Archives for the month of: September, 2012

Earlier this evening, we submitted our petition entitled “Please Repudiate Mitt Romney’s Statement That 47% of Americans Are ‘Victims’ Dependent on the Government” to Congressman Chris Gibson. We pointed out to Representative Gibson that many of the people Romney nonchalantly dismissed—ex-military personnel, students, retirees on Social Security and Medicare—are also his constituents. We told Mr. Gibson that many of his constituents are angry, and feel personally insulted by Romney’s callous remarks. We said they want to hear their Congressman renounce what Romney said.

So far, 425 people have signed the petition. Many of them added sharp comments to their signatures. A number of them said flat-out that they would not vote for Gibson unless he renounced Romney’s remarks. But will Rep. Gibson actually stand up and do that? Will he stand up to Mitt Romney and stand up for his constituents?

I frankly don’t know. But we told Rep. Gibson that the petition would stay in place until he responded to it. The more people who sign the petitionand the more people who call Gibson’s Washington, D.C. office at 202-225-5614—the more likely Gibson is to renounce Romney’s remarks.

Chris Gibson’s constituents are not victims. We are not victims. Let him know that.

I’ll keep you posted.

Republican Congressman Chris Gibson often says that he stands up for the best interests of his constituents in NY-19, the rural upstate district he represents. It’s time for him to do so now.

As of this writing, Gibson has been conspicuously silent on Mitt Romney’s infamous “47%” statement, in which the Republican candidate for president dismissed nearly half the country as “dependent” and lacking initiative, and noted that it “was not his job” to care about them. The problem with Romney’s statement—apart from the fact that it is deeply immoral and spectacularly wrong—is that the people he’s written off make up the bulk of Chris Gibson’s upstate district. These are your friends and neighbors. They are retired seniors on Social Security and Medicare. Ex-military personnel (like Gibson himself). Students. And simply people who don’t earn enough, despite working full-time and then some, to pay federal income taxes.

Yet Congressman Gibson has said nothing about Romney’s insulting, divisive remarks. Does his silence imply agreement? We have to assume so, unless he does the right thing and steps forward to renounce Romney’s ignorance and callousness.

I have created an online petition to help Mr. Gibson do just that. You’ll find it here. A great many of your fellow upstate New Yorkers have already signed it—please add the weight of your name to the petition, so Gibson will hear from as many of his constituents as possible.

Thanks. You’ll be glad you spoke up.

By now you’ve seen or heard of the surreptitious video from a Romney fundraiser in Florida last May, in which he denigrates 47% of U.S. citizens as “people who believe they are victims” and who are “dependent on government.”

These dependent leeches, Romney said, believe they are “entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”

Left unsaid was the fact that a large percentage of the cited 47% are retirees utilizing Social Security and Medicare (which they have paid into all their working lives), or students seeking government loans. All are apparently dependent victims.

“My job is not to worry about those people,” Romney added. “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

The video was an excerpt from an hour-long recording obtained by Mother Jones magazine. In another released excerpt, Romney was quoted as saying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would not be resolved because the Palestinians have “no interest whatsoever in establishing peace”. As I write this post, the magazine has just released the complete video, which places Romney’s remarks in context. It’s available at the link above. (The candidate claims his statements were taken out of context; they were not.)

The Republican ticket grows more unbelievable each day.

Mitt Romney, throughout the primary season, was viewed as the stable (if unexciting) Republican candidate. Now, after his ill-considered and inaccurate remarks on the crisis in Libya, that judgment seems premature.

On September 11, a day that was supposed to be free of political campaigning, Romney simply could not restrain himself. That evening, upon learning that an American official had been killed in Libya, Romney lurched into attack mode, claiming that Obama had apologized for “hurting religious feelings” and had sympathized with and tried to appease Islamic extremists. Romney was reacting to a statement that had been issued by the American embassy in Cairo.

Romney went on to accuse the president of “sympathizing with those who waged the attacks.” In doing so, he demonstrated a craven willingness to score political points at any cost, even in the face of a serious foreign policy crisis. He also demonstrated an alarming lack of judgment, considering that the embassy statement he condemned was issued several hours before any violence occurred. He got the chronology wrong, but charged ahead anyway.

This is the antithesis of presidential leadership. In times of crisis, it’s the president’s job to get the facts straight, rally the American people and articulate our shared values to chart a path forward, based on real-world considerations. Instead, Romney misread the facts, lied about the president’s motivation and actions, and attempted to score cheap partisan points with his base.

Sadly, Romney’s unstable performance in the face of this overseas crisis was only the latest in a long string of amateurish, misguided or bungled foreign policy pronouncements:

• He says our #1 geopolitical foe is Russia. Not Islamic terrorists, but Russia. He might as well have said “Soviet Union”—the world has changed a great deal since the Cold War ended, but Romney’s international outlook has not kept pace.
• A senior Romney advisor was quoted as saying “real Americans” don’t care about foreign policy.
• In his convention acceptance speech, Romney forgot to note we have troops serving in Afghanistan.
• When touring overseas as a presidential candidate, Romney’s most striking headlines were garnered by insulting the British, in claiming they weren’t ready to host the Olympics.

Romney’s erroneous remarks have been roundly and deservedly condemned. Andrew Sullivan, writing in the Daily Beast, says this episode shows Romney and his advisors are “unfit for government”. Joan Walsh, in Salon, wrote this: “Mitt Romney, flushed and shifty-eyed, stepped to a podium Wednesday morning with a chance to disavow the despicable late-night attack his campaign launched on President Obama. Instead he intensified it, and that’s why he’ll never be president.”

On Wednesday morning, instead of reconsidering, Romney renewed his attack on Obama, as Ms. Walsh notes above. “The statement that came from the administration was a statement akin to an apology,” he said.

In Britain, where the successful Summer Olympics recently concluded, the Guardian wrote: “Many senior Republicans greeted the renewed attack with horror, briefing reporters that Romney had made a catastrophic error of judgment that could have fatal consequences for his election campaign.”

When President Obama finally took time to respond to Romney’s misguided attacks, he said “You know, Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later.”

“I think most Americans, Democrats or Republicans, understand that there are times when we set politics aside, and one of those is when we’ve got a direct threat to American personnel overseas,” Obama said.

That is leadership. President Obama has it. Mitt Romney falls disastrously short.

Greene County, NY is actually deep red. Crackpot missives from right-wing zealots fill the editorial pages of its newspapers (and sometimes the papers’ reportage, as well). Chris Gibson for Congress lawn signs proliferate everywhere. Overheard conversations in local establishments often trend “conservative”.

But all of this is beginning to change, even if slowly. Blue is battling back, and this post will highlight two happy examples. The first is the emergence of strong Democratic candidates at the local level, fostered by new Democratic leadership. Here in Greene County, that leadership is represented by Doreen P. Davis, the county chair, who has reenergized the party with competitive vigor and her own boundless energy. She is a breath of fresh air, and she is backing some refreshingly attractive candidates as well. Cecilia Tkaczyk, who is running in the New York State Senate’s new 46th District, is a particularly strong example. Cecilia is anti-fracking, pro-women’s rights and women’s health, and strongly supportive of the middle class and workers’ rights. She’s been endorsed by Doreen and other local party leaders, as well as at the national level. Please vote for her in the upcoming primary!

Party Chair Doreen P. Davis and State Senate Candidate Cecilia Tkaczyk
Party Chair Doreen P. Davis and State Senate Candidate Cecilia Tkaczyk.
Photo: Beth Schneck.

Julian Schreibman, the Democratic candidate for Congress in our new 19th Congressional District, has also been endorsed by Doreen and other local party leadership. His campaign has focused mainly on Ulster and Dutchess Counties, where most of the district’s population is. But now people throughout the district will get to hear why Julian is the better candidate, thanks to a new ad funded by the national party’s Red to Blue Program. The ad successfully ties Chris Gibson to Paul Ryan’s infamous Medicare voucher plan. Have a look below.

Blue IS battling back, and no more so than in President Bill Clinton’s powerful rebuttal of the Republican platform at last night’s Democratic National Convention. Clinton kicked plenty of right-wing ass by showing how empty and wrong-headed the GOP’s premises are, and how often they have failed the country in the past.

Tonight, it’s President Obama’s turn. Keep the faith.