noted that “For Barack, success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” She showcased how her and Barack’s values were in sync based on how they were raised and how that has translated in the presidency.

“He believes that when you work hard and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. No, you reach back and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.”

You really felt like if Barack Obama was white and a Republican, the GOP would love his story.

The part about “he believes that women are more than capable of making our own choices about our bodies and our health care” is not something Republicans like.

Bill Clinton, Julian Castro, Michelle Obama, Sandra Fluke, Elizabeth Warren, even Jennifer Granholm did a better job at telling Americans what the Obama Administration has done and will do than Barack Obama. Some anti-Obama people were worried we would get a bunch of speeches instead of policy. Well, we got policy in the first two years and not a whole lot of speeches in almost four years.

The Republicans needed 3 days of cheerleading to remind people to hate Barack Obama. The Dems needed 3 days of cheerleading to remind people why they should love/like/deal with Barack Obama.

Obama told us that this was “time to do some nation building right here at home.” Interestingly, Obama left out of the speech and talks in general of all the rebuilding that had been going on. Infrastructure was a way to unite red states and blue states (see 2004 keynote speech). Unlike the busy work of the 1930s, the United States has real infrastructure issues and we should have spent more on those problems. Obama can be upset that we don’t appreciate what was done, but Americans need reminding every Monday night in the fall that they might be ready for some football.

Every four years, we are reminded that women usually decide the election. The fact that Obama used “her” in the speech instead of “him/her” is a subtle reminder that Obama understands women far better than Romney. Having your wife, mother-in-law and two daughters in the front row on television helped drive that point home. The president is likely to get re-elected but while that is up to us, Obama and his team need to do better on reminding us what he has done. And if he is elected, he needs to do that much more often.

One compelling footnote to Michelle Obama’s life story. Her father suffered from MS just like Ann Romney. The GOP has mentioned very little about that chapter of Ann’s story, but it would seem that the two spouses might get along better than their husbands.

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro handled the keynote speech rather nicely. Though Castro certainly took his shots at the opposition, his pleasant personality was a distinct contrast with the rude approach of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Castro played on the theme of “invest in opportunity today for prosperity tomorrow.” He noted that you “can’t be pro-business unless you’re pro-education.”

Most people who start businesses, a theme from the Romney camp, need to have a strong education and benefiting from investment. When Romney was asked about what to do in staring a business, the presidential candidate said to ask your parents for money to start the small business. “Why didn’t I think of that?” asked Castro. Romney/Ryan seem concerned about business, but have little concern for education.

Though people were panicking, turns out moving Sandra Fluke’s speech into the key 10 pm Eastern hour was a shrewd move for the Dems. With short attention spans, many average Americans had forgotten about what Rush Limbaugh and his fellow Republicans did to Fluke just for speaking up for women and birth control when women weren’t allowed to speak before the GOP-led Congressional committee.

Fluke reminded us that Obama “thinks of his daughters, not his delegates or donors.” The Dems really want voters to think of Sandra Fluke when they go the polls in November.

Elizabeth Warren needed the national spotlight in her uphill fight against Scott Brown for what was Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat. Why Warren is behind is a bit befuddling, and if the Dems can’t win in 2012, this seat may be in GOP hands for some years to come, and this is a heavily blue state.

Warren is not a professional politician and she has proven that so far. Not that she needs to be very polished as we get closer to November, but for her own sake, she needs to be a bit smoother.

Referring to “bankers who strut around Congress asking for favors” definitely helps. Talking about a world where “no one can steal your pursue on Main Street or your pension on Wall Street” also helps out the cause.

If the national Dems have to spend money to win this seat, other races will suffer as a result.

One outside name some are talking about for the Dems in 2016 and beyond is Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. The governor deserves praise for his honesty in going on “Face the Nation” and saying “no” to the overhyped “are you better off than where you were 4 years ago” question.

O’Malley said this wasn’t the question, and he was right. True, he got blasted for not sticking to the script, and he later changed his tune. His honesty was nice while it lasted. Maybe voters can’t handle the truth, but when a politicians tries it occasionally, we do enjoy the show.

RNC 2012: Speeches of love, respect, lies, and still no jobs plan

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For Sarah Palin in 2008, the VP nomination acceptance speech was the high point of her run. If Paul Ryan’s speech turns out to be his high point, the GOP is in more serious trouble than we ever would have considered.

Ryan’s speech was filled with lies, distortions, criticism of Obama for the same thing he proposed (cuts in Medicare). We can’t wrap this up in a cute little “bridge to nowhere” synopsis, but delusion was the theme of both speeches.

Both speeches were eaten up by the base, but will likely prove to be an overall negative by everyone else.

Ryan was sold as being the intellectual part of the GOP. This is a party that does not believe in climate change and thinks women can protect themselves from rape sperm. His budget plan is spend on defense and very little else. This plan isn’t so much intellectual but a version of what Republicans want that sounds smart.

Few outside political circles know of Ryan, and in their eyes, starting out with lies hurt the VP candidate in 2008 and won’t help the VP candidate in 2012.

“Mitt Romney and I know the difference between protecting a program and raiding it (Medicare),” said Ryan in a truthful note. The problem is that Ryan thinks he’s protecting Medicare and the rest of us know he is raiding it.

Heck, Paul Ryan was more than a hour off when he said he ran a marathon under 3 hours. If you can easily lie about something that has nothing to do with politics and is easily verifiable, this feels like Sarah Palin, part deux.

Ann Romney gave us a speech about love. Chris Christie told us this was about respect, not love (thanks to the Colbert Report for noticing that theme). The speeches ran back to back in the same night. If we were to judge a party based on the convention was run, the GOP would lose in a landslide.

When the networks came into the 10 pm Eastern time slot, Clint Eastwood was on stage with an empty chair. The Mitt Romney video had already aired. Given that about 22% fewer people saw Romney’s speech than John McCain in 2008, Romney lost a huge opportunity to show who he is now.

The fact that more people were talking about Eastwood than Romney on Friday morning is either an embarassment or genius, if you wanted to hide how well Romney gave his speech.

Romney violated the cardinal rule of giving a speech on TV; the people in the audience aren’t your target, the people at home need your attention. And Romney fell short of that way too often.

Chris Christie was running for president in his keynote speech. His speech had a nasty tone, one that wouldn’t seem presidential but more egotistical. Christie hit on the GOP theme that Romney started about being “scaring and dividing.” Has Christie met Karl Rove or heard of Lee Atwater.

In one of the few times Christie mentioned someone other than himself, he said Mitt Romney will “end the debacle of putting the world’s greatest healthcare system in the hands of federal bureaucrats and putting those bureaucrats between an American citizen and her doctor.” As we’ve learned in the last two years, Republicans think that’s the government’s job. Forced invasive transvaginal ultrasounds. Christie ought to meet Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Watching Ryan bash Obamacare as something that “has no place in a free country,” the Republicans don’t seem to get that they are bashing something created by their presidential nominee. Even if Republicans outside of Andrea Saul aren’t allowed to mention that Romneycare was the inspiration for Obamacare.

Mitt Romney pointed out that after 2008, “Americans always come together after an election.” The Republicans didn’t. As Jon Stewart noted, “Bull-F*cking-Sh*t.”

Ryan noted that with the stimulus “he (Obama) got everything he wanted under one-party rule.” Except for the tax cuts in the first stimulus, or how the country needed a second stimulus.

The Daily Show, which did another outstanding job in Tampa, coined its coverage of the Road to Jeb Bush 2016. Still can’t quite seeing that happen, but if Romney loses, the GOP has a lot of directions to go in to find a contender. The formula of a moderate turned conservative picking a much younger, lying running mate isn’t a winning formula for the GOP.

“Unlike the president, I have a plan to create 12 million new jobs.” — Mitt Romney’s speech

Finally, Romney will tell you how he plans to create these jobs, this magical plan that he hasn’t felt like disclosing until now.

1) by 2020, North America will be energy-independent (including nuclear)
2) “the skills they need for the jobs of today and the careers of tomorrow” by vouchers for private or charter schools
3) new trade agreements “when nations cheat, there will be unmistakable consequences”
4) job creators investments — “cut the deficit and put America on track to a balanced budget”
5) champion small businesses — reducing taxes, simplifying modernizing regulations that hurt small business the most, reign in health care costs by repealing Obamacare.

1) Doesn’t Obama have a similar plan? Obama’s job plan calls for alternative energy jobs, including solar and wind. Romney seems to think that the Keystone XL pipeline will account for several million jobs. Canada will lose jobs in the deal, but even the plus effect still isn’t much. And Obama will support the pipeline once TransCanada comes up with a better plan for Nebraska.

2) Vouchers for charter schools or private schools has nothing to do with skills or job gains.

3) Obama has chartered new trade agreements, but these agreements haven’t helped job growth in the United States going back to the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement in 1989. More agreements won’t help.

4) Cutting the deficit and debt would help job growth. Starving everything but defense won’t help job growth.

5) Obama has reduced taxes, and simplified regulations. Republicans forget that responsible capitalism helped job growth from post World War II until Ronald Reagan took over. Besides, we tried this under George W. Bush and the job growth in that time was horrible.

If you are a Republican or you like Romney, you might like his 5-step program. But don’t think this would lead to any job growth much less 12 million jobs. Realize that to get to 12 million jobs, you have to average 250,000 jobs per month every month. Those are Clintonesque numbers. That won’t happen in 2013 regardless of who is in office. Even if Romney got all his rich corporation friends that are sitting on their money to use that dough to hire people, you still won’t get close to 12 million.