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Daniel Jenky, Illinois Catholic Bishop, Orders Anti-Obama Letter To Be Read In Diocese

Daniel Jenky Peoria Obama Hitler

Earlier this year, a Roman Catholic bishop came under fire from the Anti-Defamation League and others for comparing President Barack Obama to Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler during a sermon delivered at an Illinois church.

Now, as the 2012 election approaches, Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria has reportedly ordered “every priest in his diocese” to read an anti-Obama letter to their congregations.

According to Think Progress, Jenky sent out the letter on Wednesday, telling priests that “[b]y virtue of your vow of obedience to me as your Bishop, I require that this letter be personally read by each celebrating priest at each Weekend Mass, November 3/4.”

In the letter, reprinted in full on the Atlantic Journal-Constitution’s website, Jenky writes:

Since the foundation of the American Republic and the adoption of the Bill of Rights, I do not think there has ever been a time more threatening to our religious liberty than the present. Neither the president of the United States nor the current majority of the Federal Senate have been willing to even consider the Catholic community’s grave objections to those HHS mandates that would require all Catholic institutions, exempting only our church buildings, to fund abortion, sterilization, and artificial contraception.

This assault upon our religious freedom is simply without precedent in the American political and legal system. Contrary to the guarantees embedded in the First Amendment, the HHS mandates attempt to now narrowly define and thereby drastically limit our traditional religious works. They grossly and intentionally intrude upon the deeply held moral convictions that have always guided our Catholic schools, hospitals, and other apostolic ministries.

“It is important to note that Jenky’s description is wrong or incomplete on several points,” writes the Journal-Constitution’s Jay Bookman in response to Jenky’s letter. “The health-insurance coverage requirement does not apply to churches or church employees involved in its religious mission. It applies only to any secular operation by the church, such as hospitals and universities, just as it would apply to any other business.”

Bookman adds that the policy also “does not require coverage of abortion,” though it “does require that policies include contraception methods that block implantation of a fertilized egg in the womb, which the church considers abortion.”

Jenky’s opposition to birth control also “puts him wildly out of step with his flock.” As the political news site points out, a recent Gallup poll shows that “82 percent of Catholics say birth control is ‘morally acceptable.'”

Jenky, however, is not the only religious leader to offer guidance to voters in recent weeks. In fact, as the South Bend Tribune notes, Jenky is the third Catholic leader in Illinois to do so.

In September, Springfield Bishop Thomas Paprocki “offered a commentary on the Democratic and Republican parties’ platforms,” the newspaper writes.

“There are many positive and beneficial planks in the Democratic Party platform, but I am pointing out those that explicitly endorse intrinsic evils,” Paprocki told the Springfield Diocese newspaper, according to the Tribune.

In Rockford, Vicar General Eric Barr “compared Obama’s support of religious freedom in Muslim countries with his lack of support for Catholic liberty,” the Tribune reports.

Elsewhere, a Wisconsin Catholic bishop implied that voting for Democrats puts one’s “soul in jeopardy.”

Last week, Bishop David Laurin Ricken informed the 300,000-plus members of the Diocese of Green Bay, Wis., that voting for candidates whose positions contradict any so-called “non-negotiables” of Catholic teaching “could put [one’s] soul in jeopardy,” HuffPost blogger John Becker notes in his piece.

Those “non-negotiables” include abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and gay marriage, according to a letter Ricken wrote and posted on the diocesan website. The letter was reportedly also emailed to the offices of every parish.

“Ricken has forgotten that we live in a republic, not a theocracy, as separation of church and state is clearly established by constitutional law,” wrote the Green Bay Press Gazette‘s John Reiman in response to Ricken’s letter. “Simply put, it is ethically wrong for the bishop to connect one’s salvation through participating in the civic act of voting, ostensibly, against church doctrine.”

via Daniel Jenky, Illinois Catholic Bishop, Orders Anti-Obama Letter To Be Read In Diocese.

via Daniel Jenky, Illinois Catholic Bishop, Orders Anti-Obama Letter To Be Read In Diocese.

More Americans Say Obama, Not Romney, Shares Their Views

Obama Romney Poll

According to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, Americans are more likely to say that President Barack Obama shares their views on important issues than they are to say that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney does, and more than half say that Romney does not share their views.

According to the new poll conducted Oct. 30-31, only 30 percent of Americans think Romney shares their views on the issues that they care about, while 51 percent say he doesn’t share their views. Obama performed better — 44 percent say he shares their views on issues they care about, and 37 percent say that he does not share their views. Although respondents were more likely to say that Obama shares their views, the poll shows neither candidate has been able to convince at least 50 percent of Americans that he shares their views.

Among registered voters, slightly more say that Romney agrees with their views — 39 percent, or 9 percentage points higher than in the general population. But even among registered voters, 51 percent say that Romney does not agree with their views. Registered voters were more likely to say that Obama does not agree with their views than respondents overall, but registered voters were also more likely to say that he does share their views, though by a far narrower margin of 45 percent to 44 percent of overall respondents.

Independents were less likely to say that either candidate shares their views than respondents overall, but they were more likely to say that Obama shares their views than that Romney shares their views. Only 38 percent of independents said Obama shares their views (34 percent said he did not), and only 23 percent said that Romney shares their views (52 percent said he did not).

Men and adults age 65 and over were the most likely groups — aside from Republicans — to say that Obama does not share their views: male respondents say Obama does not share their views compared to Romney not sharing their views by a 44 percent to 42 percent margin, while those over age 65 say Obama does not share their views compared to Romney not sharing their views by a 49 percent to 43 percent margin. Older adults were also more likely to say that Romney shares their views — 48 percent — than they were to say that Obama shares their views, at 45 percent. Men were slightly more likely than respondents overall to say that Romney agrees with their views (37 percent), but no less likely to say that Romney does not agree with their views (52 percent).

The new HuffPost/YouGov surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample that was selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church. The survey’s margin of error is 4.6 percentage points.

via More Americans Say Obama, Not Romney, Shares Their Views.

via More Americans Say Obama, Not Romney, Shares Their Views.

Election 2012 – A Personal View

Are you getting ready to cast your vote?

Consider the following.

No candidate appears to be addressing the real issues namely the Financial Institutions and Jobs.

At the end of the day health care, immigration, and storms are only side issues.

The two real topics that should be screaming forth from the headline news should be unemployment and control over the financial Institutions.

Have the media failed the people concerning these issues. If so, is this due to the malignant lure of campaign funds to fill the publishers coffers.

Do you know the wise guys of banking have received more money in bailouts than has been spent on the wars in Iraq and Iran? All presidents are complicit in doling money your money into these wealth-sucking leeches.

Your next president will be no different he will feed the parasites.

The lesson learned from all of this is the President no longer represents the people. His sole duty appears to be to protect the wealth vampires and the military/industrial complex, the soldiers of destruction. Poor old Johnny Taxpayer must put his hand in the pocket for all the fraud committed by these smart-ass thugs. It seems to me not just in America, but everywhere the dissonant echoes of this story connect with the corridors of authority worldwide.

The most depressing think about this election is you cannot even pick the lesser of two evils

Poll shows Obama ahead in three swing states

FIVE DAYS before the presidential election, president Barack Obama’s campaign has been cheered by a new poll showing their candidate ahead in Florida, Ohio and Virginia, which hold the lion’s share of electoral college votes among swing states.

“At this time next week, president Obama will have been re-elected for a second term and we can all get some sleep,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told reporters in a conference call. “The bottom line is we have the math and they have the myths. Whether we are talking about getting out the vote or bringing down the deficit, our numbers add up.”

Obama will resume campaigning in Wisconsin, Nevada and Colorado today after devoting the past three days to dealing with Hurricane Sandy.

The poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University for the New York Times and CBS, found Obama five points ahead in Ohio – without which no Republican has ever won the presidency – at 50 per cent to 45 per cent for Romney. But Obama’s lead in Florida is tiny, at 48 to 47 per cent, and hardly better in Virginia, at 49 to 47 per cent. Republican challenger Mitt Romney has a 30-point lead in Florida and Ohio among white, working-class voters.

Obama’s senior adviser David Axelrod cited three “desperate moves” by the Romney campaign. “The most notable are the automobile ads in Ohio,” he said, referring to misleading advertisements that give the impression that Chrysler, which benefited from the administration’s $80-billion bailout, is shipping jobs to China.

“In keeping with Halloween, governor Romney has decided to masquerade as a champion of the American auto industry, an industry he was willing to let go bankrupt,” Axelrod said.

The second sign of desperation, he said, was Romney advertisements in Pennsylvania “reprising the discredited welfare-to-work charge from over the summer”. The Romney campaign falsely claimed Obama rescinded a Clinton-era requirement that welfare recipients seek employment.

The third sign was a Romney campaign thrust into “three states they simply are not going to win: Michigan, Pennsylvania and Minnesota”, Axelrod said.

The Obama camp believes its greatest advantage is its “ground game” – the network of local campaign offices and workers it retained from the 2008 campaign and fortified over the past year, while Romney was fighting challenges from other Republicans. Messina quoted a Republican memorandum from Florida that said: “The Democratic turnout machine is cleaning our clocks.”

Democrats “have a significant early vote advantage in battlegrounds from North Carolina to Nevada,” Messina said. “Governor Romney wants you to think he has momentum. That’s a hard case to make when you haven’t put a single battleground state away.”

The Romney campaign was “at a break-glass moment. They understand their path no longer gets them to 270 (the electoral college votes required to win).”

New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who yesterday guided Obama through devastated parts of his state, called the president’s handling of Hurricane Sandy “outstanding”. “I don’t give a damn about election day after what has happened here,” he said. Christie delivered the keynote address at the convention that nominated Romney.

Romney’s performance lifting boxes of tins for hurricane victims on Tuesday was mocked by liberal media, who pointed out that the Red Cross has asked for donations of money, not goods. Romney ignored repeated questions from journalists about whether he still wants to dismantle the federal disaster relief agency Fema, which is co-ordinating relief efforts.

via Poll shows Obama ahead in three swing states – The Irish Times – Thu, Nov 01, 2012.

via Poll shows Obama ahead in three swing states – The Irish Times – Thu, Nov 01, 2012.

John Koster, GOP House Candidate: ‘The Rape Thing’ Does Not Excuse Abortions

John Koster

John Koster, a Republican congressional candidate in Washington state, said Sunday that “the rape thing” is not a good enough reason for a woman to have an abortion, the Associated Press reported.

Asked at a campaign fundraiser whether he supports abortion rights in some situations, Koster replied that he only supports abortion in cases where a woman’s life is in danger.

“Incest is so rare, I mean, it’s so rare,” he said. “But the rape thing– you know, I know a woman who was raped and kept the child, gave it up for adoption, and she doesn’t regret it.”

He added, “On the rape thing, it’s like, how does putting more violence onto a woman’s body and taking the life of an innocent child that’s a consequence of this crime — how does that make it better? You know what I mean?”

In response to the controversy over his comments, Koster campaign manager Larry Stickney told the AP that Koster clearly takes rape seriously because he has strongly advocated cracking down on sex offenders.

Republican lawmakers and congressional candidates have made headlines several times over the past few months for their comments about rape and abortion. Indiana GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said that pregnancy from rape is “something God intended,” Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) said victims of “legitimate rape” almost never become pregnant, and Rep. Tom Smith (R-Pa.) compared pregnancy as a result of rape to “having a baby out of wedlock.”

via John Koster, GOP House Candidate: ‘The Rape Thing’ Does Not Excuse Abortions.

via John Koster, GOP House Candidate: ‘The Rape Thing’ Does Not Excuse Abortions.

GOP Consultant Behind Fake Sandy Tweets – His false information made it into news broadcasts

Shashank Tripathi on the left of picture

NEWSER) – A Twitter user who spread false information as superstorm Sandy battered New York City has been unmasked by Buzzfeed as the campaign manager for Christopher Wright, the Republican House candidate from New York’s 12th congressional district. Among the rumors started by hedge fund manager Shashank Tripathi, using the name “ComfortablySmug,” were that all power in Manhattan was being shut down and that the New York Stock Exchange had flooded.

Tripathi’s rumors spread widely and were reported by several media outlets, forcing utility and transportation officials dealing with the crisis to take time out to deny them. Tripathi, who hung up on journalists requesting comment, has now tweeted a “sincere, humble and unconditional apology” for his “irresponsible and inaccurate” tweets and has resigned from the Wright campaign.

via GOP Consultant Behind Fake Sandy Tweets – His false information made it into news broadcasts.

via GOP Consultant Behind Fake Sandy Tweets – His false information made it into news broadcasts.

Mitt Romney Adviser Says Jeep Jobs Added In China Are Jobs Not Added In U.S.

WASHINGTON – When Mitt Romney told a crowd in Ohio last week that he had read a report saying Jeep was “thinking of moving all production to China,” there was at least a potentially defensible explanation.

A Bloomberg story published the previous Monday had stated that Fiat, which owns Chrysler, “plans to return Jeep output to China and may eventually make all of its models in that country.”

A line was added to the Bloomberg story after it was published stating that Mike Manley, chief operating officer of Fiat and Chrysler in Asia, was referring to “adding Jeep production sites rather than shifting output from North America to China.” The Romney campaign told The Huffington Post on Tuesday that the update was after Romney made his remark on Thursday. It’s not clear whether that’s true or not, but what is known is that Chrysler refuted press reports about the Bloomberg story before Romney spoke Thursday evening in Defiance, Ohio.

What has confounded many political observers, and provoked a spirited counteroffensive from the Obama campaign — including their own TV ad — is why the Romney campaign then aired in Ohio a TV commercial that implied the auto bailout had hurt the auto industry and that Chrysler was sending U.S. jobs to China. Chrysler told HuffPost the company has added 11,200 U.S. jobs since going through a managed bankruptcy backed by federal bailout dollars in late 2008 and early 2009. And while Chrysler is going to make Jeeps in China for the Chinese market rather than selling U.S.-built models in China, the company said it is expanding production rather than shifting it, adding shifts and hiring workers in the U.S. at the same time.

via Mitt Romney Adviser Says Jeep Jobs Added In China Are Jobs Not Added In U.S..

via Mitt Romney Adviser Says Jeep Jobs Added In China Are Jobs Not Added In U.S..

Tom Angell: 10 Most Unexpected Marijuana Reform Supporters

With less than one week before we find out how voters in Colorado, Oregon and Washington will decide on ballot measures to regulate marijuana like alcohol, polls indicate there’s a very good chance at least one of these states will make history by enacting the world’s first-ever marijuana legalization law.

While the movement to reform marijuana laws has been steadily picking up steam in recent years, with rising national polling support and a growing number of states allowing for the medical use of marijuana, having the voters of a state opt to legalize and tax marijuana for adult use would propel the issue to the forefront of the mainstream political scene like never before.

The three legalization initiatives on state ballots are not only drawing support from a large number of voters, but are garnering endorsements from newspaper editorial boards, civic groups, civil rights leaders, celebrities and even some members of law enforcement.

But guess who else is speaking out in support of changing marijuana laws? Check out the slideshow below for a top 10 list of the most unexpected allies in the fight against marijuana prohibition.

These quotes are sourced from the new website, which compiles quotes and videos from prominent people across the political spectrum who support reforming marijuana laws.

via Tom Angell: 10 Most Unexpected Marijuana Reform Supporters.

via Tom Angell: 10 Most Unexpected Marijuana Reform Supporters.

Buffy creator ‘switches allegiance’ to Mitt Romney in spoof video

Joss Whedon mocks Mitt Romney

Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, has given a backhanded endorsement to Mitt Romney‘s presidential campaign predicting it will usher in a “zombie apocalypse”.

In a spoof video posted on YouTube, the director of The Avengers backs the Republican candidate’s programme of cuts that he says will turn the United States into “a nightmare zombie wasteland”.

Whedon, who describes himself as a liberal and a feminist and publically backs LGBT rights, including gay marriage, is seen stocking up on canned goods as if preparing for a disaster, as he explains his decision to shift his alliegiance from President Obama.

“Mitt Romney is a very different kind of candidate. One with the vision and determination to cut through the business as usual politics and finally put this country back on the path to the zombie apocalypse,” he says.

“Romney’s ready to make the deep rollbacks in healthcare, education, social services and reproductive rights that will guarantee poverty, unemployment, overpolulation disease and rioting. All crucial elements in creating a nightmare zombie wasteland.”

But it is Romney’s support for “ungoverned corporate privilege” that Whedon predicts will plunge the economy into “true insolvency and chaos”.

Musing that no one can predict whether the zombie hordes will be the old school shuffling kind or the speedier type from 28 Days Later, he says: “The 1% won’t be the very rich. It will be the very fast,”

The director adds: “Mitt’s not afraid to face a ravening grasping hoard of subhumans – because that’s how he sees poor people already.”

Whedon’s video is the latest in a series of celebrity election endorsements. Lena Dunham, creator of HBO’s Girls, appears in an Obama campaign ad in which she urges young women who are first time voters to lose their election virginity to “someone who really cares about women”.

The clip, entitled The First Time, provoked outrage from conservative commentators, who described as ‘tasteless’ and ‘disgusting’.

Actor Samuel L Jackson also stars in a rhyming bedtime story in which he tells Obama supporters to “Wake The Fuck Up” and support the Democrat campaign.

via Buffy creator ‘switches allegiance’ to Mitt Romney in spoof video | World news |

via Buffy creator ‘switches allegiance’ to Mitt Romney in spoof video | World news |

Bill Maher, ‘If the Mittmobile does roll into Washington it will be towing behind it the whole anti-intellectual anti-science freak show.’

Maher said,

America, before you get in bed with Mitt Romney, remember he may seem like a nice fella from what we know about his core beliefs. Nothing. His tax plan. Nothing. His faith. Off limits, and his donors, anonymous. Now when I talk about getting into bed with Mitt Romney, I don’t mean that literally. Please, Mitt Romney doesn’t even know what a blow job is. He thinks it’s something the Pep Boys do to clean out your carburetor. No, what I’m trying to do is make an analogy to that old public service announcement about how when you go to bed with one person, you’re not just sleeping with them. Well, it’s like that with Mitt.

When you elect Mitt, you’re not just electing him. You’re electing every right wing nut he’s pandered to in the last ten years. If the Mittmobile does roll into Washington it will be towing behind it the whole anti-intellectual anti-science freak show. The abstinence obsessives, the flat earthers, home schoolers, the holy warriors, the anti-women social neanderthals, the closeted homosexuals, and every endtimer who sees the Virgin Mary in the grass over the septic tank.

Now, I understand having issues with Obama, but stop to think of all the crap we haven’t had to deal with in the last four years. Anybody remember Terri Schiavo? Obama isn’t perfect, but he never turned the entire federal government into a Jesus freak episode of House. And he doesn’t have an attorney general like John Ashcroft, who once covered up a statue at the Justice Department because it was showing too much tit, like it was Janet Jackson.

I’m just saying, last four years, no crisis about boobies. No controversies about whether stems cells are actually tiny people. No Defense of Marriage Act, no Office of Faith Based Initiatives, no pedalling creationism at the national parks. Did you know that before Obama got in the Smithsonian couldn’t mention global warming as a possible reason the glaciers were shrinking? Because heat melting ice was just a theory. Yes, that was our daily diet of turd under the last business minded sensible moderate. And before you say, that was then, this is now, sitting in Congress right now we’ve got a fresh can of nuts just waiting to get cracked open.

Maher discussed Rep. Paul Broun who told his supporters that evolution, embryology, and the Big Bang Theory are lies from the pit of hell. He also mentioned the chair of the Science Committee, Ralph Hall, who claimed that we don’t need to mention global warming because God controls it. Maher also mentioned that Broun and Todd Akin are on the Science Committee, and said, “This is what you get with today’s Republican Party, and a new Republican administration would be an open for business sign to all the bizarre Bible thumping bulls**t that the Obama administration has given us a break from. And to those who say oh, don’t worry, Mitt Romney will stand up to the extreme elements of his party. There’s just one problem with that. It has the name Mitt Romney, and the words stand up in the same sentence.”

This may come as a shock to some people, but Mitt Romney doesn’t have the backbone of George W. Bush. Grover Norquist wanted a rubber stamp president and that is exactly who Mitt Romney would be. The reason why Romney hasn’t pulled his endorsement of Richard Mourdock is that he is absolutely terrified of the far right wing of the Republican Party. Romney is still trying to convince far right that he is one of them. If elected, Romney would cave and give the right everything that they want.

Bill Maher was right. All of the extremist right wing cultural baggage that most Americans disagreed with during the Bush years will return bigger than ever if Romney is elected. These people aren’t working so hard to elect Romney because they believe in him and support him. They are fighting tooth and nail for Romney because they desperately want to be back in power. One of the reasons why they hate Obama so much is because he has stopped their agenda dead in its tracks.

Romney wants to take the country away from the fact and science based presidency of Barack Obama, and plunge the country back into banning embryonic stem cell research while denying climate change. The meme of the campaign has been that the Romney social policy would take America back to the 1950s, and his economic policy would take the country back to the 1920s.


In reality, Romney’s goal is restore the policies of George W. Bush.


The saying, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” is one that every voter should keep in mind as they weigh whether the future direction of the country will be guided by Mitt Romney or Barack Obama.

via Bill Maher, ‘If the Mittmobile does roll into Washington it will be towing behind it the whole anti-intellectual anti-science freak show.’.

via Bill Maher, ‘If the Mittmobile does roll into Washington it will be towing behind it the whole anti-intellectual anti-science freak show.’.

U.S. election: Romney held in disdain in his home state –

BOSTON—Abandoned. Used and abused. Thrown under the bus. Stomped upon for political convenience, then left behind like worthless electoral baggage.

That’s what you hear when you ask Massachusetts about former governor Mitt Romney.

And the contempt isn’t just palpable in the state that knows him best; it’s more like an alternate-universe episode of Cheers — where everybody knows his name. And they’re never glad he came.

U.S. Election coverage

Yet Romney, should he win the White House on Nov. 6, won’t just get the last laugh in the land of the Kennedys. The triumph inside his election-night headquarters at the Boston Convention Centre will be ringed by a doughnut of disdain for the first president in more than 50 years to claim victory while losing at home. Badly.

It will be an even rarer double-whammy if Romney wins the presidency while also losing lose his birth state, Michigan, as projected — a feat unmatched since 1844, when Democrat James Polk took the White House despite losing his native North Carolina and his resident state of Tennessee.

Indeed, Massachusetts appears to be saving a special place in hell for Romney, with polls suggesting he will lose here to Obama by about 20 percentage points.

No other state bears the Republican standard-bearer such ill will. Which leaves many of America’s political observers wondering whether the Democrats are leaving something profound on the table in all but ignoring Romney’s home state blues.

“It’s remarkable that Democrats have not made more of this,” said Robert McElvaine, a Millsaps College history professor who first documented the Massachusetts gap in a Politico article titled “Un-favourite Son.”

 one in a line of GOP governors, including former Paul Cellucci, who went on to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Canada. And the very specific anti-Romney sentiment is evident in how he has fallen off the Massachusetts radar even as the state’s best-known Republican senator, Scott Brown, is still in a very competitive race against Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren.

Everyday Bostonians and the state’s close political watchers alike say the depth of the enmity is cumulative. It began long ago, and only worsened because Romney didn’t just run for president so much as run from Massachusetts.

“It’s reminiscent of what Sarah Palin did in Alaska. Midway through his term as governor he lost all interest in Massachusetts and set his sights on the presidency,” said longtime Democratic activist Richard Hall, a community development consultant steeped in Massachusetts politics.

“And so, for the last two years, he was a governor in absentia, flying around the country to attend conservative junkets, shifting his positions. He had his ‘epiphany,’ switching from pro-choice to pro-life on abortion. And, worst of all, that’s when he began insulting Massachusetts — ridiculing us to expand his national appeal.”

That perception sets him apart from the likes of Sen. Scott Brown, who even if he proves not to be Boston’s cup of tea, is still very much regarded as a New England patriot, a born-and-bred politician who truly loves his state.

Ruth Balser, a seven-term Democratic state representative from Newton, Mass., said the home-state resentment metastasized into something far more bitter in 2012 when Romney began trashing his signature accomplishment — the Massachusetts health-care overhaul many regard as the forerunner to Obamacare.

Balser herself wasn’t surprised. What loyal Democrats elsewhere call Romney’s political flip-flops, she considers triple-axel political pirouettes worthy of Olympic gold.

“Long before Romney had his ‘epiphany’ on abortion, even before he ran in Massachusetts, there was talk he might run for governor in Utah — on a pro-life platform,” remembers Balser.

“In the end, he decided his chances were better in Massachusetts, where he had to be pro-choice to win,” she said.

“It’s the same with health care. He helped create a model for the nation in truly bipartisan fashion and then proceeded to trash it. And now he’s turning a third time, trying to sound in these final weeks like the moderate Republican.

“We admire and respect plenty of Republicans. But if you make fun of Massachusetts, if you wear whatever political clothes are in season, it’s just the sheer opportunism that rankles. It’s the way you used our state — nobody likes to feel used.”

Boston author Sally McGinty, an educational consultant and former Harvard faculty member, suggests the numbers driving Romney down in Massachusetts are symptomatic of a larger malaise affecting that shrinking constituency known as moderate Republicans.

McGinty used to consider herself one, pointing proudly to her past support of Ronald Reagan. But as “Tea Party forces” take greater hold on the party’s centre, she feels increasingly isolated.

“Romney was a very successful business person and that’s a positive way to begin as Massachusetts governor. I’m an in-town Bostonian, but I’m originally from the New York area, where being Republican wasn’t a despicable thing — it represented a reasonable-minded position,” said McGinty.

“But today, in order to have a Republican affiliation, people are required to talk seriously about insane candidates like Michelle Bachmann. And to me Romney is a part of that shiftiness, to the point where I don’t have a sense of who we’ll really get as president if we elect him.”

McGinty doesn’t wear rose-coloured glasses when it comes to Romney’s Massachusetts health-care overhaul. “It seems to work, but it might be too expensive for the state to sustain.

“But for me, I just can’t bear the thought that Romney will be spending the next four years trying to take it apart rather than spending his efforts to make health care work. It might be the electable answer, but it’s very troubling.”

Balser and others describe the vetoes — nearly 800 in all — that Romney wielded during his governorship as evidence that puts the lie to his campaign’s bipartisan claims.

“The one I was most closely involved in was Romney’s rejection of funding for kosher meals in nursing homes. It applied to only a few hundred people; there wasn’t a huge amount of money involved,” Balser said.

“We saw it as a question of religious freedom and appealed to Romney on that basis, thinking he would surely come around. But his veto stood — and we eventually were able to use the Massachusetts supermajority to overturn his decision.”

With Romney now polling strongly against Obama, many in Massachusetts now are bracing for the New England equivalent of political vertigo — that nine nights from now, Romney will stroll up to the microphone in Boston as president-elect. And it will be Massachusetts that launched him on America.

“I recognize it intellectually. But I’m not braced for it, emotionally. I feel that now it’s all in the hands of low-information voters — political ignoramuses. I want to say shame on them — and shame that our politics feels it has to cater to them,” said Hall.

“I truly can’t stand Romney. I still feel he’s unsalable. And I remain an optimist, despite my jaded cynicism, that the American people are better than this. We’re not going to elect him.”

And if Massachusetts is wrong? What sort of Romney does he expect America will get?

“I’ve been thinking about that more and more,” said Hall. “He seems to have no core beliefs, but you can’t be alive for 65 years and not stand for anything, right?

“I do think Romney is basically a centrist at heart. If he’s forced to confront the question on his deathbed, that’s probably how he would call it.

“So we would be looking at a more conservative president than Barack Obama, but one who will adapt to his surroundings. Look at the way he turned chameleon in the presidential debates — that gives you a clue.”

But even Hall is able to swallow the bitterness and get his head around the notion that Massachusetts will survive a Romney presidency, should it materialize.

“I think this country, as screwed up as it may appear to someone from Canada, is still too strong and stable to be upended by any one individual,” said Hall.

“Our system is designed to weed out the clowns. And now all the clowns — and there were many — have fallen by the wayside. Whatever Romney is, he’s not a clown.

“He’s not morally despicable — he’s intellectually despicable, in my opinion. But the country would survive Mitt Romney, even if it’s a long and unpleasant four years.”

Massachusetts, Hall reminds us, does not take these matters lightly. This is a state where “only two things matter — politics and sport. And politics as played like a blood sport. We export political operatives around the country. It’s ingrained in our DNA like nowhere else.”

When Romney first ran for governor in 2002, said Hall, a rare opening was apparent. The Democratic state house was in disarray, with the public mood swinging against a party that had enjoyed too free a reign for too long.

Romney “adroitly” seized the moment, said Hall, with a campaign that labelled his opponent, then State Treasurer Shannon O’Brien, as part of the worst of the Democratic old guard — the so-called “Beacon Hill triumvirate.”

“Every speech, every debate, he just hammered and hammered and hammered. It was a boring, soul-crushing campaign — and the whole time the press was trying to find ways of describing this strange animal called Romney,” said Hall.

“He didn’t follow any mould seen before. You had the wonky guys like Michael Dukakis. You had the old Irish-Italians with their own brand, reaching out to the blue-collar union guys.

“But Romney wasn’t any of these things. And the press ended up with the words that hold to this day. ‘Wooden, stiff, awkward.’ Finally someone seized on ‘robotic’ and that became the word — a robotic candidate citing the same things over and over again. People didn’t take him seriously. But we were wrong and he was right — he won.”

via U.S. election: Romney held in disdain in his home state –

via U.S. election: Romney held in disdain in his home state –


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