Make no mistake.
The recently published book by former Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell is another product of this man’s savvy proclivity for self-promotion.
However, irrespective of the man’s motives, Rendell is on target with the alarmingly accurate title of that book, “A Nation of Wusses: How America’s Leaders Lost the Guts to Make Us Great.”
‘Wuss’ is variously defined as timid, weakling and wimp.
That term is realistically applicable to too many of those either elected to, elevated into or having usurped positions within American leadership circles across spheres from academic to scientific, financial to political and religious.
Wusses accurately describes the many Philadelphia leaders that persistently permit local construction industry trade unions to practice prejudicial employment practices, unlawful discrimination that aggravates the unemployment contributing to this city’s grinding rates of entrenched poverty.
Interestingly, Rendell spent time in the wuss category when cold-shouldering discrimination complaints against construction unions during his terms as Philly mayor and Pa.’s governor.
Wusses is arguably applicable to many Black religious leaders now shouting about President Obama’s mere support for the idea of same-sex marriages while remaining silent on racism in corporate suites that contributes to the economic strangulation encountered by their church members of varying sexual preferences and marital status.
This spring for example, the Wilmington, Del.-based pharma giant AstraZeneca gave a $65-million exit package to its sacked CEO David Brennan, who during his few years of tenure presided over massive revenue losses and the [alleged cost-cutting] discharge of more than 21,000 employees while doing nothing about discrimination in that corporation’s ranks.
Like many U.S. corporations AZ employed few Blacks in its most high-wage job positions.
Some of those Blacks working their way into AZ’s lucrative salary slots found themselves drop-kicked by discrimination that Brennan practically did nothing about.
One former Black professional athlete working in an AZ sales division found himself canned coinciding with his raising concerns about lack of diversity.
Apparently some Black ministers need reminding that they can publicly oppose both same-sex marriage and employment segregation by corporations at the same time if sincere in fulfilling their charge to help those relying on their leadership.
Wusses accurately describes the Republican-controlled legislature in North Carolina bent on ignoring scientific facts about rising sea levels arising from global warming by lap-dogging to pressure from powerful developers wanting to cash in by building on shorelines that decades from now will be awash with waves requiring bailouts.
Those N.C. legislators push legislation prohibiting governmental agencies in N.C. from even recommending the need to prepare for inevitable rising ocean levels by head-in-the-sand demands that the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission eliminate global warming based predictions from a major report on legislator’s crap contention that global warming doesn’t exist.
There are multiple ironies in the title of Rendell’s book.
One irony is that Rendell benefitted from wuss behavior enabling him to continue compiling his illustrative career that provides the platform for publishers having an interest in a book from him.
Rendell is a lawyer, and lawyers are not supposed to lie according to the ethical and professional standards provisions covering that profession.
In 1978, while Rendell was serving as Philadelphia’s district attorney the Pennsylvania Supreme Court castigated Philly homicide prosecutors for “perpetrating a falsehood and fraud” (a/k/a — lying) on that court during a push to win a conviction.
The caustic language in that high court ruling included the unusual step of specifically naming Rendell citing his “misleading” testimony as a prosecution witness during the trial that court ruling voided.
If that Supreme Court and its professional standards body were not wusses Rendell and his prosecutorial confederates would have faced disciplinary procedures if not disbarment for that courtroom misconduct.
And, losing a legal license would not have been the best résumé builder listing for a politician aspiring to higher offices ... thus reducing the likelihood of Rendell’s subsequent climbs into the offices of mayor and governor.
Another irony of sorts is that the “Wuss of the Week Award,” at least the Wuss Award for last week, goes to an entity Rendell once headed: the Democratic National Committee.
The DNC took a dive on the critical gubernatorial recall election in Wisconsin declining to drop needed dimes into the populist driven campaign to removed union busting/middle class bashing tea party-corporate prostitute Scott Walker on the stupid claim that Walker’s recall had little national significance or symbolism.
“Thousands and thousands of people here worked millions of hours in response to which the chair of the DNC offered no money and no help saying it was a local race with no national implications,” a Wisconsin academic said expressing disappointment that President Obama also wuss-ed out on that recall.
“Conversely, the money flowed in from the RNC and the Republican Governors as well as the ‘Koch roaches,’ etc. who framed it as a very important platform and Mitt Romney declared Walker was “his hero.”
Rendell’s book may not make it onto any best-selling list, but this wuss-inflection rampant in American leadership circles is killing this country.
Truth be told, the re-election of President Barack Obama is perhaps more problematic than many of his supporters think due to Obama assuming a wuss role, like constantly caving in to Republicans on Capitol Hill in the name of bipartisanship after the Republican establishment declared ending the Obama presidency its Number One mission.
Linn Washington Jr. is a graduate of the Yale Law Journalism Fellowship Program.
So, what does floundering GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Pennsylvania voter disenfranchisement proponent Rep. Daryl Metcalfe and a box of popular corn muffin mix all have in common?
Each is deceptive!
Romney, in yet another foot-in-mouth moment, pontificated his feeling that 47 percent of the American voting public believes they are “victims.”
Those people, in Mitt’s mindset, hold the “government” responsible to “care for them” by providing health care, food, housing and everything else …“you name-it.”
Never mind that nearly half of America’s voting public doesn’t view themselves as victims and don’t depend on government to provide their basic needs.
In the mind of Mitt, too many in America have an entitlement mindset.
This is the deceptive mindset of an ungratefully wealthy man who sees no entitlement in his paying a much lower tax rate on his fortune than the tax rates paid by 47,000 average, hard-working Americans earning far less collectively.
Metcalfe, in his own foot-in-mouth moment, embraced Mitt’s 47 percent slam to defend his Pa. voter ID law proclaiming the controversial measure now back before Commonwealth Court will only disenfranchise “lazy” people.
Metcalfe, a Republican legislator from outside Pittsburgh, popped off during a radio interview last week that similar to Mitt’s comment about 47 percent of people “living off the public dole” he believes that people in Pa., who don’t have proper voter ID, “are too lazy to get up and get out there and get the ID they need.”
Never mind that people across Pennsylvania are encountering difficulties with just physically getting to the few state offices issuing the ID cards — and once there, encounter long delays due to too few staff at those offices and/or staff who are uneducated on what they need to do with Metcalfe’s ID law.
In the deceptive mindset of Metcalfe, robbing people of their constitutional right to vote with a measure based on an allegation of in-person voting fraud — which facts show doesn’t exist in Pennsylvania — is no big deal because if people are too lazy to get ID cards, “the state can’t fix that.”
So, how does that corn muffin mix fit with the warped mindsets of Mitt and Metcalfe?
Surprisingly (and deceptively) the main ingredient in one of the most popular corn muffin mixes is wheat flour.
Never mind that people with allergies to wheat often turn to corn muffins to satisfy their bread itch without knowing that the key ingredient in the muffin mix is wheat flour — the substance they are trying to avoid.
And never mind that the fourth ingredient in that popular corn muffin mix is lard — yes, the material made from pig fat … hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated lard (pig fat).
Pig fat in corn muffin mix presents a small problem for people who don’t eat pork still consuming pork without their knowledge.
Now, to the Daryl Metcalfes of the legislative world, the problem is not unexpected or unhealthy ingredients in food but the fact that people don’t read the labels on food packages to see what’s in the food they buy.
Never mind that the printing on most food package labels is so small that most people need glasses (or magnifying glasses) to read.
The Metcalfes and Romneys favor increased deregulation that allows corporations to do what corporations deem best for the respective corporate profits even if that “best” includes, for example, deleting that small type on packages listing ingredients if a corporations claims it costs too much to print that small type on a package.
Many food manufacturing corporations now utilize food stuffs from plants genetically modified by other corporations.
Corporations say genetically modified plants are not dangerous to human health — although GMO products can cause ugly tumors and other bad stuff in lab rats.
Many genetically modified plants (including corn and soybeans) are those that are chemically altered in seed form to produce resistance to weed killer poisons enabling the spraying of weed killers without damaging the cash crop.
It’s a proven fact that weed killers pollute the environment — however some contend the solid medical evidence on adverse health impacts from GMO remains inconclusive.
Some claim climate change/global warming is fake despite damning changes in weather that evidence proves is caused by carbon pollution from humans.
Last week alarms were raised about dangers from American-grown rice having hi-levels of arsenic in it — arsenic arising from weed killers poured on the land where the rice is grown when that land was used to grow cotton decades ago. Apparently the weed killers don’t wash away in the rain but stick in the soil.
There is a political battle in California where some folks want food manufacturers to put a notice on food products containing GMO.
Major food manufacturers are opposing the GMO notice that many European countries require.
Major food manufacturers and their supporters, including GMO seed manufacturer Monsanto, have dumped over $32 million into defeating the California labeling referendum known as Proposition 37.
This labeling battle over GMOs and use of the word “natural” (no “natural” on unnatural products) is another one of the battlegrounds where wealth (individual and corporate) is seeking to bash the public in the interest of corporate profits.
No surprise that some wealth (individual/corporate) supports voter suppression measures like Metcalfe pushes and tax breaks for the rich that Romney wants.
This presidential race extends far beyond Democrats or Republicans occupying the White House.
Linn Washington Jr. is a graduate of the Yale Law Journalism Fellowship Program.
The American Dream is starting to fade away and that is very scary. The saddest thing about this is the recent behavior or attitude of President Barack Obama. He has abandoned leading us and has gone on full campaign mode with more than four months to go before the national election. He seems to be delirious in his character attacks against candidate Mitt Romney. It is like Nero sitting down with his fiddle while Rome was burning away. Is Obama our Nero? Let’s take a look.
God has blessed our country with natural energy resources such as oil, natural gas and coal. Maybe that’s why he is mad about it — God has blessed us. He is attacking the life blood of our energy needs. He wants us to stop using these products but has no clear solution or even a hint about how we can do without them. Our tariff-free trading partner Canada has immense reserves of oil and would love to ship vast amounts via the Keystone Pipeline. Everyone but environmental extremists is cheering for this to happen. What’s the big problem? Our president is one of those environmental extremists. He wants to decrease oil quantities regardless of the negative affect it has on our economy (prices, jobs, business growth, etc.). Let us suffer; he has a “fiddle” to play.
The process of fracturing, a/k/a fracking, has opened vast new reserves of natural gas for our nation. We now have more natural gas than any other nation on earth. That makes most of us happy but it depresses our president. He has his Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) trying to find ways to slow down the process and, at times, to shut it down. We need more natural gas in a desperate way but he would rather play that “fiddle.”
Then there is our abundant quantity of coal. This is the cheapest form of energy and many of our utility companies rely on it. The harvesting of coal is a serious job creator in states such as Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Illinois. Our president doesn’t want to slow this down; he wants to kill it! His henchman, the EPA, has issued the Utility MACT Rule, which requires new mercury air standards that most utility plants cannot possibly meet. The result will be about 32 utility facilities shutting down. That is a tremendous amount of jobs (in this recession) and utility prices will skyrocket as supplies dwindle. Play that fiddle!
Remember when our beloved President John F. Kennedy said we will put a man on the moon and lead the world in space exploration? Well, the guy we have now just closed down NASA (JFK is rolling in his grave). Our nation is now No. 3 in space behind Russia and China. If we want to go into space we have to buy a seat from them. Many thousands of engineers are still unemployed as a result of this capitulation. Stop fiddling!
“America, the strongest nation on earth” — that saying is becoming passé. Our president has the crazy idea of slashing our military all the way back to 1940 levels. Hmmm, isn’t that the year Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan considered us punks and later attacked? It is quite clear that Russian President Vladimir Putin considers Barack Obama a punk. He has a look of disgust when they are together. No one respects weakness, especially when it comes with a fiddle.
No family or business can run properly without a budget. Our president is trying to manage and lead a nation without a clear budget. That’s why in his short tenure he has increased our debt by more than $4 trillion dollars (that’s a T). I can’t recall any other president in our history running our nation without a budget. It is lunacy or it’s like playing a fiddle while Rome burns. We are on the verge of financial ruin and there is no plan from the White House.
Former President Lyndon Baines Johnson vowed to make war on poverty. He started the food stamp program with a budget of $268 million in 1964. Our president doesn’t fight poverty; he promotes it. Last year, we spent more than $78 billion in food stamps. We are becoming a nation of paupers and he is playing the fiddle.
Finally, there is the low regard for the Black Church. How do you jump into the moral discussion of same sex marriage? That debate belongs to our church, not the white House. This is an affront to our beloved long standing institution — just for a few votes.
Mr. President, I am calling you out. Stop the ugliness and tend to the crisis at hand. Raising taxes in a recession and killing jobs via all of the above is a blue print for disaster. Your record with Black procurement is now at 1.1 percent (GAO). Nixon did better than you! — (NNPA)
So now it’s Ron Paul’s turn to be a top-tier Republican presidential candidate? It’s about time. He deserves it. The Grand Old Party’s 2012 contest is driven heavily by tea party politics. It is appropriate that GOP voters give rise to original tea potter, even if he sounds a little cracked.
After all, as some of his many younger fans like to say, the aging Texas congressman and physician is to the tea party what Snoop Dogg is to hip-hop, an “original gangsta.” He’s got his mind on your money and your money on his mind, especially if he can keep it away from tax collectors.
But few of his supporters expect him to be elected. Like Chicago Cubs fans, the Paulistas don’t like to be disappointed, but after two other failed runs, they have grown accustomed to it.
His current surge comes partly out of desperation as the GOP’s conservative Anybody-But-Mitt faction runs out of alternatives to Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the party establishment’s favorite. A half-dozen other hopefuls soared and flamed out. Paul will fall, too, I predict, as his curmudgeonly pronouncements remind voters of why they didn’t support him sooner.
I’m not referring to the good doctor’s crackpot side, like recently revived reports of his 20-year-old newsletters, sprinkled with racist and anti-Semitic comments. Paul denounces the statements and claims he never read them. Yet they appeared in the newsletter that bears his name and funneled dollars to him from eager subscribers. Paul is not that much of a details man, he wants us to believe, yet he wants to run the White House. Fat chance.
Paul says enough these days to alienate fellow conservatives without anyone having to probe into his past. On his visit to “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno before Christmas, for example, he sparked his biggest applause with views that his own party tends to oppose.
Gay marriage? “My position on marriage,” he said, “is that the government just ought to just stay out of it totally and completely and quit arguing about it.”
Marijuana legalization? “The role of the federal government is to protect liberty,” he said, including “our right to do to our body what we want, what we take into our bodies.”
Foreign Policy? He’s an isolationist. He criticized the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, thinks Iran poses little threat to the U.S. and wants to end all foreign aid programs, even to Israel. In general, he would repudiate decades of foreign policies supported by both parties.
In his first presidential year, Paul said, “I’d like to cut spending by $1 trillion.” And how would he get Congress or the country to go along with that? Ah, well. Like a barbershop grouch, Paul has more gripes than answers.
But few of his exuberant supporters worry much about who will pay the price for Paul’s political dreams, since few actually expect him to be elected. They want to “send a message” to the GOP and the nation, they say. But even if the controversial congressman surprises us with his strength in the upcoming primaries, what message does his extremism send?
I can think of two. The first is one that the Paulistas don’t want: a short-term disaster for Republican prospects and a big boost to their nemesis, President Barack Obama. Paul’s kooky extremism only helps to reinforce Team Obama’s efforts to paint today’s Republicans as nutty enough to make Sarah Palin sound like Margaret Thatcher.
But in the long run, Dr. Paul’s outside-the-box thinking, like Ross Perot’s maverick 1992 campaign, does bring attention to serious fiscal questions that neither party is eager to take on: What should be the role of government in the new century? How big should it be? How can we modernize a social and financial system designed for an earlier industrial age to suit the new global economy?
Those are the questions that this election should be about. Beyond today’s partisan catfights and media grandstanding, we need a serious debate about the country’s future between thought leaders on the right and left. Unfortunately, winner-take-all politics keep getting in the way.
The most unsettling part of Mitt Romney’s recent admission that he’s not “concerned about the very poor,” is that it seems to grow out of a widely held political belief by Conservatives that the poor (and most African Americans) are not really a part of any political process that matters to them. In fact, it seems that, to them, both groups are imminently expendable.
Even if he did so inadvertently, however, Brother Romney did manage — in a way that no other presidential candidate, or incumbent, had done so far — to get the word “poor” injected into the national political dialogue.
The fact is that Romney, the presidential candidate whose personal net worth has been estimated at about $250 million, wasn’t really thinking about “the very poor” or even the “moderately poor,” at all, when he clumsily threw out the phrase he will probably never live down.
No, the man who took home a reported $20.9 million in investment income, last year, while holding no actual job, himself, was simply reaching out to the middle class, the people in this country who he believes represent the clear majority of the population, the people who are most highly educated, the people who look most like him, the people, his handlers remind him, that have the greatest propensity to vote.
Perhaps, he and his advisers haven’t been watching or reading that part of the news that doesn’t relate to the Republican primary debates, or the shifting fortunes of the candidates, and the most recent polling results. If they had, maybe they'd know that many of the formerly middle-class people they're hoping to attract are, now, themselves, officially "poor."
Anymore, running for president is all about the debate, all about shuttling back and forth across the country on private jets to meet with highly partisan supporters, deep-pocketed donors, and with media pundits. Meetings with actual voters? Not anymore. These days, “voter contact” is mostly a highly staged affair, with pre-screened partisans recruited to fill auditoriums or to stand behind the candidate during televised speeches. Meetings with actual, unscreened American people, who might not follow a script? Well, that’s out. Doesn’t make for “good TV." How would it look on YouTube? Why take the risk?
That’s how one runs for the highest office in the land in 2012. That’s also how it was done in 2008, in 2004, and in the year 2000.
Hence, the longer these campaigns go — for both Republican and Democratic candidates — the more deeply these potential leaders of “the Free World” get wrapped up in their own "bubbles." The fact is, they all need to “get out more.”
How else do you explain Mitt Romney saying that he doesn't have to be concerned about the “very poor” because “We have a safety net there?”
On the jet, from Iowa to New Hampshire, or from South Carolina to Florida, didn’t Mitt’s people ever sit down with him and show him the late November Census figures that indicated that one in four American children are now living in poverty, and that the poverty rate, in this country, has reached an all-time high?
Would it have changed Mitt’s “throw away line” about “90 to 95 percent” of Americans being included in the middle class if he knew that the poverty rate for Black children stands at an alarming 38.2 percent? Do his handlers ever let Mitt, a branded “Conservative Republican," think, or speak out loud, about what is happening to black children? Does he care, or are they just one more, expendable, non-voting segment of his strategic, political calculations?
Here’s something else: Every day, thousands of U.S. workers – highly trained, well educated, widely experienced and formerly "middle class," themselves-- continue to suffer the effects of mass corporate layoffs. Recently, for example, there were announcements of 7300 layoffs at Astra Zeneca and 13,000 layoffs at American Airlines.
In that regard, the Roosevelt Institute has disclosed that, since 2009, layoff victims have been more likely to give up looking for work and to drop out of the labor force, than to find a job, given the lack of re-employment opportunities in this country. According to Roosevelt, since the Recession began, in December, 2007, 4.7 million people have dropped out of the labor force. Having lost all hope of ever finding work, they have simply stopped looking, anymore, for jobs. Therefore, they don’t even get included in the official government unemployment reports we see each month.
Returning military veterans, from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, are substantially more likely to be unemployed and homeless than other Americans. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that young male veterans, between the ages of 18 and 24 had an unemployment rate of 21.9 percent in 2010.
I guess, prior to him making his statement, Mr. Romney’s people also failed to mention to him that the massive cuts in government spending, espoused by every red-blooded political conservative, is leading, every day, to the destruction of the so-called "safety net" the candidate described.
With 46.2 million Americans identified as impoverished by the Census Bureau, the U.S. poverty rate now ranks among the highest in the developed world, behind only Chile, Israel and Mexico.
While he blindly pursues the elusive "middle class" voter, Mitt Romney needs to recognize that, unless Congress acts, soon, federal unemployment benefit programs will expire nest month. He needs to appreciate that the number of Americans without health insurance has actually increased to just under 50 million people, over the past year, and that, in distressed cities around the country, even the agencies that have been responsible for providing support for the impoverished and homeless, are having their own budgets slashed.
In New York City, for example where overall city, state and federal spending on social services has remained essentially flat for the past three years, the number of city residents receiving federally funded food stamps has grown by 67 percent, from 2007 through 2011. In addition, the number of people enrolled in public health insurance programs has grown by 14 percent, to 2.9 million people.
Safety net? What safety net, Mitt?
And, why hasn’t this critical issue of sweeping, Third World-level poverty in the U.S. received more attention in mainstream media, prior to Mitt Romney’s gaffe?
Maybe it’s because the people who report the news to us each day on network-affiliated national broadcast and cable outlets are deeply conflicted about how much they should make "the poor" a high- profile part of the national political agenda.
After all, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer and Piers Morgan are earning $11 million, $2 million and $4 million, respectively, for reading the news to us, and old Wolf has a net worth estimated at about $16 million.
It ain’t just CNN. Bill O’Reilly, at FOX, pulls down $11 million, NBC’s Brian Williams takes home $13 million a year, ABC's Diane Sawyer, $12 million, and the Today’s Show's Matt Lauer, a whopping $17 million, annually.
Looks as though we’re getting both our news and our politics from people living in the same “very rich bubbles.” If you’ll notice, there’s been a great deal of media pundit discussion about how politically incorrect Mitt’s statement was, but not so much discussion, at all, about how to really correct the problem of poverty.
Despite the relative silence of the “bubble dwellers.” If this country’s national sovereignty is to be preserved, it’s obvious that these trends can’t be allowed to continue.
Perversely, a good first step toward placing these issues on the national agenda, was Mitt Romney placing his foot in his mouth.
Let’s hope it leads to a long and productive discussion — on both sides of the aisle.
A. Bruce Crawley is president and principal owner of Millennium 3 Management Inc.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker was wrong in likening Republican attacks on President Obama’s former relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright to Democratic attacks on Mitt Romney’s record on running a private equity firm.
“This kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides,” said Booker Sunday on “Meet the Press. “It’s nauseating to the American public.”
Booker also touted the president’s pro-business record and pointed out that nearly “90 percent of Americans have seen tax cuts under this president. He added that Mitt Romney “would have let the auto industry fail.”
But Booker should have known that as an Obama campaign surrogate he went way off message and gave the perception of appearing to defend Romney’s work at Bain Capital, a private equity firm he help found in 1984.
Later in the week, Booker attempted to backtrack from his initial message and posted a video on YouTube to clarify his earlier remarks.
Booker’s clarification made a lot more sense.
“Mitt Romney has made his business record a centerpiece of his campaign,” said Booker. “He has talked about himself as a job creator. Therefore, it is reasonable for the Obama campaign to examine that record and discuss it.”
Romney can not have it both ways. He can not tout his business experience as the central reason for voters to elect him as president and then cry foul when that record is examined and criticized.
He cannot accuse the Obama campaign of attacking the free enterprise system when it is clear that the attack is on Romney’s record as a venture capitalist.
It is fair for the Obama campaign to point out that Bain, the firm Romney led for a quarter-century, took over some companies only to close them or let them fail, costing jobs and hurting communities.
There is also the question of how does Romney experience as a CEO where he has to maximize corporate profits make him the best candidate for setting policies to help create jobs in a national economy? The evidence does not suggest that CEOs necessarily make great politicians, let alone great presidents. Former President George W. Bush is a graduate of Harvard Business School and successfully ran for president as an experienced businessman, but few would consider him to be a great president.
However the main argument against Romney is that he is proposing the same economic policies of deregulation and no tax increases on the rich that led to the economic crisis.
Politico, a website devoted to covering political news, recently fired an African-American reporter after saying that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is uncomfortable around people who are not white.
Appearing on MSNBC’s Martin Bashir’s show, reporter Joe Williams said Romney had a problem relating to people who weren’t like him. “When he comes on ‘Fox & Friends,’ they’re like him. They’re white folks who are very much relaxed in their own company.”
Williams’s comments spread quickly on conservative blogs after Breitbart.com published them along with a clip of the MSNBC appearance.
Politico first suspended then later fired Williams for his remarks on Romney as well as comments he made on Twitter about the candidate that the website saw as inappropriate.
With his firing, Williams became the victim of his employer’s cowardly reaction to rightwing political pressure.
Williams did not deserve to be fired for his comments on Romney.
Reporters have certainly said or done much worse.
Last year Mark Halperin, senior political analyst for Time magazine and MSNBC, called President Barack Obama “a dick” on air. Halperin was suspended but not fired.
On June 15, the conservative website The Daily Caller reporter Neil Munro rudely interrupted President Barack Obama as Obama was delivering a statement on his administration’s historical immigration policy shift.
Munro yelled the kind of statement posed as a question that is expected from a conservative cable talk show host: “Mr. President, why do you favor foreign workers over Americans?” His boss Tucker Carlson later defended his question, equating Munro with retired ABC newsman Sam Donaldson’s shout-outs to President Reagan. Donaldson told The Huffington Post: “Never once did I interrupt a president in any way while he was making a formal statement, a speech, honoring awardees or in any other way holding the floor.”
Munro was supported by his boss for his partisan and unprofessional outburst while Williams was canned by Politico for making an observation that many believe to be true.
His supervisor, John Harris, acknowledges that he did not believe as some conservative news outlets suggested that Williams’ comments on MSNBC were racist.
“I was more interested in whether the comments met out standards of what we consider fair,” he said. “We have expectations for our reporters (who appear on television) that are the same as when they are writing under their bylines. We want them to reflect that it’s our job to observe politics in a non-partisan way.”
Who is Harris attempting to fool?
Viewers of Sunday morning news shows or cable news daily see reporters not simply reporting but often expressing their opinions on the news.
Williams was a high-profile hire for Politico two years ago. His hiring came partly as an indirect result of pressure from the National Association of Black Journalists which criticized Politico for its lack of diversity. The former Deputy Chief of the Boston Globe’s Washington Bureau, was removed a year after his hiring as Washington editor to a Washington reporter who will promote the Politico brand on television.
A description of Williams on Politico’s website reads: “A veteran political journalist and telegenic, quick-witted analyst, Joseph Williams is a White House reporter for POLITICO, where he covers the Obama administration cabinet and domestic policies, as well as examining the intersection of race and politics.”
When Williams made his comments on Romney’s comfort level among nonwhites he was doing exactly the job his employer described on its very own website “examining the intersection of race and politics.”
As the U.S. presidential race intensifies, BET presents the two-part news documentary "Second Coming: Will Black America Decide the 2012 Election?" airing at 9 p.m. on Oct. 19 and Oct. 26.
Narrated by Emmy Award-winning actress S. Epatha Merkerson, the documentary follows "a diverse constellation of agents of political change and activism" through the 2012 election cycle. Obama “surrogate” Kerry Washington, Usher, Samuel L. Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Eve, Ice Cube, Yolanda Adams, pollster Cornell Belcher, Common, Snoop Dogg, 2 Chainz, A$AP Rocky, The RZA, Salt N Pepa, DMX, Redman, Cam’ron, Bun B, Joyful Drake, Warren G and Brandon & Lorielle Broussard, the young activists behind “Barack the Vote.”
The series will also focus on Tarsha Williams, Charles Perry and pastor Jamal Bryant, all grassroots activists in battleground states, as well as others who will take viewers behind the scenes of their effort to mobilize the Black community to vote in another historic Presidential election.
"Horse-race coverage of the election is now ubiquitous, almost to the point of distraction for many viewers. We sought a new way to bring the biggest story of the year — the fate of the first African-American incumbent president — in an engaging, highly journalistic way," said Loretha Jones, president of original programming and news, BET Networks. "We are excited to be working with Sam Pollard and Brick City TV, who helped us reinvent political coverage for our audience.”
"Brick City wanted to do a series that fuses the personal and the political, and that engages the BET audience," said Mark Levin, executive producer of Brick City.
"We want the series to leave the audience wanting to be players, not just spectators in this historic election," Mark Benjamin, executive producer, Brick City added.
"This groundbreaking series is a must-see for the BET audience," said Executive Producer Sam Pollard. "The series digs deep and hits hard, and is a must-see for viewers in understanding how they can't just be bystanders, but fully engaged in this historic election."
If a new poll is correct, Pennsylvania’s Republicans are poised to throw their support to Rick Santorum in the state’s April 24 primary. According to a poll released by Quinnipiac University, Santorum leads over all other Republican contenders for president.
The new data, released Tuesday, demonstrated how volatile the Republican primary has been.
“The last time we surveyed the Keystone State, during the [Newt] Gingrich boomlet in December, the former House Speaker led the GOP pack with 31 percent, followed by Mitt Romney with 17 percent and Santorum with 9 percent,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
But, Santorum now leads, with Romney being his closest contender.
Quinnipiac found that Santorum would beat Romney 36 to 22 percent if the primary election were held immediately. Paul ranked third in the numbers, with 12 percent support among state Republicans. Gingrich would net only 8 percent.
The same poll found that in a head to head match with Romney, Santorum would capture 52 percent of the vote to Romney’s 32 percent.
Malloy attributed that substantial lead to doubts about Romney’s religion and conservative credentials.
“Santorum’s lead among conservatives, tea party members and white evangelical Christians is what we have found in other states,” he said.
The state’s Republican women showed more enthusiasm for Santorum then men.
In the four-person Republican contest, Santorum would beat Romney 41 to 18 percent among women and 30 to 27 percent among men, 50 to 21 percent among tea party members, 44 to 20 percent among self-described conservatives and 46 to 17 percent among white evangelical Christians.
Quinnipiac also found that more state Republicans trust Santorum — by a 52 to 7 percent margin they said that Santorum has more honesty and integrity than most people in public life; that compared to 25 to 14 percent for Romney in response to the same question.
They also thought Santorum was more likely to stand by his word. Pollsters found 49 to 8 percent that Santorum changes his position less often than most public figures and 27 to 7 percent that Romney changes his position more than most public figures.
When Santorum did change his mind, more participants attributed it to principle – 49 to 41 percent responded that Santorum changes his position on issues because of politics rather than principle; 74 to 17 percent said that Romney changes his position on issues because of politics rather than principle.
A poll released last week by Quinnipiac found that among all Pennsylvania voters Obama held a slight edge. If Pennsylvania voters had to choose today between Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, Obama would edge out Romney by a razor thin margin of 45 percent to 42 percent. The president would more easily win re-election over former Sen. Rick Santorum. Quinnipiac showed Obama winning a hypothetical contest with Santorum by 48 to 41 percent margin.
I recently saw a fascinating commentary where a right-wing pundit, while discussing the purported strengths of Mitt Romney, indicated that Romney had no strongly held beliefs. He went on to say that contrary to other candidates who have been described as flip-floppers, Romney did not change from one strong view to another strong view. He never had a strong view in the beginning.
My mouth dropped. I could not believe that this right-winger was trying to portray the fact that Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, essentially believed in nothing — like this was a good thing. This has turned the Republican primary race, which had been described as a “circle of clowns,” into a stand-up comedy routine. Can they possibly be serious that the candidacy of someone who believes in nothing should be supported by the electorate?
On one level, this should not surprise any of us. Romney has been lusting for the nomination and clearly has been willing to say or do anything in order to secure it. This has to be linked with the manner in which both ignorance and irrationality are being celebrated by the Republican Party’s staunchest supporters. Attacks on President Obama for suggesting that it would be great for U.S. children to attend college matched with continual denial of climate change (have you checked the weather recently?) all points toward an enhanced cynicism that has entered the electoral realm.
Political leaders, particularly on the right, will appeal to the worst instincts within the electorate and play on fears or prejudices in order to win. And if that means shifting one’s opinions, so be it. It just helps, I suppose, when shifting one’s opinion is not particularly painful since one’s original ideas were not that important in the first place.
The November elections hold many potential perils. Disappointment with what Obama has not done; disagreement with some of what his administration has done; and unease over our economic situations, all of which could lead many voters who would otherwise vote in a liberal or progressive direction to sit out the election. This could mean not only that someone as vacuous as Romney could be elected, but in some ways, more importantly, it could mean that very bad and bankrupt right-wing politicians at the Congressional and local levels could also win. For this reason, while you may be tempted to laugh at Romney and his emptiness, you do so at your own peril.
While I am certainly one who has had significant disagreements with the Obama administration, the question I keep asking is: What would a Romney administration look like? I am not as comfortable as former President Jimmy Carter who recently suggested that he could be content with a Romney presidency. It seems to me that a rich man who has no significant or strongly held views is the equivalent of a cartoon character. In this case a cartoon character waiting for someone from corporate America to prepare his script. We have too much to lose to let that happen. — (AP)