Cognitive Dissonance

"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!" - Allen Ginsberg

Posts tagged primary

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GOP incumbents rattled in primary, but some hang on

Here is my latest piece for independent media site, WyoFile, analyzing the Wyoming primaries I selected as races to watch.

Here’s the first two columns for background:

Read these for some slightly nerdy political analysis and insight into Wyoming politics. Enjoy!

(Source: cognitivedissonance)

Filed under WyoFile politics Wyoming primary Election 2012 republican democrat Anne Alexander Phil Nicholas GOP incumbent

1,127 notes

People have no problem paying $900 for an iPad, but paying $900 for a drug they have a problem with — it keeps you alive. Why? Because you’ve been conditioned to think health care is something you can get without having to pay for it…

He’s alive today because drug companies provide care. And if they didn’t think they could make money providing that drug, that drug wouldn’t be here. I sympathize with these compassionate cases. … I want your son to stay alive on much-needed drugs. Fact is, we need companies to have incentives to make drugs. If they don’t have incentives, they won’t make those drugs. We either believe in markets or we don’t.

Rick Santorum, speaking to the mother of a young boy in Colorado about the free market and prescription drug prices. She told Santorum her son’s medication could cost up to $1 million per year. 

One drug her son is taking is Abilify, which is used in children to treat schizophrenia; aggression associated with conduct disorder, autism, or other behavioral disorders; and Bipolar Disorder I. We can debate the merits of children taking anti-psychotic medication another time. The fact remains: Abilify is ridiculously expensive.

How expensive?

Visiting Walgreen’s site tells quite the story. All prices are discounted slightly by their prescription price club, meaning the cost at a local pharmacy may be higher or lower:

  • Abilify 2mg: $606.04/mo. | $7,272.48/yr
  • Abilify 5mg: $623.99/mo. | $7,487.88/yr
  • Abilify 10mg: $623.99/mo. | $7,487.88/yr
  • Abilify 15mg: $606.04/mo. | $7,272.48/yr
  • Abilify 20mg: $855.37/mo. | $10,264.44/yr
  • Abilify 30mg: $855.37/mo. | $10,264.44/yr
  • Abilify Discmelt 10mg tablets: $720.56/mo. | $8,646.72/yr
  • Abilify Discmelt 15mg tablets: $720.56/mo. | $8,646.72/yr
  • Abilify 1mg solution: $1329.03/mo. | $15,948.36/yr

And just to put Rick Santorum’s iPad/drug cost claim in perspective, that’s like buying an iPad every single month. It’s illogical and completely specious to compare necessary medication to an unnecessary iPad. But for fun, I’m going to parse it out as a 30-day cost like the prescription drug above:

  • iPad 16GB with WiFi: $499.00 | $41.58/mo
  • iPad 32GB with WiFi: $599.00 | $49.92/mo
  • iPad 64GB with WiFi: $699.00 | $58.25/mo
  • iPad 16GB with WiFi + 3G: $629.00 | $52.42/mo
  • iPad 32GB with WiFi + 3G: $729.00 | $60.75/mo
  • iPad 64GB with WiFi + 3G: $829.00 | $69.08/mo

I bet that mother would be thrilled if her son’s yearly drug costs were that of an iPad.

You’d think Rick Santorum might have more compassion, since he and his wife are parents to a 3-year-old girl with severe developmental disabilities requiring expensive care. Isabella Santorum is also quite lucky that her father, a former U.S. Senator, has a magnificent, comprehensive health care plan courtesy of the U.S. taxpayers. I’d like to see every child afforded the same health care his daughter receives.

And no, I don’t care if my taxes go up to do it. 

(Source: cognitivedissonance)

Filed under Rick Santorum Health Care Republican Politics Prescription drugs cost iPads are cheaper than drugs actually GOP Primary Caucus Colorado asshattery prescription abilify cost inequality insurance iPad

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Shep Smith: Pimps and prostitutes for Ron Paul, Donald Trump for Mitt Romney, we still don’t know about Shakira and Big Bird but we’ll learn in the next hour.

Judge Napolitano: Isn’t it great being in this business?

Shep Smith: It’s the weirdest election season I’ve ever lived through and I’ve been here for what feels like 130,000.

Shep Smith, discussing presidential endorsements today on Fox News.

I bet it feels like forever, Shep.

I am 100% sure Shep Smith is about the only voice of quasi-reason over in Rupert Murdoch’s kingdom. One day they’ll figure it out and he’ll get disappeared. Until then, I’ll totally enjoy his snark.

(Source: cognitivedissonance)

Filed under Shep Smith Fox News Politics Judge Napolitano Mitt Romney Ron Paul Donald Trump Big Bird Shakira Election Election 2012 snark lulz endorsements GOP Republican primary

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The problem with selecting a candidate to “beat Obama”

MSNBC and Fox News are both hammering home that out of all the candidates in the GOP primary in South Carolina, Newt Gingrich’s support was the highest among people who said the most important factor in their selection was a candidate who could defeat Barack Obama. Coincidentally, beating Obama was the most important factor in candidate choice to nearly 50% of voters. Fox News is also pointing out his strong performances in debates with his zingers at the media and fellow candidates and his stubborn refusal to go gently into that good night as factors in his rise in the polls, and his overall victory in South Carolina.

Um, guys?

You know that after January 20, 2013, the president-elect is now the president. That means said president has to actually do shit. Things will not be magically fixed just because you voted out Barack Obama. In fact, much of what Gingrich wants to do in office could make things worse. 

I imagine the thought process of many voters when considering Gingrich goes like this:

  1. Doughy white guy says shit I like. He sounds smart. He says he’s going to beat Obama. He sounds confident, unlike that sputtering asshat with tax problems. Plus, he’ll end Obama’s war on my religion.
  2. Fuck the lazy-ass poor people. Get jobs, douchebags. He’ll even put kids to work, too.
  3. Open marriage? Shit, at least he could beat Obama.
  4. Vote Newt Gingrich. 
  5. *POOF* Teatopia, y’all!

This is remarkably similar to liberal pals of mine who are pissed Obama didn’t unbreak everything in four years and bring about the opposite of Teatopia. If you listened to Obama and examined his voting record, you’d see he’s fairly moderate. In fact, compared to past Republicans, i.e. Richard Nixon, he’s more to the right.

But in the 2012 Electoral Race to the Bottom, sponsored by Citizens United v. FEC (2010), the facts don’t matter and Barack Obama must be defeated. Even if it means nominating a man with absolutely no character or ability to lead. Why is it so tough to wrap my brain around voters supporting Newt Gingrich?

  • Speaking of the Citizens United decision, Gingrich Productions has “produced three films on religion and one each on energy, Ronald Reagan and the threat of radical Islam.” These films are little more than GOP talking point advertisements. Gingrich’s funding partner? As The Wall Street Journal points out, these were “all done as joint projects with the conservative activist group, Citizens United. The latest project: A film on American exceptionalism, another likely campaign theme.” 

  • He’s admitted to multiple affairs, while attacking others on “family values” and holding himself up as a moral paragon. His personal life is irrelevant until he begins throwing stones in his obviously glass house.

  • He doesn’t use a racism dog-whistle so much as a racism air-raid siren. Gingrich defended his diatribe from the Jan. 16th GOP debate, which he launched into when Juan Williams asked him about the racial overtones of his comments regarding poor children lacking “work habits”, employing children as janitors in poor, urban neighborhoods, and the black community needing to demand food stamps versus paychecks. And how did he choose to defend this? 

    Newt Gingrich decided to attack Juan Williams, claiming on Friday, “I had a very interesting dialogue Monday night in Myrtle Beach with Juan Williams about the idea of work, which seemed to Juan Williams to be a strange, distant concept.” So in order to defend himself against charges of racism, he essentially states Williams is lazy. Williams was the African-American man who had the audacity to ask him a tough question, and that does not seem to sit well with Newt several days later.

  • As a US House Representative, he kited twenty-two personal checks using the now-defunct House Bank, charges uncovered during the “Rubbergate” scandal - including a check for over $9,000 to the IRS. One of the whistleblowers on this scandal? Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Penn.

  • He blasted colleagues for ties to lobbyists and corruption, yet Gingrich accepted a check from Employment Policies Institute lobbyist Richard B. Berman for $25,000. This particular check, supposedly given to Gingrich as a donation for a college course he was teaching, led former Rep. Ben Jones (D-Ga.) to demand an ethics investigation by the US House because the note attached to the contribution raised questions of possible criminal wrongdoing by suggesting Gingrich used his influence on behalf of the lobbyist at a 1993 congressional hearing.
    The note stated in a postscript: “Newt - Thanks again for the help on today’s committee hearing.” The subsequent investigation into this charge, shady book deals, and other fundraising activity lead to over 80 ethics charges against Gingrich and a plea deal with an unprecedented $300,000 fine. Gingrich resigned as well.

A side note from Esquire on the ethics investigation: [Emphasis mine]

The House Ethics Committee started investigating GOPAC’s donations to his college class and caught him trying to hide his tracks by raising money through a charity for inner-city kids called the Abraham Lincoln Opportunity Foundation. Another charity of his called Earning by Learning actually spent half its money supporting a former Gingrich staffer who was writing his biography… The Ethics Committee found him guilty of laundering donations through charities, submitting “inaccurate, incomplete, and unreliable” testimony, and making “an effort to have the material appear to be nonpartisan on its face, yet serve as a partisan, political message for the purpose of building the Republican party.”

And yes, it’s those same inner-city kids he wants to make janitors

Gingrich is running what he claims to be a revolutionary campaign of ideas. Yet those ideas are little more than attacking fellow candidates, the media, and Barack Obama for issues ranging from corruption and immorality, to favoritism and anti-Americanism. Gingrich employs a set of cliches and fiery debate invective that gets voters in the booth on primary day as evidenced by South Carolina. Can he continue this into the general election?

As multiple news outlets discussed today, Gingrich’s unfavorability rating is the highest of any candidate among moderates and independents. This is a significant voting bloc the GOP will seek to court from Obama. Gingrich is not stupid. He is effective in debates. He calls other candidates “Washington elites” (when he spent significantly more time in Washington than any other candidate running) and the crowd goes wild.

Mitt Romney, the ostensible front-runner, is a terrible candidate in debates. He is easily rattled and incapable of answering a direct question. The GOP field is in disarray and looking for unity. The former Speaker of the House is an experienced politician - though divisive - and may be the one to watch going into Super Tuesday in the next several weeks. Perhaps a theory posited by Gingrich in 1988 explains his success: “In every election in American history, both parties have their cliches. The party that has the cliches that ring true wins.”

The 2012 primary season promises to be a dog and pony show until the bitter end - or until the money runs out. This election cycle reinforces the idea that American politics is little more than contemporary bread and circuses, only less bread and more circuses. Elections are ideally about issues and governance. This year, the only stated mission of the GOP is to rid the White House of Obama, and Gingrich is the candidate best at smearing Obama as somewhere between Benedict Arnold and Benito Mussolini.

Voters are responding well in the primary to this kind of messaging, but the GOP will hopefully discover it’s difficult to run on a platform of needing to do nothing besides regain control of the presidency. To run on a platform that consists of “beat the other guy and BAM! TEATOPIA!" is simply intellectually dishonest. But if it’s intellectually (and morally) dishonest they want, the GOP has their man in Gingrich. If it’s beat Obama they want, they may get it. However, January 21, 2013 and every day after is another day Obama will no longer be available as the executive target, and another day when the new president will be expected to lead. The GOP may be content to run a cliche-machine, powered by egomaniacal bile, but American voters deserve more than just some guy nominated to beat Obama.

(Source: cognitivedissonance)

Filed under Newt Gingrich Barack Obama South Carolina Politics Primary 2012 Elections Government Election 2012 Obama scandal Republican GOP Democrat

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Live chat on the New Hampshire primary tonight

I’ll be chatting with other political bloggers about the New Hampshire primary starting at about 4 PM MST off and on this evening. I have to work briefly from 6-7, then I’ll be back. To view the chat, go to, log in via Twitter, then search the hashtag #NH2012TweetChat in the search bar on the page. If you’d like to join in, use the hashtag above. Also, follow me on Twitter: @meglanker

Direct link to chat here.

Thanks to thepoliticalfreakshow for organizing this!


(Source: cognitivedissonance)

Filed under politics New Hampshire Primary GOP Republicans

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Jon Huntsman destroys Ron Paul in 60 seconds over his racist newsletters in New Hampshire. I love the music - so ominous! 

Huntsman is polling higher than before, but is still polling fourth in New Hampshire. I’m curious if bringing the claws out might help that. Current averaged national polling:

  • Newt Gingrich: 27.2%
  • Mitt Romney: 25.4% 
  • Ron Paul: 12.2%
  • Rick Perry: 6.6%
  • Michele Bachmann: 6.2%
  • Rick Santorum: 3.8%
  • Jon Huntsman: 2.0%

Oh, and progressives shouldn’t forget something very important: Ron Paul is not all legal weed and no war. Click for why he’d be a disaster.

Jon Huntsman is still the grownup in the room. I’ll give him an award for classiest attack ad of Election 2012 - thus far.

(Source: cognitivedissonance)

Filed under Ron Paul Jon Huntsman attack ad political ads campaign politics Election 2012 2012 GOP New Hampshire Republican Primary

47 notes

I called it. Sort of.

In my post about Newt Gingrich not qualifying for the Virginia ballot, I highlighted Gingrich’s pathetic, desperate, last-minute attempt to clear the threshold of 10,000 signatures, with 400 from each congressional district. Politico discovered, that while Newt was reassuring donors at a fundraiser he had more than enough signatures to get on the ballot, he was seeking to pay folks one dollar per signature collected.

Paying-per-signature ups the risk of fraud because people have more motivation to defraud your campaign. Guess what Gingrich is now blaming for his failure to get on the ballot?

Also Wednesday, CNN reported that Gingrich, campaigning in Iowa ahead of Tuesday’s caucuses, said that someone his campaign hired to help him get on the Virginia ballot submitted fraudulent signatures.

"We hired somebody who turned in false signatures. We turned in 11,100 — we needed 10,000 — 1,500 of them were by one guy who frankly committed fraud," Gingrich reportedly told a woman at a campaign stop in Algona, Iowa.

Never mind the Board of Elections and the Republican Party of Virginia advises 15,000-20,000 signatures… 

It’s Virginia’s fault, this guy’s fault, etc. Not Newt’s fault, even though they didn’t begin collecting signatures until around Thanksgiving. Nope. Not his fault. Note he didn’t say the campaign is taking legal remedies against the signature gatherer, nor did he name the person.

If this is true, I called the fraud. Not that it matters - with such a low amount of signatures, over 90% would have to be valid. The Virginia GOP sets the standard for acceptance without per-signature review at 15,000, and advises such a large amount, simply because “many people who are not registered to vote will sign a petition" and people make mistakes with addresses - they may give a current address versus what’s on the voter registration. 

Then we get to the it’s everyone’s fault but mine because reasons… Again Newt, no one to blame but yourself. 

Filed under Newt Gingrich politics Virginia Primary Election 2012 GOP Conservative Conservatives Seriously? Fraud ballot petition problems

285 notes

No, Virginia, there is no Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich’s foray into the presidential race was almost adorable at first, but now, he’s just grating, particularly after today’s whining about not being on the primary ballot in his home state of Virginia. His campaign failed to meet the requirement of 10,000 valid signatures with 400 from each congressional district. It’s spelled out clearly in § 24.2-521 and § 24.2-522 of Virginia’s state code.

Further, this is not a new development. Since Newt’s a historian, we’ll have a brief history lesson in Virginia election law. The requirement (HB 49 - Petition requirements for independent and primary candidates) was approved March 16, 1998. It passed the Virginia House of Delegates on a 97-2 vote and the Virginia Senate on a vote of 40-0. The bill was sponsored by Republican Delegate Vincent F. Callahan, Jr. of McLean.

In summary, Newt’s lived in Virginia since 1999 - his representative to the Virginia House of Delegates (until 2008) was the same delegate who sponsored the bill. You’ve had twelve years to figure this shit out, Newt. You should know the rules. 

But, alas, it’s a “failed system” he seems to have just discovered yesterday. Newt’s statement, via his campaign director:

"Only a failed system excludes four out of the six major candidates seeking access to the ballot," Campaign Director Michael Krull said in a statement. "Voters deserve the right to vote for any top contender, especially leading candidates. We will work with the Republican Party of Virginia to pursue an aggressive write-in campaign to make sure that all the voters of Virginia are able to vote for the candidate of their choice."

Krull’s statement is a titch dishonest - Huntsman, Bachmann, and Santorum didn’t even try to get on the primary ballot, excluding themselves by default. Also, there’s a huge problem with this “aggressive write-in campaign” strategy. Virginia doesn’t allow write-ins. § 24.2-529 states: “No write-in shall be permitted on ballots in primary elections.” I would say the meaning is quite explicit. None. Nada. No write-ins. There’s not even a write-in line on the ballot.

Krull continued to stick his foot in his mouth, posting Saturday on the Newt Gingrich Facebook page that this parallels Pearl Harbor.

"Newt and I agreed that the analogy is December 1941: We have experienced an unexpected set-back, but we will re-group and re-focus with increased determination, commitment and positive action."

Yep. Totally Pearl Harbor. Newt’s failure to organize is just like a horrific attack that left 2,402 people dead and 1,247 wounded. Commenters on the page were rightly galled by the comparison. A sampling:

Virginia gave candidates plenty of time to get the signatures together. Candidates could begin collecting signatures July 1st, 2011. The signatures were due to the Board of Elections December 22 by 5:00 PM. That’s 174 days - plus an additional 17 hours on the 22nd if the campaign wants to push it.

As several commentators have pointed out, this was not a problem in 2008 for Ron Paul, John McCain, Fred Thompson, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani, or Mitt Romney. Nor was it a problem for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bill Richardson, Joe Biden, John Edwards, or Dennis Kucinich. Yep. Even Dennis Kucinich was organized enough to get on the ballot.

It appears this was a spectacular failure of organization on the part of Gingrich’s campaign. Even though he’s essentially risen from the dead to become the front-runner in many polls, this gift appears to be insufficient motivation for the Gingrich 2012 team. Despite opening a campaign office August 30th in Arlington, Va. and over 200 volunteers collecting signatures, the campaign was only able to muster 11,050 signatories. At a fundraiser Thursday, Gingrich claimed the campaign had 12,000-14,000 signatures collected, and assured supporters he would be on the ballot. The Virginia Republican Party and the State Board of Elections advise:

"Because many people who are not registered to vote will sign a petition, it is recommended that 15,000 - 20,000 signatures be obtained with at least 700 signatures from each congressional district."

To quote the also-disqualified Rick Perry:

Wednesday, Gingrich claimed to have all the signatures he needed, but “wanted to come to Virginia to deliver them personally.” He didn’t, but that’s irrelevant. Newt also claimed at a rally in Arlington this week, “Once again, Virginia is going to disappoint the Republican establishment ‘cause we’re going to turn in vastly more signatures than they need.”

Facepalm for sure. Gingrich must have been feeling the pinch. Though he was cocky Wednesday and Thursday, Politico unearthed this email on Tuesday, with the campaign offering to pay folks to collect signatures:

Because the deadline is coming up so quickly, we’ve got a pretty good budget to work with. We can offer $1 per signature, with a $50 bonus for every 100 signatures (in other words, if you get 100 signatures, you get $150, if you get 300 signatures, you get $450, if you get 1,000 signatures, you get $1,500). In addition, if you can put together a crew to get signatures, they can get paid the same amount, and you can get a $1,000 bonus for every 2,000 signatures your crew collects.

Incentives for signature collecting equals more false signatures. Assuming Gingrich collected 400 signatures from all districts, that meant over 90% of his signatures would have to also be valid.

So it’s a Romney/Paul primary, with Romney likely to capture all delegates. Romney’s campaign turned in over 16,000 signatures and Paul netted 14,361. Even though Virginia’s primary isn’t until March, the state has 49 delegates up for grabs which are awarded proportionally based on primary results. Gingrich shouldn’t scoff at 49 delegates either - remember when Hillary Clinton badly needed a Virginia victory in 2008? By the end of Super Tuesday (Feb. 5), Clinton led Obama by 27 delegates. After primaries in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C. on February 12th, Obama led Clinton by 42 delegates (1,253 vs. 1,211):

Clinton never regained her lead.

Fast-forward to 2012 and switch sides. In Virginia, where recent polls have Gingrich leading Romney in the primary, a lack of organization has likely cost Gingrich those delegates. And the race is beginning to tighten somewhat. Take a look at averaged national polling data from 12/1-12/23.

Is it over for Newt? Considering that was predicted this summer, I’m hesitant to say yes. This may have exposed his Achilles’ heel: Newt can talk like he’s running a good ground game, but it may be all show. Gingrich is trailing Romney and Paul in Iowa, and Romney has a 13 point lead in New Hampshire

Rather than Pearl Harbor, a more apt comparison for Gingrich may be Aesop’s fable about the ant and the grasshopper. The grasshopper, who was not in the habit of work or showing up on Mondays, chose to spend the summer and fall singing while the ant worked to store up food and prepare for winter. When winter blows in, the grasshopper finds itself dying of hunger and freezing. It asks the ant for food and shelter, but is turned away by the ant because the grasshopper screwed itself by being idle.

Romney began collecting signatures in August. Gingrich assumed he’d get the signatures, and chose to flit about doing speaking gigs and campaign appearances outside of Virginia. His campaign didn’t begin collecting signatures until around Thanksgiving. The result? An entitled old white dude with a Tiffany’s account didn’t get what he wanted and now he wants to break the established rules to wage a write-in campaign, moans through a spokesman that this is his Pearl Harbor, and insults the Republican Party of Virginia for following the rules and cross-checking signatures with addresses in the electronic voter database.

(Incidentally, Newt penned a novel about Pearl Harbor, which the New York Times panned as a “war on punctuation” in a review titled “An Assault on Hawaii. On Grammar Too.”)

So, yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and he brought Newt Gingrich a steaming pile of failure. And no, Virginia, that man won’t be on your ballot. Looks like Newt needs to exercise a little personal responsibility he’s so fond of preaching. In conclusion, pull yourself up by your Tiffany bootstraps. You did it to yourself. 

Filed under Newt Gingrich GOP 2012 Election 2012 fail Virginia Republican Republicans primary Mitt Romney Ron Paul