Manic Monday Markup 6/11/12…
…And the World:
IT’S BAAAAAAAAAAAACK! Eurozone bailouts return*. Spain would want us to include the asterisk. Over the weekend, Spain accepted a bailout from the European powers that be. However, it appears, despite its size, to be bailout light. First of all Spain appears to have been pressured to accept the bailout, rather than string along until its problems are worse (if only Greece did this). Anyway, the bailout is not for the government, but for the countries reeling banks that are near moribund due to bad loans on property. Spain hopes it will be spared the draconian budget cuts Greece, Ireland and Portugal have endured. It is worth contrasting Spain to Ireland, who also had reeling banks. Ireland acted to guarantee all of the country’s banks a move that forced it into bailout and austerity. Spain needs the money to recapitalize their banks to keep financial system liquid. It is not proposing to pay Spanish banks’ debts if those banks fail.
Meanwhile, Mario Monti, the Prime Minister of Italy, braces for the markets’ attack on his country. Monti, the technocrat appointed the country’s premier after Silvio Berlusconi was dumped, has made considerable progress righting his country’s finances even as its economy slows along with the rest of Europe. However, the nation still has a high debt to GDP ratio and needs considerable reforms of its labor laws in order to encourage growth. Monti had rejected the austerity-only approach of Germany and favors the growth agenda of French President Francois Hollande. Yet, his agenda has also angered many in the establishment, which has left the main parties in Italy fearful of enacting his whole agenda. Most of Monti’s reforms cannot be performed administratively, they require approval of the Italian parliament.
Even as progress is being made in the United States on gay marriage, it remains in neutral Down Under, where Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard maintained her opposition to gay marriage. She cited her own domestic partnership with a man as proof that “love” is all that is needed.
The statement of the obvious award goes to John Ellis (Jeb) Bush for pointing out the rightward leap his party has taken noting, correctly, that his father (Bush 41) and Ronald Reagan would not be welcome in today’s party. While he accused the president of similar ideological partisanship, his comments were refreshingly notable. He also opined that neither Romney or Obama would likely get the economy to recover any faster given the situation in Europe.
Meanwhile on Romney, the man himself has said that the American public does not want more police or firefighters. Romney specifically cited failed recall of Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin as proof. Of course, Romney also forgot that police and firefighters retain full collective bargaining rights that the state used to have. An additional point. While declining state local aid and falling property tax revenues are also to blame, the Springfield Fire Department took the bulk of Control Board cuts in the throat. While effective streamlining and prioritizing have kept the department functional (even making it through a whole year recently without any fire-related deaths), the department is grossly understaffed in comparison to the police department. Romney seems to think Springfield (and every other community) can do more with less, especially firefighters. President Obama’s jobs bill includes money to maintain staffing levels for police and firefighters to tide communities over until local revenues recover.
The folks at the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee would like us to note that although Walker was not recalled, the State Senate in Wisconsin has reverted to Democratic control. Although the legislature is not poised to reconvene before November’s election, no further Walker initiatives are expected to pass between now and then.
Connecticut decided last week to stick its head further into the lion’s mouth than President Obama did when his administration required birth control be covered under the health care law. Officials from Connecticut deemed abortion an essential health benefit that must be covered in insurance plans for Connecticut residents created under the federal law. It is unclear, what if any exemptions would apply or if this is the equivalent of the birth control requirement on the federal level in terms who must comply.
If you did not like Ray Flynn before for endorsing Scott Brown, you may have another reason not to like him. The former Boston Mayor has been palling around with Brown for some time, but the revelation that he will host a fundraiser for a Republican running for Congress in Rhode Island could raise further eyebrows. Don’t waste the energy lifting your brows. Observers think Flynn and others were actually Republicans all along who merely took the “D” just to get elected. This fundraiser seems like more proof.
The State of Things:
The debate over debates continues. However, a new twist has emerged. The widow of Scott Brown predecessor, Vicki Kennedy, has invited Elizabeth Warren and Brown to a debate hosted by Tom Brokow at Kennedy library in Dorchester. Brown has agreed to only a few debates and his campaign has refused to negotiate with the Warren campaign except through the media. Traditionally, such debate issues are settled through a meeting of the campaigns rather than trying to score points. The Boston Globe has already called Brown out for refusing media consortium-type debates which would reach a broader audience. Brown has preferred the much small audience of two radio debates, to which Warren has not yet agreed. The Globe argued in its editorial that such debates fail to reach the wider audience that a statewide media debate across several TV channels would.
Beacon Hill is poised to approve another bailout for the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority after its approved cuts and fare hikes proved insufficient to close the $51 million dollar deficit. The money will come from a surplus out of the inspection sticker fund. Local transit authorities will receive $2 million collectively as well.
During Netroots Nation in Providence this weekend, Elizabeth Warren, hoarse from campaigning gave a rousing speech to conference-goers. Among her gems was a reminder to Mitt Romney that corporations are, in fact, not people. However, her visit was somewhat marred by right-wing blogger, ostensibly for Legal Insurrection, that harassed Warren during her visit.
The Springfield City Council will hold its meeting, as rescheduled from last week. Tonight’s meeting was originally planned for last week, but was postponed after the shooting death of officer Kevin Ambrose during a cal to a domestic dispute. The council will consider financial matters and a home rule petition to lengthen the Council’s term.
Former Springfield City Council Morris Jones died over the weekend. He was 77. Jones had been the subject of our cynicism over the years, but he was widely praised by other politicians in the city. The Republican cited his work to get the Mason Square branch library reopened, a notable achievement in light of the crucible undertaken to restore the full-service neighborhood library.
— Rob Cohen (@Rob_Coh) June 11, 2012
— Willard Mitt Romney (@MlTTR0MNEY) June 11, 2012
We had to do a tie today. Rob Cohen, a member of the MaPoli Twitterverse tweeted this morning this tweet, which not only has the effect of manipulating to ironic effect Romney’s more, hmm, self-destructive comments. Indeed, Mitt Romney’s awkward or outright gaffe-tastic comments invite such pointed remarks like those found in Cohen’s tweet. We also point out a parody account of Mitt Romney, @MlTTR0MNEY. In this tweet, the parody account pulls out a quote from the above linked Salon story and offers a decidedly Romney-esque reaction. It is entirely plausible to see Romney offer that kind of response if confronted with those old quotes from firefighters in a campaign stop today. We would like to think Romney would not be so…ridiculous. But you never know.