…And the World:
With the Olympics over, the United Kingdom has little choice, but to return to the more banal things in life like politics. Unlike the 2012 London Olympics, however, Britain’s coalition government looks on edge. Due to changes passed early in the current government’s life, new elections will not be held until 2015. Elections can happen earlier, but only if the coalition breaks apart, which the British public sees as almost certain.
In Australia, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has accepted a plan that would admit more refugees into the country from Indonesia and elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Part of the deal involves reopening controversial offshore detention centers in neighboring countries like Papua New Guinea. However, the move may run into problems with Gillard’s minority government (it relies on Green Party votes to stay in office) and was criticized by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. Abbott said that if the offshore center had never been closed, then lives could have been saved.
French courts have cleared a new fiscal treaty meant to better integrate countries in the Eurozone and hopefully end the two year crisis. There remains one more challenge in German court before the treaty may proceed.
Paul Ryan? Paul Ryan, really? In a bizarre late Friday night news dump, Governor Mitt Romney’s campaign for the presidency let slip that it was picking Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. Does that name sound familiar you say? It should because Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee released a budget designed to eliminate Medicate as we know it. It would become a voucher system with no discernible means to assist seniors when costs rise faster than the indexing of the voucher’s value. It would also gut any and all government activities that do not involve invading foreign countries.
The pick is also problematic and delivered a deluge of analysis. Among such tidbits was a rather cogent argument from the New Republic that Ryan was picked because Romney believes he will lose. Then Romney can blame conservatives. Indeed, the Miami Herald is already noting that Florida may drift away from Romney with Ryan on the ticket. Why would Ryan agree to this sacrificial VP slot? There is no such thing as bad publicity. Indeed, he was in Iowa today at the State Fair. The same State Fair that politicians of both parties attend while jockeying for caucus-goers’ votes. An audition for 2016, Paulie?
Democrats are jubilant over the Ryan pick having already run against his plan before (and won). Meanwhile, the GOP is nervous. However, the pick also is a complication. While Ryan electrifies the voting-against-self-interest far-right, he is also a classic Washington insider. Indeed, in Congress since 1998 and involved in Republican causes since college, Ryan would not meet Mitt Romney’s own preference that all Presidential candidates work three years in the private sector. Also like many Republicans that castigated the President’s 2009 Stimulus, Ryan sought to bring home the bacon to his Southeastern Wisconsin Congressional district.
Also worth mentioning is that Ryan can stay on the ballot for his Congressional race, something both Joe Biden and Joe Lieberman did as Vice-Presidential nominees. However, Ryan also faced a challenge from Democrat Rob Zerban who has raised a surprising sum ahead of what was always an uphill climb. Ryan’s selection as Romney’s running-mate could help Zerban or it could not.
Tomorrow is primary day in Connecticut. The long battle for the Democratic and Republican nominations to take Joe Lieberman’s old seat as well the Congressional seat of Chris Muprhy, who is running for Senate, come to a close.
The State of Things:
Senator Scott Brown may be changing his tune about Paul Ryan (he endorsed the Ryan plan before flip-flopping), but he is probably thrilled Romney made the announcement. Brown had accused the Commonwealth and Elizabeth Warren’s campaign (and daughter) of being part of a vast conspiracy to rig the election, by, wait for it, registering voters. Massachusetts was sued for violating a bipartisan 1993 law that required individuals seeking benefits to be offered the right to register to vote. To settle the matter, Massachusetts sent out registration forms to those who recently received benefits, but were not given the chance to register when they applied for benefits. It got even worse when Brown demanded Warren pay for the state’s cost of sending out the ballots. Of course, Brown was trying to stoke the same resentment Republicans have used against welfare recipients, but this tactic does not pass the smell test, as David Bernstein aptly notes. Going further, Bernstein also points out that it is common and appropriate for candidates to demand the election laws be followed and that the state pay to see that they are, using a Boston Mayoral Race as an example.
As for Brown and Ryan, Warren pointed out that Brown is in a tough spot. While he has disavowed, the plan he has praised it and last year he said he would vote for it…until he said he wouldn’t. Flip-flop? Still plenty of room to tie Brown to Ryan.
Elsewhere in Massachusetts Politics, Andrea Nuciforo, challenging incumbent Congressman Richard Neal for the Democratic nomination, was accused of plagiarism by his other opponent, Alford Democrat Bill Shein. The Berkshire Eagle does a write-up of the accusations. Nuciforo told the Valley Advocate he stood on the shoulders of giants, in explaining what happened.
The Springfield line, which runs from New Haven to Springfield and is connected to Amtrak’s Northeast corridor is included in a review of the Northeast’s rail system.
Mayor Domenic Sarno’s plans to close bars at 1 a.m. will not be going anywhere until next year. The License Commission put off a decision until next January at the earliest. Even if it were to enact the policy then, which is not a sure thing, it would likely not take effect until the following January when existing licenses would be renewed for 2014.
And, h/t to Ward 8 Councilor John Lysak. While your editor-in-chief was exiting the Basketball Hall of Fame after a visit to Cold Stone, we ran into Lysak sporting a Scott Brown nametag. The Senator himself was inside at a fundraiser. How we missed it? Not sure. And yes, we did link to our own tweet. Deal with it.
Asked on MTP if Rep Ryan is qualified to be president, RNC Chair said he and Gov Romney “combined” are qualified.
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) August 12, 2012
In today’s very nauseatingly Paul Ryan edition of the Markup, obviously we have to give the tweet prize to a Ryan-related tweet. Rachel Maddow, who was on Meet the Press Sunday, related how RNC Chair Reince Priebus defended Ryan’s qualifications and exception to Romney’s three years of business experience. Priebus said Romney and Ryan combined are qualified. Of course this is absurd. Both men would not be president simultaneously. Either Romney would be or Ryan would be if something happened to Romney. They do not fuse into one being. For relating this absurdities with a hash tag pointing out the obvious lunacy of this claim, Rachel Maddow wins this week’s tweet prize.