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  • Rick Santorum Gave Commie Handouts to Steel Industry

    Quasi-frontrunner Rick Santorum has painted himself as a fierce free-market conservative, railing against TARP, the auto bailout, welfare and basically all government handouts.

    I guess nobody told him about his congressional record

    [A]s a congressman and then a senator from Pennsylvania, his record often defied those principles when it came to defending the interests of a political and economic powerhouse in his state: the steel industry.

    Again and again, as Big Steel faced crippling competition from abroad during the 1990s and early 2000s, Mr. Santorum joined Democratic and Republican lawmakers from steel-producing states to seek special protection in Washington for the industry, including direct subsidies, trade tariffs and import quotas…

    [C]ritics, including free-market advocates, said that it was difficult to reconcile the policies Mr. Santorum pursued in Congress with the campaign-trail stance he has taken against government meddling in the marketplace.


    But hey, even invisible hands of the free market is one thing have palms that you can grease with a little government cash every now and then.

    Speaking of greased skin, doesn't Rick Santorum know what goes on in steel mills? For a guy who hates gays and sex of any kind, Rick Santorum has done more than any other politician to promote Flashdancing.

    Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Auto Industry, Communism, Economy, Pennsylvania, Primaries, Rick Santorum, Senate, TARP, Welfare
  • House Republicans Solve Non-Existent Strip Club Problem

    Everyone knows that people on government assistance are just big welfare queens who go around having babies for fun and spending their taxpayer-funded income on gambling, booze and sex.

    Oh, wait. That's just a racist, classist myth perpetuated by conservatives to deny the working poor a minimum standard of living? Well, I guess nobody told GOP Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. of Louisiana

    A bill that GOP leaders are bringing to the House floor Wednesday would require states to prevent welfare recipients from accessing or spending their benefits at strip clubs, casinos and liquor stores.

    Republicans included the proposal in the payroll tax bill the House passed in December, and they are bringing it back up for a vote separately as part of a package of bills they want included in a final agreement extending the payroll tax cut and other measures through 2012.

    Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-La.), the chief sponsor of the strip club loophole bill, said in an interview that the legislation was a response to press reports that recipients of benefits under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program were using state-issued debit cards containing the funds for gambling, alcohol and adult entertainment.

    Tax dollars shouldn't be going to strip clubs—that's what Republican donor money is for. As most politicians know, it's only acceptable for a poor single mother to be at a strip club if she's onstage in a thong.

    To be fair, most wealthy Republican congressmen know nothing about the lives of struggling families. When declaring that they spend all their money on blackjack and strippers, Rep. Boustany just based the assumption on his own life. Perhaps the leaders of the Republican National Committee saw a poor family at one of their famous "Eyes Wide Shut" fundraising parties.

    Photo by Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call Group/Getty Images

    Tags: Economy, Gambling, House of Representatives, Louisiana, Poverty, Republicans, Sex, Taxes, Welfare
  • Rick Santorum Doesn't Care About Blah-k People

    Sometimes Rick Santorum feels lonely.You can call Rick Santrorum a social-conservative extremist who would rewrite the Constitution to prevent gay marriage, abolish federal courts he disagrees with and deny women birth control.

    But you can’t call him a racist. You see, he doesn’t hate black people, just "blah" people

    Iowa runner-up Rick Santorum… denied saying that he didn't want "to make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money."

    Santorum allegedly made the controversial comments when discussing welfare in an interview Wednesday night with Fox News, but he maintained that people misheard the word "black" when he stumbled on a word.

    "I looked at that, and I didn't say that. If you look at it, what I started to say is a word and then sort of changed and it sort of — blah — came out. And people said I said 'black.' I didn't," Santorum said.

    If you watch the video of his original remarks, it’s not completely clear, but I think we should give Santorum the benefit of the doubt.

    Based on his policy proposals, Santorum doesn't just not care about black people. He appears to have no regard for gay, female, Spanish-speaking, or poor people. "Blah" is merely a universal stand-in for any traditionally disadvantaged group. It's a kind of choose-your-own-adventure for right-wing bigots.

    This could be a winning campaign strategy, actually. Instead of telling pregnant women they should be allowed to die rather than receive a life-saving medical procedure, Santorum can say that blah people should be allowed to blah. Don't tell the unemployed they should lose their homes, just say that blah people should blah blah blah. After all, if no one knows what you're saying, you can't be wrong.

    Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Primaries, Republicans, Rick Santorum, Welfare
  • Quote Unquote: Michele Bachmann on Self Reliance

    Michele Bachmann addressing the conservative Christian lobbying organization Family Research Council on the virtue of denying food to the hungry

    "Our nation needs to stop doing for people what they can and should do for themselves. That provides the principle of a national work ethic that we have sadly forgotten. That means an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. Self reliance means, if anyone will not work, neither should he eat."

    Very inspiring! Reminds me of the Biblical story in which Jesus miraculously creates all the loaves of bread and then sells them to the hungry masses at market value and pulls in a tidy profit for him and his apostles.

    Tags: Family Research Council, Michele Bachmann, Primaries, Republicans, Social Security, Welfare
  • Cain-Gingrich Debate Recap: You Won! No, YOU Won! No, We Won!

    When your great-grandchildren have the American History 101 microchips implanted in their forebrains they will learn about the event we witnessed last night: historic importance upon historic importance, as a scandal-plagued former fast-food executive and a formerly-scandal-plagued former Speaker of the House massaged each other's egos at a Tea Party fundraiser, just like Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas. (":</ {^&," your great-grandchildren will tweedle on their iThinks, as they grasp the significance of the moment.)

    In case you "had plans on a Saturday night" or "have friends" or whatever, here's what you missed.

    * Iowa Rep. Steve King kicked things off with a slideshow about deficit spending, unenlivened by zingy graphics. (As everyone on the internet knows, the secret to a great slideshow is Kardashians, cute animals and/or foods that will kill you.) I fell asleep for a minute. When I woke up, Steve King was still talking. I ran over to the deli to get some coffee. Finally Steve King stopped talking (temporarily).

    * The first order of discussion: How great is Paul Ryan? No for real, how great is Paul Ryan? The greatest? The greatly-greatest? The greatliest greatest great in the entire Reaganverse?

    * It occurred to me that if the Ryan budget had passed the Senate last spring we probably wouldn't be having this debate. If only they'd known.

    * Newt repeated his line about "$70 to $120 billion in Medicaid and Medicare is paid to crooks." This is partially true! It would be a lot more true if he said that "about $70 billion in Medicaid and Medicare is considered improper payments, ie routine administrative errors, overpayments and fraud," but that is less of an adrenaline rush.

    * While we're on the topic of math, Newt called for the abolishment of the Congressional Budget Office, which he called a tool for expanding government because of the way its analytic models work. An hour later he cited CBO statistics to boast about his record in the House, so who even knows. (See also: his website.)

    * For Herman Cain, the complex question of entitlement reform boils down to one answer slogan: "It's your money." How will that work, for people who have already paid into the sys- It's your money. What about the- It's your money. Or, if you prefer: "When you treat it like it's your money, that's how you wean people off expecting that other people are gonna pay for it."

    * You know that old saying, if you give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day, if you teach a man to fish, he'll use this story as an argument against government activity in the private sector for the rest of his life? According to Herman Cain, a young waiter–who was black, he hastened to add–once approached him in a restaurant and said "I want to fish." I can only assume this waiter is now running Herman Cain's health policy team.

    * Cain did have a strong answer to a question about choosing defined benefit plans or a premium support system: "You go first, Newt."

    * Newt wants to apply Lean Six Sigma to the federal government and outsource Medicaid/Medicare payments to American Express and IBM, who have been begging President Obama to let them use their existing private-sector technology to evaporate government bloat, only to be met with bureaucratic silence. Again, this is just trueish.

    * Paul Ryan is super-smart and soooooooo dreamy!

    * Early in the evening Newt said that he and Herman were "the two most radical candidates" in the race. Among the radical, principled stands these two out-there types took: Cain is "a firm believer in 'Let's solve the problem.'" Newt "believe[s] in health information technology." OKAY, WILLIAM AYERSES.

    * Speaking of technology, Newt illustrated his free-market approach by asking people to imagine the situation if a government bureaucracy stood between them and the purchase of a new iPhone. But later he added that "crooks" get so much federal money because they have iPads, whereas bureaucrats only have notebooks, so… what is the solution here? Tighter government regulation of iPads but not iPhones? Buy iPads for all federal workers?

    * Standard-issue welfare reform talk: Cain says "We gotta make people want to get off those programs," Newt says "There's a certain tough love that we need to adopt," which is not what he says to Callista when she's racking up bills at Tiffany's.

    * At the end the candidates were allowed to lob softballs at each other, so Newt asked Cain what his biggest surprise of the campaign has been (surprise, it's "the nit-picky-ness of the media," what with all its questioning and investigating and so forth). Then Cain, who had been waiting for this moment all night, asked Newt what his first assignment should be if he were Vice-President of the United States. "Well, I wouldn't go hunting," said Newt. Thanks, you've been great! They'll be here for… oh, maybe another three months!

    * Sorry, almost forgot. Since this was a "debate," we are legally obliged to find out who "won."

    There was a problem connecting to Twitter.

    Yep, just add one more set of quotation marks to the twelfth word there, and that's about right.

    Photo by Lew Robinson/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images
    Photo by Paul E. Tessier/Photodisc/Getty Images

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    Tags: Debates, Health Care, Herman Cain, Medicaid, Medicare, Newt Gingrich, Paul Ryan, Republicans, Science & Technology, Social Security, Steve King, Welfare