WBEZ | Elections 2012 http://www.wbez.org/tags/elections-2012 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Bill Clinton's speech renews talk of Hillary 2016 http://www.wbez.org/news/bill-clintons-speech-renews-talk-hillary-2016-102224 <p><p>CHARLOTTE, N.C. &mdash; Former President Bill Clinton&#39;s speech to the Democratic convention served as a high-energy validation of President Barack Obama&#39;s policies &mdash; and may also have started setting the stage for another White House bid by his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.<br /><br />In a wide-ranging address that mixed granular policy details with political red meat, Clinton portrayed Obama as a sensible pragmatist who had put aside any political grudges for the good of the country.<br /><br />&quot;He appointed Cabinet members who supported Hillary in the primaries. Heck, he even appointed Hillary!&quot; Clinton said to loud cheers and a standing ovation.<br /><br />He added, &quot;I&#39;m so proud of her and grateful to our entire national security team.&quot;<br /><br />Obama bested Hillary Clinton in a monthslong battle for the Democratic nomination in 2008 that left considerable bitterness on both sides. Clinton&#39;s endorsement of his wife&#39;s erstwhile rival and willingness to put Obama&#39;s name in nomination represented the final reconciliation between the Democratic heavyweights.<br /><br />As America&#39;s top diplomat, the former first lady cannot participate in politics. She was on a mission to Asia on Wednesday, leaving her husband and daughter, Chelsea, to represent her in Charlotte. Chelsea Clinton, now a special correspondent for NBC News, led a panel on civic engagement for youth before listening to her father&#39;s speech in the convention hall.<br /><br />At a news conference in East Timor, Hillary Clinton said he had read parts of her husband&#39;s speech.<br /><br />&quot;It is a great honor for him to be nominating the president,&quot; she said. &quot;This is the first convention I&#39;ve missed in many, many years.&quot;<br /><br />Later, the former first lady watched the speech online while at the home of the U.S. ambassador.<br /><br />&quot;It was great,&quot; she told reporters aboard her plane as she prepared to leave East Timor. She said she spoke with her husband during the drive to the airport.<br /><br />The former president didn&#39;t mention his wife again, but the subtext was clear: The Clintons remain a force to be reckoned with in the Democratic Party<br /><br />Bill Clinton took his time, using a 50-minute speech both to reaffirm his support for Obama and to remind voters of the robust economy he presided over during two terms in the White House with Hillary Clinton prominently by his side.<br /><br />In nominating Obama as the Democratic standard-bearer, Clinton said the president began the long road to recovery and has laid the foundation for a stronger economy.<br /><br />As Obama listened with delegates to the Democratic convention, Clinton said Americans have a choice between the winner-take-all society supported by Republicans and a Democratic vision of shared responsibility and prosperity.<br /><br />Clinton, rebutting the Republican contention that the economy has worsened under Obama, said Republicans would return to the failed policies of the past. He posed his own version of the Republicans&#39; &quot;Are you better off?&quot; question: &quot;What kind of country do you want to live in?&quot;<br /><br />Clinton said that is the most important question facing the nation as it decides whether to return Obama to the White House or replace him with Republican Mitt Romney.<br /><br />&quot;If you want a &#39;you&#39;re-on-your-own, winner-take-all&#39; society, you should support the Republican ticket,&quot; Clinton said. &quot;If you want a country of shared prosperity and shared responsibility &mdash; a we&#39;re-all-in-this-together society &mdash; you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.&quot;<br /><br />Clinton said Obama inherited a damaged economy and &quot;put a floor under the crash.&quot; He said he then laid the foundation for a more balanced economy that will produce millions of jobs, new businesses and riches to innovators.<br /><br />Clinton appeared at the convention as Obama&#39;s top validator &mdash; an antidote to Republican claims that Obama has made the economy worse and a reminder of a recent period in history when the economy boomed.<br /><br />The Obama campaign sent out a fundraising email under Clinton&#39;s name Wednesday. The message: &quot;It is absolutely urgent we win this election.&quot;<br /><br />Earlier, Clinton told NBC News he was not trying to promote another presidential campaign for his wife, who will be 69 in 2016.<br /><br />&quot;We&#39;re not kids anymore. I don&#39;t have any idea if she&#39;ll ever run again. She says she won&#39;t,&quot; the former president said.<br /><br />Hillary Clinton&#39;s popularity has soared since her bruising campaign against Obama, and she would begin the 2016 nomination contest as a heavy favorite if she were to pursue it.<br /><br />After Clinton finished his speech, several former aides to Clinton hugged and slapped high-fives in the back of the arena. Longtime adviser Harold Ickes beamed with pride.<br /><br />&quot;He knows how to make the case. I&#39;ve seen him make the case even when he doesn&#39;t have much to work with. He has a lot to work with,&quot; Ickes said. &quot;He made a very powerful case for re-election.&quot;</p></p> Thu, 06 Sep 2012 10:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/bill-clintons-speech-renews-talk-hillary-2016-102224 Florida congressman under investigation for alleged shadow campaign http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-08/florida-congressman-under-investigation-alleged-shadow-campaign-101894 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Rubio%20Rivera%20AP.jpg" title="Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, left, campaigning for embattled Rep. David Rivera, right, in 2010. Rivera is being investigated for allegedly running a shadow campaign in his quest for reelection. (AP/Alan Diaz, file)" /></div><p>Paul Ryan may not have provided <a href="http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/08/poll-obama-keeps-national-lead.php">much of a bump</a> to Mitt Romney&rsquo;s presidential campaign anywhere but in <a href="http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/08/poll-wisconsin-presidential-race-tightens.php?ref=fpnewsfeed">Wisconsin</a>, but as the headlines popped up in South Florida late Wednesday, you know he&rsquo;s gotta be feeling some relief that he didn&rsquo;t go with Sen. Marco Rubio.<br /><br />What, you can&rsquo;t find anything about Rubio that&rsquo;s particularly scandalous in the last few days? Look closely: <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/could-david-rivera-keep-marco-rubio-from-the-vice-presidency/2012/05/01/gIQAVYSauT_blog.html">Rubio&rsquo;s BFF</a> David Rivera, the Cuban-American GOP congressman from South Florida, provoked this lead graf on the <em><a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/08/21/v-fullstory/2962351/campaign-vendors-say-republican.html#storylink=cpy">Miami Herald&#39;s</a></em> front page Wednesday morning:<br /><br />&ldquo;Fueled with $43,000 in secret money, Republican Rep. David Rivera helped run a shadow campaign that might have broken federal laws in last week&rsquo;s Democratic primary against his political nemesis Joe Garcia, according to campaign sources and finance records.&rdquo;<br /><br />That&rsquo;s right: It appears that Rivera &mdash; for whom Rubio held a fundraiser as late as May 16 of this year, and with whom he co-owned a house that went into foreclosure &mdash; actually set up a sham Dem primary opponent to Garcia. Garcia is a former director of the Cuban-American National Foundation and an Obama appointee to the department of Energy whom Rivera, naturally, accuses of being a <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2012/08/15/south-florida-braces-for-nasty-house-race/">&quot;henchman&quot; for Havana</a>.</p><p>By late Wednesday, <em>The Herald</em> had a front page story announcing that Rivera and his fake Dem were both the <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/08/22/2963954/fbi-dade-police-probe-democrats.html">targets of Miami-Dade and federal investigations</a>.<br /><br />Think this is Rivera&rsquo;s first blush with prosecutorial curiosity? Oh no, my friends, no. Back in 2002, when he was running for the state legislature, Rivera was investigated for personally <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20014294-503544.html">running a truck full of opposition flyers off the highway</a> so that it couldn&rsquo;t make its postal deadline.<br /><br />And then there was the mess with the U.S. Agency for International Development. From 2003 to 2009, Rivera claimed his income consisted of his government salary and USAID. Except that when asked, USAID claimed they&rsquo;d never even heard of him. In the end, though, Rivera amended his financial disclosure, leaving the mystery of his <a href="http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2010/10/herald-exclusive-rivera-contradicted-by-usaid-records.html">prior claims</a> &mdash; they were more like boasts &mdash; unresolved.<br /><br />Just last April, a Miami-Dade investigation into Rivera&rsquo;s finances was finally closed (though federal and IRS investigations continue). No charges were filed&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;though more than 50 were considered&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;because of statutes of limitations. The prosecutors concluded that &ldquo;we have been confronted with the fact that an elected official over a period of many years may essentially live off a combination of contributions made in support of public office candidacies, and indirect payments made as consideration for efforts as a political strategist while avoiding penal sanction.&rdquo;<br /><br />The <em>Herald&rsquo;s</em> story back then had <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/05/29/2822948/david-rivera-investigation-left.html#storylink=cpy">a fine lead</a>: &ldquo;Why did an obscure Republican organization pay $25,000 in 2006 to a defunct company founded by Rivera&rsquo;s mother? Why did a political consultant with close ties to Rivera receive another $25,000 on the very same day? And where did the money come from in the first place? Further adding to the mystery: The Republican Party of Florida reportedly made a $50,000 payment to a Central Florida nonprofit group &mdash; money the group never received &mdash; on the same day the payments went to Rivera&rsquo;s mother and consultant. Are the payments connected?&rdquo;<br /><br />We&rsquo;ll never know. That $50,000 is still unaccounted for.<br /><br />What we do know is that Rivera mingled personal, government and campaign accounts, lent himself money, transferred a whole lot of cash between himself and family members, and, apparently, didn&rsquo;t learn any lessons. You&#39;d think with investigations about prior acts still hanging over his head that he&#39;d behave a little differently during his current campagn aganst Garcia. You&#39;d think he might consider that interferring in the Democratic primary might look bad, might get him in trouble, might finally put him in the slammer.<br /><br />Besides just embarrassment, the problem for Rubio is that Rivera&rsquo;s imaginary (and cachet) career with USAID sounds similar to his imaginary (and very cachet) exile biography. And Rivera&rsquo;s easy way with personal, campaign and government cash echoes <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/election-2012/post/marco-rubio-on-florida-gop-credit-card-i-shouldnt-have-done-it-that-way/2012/05/01/gIQA34nOuT_blog.html">Rubio&rsquo;s own problems </a>intermingling party and personal finances.</p><p>This new scandal, which falls right smack in the middle of a viciously personal election, will continue to generate headlines about Rivera, and by defalt about Rubio, for months to come.<br /><br />And for Romney, who prides himself on being personally clean, and whose entire career is based on keen money management, this kind of carelessness would have been more than embarrassing: It would have been humiliating.</p></p> Thu, 23 Aug 2012 10:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-08/florida-congressman-under-investigation-alleged-shadow-campaign-101894 Akin connections to Ryan remain despite distancing by GOP http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-08/akin-connections-ryan-remain-despite-distancing-gop-101838 <p><p>For all the outrage GOP presidential aspirant Mitt Romney has expressed over Missouri Republican candidate Todd Akin&rsquo;s comments about &ldquo;legitimate rape,&rdquo; he&rsquo;s probably a little glad Akin stuck his foot in it.<br /><br /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP908050424389.jpg" style="height: 367px; width: 300px; float: left; " title="GOP VP candidate Paul Ryan and Missouri Rep. Todd Akin co-sponsored at least two extremist bills on women's health issues. (AP/file)" />Why? Because how else were Romney and the other GOP bigwigs going to command the spotlight in such a way as to create the impression that the Republican Party isn&rsquo;t really all that bad for women?<br /><br />First of all, Akin: &ldquo;From what I understand from doctors, pregnancy (from rape) is really rare. If it&rsquo;s legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.&rdquo;<br /><br />Even Romney couldn&rsquo;t let that pass. &ldquo;Congressman&rsquo;s Akin comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong,&rdquo; <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/314452/romney-akins-inexcusable-comment-robert-costa">Romney said</a>. &ldquo;Like millions of other Americans, we found them to be offensive.&rdquo;<br /><br />(You&rsquo;ll notice the &ldquo;we&rdquo; there, implying his running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan, is with him on this too, and I&rsquo;ll get to that in a minute.)<br /><br />Romney, for all his waffling, has a history of supporting abortion exemptions in cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother, though he did <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2011/07/which-gop-candidate-worst-reproductive-rights">veto emergency contraception </a>to rape victims as Massachusetts governor. (Never mind the basic contradiction of insisting life begins at conception and then having exemptions. . . .)</p><p>Predictably, the Dems came down hard on Akin; but on the GOP side it wasn&rsquo;t just Romney hammering the Missouri Republican.&nbsp;&quot;What [Akin] said is just flat wrong in addition to being wildly offensive to any victim of sexual abuse,&rdquo; said <a href="http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-mcconnell-suggests-todd-akin-consider-his-options-20120820,0,5243455.story">Sen. Mitch McConnell</a>, the GOP minority leader.&nbsp;&ldquo;Although Rep. Akin has apologized, I believe he should take time with his family to consider whether this statement will prevent him from effectively representing our party in this critical election.&rdquo;</p><p>Asking Akin to step aside is about as harsh as it comes, right?<br /><br />But there was more: According to the <em>Houston Chronicle</em>, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who heads the National Republican Senatorial Committee, <a href="http://www.chron.com/news/politics/article/Cornyn-urges-Akin-to-withdraw-from-Mo-race-3802337.php">threatened to withdraw financial support</a> unless Akin withdraws. Ditto Karl Rove.<br /><br />But don&rsquo;t be fooled. Next month the House is set to discuss <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/opinion/republicans-vs-women.html?_r=2&amp;src=me&amp;ref=general">a Republican spending plan </a>that, according to the <em>New York Times,</em>&nbsp;&quot;would bar Planned Parenthood&rsquo;s network of clinics, which serve millions of women across the country, from receiving any federal money unless the health group agreed to no longer offer abortion services for which it uses no federal dollars &mdash; a patently unconstitutional provision. It would also eliminate financing for Title X, the effective federal family-planning program for low-income women that provides birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and testing for sexually-transmitted diseases. Without this program, some women would die, and unintended pregnancies would rise, resulting in some 400,000 more abortions a year and increases in Medicaid-related costs, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a leading authority on reproductive health.&rdquo;<br /><br />Take note that Romney, in his condemnation of Akin&rsquo;s words, didn&rsquo;t touch the whole &ldquo;legitimate rape&rdquo; aspect. How could he? His running mate and Akin were co-sponsors of a bill that tried to redefine rape so that it required a violent component for an exemption to their wide-ranging <a href="http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr3/text">No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act</a> (introduced by none other than Chicago&rsquo;s own Democratic Congressman Dan Lipinski).<br /><br />The bill, which was passed by the House and stalled in the Senate, would ban federally funded abortions (again) and allow for &quot;conscience exemptions&quot; on the part of health providers. It would also prohibit tax benefits to pay for abortions, including tax exempt health savings accounts (HSAs), nor would the cost of an abortion count as a medical deduction either.<br /><br />The bill would allow exemptions <em>if the pregnancy endangers the life of the mother, or is the result of rape or incest</em>. But its original language suggested limitations: &quot;if the pregnancy occurred because the pregnant female was the subject of an act of <em>forcible</em> rape or, if a minor, an act of incest.&quot; (Meaning that statutory rape, for example, would not qualify unless it involved some sort of violence or threat.)<br /><br />Akin and would-be VP Ryan also co-sponsored yet another extremist bill, <a href="http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr212">The Human Life Act</a>, which declares that &quot;human life begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent, at which time every human has all legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.&rdquo;<br /><br />What all those rights might be is a real mystery but <a href="http://paulryan.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=207539">Ryan&rsquo;s own web page</a> waxes philosophically about his support of fetal personhood, so that, all of a sudden, his willingness to allow the killing of persons in utero as an exemption for victims of rape or incest is a <em>huge</em> flip.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">Whether Ryan had an abrupt and profound change of heart is considerably less likely than that he understands signing on to rape and incest exemptions makes him &mdash; and his fellow Republicans &mdash; seem a lot less hostile, even somewhat reasonable, on choice and women&rsquo;s health issues than before Akin opened his big mouth.</div></p> Tue, 21 Aug 2012 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-08/akin-connections-ryan-remain-despite-distancing-gop-101838 With Latino voters, Ryan may hurt Romney more than he helps http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-08/latino-voters-ryan-may-hurt-romney-more-he-helps-101736 <p><p>If Latinos are the great swing voters of 2012, what does Mitt Romney&rsquo;s selection of Paul Ryan as the GOP&#39;s VP candidate mean? And where, if anywhere, will Ryan have an impact with Latinos?<br /><br /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/paul%20ryan%202%20AP.jpg" style="height: 452px; width: 300px; float: left; " title="Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (AP/file)" />Because he represents Wisconsin&rsquo;s <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wisconsin%27s_1st_congressional_district">1st Congressional</a> District, which is more than 90 percent white and only about 6 percent Hispanic, Rep. Ryan has not had a need to address issues with Latinos in mind, or with a message tailored in any special way for them.<br /><br />So what does Ryan think about the issues important to Latinos?<br /><br />According to a June 2012 <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/155327/hispanic-voters-put-issues-immigration.aspx">Gallup</a> poll, U.S. Hispanics are most concerned about (in this order) healthcare, unemployment, immigration, economic growth, the gap between the rich and the poor and the deficit.<br /><br />Beck Research did a study at about the same time that echoed roughly the same sentiments with <a href="http://www.dailypolitical.com/politics/education-more-important-than-immigration-for-hispanics.htm">one crucial exception</a>: Education.<br /><br />But according to DailyPolitical.com, &ldquo;When the choice was given of focusing just on improving the economy versus making education better to help the economy, 53% of the Hispanic voters thought that improving education across the board in the country is crucial in helping to improve the economy. Just 44% of those surveyed believe that improving the economy should be the biggest priority of all.&quot;<br /><br />Where is <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/paul-ryan-on-education-policy-vouchers-for-profit-colleges-local-control/2012/08/11/4eb74a7c-e3b2-11e1-98e7-89d659f9c106_blog.html?hpid=z3">Ryan on education</a>?<br /><br />* He voted for No Child Left Behind, the Bush program that created super federal oversight over states and school districts. (His <a href="http://paulryan.house.gov/issues/issue/?IssueID=9972">own website</a>, however, says this: &ldquo;Stagnant student achievement levels and exploding deficits have demonstrated that massive amounts of federal funding and top-down interventions are not the way to provide America&rsquo;s students with a high-quality education.&rdquo; So he&rsquo;s both for and against a strong federal role in education.)<br /><br />* He supports vouchers to allow students to go to private schools and for profit colleges (he also voted against a Department of Education measure that would stop for profit colleges from promoting misleading information about themselves).<br /><br />* He voted against the specific section of the stimulus that designated money to avoid teacher lay-offs and provide funds for Head Start.<br /><br />A prominent part of Romney&rsquo;s platform, with which Ryan agrees, is the elimination of Obamacare (a carbon copy of Romney&rsquo;s healthcare initiative as governor in Massachusetts). Ryan&rsquo;s own proposed economic plan calls for deep cuts to Medicare.<br /><br />But according to polls conducted by Latino Decisions/Univisión News, U.S. Hispanics are overwhelmingly <a href="http://www.latinodecisions.com/blog/2012/06/29/latino-voter-opinions-on-health-care/">in favor of a federal healthcare program</a> and against cuts in Medicare.<br /><br />* 57 percent of Latinos want Obamacare to stand as is.<br /><br />* 73 percent <a href="http://www.latinodecisions.com/blog/2012/08/11/paul-ryan-the-national-debt-and-the-latino-vote/">oppose cuts to Medicare</a>, and that includes 70 percent of Latino Republicans and 73 percent of Latinos in Florida. Sixty percent &mdash; including 63 percent in Florida&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;believe the government should provide health insurance.<br /><br />And on the economy?<br /><br />Only 31 percent of Latinos want tax cuts, and 55 percent want more government investment in public projects, including education and infrastructure.<br /><br />Ryan&#39;s no help with immigration issues either. He voted against the DREAM Act and his web page is an <a href="http://paulryan.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=200306">anti-immigrantion buff&#39;s dream</a>.<br /><br />In fact, Ryan has the potential to make even the GOP&rsquo;s most loyal Latinos nervous. (That would be Cuban-Americans in Florida; they constitute 72 percent of GOP voters in Miami-Dade County). Support for the economic embargo on Cuba &mdash; sacred to the dependable (though shrinking) older Cuban-American community&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;and strong (but toothless)&nbsp;anti-Castro rhetoric has always been a given for Republicans appealing to Cuban voters in Miami since John F. Kennedy screwed up the Bay of Pigs.<br /><br />But Ryan, representing an agriculture state eager to sell to Cuba, has <a href="http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/ryans-cuba-embargo-stance-examined-hs6g0ts-166068626.html">voted three times to end the embargo</a>. (I&rsquo;m with him on this one!)<br /><br />In a recent <em><a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/08/11/v-fullstory/2946098/how-paul-ryan-could-be-a-drag.html#storylink=cpy">Miami Herald</a></em> story, former Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart said, &ldquo;[Ryan] was a free-trader and we explained to him the human-rights and terrorist record of the Cuban dictatorship. His record ever since is one of a strong supporter for freedom in Cuba. He is a strong ally.&rdquo;<br /><br />Except I can&rsquo;t find that &ldquo;strong record&rdquo; anywhere. And as recently as 2009, Ryan publicly questioned the need for the embargo.<br /><br />At the end of the day, I can&rsquo;t find a single area in which Ryan helps Romney with Latinos, and in at least the crucial state of Florida, Ryan&rsquo;s negatives are strong enough to actually lose votes.<br /><br />Nice work, governor.</p></p> Wed, 15 Aug 2012 09:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-08/latino-voters-ryan-may-hurt-romney-more-he-helps-101736 Two presidential candidates, two views of capitalism http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/two-presidential-candidates-two-views-capitalism-101371 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Obama head shot AP.jpg" style="float: left; width: 310px; height: 211px; " title="(AP/file)" /></div><p>I think political commentator Charles Murray is essentially correct in his claim that &ldquo;capitalism is the best thing that has ever happened to the material conditions of the human race.&rdquo; Whatever your political predilections, it&rsquo;s hard to deny that capitalism has lifted much, but by no means all, of the world out of abject poverty. And I think that&rsquo;s also safe to claim that American initiative and enterprise has helped to spread the culture of capitalism across the globe.&nbsp;</p><p>Interestingly, although both presidential candidates agree on the importance of capitalism, they disagree on how the capitalistic&nbsp;spark is initiated and sustained. For GOP candidate Mitt Romney, successful capitalistic ventures are the product of &ldquo;rugged individualism.&rdquo;&nbsp; The essential capitalistic act for Romney is a person taking a risk, expending energy and creating a product or a service that people want to buy. It&rsquo;s &ldquo;the John Wayne thing.&rdquo;&nbsp; It&rsquo;s about &ldquo;true grit&rdquo; &ndash; talent, hard work, ingenuity, and of course, a little good luck, too. Romney believes that each of us has the ability to earn a living for ourselves and our families through our own ideas and efforts. Each of us can be a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker &ndash; or a Ford, Edison or Jobs.&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Romney head shot AP.jpg" style="height: 206px; width: 310px; float: right; " title="(AP/file)" />President Obama, on the other hand, sees capitalism more as a collective, communal activity, and not just an individual or private enterprise. Yes, the initial capitalistic act may be the product of <em>a person. </em>Yes, business is driven by the insights and visions of entrepreneurs. But, all capitalistic acts, all business transactions, are dependent upon public support, acceptance, and/or demand. Business is part of the social fabric of communal existence. Business is never a solitary act. Producers and consumers are inextricably linked, business transactions are always plural. In Obama capitalism, the business community only works because the social infrastructure makes demands of it and is willing to support it. For Obama, capitalism is not a singular event, but rather a symbiotic relationship. &ldquo;Rugged individuals&rdquo; who only worry about their own well-being and not the larger good are a danger to communal capitalistic success.&nbsp;</p><p>Whether you agree with the nuances Romney&rsquo;s or Obama&rsquo;s interpretation of capitalism, this election is about something a lot more important than the purity of a definition. This election is about the present state of the economy; the potential of this economy; and, the creation of jobs, jobs, jobs, and more jobs. Here&rsquo;s the bottom line: No matter how we define capitalism, without continuous new job creation, capitalism &ndash; in all its variations &ndash; doesn&rsquo;t work! We need jobs to succeed as an economy, to succeed as a nation and to succeed as a major player on the world stage.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Al Gini is a Professor of Business Ethics and Chair of the Management Department in the Quinlan School of the Business at Loyola University Chicago.</em></p></p> Wed, 01 Aug 2012 10:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/two-presidential-candidates-two-views-capitalism-101371 New campaign ad touts Romney’s Spanish-speaking son, Mexican-born father http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-07/new-campaign-ad-touts-romney%E2%80%99s-spanish-speaking-son-mexican-born-father <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/craig and mitt romney AP.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Remember back in the day when Mitt Romney <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEqeyXSSup0">told Univisión</a> that talking about his father, George, and suggesting that his birth in Mexico somehow gave him some sort of link to Latinos would be &ldquo;disingenuous&rdquo;?</p><p>His position seemed remarkably honest. But then, just as Latinos garnered the spotlight, Mitt started to talk about how <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/2012-01-11/%C2%A1mexican-mitt-romney-makes-appeal-latino-voters-can-literally-be-mexican">George was Mexican-born</a>. Of course, he never mentioned the crucial context of his father&rsquo;s birth: That he was born in Mexico in a polygamous colony that had broken off from the larger Mormon Church when the church dropped its acceptance of multiple wives in order to get Utah admitted to the Union.</p><p>And now Romney has gone one step further, actually suggesting his father &mdash; who was a U.S. citizen and once ran for the presidency of this country&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;was an immigrant.</p><p><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&amp;v=spd2NhjkOo0">This is his campaign&rsquo;s new ad</a>, featuring Spanish-fluent son Craig, and running in the Latino-flushed swing states of Nevada, Florida, Colorado, Ohio and North Carolina (yeah, North Carolina).</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="338" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/spd2NhjkOo0" width="601"></iframe></p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m Craig Romney. I want to tell you how my father, Mitt Romney, thinks. He very much values that we are a nation of immigrants. My grandfather, George, was born in Mexico. For my family, this country&rsquo;s greatness lies in how we respect and help each other, regardless of where we come from. As president, my father will work for a permanent solution to our immigration system while working with leaders of both parties. I invite you to listen.&rdquo;</p><p>I&rsquo;m dying to hear about his Craig&rsquo;s dad&rsquo;s immigration plans&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;a topic he&rsquo;s been avoiding for months. Here&rsquo;s hoping that Mitt has come up with something besides &ldquo;self-deportation&rdquo; and that he&rsquo;ll be willing to discuss it, you know, in the lifespan of this commercial&rsquo;s airing. <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-06-22/mitt-romneys-platitudes-on-immigration">That hasn&rsquo;t been the case</a> so far this summer.&nbsp;</p></p> Sat, 21 Jul 2012 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-07/new-campaign-ad-touts-romney%E2%80%99s-spanish-speaking-son-mexican-born-father Will leaked Romney VP shortlist be enough to distract from Bain, taxes? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-07/will-leaked-romney-vp-shortlist-be-enough-distract-bain-taxes-101027 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Romney%20AP_0.jpg" style="width: 620px; " title="(AP/file)" /></div><p>For the last several weeks, President Obama&rsquo;s re-election campaign has managed to keep GOP challenger Mitt Romney on the ropes with <a href="http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/03/new-obama-ad-renews-outsourcing-attack/">attacks on his company&rsquo;s outsourcing</a> , the exact exit date by which he left that company and his lack of transparency with his tax returns. (Though Romney <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/18/opinion/kleinbard-canellos-romney-tax/index.html">keeps saying he&rsquo;s released two years&rsquo; worth of taxes</a>, he&rsquo;s only released one year&rsquo;s worth, for 2010. His taxes for 2011, the second year, are unfinished &mdash; and don&rsquo;t have to be finished until October &mdash; and he&rsquo;s released only a summary.)<br /><br /><a href="http://www.boston.com/news/politics/articles/2012/07/16/romney_charges_obamas_ad_attacks_misdirected/?rss_id=Boston.com+--+Top+political+stories">Romney&rsquo;s shot back</a>, first saying the attacks were below the president&rsquo;s dignity, now trying to shift the focus altogether by accusing the president of &ldquo;crony capitalism.&rdquo; After so many years of being accused of being a socialist, Obama may well have welcomed the chance of being swiped by anything that associates him with capitalism; but the charge was so badly put together, the <em>Washington Post</em> shot it down pretty quickly, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/crony-capitalism-the-rncs-look-at-the-case-of-steve-westly/2012/07/18/gJQAfOMduW_blog.html">giving Romney Four Pinocchios</a>, its most serious rating for political lies.</p><p>To be clear, the polls aren&rsquo;t moving on any of the Obama campaign&rsquo;s charges: Things are as locked and <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/election.aspx">even as they&rsquo;ve ever been</a>. But both campaigns are playing the long game &mdash; these accusations, in fact, build on the Obama campaign&rsquo;s ads from three months ago which echoed Newt Gingrich&rsquo;s ads about Romney&rsquo;s &ldquo;vulture capitalism.&rdquo; Romney&rsquo;s betting that the only things that matter will happen in the fall. Still, sympathetic media and even some in his own party, are <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505267_162-57475484/gop-pollster-romney-doing-a-poor-job-defending-himself/">calling for a different approach</a>.</p><p>So how, then, can Romney distract the electorate, and perhaps more importantly at this stage of the game, the media?</p><p>My guess is that he&rsquo;ll do an early VP announcement. He wasn&rsquo;t originally scheduled to do it until closer to the Republican convention in August, but I&rsquo;m betting that it&rsquo;ll be closer to the Olympics now (where he&rsquo;ll also need to draw attention away from his athlete-horse &mdash; unless he wins).</p><p>Given all the blather from Ann Romney about the women candidates, you&rsquo;d have thought Romney might have shortlisted New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a freshman with serious anti-Planned Parenthood and law and order creds, or New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, who hates illegal immigration. Ayotte could have blunted some of the anti-woman rhetoric coming from the GOP, and Martinez &mdash; the first Hispanic governor of any U.S. state and the first female governor of New Mexico &mdash; would have probably put New Mexico in play and maybe even tipped neighboring Colorado.</p><p>Instead, Romney&rsquo;s <a href="http://dailycaller.com/2012/07/16/romney-could-announce-vp-this-week-pawlenty-portman-rice-jindal-ryan-in-the-running/">leaked short list</a> includes Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman. (Florida Sen. Marco Rubio isn&rsquo;t anywhere near it. Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan is also said to be on it, but I&rsquo;m not buying it. And rumors about Condoleeza Rice are just that &mdash; Romney&rsquo;s said his VP choice will be pro-life and Rice is pro-choice.)</p><p>But, honestly, there&rsquo;s not a lot of mystery on this list. Jindal, the first Indian-American governor of any U.S. state, is there to make the GOP look inclusive. Choosing him would be historic, but it&rsquo;s not going to happen. Jindal would overshadow Romney and the Romney campaign knows it. Pawlenty, nice guy though he may be, brings nothing to the ticket &mdash; Minnesota is not swinging and Pawlenty, though he was a former majority leader in the House, is a lackluster campaigner even by his own accounts.</p><p>Still, if he has great chemistry with Romney &mdash; and this seems the most salient quality in the search &mdash; Pawlenty may trump Portman, the most likely pick. Portman is as bland as they come but he has two strong things in his favor: He comes from an Electoral College-rich swing state, and he has current congressional experience.</p><p>In other words, wring enough sentimentality out of enough Ohioans and Portman could take it for Romney. And once in the White House, Portman&rsquo;s senate experience becomes a crucial governing tool.</p></p> Thu, 19 Jul 2012 10:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-07/will-leaked-romney-vp-shortlist-be-enough-distract-bain-taxes-101027 Why Mitt’s Bain exit date matters http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-07/why-mitt%E2%80%99s-bain-exit-date-matters-100967 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Mitt%20Romney%20AP.jpg" title="When did Mitt stay and when did he go? (AP/Carlos Osorio, File)" /></div><p>Did Mitt Romney <a href="http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/07/14/evidence_mounts_of_mitt_romneys_continuing_ties_to_bain_after_1999/in">leave Bain Capital in 1999</a>, or later, perhaps as late as 2002? The answer matters for a couple of reasons:</p><p style="margin-left:16.0pt;">1.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Bain <a href="http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/07/14/evidence_mounts_of_mitt_romneys_continuing_ties_to_bain_after_1999/in">outsourced thousands of U.S. jobs overseas</a> after 1999 &mdash; which Romney, understandably, would like not to be associated with. If Romney wasn&rsquo;t around after 1999, he can say his hands are clean (though he continued to earn profits from Bain stock and investments up until ... er, right now ... ). But if Romney had any say at all and he didn&rsquo;t veto or register opposition to the outsourcing deals, his silence would imply consent.</p><p style="margin-left:16.0pt;">2.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; There is a discrepancy between what Romney and his surrogates are saying now (adviser Ed Gillespie said recently that Romney had <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-romney-and-his-time-machine/2012/07/16/gJQA9MYfpW_story.html?hpid=z3">&ldquo;retired retrospectively&rdquo; to 1999</a> after working in some capacity for Bain in 2001 and 2002) and what either Romney, or someone who signed his name, told the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2000, 2001 and 2002 when he was listed as CEO, president and sole owner of Bain.</p><p>How can anyone be CEO, president and sole stockholder of a company, receive a salary, and still claim to have had no formal involvement with it?</p><p>Let&rsquo;s say this discrepancy doesn&rsquo;t bother you, that you&rsquo;re willing to believe that &ldquo;CEO&rdquo; and other titles (though that stockholding is way more than just a title, no matter how you look at it) are just formalities, that you buy that no one from Bain ever called Romney for a bit of advice, that Romney just walked away from a company he&rsquo;d founded and made successful without once looking back or worrying about a decision made by others which he didn&rsquo;t like.</p><p>Let&rsquo;s say you believe the SEC documents are the result of carelessness (not exactly great for your guy, but better that than he deliberately misrepresented himself before the SEC, which, as you probably know by now, is a felony).</p><p>Explain then, please, the $100,000 Romney earned from Bain in 2001 and the other $100,000 he earned in 2002.</p><p>Here&rsquo;s the kicker: That $200,000 is not dividend earnings or investment returns. It&rsquo;s not a bonus. It&rsquo;s pure salary.<br /><br />Now, if I understand the word &ldquo;salary&rdquo; correctly &mdash; and, to make sure, I looked it up in my trusty Merriam-Webster &mdash; that means a &ldquo;fixed compensation paid regularly for services.&rdquo;</p><p>What were these services?</p><p>Either Romney provided a service and did something to earn the money, or Bain paid him for no reason.</p><p>And I don&rsquo;t know about you but in my world, no one ever gets paid &mdash; $100,000! &mdash; to do literally nothing.</p></p> Tue, 17 Jul 2012 09:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-07/why-mitt%E2%80%99s-bain-exit-date-matters-100967 Obama’s lame letters don’t help as Romney out-fundraises president, again http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-07/obama%E2%80%99s-lame-letters-don%E2%80%99t-help-romney-out-fundraises-president-again <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP120710141785.jpg" style="height: 290px; width: 400px; float: left; " title="President Obama at a recent rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (AP/file)" /></div><p>You&rsquo;ve probably heard by now that Mitt Romney and the Republicans have swept the fundraising floor with Barack Obama and the Dems for the second month in a row, beating them this time by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-campaign-shrugs-off-reports-of-romneys-fundraising-advantage/2012/07/10/gJQAlcvTbW_story.html">a whopping $35 million</a>.<br /><br />&quot;People understand that the path that President Obama is taking us on is one of socialism,&rdquo; said Daniel Dumezich,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/romney-surpasses-obama-in-june-fundraising/2012/07/09/gJQA6RMZYW_story.html">one of the Mitt&rsquo;s Hoosier fundraising co-chairs</a>. &quot;If he keeps advancing the causes of illegal aliens and those kinds of issues, then I think, yes, Gov. Romney will keep raising more money.&rdquo;<br /><br />Lord knows we&rsquo;re in deep trouble if that&rsquo;s why&nbsp;<a href="http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0712/78319.html">Romney&rsquo;s beating Obama</a>&nbsp;so badly.</p><p>Personally, I think it has something to do with Barack&rsquo;s fundraising letters. There&rsquo;s just something really whiny and flat about them. Just look at this one:<br /><br /><em>&nbsp;Friend&nbsp;</em><em>&mdash;</em><br /><br /><em><em>We&#39;re getting outraised -- a first for a sitting president, if this continues. Not just by the super &nbsp;PACs and outside groups that are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into misleading ads, but by our opponent and the Republican Party, which just outraised us for the second month in a row.</em><br /><br /><em>We can win a race in which the other side spends more than we do. But not this much more.</em><br /><br /><em>So I need your help. If you believe that regular people should decide elections, then please chip in $3 or more today.</em><br /><br /><em>This isn&#39;t about me or the outcome of one election.</em><br /><br /><em>This election will be a test of the model that got us here. We&#39;ll learn whether it&#39;s still true that a grassroots campaign can elect a president -- whether ordinary Americans are in control of our democracy in the face of massive spending.</em><br /><br /><em>I believe we can do this. When all of us chip in what we can, when we can, we are the most powerful force in politics.</em><br /><br /><em>But today is the day to prove it. Donate now:</em></em><br /><br />&nbsp;</p><p>Or this one:<br /><br /><br /><em>Friend&nbsp;</em><em>&mdash;</em><br /><br /><em><em>Today is one of the most important fundraising deadlines of this campaign so far.</em><br /><br /><em>We might not outraise Mitt Romney.</em><br /><br /><em>But I am determined to keep the margin close enough that we can win this election the right way.</em><br /><br /><em>To do that I need your help today.</em><br /><br /><em>Please donate $3 or more before tonight&#39;s deadline.</em><br /><br /><em>The stakes in this election are real. Thanks for all your support so far.</em><br /><br /><em>Good week.</em><br /><br /><em>Barack</em></em><br /><br />What a bunch of tripe, no? (&quot;Good week&quot;?&nbsp;<em>Really?</em>) These are as uninspired and cliché-ridden an effort as I&rsquo;ve ever seen. Take out &ldquo;Barack&rdquo; and it could be any Joe running for any office.<br /><br />Here&rsquo;s a suggestion, for free, to the Obama campaign: Try being a little more honest and a little less proud.<br /><br />Consider, for example, acknowledging that the economy is not great right now, and that you know that even $3 might be a bit much to ask for. You can follow it up with some poetry about how it&rsquo;s an investment in the future, that you need four more years and a Democratic congress to get us to a better place but&nbsp;<em>&mdash;</em>&nbsp;for God&rsquo;s sake, man&nbsp;<em>&mdash;</em>&nbsp;just say you know it&nbsp;<em>hurts</em>.</p></p> Fri, 13 Jul 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-07/obama%E2%80%99s-lame-letters-don%E2%80%99t-help-romney-out-fundraises-president-again Strategic? Desperate? President’s support for gay marriage is a gamble either way http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-05/strategic-desperate-president%E2%80%99s-support-gay-marriage-gamble-either-way <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP120508058357.jpg" title="President Barack Obama faced mounting pressure Wednesday to express support for same-sex marriage after a setback for gay-rights advocates in North Carolina. (AP/Carolyn Kaster, File)"></div><p>Did President Obama come out in favor of same sex marriage on principle, or out of <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/president-obamas-calculated-gamble-on-gay-marriage/2012/05/09/gIQAxlsWDU_blog.html">political need</a>? Was his move a <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-leadership/post/president-obamas-same-sex-marriage-announcement-a-leadership-look/2012/05/10/gIQAGembFU_blog.html">smart strategy or a potential death knell</a>?<br><br>There are two prominent narratives about the president’s decision to get behind marriage equality. One says it was an ethical matter, and <a href="http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/05/obama-lets-go-of-fear.html">a deliberate strategy</a>. The vice president’s TV declaration of his own comfort level with the issue was not a gaffe, according to this line of thinking, but <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2012/05/gay-marriage-why-obama-couldnt-wait.html">a trial balloon</a>.<br><br>But another theory proposes that Obama’s announcement came because, after Joe Biden pushed it, the president’s evolving position became untenable. How could such a smart guy with so many LGBT friends and staffers, surrounded by so many people who support marriage equality – including his influential wife – still not be convinced? What exactly did he need?<br><br>This particular line of thinking has a variation: Biden jumped the gun, but the decision to support same sex marriage was made when Democratic moneyman George Soros decided to direct funds to grassroots organizations instead of Obama’s PACs. Because one in six of the president’s bundlers are gay, unequivocal support for marriage equality would help fire up what had now become a critical constituency.<br><br>Could the announcement have been been better timed? Some say that a week ago, the president might have influenced the outcome of the Amendment One vote in North Carolina – the ban on anything that even smells like same sex marriage. But I doubt that. Amendment One took 60 percent of the vote North Carolina, and I don’t think a single person’s opinion, not even the president’s, could have swayed that many people.<br><br>Others say it would have been more powerful if he’d waited for the Democratic convention, which will take place in North Carolina. But, frankly, a whole summer of dodging would have made him look foolish and would have done little but irritated the LGBT community.<br><br>What is unquestionable is that the president stepped up and took an unequivocal position – that was also a huge gamble.<br><br>Yes, gays and lesbians and their allies will rally, not just with votes, but with money and manpower. And, yes, because marriage equality is a crucial issue – the civil rights issue of their generation – this may help drive the youth vote somewhat (though I suspect that by November this will be a lot less of a big deal). And, yes, many moderates in swing states may look favorably on this position.<br><br>But there are real downsides to the president’s announcement. A few days ago, I wrote about the role of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-05/obama-administration%E2%80%99s-gay-marriage-theater-98942">the black church in the same sex marriage discussion</a>. And like I said then, I don’t believe African-American voters will leave the Obama over this, but it may temper organizational support from certain churches and may force certain high profile pastors to publicly part with him. White working class male voters, with whom Obama has always had trouble, may be a lost cause now. (For the record, in spite of all the talk about how mostly Catholic Latinos will respond negatively to the president’s position, I think most Latinos in the U.S. don’t rank this as a top-tiered issue.)<br><br>Significantly, the GOP leadership seems to be <a href="http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0512/76190.html">staying away from the issue</a>. In fact, strategists are mostly advising against making it a big deal. Why? Because Mitt Romney needs whatever he can get of the young and moderate swing voters who support marriage equality. And in this terrible and terribly close race, every single vote counts.<br><br>The only one still out there, it seems, insisting on marriage as exclusive to one man and one woman at a time, is Romney himself. He’s promising to pass a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage.<br><br>In the meantime, the <em>Washington Post</em> ran a long piece on Thursday about <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/mitt-romneys-prep-school-classmates-recall-pranks-but-also-troubling-incidents/2012/05/10/gIQA3WOKFU_print.html">Romney’s bully days</a> in high school, which allegedly include leading a rabble to cut off an effeminate boy’s long hair. What’s most disturbing to me about this story is that, despite clear memories from both Republican and Democratic classmates who witnessed and participated in the assault, Romney claims to have no memory of the incident at all.</p></p> Fri, 11 May 2012 12:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-05/strategic-desperate-president%E2%80%99s-support-gay-marriage-gamble-either-way