campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com — So far, the base of the Republican party has sent Mitt Romney a message: They’re not yet convinced that he’s their guy. Tuesday, on the verge of his victories in Arizona and Michigan, Romney, in extraordinarily blunt terms, told the base how he felt about them: "It’s very easy to excite the base with incendiary comments. We’ve seen throughout the campaign if you’re willing to say really outrageous things that are accusative, attacking of President Obama, that you’re going to jump up in the polls. I’m not willing to light my hair on fire to try and get support. I am who I am. I must admit," I was stunned by this. In one statement he was able to label the Republican base as easily excitable, enamored of “incendiary comments,” and thirsty for “outrageous things” to be said about President Obama. I couldn’t have put it better myself. If Romney continues this line of logic, I might invite him to guest write my column one week.
washingtonpost.com — Maybe Rick Santorum is helping Mitt Romney after all: Santorum’s wacky statements about college and snobbery, along with his upset stomach over a 52-year-old John F. Kennedy speech, are distracting attention from Romney’s extremist economic ideas. Yes, Romney needs Santorum to keep doing his exotic fan dance on social issues because the stage act diverts everyone (especially journalists) from examining the reactionary and regressive ideas that Romney is cooking up on substantive questions. If Romneyism is what now passes for “moderation” in the Republican Party, no wonder the authentically moderate Olympia Snowe decided to end her distinguished career in the Senate. There is no room anymore for proposals remotely worthy of the moderate label. Romney’s plan is simultaneously extreme and very, very boring. It draws on the one and only idea that today’s conservatives offer for solving any and every problem that comes along: just throw yet more money at rich people.
colorlines.com — Often, when I'm trying to sum up what sounds like a dangerously antiquated policy or idea, I'll ask, "What is this? 1919?" That year, white anxiety and hostility over the post-World War I appearance of black advancement boiled over into a summer of racist rampages in cities such as Chicago and Washington, D.C. But lately 1919 hasn't been working for me. Certainly the election of President Obama has resulted in some of the most blatant expressions of white supremacist anxiety I've seen in my life. But I've been struggling to understand how the 2008 election of the first black president of the United States syncs up with the surge of anti-choice, anti-woman political activity. Between the near record number of state anti-choice bills, the growing Personhood movement, those stupid billboards branding abortion as Black genocide and recent skirmishes over Obama's co-pay free contraceptive policy, 2012 is looking more and more like 1873, when Congress outlawed the interstate sale and mailing of birth control via the Comstock Law.
politics.salon.com — If he weren’t so smug, it would almost be possible to feel sorry for Mitt Romney. Beyond the flip-flopping, has any worse actor ever attempted the role of presidential candidate? It’s beyond Romney’s powers to persuade most people of his sincerity about things he does believe, much less the many tenets of contemporary GOP faith he probably doesn’t share — assuming for the sake of argument that anybody, including himself, knows which is which. There’s little doubt, however, that Romney believes he deserves to be president, in rather the way the fictional Lord Grantham deserves to preside over Downton Abbey. It’s his inability to conceal that sense of entitlement that makes him such an awkward politician.
thenation.com — If Mitt Romney thought he could make it through the race for the Republican presidential nomination without having to appeal to the party’s theo-con extremists, he was sorely mistaken. In order to secure the Michigan primary win that at least temporarily renewed his candidacy, Romney had to start ranting about how Barack Obama was attacking “religious liberty.” The former Massachusetts governor even ripped the Obama team for fighting “against religion.” The “religious liberty” Romney referred to was a newly discovered “constitutional right” to deny women access to contraceptives. The son of Lenore Romney, who ran for the Senate in 1970 as a reproductive rights champion, was not just abandoning positions he once said he learned from his mom. He was framing that abandonment as part of an embrace of the new GOP orthodoxy that says religious groups should define the national agenda on issues ranging from education to healthcare policy.
politics.salon.com — According to his own version of events, Mitt Romney “simply misunderstood” an Ohio television reporter who asked him Wednesday afternoon about the Blunt amendment, the vehicle by which Senate Republicans hope to override the Obama administration’s new rules on contraception coverage. Romney caused a stir when he replied that “I’m not for the bill,” a position that would put him at odds with literally every social conservative activist in America on what has become a defining issue for the right. It would also represent a jarring shift by Romney, who has loudly joined the chorus of Republicans decrying Obama’s supposed “attack on religious conscience, attack on religious freedom.” To be fair, Romney probably was confused, although not in the purely innocent way he claims.
thedailybeast.com — In fact, for many conservatives, it seems to be an expletive. Lately, they are huffing about President Obama’s letter to Hamid Karzai apologizing for U.S. soldiers accidentally burning the Quran in Afghanistan. This complaint about Obama is nothing new. Conservatives continually deride Obama as the “Apologizer in Chief” for his alleged propensity to take responsibility for American mistakes. Silly me, I thought humility was a good thing. Not so, apparently. But its not just Obama’s apology that’s the problem, conservatives protest, it’s the “repeated apologies.” Speaking of repeated apologies, remember when conservatives went nuts because the Bush administration offered “a string of statements by U.S. officials trying to soothe anger [in Iraq] over the shooting [the Quran] incident.” You don’t remember it, because it never happened. There was no outcry, even though Bush himself also apologized to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
2012.talkingpointsmemo.com — It seemed like such a good idea at the time. The Republican primaries in 2012 would be their own version of Obama vs. Clinton, prompting excited conservatives to register to vote in droves, donate early and often to the candidates, and keep the attention solely focused on the GOP’s message instead of the White House’s bully pulpit. But only two years after deliberately retooling their primary rules to encourage a lengthier fight, Republican politicians are struggling to remember just what on earth they were thinking.
washingtonpost.com — The longer the Republican presidential contest drags on, the more uncomfortable Mitt Romney seems around blue-collar Americans, and the more antagonistic Rick Santorum seems toward America’s professionals, current and aspiring, and their ideals. This does not portend Republican success in November. Romney’s victories in Arizona and Michigan on Tuesday do not alter this dynamic. Romney’s stabs at seeming a regular guy have provided the most painful moments of his campaign. How to come off as a car buff in Michigan? Mention your wife’s Cadillacs. How to be a good ol’ boy at Daytona? Say you’re friends with some of the race car owners. Not since Richard Nixon has a national political leader appeared so excruciatingly ill at ease with the simplest public encounters.
politics.salon.com — For the past few years, Olympia Snowe seemed very interested in winning reelection to the the U.S. Senate as a Republican. The evidence: her voting record, which has shifted measurably to the right since the Tea Party crowd began making threats against ideologically impure GOP incumbents — and proving it could back them up. Which is what makes her retirement afternoon such a surprise. Snowe seemed on course to win the GOP nomination with ease. If the GOP road became impassible, the running as an independent was always an option. The charitable way to read this is that Snowe is tired of pretending to be more outraged by the Obama administration and Democrats than she actually is and that she’d rather retire than keep catering to the Tea Party. But even if she wasn’t particularly helpful to them these past few years, Snowe is doing Democrats a huge favor now. With Snowe in it, Democrats had virtually no chance of winning the Maine Senate race this year. Now they are likely to do so.