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Author Topic: Republican Presidential Primary News & Discussion Center 2012
Rakeesh
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I wasn't intending to hold Paul up to the GOP and Democrat general platforms there, Lyrhawn. And while I do like aspects of his foreign policy, the overall tint of isolationism is fatal to my potential support.
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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
Except for the letting Iran having nukes thing, kinda iffy that. Even I feel the United States has a stake and a constructive role in the prevention of nuclear proliferation.

If only your friends in China and Russia felt the same way.
You know that is profoundly ignorant right? Since y'know, China and Russia have been fairly instrumental to the Six Party Talks with North Korea, and Russia has been incredibly important in securing and reducing nuclear proliferation, Barack Obama as a Senator I believe helped negotiate a treaty or something if I remember correctly while in Russia.

China is also I believe the only USNC member with a no first use policy and sticks to a policy of minimal deterrence.

If you are referring to any issues with Iran, well, Iran isn't in violation of either the NPT or the IAEA they do have a right according to what they signed to domestically enrich stuff so it is natural for their to be some reluctance by other USNC members until theres more conclusive proof since y'know, the US has been wrong before.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
If you are referring to any issues with Iran, well, Iran isn't in violation of either the NPT or the IAEA they do have a right according to what they signed to domestically enrich stuff so it is natural for their to be some reluctance by other USNC members until theres more conclusive proof since y'know, the US has been wrong before.
Dude, you just admitted Iran was going for nukes, but bring China and Russia into the discussion and suddenly it's 'Whoa whoa whoa! Easy on Iran, they have a right to...'

Your knee-jerk partisanship for those two nations is pretty well-known around here, but I wouldn't have expected such a striking demonstration of it.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-11/09/c_131237539.htm Hey lookit you're right, Iran is kosher with the IAEA. Ugh.

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Blayne Bradley
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I didn't admit to Iran going for nukes, I said Ron Paul would let them have nukes do not put words in my mouth.

Again, appeal to ad hominem, what I have defended or not defended before in which you have zero ability to substantiate has no bearing here.

There are at least two very long running discussions over at SA that have more or less discredited the majority of arguments stating Iran is in violation of the NPT, its very conclusive that the US media has very much exaggerated Iranian intentions and actions to beyond fictional.

quote:

"The enforcement of Article III of the NPT obligations is carried out through the IAEA's monitoring and verification that is designed to ensure that declared nuclear facilities are operated according to safeguard agreement with Iran, which Iran signed with the IAEA in 1974. In the past four years that Iran's nuclear programme has been under close investigation by the IAEA, the Director General of the IAEA, as early as November 2003 reported to the IAEA Board of Governors that "to date, there is no evidence that the previously undeclared nuclear material and activities ... were related to a nuclear weapons programme." ... Although Iran has been found in non-compliance with some aspects of its IAEA safeguards obligations, Iran has not been in breach of its obligations under the terms of the NPT."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_program_of_Iran#Laptop_and_.22alleged_studies.22


Argue the facts not the words.

[ January 29, 2012, 02:43 PM: Message edited by: Blayne Bradley ]

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Destineer
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quote:
I didn't admit to Iran going for nukes, I said Ron Paul would let them have nukes do not put words in my mouth.
I agree with this. The following position fits with what Blayne said in previous posts: Iran doesn't have a nuclear weapons program, but Ron Paul has said that if they do have a weapons program, there's nothing wrong with that; and on that count, Paul is wrong.

quote:

There are at least two very long running discussions over at SA that have more or less discredited the majority of arguments stating Iran is in violation of the NPT, its very conclusive that the US media has very much exaggerated Iranian intentions and actions to beyond fictional.

While it's certainly clear that Iran hasn't violated NPT, arms control experts are also justifiably convinced that they plan to go as far as possible toward developing the capability to produce weapons without violating the letter of the treaty. I think that, too, is something the international community should try to prevent, and Russia and China have indeed obstructed the process.
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Rakeesh
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*snort* Ohh, shut my mouth. What's one of your phrases? 'Make me, Internet tough guy.' Seriously, Blayne, this particular disagreement aside, saying 'shut your mouth' in this context makes you look like a tantruming adolescent angry on the Internet.

Now, that said, I did give you some facts-you ignored them. As recently as two months ago, the IAEA has reported some very troubling things about Iran's nuclear program, and I'm not talking about American media coverage but the IAEA itself. Such as that weapons-specific activities have been going on until quite recently, and may even be continuing. Just for starters.

Iran's position is effectively that the IAEA is an American stooge, and it's interesting to see that that is your stance as well, apparently. Iran *doesn't* say 'The IAEA didn't say that!' it days 'Dont listen to them, they're American bought!'

So let's dispense with this nonsense that the IAEA is sanguine about Iran's nuclear program-even Iran itself admits that the IAEA has serious concerns with it.

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Rakeesh
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So, to be clear, the statement was not 'Iran is trying for nukes, and Ron Paul is fine with that' but rather 'Should Iran someday attempt and obtain nukes, Paul wouldn't try to stop it'?

If the latter is what was meant, fine, that is indeed one way and perhaps the first way that statement should've been read. My mistake. I don't think I really had to reach for it, though.

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Blayne Bradley
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I accept your apology and will revise my post.
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Corwin
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Yeah, if we'll elect a kenyan muslim, we'll elect anyone!

Umm,Since Corwin is French, I pretty sure was talking about Nicolas Sarkozy not Barack Obama.
Actually I'm Romanian, but I lived in France for 11 years before coming back to Romania. And our president (for which I proudly voted in 2004 [Wall Bash] ) is Traian Basescu, in case anyone was wondering. [Wink]
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The Rabbit
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Sorry Corwin. I remembered you living in France from years ago. I never realized you were actually Romanian.
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Corwin
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No problem. [Smile]

I didn't even realize that Samp's comment was directly answering the "our current president" part of mine until you posted.

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Samprimary
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Romney in real news:

"I'm not concerned about the very poor." he said Wednesday, not aware this is a really dumb thing to say.

Romney in fake news:

Romneymania sweeps America

quote:
During a stop in Tampa, FL earlier this week, Romney was seen whipping a crowd of thousands into a delirious frenzy with his beloved, decade-old talking points about how he is not a career politician. The candidate reportedly inspired optimism and confidence by explaining he "never actually supported an individual mandate for health insurance at the federal level," a battle cry that prompted the audience to chant his name for five straight minutes.

In a moment his supporters called "genuine" and "down-to-earth," Romney then told the crowd that he, too, is currently unemployed and truly understands the fear of being laid off.

"It's amazing to hear your deepest convictions articulated so poignantly by a politician," said out-of-work Denver resident Austin Matthews, 36, admitting he had never before encountered a candidate—or any human being, for that matter—who had connected with him on such a basic emotional level. "He comes right out and says that any acknowledgment of income inequality in the United States is driven solely by bitterness and envy from the lower classes and shouldn't even be discussed publicly. It's like he's tapped directly into the soul of everyday Americans."

Bonus — Ron Paul in Fake News:

Ron Paul Supporter likes the way Paul tells it like it never will be

quote:
RICHMOND, IN—Self-proclaimed strict constitutionalist and freethinker Rick Crawford told reporters Monday he is supporting Ron Paul in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries because of the way the candidate looks people directly in the eye, doesn't mince words, and tells it like it will never, ever be in a million years. "Ron cuts right through the fat and doesn't sugarcoat anything when he talks about policies that would be absolutely impossible to implement, like abolishing the federal income tax, eliminating Medicare, or putting the nation's currency back on the gold standard," Crawford said as he pounded a hand-painted "Ron Paul 2012" sign in his front lawn. "He's not afraid to give Americans no-nonsense straight talk about his completely delusional fantasy world. That's why I'm part of the highly unlikely Ron Paul revolution." Sources close to Crawford's family said his wife supports Mitt Romney because of the way he tells it like people want to hear it.

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twinky
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Romney in real news:

"I'm not concerned about the very poor." he said Wednesday, not aware this is a really dumb thing to say.

It's a bad sound bite, but only out of context. I'm sure it will be used against him anyway, of course.
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kmbboots
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Yeah. He is wrong about the safety net, but I don't think he meant that statement the way it sounds.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by twinky:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Romney in real news:

"I'm not concerned about the very poor." he said Wednesday, not aware this is a really dumb thing to say.

It's a bad sound bite, but only out of context. I'm sure it will be used against him anyway, of course.
I would like to say that, but the bite is not improved very well by context, given how our "safety net" (or our threadbare, diminutive attempt at one) is the last thing we can reasonably use to wave away concern for the poor, or about how something like fifteen percent of our families can't feed their children.

When you analyze his statements, he's saying he's really not concerned about the poor, he's concerned about the middle class, because they're the ones really struggling in the comparison. Living off of food stamps obviously isn't any kind of struggle, I guess.

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kmbboots
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Sam, I think that there is a difference between being deliberately callous about the poor and being obliviously callous about the poor. The statement out of context characterizes him as the first but it is really only evidence for the second.

He may well be both, of course.

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Occasional
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As apposed to Obama, I care so much for the poor I'm going to make sure there are more people on food stamps so I can show my care for even more people.
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Lyrhawn
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Frankly I think his clarifications make things even worse. 95% of America is middle class according to Romney? Then again, Romney said HE was middle class a few months ago. Really goes to show how useless that term has become.

And, like Sam said, being on food stamps or having to use the safety net DOESN'T imply a struggle to get by? Man, talk about out of touch. I see what he's trying to do, but every time he tries to sympathize with the plight of Americans, he comes across as more and more out of touch with what they're really going through.

The man simply can't connect.

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kmbboots
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Being on food stamps as opposed to what, Occasional? Not eating?
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scholarette
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There is this belief among many Americans (well, among ones I have talked to) that living off welfare and food stamps is quite glamorous. You just sit around having fun all day and get money. The fact that even with that money, you are still living in poverty (just no starving) is frequently ignored.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Sam, I think that there is a difference between being deliberately callous about the poor and being obliviously callous about the poor. The statement out of context characterizes him as the first but it is really only evidence for the second.

I, in fact, believe very much so that the context is evidence of the second, and I do think him to be the second. Since that's not an improvement and makes him out to be a gorm on the issue, it's exactly as I said: adding the context doesn't help him.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Occasional:
As apposed to Obama, I care so much for the poor I'm going to make sure there are more people on food stamps so I can show my care for even more people.

Yeah, uh. What?
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Sam, I think that there is a difference between being deliberately callous about the poor and being obliviously callous about the poor. The statement out of context characterizes him as the first but it is really only evidence for the second.

I, in fact, believe very much so that the context is evidence of the second, and I do think him to be the second. Since that's not an improvement and makes him out to be a gorm on the issue, it's exactly as I said: adding the context doesn't help him.
It might for those people who are judging on emotions. For me being cluelessely callous is worse; for many being deliberatly heartless is worse.

ETA: Context doesn't help him with us, but we are not the likely targets.

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SenojRetep
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Romney's complete CNN statement:
quote:
I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I'll fix it. I'm not concerned about the very rich. They're doing just fine. I'm concerned about the very heart of America, the 90-95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.
I think there's a point at which additional focus on the very poor is overall detrimental to society. I don't know that we're currently in that situation; I tend to think not. But I think the question of whether it's better to focus time, energy and resources on improving the quality of life for the very few with incomes less than $15,000 or on the significantly larger segment with incomes between $15,000 and $100,000 is at least a valid one to ask.

<edit>Also, note the "if it needs repair, I'll fix it." You might project a disagreement with Romney over to what degree the safety net needs fixing, but asserting that he doesn't care about or get that poor people need assistance based on this quote is, while understandable, I think fairly unjustifiable on the face.</edit>

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kmbboots
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You do get that the poor are part of society, right?
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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
You do get that the poor are part of society, right?

Yeah.
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kmbboots
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SO what is detrimental to the most vulnerable is also detrimental to "society" - even more so as they are more in need of our "focus".
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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
SO what is detrimental to the most vulnerable is also detrimental to "society" - even more so as they are more in need of our "focus".

Not necessarily. It depends on how you measure social welfare. If I could improve the outcome for the poorest, most vulnerable member of society by a little but as a result decreased the welfare of all other members of society by a lot, I would consider that to be overall detrimental to society.

<edit>There's also an interesting question of whether individual welfare (let alone societal) increases monotonically with "focus", but that's maybe a separate discussion.</edit>

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kmbboots
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I am not sure how that would work. It takes a great deal less to impact the quality of life for someone who has nothing than for someone who already has a lot. Ten thousand dollars would be insignificant to Gov. Romney (for example), be significant to me, possibly save the life of someone with nothing.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
am not sure how that would work. It takes a great deal less to impact the quality of life for someone who has nothing than for someone who already has a lot. Ten thousand dollars would be insignificant to Gov. Romney (for example), be significant to me, possibly save the life of someone with nothing.
I'd go further than that. Romney's income last year was $21.7 million. I suspect he could handle a 10% decrease in that income (2.17 million) without any noticeable impact on his quality of life. That same percent decrease for a household earning $21,700 dollars a year would very likely mean not being able to pay essential bills or buy food. An extra $2000 dollars a year to a family on the edge of poverty makes a huge difference. Someone like Romney could make that difference for a thousand families and not even feel a pinch.
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SenojRetep
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I think you're both taking an inherently utilitarian view of welfare (social welfare as the aggregate of individual welfares), and coupling it with an model in which the marginal welfare benefit of wealth is sublinear. That's not an unreasonable way of viewing social welfare, and it may match your experiences and beliefs well, but it certainly isn't the only model of social welfare, nor (IMO) is it sufficient for describing the way we generally experience society.

<edit>That reads as exceptionally (and unnecessarily) academic to me. All I'm saying is that the amount you help (or hurt) someone may include factors other than the value they get from consuming wealth, and that the overall value to society may not be a simple sum of individual enjoyments. I think the model you're working from is generally a good baseline model, but I don't think it really covers all the ways in which we receive social benefit (or costs).

Also, I think you maybe twisting Romney's words into a statement focused on taxes and wealth distribution. In reality, he was talking about his proposed legislative agenda, and the "focus" he was talking about was how much legislative effort should be put into solving problems facing particular subsets of society. So, all the discussion of social welfare aside, I think you may be (again, understandably given his phraseology) misreading what Romney's saying. Or maybe I am, which is also completely possible.</edit>

[ February 01, 2012, 05:27 PM: Message edited by: SenojRetep ]

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Samprimary
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Ok. I will refocus to try to get my position across. This is the relevant point of contextual expansion I am looking at or whatever:

quote:
"We have a very ample safety net and we can talk about whether it needs to be strengthened or whether there are holes in it. But we have food stamps, we have Medicaid, we have housing vouchers, we have programs to help the poor," Romney said. "But the middle-income Americans, they're the folks that are really struggling right now."
Yes. They're the folks that are really struggling right now (aside from the folks that are struggling more and have it worse, like, say, the poor.)

Put all his little snippets together and you get the real sense of what he's saying and what he's trying not to say, then he fails at the things you should not say part and gives his opposition a nice quote that you can play in terrible attack ads while Romney is in an ugly brown tint and there's a low dark sound playing in the background. MITT ROMNEY DOESN'T CARE ABOUT POOR PEOPLE paid for by citizens for a united citizen's united

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kmbboots
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SenojReptep, what are some of these other factors and how would we measure them. I have some ideas but am curious to hear yours as none of the measure I am coming up with would be negatively impacted by focusing on the problems of the poor. In fact, quite the opposite.
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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
SenojReptep, what are some of these other factors and how would we measure them. I have some ideas but am curious to hear yours as none of the measure I am coming up with would be negatively impacted by focusing on the problems of the poor. In fact, quite the opposite.

I don't think there are good utilitarian explanations for concepts like fundamental liberties.

For example, say someone needs a kidney transplant and I'm a match for them. I find it pretty likely that their marginal benefit at receiving a kidney is greater than my marginal cost at losing one. However, I think the overall social welfare of a society in which kidneys are forcibly taken from those that have and given to those that need is not as high as one in which people's rights to their internal organs is held inviolate.

<edit>To take a less esoteric example: suppose my neighbor is pretty ambivalent about what color he paints his house, but he slightly prefer fuscia. I _hate_ fuscia, and I derive significant welfare cost from living next door to a fuscia house. Again, I think it's at least arguable that the overall social welfare of a society in which people have the right to paint their homes whatever color they choose is higher that one in which my strongly held aversion to fuscia can override my neighbor's choice of house paint.</edit>

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kmbboots
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Actually, both of those cases are extreme. In one case the need was great but sacrifice was unreasonably large. * In the second case the need was unreasonably small. Unless one could prove some demostrable reasonable harm?

In neither case, is focusing on the poor as issue, though.

*I am please that you consider relinquishing an organ to be an untenable violation of freedom, though. I assume that you are pro-choice?

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Rakeesh
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I'm just wondering at what point, short of a pronouncement of "Let them eat cake" we can say that Romney is quite out of touch, economically, with mainstream America and not be met with a storm of eye-rolling and huffing?

Realistically I know the answer is likely 'not at any loint', but man it'd be nice.

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ScottF
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
am not sure how that would work. It takes a great deal less to impact the quality of life for someone who has nothing than for someone who already has a lot. Ten thousand dollars would be insignificant to Gov. Romney (for example), be significant to me, possibly save the life of someone with nothing.
I'd go further than that. Romney's income last year was $21.7 million. I suspect he could handle a 10% decrease in that income (2.17 million) without any noticeable impact on his quality of life. That same percent decrease for a household earning $21,700 dollars a year would very likely mean not being able to pay essential bills or buy food. An extra $2000 dollars a year to a family on the edge of poverty makes a huge difference. Someone like Romney could make that difference for a thousand families and not even feel a pinch.
I suspect he could handle a lot more than a 10% decrease. I'm assuming taking away 10% is an arbitrary example? I'm curious as to where most feel the threshold of fairness lies with regards to decreasing his income (I think you don't mean actually reducing his income, but reducing the amount he keeps for himself, yes?).
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Samprimary
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10% seems to be a common arbitrary (or .. not?) example to show the differences in impact of percentile reduction of income to quality of life and ability to make ends meet relative to distance from objective poverty lines.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
I'm just wondering at what point, short of a pronouncement of "Let them eat cake" we can say that Romney is quite out of touch, economically, with mainstream America and not be met with a storm of eye-rolling and huffing?

Realistically I know the answer is likely 'not at any loint', but man it'd be nice.

Jon Stewart has done a fantastic job in recent weeks of hammering Romney on the issues of wealth, corporatism, and being out of touch with reality (as well as out of touch with America). He's also drawn some fascinating contrasts by comparing the things Romney says about himself, corporations, the government, and regular Americans and pointing out where his concepts of fairness simply don't apply to everyone. He comes across quite terribly.

Once Obama actually wades into the election, I think he's going to drop a populist bomb on Romney's head that Romney will have extreme problems fending off, given the defenses he's used in previous months.

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Jake
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I have to admit, I laughed to myself when I read this in Card's latest essay:

quote:
I'm not pro-Mitt (though as Gingrich reveals his character, I'm moving that way)....
As Gingrich reveals his character? It is to laugh.

[ February 02, 2012, 01:55 PM: Message edited by: Jake ]

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Once Obama actually wades into the election, I think he's going to drop a populist bomb on Romney's head that Romney will have extreme problems fending off, given the defenses he's used in previous months.
I have a feeling this election is going to turn into one the nastiest blood baths in anyone's memory. Both the left and right seem more motivated by a fear of the opposition than enthusiasm for their candidate. Combine that with the Citizen's United decision and we've set the stage for a really ugly campaign season, no matter what course the candidates choose.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Jake:
I have to admit, I laughed to myself when I read this in Card's latest essay:

quote:
I'm not pro-Mitt (though as Gingrich reveals his character, I'm moving that way)....
An Gingrich reveals his character? It is to laugh.
http://www.theonion.com/articles/time-traveler-from-the-year-1998-warns-nation-not,27178/

quote:
Time Traveler From The Year 1998 Warns Nation Not To Elect Newt Gingrich

WASHINGTON—Saying he came bearing an important message from the past, a stranger from the year 1998 appeared on the Capitol steps Thursday and urged voters not to elect Newt Gingrich president in 2012. "In the late 20th century, Newt Gingrich is a complete disgrace!" said the time-traveling man, warning Americans that 14 years in the not-so-distant past, Gingrich becomes the only speaker in the history of the House of Representatives to be found guilty on ethics charges, and is later forced to resign. "In my time, he shuts down the federal government for 28 days because his feelings get hurt over having to sit at the back of Air Force One. Gingrich gets our president impeached for lying about marital infidelities when, at the same time, Gingrich himself is engaged in his own extramarital affairs. And for God's sake, he divorced his first wife after she was diagnosed with cancer. Won't anyone listen to me?!?" When asked about Donald Trump, the time-traveler said he had no information on the man, as no one from 1998 cared about a "washed-up fake millionaire."


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Jake
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: laugh : Yeah.
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twinky
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
I'm just wondering at what point, short of a pronouncement of "Let them eat cake" we can say that Romney is quite out of touch, economically, with mainstream America and not be met with a storm of eye-rolling and huffing?

I've thought he was economically out of touch for a long time, although the "I'll bet you $10k" was his "Let them eat cake" moment for me. I just don't think this particular excerpt is a great example of it.
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Corwin
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Samp, thanks for the link, that was awesome. [Big Grin]
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by twinky:
I've thought he was economically out of touch for a long time, although the "I'll bet you $10k" was his "Let them eat cake" moment for me. I just don't think this particular excerpt is a great example of it.

Honestly, I think his line about how his speaking fees were 'not very much' (oh, only like $374,327, a mere pittance, wot wot) was even worse.

He goofs a lot at the whole "whatever you do, Romney, don't look like you are hopelessly out of touch with the plebes" thing

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Occasional
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I can't speak for him, but "pro-choice" isn't a freedom. Its murder.
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The Rabbit
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For me the "let them eat cake moment" was a little publicized statement Ann Romney made during the 2008 primary season. In response to the question of whether they could relate to the financial troubles faced by ordinary people, she said something to the effect that they could because they too had had financial difficulties. When they were in school, there were times when they had to dip into her trust fund to make ends meet.

I wish I could find the exact quote but either my google foo is weak or the faux pas of the wife of a 2008 "also ran" don't get remembered by many.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Jake:
I have to admit, I laughed to myself when I read this in Card's latest essay:

quote:
I'm not pro-Mitt (though as Gingrich reveals his character, I'm moving that way)....
An Gingrich reveals his character? It is to laugh.
What I got from that (incredibly whiny) essay (Think of of the poor Mormon children that can never hope to be president! *sob*) was this part.

quote:
There is nothing about Romney that could not be embraced by most non-lunatic Republicans, nothing to make him an "anybody-but" candidate -- except that he's a Mormon.
The problem is not that the non-lunatic Republican are shunning the Mormon; it is that there are too few non-lunatic Republicans. It isn't that Gov. Romney is too Mormon. He just isn't rabid enough for the base.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
For me the "let them eat cake moment" was a little publicized statement Ann Romney made during the 2008 primary season. In response to the question of whether they could relate to the financial troubles faced by ordinary people, she said something to the effect that they could because they too had had financial difficulties. When they were in school, there were times when they had to dip into her trust fund to make ends meet.

I wish I could find the exact quote but either my google foo is weak or the faux pas of the wife of a 2008 "also ran" don't get remembered by many.

It was the sale of stock.

Mitt Romney and Ann: the students “struggling” so much that they had to sell stock.

quote:
Mitt Romney is going around saying that he made all his money himself, aside from a loan from his dad to buy his first house.

Journalists who buy that have short memories. I was living in Massachusetts when Romney first ran for the Senate, and remembered this interview with Ann Romney in the Boston Globe (by Jack Thomas, October 20, 1994; the abstract is here; the full text costs $4.95).

...

Ann was widely mocked for this at the time. I don’t dissent from the mockery. Her idea of her and Mitt facing “not easy years,” having “no income,” “living on the edge” as “struggling students,” was that the couple had had to face college with only sale of stock to sustain them. By Ann’s own account, the stock amounted to “a few thousand” dollars when bought, but it had gone up by a factor of sixteen. So let’s conservatively say that they got through five years as students—neither one of them working—only by “chipping away at” assets of $60,000 in 1969 dollars (about $377,000 today).

Look. I don’t begrudge Romney’s having had his college tuition and living expenses paid for with family money. Mine were too. My background, though not as fancy as Mitt or Ann Romney’s, was privileged enough. But the guy should just come out and admit it: “I was a child of privilege and have my parents’ wealth to thank for my education. That said, I worked very very hard in business, and the vast majority of my fortune I earned myself.”

But there is of course a reason he can’t say that: such a statement is customarily followed by an expression of gratitude and a willingness to give something back to society. And gratitude and a willingness to give something back are precisely what Romney lacks—in common with the party he’s aspiring to represent.


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